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Laugh or Cry…

Hi. I’m back again! I posted only a few days ago, but I’ve just had a mental breakthrough…or breakdown. I was driving to work yesterday and I started thinking about all the stories I’ve read about the joint replacement surgeries people with RA have had. I’ve been thinking about them for a while now and trying to (futilely) predict how many more years I have left before I’m going to need the same thing done. I have a business event coming up that I have to catch a plane to and I’ve been debating whether to go or not because walking from check-in all the way down to my terminal is just not appealing to my ankles right now. They are protesting. Loudly.
Anyway, I was thinking about that walk, and how I always seem to be that random person that’s pulled aside for a swab test to check for bombs in my handbag (seriously, am I that much of a shifty person to look at?) when I imagined going through the metal detectors after joint replacement surgery. Just imagining the beeping frenzy made me laugh all the rest of the way to work. I even called my mum and told her (not altogether coherently) how one day I was going to strut proudly in nothing but a bikini through the detectors to set them off and confuse the hell out of the guards when they tried to figure out where my metal stash was.
It was the happiest moment I’ve had in a long time – and then mum had to go and point out that what the good doctors replace my degrading joints with doesn’t beep in detectors. Thanks mum.
Still, as long as I look on the bright side – like being the next Bionic/Titanium Woman! – I can function.
I can smile, I can laugh, I can joke with my colleagues – who are awesomely supportive – and hold on to the idea that I’m going to be Ok. Whether or not that idea is delusional is still to be determined.
I have my moments when I’m home and alone that I cry for a bit, or that I freak out, when I think about my uncertain future because I’m 24 and already this screwed up – I think a lot of people can relate to that – but as long as I can keep making fun of my RA with those closest to me I’ll keep going.
Because, as my breakthrough has just revealed, if I don’t laugh about it I’ll cry.
And I am so over crying.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Helen Opczynski
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the laugh and sharing! I’m almost 45, but have had JRA since I was 8. I had joint implants at 21 in my fingers, plastic though not metal. My ankles before I lost weight really gave me much pain and still do if I overdo it. Your story reminds me of times I just have had to laugh at myself instead of crying. In fact, just yesterday, my biggest frustration, is when I couldn’t open up the jar of jelly to make my 2 year old nephew a peanut butter jelly sammich (as he says). I’m there trying to twist the darn lid, noises included, like that’s really going to help, getting all the more frustrated. And even though I’m to the point of tears I wound up laughing, because my nephew in all his sweetness, is mocking me, noises included. To top it off, He says, “It’s okay, Aunt Honnie (what my 3 nephews call me), I don’t want jelly anyways.” hahaha

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    5 years ago

    Hi Sam ~ Thanks so much for sharing your story. I think you are right – sometimes we just have to laugh (or we’ll cry!). When I was first diagnosed at 25 my boyfriend (now husband) and I read an article about a woman who explained her pain by telling her husband how many horses it felt like were kicking her. We had to laugh at how ridiculous it was – and then I went around going “there are 20 horses kicking me today! hahahah” You gotta laugh. ~;o) ~Mariah~

  • Kristi Nagel
    5 years ago

    I have to laugh at myself sometimes just to keep my sanity. This past year my ankles and foot have been causing me a lot of pain. I’m dealing with Tarsal Tunnel and puuling of my tendons. When I walk I look like a drunk person stumbling around, and I have to let people know that I’m sober. So, yeah it helps to have a sense of humor sometimes.

  • Kelly Mack moderator
    5 years ago

    Sam, thanks for reminding us that laughter is darn good medicine. I totally agree that we need laughter and joy to keep fighting. We can’t give up or give in. Better to laugh in the face of RA! Thanks for the smiles. Best, Kelly

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