RA Will not Defeat Me- I'MPERFECTion!
I grew up as a normal child. I was the oldest of 3 children until I was 15 when my youngest brother was born to make a total of 4 children. I was a clogger, yes, a clogger and still bust out in a dance anytime I hear “Cotton- Eye Joe”, I was a gymnast, I was on the 8th grade dance team, and then a Varsity Cheerleader. I loved to entertain and cheer and being on a stage. I graduated high school in 2003 and in September of 2004 I had my first child, a boy, Kaden Michael. I was the proudest Mama ever! Yes, I know, everyone says that, but this is my story so I am claiming that title. My life couldn’t have been any better. I had a family, a good job, and bought my first home when I was 19… not too bad.
May of 2005 was a turning point in my life. I was waking up in a lot of pain, not able to dress myself, hardly able to walk, not able to change Kaden's diapers or even open his bottles. There was one night that I had bent down to pick him up and my shoulder gave out, I had almost dropped my 8 month-old son… reality hit! I remember thinking “I am a new mom!! I should be able to hold my son!! I should be able to feed my son!! I should be able to change him, dress him, play with him!! What is happening to me?!”
August 2005 was the beginning of my new life… I got my diagnosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, say what?! “Arthritis?” I asked my Doctor?? “I am only 19! How is this possible?! Isn’t this an “Old” person disease?”
The fact is that this is NOT an “Old” person disease, this is an “everyone, every age, every sex, every race” disease. RA does not discriminate.
What is RA? RA is an auto-immune disease that makes the immune system attack its own body at the joints. It causes extreme fatigue, pain and swelling in my joints… every joint. One of the worse things that it can also trigger is depression.
I have vowed to fight against depression, I have vowed not to let this disease define me, I have vowed to overcome the “restrictions” it can cause and I have vowed to use it as a stepping stone to help inspire and motivate others who suffer from incurable diseases.
I didn’t tell many people about my diagnosis. From the outside I looked perfectly okay. I was afraid that it would keep me from getting that job or make people think that I was lesser than them because I had this disease. I held my head high and managed it the best that I could with the help from my amazing Doctor. Just recently (the last year or so) I have come out from under my “RA Shell” and have started telling people more and more about what I go through everyday, they listen to me in awe because they would have never guessed that I had this disease. “You handle yourself so well!” “You are such a strong woman!” “How do you do it?” I would get all of these powerful remarks and it made me realize that I can make a difference in peoples lives by sharing my story. I could have easily had the mindset that I was “damaged” goods and how would anyone want me? But I didn’t! I kept a positive outlook and spirit and I stayed strong. I thought to myself…can give hope to someone who is struggling with their own disability, their own insecurity, their own struggles, their own imperfections! I can show them that they are WORTH something! And here I am!
I have accepted my RA as one of my imperfections (yes, I have many) and it has made me I’MPERFECTion! It has made me stronger willed, it has made me understand people better, it has made me not judge a book by it’s cover because you have no idea what that person may be tackling everyday of their life, it has made me a woman who encourages other women. I have taught myself to overcome road blocks, I have learned that the human body is amazing and the human mind and spirit is even more amazing! Will power, perseverance, positive thinking, and self worth speaks so loud! Do not ever doubt your self, EVER!
Visit my Facebook page, I'MPERFECTion, to learn more about my treatments, my attitude, and positive vibes. I also love to hear how others are not letting RA defeat them!
When was your last flare?