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Archive for the ‘Rhuematoid Arthritis’ Category

This year for my 29th birthday I got RA. I wish that stood for Really Awesome gifts or Rad Artwork but in reality, it stands for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Now this isn’t your grandma’s arthritis (osteoarthritis that is), no, this is a chronic and systemic auto-immune disease that causes inflammation (read: pain) in the synovial lining of the joints.  You can read more about the disease here if you wish; I think this gal does a great job of summing it up on her blog A Single Gal’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Anyway, for the past two months now I have been dealing with pain on a daily basis.  It moves around, sometimes my right foot hurts, or my hip is stiff. Sometimes my shoulders hurt and I can’t raise my arms above my head and need help getting dressed and undressed. Sometimes I have excruciating pain in my hands and wrists and I can’t brush my teeth or even use a pencil to write my name.  Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night with shooting pain that brings me to tears. Lately my jaw has been hurting and I haven’t been able to open it all the way for several days now. And the thing is nothing really seems to help…….yet.

Four days after my 29th birthday I went into the doctor’s office for a two hour appointment in which she asked me question after question and took vial after vial of blood to be sent off for testing. The following week I received a call saying that I tested positive for Rheumatoid Factor, meaning a certain anti-body was found in my blood, and that they were going to conduct a second test called Anti-CCP, a more specific test in which I had a 70-80% chance of also coming up positive for. The week following that call was absolute hell.  It seemed that the walls all came crashing in- not only was I dealing with the emotional upset (fear, anger, sadness, worry, etc.), it was almost as if my body said, “nope, you can’t ignore the pain anymore, there is something real and concrete causing this pain” and so it hurt, it hurt really bad for days.

No one knows the exact cause of RA though they suspect it could be linked to genetics, stress, environmental changes, a virus and/or hormones.  While it would be nice to know what has specifically triggered the switch to turn on, there’s really no point in chasing that rabbit down the rabbit hole (though I do admit I have spent a fair share of time casting blame- was it the decade of pill popping oral-contraceptives? the emotional stress I’ve faced living in Alaska? Did I just get the short end of the gene stick?). That fact remains, I have RA, and I will never not have RA. The only thing I can do is move forward with my life (easier said than done) a step at a time, day by day.  Let the metamorphosis begin…

“If it’s appeared on your life radar, this is why: to teach you that dreams come true; to reveal that you have the power to fix what’s broken and heal what hurts; to catapult you beyond seeing with just your physical senses; and to lift the veils that have kept you from seeing that you’re already the person you dreamed you’d become”

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