Our immune system is designed to protect us from anything that it thinks is a harm to us so it believes that Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease which is an autoimmune disease is harmful so it attacks it and this is why we have to take medications that are designed to help us but they weakens our immune system and causes us to be at risk for many things that can be a danger to us.  How do we protect our weakened immune system?  Are there things that you are embarrassed to do or say!  Are you afraid to say things to others in order to protect yourself!  These are some of the things I’m sure we as rheumatoid arthritis sufferers think about.  This can be an uneasy subject to tackle, so how do we take charge.  Is it necessary?

How do we combat this disease that is causing our body to attack itself?  We take medication to do the job for us.  Some of the most notable ones:  methotrexate, arava, leflunomide, then are enbrel, humira, orencia and rituxan.  There are several more medications that are used but I just wanted to name a few.  What do these do for us and do they work.  That depends on the individual since the effects can be different for each of us.  One thing that is certain, they all lower our immune system which makes us vulnerable to a host of things.  They are given to help fight joint inflammation, reduce swelling and hopefully stop joint damage but while it maybe working that way, it’s also working another way.  Making us vulnerable.

By taking medications for our disease we’re lowering our immune system so what do we do in this case to protect ourselves from all of the germs, sicknesses and bacteria and some diseases that we are susceptible to. Do you wear a mask while in doctor offices, hospitals, schools or any overly crowded place or is this an overreaction. I know it can get scary for us at times but I believe most of us don’t want to go overboard and feel like we’re giving up all of our lives to this disease.  We need some form of normalcy so thinking constantly about this can be overwhelming even though it is a reality we may find that we’re at a loss about what exactly to do, if anything at all.

We don’t want to walk around as if there’s something literally floating in the air, so for most of us, we don’t do anything.  We want to feel normal and don’t want to feel as though we’re paranoid, so we try to live as normal as possible.  I personally have been in the doctor’s office and have put on a mask and I’ve actually felt odd because I was thinking “am I overreacting”.  I’ve also worn one out when it was flu season and I felt like an outsider and invader.  I got looks because I’m sure people thought the worst of me.  How do we handle this?  I guess it’s something each individual will have to decide and I suppose for most of us we won’t think about it or act on it unless we actually get sick.  This is complicated because we don’t won’t to give up our lives to this disease but what about our protection.

Regardless of what your answer maybe or your opinion is, we must never let anyone make us feel bad for anything that we do to protect our health.  We are the ones that must fight for ourselves and if we do no we will have to deal with the consequences if there are any.  But protecting yourself, does it make you feel like the odd person out and do you get negative feedback from others when you say “I can’t come around because….”,  or I’m sorry but I have a compromised immune system.  Are you looked at as if you’re pretending because you look okay physically.  Our lives with Rheumatoid Disease is so complicated that it calls for us to deal with more issues than we care too, more than just the disease itself.

So my questions:  Have you thought about this?  Have you worn a mask and felt uneasy?  Do you feel like you’re overreacting when and if you’re protecting yourself? If you have worn a mask out, do you get looks as if you have a contagious disease?  Or Is It Necessary To Do Anything At All?   What do you do?

Be Blessed

photo credit:  frankburgey/