I am a 29 year old woman and after a year (2015) of pain, suffering and general shittiness – I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and I had “consistent, across the board, positive Lupus tests, but lets focus on the R.A to start with” (doctors words).
After the pain and the fatigue, the part of R.A that had the biggest effect on me was the identity crisis. Prior to R.A, despite always being overweight, I lived an extremely active, outdoors lifestyle. My spare time was spent camping and bushwalking with my family. I didn’t ever like to sit at home.
After R.A (and Lupus), the sun gave me rashes, my helps felt as though they would pop out of my sides of I hobbled too far and my ankles would sear with pain each night after even a fairly sedentary day. After the R.A, my hands would throb as though someone were jamming a corkscrew in between all the tiny bones, I would cry silently in pain unable to speak to my family for hours.
After R.A, I couldn’t lay on the floor and play with my son for myriad reasons. 1) my body would hurt so bad when I lay on the floor. 2) My concentration and focus were shot from the fatigue, pain and general effects of R.A and I found interaction a struggle often. 3) I would fall asleep.
R.A took everything that made me, me, away. Rheumatoid Arthritis made me ashamed of myself. The chronic dose of steroids made me pack on 10 kilos in less than two months and the fatigue made me struggle to concentrate enough to socialise. I felt isolated. I felt ashamed of myself. I felt devastated at what my husband and son were missing out on FROM me and BECAUSE of me. I cried. A lot.
I gave up so many times when I was laying there late at night, sobbing while a firey hot pain went through every joint in my body, my hair was falling out in clumps and my family had to go out and do things without me. I gave up. But I woke up the next morning only to realise that it wasn’t going to be that easy for me. I would wake up every day with this disease – though the severity wold wax and wane, I would always have it and its shadow would always lurk not too far from me, ready to pounce.
I cried myself to sleep for months but progressively I began to realise I had no choice but… acceptance. I had to accept sharing my body with R.A.