In 2004 I was given the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, shortly after that diagnosis was joined by Fibromyalgia. The part of myself that needs to know and control everything took over and began endless research about what I'd been told. The most impacting bit of news was that there is no cure for either of these conditions, there are ways to manage them but currently no cure.
At 27 years old, it felt like diagnosis closed so many doors, eliminated opportunities. There weren't many resources for a young person receiving this diagnosis. In the arthritis world, it seems that there are many resources for senior citizens - most people are used to the thought of seniors developing arthritis due to degeneration over time. I was so frustrated with hearing "you're too young to have arthritis" and other similar phrases that didn't accept, acknowledge and validate my experience.
Our life was going to look different moving forward. All prior preconceived notions about what would be were challenged. Then, it happened, the rebel inside me said "Screw this!" (probably in a much more profane way) and I decided that I was going to do whatever I wanted regardless of limitations. Then the big wake up call, I had to work with my body not against it.
Reset, reboot and an epiphany that came after years of a lot of struggle with denial, anger, grief, depression - I had been given a life sentence not a death sentence. Rheumatoid arthritis isn't going to kill me, it will affect my quality of life and potentially my life expectancy. However, I can continue to live with rheumatoid arthritis. My life doesn't look like most other people's and that is okay.
We've got a new definition of normal. Normal includes weekly visits to the infusion center, injections of chemotherapy medications, IV infusions of biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). I'm still a wife, a mom, a daughter. I'm still ME and I have a whole life ahead of me.
I'm ready to take some steps in adding more to this normal life of mine... are you ready to come along for the ride?
This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Sunday, please visit all.things.fadra for more posts like this one and to link up if you write one too.