As My Joints Turn

My Autoimmune Soap Opera

Five things I’ve learned since having RA:

1.  It can always be worse.  When my disease onset, I was really, really sick.  Slowly, I improved with the right medication.  It took a long time.  I have a crappy disease, but I am at a point where I know I am better than before.  I do some work as a patient advocate and I get to meet a lot of other patients living with #rheum diseases.  I know I am pretty lucky and I’m grateful for that.

2.  I’m stronger than I realized:  I often think that people view me as being weak because I am sick.  A person I know recently sprained her ankle. It was obviously painful.  She stayed home from work and rested for days.  She remembers that I told her how at times, I feel like my ankle is sprained.  When she came back to work she made a point to tell me she thought of me and wondered how I get through the day because there was no way she could work in such pain.  When you live in pain, you have no choice but to deal with it.  I have to be strong because it is my only choice as a single woman living with autoimmune arthritis.

3.  Communicating is key.  In the beginning, I just expected that my friends and family knew what I needed.  They didn’t.  They actually did not know how to deal with me at all because I had no idea how to deal with the RA me.  I had to be clear with how I was feeling.  No one could read my mind.  I began asking for help when I needed it.  Instead of canceling plans altogether when I felt sick I tried to reschedule.  I let others know what I was feeling.  Family, friends, coworkers, and supervisors were more supportive when they knew what I needed.  Communicating isn’t always easy, but it’s essential.

4. Acceptance goes a long way.  When I was diagnosed I went through the stages of loss and grief.  I started in denial that this was really happening to me.  I transitioned almost immediately to anger and was desperately trying to find a doctor to tell me my symptoms had an easy fix.  Depression set in and I hit the lowest of the low.  I had seriously bad thoughts about ending things.  Rock bottom hit me hard.  I got myself help and eventually I as able to accept my fate.  It wasn’t easy and I still struggle with it at times, but you only live once, and I’m determined to do it well.

5. RA is a part of me but it doesn’t define me.  In the beginning, I saw myself as broken. I put the disease before myself. Thirteen years later and I am a woman living well with rheumatoid arthritis. I don’t hide my disease.  RA is a life-changing struggle, but it’s only one part of who I am.  

Proud to be a part of the first ever #RABlog week.  Check out all the amazing blogs here:

2 thoughts on “Day 4: #RABlog week topic: Give me 5!

  1. Rick says:

    So true RA cannot define us. I was told many years ago diabetes would not define me, rather I would define me. Wow then 25 years later I was Dx'd with RA, Yeah it is true diabetes is not defining me. I will never let RA do it either. As my dad once said, stand up and next. LOL of course he was talking abut the neighborhood bully but in a way, hey, wait wow a blog topic is born. LOL


    I do not know if I have told you, but thank you for participating in this #RABlog week, I love your writing.


  2. Thanks so much Rick! I am so happy to be a part of this! Fabulous idea and I've enjoyed yours, and all the other blogs. I may not be able to write Friday. I'm in Philly an leaving town due to the Pope Traffic. I'll be locked in if I don't leave. Planned to write today but spent the night in the Veterinary ER. Just too much going on. I'll try. I already have Saturdays done.


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