This is Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Bloggers are encouraged to participate to increase awareness of invisible illnesses. Hubby has done his part here: Bing Jeffry Bing. Last year I skipped it—I just couldn’t bring myself to write about the subject. I’m still not sure about it this year.
What do I say about invisible illness in our family? How do I explain in one post how quickly life can be transformed just when you’re least expecting it, how abruptly expectations must shift for everyone in the family?
In the month or two before the rheumatoid arthritis hit, I refinished our kitchen cabinets, organized a luau for my daughter’s 14th birthday party, and finished up a successful work project. Life was really good. (I was even thin!)
But that was the old me. Soon after, on vacation, I noticed that everything hurt and my joints were stiff. My hair fell out in clumps. I had a weird rash under my arms. My knees and one elbow were so hot and red that I could feel them through my clothes. I could not bend one knee and ran fever. I slept all day and barely knew what my kids were doing. My doctor took my family history, looked me over and sent me to a rheumatologist. Oddly, even though I’d grown up knowing that my paternal grandfather had RA, it never occurred to me that I had RA. I thought I had some kind of virus. The diagnosis, unusually swift (some patients wait years), came as almost a complete shock.
It’s been a few years now. A series of medications. Some that worked fairly well; some that didn’t. I’ve been through some really bad flares, some times when I had to use a cane. We took a wheelchair on vacation with us once. We moved because the stairs on our house were really steep and really hard on me. My kids adjusted and grew. My husband adjusted and grew. I’m still adjusting. I quit my job. My circle of friends got smaller but tighter. I learned some things about myself. My son was diagnosed with celiac, and then my daughter was diagnosed with an autoimmune arthritis. It broke my heart but then life went on.
And the thing that has stood by me most is that even before all of this, the needles and pills and more doctors visits than I can count (or pay for) and lost dreams and pain and fatigue, that thing that is true, is that I am blessed. Not just because I have a great husband and beautiful children and sweet friends and a wonderful doctor. All those things are true. But even if they weren’t, and I sometimes lose sight of it all, is that I already knew the Great Physician and He already has the cure. And He already knows how I feel and cares. Everyday. No blog needed.
Thanks for reading, if you’re here. Hope it all came out ok.
Back soon with the rest of vacation.
Hope you’re well and loved today—blessings,
The Lady in Pred
Invisible Chronic Illness Week