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Turn and Face the Strange Ch-Ch-Changes

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “Change is the only constant in life”. For Rheumatoid Disease sufferers, truer words may have never been spoken. Our symptoms, treatments, physical abilities, and so many more are constantly changing throughout our journeys with this disease. Medications that once seemed to be God sent for their effectiveness can suddenly stop working, or begin to cause serious side effects. Joints that were previously unaffected can suddenly inflame and cause excruciating pain. And perhaps most devastatingly, activities and hobbies from which we once derived such joy can become impossible, simply causing too much pain to enjoy any longer.

Life changes with rheumatoid arthritis

I know this is true in my own life and journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis, of which I was diagnosed at the tender age of four years old. Some of my earliest memories are of doctor visits and treatments, spending hours in the car with my Mother as we visited specialists across the state of California, where I grew up. It was daunting as a child, but also, I didn’t know any differently. I sometimes wonder if being afflicted with RD later in life would have been even more difficult, to have once had full physical ability and then to have it snatched away with the diagnosis of a disease with no cure. However, in either scenario, the challenge is the same, in that we are all doing our best to cope with the constantly changing effects that this disease has on our bodies and minds. While its effects may be ever changing, at the same time so are the treatments, research, and developments available to combat the disease. As we continue to mitigate the damage caused by Rheumatoid Disease as best we can, we can also strive to have fulfilling lives amidst the challenges it has bestowed upon us, turning to face them, and the changes they bring, head on.

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

Comments

  • Indigo2
    6 months ago

    Hello. Thank you for sharing your story. I have been recently diagnosed with Ra after 30 years of terrible pain & joint damage. I wish I could have been diagnosed early to avoid all the damage which once done is permanent.
    It is best to start treatment early.

  • BeccaFloyd author
    6 months ago

    I’m so sorry to hear it took so long for you to find a diagnosis. What a relief it must have been, to finally have an answer! It is very difficult to treat symptoms, when you have no idea what is causing them. While you are correct that most damage is irreversible, I hope that you and your doctors are finding treatment options that work for you, and improve your quality of life. One can certainly still have a happy, fulfilling life with RD… and I hope you are doing just that!

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    6 months ago

    I do not think anytime is good to be diagnosed. It is one of those things. We do not knwo if it is better later or sooner, because we cannot know. I suspect my statement is true. No time is a good time diagnosed.

  • Indigo2
    5 months ago

    correct…
    the diagnosis of RA sucks big time!

  • BeccaFloyd author
    6 months ago

    It sounds like you have a pretty positive outlook on live with RD! While I agree that there is never a “good” time to be diagnosed with an incurable disease, in this life we receive the cards we are dealt, and it’s up to us whether or not to play the game. I’m all in!

  • Indigo2
    6 months ago

    No. The earlier the diagnosis & treatment, the less joint damage & suffering so, the key is to get the diagnosis EARLY as possible.

  • BeccaFloyd author
    6 months ago

    My question was more along the lines of… is it easier to have always had RD and thus not know any different, or to first develop symptoms later in life when the difference between your “new” normal and your old one are so vastly different. I completely agree that once symptoms present, a timely diagnosis is crucial to treating this disease and limiting irreversible damage. I hope you find comfort in this community of similarly afflicted people, as I have!

  • Franki King moderator
    6 months ago

    Thank you for sharing, Becca! I agree completely. I always feel like the best thing I can do is “go with the flow.” I spent a good amount of time when I was first diagnosed at age 15 fighting the changes to my body. I was frustrated and depressed. Now I do my best to avoid letting the RA affect my outlook on the rest of my wonderful life. Cheers to change! -Franki (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • BeccaFloyd author
    6 months ago

    It’s so much easier to float along with the river than it is to fight against the current, isn’t it? I feel the same way with my RA. Of course I get down at times, who wouldn’t? But for the most part, I try to take the changes and challenges as they come with as much grace as I can muster! It sounds like you do the same. Cheers to change, and going with the flow!

  • Indigo2
    6 months ago

    Bless you Becca. Going with the flow is easier but we still have to be aware & fight when we can…avocate for ourselves & speak up!

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