This morning I got to talk to Dr. Jonathan Whiteson on Doctor Radio about what it's like to be a young person with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was so exciting and I feel so grateful to be given the opportunity to bring awareness to this disease. If it helps just one person feel better about what they're going through, it was well worth it.
We all go through difficult things in life, whether its disease, like me, financial troubles, or family stuff. Life is a journey with many ups and downs, and this my story.
Being a young person with Arthritis [or any invisible illness, really] can be hard. There's a lot of judgement. People don't expect to see a teenager walking with a cane or parking in a handicapped spot. There are a lot of stares. A lot of questions like, "What's wrong with you?" or "What happened to you?"
I have never encountered a person who I've told, "I have Rheumatoid Arthritis," to that knew what I was talking about. The response is always, "how is that possible?" or "What's that?" because they assume that only old people get Arthritis.
I also look pretty healthy on the outside, so they assume that I can do things that I really can't.
It's like this, if you see a grandma having trouble lifting a 5 lb bag of flour at the supermarket, you would automatically help her because you're already aware that old people can't do things young folks can. You're not surprised when you she asks you to help her take out the trash because it's too heavy.
However, what people don't realize is that there are hundreds of young people with Arthritis that have those same exact limitations!
Another hard part about being young with Arthritis is the amount of time that goes by while we're waiting for these treatments to work. That's a big thing for a lot of us.
For me, I've been through 5 failed treatments over the last 5 years. In the last 5 years, I've also had to drop-out of college, quit my job, and move in with my husband's parents because I need help doing so many little things.
At the same time that others my age are enjoying independence, I'm loosing mine and my 20s are slipping away.
I'd love to just hit "pause" on my life till I find a treatment that works and I get better, but I can't.
A lot of people say, "Life is short" or "YOLO", but I don't. I believe Life is a long journey, and I have plenty of time to achieve my goals. The university isn't going anywhere! It'll still be there when I'm better and I can actually keep up with the other students.
In the meantime, I'm not just laying around doing nothing! I'm doing something I'm extremely passionate about, and that's helping others and raising awareness that Kids get Arthritis too!
*To hear more of my conversation with Dr. Jonathan Whiteson, listen online at Doctor Radio's the Rehab Show.
**Get more infomation on the Vectra DA diagnostic blood test I talked about on the show!
***Do you have RA? Connect with all of us at RAconnection.com!