I’m 49.

I never realized my hands could hurt this much. This is Rheumatoid Arthritis. My hands don’t look that strange – they look kinda normal.

But every bit of them is Pain. Even when they aren’t moving… or doing anything. There is Pain in each little joint. Pain in every small muscle. They feel bloated and large and foreign. How can every bit hurt? How is it possible?

Rheumatoid Arthritis creeped into my life. Slowly. Stealthily. It didn’t arrive with an announcement. It was like a sinister villain who started tiny and grew.

Why had I stopped using my favorite knives to chop and cook? I couldn’t remember. Why was I no longer attending my roses? I couldn’t remember. Why did I no longer use a keyboard to write? I couldn’t remember. Why did my hands and feet swell and hurt so frequently? I would have to sleuth out the reason.

I was diagnosed with RA in the summer of 2013. But as I look back, it had been showing its face and creeping into my body and life at least in 2010.

My rheumatologist would later praise: we caught this early. That’s really good.

But it doesn’t mean RA goes away. She’s here to stay. She is a permanent resident. She can go into remission. She can flare. She can be tucked into a corner or scream and tantrum for attention. She’s part of me and we learn to live together.

#RheumatoidArthritis #RA #autoimmunedisorder #ChronicIllness #ChronicCondition #ChronicPain

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