So I have rheumatoid arthritis…yeah, it pretty much is horrible. When people can’t understand why I’m having a bad day, I often say, “Hey – here is an idea…Why don’t you… try smashing a brick into your wrist? Oh? That hurts? Well, too bad; you’re just getting started. You’ll have to smash that same brick into your other wrist, of course, but then also each knee, each hip, all ten fingers, all ten toes, your shoulders if you can still lift anything at this point, your elbows, and finally, your jaw…yeah, both sides. When you are all down with that, come back and tell me how you feel, but try to stay positive! No one likes a whiner! You know, you can affect how you feel by how you envision the pain! It is really all in your mind!”
Of course it does. Yet, we that live each day with a disease called RA (short for rheumatoid arthritis) are asked to do pretty much the same thing on a DAILY basis. Not only that, but many of us would have learned to jump up after the brick incident and go to work or play with our kids or make dinner. And dare we complain for one second, any number of people would accuse us of “feeling sorry for ourselves.” Gasp!
As one can imagine, there are MANY times during the day that I want to tell these people to go jump in a lake. In fact, there are SOOOO many things I want to say about this disease and about the public’s attitude towards it…but I don’t. Like most of you, I was brought up to be polite. And I care too much what others think. God forbid I be grouped into the “whiney” category. And I also know that if people think you’re not helping yourself, they will not help you. This is ultimately very important because if you have RA, you will find yourself having to do things to survive you would never have begun to believe before you were sick, and one of those things is to let people say crazy, hurtful things based entirely on their ignorance about your own horrible disease. You let them impart their “wisdom” so that you can make them feel better about watching your kids when you have an appointment, or giving you a job, or even picking up the tab so you can continue to send all your money to the insurance company.
But I’m so so tired of keeping my mouth shut. It is who I AM in my real life, the woman with the brave face and enough optimism to keep everyone smiling when I’m limping, the consummate cheerleader, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms, Suzy Sunshine… and let me tell ya, it is sickening to my alter-ego.
And here she is – my alter-ego. I have brought her out for purposes of this blog. She is mean. She is cranky. She should be; she deals with constant pain and limitations. She gets told “no” a lot. She swallows over twenty pills a day, and is pushed around by her family, strangers, insurance companies, co-workers and even doctors who think she should accept her reality. And now, she is fed up with the hand she’s been dealt. She has “snapped,” so to speak. She is about to say what she’s thinking about this messed-up disease and she will take no prisoners! She is going to let it all out without fear of consequences. She is going to make people angry and then sit back and smile that she did. She will say it like it is so that the rest of us can hear it. She is essentially Gabby Solis from Desperate Housewives with an auto-immune disorder, and she is ready to blog.
RA Guy says we are super-heroes if we are all living with rheumatoid arthritis. He couldn’t be more right. So by day I’ll continue to be an RA superhero. I will raise my family and do my job, and send money to the arthritis foundation and educate myself and my doctors about my condition… but online I will be a rip-roaring, you can’t stop me from saying it, true to my word- Bitch!
So part superhero and part bitch. That makes me a superbitch.
I AM an RA Superbitch, and this is my blog. Enjoy.