Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Partners Of RA-ers And My New Pledge

So one of the things that gets neglected a lot when it comes to RA is how those around the person afflicted handle things. It often skips the minds of those afflicted even, as we tend to get wrapped up in our own little worlds.

A new study shows that partners of those afflicted by RA show that they are as emotionally distraught as the sickly person:

Analysing the transcripts of in-depth interviews, researchers reported that all partners of RA patients reported common issues, grouped into the following areas:

Emotions: Partners commonly expressed feelings of immense sadness for a perceived loss of the future, sadness for their experiences of their spouse, but also for themselves.

Adaptation: Several of the partners interviewed hoped for a "cure" for RA with one saying "medicine can do anything nowadays, yes it's a problem but they'll give her a tablet and it will go away." Over time however, the interviews showed that partners came to terms with the permanency of the condition.

Coping Strategies: Some partners reported experiencing feelings of denial, helplessness, and concealment of both the condition and its impact on their relationship.

Support and Information: Whilst all partners interviewed were reluctant to attend patient support groups, they acknowledged their importance, with one participant stating "I think it would be really helpful to people who are newly diagnosed but I would have to have my arm twisted to go there".


I will be the first person to admit that I don't think about the impact that my condition has on anyone around me. A lot of the time, I'm trying hard not to show that I'm hurting, but that generally is because I don't want someone worrying about something that can't be fixed. I have come to terms with the fact that my life will always involve the dreaded Arthur, my nickname for my RA.

But I still never think about the emotional toll that my condition might take on the people around me. I feel bad about not being able to just go and do certain things. I'm pretty blessed to have the support system that I have, both from family and close friends.

As for my boyfriend, I usually tend to not tell him about things that are going on related to Arthur. It's almost as if I'm cheating on my boyfriend with Arthur, or vice-versa. I try to not let them impact each other. But, like all cheaters, I end up alienating one or both of them.

Arthur seems determined to cause me as much pain as possible, though I'm determined not to let him win. It is really like being trapped in an abusive relationship, only I have no choice on whether or not I can leave. Theron, on the other hand, is getting frustrated at watching Arthur's effects on me and not being able to do anything about it. And since I don't talk to him about Arthur all that much, I'm sure that makes it all the more frustrating.

I'm planning on looking into medications more, beginning by compiling a list of medications I can actually take (because of allergies) and their side effects. I'm still very cautious about medications, because even taking OTC meds makes me feel sick to my stomach. I'd rather stick to more natural methods, but I know that won't slow the progression of the disease at all.

I'm also pledging to take a large step out of my comfort zone. Both on here and more importantly in my private life, I'm going to be even more open about the problems I face with Arthur. I'm going to talk about my problems more in-depth, which won't be pretty. If this all helps to make my life and the lives of those around me feel less like we're involved in an Eminem/Rihanna song, then it's worth everything to me.

In a slightly related note, I started running again the other day. I had a lot of pent-up energy and running was always my favorite exercise in high school. I worry a little bit about falling back into my old habits and not eating very much while exercising a lot. Since I started running again, my metabolism has gotten a huge boost and I'm actually eating more than normal. I plan on running every two or three days now, no matter what. It's time to show this Arthur who the boss is.

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