Dealing with any autoimmune disorder is a war. 

There are skirmishes, offensives, victories and defeats.

The key is to keep fighting.

I’ve always told anyone who felt sorry for me because I have RA and all the other problems that I am fighting this as hard as I can and I’ll be going down swinging.

It’s just sometimes it’s so hard to make that fist.

I heard “The Boxer,” by Simon and Garfunkel a few days ago and it brought me to tears. Maybe it was because I’ve been feeling really ratty lately but most likely it was the news I got at my last doctor’s visit, but the story of the man who is beaten over and over got to me.

I was crying and it took me several days to pinpoint why that song would set me off.

My appointment was one of the fast ones I have. I’m there long enough to get the prescriptions for concoction of pain meds I take to control that particular monster.

When my doctor’s assistant came in, I asked her to tell me why I wasn’t on any medicines that dealt specifically with the battle in my bones.

I knew I can’t have NSAIDS anymore because my kidney levels have been off for years, but the next bit of information was a sucker punch.

The PA looked through my charts and told me I couldn’t have any more drugs that would suppress my immune system. It’s suppressing itself enough on its own. Anything else would be dangerous.

So, I find myself out of drugs to take. 

Since 1974 I have been taking one thing or another to fight the disease but I guess my battle is over until the next new drugs hit the market.

What this means is for the first time in decades, I’m in the ring alone, fighting hand to hand against my disease, and I’m afraid.

It’s why I started to cry when I heard:

“In the clearing stands a boxer

And a fighter by his trade

And he caries the reminders

Of ev’ry glove that laid him out

Or cut him till he cried out

In his anger and his shame

‘I am leaving, I am leaving’

But the fighter still remains.”

And I remain, and I will go down swinging.