I’ve lost my identity to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Yes I see myself and I may look the same but in reality I’m not the same. This disease has me asking “Who Am I” and how do I come to accept the person that disease has made me. It’s hard but I will. My Fate My Foe!!
I am the person that I’ve always been and I do know that but so much of me has been lost or replaced with the broken me that I’ve become. This is not pity, this is my reality. I may not be broken down physically but this disease has taken a toll on me mentally. As I look at myself, so much of me may appear to be the same but in the reality of it all, there have been more changes than meet the eye. My face may look the same but my body may not show what is happening as it is churning from the inside out and my mind may seem just fine but it’s working overtime keeping up with everything that’s happening to and within me. You see RA has come into my life and stolen me from myself and from those in my life while leaving us all reeling from the realization of its power.
This disease has made me weak when I was strong , depressed me when I was happy and surely taken away my confidence when I was more confident than anyone I’ve known. It has managed to take away the old me leaving me to learn a whole new person and a whole new way of life as this person. What an undertaking for someone who has to adjust to a life with a disease they know so little about and who isn’t given time to learn before it begins to wreak havoc on your life. You nor those in your life have much time to understand the changes that are sure to come and the hurt both physically and mentally that is inevitable. This is disease if my Fate and my Foe. It is issuing me the fight of my life leaving me with a determination that sometimes falters.
Learning to cope with what is now a new life and the acceptance that many will be lost along the way is more than a fight we want and almost impossible for some to face. Being alone with Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the hardest things about this disease. The pain is unbearable, the fatigue leaves us listless, the medication and its side effects are sometimes just as bad but the loneliness that we’re forced to face with all of this is tremendous. With that comes our old adversary, misunderstanding. This too brings about its own rules of the game. Not knowing what we go through, not caring to learn what we go through and not helping us with what we go through is what the lack of understanding does. This too is a curse from Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is the epitome of a life changed. You just don’t know to what degree it will change but you do know it will. How do we accept the inevitable. It is hard and it may take some time and it may take some help. The roller coaster ride that we will be taken on will test our sanity and our strength. We will be faced with more pressures than any one person can stand up too and it leaves us wondering sometimes how can we really take on all that we are going through and the knowledge of what we know we will have to face ahead in our futures. Yet we don’t give up or give in but we do breakdown, not as a sign of weakness but as a sign of reality. We watch our simple life slip away taking with it the person we use to be.
Our lost identity, our new lives to live with our Foe Rheumatoid Arthritis is as complicated as it sound. No ease in sight for a disease with no cure in sight, only a battle fought daily by those of us with the Fate of getting this disease. We hurt, we cry, we worry, we hope, we pray, we learn and we live because this is what it means to be a person that has Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease that so many still do not understand and many still think it’s the old disease that “everyone” gets.
Remember, Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto immune disease, not a disease that many think sounds so simple. Only if our lives were that simple.