So Farewell Then, 2015

Yes, I know there’s another week and a half of the bastard to go, but I fly to the US at 5:30AM on Wednesday, and have to spend a week around my in-laws, getting told all the time “you’ll be able to rest soon” but actually having the whole week full of people, so this might be the last chance I get to write anything here this year.

This year, as you might have guessed from the infrequency of the posts, has been a difficult one for me. I don’t know if I’ve explained properly what’s been happening, but for the last three years I’ve been in increasing amounts of physical pain from walking, and for the last year I’ve had RSI-like pains in my hands. This has recently been diagnosed as psoriatic arthritis.

And this explains another, rather bigger, problem I’ve had for the last few years. I have been so tired that for much of the six months up to my diagnonsense I was literally wishing for death. Something I hadn’t realised is that arthritis, being an inflammatory autoimmune disease, causes the release of massive amounts of cytokines into the bloodstream.

What this means, in lay terms, is… well, you know how when you have flu and want to just sleep until it goes away? That’s the cytokines. Your immune system releases them, telling your body to shut down so you can get better. Except when you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system does that *ALL THE TIME*, and you don’t *get* better, because it’s the immune system itself that’s the problem.

The result is that for the last three years I have been as exhausted as you get from a bad bout of flu, pretty much permanently — and without having a clue why, so assuming it was down to work stress (some no doubt is — stress affects arthritis).

Every word I’ve written in the last couple of years has been an immense struggle, often physically (because of the problems with my hands) and always mentally. Despite that, this year has been, on paper, one of my most productive — my first novel came out, I released the longest non-fiction book I’ve ever written, made my third professional short fiction sale (and second to be published), and released a very short ebook about Multiversity.

But that’s all been at the expense of the normal day-to-day blogging I used to do, and has used *all* my brainpower. I’ve not reviewed most of the gigs I’ve been to this year (and some have been spectacular — the Polyphonic Spree guesting with the Monkees on Porpoise Song was one of the greatest moments of my life, and the kind of thing that makes live music worth watching), and I have a MASSIVE pile of unread comics and magazines, some dating back three years or more.

Next year will, with luck, be better. I will be starting treatment for the arthritis at some point toward the end of January. If we can find a treatment that helps the fatigue, I may become the person I was in 2010 again.

My mid-thirties have been a complete write-off, and it’s taken all my energy just to stand still. Next year, I hope, I’ll be myself again, and this blog will go back to having interesting stuff every day.

Even if it doesn’t, next year should be interesting. I’ve got a short story I’ve been asked to write that should be fun, I’ve got my entry in the Black Archive coming out, and I’ll hopefully be doing a comic with one of my fellow Mindless Ones. Thanks to all of you for bearing with me this year.

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6 Responses to So Farewell Then, 2015

  1. Iain Coleman says:

    I know you’ve been ill and in pain, and I know how difficult and frustrating that has been for you. And I thoroughly sympathise.

    But let me give you another perspective on your year. You’ve released a novel. You’ve released a substantial non-fiction book. You’ve sold a short story and released an ebook.

    All while holding down a skilled full-time job.

    That would be an impressive year for anyone in tip-top health. For someone who’s been as ill as you have been? It’s downright awe-inspiring.

    I hope your health improves, and you manage to dig into the strata of your to-read pile. But I also hope you are able to take a moment at the end of this year to be proud of yourself for what you have achieved.

  2. plok says:

    Thirded!

    Plus: Puppy aggravation!

  3. Kat says:

    What they all said!

    Plus, a thank you – this is not a perspective I’d heard on arthritis before. You’ve given me some new insight into my issues, for which I am grateful!

    Hope the treatment at the end of January helps! Do you mind sharing what they’re going to try?

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      They want to try methotrexate, which is a DMARD (reduces inflammation). I’m not sure about it myself, though, because I’ve seen reports that it can make the fatigue worse, not better…

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