‘Tis the Season

Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year. Not that there weren’t enough hints. Two weeks ago, as I sat in my optometrist’s office, Christmas carols wafted through the waiting room. Since then, I’ve noticed Santa statues guarding the aisles at CVS, holiday wreathes decking the doors at Home Depot and Black Friday sales clogging my email.

Oh, wait, was I talking about Thanksgiving?

Hard to know which season it is, or to remember what the holiday is supposed to be about. You don’t even see those hokey turkey decorations anymore in stores—you know, the ones with the cardboard heads and tails connected by honeycombed crepe paper bodies—or garlands of fake autumn leaves. As soon as the pumpkins and Halloween candy go on mark-down, the Christmas decorations come out. Given the commercial Black Friday competition, I’m betting it won’t be long before we’re confronted with holiday mega-sales starting November 1.

The weather is no help, either. Although we avoided the crazy snow that whomped Buffalo this past week, the polar vortex that swept through New England threatened to turn November into January. I now have seven ulcers on my fingers and one persistent sore on my inside right ankle. I am going through bandages like confetti. Some of these ulcers developed weeks before the freezing weather, but several emerged in the past few days, despite my best efforts to protect my hands. Way, way too cold for this time of year, and my fingers are not happy.

A reader recently suggested taking a vacation in Hawaii. This idea has some appeal.

Even as frigid temps made me cranky last week, however, we’re now enjoying a mild interlude before a Nor’easter that could bring at least a half-foot of snow by Wednesday evening. Thank goodness I already put the snow tires on my Prius.

Snow or no snow, I’m looking forward to the approaching holiday. Every year, we get together with our cousins for a wonderful meal, football games on the flatscreen TV and the comfort of family and friendships. And I have much to be grateful for. . . .

Our daughters are both thriving in their respective graduate school programs.

I have a full plate of work for wonderful clients.

We have a beautiful home on a quiet street with good neighbors who wave and say hello as I walk Ginger around the block.

Ginger is 16 and still has “pep in her step,” as our vet notes, with amazement.

Al has made it through yet another sale of the hospital where he is a social worker, and despite the less-than-desirable health insurance provided by his new employer, we have managed to cover our deductibles for my medical expenses (at least, so far).

I’m holding my own with my health. It never gets easier, but I have enough experience with scleroderma that I can figure out work-arounds when my hands aren’t cooperating or my feet need extra support or my body just needs more rest or time to do whatever it is I’m trying to do.

I am blessed with loving family, good friends, a supportive synagogue community and enough resources to live a modest, comfortable life. I have access to some of the best medical care in the world, right in my own backyard. I work for myself, set my own pace and own my own time.

And I can write.

Time for Thanksgiving, indeed.

Photo Credit: smilla4 via Compfight cc

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.


  1. Great piece. We all have so much to be thankful for; thanks for the reminder.

  2. As it is said: ” It is not happiness that makes us grateful; it is gratefulness that makes us happy.”

  3. Pat Bizzell says:

    And I am thankful to have you for a friend, Ev!

  4. Thanks to you all, for reading and caring!

  5. Evelyn,

    I love reading your posts. Thank you for putting into words what I wish I could say. I have Scleroderma too. I’ve had it for 29 years. It’s really nice hearing another person speak out about what we all go through. I’m sorry to hear that you are battling with ulcers right now. Winter! Urrrggg. I get those horrible pesky ulcers on my fingers too. I know how long lived and painful they are. I wanted to pass along that I found battery heated gloves from the outdoor store, Cabela’s. The gloves really help a great deal in the winter with my Raynaud’s fingers. The heating wires go down every finger so the whole hand is kept warm. The only drawback is that they are as ugly as sin. Cabela’s is a hunting store. Yes…the gloves I love are camouflage. Who the heck cares if they get the job done. 🙂 I know this disease is a different experience for everyone. Not sure the gloves would help you, but….just in case… I thought I’d let you know about them. They’re called Cabela’s Heated Performance Camo Gloves.

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