Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis is a life that no one wants to live and we as sufferers would never wish our lives on anyone. Over and over again we have said that our disease is a chronic disease and it is an auto immune disease but those words and that definition seems to somehow get lost along the way. Still we live our lives with it and all that it throws at us while many seem confused about what we’re actually going through.
We have been forever struggling with “Do people really understand” and still the answer is “No They Do Not”. How do we get anyone to grasp the magnitude of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Talking about it isn’t getting it done, reading about I don’t believe is even happening and showing it to some may or may not be possible. Some of us may not bear the deformities or the limps or the wheelchairs or whatever the sign maybe but God knows we have our own scars though they may not be visible. Those that have the visible signs are probably looked at with pity and sorrow but how long before they got their signs did they have to go to prove they were suffering before others believed what they had was so serious or more to the point, were they ever able too. Now they are near their worst and the sympathy, support and understanding from those close to them and their acquaintances are given without thought. People should know yes, this is great but why should sufferers have to be at what maybe their worst to get compassion which doesn’t cost anyone anything.
Learning to believe, trust and to take someone that is suffering at their word they are going through a tough time should not be an issue. No one who is suffering from pain, emotional distress or anything that is associated with RA everyday should not have to bow down time and time again just to get what should come natural through love from those in their lives on any level. Many who see us everyday may look at us as someone who is sympathy or attention seeking but who would want to spend their time taking pills, going to the doctor or being at home crying in pain just for a reaction. Do they not understand, there are other ways to do this and better still, why would we want to spend our money on something that we feel are their silly misinterpretations. This process that we have to go through to make sure we are getting our best care is a costly one. One that we are not throwing away on trivial things such as a reaction, really.
Our lives with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic, auto immune disease is a hard one. We are faced with pain each and everyday but we put on our smile and make our way through this life while we worry inside about ourselves. You see, no one can see this, how we feel inside about what we have to face. No one knows how it is to worry if your medication will work long term for your pain and to prevent permanent damage and if it doesn’t, will the next one work and if not have you run out of options, Then What. This is our truth to be told. Who would ever doubt us if they had to live just once for a little while in our lives as we live it. They, like us, would understand what it means to look just fine but inwardly be dealing with more than most could handle. Who then would walk around with the doubts, the questions and the constant need for explanations of what they cannot see. The old adage, seeing is believing is not true in our lives, our words are our truth.
It is a sad thing that there are times we are forced to protect ourselves from the ongoing complaints of others who get tired of hearing our truths. We hide our pain, depression and all of our struggles at some point to stop the unnecessary strife we so often face. It is my hope that someday everyone will understand the importance of knowing just what Rheumatoid Arthritis is and not confuse it with being just a joint disease. Again, what we have is an auto immune disease, a chronic progressive disease causing inflammation in the joints as well as the tissues in the body i.e. lungs, eyes and heart…..The big difference. Yes there are those of us who have osteoarthritis but believe me the difference is a lesson we have learned. So much more to understand. To us, all that is happening is our reality, to others it is a maybe but since we are living in our reality, we have no time for others maybes.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is our strength taker and it is our strength builder, it is what we deal with everyday and it is from these struggles that we have learned, Our strength is not in medication, it is in our hearts and in God. To ourselves we stand strong and to others we stand true.