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Last week was my birthday. As birthdays goes, it was fine. As they say, it’s much better than the alternative.

It’s interesting that when I talk about age with people from 30 to 70 years old, the standard refrain is, “I really don’t FEEL any older than I did at XX”, with XX being a number several years younger than they presently are. I know that I’m not the babe I used to be, but I still work lots of hours every week, take wonderful vacations when I can and overall enjoy life. Generally, if you asked me, I’d say that neither age nor RA have taken away much, if any, of my quality of life.

But birthdays have a way of making you stop and reflect.

It’s true that I, like many newly diagnosed patients with RA, read everything and believe that we have a good chance of being disabled within five years — or at least being sidelined from many of the things we enjoy. That was obviously an incorrect prediction on my part, but when I stop to reflect on the things RA has brought to my life, it does make me reassess the impact RA has had.

I have a new hip, a new shoulder, screws in both arms, and a rod and screws in my spine. I’m expecting a new knee any day now. (When I die, they’re not going to bury me, they’re just going to turn me into a hardware store.) In addition I’ve had multiple rotator cuff and other shoulder surgeries, countless hours of physical therapy, and more prescription pills and injections than you can count. I have a wonderful litany of doctors and surgeons I didn’t even know existed five years ago.

But I have to be thankful that in spite of (or more accurately, because of) all this medical hoopla, I’m still active, productive, and reasonably happy. If it weren’t for caring doctors, medical science, and good insurance, the prediction of my health and well-being I made when I was first diagnosed would probably be true.

So when I blow out the candles and make a wish, I wish for good health and give thanks for the complex medical machine that has allowed me to keep as much health and lifestyle as I have.

I also wish that today brings you health and happiness as well. Thanks for checking in.