Where poets, writers & artists won’t let chronic illness stand in the way of creativity
Welcome to Poet’s Corner (& Artists too) ~ Issue #30
From our Editor:
With this month being Arthritis Awareness Month in the United States, in this issue we wanted to share with you the passion and true creativity behind each of our entries.
Our special guest is Elizabeth Wald, who lives with RA and fibromyalgia, but doesn’t let illness stop her from doing what she enjoys most: creating. Elizabeth handcrafts and designs for a jewelry line she launched after diagnosis, Stones In Harmony, where she especially strives to create beautiful and comfortable jewelry to make women with arthritis feel empowered and beautiful. You will learn much more about Elizabeth in our special feature.
We hoped you have enjoyed Trevor’s Barks of Gold, which has now been expanded to Trevor’s Golden Corner, where our resident Golden Retriever will share his Tales of Wisdom.
So, we bring you our issue on Designing Treasures. Perhaps, you may even discover as you are reading this issue, your own creative side. If you live with a chronic illness and Poet’s Corner (& Artists Too) is something you would enjoy being involved with, please contact me at [email protected]
CJ Poetry Editor
In this issue:
Finding Your Passion (Story of Elizabeth Wald’s Path to Creativity)
‘You, tensile’(Poetry by Jonathan Hunter)
‘Isolation’ (Pencil on Paper by Trish Dyne)
Trevor’s Golden Corner(Tale and Photograph by Brenda Kleinsasser)
Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Wald ~ Our special guest shares the story behind her creativity.
Finding Your Passion: Story of Elizabeth Wald’s Path to Creativity
For Elizabeth Wald, jewelry isn’t just an accessory or adornment for beautification purposes. For her, jewelry has become a lifestyle. After leaving a career as a personal trainer, Elizabeth successfully launched an independent jewelry line in response to a rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia diagnosis a few years back. Today, her mission is to decorate others with her designs while also spreading arthritis awareness.
Many patients are adversely affected by the news of an arthritis diagnosis, sometimes falling into deep despair once they receive word. But for Elizabeth it was the opposite. Instead of being sad, she was thankful that she finally had an answer as to what had been causing her so much pain for so many years. Now she had something to fight.
Long before her jewelry designing days, Elizabeth had a successful career as a personal trainer. Despite her arthritis diagnosis, Elizabeth kept up her personal training schedule for seven years after her rheumatologist gave her the news of her RA. She shifted gears in terms of her training and made the most out of her disease by learning how to modify fitness programs for post-rehabilitation patients and other special populations not accustomed to strenuous fitness activity.
By nature Elizabeth is a determined and stubborn woman that never gives up, which is one of the reasons she is such a success story – she has never let her arthritis beat her.
“There are different types of developments and constant changes in my life with RA that I hope will be an inspirational message to all,” Elizabeth stated. “My wish is that my experiences will give everyone, but especially my daughter, the knowledge and tools necessary to handle any situation she may face in the future, all because she was raised by someone who never gave up.”
After she stopped personal training professionally, Elizabeth bravely launched her own jewelry line and website called, Stones in Harmony, a brand that strives to make women feel empowered and beautiful, both inside and out.
Elizabeth is very conscious of arthritis as she designs her creations, making sure that the sizes fluctuate enough to fit over swollen joints and that each piece remains comfortable. One of the main missions for the company is not only for women to be proud to wear the jewelry, but to be able to wear it 24/7.
Nothing illustrates this point better than Elizabeth’s custom made medical alert bracelets available on StonesInHarmony.com. The rule for safety is to wear them 24/7 and because these bracelets are fashionable, they get worn. “I have so many people with RA, Lupus, Fibro, etc. write in to me thanking me for these bracelets,” said Elizabeth, “it brings me such joy to be able to help in even just a small way.”
Also in her bracelet line are special bracelets with the letters “RA” attached to them. “By wearing [RA bracelets], women are often asked what RA stands for. This opens the door of communication about the disease,” Elizabeth said, “that educates the public about the devastating effects RA has on millions of people. The bracelets start a dialogue.”
The proceeds from her arthritis awareness jewelry goes on to support arthritis charities, one of them being the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF). Elizabeth believes awareness is the first step to moving forward. One of her doctrines is that through awareness, more are educated about the scope of arthritis and how funding research is so critical to finding a cure.
“ANRF is the reason I am walking today,” she went on. “If it wasn’t for her biologic, a drug created as a result of previous ANRF funded research, I wouldn’t be able to turn the key in my front door.”
Another bonus to having rheumatoid arthritis is the group of people she has found that are going through the same trials and tribulations as her. What has helped her the most is knowing and feeling like she is part of a bigger whole, a community of chronic disease sufferers who welcome pain every day and, consequently, become stronger for it. She urges arthritis sufferers to try and create work from their homes as a way of coping with a recent diagnosis, or to make a difference by helping others to raise awareness.
“If RA survivors believe in the power of creative and positive thinking, they can be ‘thrivers’ over just survivors,” Elizabeth said proudly. “Life is not over just because you have RA. You can turn this life altering situation into a positive event by pursuing your dreams. Don’t let it stop you from having a dream. It’s amazing what you can do, if you tell yourself that you can.”
If you would be interested in checking out Elizabeth’s complete line of jewelry, handcrafted with love, here is a link to her website: http://www.stonesinharmony.com/
Here is a link to Elizabeth’s Facebook Fan Page, where you can be a part of her special events:
Editor’s Note: Jonathan Hunter ~ Jonathan, a gifted poet, is also a CreakyJoints featured blogger. He has another poem to share with us.
We walk among you
speaking of spoons
in a code of coping and cutlery
that masks the riot
of toxic chemicals and agony and betrayal
rampaging within our skins
A motley tribe of Itis,
but for compromise etched eyes
and jaws clenched
against the outrage
of stolen possibilities,
scooping the gnosis
one teaspoon at a time
We walk among you
speaking of spoons
shouldn’t be measured
Editor’s Note: Trish Dyne in her own words:
I have been diagnosed with several auto immune diseases and currently live at home with my husband and carer.
Along with writing and poetry, I have several pieces of art entered and recognized in several different Auto Immune and Disability exhibitions.
Brenda on Brenda: Welcome to our new feature, “Trevor’s Golden Corner”
Trevor’s Golden Corner
For those of you who are not familiar with who I am, allow me to introduce myself. I am Trevor, a Golden Retriever who helps Brenda out, with spreading Tales of Awareness. I also get to wear all kinds of capes, bandanas, T-shirts and even a cap, for my special role, as MASCOT for “Christine’s Kids.” I have been featured in several of Tumors Suck! videos, as Brenda is also a six-year meningioma brain tumor survivor. My role here, is to help spread awareness for arthritis and advocacy. Our first tale will be brief, sharing about Brenda living with RA now for 24 years. She was diagnosed in May of 1991 at the age of 31. Arthritis can strike at any time and at any age. 300,000 children in the United States live with some form of arthritis. You can never be too young or too old to be diagnosed.
Brenda has been taking a biologic for over 14 years. She has done some testifying at the ND State Capitol in favor of a Bill to protect patients, when biosimilars come out on the market in the US, which will probably be soon. Anyway in ND, the Bill passed, where patients and their doctors must be informed if they are receiving a biologic or biosimilar. I was very proud of her for doing this. I would have loved to have been there, cheering her on, but I probably would have been more of a distraction. BOL
Brenda has been keeping busy with her advocacy work. She is a member of Seth’s 50 State Network, where they have monthly teleconferences, to discuss issues coming up at the state and federal level. She has her speaker phone on, so I get to hear every word, from these wonderful meetings. I really enjoy hearing the excitement and all of the victories that have taken place this year.
I hope you have enjoyed this little tale. We will be back next month, with another installment of Trevor’s Golden Corner.
We hope you enjoyed this issue. Be sure to join us next month, when we will be bringing you a Gallery Issue featuring Kathryn Lane Berkowitz, who is an Artisan Designer.