Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Handful of Spoons............

A few months ago, I was honored to be a judge in the WEGO Health Activist competition.. A Health Activist may be a caregiver, a patient, a medical professional, a family member, a friend, Relay for Life participants - anyone who promotes awareness, or cares about those with various illnesses, diseases,  health conditions, or disabilities.

There were so many illnesses and diseases of which I had been unaware, until my participation in this online event. The competition, and awards, recognized individuals taking extra steps to promote awareness and provide information through many different avenues, both in person and online in blogs or web pages.

Christine Miserandino, afflicted with Lupus,  and the originator of 'The Spoon Theory' was the winner in her category of Best Affirmation Post.  This young woman has been very creative in her use  of spoons to explain her illness and how it affected her and her abilities.  Healthy individuals are able to go about a daily routine  without a need for medications. People with illness or disabilities have to plan their day, and most often aren't able to accomplish the most minimal of tasks either because of pain or a disability.  Those of us, living a normal life - without illness, have an unlimited number of "spoons" to get us through our days. 

What a brilliant idea! Why hadn't I thought of something like this! 

I began to think of ways to use the Spoon Theory to define Bob's Multiple

Christine's Lupus is painful and debilitating and requires her to plan her days, much the same as Bob.  Each morning, he picks up an imaginary handful of spoons when he awakens.  Just to get out of bed he must give up a spoon. Standing up straight, and waiting so he won't be dizzy, uses another spoon. The spoons he has left must take him through the day and all the things he needs to do.

He slowly walks to the bathroom - using another spoon. Each activity - washing his face or brushing his teeth, uses a spoon.  If he feels well enough to take a shower, and get dressed, it uses more spoons.

A trip to the kitchen, eating breakfast, taking his meds - each must use one of the spoons he is holding.  Every activity that we take for granted, uses a spoon for someone who is ill, or disabled. Some days, there just aren't enough spoons to make it through the day......but on other, better days there may be spoons left over. Those are the good days!

Christine's 'Spoon Theory' actually helped me to realize, and understand, what my honey must be going through. If I were given a handful of spoons to allot to each activity of my day - I'm sure
there would probably be days when I'd be sitting, in my chair. Days much like those that fill the "new normal" of my honey's life.

I'm thankful that lately, he seems to have spoons left over. These days, he isn't using his handful of spoons. I'm thankful for Christine and her analogy of spoons and how they can relate to illness and pain, not just for my honey - but for anyone with an illness or disease.

Strangely enough, Christine's blog is entitled 'But You Don't Look Sick'. Often, my honey is told how good he looks.........but nobody knows how many spoons he's had to use that day!

You can read Christine's 'Spoon Theory' at


  1. Sarah,

    I found your blog upon searching for some information on Multiple Myeloma to post on a facebook group I made so family and friends could follow my Mum's progress. My Mum was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma last year and has thus far successfully completed radiation and chemotherapy. She is at the very beginning stages of her stem cell transplant procedure and, in fact, had her first treatment this very morning.
    It is a scary time for us all, but I can't help to think that it is a little more scarry for me than it is for my sisters and other family members. You see, Mum and I had a very troubled relationship while I was growing up and only in the past 5 years (I am 41 now) have developed a good and solid bond. We have spent more quality time together in the past 5 years than in all the years before that combined. I say this without exageration of any kind. Now, for the past year, I have pretty much been her care taker (Dad works WAY too much) and she has been mine. You see, I am sick as well. I have an undiagnosed dizziness condition that I have been living with for almost 2 years now.
    I found the "Spoon Theory" about a year ago and started tearing up as I was reading it
    . I finally found aomeone that knew how to tell others what a sick person goes through. I am still trying to get my doctors to believe me about my dizziness.
    The weird thig about all this my being sick, my Mum being sick thing is that I almost jumpped out of researching my symptoms to reserch my Mum's condition so as I could better help her. In all my searching, yours is the first blog that I have come across that addresses multiple myeloma from a loved one's perspective. I am very much looking forward to reading your blog and learning from you and your "Honey's" experiences.
    I hope I have not been too long winded for you. All the best and congratulations to you and your Honey.


    T ; )

  2. Theresa: I am so happy you found my blog. This is such a stressful, and often painful, disease.....but at least it has a name.

    I am so sorry for your dizziness, with no name. I often suffer from Inner Ear issues, and I know how frustrating it can be.

    I'm glad that the illnesses you and your mom suffer have brought you closer together. God does work in mysterious ways.

    I would love to follow her progress - please request me as a Facebook friend (Sarah Walker Gorrell). Please let me know how her SCT goes.