I often say that there is more to me than just living with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. That is the highlight below my blog title and the truth is, I want to really believe that to be the case. However, when I feel like I am out of control when it comes to living inside my body, I am not sure that I am any further away from defining myself any differently than what my diseases identify me to be.
Living with RA and fibro means often leaves me this state of influx where I cannot quite describe who I am currently and whether I have any control of my fate or my future. I think that people have this notion that this is the fear that only new patients feel but that is not true. Living with chronic illness is a constant cycle of revisiting fears and doubts. It is hard because we are part of a society that identifies people by the things they can do and the influence they have.
While I know I matter to my family and friends, I don’t always feel I am capable enough or that I can give enough in my life or to the people in my life. Four and half years later, I still wish RA and fibro did not hinder me from accomplishing more – whether it is in my career or whether in my personal life. I just feel like in so many aspects of my life that I am settling and I would not have done that before being chronically ill.
That is why I often wonder whether I am more than just my diseases. If they dominate my day to day, my overall career path, my relationships and all the things I want to do, then how can I be any more than my diseases? I continue to dream about remission like it is some answer to all my problems but achieving remission is like finding the Holy Grail. I am not going to be the lucky one to find it. And when tasks just as cleaning my home leave extremely tried, how can feel like I can accomplish much? Life shouldn’t be that hard.
They say time always us to find peace with things that affect our lives. I am not sure how you can do that when you question what tomorrow will be like or whether you will be disabled in four to five years. While I worry about the future and I know that I can never get away from RA and fibro, I am not really convinced that these diseases are the dominating factor in my life. They may have control of a lot of things in my life but they have never controlled how I have fought back.
I never sat back in the sidelines and let RA and fibro win and maybe I let them redefine me rather than take over my life. I stood up for awareness and I stood up for myself by taking control of my health. Maybe I am not more than just my diseases but I made a choice to allow that to work for my advantage. Of late, I have been part of a great campaign called Everyday RA Victories (More details to come on this) and I have been doing great things as a Patient Advocate for Arthritis Connect, Rheumatoid Connect, and Fibromyalgia Connect and I don’t plan on letting my diseases being the deciding factor in my life anytime soon. So, yes sometimes I feel like I am not anything more than my diseases but if that is truly the case, I am still fighting back.