Why is this happening to me?

Mary - Indian River, Michigan
Entered on April 16, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: hope, illness

Why is this happening to me?

I was always very independent, making the holiday meals, cookouts for family, and starting as a small child, I looked out for everyone around me. One morning, 10 years ago, I was having pain in all my joints, and I could not close my hands. I picked up a cup of coffee, as I did every morning, and dropped it. I could not figure out why this was happening, and was scared. I saw my doctor, and she sent me to a specialist who told me I have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). After this news, I could not imagine what was in store for me, or how quickly my life would change.

I needed a small cup with a large handle for my morning coffee, so I would not drop it. I had to get help to open a pop bottle and move a pan of food to table. I was exhausted all the time, and I could hardly walk the few feet to the bathroom; my body was failing me. For me to ask for help was very hard, it was even harder for me to accept help, especially when I did not ask for it. It took me a long time to accept the fact that the offers were out of love and not out of pity.

MY Mom had RA; she was in a wheelchair, unable to do anything for herself and passed away at age 42. I could not live that way and feared the days to come. The doctors convinced me that would not happen. They started me on the medicine Embrel, which was experimental at the time, to stop the progression of the RA. I got hope and inspiration from success stories like these; the grandmother who could no longer entertain her grandchildren, after starting Enbrel, got back to the life she loved with her grandchildren. The woman who was a registered pup breeder and could no longer do it got back to her pup breeding after starting Embrel. These stories made me realize I was not alone; they gave me hope that it would work, and it did very well. A few weeks after starting Embrel, I was able to take a job at a factory and work there for seven and a half years until the factory closed.

Now, I am going to college full time, but the RA will never be gone, only kept under control. I learned to adapt my ways of doing things to make life less painful. I realized there is always hope.

I believe in second chances. I believe hope is never lost only hidden for a time. I fell AND broke one bone and chipped the other in my right ankle, so here we go again. Because I got a second chance with life-long physical challenges, I believe there will be a second chance here, with this short-term physical challenge.