Posts Tagged ‘depression’


In the midst of another busy day at work yesterday, the newest Chronic Babe newsletter written by Editrix Jenni happened to pop into my inbox. I rarely have the time to read these while working, but desperately needed a minute to step away from the 25,000 line Excel spreadsheet I was analyzing before my eyes glazed over and my head exploded. I don’t know how many of you have come into contact with Chronic Babe’s website or newsletters before, but let me tell you… they are simply amazing!

The Chronic Babe site is designed to give women living with chronic diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, a spot to connect via laughter, shared medical tips, career successes, embarrassing stories, boy gossip and more. Ultimately, Chronic Babe provides readers with an escape to a fun place where girls living with illnesses are not alone. And it does all of this while making these women feel sexy and proud.

Here’s a snip-it from yesterday’s newsletter. This is for all you sexy, wonderful sick girls out there! I hope you find Jenni’s writing as powerful as I do.

 

“The other day I tallied the number of doctor appointments I had in one week: 5. Then I thought about how many business calls were piggybacked on either side of those appointments, and how for each call I had to put on my best business face (voice!) and not let on that I wasn’t feeling well. Then I thought about the deadlines I met, the challenging conversations I had, the time I spent patiently explaining rheumatoid arthritis (changed from fibromyalgia) a to a new friend who was confused, the numerous bus rides I took while in huge pain. For a moment I was tempted to look at the tally of everything and throw a big ol’ pity party. Why me? Why do I have to deal with this big pile of awful? And why do I have to show up for everything with a great attitude, being helpful when I’m exhausted and compassionate toward others when *I’m* the one in pain?

Why? Because I’m brave. Yup, I said it: I’m brave.

I’m not trying to be braggy here. I’m not puffing myself up. I’m just being real with you. I’m brave. SuperBrave. Every day—in spite of pain, fatigue, headaches, exhaustion, cramps, stomach irritation, blurry eyesight, dizziness, memory problems and, did I mention, pain—I show up for my life. I work, I maintain relationships, I put on makeup and cute clothes, I volunteer in my community, I nurture my creativity. And I do everything I can to maintain my health, including (but certainly not limited to) exercising, eating right, practicing sleep hygiene, meditating, praying, taking my meds on schedule, asking for help, doing yoga, journaling and following doctors’ orders. I am totally awesome!

Guess what? You are too! You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t trying to be the best Babe you can be in spite of illness. I bet you do a ton of things to take good care of yourself. I bet you do a ton of things to care for others as well. And I bet there are people in your life who don’t have a clue how hard you work to keep it all together, to THRIVE and not just survive. I’m not just guessing here; I get your emails every day, talk to you on the ChronicBabe Forum, meet you at events. I see you out there! You are some of the bravest, most hard-working, inspiring folks I’ve ever known. And it’s YOUR bravery that keeps me motivated on my worst days.”

 

So to all my RA affected readers out there, remember that you are totally awesome!! I believe that there isn’t much out there that you can’t do. Stay well and stay active because while your body sometimes gives up on you, you can’t give in to the disease by giving up on yourself.

Visit chronicbabe.com to read other inspirational blogs and to sign up for Jenni’s newsletter. I hope Jenni’s newsletter brightens your day like it does mine.


Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of those infamous invisible diseases…if you’re lucky. If you’re lucky, the doctors diagnose you in a timely manor so physical aspects of the disease don’t begin to mutilate your body. If you’re not lucky, your fingers and toes begin to curl up and take on a new form which you cannot control. It repulses you to look at your own joints and limbs. You want to crawl into bed and cover your head without ever making a public appearance again. Unfortunately you can’t do this as you’re a single 23 year old girl with bills to pay.

You just graduated college so you are thousands of dollars in debt and living in an urban apartment that costs more than a half of your monthly salary. Just weeks ago you were jet skiing at a friend’s weekend cabin without a care in the world.  The sun was shining down upon you, your hair was blowing wild in the wind and all you could think about was the promise of your bright future. You just landed your dream job at an advertising agency making a less than satisfactory salary, but hey you’re really MAKING it, right? That’s how it seems until you wake up one day, unable to move your shoulder. When you try to squeeze your hand or fingers together, you cry. You’re such a strong women, but you cry when squeezing your fingers together? What’s wrong with you? Why are you acting so weak?

The orthopedic specialist says it’s just tendonitis, wraps you in a shoulder splint and tells you to take it easy for a few weeks. The pain becomes so unbearable but you push back those tears, go to work and sit at your desk like a good worker bee for 55 hours a week. You try aimlessly to type with one hand for days and then weeks but the pain doesn’t end, it starts spreading. Next your feet start going numb, both of them. You can barely get out of bed in the morning because your feet start burning to the point that you have to peep out of the sheets to make sure there hasn’t been a house fire in the night. The podiatrist says it’s just plantar fasciitis (an inflammatory foot disease which comes and goes, causing minor pain and swelling) due to all the jogging in the months and years prior. It’ll go away, the doctors says, just give it some time. At this point, you have your shoulder in a splint and you’re limping at the same time. How did you go from jogging and jet skiing to this invalid of a person at 23 years old in just a few weeks? 

Six months pass and you are juggled from physician to specialist to orthopedic to podiatrist when someone finally decides to take your blood and test your Rheumatoid factor. They finally say you’ve been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis. They say that this explains all of the pain and curling of your joints. Arthritis? Isn’t that an old person’s disease? I think my grandmother has arthritis in her ankle… Why does my whole body hurt? What does Rheumatoid mean? How did this happen? What did I do wrong? I am too young for a chronic disease. There is no cure? Will I feel like this for the rest of my life? No one in my family has Rheumatoid arthritis. Those are just a few of the thousand thoughts that cross your mind the first time you hear your diagnoses. This is when you realize that your life is about to change… forever.

This blog is the first of a series on what it’s like to be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.