A year ago today, I sat by myself in a rheumatologist's office in Denver and listened as an aging doctor read to me from a pamphlet, running his pen along every word as if I were just a child. To be honest, on that day, I felt as helpless as I'd ever felt as a little girl. My diagnosis day was frightening; my mom made plans to go out of town long before we even had any idea that I'd need to see a rheumatologist, and even though I had a close friend and a boyfriend waiting for me when I left the office, all I wanted was my momma. How could I have possibly understood the weight of a Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis? I'd never even heard of a rheumatologist before. That simple three-page pamphlet could hardly prepare me for what was to come.
I guess this should be a sad day, but I'm trying to make it something different. Of course, I don't wake up and celebrate my diagnosis, but I'd like to make my "Rheumiversary" a happy time. RA is a sad disease by itself, so why make that worse? I saw my dad and sister for breakfast this morning, I took a nice long nap as it began to rain this afternoon, and I've generally just done whatever I wanted today. We've planned a family dinner on Sunday to celebrate and reminisce, and a barbecue next week with most of my favorite people attending. I want to make my Rheumiversaries something to remember, not because of the sadness associated with my diagnosis, but because I fill those days with joy and good company.
I've fallen apart this year, many times. I've lost all my courage and my desire to succeed, and at times I gave up entirely and stayed in bed for days on end. There have been weeks, and even months, during which I was sure my life could not possibly turn around. I've been convinced at times that I'd never feel 100% again. While I don't feel great by any means, if I can get up and dress myself every morning, I know I've made progress. As I've said many times, I can choose to let RA become a limitation and a roadblock, or I can treat it as the learning experience it has been. I'm a stronger, smarter and wiser person because of it, so happy 1st Rheumiversary to me!
(A BIG THANK YOU to my loved ones and my supporters. Mom, Liz and Dad have always been there for me; my friends - Ashanti, Caitie, Nicholas, Stacy, Amanda, Mandi, Caroline, Michelle, Bobert and Cray, Kayla, Karl and Kelli - I love you guys so much! My blog readers, THANK YOU for your sometimes anonymous but always fantastic support. If I forgot to mention someone, it's because I just have so many wonderful people in my life! Here's to another pretty fantastic year, RA be damned!)