Why me? It’s a question I used to ask my self everyday during the first few years after my diagnosis. Why was I chosen to have this disease and to endure the pain it brings? Why had I become the “sick” one? Why me?
Why not me?
I was sitting at a local hair salon about a year ago waiting to get my hair cut when I overheard a beautician tell a customer that his mother had rheumatoid arthritis and that he and his brother would send her for a gentle massage once a week. I immediately became drawn to him as I didn’t know many people who knew anything of rheumatoid arthritis much less knew someone who had it.
The customer left and it was my turn for a hair cut. I sat there in silence for a moment while I thought of how I could approach a conversation with him regarding his mom and how she dealt with RA. “I’m sorry”, I said, “I don’t mean to be nosy, but did I hear you say your mother has Rheumatoid Arthritis?” He looked at me startled and replied, “Yes, my mother was diagnosed five years ago.” We continued a conversation on how his mother was dealing with this disease. He told me how it broke his heart to see his mom in so much pain, and how he has to call her everyday to make sure she takes her medication. He told me that she never cries about it and rarely talks about it, but that he knew that this was so hard for her. I told him that I had rheumatoid arthritis as well and that I was having a horrible time dealing with it.
Then he said something that really got me thinking. He said, “She used to always ask why she had to be sick. Then one day out of the blue she started saying why not me.” I was shocked. I had never heard anyone put it that way before. Why not me?
We are the strong ones!
“Why not me” is something that has really stuck with me throughout this last year. It has really helped me find some sort of meaning to living with this disease. I like to believe that people with rheumatoid arthritis are the strong ones. We are the ones that are strong enough to handle this disease, and strong enough to help others handle this disease. I believe we are the ones that were always busy worrying and helping others that this disease has forced us to worry about and take care of ourselves as well. I believe that people with RA have a very important mission to share our experiences, help others cope, and to spread the word about this disease. I believe that there is a purpose to my insanity that I call RA. I believe that I was given this disease for a reason, and I understand that more and more everyday. And while I still have many days when I still question “why me”, I have chose to live my life based on the question, “WHY NOT ME.”