A day in the life of a Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferer...
To have Rheumatoid Arthritis, it not only comes with pain, but fatigue as well. Before making plans to go out, I have to plan everything around how I feel. For example, how much walking I will be doing, if there will be a lot of people there (because of my immune deficiency, I have to be very careful with germs), and how fatigued I feel, rates how long I'd be able to stay out for. It really sucks most of the time, because I'd really love to just go out and enjoy myself. Every time I do, I end up paying for it when I get home, or the next few days. For example, yesterday Adam and I went out for a couple of hours to do a little shopping and had some dinner. I came home and felt like my body was run over by a freight train! I slept 10 hours last night, and woke up feeling so fatigued and run-down today. That's normal for me though, or for anyone who suffers from RA. I know that I will feel like this for at least a few days. In a way, it's worth it to enjoy life for a little while and have some fun. I really don't want to spend my life couped up in fear of being in pain, and feeling fatigued. It's just not the type of life I'd want to live. I'd love to live a normal life, although, I don't even know what normal is!
Living normal would be great, but I know and have come to accept it's just not in the cards for me. Like I said, I will enjoy my life the best that I can, when I can. I'm not going to be stupid and go out every day, or every week, because the rest is good for me. I don't want to over-due it and end up in a flare. A flare is when my joints become inflamed, stiff and in pain. My joints look and feel like they have jelly in them, I can't move them much at all, and it hurts to do everyday things. Right now both my knees are killing me, and it hurts to move. My jaw has been hurting me for a while now, and I am having difficulty eating certain foods because the chewing hurts a lot. My neck is stiff and I've been having trouble washing my hair, because it hurts to move my neck to rinse the shampoo out. Do I force myself to shower and in-turn cause myself pain? Do I try taking a bath and just do what I can? Or skip it altogether and get rest? It's a tough choice, because with my knees the way they are right now, even taking a bath will cause me pain trying to get in and out of the tub. Since heat usually helps with the pain, I most likely will end up taking a bath, with assistance getting into the tub from Adam. The heat from the bath helps me, for a little while. Usually after I get out of the tub, and my knee cools down again, the pain comes back.
This is a normal day for someone like me. I feel like this most days, very rarely do I have a day where I feel good and without pain. There are some lucky ones who have their RA under control, with little pain. There is no cure for this, so I don't think one could live entirely without pain, but if it's well controlled then you can live a little while without pain. Ever since I was first diagnosed when I was 3, my doctors have had very much difficulty controlling my disease. I was looking through my medical files last week and I kept seeing the same thing written over and over again by my doctors: "her disease has been very hard to control". I've been on just about everything out there, and of course I'd love for a cure to be found, but in the meantime I'd really just like to find a medicine regime that helps me live without pain, even if for just a few days. Maybe it would help me live a somewhat "normal" life.... whatever that may be.