Your world is torn apart, and you wonder how you will possibly survive. Your plans for the future can never be. You had worked so hard just to find yourself back at the beginning, looking forward to that long scary road ahead of you. The memories of the life you once had seem locked in your mind, as you wonder if it's even possible to turn back now. You dread it, but in your heart you know that you now have a new life and that someday, somehow you will have to accept that.
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis is, well...just plain scary. It seems like your life just changes over nght. You have all these plans about how you thought your life would be, only to be told that the path of your dreams would be changed forever. For some of us it is just our mobility and our joy of life that is taken away. Then there are others, like myself, who have lost even more. We have lost our careers, we have lost those who we thought to be true friends, we have lost our self worth, and we have lossed the sense of who we really are. Knowing that you have a incurable disease is a hard thing to bear. I can't remember even a day without my heart breaking all over again from the mere thought of being sick for the rest of my life. The new medications, and many of them, are hard to take without even without having to deal with the side effects. The many, MANY, endless doctors visits, xrays, and blood tests leave me wishing for a different life.
My Pre-rheumatoid arthritis life
I used to think that my "Pre-rheumatoid arthritis" life was null and void due to the fact that the things I had accomplished and the goals I had set for myself could never be. I spent so much time dwelling on the past, that I had no desire to look ahead to my future. When I finally decided to fight this disease, and I mean REALLY fight, I thought that I had to let go of the past and somehow embrase my new life with RA. I had all these great memories and I felt that even thinking about those days would somehow stop me dead in my tracks from focusing on my future. After all, the past was great and my future seemed so dim.
Who was I?
I was now a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer. That was the only identity I claimed. "Hi, my name is Holly and I have Rheumatoid Arthritis". This was my new definition in my new life. Rheumatoid Arthritis has made me a stronger person, but under no circumstances do I let it define who I am. I know realize that my whole "pre-rheumatoid arthritis" has all prepared me for this. I can think about the life I had before rheumatoid arthritis. I can remember my excitements and my disappointments. I can smile because of the things I was able to accomplish. It has taken me so long to realize that even though you have to embrace your future because only you can create your destiny, you have to remember your past. Yes, for some of us remembering the past and all our plans and the things we used to be able to do is difficult, but please remember that those memories give you hope. Those are the memories that remind you who you really are and where you came from. That life has helped prepare us for our journey with this awful disease. It has shown us that we can accomplish our goal even though they may be different from before. That life reminds us how stron we are and how we were able to fight for what we want. I find so much hope in my memories from before, and it helps keep me going on the days that I just want to lay in bed and cry.
Whats so I remember from my previous life, you ask? I remember swimming at Matagorda Beach with my husband when I was pregnant with my first son. I remember laughing so hard as I watched my husband play in the water with his younger brother. His smile was so bright and cheerful that, even on the coldest day it could warm me up. So on days when I just want to hide from the world and dwell on the fact that I will forever be sick, I have my memories. In fact, I can still feel the way the sun felt on my body and smell the smell of the salt water in the air. My memories define me more than rheumatoid arthritis ever could. A wise man once said, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened!" Thanks Dr. Suess!
Published On: April 08, 2009