CreakyJoints is delighted to welcome the Unexpected Advocate to our featured blogger lineup.

 

My life was on track. My life was amazing and fun. My life was full of exercise and activity. I would run 45 minutes a day and come home to do yoga for another 45 minutes. This was all after I worked in the Dairy department at my store doing a job that many men weren’t willing to do – breaking down palettes that weighed thousands of pounds and stocking crates of milk, juice, butter and rolls.

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I was 34 and had been in a loving relationship for less than six months, after a string of raucous and ugly and terrible ones. I was going to marry the man I loved and become the legal stepmother of his children, two toddlers I had already been raising as my own.  I never planned on having kids until these amazing children and their father came into my life. I loved these children. I loved their father.  Life was good.

And then it hit.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects people of all races, ages, capabilities, and classes. It knows no boundaries and does not care about whether you have money or where you come from.

It did not care that I was only 34 or about to be married with a new family.

It did not care that I was planning on going back to school to become a nurse, while working my way up the chain at work. It even invited its close companion fibromyalgia to join our little party after about a year and half of struggle.

It did not care that I was reconnecting with my long-time friends and my amazing sister after years of tumult and estrangement.

My husband was my caretaker through my treacherous and scary beginning.  We married in March 2013, a year and a half after my diagnosis.

But then only months later, in Augusts 2013,  my husband was also diagnosed with rheumatoid  arthritis.

My husband is ten years younger than me.

It did not care that he was only 26 years old when he came down with this wretched disease.

So, guess what? Now, I don’t care what rheumatoid arthritis tries to do to me. I will have this awful, unmerciful, and unkind disease until I die but I am going to enjoy the little moments anyways.

When I flare and it saps the energy and strength from my hands so that I drop everything I pick up – everything. I won’t let it stop me from hugging my kids and picking them up as much as I can. Even though I developed osteoarthritis in my hips and knees during the first seven months after diagnosis because it ran so rampantly unchecked by medication – I still walk as much as I can and have even hiked with my kids.

I don’t care what rheumatoid arthritis has done or will do.  I don’t care what it wants from me. I will not let it define who I am and dictate the happiness or quality of my life.

It is telling others how I firmly hold onto life despite disease that I wanted to become a CreakyJoints Blogger.

I write in the hopes that someone somewhere will read about my struggle and encourage them to be a little bit stronger. I want to help those along their path who have no one but a computer screen and the story of someone else who understands, because sometimes that is all any of us has.

I also write for myself to preserve my sanity and refresh my soul.