Living with Heart

Trekking, 21st’s & a Grand Admission


Thank you for joining me as I view life through the lens of living with inflammtory arthritis – recently updated to Psoriatic Arthritis.

Today two monumental things happen. My daughter, my precious Gem dives into 21. We had the party a few weeks ago because of the other monumental thing – my Husband of the Year (HotY) is going on his first overseas holiday without me.

I’m feeling happy, heartbroken, hopeful, worried and a type of sadness that I can’t really verbalise.

Celebrating a 21st is a fabulous thing – its that magical period in your life when anything still seems possible and there are bright green rolling hills before you. Gem has brought a depth to my life that has been profound. She was 11 when I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Arthritis and has had to learn early how to navigate public transport, cook a meal and basically  – be organised. There were times early on when I couldn’t drive and my pain was almost overwhelming.

It breaks my heart that she has witnessed this, absorbed this and that it has shaped her. She is studying Pharmacy now and she approaches her degree with a slightly different view than her peers. She has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of medication. 

I look back and feel a strange amount of guilt – I mean, surely I could have done something to stop my illness touching the lives of my family, or maybe I could have stopped the illness. Is my arthritis my fault? Have I done something so wrong that this is my punishment? Illogical thoughts. Irrational thoughts. However, they are there and they deserve their place within me.

But I sit here right now – in this moment – feeling such joy at the young imperfectly perfect woman that Gem has become. Pride, accomplishment, fear, hope.

Also, today my husband travels to Nepal to trek to a remote mountain village in the Lhi area to help in rebuilding some of the devastation caused by the earthquake of 2015. Lhi is not on any tourist map and it will be a tough 6 day walk to get in there and a rise in altitude to about 3,500m.

This is the first overseas trip that HotY will go on without me and I am bereft. I’m not bereft because he’s going. I’m freakin’ bereft because I’m missing out!! This is my absolute FOMO moment.

My heart and mind are with him. My body is not up to the task. My sadness is a physical thing and has its place nestled deep inside me. Under different stars I would be leading the Trek. I would be proudly squatting to wee on the trail. I would be braving the broken down bridges I’ve seen in photos. I would be in awe of a place different.

I love travelling but it takes a lot out of me and requires months of planning. Lucky I am a planner, a thinker, a doer. So the planning is part of the journey for me. I am planning my husband’s trip – even to the extent of going to the travel doctors with him to ensure he got the right injections. 

This is where I make a grand admission – I am freakishly controlling. Like a serious control freak. My family are constantly driven crazy by how much I want to micromanage. The worse my health is on any given day will increase my need to control my environment. I’m not alone in feeling this. Many people who have a chronic pain condition feel they have lost control of their body, (you bloody dirty, rotten traitor), so start to exert control in other areas. Yeah, Yeah – I know the psychology behind it, but it’s a hard thing to control. It is a beast that niggles, finds fault with others and sets rules that are too tight.

But I am learning to loosen myself, slowly, like a tangled roll of barbed wire that needs some straightening out.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for taking time to listen and to hear. Thank you for seeing my life through my joint perspective. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your honesty and vulnerability with others Michelle…your journey and your strength will encourage and motivate others. Congratulations on your new venture Xx

    • You are an inspiration to me Suzie – and so I owe a bit of this blog to you. Much love heading over to you.

  2. Thanks for your honesty in sharing this Michelle. Really looking forward to reading more of your story.

    • Thanks Ree- hope you are well and thanks for clickin on the link!!

  3. Great writing Michelle. Well done.

    • Thank you Alison! I hope you are keeping well? Many thanks for taking the time to read…

  4. Well done Michelle. So honest and self aware I look forward to reading your further blogs

    • Oh thank you so much Deanie! I just logged on thinking – oh no one will have commented – and there were your lovely precious words. Many thanks and I will be posting new posts every Wednesday.

  5. A great read, Michelle, thank you!

    • Oh Paula – my pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to read and start the journey with me.