I am so tired of the misconception that arthritis is a disease for old people. There are so many stories on the fact that this is so untrue. One of my favorites is this one from New South Wales Young Adults With Arthritis. They also have a fun article about the perils of being involved with “Arthur.” And, one of my favorite features on the site is their section for family and partners.
WARNING: I’m going to rant a lot right now and use some “unsavory” language.
Obviously, I know that there is a problem with people knowing about arthritis’ effects on the younger population, and that’s why I have this blog. This disease has forced me to stay home when I’d rather be out being a young adult and enjoying myself. It has made me contemplate suicide and the value of life on more than one occasion. I try to think about how things could be worse, but then all I see is a vision of myself waking up one day paralyzed or blind and unable to do anything. I feel like I am slowly losing my dignity and I don’t understand why others seem to care so little. [Background: one of my ex-boyfriend’s dick friends made a comment: “Arthritis? What are you, 80?”]
I’m tired of feeling like I don’t want to do anything. I don’t like not being able to exercise as much or even walk to my classes without being in extreme amounts of pain. Last night I was super sick to my stomach because I fucking ate spaghetti – SPAGHETTI! I’m Italian, I love spaghetti. I had rash all over my face and hands while at work, which is just embarrassing.
This disease is one of the most terrible and debilitating. To know that things could get ridiculously worse in an instant often overshadows any feeling of gratefulness I have for being as “healthy” as I am. It is ridiculous that I don’t have the ability to do normal things when I want to, but instead have to plan out things like trips to museums and even a nice summery walk outside. I am in pain almost 24/7, with medicine barely doing anything when I take the “recommended dosage.” I constantly worry that I’m going to OD on Aleve and Advil. I know that my body can’t handle the side effects of other medicines any more than it can handle the pain I’m generally in.
So what can I look forward to? A cure? They don’t even know what causes the disease really, so why would I think that a cure is going to come in my lifetime? No, instead I can look forward to more pain. I’ll have to modify my life even more as time goes on and the arthritis gets worse. I rarely dance anymore as it is, but I doubt that’ll happen someday when I’ll probably end up in a wheelchair. I’ll more than likely end up with hands that look like claws, but I don’t have Renoir’s persevering spirit. Any intimate relationship I have is going to be virtually ruined by the disease, not to mention the fact that 85% of marriages with one partner having a chronic disease fail (the actual statistic is from the description of the above link on another page). The relationship that I’m in right now is wonderful and that is the last thing I want to think about. Still, I go between wanting him to know everything about what’s wrong with my body (and mind) to not wanting to tell him anything because I feel like I’m burdening him and I don’t want to push him away… to trying to push him away a little. I just don’t know how to handle it.
I wouldn’t wish this on anyone else. Still, I can’t help but wonder why in the world I get to be one of the people with the disease. Why was it decided that this one family gets to suffer through this disease and others related to it, while another gets to be full of star football players or ballerinas. I’m sure that anyone can see why, as far as a deity goes, I’m an atheist – how can a god be present in a world where there is injustice all over the world and so much pain for people?