This will be brief.
On Monday of this week, my doctor diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. RA is a disease that affects the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. It can also cause fatigue, exhaustion, and insomnia. Emotional problems (from having to cope with constant pain) are also a possibility. I’m slowly typing this out with one hand — one finger, really. But I wanted to say something about what was going on with me in a space that would allow for more than 140 characters.
My doctor thinks that all of the problems I’ve been having in my hands, shoulders, and wrists over the last two years were probably RA flare-ups, but I wasn’t tested then, so we really have no way of knowing.
I don’t exactly know what this means other than I’ll have to manage this for the rest of my life, and I’ll have to learn to eat better, sleep more, exercise when I can, and stay vigilant. I’ll be seeing a specialist eventually, and will have more answers afterward. RA, if not kept in check, can lead to damaged joints, and I’ve even read that the life expectancy of RA patient can be shortened by as much as seven years, compared to people who don’t have RA. But I’m not going to think about that right now.
Instead, I’m choosing to stay positive. I have a roof over my head, a job I like, good friends who keep me in good spirits, and a small furry shadow whose antics always seem to make me laugh.
I’m holding on.
(Yes, I know dooce just blogged about Alabama Shakes, but I like the song too, and it fits the current mood. It isn’t plagarism. It’s inspiration.)