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I am not in remission

Posted Feb 28 2011 12:00am
But I wish I was.  Rheumatoid Arthritis and the quest for remission, in my opinion, is like trying to locate the holy grail or it is like an exclusive country club. I have read all the information about remission and I have digested it like I would a religious script.   Research indicates that each of us with RA has a chance at remission.  I think I got there and missed it.  I figure – When we are there, we will know we are there.  It is like the Supreme Court trying to define porn .  Justice Stewart, in 1964, said: “I will know it when I see it.” 

No more than 15 minutes of stiffness in the morning and no swollen joints for at least three months – that is remission.  Okay, well I will know it when I see it.  It is too good to be true but I plan on getting there or at least close to that.  I am still dealing with that Eustachian Tube Dysfunction issue from last month because of my weak immune system and I am hoping that I can avoid having to get an ear tube put in.  Let’s not talk about my luck and that decongestants and nasal spray are the only treatment.  I think I have more sinus infections than my entire family put together.   

They say that early treatment and combination treatment increase the chances of rheumatoid arthritis remission. Remission is also possible in those who have had the disease for a long time.  Early treatment within two years of the onset of symptoms puts a person at a 50 percent chance of achieving remission.   Mild disease activity and negative blood markers such as the rheumatoid factor increase your chances.  It has also been reported that RA patients have moderate disease activity compared to ten years ago because of the use of TNF inhibitors such as Humira and Enbrel. 

Apparently, I fall into that category of potential for remission but I am not in remission.  I suppose I will know it when I see it.  There is question that I have been thrown a lot of curve balls in recent months.  In addition, winter has also been harsh and the fluctuations in the weather, they are an arthritis sufferer’s worst nightmare.   

My life is changed drastically in the past few months and while I am scared, I am happy.   I am starting a new job and my marital status has changed to “separated.”  I don’t know where that puts me but I am hoping for remission.  My master’s degree will be complete come summer and with my new job, the sky’s the limit.  My marriage – I don’t know but time will tell. 

Right now, I know that I have achieved a lot and I know that I have come a long way from being a newly diagnosed RA patient.  When I was first diagnosed, I was scared of my diagnosis and the future. Now, I am optimistic and hopeful.   I advocate for arthritis and for fibromyalgia and who wants a negative advocate?  I am hopeful and optimistic about remission and my plan is to get there or close enough.   

I am a different person than I was before my brother became ill and passed away.  I am a much different person than I was at the onset of my RA and fibro diagnoses and I am a different person than I was before RA and Fibro.  I have learned to love myself despite my flaws and despite my conditions.  I have learned that I need to stop being this perfectionist because there is no such thing.  I am human and I laugh, cry, and bleed like everyone else.   

I am not superwoman and I am tired of trying to be superwoman.  I am also tired of those who expect me to be superwoman. Trying to be super means my body is stressed and my chances of remission are greatly reduced and I want remission more than anything. As a result, I have done away with factors and people in my life that don’t understand how much stress that I am in.  I am sad that my health suffered as a result but I am optimistic and hopeful for a second chance at remission.  My RA is a lot better than it was a couple years ago so I know that there is potential.

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