I quite often find myself wondering about who I would be if I wasn’t diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. In the beginning, I put on that “I am so tough” attitude and I tried so hard to always have on a “brave face,” just to make my children and my husband feel like I would be a survivor. These days, I am not sure that I am that strong person I once was. Overall, it is not a bad thing. I admit that I have changed, but I am still strong, however, not in the way I used to be. The physical pain I deal with everyday is just a nuisance in my life, it does not control or dominate me – I am still alive. I have so much to be thankful for although, quite often, I am saddened that I can’t always hide the pain.
I grew up with a father that was in control of every aspect of his wife and children’s lives. He was the patriarch and because of my mother’s upbringing, she accepted that. My husband isn’t that way. We have an equal relationship, and the only problem with that is I sometimes wish that my husband took more charge of our lives, but it is the other way around. I make all the decisions and he just accepts my judgment. The majority of the time, he doesn’t even offer an opinion. A year or two ago, that was fine with me, but lately, I just want him to pick up the pieces of our life, and I just want to focus on being a mother. However, I do understand that letting me “run” our lives makes my husband feel safe, and my diagnosis is the same. My husband figures if he ignores my conditions, they will somehow go away. I know it is not intentional; it is just the way my husband is.
My nine year old, on the other hand, watches me struggle and examines every piece of what I go through. Sometimes, the look in his eyes makes me think that if it was up to him, he would take the pain from my body and put it into his own body. He would suffer for me, and that scares me. He is a child, but that child knew me before I was sick, and I know that he wants the old me back. Sometimes, I do not know what to say to him except that “it will be okay,” and I don’t know if that is enough.
I am thankful for the life that I have been given, despite its twists and turns. I am thankful for a wonderful husband and wonderful children. These days, I look towards my religion for my guidance and my faith in God has kept me strong. I am not the person I was a year ago or even two or three years ago. Despite that, I am still me. I don’t handle situations in the way that I used, I am not that strong anymore, but I do ask for God’s strength and guidance to help me get through the day. One thing I know I am is blessed, and I try not to forget that. I remind myself several times a day that I am grateful and that I am alive.