My RA Journey

My name Is Juliet. People who know me really well call me DJ. When I was in grade school I started having health issues. For months I would have sinus infections on top of infections. Ear infections too. I would suddenly get better and my father would say, "See your fine." He told everyone I did this for attention. All throughout my life I cycled through periods of unexplained illness, saw countless doctors, and not one really looked deeper into my symptoms. I had three tumor over my lifetime. 8lbs, 5lbs, 6lbs. Surgery after surgery for failed organs. Gall Bladder out. Hysterectomy, Carpal Tunnel Surgery, and more. My legs hurt all the time, my feet got so bad that sometimes I couldn't even walk on them without whimpering. Everyone In my family makes fun of me. They laugh at my pain. All my life I was told that it was In my head. She only does it for attention. Ignore her. This year at last a diagnosis. At the age of 42 a doctor finally said to my pain, I understand. A doctor said lets do an arthritis panel. Lets see where this pain is coming from. Now I know. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Their biggest concern now is just how many years I have gone untreated. 35 years with no diagnosis. 35 years of suffering that was dismissed. Why did no doctor every help me? Why didn't anyone believe me? Why did I suffer for so long? Because RA isn't a typical diagnosis. Ignorance of the symptoms. I have learned so much! I am angry at my family. They said "That sucks" when I told them. My mom said I was overdramatizing. Really??? I have been in pain my whole life. I have suffered in silence. I don't want to be silenced ever again. SO here is my goal. To get treatment as soon as I can. To become an advocate for RA and to make the arthritis panel a typical test for children. Its only a blood test. Its not even very expensive. How many lives could be better if its caught earlier? How much pain can we spare the future RA suffers if we catch it BEFORE its ruined their health and bones? I cant sit comfortably because of my hips, my left hand cant even hold a pan without nearly dropping it, I tip and nearly fall over when I get up, I get sick when I am out for too long, and I miss doing the things I want to do when I want to do them. I miss sitting on the couch with my children and not falling asleep. I am so tired some days I can't even stay awake. Its lonely. So few understand us. Yes US. I am not alone even though I feel that way now. I want to make the world a better place by making them AWARE. I have fought for a long time. Perhaps my story will make someone else feel safe. Perhaps they will feel a kindred spirit with me. Who can say?? But above all I want the world to see that we DO suffer and ignorance is something you haven't learned yet. Learn about RA. Don't miss the signs. Believe your child...Love them and be ready to help them if this is their diagnosis. I wish all RA's a better life with RA symptoms and hope that I will change all that I hope to.

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