The wind is howling outside the windows, the rain slapping against the panes. An atmospheric river, the new term for rainstorm, has finally swept in to relieve our province from unusual drought conditions. The first of October came in hot and dry, the summer refusing to release its stranglehold – records broke across the province for hot temperatures and no rainfall. While my RA enjoyed the reprieve from our usually wet, chilly weather, I missed the misty fall mornings and the blood red leaves dripping from the trees. The spiders were out looking for love but had no need to crawl into the warmth of homes just yet.
I am curled up on the couch, notebook in hand, counting the hours to All Hallows Eve and the celebration of Samhain, the Celtic New Year. This is the time of year to sweep the negative energy into the darkness, honor our ancestors and plant the seeds of transition into a new year. The fall is always a season of new beginnings for me, a time where the major changes materialize transforming my life, as the fall transforms the color of the leaves – and this year there’s a big transformation looming beyond the full harvest moon.
The job I have worked for many years is coming to an end. It has been a privilege to work with patients like me, to help navigate their health care, to be a compassionate voice even if I did not have a solution. I was the ear to lend when they needed to share news, good or bad. The medical world has been a big part of my life both as an employee and as a patient.
I don’t pretend to know how our patients feel – it’s hard to say goodbye to your health care professionals. There’s anxiety about who will take over your care. There’s so much trust built up over the years, so much history and it’s difficult to start over – but that’s much like life with RA or any chronic disease – the ability to adapt is entrenched in our lives. There is nothing quiet about RA, it is constantly evolving and so is everything connected to it.
The time I have left will be making sure our patients are taken care of – there’s lots of work to do in the final months and once that’s done, I’ll be off on new journey. I don’t know where it will take me, but just like when I was diagnosed with RA, I’ll transition into a different life. The new chapter will open another door where I’ll have the opportunity to not only take care of myself, but to grow my creative practice and share my voice more often. There’s a tiny part of me afraid to let go of what is safe and secure, but then I remember that safe and secure would not have allowed me to take risks like publishing my first story, choreographing a pantomime, or becoming a university graduate at the tender age of forty-eight.
I am looking forward to the next chapter. It will be a time to spread my wings, and soar into a new world. Changes can be daunting but imagine what our world would be like without them – no new opportunities, no seasons to enjoy, no stimulation for enhancing our lives. Transitions are the only constant, and if we can learn to embrace them, we have the power and strength to do anything. So, the next time you see that full harvest moon, or watch the sun rise over the ocean, take a deep breath, and remember it will always come around again.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.
You have been an amazing constant in my journey. You have always been so supportive and fantastically organized!! I will miss seeing you so much. I wish you joy and good health going forward!