13 Thoughts Every Person With Rheumatoid Arthritis Has

13 Thoughts Every Person With Rheumatoid Arthritis Has

It’s okay, functional joints aren’t needed to have the best quality of life. Right?

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?

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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?

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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?

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I ask myself this question at least thirty times a day.

5. Is (person around me a lot) sick?

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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?

ALF is 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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

Cover Image Credit: Cristina Gottardi

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I Think I Have Telephone Phobia And It's Serious

While a lot of people commonly fear clowns, darkness, and heights, I fear phone calls.


Is it just me or does anyone else dread having to make and pick up phone calls? Am I also the only one who gets really sweaty and goosebumps everywhere whenever the dial tone sounds? I hope it's not just me. Maybe it's the idea of a disembodied voice over the speaker that scares me or maybe it could just be me being socially awkward for no reason.

Who knows? But I do know that whenever I have to make a phone call, I have to prepare ahead of time, and if you actually see me do it (which I won't let you), you would see that it's an extremely daunting process. First, I type out what I want to say and the questions that I want to ask on my laptop. Sometimes, if it's an important phone call, such as to a place that's hiring or looking for potential interns, I prepare multiple sets of responses in case the conversation doesn't go as planned. Then, I read what I wrote two or three times out loud to myself and correct whatever doesn't sound right because you know, things usually sound better in my head.

I rehearse the finalized version another two or three times, and after that, I muster up all of the courage that I possibly can and force myself to dial the number. Finally, when the person picks up, I do my best to read off of my script, even though it's staring at me straight in the face, and try my best not to sound like a robot. Did I also mention that, when I can, I lock myself in a room so that nobody can hear me? Well, I do that, too.

This is exactly why I avoid receptionist jobs. I don't like having to call someone that I don't know because I tend to stutter a lot when the person on the other end picks up, and it's hard to predict how those phone calls will go, so I can't really prepare for them as I would do at home. Usually, I'm afraid that I won't know how to respond to the callers' questions, and I don't want them to know that I don't know how to answer them, but I also don't want to put them on hold and take up their time.

It's especially bad when an office is so quiet that everyone can practically hear all of the "ums" and "uhs" that come after every word I say. This makes me even more self-conscious about the sound of my voice, and I often say to myself, "Is this really what I sound like?" It's basically just an endless cycle of trepidation. Another thing that gets me is the instantaneity of phone calls. It's not like texting or emailing where you can choose not to respond right away. You could even leave the person on delivered or read if you really wanted to, but you can't do the same when talking on the phone unless you hang up on them, which won't be good for either of you.

Isn't it ironic how the phone was invented so that people could communicate by calling, and yet, I don't use it for that purpose? I tell my friends not to call me because I tend to respond better on Messenger or iMessage because I have time to think over my response. If it's an emergency, then I'll make an exception, but otherwise, I try to avoid phone calls at all costs. My parents are probably the only other exception because they're my parents, and both of them say that they'll take forever to respond by texts, so I really have no choice.

In all honesty, I prefer anything but a phone call. You could send me hundreds of postcards, letters, and emails or even spam my Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. You could even write a message on a paper airplane and throw it to me. I don't care, but just don't call me. Will I ever get over this? I should, but I probably won't, which sucks, but I'll manage. I think.

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