I was fortunate enough to meet some fellow RA warriors over the weekend. We shared stories of pain, suffering, laughter, courage, fear, hope, loneliness, depression, fitness goals, clean eating tips and most important of all, quality time spent with people who have so much in common with each other.
As the weekend progressed, I jotted down some notes that I’ve wanted to share with you, my dear readers. One of my favorite discussions was built around what we coined #ArthritisStreetCred. Below is a list of just a few things that gives individuals #ArthritisStreetCred.
- People accuse you of being dramatic rather than sick because you look just fine to them. The truth is, rheumatoid arthritis is often an invisible disease so you may look fine on the outside, while you’re reeling from pain on the inside
- Your pharmacist knows you by name. If you’re like me, you’ve switched medications umpteen million times, trying to find the right potion or dosage to help alleviate your RA symptoms. This requires frequent visits to the local pharmacist. I like to think of myself like Norm from Cheers when I walk into CVS. I apologize to those not born before the early 80’s, as this reference will make zero sense to you.
- You go gluten free because it helps alleviate arthritis inflammation but people chastise you for hopping on the trendy diet bandwagon you since you don’t technically have celiac disease. Look people! I’m not going to throw up every time I eat a piece of bread, but I did take a food sensitivity test at my doctor’s office that confirmed my body is majorly adverse to baker’s yeast and flour. And when I eat those things, my body feels crappy. Take that jerks.
- There are days you wake up and cannot get out of bed because the pain is too excruciating. There are nights you can’t sleep because you feel like you’re dying and even consider chopping off one of your own limbs to make the pain stop (well maybe that’s going a little overboard). I’m not a parent (yet), so can only imagine the heartbreak of not being able to lift or care for your baby without someone’s assistance. In my eyes, this is the epitome of #ArthritisStreetCred.
- You walk with a cane or leg braces, wear wrist braces, knee braces, various ace bandages…. And you’re only 25. This is what I call #ArthritisStreetFashion.
- Injecting needles into your own body or getting infusions is the norm for you. Every time I hear someone say they’re afraid to get a shot, I secretly snicker under my breath, especially when it’s a big, strong, man. If they only knew what it was like to administer their own shots on a regular basis.
I know there are tons more examples of what gives our community #ArthritisStreetCred. I’d love to hear some of yours!