That’s just one line of the email I got from Margaret, a 47-year-old TV Dinner reader from New Jersey, who gave up dairy after reading my February 23rd post about rheumatoid arthritis. She told me she “was once a runner, avid yoga enthusiast, and all around high energy person.” She went on to say that while she’s had RA for 6 years, the past two years have been hell. “I no longer run, and have not even been able to walk (any further than a mile or so), I only practice yoga at home because there is so much I cannot do that a studio makes no sense. Luckily I have been practicing for 15 years and know a few things about yoga.”
Sadly I could relate to all of that, as I detailed in the post that Margaret read, because for years I not only couldn’t work out, but could barely use my hands at all because I was in so much pain. Daily routines like putting on a coat and opening a jar became herculean tasks. Her email brought back a rush of emotions and I already had tears in my eyes remembering how I felt. But then I read the next line and my heart all but broke in a million little pieces.
After all the time I’d spent trying to understand my RA and put it into terms other people can understand, all it took was one short email from a TV Dinner reader, a complete stranger, to put it into such eloquent context. She read my Grub Street Diet, which led her here, and now we are penpals of sorts. She gave up dairy about 4 months ago now, and amazingly — as was the case with me — her pain level decreased dramatically. She ended her first letter by thanking me, and saying this:
But the dairy isn’t the only small miracle here; it’s the power of the Internet to connect us to people just like us. When I started this blog six months ago, I knew I’d be cooking a lot. I knew it’d push me to be more adventurous with recipes. I knew it’d provide a safe place for me to grow — as a writer, a cook, and a photographer — and encourage me to be more creative. What I did not know is that one little post would have the ability to change someone’s life. It’s still boggles my mind, in the best possible way, every time I think about it.
As for Margaret, she’s back at yoga and enjoying a mostly pain-free life now. One day, I hope to meet her and even take a hot yoga class with her. Since neither of us have wrists that bend (arthritis has fused those joints together) girls like us have to stick to Bikram; it’s the only yoga that doesn’t revolve around downward facing dog. That’s totally okay with us by the way, cause it hasn’t stopped us from cooking.