How do you cope with a chronic disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis! Do you make yourself go on in the wake of the struggle you face each and every day! Are you feeling emotionally drained while being physically drained! The life of a sufferer with Rheumatoid Arthritis, THEY JUST DON’T KNOW.
They just don’t know our days aren’t simple days, not anymore. You see, we don’t have the luxury of jumping out of bed, running to the shower, getting dressed and grabbing something to eat if you have time before you’re on your way out. For us we’re lucky if we get out of bed at all and if we do, we patiently wait for each joint to warm up and find its place before we began to move in an effort to take a shower to then get dressed slowly as we truly realize our joints are in control of how our day is going to be. Fixing breakfast is an added chore, one that we might just forget about all together since knowing how difficult it can be to do some of the simple things like opening a jar or even beating eggs so we decide our pained hands just can’t stand up to that task. You see, these are the things that are easy for many but for us it is a journey with our painful joints.
With this disease, our joints reminds us every day that what we have is chronic and it is painful and forever changing. For many of us we now take steps that are basically directed by our subconscious minds. I know this may sound silly but making the wrong step can bring us to our knees, literally. We are the ones who worry about how long our hips, knees and feet will hold up before giving out on us totally. There’s nothing like having your hips or knees give out or lock up as you’re walking along because the joints have become fatigued and weak and we’re left with unbearable pain as they do what they do best, fight against us. They just don’t know pain is our reminder and it is with us at all times. Who would think standing for short periods of time would be such a chore. Like me, I am constantly shifting my weight from one side to the other like playing cat and mouse with my pain. This is what it is like having Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Coping with this disease is not easy. Our minds are stressed beyond belief from first having RA, dealing with pain, dealing with guilt, taking our medication, fatigue and from trying to get the understanding that we deserve leaving us almost unable to cope and racked with depression. This is what most people “Just Don’t Know” that we go through and have to deal with as we try to look and act as normal as we can. Note, sometimes we are acting because the reality is, in dealing with RA, we hardly ever feel the way we appear. The smiles, the I’m okay, the I’m good today are all just a facade. This happens for many reasons, mostly because the stress of trying to get others to understand the severity of this disease is just too big of a burden to keep carrying on our backs. What people do not understand is our disease is a chronic auto immune disease that we will always have and will be forever trying to explain or defend.
As much as we go through, sometimes we may find ourselves trying to live the life that is expected of us because of the weight of the guilt we carry but in the end, the truth brings us back. We never wanted this life for ourselves but it has come to pass, so we try to make the best of it the best way we can. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that is meant to hurt us and those in our lives and it does. Though we feel the physical pain and so much of the emotional pain, the trauma of it affects the entire family. It can rip a family apart little by little while we struggle with this disease, all of its effects and the balance to keep those we love taken care off. It is not an easy journey but day by day we do what we can through the pain, the fatigue and our medications just to make it work. They just don’t know, life as we knew it is now gone and we will never get it back. Our lives have been broken by Rheumatoid Arthritis, yet we are warriors beyond our own belief because we carry it all.
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