I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 3, so for the past fifteen years, most of my thoughts have been pertaining to my illness.Although every illness is unique, there are certain things that happen with the majority of patients. There are a few thoughts that I feel like everyone with arthritis has every so often or every day.
1. Did I take my medication today?
I am notorious for forgetting to take my medication. I will go about my day without it until I start to have severe pain. It amazes me how I still forget even though I have an app that notifies me, multiple alarms set, and sticky notes everywhere to remind me.
2. Am I out of medication?
I will on the regular forget to get prescriptions filled and some of them take up to a week to get to me because they're through the specialty pharmacy and so my life becomes a mess when I do this.
3. Is my ankle swollen or do I just have cankles?
I ask myself this question at least thirty times a day.
5. Is (person around me a lot) sick?
When people around me get sick I become a germaphobe. Germ-X is my best friend and you aren't anymore.
5. Am I sick?
Hi, I'm Moriah and I don't have an immune system. jk. Well, kinda. My medications give me a susceptible immune system, but the number of times that I get the flu every winter you would think that I don't have an immune system.
6. Am I dying?
The pain of rheumatoid arthritis is a sort of white-hot stabbing but inside your joints and in the thick of a flare it may be questionable whether or not you are in hell.
7. Am I able to move?
You may wake in the morning and find that you cannot move. This is called "morning stiffness" and it sucks.
8. It’s okay, functional joints aren’t needed to have the best quality of life. Right?
I mean, you've made it this far.
9. Do I even want to move?
The answer is probably "no," because moving comes with the possibility of being in pain or discomfort again.
10. I feel like the Michelin Man.
You may not look like him but you certainly feel like his twin when in a flare-up.
11. Do people think that I'm faking?
The 'I'll believe it when I see it' motto is not applicable here. You can't see people in constant pain. That isn't how this works. You might be able to see swelling, but it usually isn't noticeable until someone points it out.
12. Are people judging me for having a handicap sticker?
Generally, when thinking of a handicap placard/sticker, one might think of a) an elderly person or b) someone in a wheelchair. Every time I park in a handicap space I get questionable looks from older people which makes me feel super self-conscious
13. I shouldn’t be and I’m not embarrassed by my illness because it isn’t something that I asked for and it is not in my sphere of control.
This lesson took me until recently to comprehend. I was always ashamed for having to do certain things to accommodate my illness and for mostly not being normal, until I realized that my illness is a part of me and it isn't something that I can change or dispose of, therefore there is no ground for embarrassment.
I wouldn't change my life for the world. Although, arthritis does make me miserable at some points and I don't want to continue, I do. My illness, I feel as made me a better person and has taught me lessons I would not have learned without it.