My hands have become clumsy, my tendons burn, my shoulders are damaged and the joints in my feet are on fire. Everyday. Every morning. Every night. too much pain for sleep. Things have gotten bad. I finally had to go part time at my job at the hospital.
Coworkers have asked “Are your excited? Are you happy?” I nod and say sure. But the truth that I don’t say is, No, not at all. RA has taken so many things away from me. It has taken parts of me little by little and now it is taking my career, little by little.
I have coped over the years by ignoring the RA. If I don’t talk about it or think about it, how bad could it be? But the stress of the last 6 months has made the RA into a roaring monster. ( I have decided not to refer to it as MY RA, just THE RA) If you don’t already know this, listen up. Stress aggravates autoimmune conditions. Inadequate rest aggravates autoimmune conditions. What are autoimmune conditions? Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Celiac, Sjogrens, Polymyalgia rheumatica, MS, Type 1 diabetes and Vasculitis. I have two of these chronically and had once acutely. Autoimmune conditions are still poorly understood. We do know that eating well, therapeutic exercise and counseling help.
So I had to change my job to part time. I had no choice. I feel angry and sad. I hate RA.
I was told that this is a loss and I need time to grieve. I am now grieving my Dad, admitting to myself and the world that I have RA and now not being able to work full time.
Loss. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today about loss. I have to accept I have no power to change any of these losses. Dad is gone. RA runs in my family and others have it worse that I do. (Love u Judy) I’m still working on accepting this. My health was deteriorating too fast. I had to make my health my priority. My doctor made it clear. Changes had to be made. So now at 55 years old, I am a part time worker. I worked so hard to become a pharmacist. I worked hard at my hospital because helping patients was everything to me. I love my pharmacy family. Now all that is just 3 days a week.
So now what? I can’t stay were I am now. I have to find my happiness again. Another new normal. This is what I came up with. I am in charge of me. I can be a happy as I choose to be. I see patients everyday that are so much worse off than I am. I hit the lottery when it comes to family and friends. I am surrounded by AMAZING people. Creative, loving, loyal, smart,generous people. I can stop right there. I win. I have all this love.
My family is so close. They love me like some people never even get to experience. I have friends that ARE my family. I have coworkers that ARE my family. They love me to the moon and back. And I love all of them.
Our time here is short. Our time with the people we love is short. It is within my power to smile and see the beauty of those around me. Or not. I can choose to live and find my happiness again. Or not. I can choose to stop ignoring RA and take control of my health.
Screw you, RA. You are not the boss of me.