I need to tell you something before 2018 ends: I’m sick. I’ve been sick all year.
I don’t have a diagnosis, but something is wrong. I’ve shared bits and pieces – a blog post about my heart arrhythmia; a nebulizer selfie; occasional Instagram stories asking for advice on chronic costochondritis – but there’s been more going on behind the scenes.
My body hurts every day and I’m tired and it’s scary. But it’s also lonely, and I decided that I wanted you to know. Public Becky and Private Becky have become too far apart and I needed to unite them again.
I’ve wanted to tell you what’s been going on, my dear readers, but I haven’t known what to say.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of incredible experiences this year anyway, for which I am grateful beyond my ability to articulate. I had a lot of days when I felt great and even more days when I didn’t feel well but did things anyway, and I’m proud of myself for that.
I managed to cover the AGTA GemFair in Tucson and the Original Miami Beach Antique show, even though that was literally the week my heart forgot how to do its job. I made it through Vegas jewelry week, even thought that was the point of no return in my costochondritis (too much weird bending for jewelry photos! Who knew this job was physically demanding?).
I made it to Greece, a lifelong dream, and to Italy, even though it took pain meds and buckets and buckets of hotel ice (and my trusty travel ice packs) to keep me going. I was Maid of Honor in my little sister’s wedding, something I wouldn’t have given up for the world. I tried on Marie Antoinette’s jewelry, something I’ll never forget, even though I had to make a special appointment with my physical therapist to figure out how I was going to make it through 5 hours on a bus. I had the pleasure of meeting many of you, even though I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to industry cocktail parties or dinners most of the time.
I also created content I loved, working alongside incredible clients, and made almost all of my deadlines, even during the weeks when I was barely sleeping.
None of it would have been possible without my family, most especially the saintlike Mr. DitL, who traveled the world with me when I was in too much pain to lift even a carry-on bag and who has done every load of laundry that’s happened in our house since May. “In sickness and in health” has become very real, and he’s been there for me in every possible way.
I can’t believe I’ve been sick for a whole year, but I also know that in the world of chronic illness and chronic pain, I’m an ubernewbie. I’ve never had more respect and awe for my friends with chronic health challenges. I don’t know how you do this all the time for years on end.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next, and I also don’t know how much of my health situation I’m going to continue wanting to share publicly, but writing this feels important right now so it’s what’s happening.
I’m going to give myself a Winter Break for the next few weeks, but I’ll be back. Hopefully the new year will bring better health, or at least some answers.
Thanks for listening and thank you, as always, for joining me here on the crazy adventure that is Diamonds in the Library. I’ll see you in 2019.
Kristi Mitchell says
I am here for the first time and was touched by your decision to share your struggle. I also suffered a mystery illness for over 13 years and I know that Not Knowing is very hard. We finally found out that I have M.E./C.F.S, and with a diagnosis came foggy but clearer path to advance down. I wish you all the best and I pray for your path to become clear. God bless
Thank you so much, Kristi.
Lauren G Adams says
A very nice blog to share. Thank you so much to share with us.
Space Station Mir says
I started following (and loving!) your blog this year and I’ve gotten way more into jewellery than I ever thought possible! I’m so sorry about what you’re going through but glad that you got to have the amazing experiences anyway and your husband is being supported. I’ve also struggled with chronic illness and it’s hard to know how to talk about it. I typically don’t, so kudos to you and hope you get a diagnosis and things get better for you!
Thank you so much for this lovely and supportive comment – I appreciate the kind words and I’m so glad you’ve found your way to Diamonds in the Library!
Hi Becky –
So sorry to hear about the issues you have been having. Illness and pain are terrible to have to deal with every day. I developed a chronic pain condition that hit me out of the blue on May 9th 2015 and has been with me ever since. 46 trips to the hospital, 9 doctors and 1 physiotherapist later I have discovered that the only thing I can control is my attitude… sadly, my condition lead me to be sad and anxious and pretty unhappy with things for many years, but I am working every day to control my own attitude… and that helps a little bit… so, long winded way of saying you are not alone. If you ever need to chat or just be reminded that you are not alone, don’t hesitate to email : ) I am here : )
Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I really appreciate it.
Hi Becky..am a art deco jewellery lover and collector..but more importantly a concerned health professional..dxs that come to mind Lyme disease..Fibromyalgia..sub acute bacteria endocarditis..ot any one of the Rheumatoid Arthritis strains..you obviously have a compromised immune system..please continue to search for answers..I wish you the best…DMR
Kathleen Johnson says
I am a new follower, I have read your readers comments and you are loved dearly, and by your response I can see why. “Amazing & Loveable” that is what you are.
I will also be praying for a clear answer to your illness and that healing is on the way very soon. You are bright and beautiful with a lot of knowledge to share, may God keep you in his shirt pocket, close to His heart to keep your heart in rhythm. Kathleen
This is the sweetest comment, Kathleen, thank you so much! I really appreciate your support and good wishes.
CJ Pivoda says
Once again we are reminded that health is the most precious gem of all. Your loyal fans will be here for you if and when you are ready to return. Meanwhile, we hope you get the complete diagnosis and quality care you need to feel better soon.
All the best,
Thank you so much, CJ! I appreciate your support and good wishes.
Miranda Gordon says
Sweet Becky, I’m so sorry to know this. I adore your content, your choices, and your voice. May 2019 bring you wellness, renewal, patience, energy, and stamina. Please know that lots and lots of people you’ve never met are thinking of you and sending good vibes. Take all the time you need. We’ll keep the tiaras warm for you!
Miranda in New York
You are so sweet, Miranda, thank you! I really appreciate it.
Dear Becky, I was sorry to read how poorly you have been this year. I developed CRPS 4 years ago following an injury. My husband ended up being my carer for a couple of years until i have learnt to manage the pain. I love reading your blogs on jewellery , visits to gem fairs etc as I am a real jewellery nerd. But put all that aside and take time for yourself to find out whats going on with your health and get it sorted, whatever that takes. Do not put pressure on yourself to do things if they are to difficult . Once your health has improved i will look forward to more from Ditl, but no rush.
Sending healing thouhts from Berkshire, UK x
Thank you so much for this understanding and kind comment, Hazel! I really appreciate your support and I hope with all of my heart that your health continues to improve as well.
Oh Sweet Lady!
I feel you. My sister has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (and it’s likely that I have it too, after thinking for years I just had aggressive inflammatory arthritis). Being in pain is such a drag… there are just not enough spoons EVER.
Sending you Peace and Rest, and Gratitude for sharing your story, and Strength that you need to live your life.
Happy New Year
I am so sorry to hear about your and your sister’s struggles with EDS: since costochondritis is one of my main symptoms and that’s common in EDS, I’ve read up on it some and it sounds like a really challenging thing to have to deal with.
Thank you so so much for this lovely and supportive comment, and for all of your wonderful comments always. Sending healing vibes your way too.
blessed be, beautiful lady.
Thank you so much!
hi Becky i’m so sorry you’re going through all this. but you must be a very strong woman, to not only endure but be productive. as well. ,take as much time as you need, take care of yourself first- the rest will follow.
Thank you so much, Kat! I appreciate your support and kind words.
Well this sounds just awful, Becky. You’re in my thoughts, and if you need anything (really!), please call. Here’s hoping for a better, more healthful new year!
Thank you so much, Leslie! I appreciate it.
Robin Pool says
Thank you so much for taking time to tell us about how you were doing. I have had chronic health issues for years, and it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job continuing to pursue things you love even while dealing with all of your challenges.in my experience, that’s the key, to balance what you can realistically do with decisions about what’s the most important to do. You can continue to live a rich, full life, and when you reach out for help, you usually find more love than you possibly could have imagined. Health challenges are hard, but they’ve enriched my life and relationships in many ways. You have such a wonderful heart yourself, I know this will happen to you. we’ve leaned on you all this time for a window into wonderful worlds that most of us would never get a chance to see. So you have plenty of people you can lean on for emotional, mental, and physical support. You’ve given so much. Now it’s time for us to get back to you. All our love to you!
This is such a kind, supportive, wonderful comment and it means more to me than I can say. Thank you so much for your compassion and kindness; I truly appreciate it.
Diana Mulloy says
Becky, I’m so sorry for all your health troubles. What you’ve accomplished this year is amazing, even if you weren’t sick! Please take it easy and all your fans will be waiting patiently. Take time for you to find out what’s wrong and to heal. I don’t know is if this will help but I’m in a private group on Facebook called Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Do a search and ask to join. The pain and tiredness can be due to a problem with chemicals- perfumes, scented
air sprays, plastics, strongly smelling cleaners, latex, etc. and they can all be triggers for breathing problems, too. I know you have a heart problem so this might not fit with that but maybe it will help. They are great people, tell them what’s wrong and I think you’ll get some suggestions. Most of them went undiagnosed for years. Some can explain interactions at the cellular level. Let us know what’s going on when you can and feel up to it. I’ll be praying for you!
Thank you so much, Diana! I really appreciate both the kind words and the advice.
Faith Marcus says
I’m so terribly sorry to hear this, and that it’s been ongoing. Oddly enough, I was thinking of you yesterday and sent you a note this morning . Hoping that time away from the computer and some rest will help. Take all the time you need – your health and wellness is the most important. You have a lot of love around you – husband, family, friends and fans. I’m sending you healing energy and hope that whatever is going on will be resolved for you very soon.
Thank you so much, Faith! I’m so glad that 2018 brought us the chance to work more closely together and I’m wishing you all the best for the new year.
Susanne Bellavance says
Hi Becky. I agree with Mikki. We all love you and want you to get better! We will hear from you when you are ready! Xoxo Susanne
Thank you so much, Susanne!!
mikki Rainey says
Oh Becky – I am so sorry. Take all the time you need. You are so loved and those of us who love you want you to get better. We’ve got your back and will be patiently waiting for you to return but ONLY when you feel ready!!!!!!! You give so much. Now TAKE the opportunity to lay on the couch. xoxoxo and do NOT feel you have to answer all the emails you will get. Let them be a quilt to warm you and cover you with love and affection. 🙂
Thank you so much, Mikki!!! That sounds utterly lovely and I will do my absolute best to follow your wise advice.
I hope all is well with you!