I found this article today on rheumatoidarthritis.net and overwhelmingly, these things ring so true. I decided to make my own list. Hopefully, if you love someone who has RA, you will take the time to read this list.
1. My sister was dx with RA 10 years or so before me. I thought I understood. I had NO IDEA.
2. I don’t know what it is like any longer not to hurt somewhere.
3. I get really tired of compensating and asking for help at times like when my hands just won’t work.
4. I’m pretty much tired all the time.
5. There’s a world of pain and fatigue behind this smile.
6. I have always taken pride in being strong and independent; this disease tries every day to take that from me.
7. I feel like I am battling a monster every single day.
8. I get it- you don’t understand, and even when you try, you still don’t really understand.
9. It never goes away. I don’t get to look forward to a cure. All I can hope for is chemical remission where the drugs that put me there could also take me out in any number of other ways.
10. I feel like I have aged 5-10 years in the 15 months since my diagnosis. This frightens me. Sometimes I just cry.
So, wow. This list makes me sound really self-centered- it’s all “I, I, I, and I.” That’s another thing this disease does. It makes you feel self-absorbed and whiny. That is so far from who I think I am.
The most important thing for you to know, though, is this:
I have RA, but it does not have me. I will not stop fighting.
Gifts RA has given me:
1. I live in the moment a little more.
2. I have more compassion for people who live with chronic pain… for people in general.
3. I think I am kinder and gentler on the daily.
4. I have let go of all the anger I used to hold on to, which could have contributed to the firing up this disease/state of inflammation.
5. I practice mindfulness and forgiveness more often.
So, as always, with loss, there are gains. I imagine I will find more gifts as I go along. ~Peace.