Another Big D-Word

I’m still in therapy and working on myself. It’s hard sometimes but it’s necessary and worth it.

There’s one issue that I thought I had faced and deal with pretty well, but maybe not.

It’s a well known fact that I have rheumatoid arthritis. You can read these posts if you need a refresher:

Facts on Facts About RA

Lessons from My Joints

Going into the Big Leagues

I know that the RA will progress and that isn’t pretty. I’ve seen how bad it can get- my grandfather struggled to do simple tasks in his later years. I plan to live my best life until I can’t. Matthew and I have even talked about moving into a smaller one floor home once the kids move out.

However, I haven’t fully accepted RA as a disability. I’ll tell people I have it but I’m quick to deny that I have a disability- it is classified as one. This is a rough one.

Invisible chronic illnesses are difficult to deal with physically but just as hard, if not harder, emotionally. When people can’t see that someone has a disability, they tend to not understand the issue. For example, my mother has a limp and uses a walker. Does that stop her? No.

People have asked me if I have considered going on disability so that I can stay home and still contribute to the household. No. I can still work part-time, which is what I’m currently doing. I’m almost certain that my rheumatologist would sign off on the paperwork, but I’m not ready to take that step.

There’s a stigma attached to all of this. People think those of us with chronic illnesses make it up- my current manager actually thought I was making up being immunocompromised. Or ifs not as bad as we say it is.

I’ve used the electric chairs in stores and get weird looks. I don’t really care. Luckily, the important people in my life understand bad pain days and flares. I do what I can when I can.

As I’m writing this, I’m awake at 6 am because my pain woke me up. I’m in a flare and am debating steroids. I know my physical limits but sometimes flares creep up on me and I don’t realize what’s going on until it’s too late.

I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I don’t want my kids to worry about or feel like they have to take care of me. Matthew, luckily, helps and understands what I’m dealing with. It’s frustrating as hell to have a chronic illness. It also gives me a different view on my life.

I know I will accept at some point that I have a disability but today is definitely not that day.

5 thoughts on “Another Big D-Word

  1. ashleyleia says:

    I tend to look at disability in terms of functionality rather than diagnosis, and in the longer term, I think it’s probably better to take advantage of ability while you have it.

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