When I was in my 20’s, medications for rheumatoid arthritis were few and limited in their effectiveness – pain, fatigue, and hot swollen joints were constant. Mornings were worse after remaining still most of the night; a hot shower was upmost in my mind. Getting in and out of the tub was no longer an option, and a cheery hello from anyone was cause for an angry retort.
I craved conversation with another young adult but my rheumatologist’s office was filled with older people. Seeking support I began reaching out to family and friends. Not wanting to become a burden I came up with a plan to rotate my calls. The tears were ever-present back then so I would call my grandmother one day, my mom, a cherished friend, my sisters, etc. the next. Alternating in order to spread the grief, I worried I would become a burden to be avoided.
My grandmother was so kind and loving. She was always encouraging, as was my inner circle of support. Fortunately, I learned early the importance of social support and love! We can’t survive without love and encouragement that enriches one’s life. Share your sorrows and your joys. You are much more than a disease. It is but a small piece of who you are.