Someone recently told me that I make a lot of excuses. That really frustrated me because I thought they might be right. But there is a difference between making excuses and giving an explanation; though sometimes, to the person on the receiving end, they can sound alike.

My story: an explanation in short form.

I grew up in the Midwest, raised by New England parents who had moved to follow work. As soon as they retired, they moved back east. I followed a short time later, wanting to raise my daughter near family. Being close to the ocean, and away from the outskirts of Detroit made for an easy decision. 

When I was in high school I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer, and started on that path, but followed a detour and worked in sales, management and finally HR Management as a career.  I became a mom, and shortly after, a single mom. Next, a career mom, and finally a stay at home mom. 

I had active lupus for 13 years before finally getting a (confirmed) diagnosis, and treatment. Lupus can do a lot of damage if left untreated for that long so I feel lucky that: 1) I lived through it;  2) I kept all of my organs 3)the organs are back to functioning almost normally, and most importantly I was immeasurably relieved to learn that everything was real because I had secretly started to worry that I was just lazy .

A dozen years of chronic pain and fatigue, headaches, and not enough oxygen took me down an unplanned path. Priorities changed. A career was put on the back burner and what little time and energy available was spent on my family.  Coming out the other end of the tunnel, the house has suffered, and I have no savings, but it was the right choice.

It was during this period that I quit working outside the home and began selling vintage clothing on EBay and Etsy. Just a bit here and there when I find something really good.  Like everything else right now, I do it in fits and spurts. No excuses and no apology. I get to it when I get to it. 

Today I feel better than I have in over a decade, yet am still not accustomed to the physical limitations which I assume are temporary.  I can’t really gauge how much energy I have to expend because the limit is different every day.  I’m always the person asking “how hard can it be?” and running full speed ahead before finding myself suddenly knocked on my ass. As frustrating as that is, I think it a better way to live (for me) than trying to stay within invisible boundaries.

I thought I might make this blog about starting over while dealing with an invisible chronic illness but doubt I can add anything of value to that conversation. Compared to others living with an autoimmune disorder, I seem to be rebounding quickly. Most days I have it face down on the mat in a half nelson, listening to it cry “uncle”. 

Maine Salvage & Rehabilitation is about repairing, reusing, and finding a new life for older things.