Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
"When you get old, you're gonna get the arthritis!" This is what we hear as kids from our elderly family members. Our Loving Grandmothers and Grandfathers that we love to hug and squeeze on and listen to the greatest family stories tell us about how they know the rain is coming because of "the ritis".
I remember my Father always telling me that by the time he was 20 years old, he felt the arthritis in his knees working to break him down. He would say that quite often and would warn me all the time that this will happen to me. He would tell me that I would eventually feel the creaking in my knees, and if I keep cracking my knuckles, "Arthur" would get in my hands and fingers too!
Though arthritis does not just show up through knuckles cracking, and knee popping or even just the old football injury; it can be the sneaky squeaky mouse that gets in through the smallest crevice and reeks havoc on your joints and many other parts of your body. Did you hear that last part? Read it again, I said, "many other parts of your body." and here is the other part of the spoiler alert; it is not have to wait for your senior citizen days to show up! What?! You mean arthritis can do whatever it wants whenever it wants? The answer to these questions-YES; arthritis can throw out the mythical rule book and show up unscheduled just like that old bully you hoped would not be at this years class reunion.
I remember being just a kid in elementary with my best friend laughing about the stories we would hear and mocking like we were old and having a hard time moving and using canes. We often would say that when we would get older we would have matching wheelchairs and canes that would have horns and would be the best of the best and would be motorized. You see, we had been told over and over, that when we get older, this is what we would have to deal with. I look back at those days now and wish that we could have taken some sort of action so we didn't get the "ritis.
You see if you have any form of arthritis; you may know that it is not hereditary, so if someone in your family has it; it does not necessarily mean that you are going to get it. It is not like the crock pot or wedding dress that is definitely getting handed down to you. However, your family genetics definitely give you a higher chance of getting it at some point in your life. Genetics is like the weather person saying that there is a chance of showers. A chance of showers means that --it could rain; but it could also be a beautiful sunny day. When you inherit something the weather person says there is more than a 95 percent chance of rain. So this means that your will likely get soaked at the company picnic that you did not even want to go to anyway.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the chronic disease that shows up inside and outside of your body. It sneaks around and runs a muck in internal spots that will baffle you and bends and contorts you on the outside for the world to see. Rheumatoid shows up anytime on the age scale; so you do not have to be a grandparent to get this non solicited door prize. Rheumatoid can show up as early age 16 or younger affecting that young girl or boy before they have a chance to know if they made the basketball team this year or if it will hurt to use the computer mouse for that dream of being a graphic designer because even the touch screen can be painful. Rheumatoid blows up and inflames your joints and causes them to feel like small fires in your body. Especially your fingers, wrist; feet and ankles. Rheumatoid has a magic wand that can zap your energy at a moments notice and cause you to be stiffer than the tin man from the Wizard of Oz.. Rheumatoid can also show up in the eyes, heart and lung and puts sufferers at a higher chance for heart attacks and strokes.
There is really no room for rheumatoid in my life. We have managed to coexist as rheumatoid has snuck in to hang out with me for well over 25 years, actually for over 30 years if you could the years of psoriatic and osteoarthritis difficulties I started out with at a young age. Back then it was just pain medication for treatment with my primary care physician. As time has move forward over the last 18 years I have successfully worked with my Rheumatologist to manage my condition, recognize painful flares, eat correctly and have a positive attitude with no stress with is pivotal to overcoming and managing this auto immune condition. Positivity and knowing you limits but not sitting and giving in will help you manage this unwanted condition.
My official diagnosis took a lot of different testing to make sure that my symptoms were not something else masquerading as rheumatoid, but when the diagnosis was final; I honestly had no clue what this meant. I really just thought it was like what I had heard as a child---DANG IT--the ritis got me! I just thought when it rained my knees would hurt and everyone would be thankful for my weather report, but it has been much more than that. From the deformity of my hands and the breaking down of my spine, I had no idea where this would lead me.
Come with me on my journey as I continue to share about this chronic condition and my ups and downs of dealing with it. I am a fighter, and I use every minute of my time to fight this illness. Rheumatoid is not taking my life, I am happy with Rheumatoid, I am not happy to have it; I am STILL happy with it! I smile everyday, and through the pain I push, I live my life and I learn about my condition so I can win. If you deal with this; be a winner with me; don't lay down; stop complaining; we need to be informed, up to date and not spend time letting those two initials RA take away our time. Get yourself in check come laugh and smile with me, even though sometimes it literally hurts to laugh---I'M STILL GONNA DO IT!!!