When you look in the mirror at yourself, what do you think. Are you thinking Rheumatoid Arthritis has really changed the way that I look. Are you seeing a different person staring back at you? Do you notice your hair has gotten thinner or maybe your skin seems dry or maybe your face is puffier than before or even your teeth are being battered since you’ve been on medication to fight this disease. Do you just stare at yourself with a sense of sadness and loss because gone is that familiar face that once looked back at you before RA came into your life and took away that old you. Yes we all are missing a part of us that we wish we could have back. That old familiarity.
These are the things that many do not realize about our disease that is painful but real. It can steal from you slowly or it can be as aggressive as a storm. There is so much that we lose along the way that we may never get back. While some things maybe subtle, some can be seen by the world. As we struggle daily, we are forced to stare our reality in the face while trying to come to terms with seeing ourselves changing in ways we may find hard to look at. Seeing what this disease can do and maybe has done is as difficult as the disease itself and coming to terms with it all is a struggle that’s forced on us. Yet, we have no choice but to look that reality in the face because it is our life to see.
Seeing the changes that may happen such as getting out of bed becoming more difficult or how our steps have slowed as we walk or how a simple task like squeezing someone’s hand being so painful can become emotionally devastating for us. The very things that many never have to think about and is so often taken for granted though not intentionally. We’ve seen ourselves change from the vibrant person we once were to someone who is emotionally overwhelmed and that is something we have to deal with because of a life now turn around by RA.
So our fight and our journey is very hard. We may smile at others and sometimes ourselves but behind that smile can be a tired, lonely, misunderstood and pain worn sufferer who has to stare at the new person they are becoming each day. Some may think this all sound so dreadful and without hope and we will say, we are warriors but we do face the truth. This life is real and there is our hope. Hope that a cure will be found for this disease, hope that we can face a day without pain and fatigue and hope that one day when we look at ourselves in the mirror we will catch a glimpse of the person we use to be.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the hardest diseases that anyone can endure and all that goes with it is making for a true war for life. Each moment, each hour, each day we fight pain which is one of the leading battles we face yet there is so much more we have to see. We are warriors and we do fight even though it is a struggle we try not to give up even when we don’t think we can go on. So when we look at ourselves, though we’re tired we can say we see a fighter even if we’re not as strong as we were before Rheumatoid Arthritis invaded our lives.