Wednesday, July 6, 2011

At 23, How Did I get Here?

It's A Girl!! In August 2006, my daughter Jordan was born! One of the best days of my life! Fast foward 4 years, thousands- in -medical- bills, crippling- pain- and- no answers later to December 2010.
"You have Sero-Negative Rheumatoid Arthritis", was what my Rheumatologist said to me on our second appoinment together. I was shocked. Who knew that this was why I was too tired to breathe. That this was the culprit behind me not being able to handle a simple diaper change when my muffin was just an infant and why I SEVERELY HATE STAIRS!

My jaw was on the floor and I stared at her with glazed over eyes. My very empathetic rheumatologist (the term is used with sincere sarcasm)  proceeded to ramble off 5 to a million medications that she was about throw me on. Once she was done, she handed me all the prescriptions, told me that she would fit me in in two months and walked out of the room leaving me there with myself and the tears.

I'm going into nursing. I want to take care of people and be there when they need a shoulder to cry on. If I felt like I could make it through med school, I would be a DOCTOR that my patients can lean on and answer questions for. My brand new Rheumatologist that I was about to pay my hard earned money to...was unable to do either. So I packed up my thoughts, handed over my co-pay and walked out of her office never to return.

I went home and cried for a while. All I could think about is 'I'm 22 years old with a 4 year old. I have a wonderful relationship with my fiance and am in what is supposed to be the prime of my life. What is this RA crap and who the Hell did I piss off to be bestowed this wonderful, obviously life changing disease?' I gave up my quest to answer these questions and decided to call my mom.

My mom being, ya know, thinking she's my mother and all would hopefully sympathize and help me through this. I called even though I knew that for the past 4 years I had been dealing with these on going health problems with no real concern from her. I asked her numerous times to come with me to doctors appointments because I was scared of what they may actually tell me. She kept telling me to let her know the date and she would see what she could do. That didnt satisfy me. I wanted to have my strong, black, mother there to ask questions if I wasn't strong enough. To put her arm around me and say 'I got your back', if they did tell me horrible news. But when I got the news...she wasn't there and I felt alone. Even though I had my fiance to support me, it kind of wasn't the same.

This was the conversation we had:

Me: Hey Ma. I went to the doctor today. I have RA.
Mom: Hmm. I wonder where you got that from. Nobody on my side of the family has that kind of thing.
Me: Uhh... I don't know. I have it though. Kind of nice to have an answer to the problems that I've been having.
Mom: Well the next time you come over bring your test results.
Me: What, why? You don't believe me? I wanted you to come. I asked. I even offered to set it up around your work schedule. You want the results, but not to come with me?
Mom: No. I don't need to see the results. I still don't know where you got this from. They gave you meds though?
Me: Yeah, I have meds. Lots of em.
Mom: Okay then! Take the meds, you'll be good as new!
Me: Okay ma... i gotta go. i'll talk to you later.
I got off the phone wondering about my mothers nursing license. I knew without doing research that medication was not going to just make me 'good as new'. This is going to be a challenge for a little longer than FOREVER! And so far I'm off to a real annoying start. Because of the reaction that I recieved from my own mother, I have been very hesitant to share the news with the rest of my family. If anyone in my extended family knows I have Rheumatoid at this point.. it didn't come from me.

My fiance continues to be (or at least does a pretty good job pretending to be) very supportive. That's all that I can really ask from him, but he does so much more anyway. A lot people that I have talked to or read about with RA don't even have that.  He tells me what I need to hear(sometimes) and talks about OUR future battle with this disease openly when needed. So glad that I got to him first in the dating rat race.

I was amazed at how well my close friends took it. They have known since I found out and have stuck by me. They have never treated me differently. When my RA flares up and I'm not moving as quickly and am too tired to roam the streets, we hang at home or do something less taxing on me. I appreciate them so much. They have helped me through many of what I call 'Emotional Flares'. My fiance is good for a lot of things...understanding a crying girl is not always his strong suit. My friends gave me the loving nickname 'Crip'. I know...kinda negative. Accepting the nickname 'Crip' is one of the first ways for me to not let RA take over and make me a different person, but coexist in the person that I am and am still becoming.

When you research Rheumatoid Arthritis on google, you're flooded with signs and symptoms, diagnostic tests and outlooks. You really have dig deep and search for hours on end looking for people who are going throught the same things. People who my have the same questions, problems and stories that you have. With that I decided to start talking about this openly. Not only with family and friends, but to newly, young diagnosed patients feeling lost in their disease, medications, economy, relationships, and plain and simple... LIFE!

Welcome : P


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