Where to Begin?

How can you begin to explain a life with R.A.?  I have had this disease for three years. Sometimes it feels like fifty. Sometimes it feels like time has passed so quickly, and I am still not used to it. Three years of perpetual pain, and I still sometimes wake up surprised that I hurt so badly.

Of course there are good days and bad. Sometimes it is something I can control, usually not. Unfortunately, I have never really talked to anyone else who has been in my situation. Sometimes I forget that there are people out there who feel exactly the way I do and  have experienced the same things. This is something I would like to remedy.

Anyways, the first symptoms appeared shortly after my twentieth birthday. It took me awhile to even realize what was happening. At the time, I was attending college full time. I also had a part time secretarial job, and a full time job waitressing and bar-tending. So my life was busy. My life was beyond busy. I was working my way through college. I had my own apartment. I had just paid half down on my first used car. I could not have been happier. I have always been independent, and it just felt so good to be doing it all on my own.

Waitressing and bar-tending over forty hours a week can wear someone out. I don’t care how young you are. And that’s all I thought it was at first. I remember squatting down to replace some frozen mugs in the freezer, and how unbelievably painful it was. That was my first clue that it may be a bit more than just overworking. Within three weeks of the symptoms first appearing, every joint in my body ached. It all happened so quickly. My ankles hurt so bad, I could hardly drive my car. My hands hurt so bad, I could hardly brush my hair, and my knees where so bad, I couldn’t climb the stairs at my school.

I eventually had to break down and see a doctor. Having no insurance, within three visits, my savings were wiped out. The money needed for blood work, medications, and doctors fees was huge. I was completely on my own, and had no one to depend on. Within four months, I couldn’t afford my apartment. I worked as much as physically possible. I remember leaving my job at night and as soon I made it to my car, I’d cry.