Walking proud with my cane!

Patient Expert

Shortly after I found out I had rheumatoid arthritis I had to start using a cane to help with my mobility.

I started using it a lot around my house, but knew that if I was ever going to get out of my house, I would have to use the cane in public as well. It was such an emotional experience for me. People stared at me. I could hear them whispering to each other and it hurt. I was no different than everybody else. I was a human being, but felt like I was a freak because of the reaction I was getting from everyone else. Once I got home, I 'd cry.

My Great Idea Worked

I wanted to stay home and never leave the house again, but I knew that wasn't an option for me. One night I sat there dwelling on how I could possibly leave the house again. I came up with a great idea and got to work that evening.

The next day I left the house. I had to go to the grocery store to pick up my medication. I still got the stares but this time they were very short lived. People would look at me for a couple of seconds, but then turn away. I felt much more confident.

Why should I be humiliated? I have a disease that takes my mobility from me, a disease that I can't control. When I reached the pharmacy to pick up my medication the pharmacist looked at me, then at my cane.

"What does your cane say," she asked?

My cane says "It's not nice to stare." The night before I decorated my cane with stickers that said "It's not nice to stare."

And with that she looked away.

"Take that," I thought to myself. Sure it might have made others feel a bit uncomfortable, but it made me feel confident, and I walked proud with my newly decorated cane.