So this month marks my sixth anniversary of writing this blog. Who knew? I’ve had marriages (plural) that haven’t lasted as long as this blog.
That means that last month was the sixth anniversary of my RA diagnosis. (And next month will be the sixth anniversary of my hip replacement. But who’s counting?)
Right after I was diagnosed I found Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, super hero in the guise of someone with RA. His blog helps me, as he does countless others, navigate the uncertain waters we all face with this disease. Recently he had a wonderful post entitled, “I thank my rheumatoid arthritis for”, which chronicled the (perhaps) unexpected blessings and lessons learned from having a chronic disease.
I get it. Being mentally positive has shown to also be physically positive. There is an almost irresistible desire to take those darned lemons and by gosh make them into luscious, wonderful lemonade.
That’s not me.
I honestly can’t complain. I am very thankful that medical science has progressed to the point that there are advancements in RA management where patients can look forward with anticipation to a good life instead of dread of disability. And I am even more thankful that I can afford good health insurance to pay for those treatments and live in an area with a wealth of top-notch medical professionals and facilities. These are blessings that so many people don’t have.
But these are strengths and victories in battles I don’t want. Just to be clear, I hate having RA. I resent every single test, X-ray, MRI, prescription, and procedure I’ve had and the tens of thousands of dollars I’ve had to invest in my health due to this condition. I hate being screened at airport security because of the titanium in my hip and my shoulders and my knee and my back. It drives me crazy to plan something only to have RA raise its ugly head and make it impossible.
It is nice to slow down and smell the roses, even if it is because of RA. But I think it’s even better to smell the roses AND go running through the field chasing Frisbees flashing in the sun. I am lucky that I am self-employed and can make a reasonable living working what is essentially part-time. But I would much rather have a demanding, challenging career that I love and that makes me WANT to work those 14-hour days for weeks at a time – something that I could not physically do now even if I had the opportunity.
RA has brought many new experiences and people into my life – some of them, including the many incredible people I’ve been in contact with through this blog, have been amazing. But I will never forgive RA for the many things it’s stolen from my life in return.
I will fight RA every day of my life. And while common wisdom (and even good sense) tells me that I probably won’t ever beat it, I’ll be darned if I’ll give up trying.
Hoping that your battles against RA are victorious. Thanks for checking in.