Confessions of an RA survivor: Nineteenth Anniversary with Rheumatoid Arthritis

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis nineteen years ago this May.  For some reason, I always remember this anniversary.  It's a marker for me personally to see how far I've come and where I'm going. This post is really just for me to remember and ponder ~ Just my thoughts on paper.  

RA will not beat me.
I may lose a battle, but not the war.
It has taken my hands, my wrists, my knees, my feet.
It has affected my lungs, my bones, my ability to fight everyday infections.
It has taken my time away from my children, my family,  and my husband.
It has taken my joy away at times. It has made me sad sometimes.
BUT,  RA will no defeat me.
No matter what. 
Because I have the victory in the end whether that is today or fifty years from now.
It has given me pain everyday for the last 19 years.
It has taken the normalcy out of my life and caused me to find a new normal regularly.
RA has caused me to take a different path,  a different road,  a road that is "less traveled" (thank you Robert Frost)

 I have friends who love me and help me.
I have family who loves me, helps me, supports me, and comes when I call.
I have a mom and dad who help whenever and wherever I need it.
I have a mother and father in law that are loving, kind, supportive in so many ways,  and love me despite my issues.

I have a husband who has no problem with carrying up the stairs, nursing me after surgeries, can change a surgical dressing like a pro, can whip up a meal in a pinch,  who helps me in and out of the tub after surgeries every night because he knows I can't sleep without it, ties my shoes on tough days, loves me despite my illness and disablities. 
AND HE STILL THINKS I'M PRETTY!   Crazy love, right?

I have three kids!  Enough said, but you know me.....can't stop there. THREE....count them! I'm still in amazement God gave me three of those precious souls. 
They're helpful, good, sweet, funny,  obedient (most of the time) kids who love me despite my disease. They love me even when I cranky with them for no reason because I'm in pain. 

I am not a victim. I may be a survivor but never a victim. 
RA will not beat me because  I am determined and stubborn. I do not give up easily. I like my independence too much.

You see, RA can take things away from me.  It's like the Dr. Jekyll side of me that I can't get rid of. Like a roomate that I can't kick out. 

 But I have so much; so many blessing in my life that it will not take from me. That's how I beat it. That's how I rationalize it. That's how I settle in my mind after 19 years of holding on to a chronic illness. Because if part of me stays annoyed with it, I stay determined and stubborn. And, yes, stubbornness and determination is indeed a quality.

Nineteen years is only a marker; kind of like a pause in the struggle to make sure I haven't given up or accepted it. You don't ever really have to accept a disease. You just have to learn to live with it. You have to keep the monster quiet so it interferes as little as possible. Some days, that's just pushing it back to the farthest part of your mind; some days it's getting down right angry; sometimes it's just looking back at your victories and not the battles you've lost. 

 So here's to the ugly roomate in my life....Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Here's to nineteen years of marriage to RA that I never asked for.  And here's to the next nineteen years. 

Sunday Snapshot

Tina Michelle  – (May 1, 2011 at 10:37 PM)  

That sounds tough to deal with but your positive attitude must really help you get through it all.

sidknee  – (May 2, 2011 at 4:45 AM)  

The positive outlook is all I ever have seen with you. We love you very much and are just a phone call away.

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