Patrice's Story - Living with Arthritis

My name is Patrice. 33 years ago I developed OA in my left knee and 7 years ago I was diagnosed with RA, more specifically Polymyaglia Rheumatica or PMR. The first couple of years dealing with my RA were difficult. I experienced denial, depression, anger, isolation, etc.

I am going to get very personal here. I am married to a very selfish and self absorbed person who really doesn't take my disease seriously. He thinks most of my aches and pains are in my head. I could go on and on. He doesn't help with anything and I got tired of asking him for help because (a) he will never do it and (b) gets angry when I ask him. My love and respect for him died years ago. Why do I stay with him? He is the one with the health benefits. I gave up a great career to be a stay at home mom, and when the last one left the nest, I was considered too old to be a viable employed person.

I got my real estate license but I don't have a lot of business.(benefits are not included in my job) So I never really had any health benefits and now I will be chained (if you want to use that word) to him for the rest of my life. 2 1/2 years ago I considered suicide. No one in my family (my parents passed away years ago) would really care if I lived or died. As you can tell, I was at my lowest point. Please don't feel sorry for me, as there is a silver lining to this. (no the jerk husband did not die). I became a member of my local arthritis board. I was asked to be the Adult Honoree for the Walk to Cure in my community. I became an Arthritis Support Network group leader. I became an Advocacy Ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation. I am a community outreach volunteer for the Foundation, speaking at various events in my community about arthritis. I have turned my living with RA into something positive for my but more importantly I can help other people dealing with this disease who feel they have nowhere to turn. Thank you for reading.

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