Since I was a kid, I hated to wait despite my mother frantically (yes, frantically) telling me that the best things come to those who wait. Mom’s advice never stopped me from locating the Christmas (or my birthday) gifts early nor did it keep me from spoiling a surprise, even one I worked hard to plan. I, as an adult, of course, have gotten better at waiting, but my eight year old has, much to my dismay, inherited the horrible quality I once and still deep inside possess.
So as I type, and this is what I do for a living, might I add, I am reminded that taking life slowly and living for moment matters more than it ever did. Rheumatoid arthritis has now taken over my life. I am in pain everyday and, despite the pain, I manage to make it through everyday. My hands hurt as I type reminding me what RA is capable of and what a future with RA holds. Every morning I wake up with swollen feet that continue to hurt throughout the day, never easing up. When I get up in the night for the baby’s nightly feeding, I try to carefully carry him (so afraid to drop him) despite the painful twinge in my back. My RA seems to have evolved quickly in the last three months and the pain has become a daily part of my life. There isn’t a day that has gone by that I am not in pain. That is what is like living with RA.
I was diagnosed a few days before Thanksgiving despite being in constant pain for several months. For years, I had aches and pains that I ignored. The more recent pain started with a twinge in my lower back when I was about six months pregnant that I ignored assuming it had to do with my pregnancy. Now six months later, the pain is unbearable and no amount of pain medication totally diminishes the pain. I haven’t asked my doctor for any pain medications as I am not willing to take narcotic pain relievers. My first appointment with my rheumatologist is January 26 and a long time to wait, but according to my family physician, this doctor is the best and it is fine to wait. (I guess I should have told my doctor about the Christmas gifts.)
Unfortunately for me, RA won’t wait. It wants to eat me up alive along with my way of making a living. There is no question that my job as a legal assistant is contributing to my pain and perhaps, promoting the progression of the disease. This is where I want to scream, why me? What did I do to deserve this? Not only is RA not allowing me to enjoy life and to be the best mother that I can be, but it also plans on taking away my family’s needed income. Eventually, the pain will make it difficult for me to continue to work, but right now, I am not ready for any more changes in my life. Moreover, RA isn’t going to wait for me to get my act together nor is it going to allow me the time to figure out just how to I will accomplish that.
I am stepping back in time to a month ago when Dr. R informed me that my pain could be RA. I went home and prayed with all my heart that whatever was wrong with me had a cure. Regrettably, as I have quickly found out, there is no cure for RA and not only that, it is chronic and debilitating. It will not get worse before it gets better; it will only get worse. So I have decided since RA won’t wait, neither will I. I won’t dwell on my condition because RA is going to make me wait as it progresses. Dwelling won’t change the fact that I have RA nor will it change the development of the disease. Dwelling will only hurt the ones I love and as any cancer sufferer will tell you (my sister included), getting better is all about your attitude. Of course, I won’t get better, but on the other hand, I won’t allow RA to control my life. RA will just have to wait to destroy my life. And yes, Mom still says that the best things come to those who wait and even though I am older, I still don’t believe her.