Woman looking back at a younger version of herself having fun and seeing a friend

It's Coming...10 Years

I’m writing this article now because I don’t think I will be able to do it in six months. This is not a happy article but I hope you all know me well enough to allow me the space to vent just a bit!

My RA diagnosis anniversary

June/July 2020 will mark 10 years since my diagnosis. 10 years since I really started showing signs of rheumatoid disease. I still remember that fateful day when I couldn’t get out bed and my life changed forever. I still remember the denial, the anger, the grief, and the depression of learning about this chronic illness. My body deteriorated right before my eyes and my dreams faded away.

I still remember my life before RA: the opportunities, the possibilities, good health, and happiness.

Life has changed since my RA diagnosis

Now, all I see is disease, pain, stiffness, immobility, and deficiency. I see failure, I see sadness, and I see myself doing absolutely nothing worthwhile.

I am reminded constantly of my deficits and the brutal nature of this disease. I carried bags of books and lab notebooks. I rock-climbed, biked, and worked with animals.

Even when I’m asymptomatic (or when I don’t necessarily think about my symptoms), I am reminded of my RA every morning when I take my 10 to 12 pills, with food. A decade ago, I rolled out of bed, grabbed a granola bar and ran to class. Now, if I don’t eat enough, I anger my digestive tract.

Every day I am reminded of what my life has become, what it’s not and what will never be.

How will rheumatoid arthritis change my future?

10 years ago my life was easy. It was all about going to class, socializing, seizing the day, and choosing my opportunities. My future was unhindered. Never once in a million years did I think that I would be ill and disabled. I didn’t know what would happen the next week, let alone the next year or nine. I didn’t know where I would be when I was thirty, so how could I budget for a debilitating autoimmune?

Still thinking about where am I supposed to be

I had an idea of what my life would be like but, with my diagnosis, none of my ideas overlapped. I live the way I do because I have to, not because I want to. The last ten years were hard. And, honestly, I don’t see the next ten or twenty or thirty being any happier or easier.

I am not content or proud of where I am today. I still think about where I was supposed to be, all the wasted years working towards one dream (which may not happen).

My diagnosis anniversary is harsh reminder

Most days, I’m okay, I feel pretty good but today, I am down and I feel rotten. I know these feelings will pass but not for a while. This ten year anniversary is not a happy one. It is a stark and brutal reminder of how my life changed forever.

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