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Dear Rheumatoid Arthritis,

We first met 9 years ago when my mom got sick and you've interfered with my family's health and happiness ever since. 

Now, you're knocking on MY door?!

Well guess what?  I'm moving.

(No really, I am moving -- more on that in the coming weeks.)

I knew it was only a matter of time before we met face to face, but it's pretty shitty that you've shown up when I'm just 40 years old. 

You know I've always expressed myself with my hands. So, it's a low blow to make my fingers so inflamed that I can't properly hold a pen or open a bottle of water -- let alone type or cook.  I also can't wear my rings or bracelets or watch.

The last 6 weeks have brought a pain that's difficult to describe.  Shooting cramps from my shoulder to my elbow as I shower.  Aching in my ankles when I step off a curb on my walk to work.  Stiffness in my jaw when I try to eat a sandwich at lunch.  The most basic things have become pretty difficult. 

You are a sneaky little coward who likes to jump from joint to joint -- hiding in my wrists one minute, my knees the next, my knuckles right after that. 

And I'm left feeling weak and swollen from head to toe, like I just got a beat down from the inside out.

Nighttime is worse than the days.  I slept like a baby until YOU showed up.  Now I'm up every 20 minutes (also, like a baby?) and I've seen every late night infomercial ever filmed.  It's a special kind of torture to be laying in bed and not have the strength in your arm to reach the remote to change the channel.  So I watch.  And I listen. 

Most are total junk, but I think I actually will buy a Shark vacuum.  That just makes good sense.

Of course, I eventually had to go in for an official diagnosis. I wasn't fooling around, I went straight to NYU.  They took so much blood, I'm surprised I had any left. Then came the tests and x-rays and NSAIDs and steroids, and who knows what's next? 

Oh, wait... I do!  Because I've been living through it with my mom for years.

My doctor says I'm in the early stages of something that has no cure.  Most of the medicines that keep the symptoms at bay have potential side effects that are worse than the disease. Plus, they lower your immune system so you can catch all sorts of rotten stuff.  Oh, and forget about having kids, unless you like serious birth defects.

Hey, salt... meet wound!  Now rub.

So far I've found just 3 good things about this awful mess:
1) I tested negative for scarier things like Lupus, Psoriasis, MS and Hepatitis.
2) I can't use my hands, so my nails look totes amazing.
3) I can't put on pants, so I've been wearing dresses which makes me look much fancier than I feel.

But guess what?  Even though I can't make a fist, I'm NOT going out like this. 

There's a showdown in my joints and I'm pulling out ALL the stops.  Medicine is just the tip of the iceberg.  I'll go gluten free, or do yoga, or transcendental meditation, or get acupuncture, or do the hokey pokey if it helps keep YOU in my rearview.

FU, RA. Lose my number.  You're not welcome in my home.

Your #1 Enemy

tags: health, rants


chris said...

I thought id check for a new post and i see this. :( Im sorry Jen. Feel better!!!!!!!

Jessica said...

Awe, Jen. I'm sorry to hear this but you're young and strong, you'll be ok. Sending you hugs and love <3

Anonymous said...

Get well!

Anonymous said...

my auntie has that sounds like you've caught it early

get better soon

chris said...

I totally glossed over your moving any chance it will be out West?

chris said...

I totally glossed over your moving any chance it will be out West?

Krissy said...

Hope you Get better soon!

Anonymous said...


Kevin said...

Jen, really sorry to hear this news. I hope you are finding some relief.

chris said...