There was one point in my life where I was fine to have you. For some reason, I thought that other kids didn't have to deal with you, that our relationship was exclusive. I thought this despite my sister also knowing you very well because she doesn't complain a lot and I hope that means she's not as sick. Still, just for the pain I've watched her go through because of you... if you were a person, you'd be dead meat you bastard.
As I grew up though, I learned that you have hit 300,000 children in the United States. I also learned that specifically 10% of those are kids like I was, sick systemically. I now know toddlers who are dealing with you, practically babies. How dare you. They are so much more vulnerable to depression issues, disfigurement, even death. Again, if you were a person, I'd seriously fuck you up.
You've legitimately scared the shit out of me and my family on several occasions. Remember when you had me so sick they thought I had leukemia and was going to die within six weeks? Remember getting blood drawn every fucking day to try to figure out who you were? I remember too, trust me.
But I have also seen the miracles that drugs can do in the fight to end you. I have seen parents of little girls scared so badly that their daughters would lose their sight to you cry. But I have seen them beat you, to take back their eyesight just like I once had to do.
In the last year, I have watched you ruin relationships between people who really do love each other but can't take you as a damn third wheel. I have watched you break up families and cause people to just stop talking about their pain because no one understands that it isn't all in patient's heads.
But I have also seen the dedication that my sweet fiance has to me in spite of you or because of you. I have been crying myself to sleep because of you and the havoc you reek on my body, only to be comforted by him. I'm stuck with you for the rest of my life, but I choose him.
The last year has been incredibly tough because of you. I failed a few medications and had nasty reactions to others. I had several infections, one of which is like the top killer of people in the hospital. I have had to stop graduate school - something that as a high school valedictorian type just infuriates me. I have been so depressed that I thought many times about ending my life. You have caused me so much pain I didn't want to breathe anymore. For months, I had a hard time even walking the little bit one must. I had to give in and buy a cane. I had to admit that you, you fucking asshole, were really here and not ever going away. And seemingly like my rash you are just always there. UGH.
But I've also done amazing things. I performed two weddings as an officiant, one of them being my sweet sister's. I walked one 5k and failed to finish another. I have restarted relationships that were tough for me because of you and I've cut unnecessary people out of my life. I have climbed around civil war battlefields and towers and hiked around on rocks. I have spoken up about pain you cause and pain you don't cause to try to get it taken care of. I have become so much more of an advocate than I ever thought I would. I have seen one of my favorite bands play in person, and heard Hugh Laurie's beautiful voice belt out old blues songs. I made friends because of you and your pain. And best of all, I said yes to marrying my best friend... and consequently spend the bulk of my computer time on pinterest looking at wedding ideas.
The point of this letter is to tell you that I hate your fucking guts, but that I also hate you so much that instead of wallowing in my hate I am going to go for the critical strike points. That's right Arthur, it's time for a blow to the balls.
And that is what World Arthritis Day is about - raising awareness and supporting research for a cure to end you. And we aren't going to stop, we aren't going to rest until you are over. Just remember that next time you try to fuck up my day.
AHHHHH PS! I'm speaking at an Arthritis Foundation event tomorrow night called Savor the Flavor no matter how I feel. I'm super excited and you're totally not going to win and stop me.