Many of you have wondered why I have remained quiet over the past ten days even with World Arthritis Day yesterday. I usually wouldn’t miss an opportunity to discuss awareness but the past few weeks have been hard for me pain wise. If it is not one thing, it is another. Between RA, Fibro, lingering injuries form an auto accident, and headaches from those injuries, not sure how I am still functioning. I am still working, still doing the mom thing, and still being the person I am expected to me whether it is easy or not. You do what you have to do despite the pain because you are the only one in pain – I am sure that many of you can relate to this. Life doesn’t stop because we are in pain and because of we suffer from a debilitating form of arthritis.
I have also been dealing with other things in particular – life and the aftermath of the events of the past year. Since my brother died, it seems like even though good things have happened for me, the bad ones trump over the good ones. Someone once told me that life is like that – it keeps us on our feet so we don’t get to comfortable. I think that when my chronic pain issues get worse, I have this tendency to feel sorry for myself – pity parties. I am not a fan of pity parties but I am not actually innocent either. I have them more often than I would like. With winter time around the corner, it is no wonder we are all flaring and feeling down.
The fact is we are affected by RA and chronic pain differently. I think that while RA doesn’t change who we are, it changes our lives. My diagnosis came three years after many years of dealing with symptoms. I was 32 when I was diagnosed and since then, I have had my good days and my bad days. There are days where I drag myself out of bed and where I can barely walk but I get up and just keep moving despite the pain. I fear that if I don’t keep moving I might become disabled. The good days I can do a lot and I am not plagued with extreme fatigue. The bad days feel like there is a war waging inside of me and I have no control of the pain and other symptoms.
When I was first diagnosed, I was given two prescriptions and here I am taking a handful daily in addition to twice monthly injections. You would think I would be in remission by now but I am not. The pain has become something I deal with because I still have to live my life. I have two kids to raise and a career to focus on. If I let RA win just once, it might become a pattern and I can’t afford that. I try daily to not let RA, fibro and chronic pain get to me either. I try not to let these things hold me back or to keep me from seeing the beauty that life offers despite arthritis pain but the ability to be strong differs depending on how much I am dealing with.
Sometimes, I have to remind to be aware of all the blessings I have rather than focusing on the negatives that RA, fibro and chronic pain bring to my life. Despite all that, I am thankful for my life and I am very aware of being thankful because of what I have lost. Life is so beautiful and God, with all his kindness, put us all here for a reason. He put my brother here to teach how precious life is and how one person can touch so many lives. None of us really know why we are afflicted with illness, tragedy or loss but there is always reason. We don’t know what the reasons are but our struggles only bring us closer to God – at least that is what it has done for me and I don’t regret a moment of my life.
Arthritis pain and illness affects my life but it doesn’t necessarily dominate it. I am lucky despite RA, fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Because we are all affected by arthritis conditions differently, awareness is so very important. The Arthritis Foundation went door to door yesterday to each congressional office on Capitol Hill to send a message that arthritis isn’t acceptable and to urge our congressional leaders to join the Congressional Arthritis Caucus so that all Americans who suffer from arthritis conditions have access to treatment and prevention. All of us have a say in this and we can do this by contacting our congressional representatives to be a part of the Arthritis Caucus. We need to tell our representatives that arthritis is NOT acceptable.