Saturday, May 8, 2010

Learning To Live

Weak. Stiff. Hot. Pain. These are some of the words I'd use to describe my arthritis. If you had told me seven years ago that I would be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis within a year, I think I would have looked at you like you were off your rocker. I was a child in my last year of Junior High when I was diagnosed. I knew my hands hurt, but it certainly wasn't something I was too worried about. I was more concerned about the way my index finger looked. The middle joint almost looked like it has been reversed, so it was sunken down into my skin. My finger clicked when I bent it. My friends thought it was "kinda gross."

Now, a grown woman of twenty, my arthritis has continued to effect my life. I do not believe in taking medication that treats the symptoms but provides no solution to the actual problem. I rarely take Tylenol, Advil or other anti-inflammatory drugs. I take the pain and deal with it, try to cope with gentle hand exercises and am now tackling my diet, too.

When I was first diagnosed I was put on Naproxen. I was on this medication(my dose being increased every month or so) for about six months. I remember arguing with my mother about how I did not like taking the pills. They made me sick, sick enough that eating was uncomfortable and I would have sharp pains in my stomach. The doctor said my body needed to get used to the medicine. I said "Enough!" and refused to take them any more. I honestly think this was one of the best things I had ever done. The list of problems Naproxen causes is, well, discouraging to say the least.

My pain is usually manageable on most days, on other days it results in me curled up in bed snuggling my cat, boyfriend or a pillow crying. Sometimes the pain is easier to deal with than the emotional burden.

Growing up we were taught that older people had arthritis. You know, our Grandmothers, Grandfathers and elderly neighbors. It was what happened to you when you got old. No one ever mentioned children getting arthritis. Not in my neighborhood! I think that the idea of elderly having arthritis and younger people having healthy joints plays a large part on my mind. There are days where I feel like my body is seventy years old, where moving my fingers takes enough effort to send me into the land of depression. Other days I feel my age. It is a constant roller coaster.

I know there are things that I can do to help lessen the pain, and I plan on doing them. I invite you to join me on my journey to healing my arthritis. That's right. I think, no, I know it can be healed. I also invite you to share any stories of your arthritis and how you cope.

Tomorrow will be a new day, a new start. Today I will start my journey, today I will learn to live.

No comments:

Post a Comment