Some days, I want to blog about RA from a third person perspective, but RA hits one heck of an emotional nerve. Of course, it does! Look at the statistics! RA affects individuals between ages 30 and 40 – people who have got a lot of living left to do. The minute you get your diagnosis, you realize that your life and future have changed. You learn that you have to adapt your family life, your work, and your relationships to the realities of your disease and your daily physical pain and fatigue. You understand all too well that there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis and while treatment can be effective, rheumatoid arthritis does not go away.
One of the hardest things for a mother is raising children when you have RA. For me, this is where RA has the biggest impact on my life. Sometimes, I feel like RA prevents me from being the mother that I want to be. That is probably not true, considering every mother, despite her health, feels inadequate or incapable at times. With RA, that reality stands out more and more often and is much clearer. Raising children when you deal with stiffness, pain and fatigue all day and everyday makes motherhood more difficult.
Morning stiffness, pain and fatigue makes getting to work is another challenge that persons with RA have to deal with. RA flares are unpredictable and will require a sufferer to rest during the day, but how do you do that with a demanding work schedule? Adjusting your job to your RA means telling your employer that you have limitations and that is a complicated place to put yourself. The Americans with Disabilities Act does offer protections for those with RA, but there is the fear of being treated differently because an employee needs accommodations.
I wrestle everyday with RA, both as a mother and an employee. There is where RA has the biggest impact on my life. I have learned that there is not much I can do about my condition or the unpredictable aspects that RA brings on a daily basis, but what I can do is plan for the unexpected and not dwell so much on what I cannot control. However, that is easier said than done especially when I have a lot of living left to do.