No Progress... Good News!
Progress, a word that typifies modern aspirations in technological innovation, improved public health and education, and the alleviation of human suffering, is a word I revolt against — with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) the meaning is malignant and cruel. RA progression is the enemy: the diabolical maniac that sits unseen, threatening, and disturbing my otherwise tranquil existence. Progression of the disease is the future that must be avoided, a cold war standoff between destruction and peace.
RA progression is the enemy.
The first signs of RA inflammation were in my wrists. The memory of how agonizing and world altering those first nights passed in sleepless despair when the disease made its unwelcome presence known, keep me ever vigilant that an intruder is hiding in the darkness. For two years the marvel of science and a sharp pinprick of weekly injections have been trying to expel the malefactor. Yet the miscreant persists, intent on autoimmune mutiny. The initial frenzy of insurrection may have occurred in my wrists, but the fine joints in my feet were the first to give up ground.
Mild periarticular osteopenia in my left foot, combined with joint space narrowing, are the result of the first months of unsuccessfully trying to control the disease. Thankfully since then, treatment has halted that progress, with a recent x-ray revealing no further change or deterioration in the past year. A small victory no doubt, yet every step of every day, I feel the effects of those months when the inflammation was so severe I could not wear shoes, limped everywhere I went and relied on crutches. RA inflammation, when severe, is a pathological blitzkrieg.
The vandalism is light, yet the affront remains.
RA unalterably damaged these wondrous hominid bipedal instruments of locomotion that for the last thirty-five years have been the best of traveling companions. The vandalism is light, yet the affront remains, ever present, and ever threatening to degenerate into a full-fledged crime against my being. Biologictreatment, to my great gratitude, has prevented the saboteur from pressing on.
Progression of the disease is the fear that hangs over those with the misfortune of having rheumatoid arthritis. Innovation, in contrast, is the hoped-for liberator — advancements in treatment that will have greater efficacy with less risk, or cure the disease entirely. I rebel against RA progression and am sickened by the suffocating possibility. I welcome any headway that can be made in deterring its course.
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?