20 months ago I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. SURPRISE!
I only started telling people 9 months ago. I consider this blog my “coming out”. I was, and still am, very embarrassed by my condition. Why? Because I used to be athletic, active, happy, and above all, healthy…that has changed.
This is not a blog of hope or reassurance. This is a statement of my life, living with this disease from day to day. I am not going to say I will get better because I don’t know that I will. I may get worse. The way this disease has progressed over the last few months I feel like I may never have those periods of no symptoms or “remissions”.
Don’t get me wrong, there are good days. I sometimes feel completely normal. I am strong, determined and self-assured. I set my eyes on a goal and I go for it; but sometimes those instincts get buried behind the negative helplessness, unhappiness, and insecurity of my situation. I have been through a lot in my life, and even when it was difficult and over-powering, I never felt broken. I am not going to lie, most days, I feel broken.
I don’t know what I want from this blog or even if anyone will read it. Part of me does not care. I tried so many different outlets to deal with this disease: painting, playing music, writing, talking, exercising. Nothing worked. Maybe this blog will. Or, it won’t. I wonder if having this blog out for everyone to see, might help. I will coherently gather my thoughts and share them with the world, without seeing its reaction. I can document what I wish I could say without the fear of judgment hanging over my head. There is something very therapeutic in that.
So…what is rheumatoid arthritis? I like to explain it like this: my immune system has an over-active imagination. It mistakes the cartilage around my joints for foreign bodies. My immune system is trying to damage and destroy that cartilage. This results in the following symptoms (at least for me): excess pain, inflammation in the joints, stiffness, increased fatigue, nausea…
I guess my biggest issue is that I have to live with these symptoms for the rest of my life. I am only 23 years old. There is a lot of living ahead of me.
I hope that by updating this blog, I can let go of the resentment that I have bottled up for so long, that I can find the road back to the person I used to be. I hope that RA becomes just another interesting fact about me and not what makes me, me.
Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.