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The Old Lady in My Bones

Arthritis Jambalaya

DSC_0417Ingredients: a cup of inflammation, two to three cups of pain, a large package of stiffness, half a cup of tenderness, a pinch of fever, swelling, rashes, nodules, and fatigue as needed.

Directions: throw into the body and simmer on low for life.

A steaming bowl was placed on the table and a spicy scent floated into the air assaulting my senses with a harmonious aroma. At first glance, it looked like a simple dish, but when I ploughed through the bowl with the prongs of my fork, I discovered a variety of ingredients floating together in a rich crimson sauce – chorizo, rice, tomatoes, onion, peppers and seafood, an assortment of foods, flavours and scents amassed in one bowl. Staring into this complex and intriguing concoction, I realized that I had my very own jambalaya simmering inside my body.

The literal definition for jambalaya is a mish-mash, a mixture or a jumble. Arthritis crafts its own jambalaya within the body – a fusion of symptoms simmering and percolating beneath the skin, cooking up tenderness, fatigue and pain; at first glance, it looks like a simple ailment, but when you dig through the tangle, you will uncover an elaborate recipe. There are over one hundred different conditions of arthritis ranging from straightforward and mild, to severe and crippling. Different factors differentiate the many diverse types revealed through lab tests, medical imaging and presentation of symptoms during a physical exam. Symptoms fluctuate and materialize in varied ways, all stemming from the same vessel. No matter what type of arthritis is bubbling in your body, it reaps the same results. It’s easy to see why the complex nature of arthritis gets tossed into one pot.

Arthritis blends a jambalaya of elements in the body, and one day I hope the right chef will come along, pick apart the ingredients and invent a new recipe that will make it easy to devour.






About J.G. Chayko

I am a writer living on the beautiful West Coast in Vancouver B.C. I am a poet at heart but also write prose, fiction and creative non-fiction. In my thirties, while working for a Rheumatology clinic, I was diagnosed with early Rheumatoid Arthritis. I created " The Old Lady In My Bones" to share my experience living with this disease and to create an awareness that arthritis touches people of all ages, not just the elderly.


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