This is me now.
June 3, 2016 the day a stark new reality hit me in the face like a hot frying pan, I now have and will have for the rest of my life Rheumatoid Arthritis. At first I thought this can’t be me, not my life, but reality set in and in fact I would now live everyday waking day in some sort of chronic pain. I have been through the stages of grief, anger, hate, loneliness, depression, and so many other emotions that I still struggle with. I miss ME, the one who could clean the whole house and still be up for a hike. The woman that would get in her car and just go for the day. Everyday I miss me, the one thats still inside but my body refuses to let her out. I also go through the acceptance phase where I embrace and find a peace, those days do not come often yet they seem to be good days (weird huh?). With a family, bills, and just plain ole life demands I struggle to find acceptance of this damn disease. I struggle that I do not see my friends like I once did and that hurts, but my body just simple says not today (and believe me those days are more often than not). Even as I lay in bed typing this I have wanted so badly to get out of the house and just go to TJ Maxx to exchange something, I just have not felt up to it and have to work the next 5 days, so its rest and save energy to work and pay bills.
I started this journey thinking I will just tackle everything with natural supplements and diet. Almost a year later and every natural supplement, holistic way you can think of, and with many tears poured I gave into the medication plaquenil. Medication scares me to say the least. It took me years to be ok with taking an antidepressant, because see I also suffer from GAD and I have lived with anxiety/depression since I was 16 years old. With that being said it took me 10 months to say ok to the medicine for the RA. You know the crap that slowly starts to shut your immune system down, because your body is attacking your own body, yeah thats the crap I am taking now. Yes it is the “baby meds”, but to me it’s not at least not at this point in time.The really really crappy part is I don’t even know if it is working yet because it takes 3 to 6 months before showing improvement and there is a chance I will have to go to something stronger. So everyday I wake up and the pain is there some days its mild some days its hard to even move. I do have good days here and there where I get a glimpse of what I used to be, sometimes that makes me cry and sometimes it just makes me smile.
The future, thats a scary place to look into, and YES I have heard a million times “just take one day at a time”. It’s not like I don’t tell myself that and honestly a lot of time I do just that. BUT there are days and thoughts that you sit and wonder what do my days look like 5, 10, 30 years from now. Will I live long enough to see my children get married, have a career, have grandkids. Will I have time to grow VERY old with my husband? Will I be able to travel and see things that I desire to see, will my “bucket list” (boy does that become a reality) get checked off? So many mind swirling unknown questions that only time can answer and I can only have faith and hope to make it that long. Don’t get me wrong I do stop and smell the roses probably more so now than ever. All I can tell you is that from my perspective this has been the most mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging obstacle I have ever been through and I am not one to give up. I take days off, BUT I will always find a way to pick up my sword and keep fighting. Quitting is NOT an option!!