Friday, October 12, 2012

Not JUST Arthritis

I have arthritis. Well, that's not completely true. I do have arthritis, but not just arthritis. I have Autoimmune Arthritis. 

People with arthritis often have stiff, painful joints upon waking or after a period of rest. Some have pain throughout the day. Some develop deformed joints, making walking or using their hands painful and difficult. 

People with Autoimmune Arthritis experience that, too, and so much more. They get ten hours of sleep, get up to go to the bathroom, and feel like they've run a marathon. They make a trip to the grocery store and halfway through, out of nowhere, their body gives out. Their joints get painfully swollen for seemingly no reason. Their bodies are attacking themselves.


There's arthritis.

Then there's Autoimmune Arthritis.

When people typically think about arthritis, they usually envision Osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a mild to severe form of arthritis affects primarily the weigh-bearing joints as a result of injury, age, or wear and tear.

Then there's Autoimmune Arthritis. AA includes primary joint diseases that have an autoimmune component and also affect soft and connective tissues and organs. Autoimmune Arthritis diseases include Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA), Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Primary Sjogren's Syndrome (SS), Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE), Still's Disease, Juvenile Arthritis (JA), Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD), and Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease/Undifferentiated Spondyloarthropathy (UCTD/USpA). 


People with arthritis treat their symptoms with acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen), narcotics, cortisone injections, physical therapy, joint replacements, and other therapies.

People with AA treat their disease with those, as well as tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs, including the chemotherapy drug methotrexate), and immunosuppressant drugs. 

Please visit www.IAAMovement.org
So when I say, "I have Psoriatic Arthritis," what I'm saying is, I have a debilitating and sometimes disabling disease the affects every joint in my body, as well as soft and connective tissues, and often makes me feel as if I've been hit by a bus before I even get out of bed in the morning. 

It doesn't mean that I'm not an effective parent, caregiver, or friend. It just means I have more tricks up my sleeve than the average person and have more time on my hands for reading, talking, singing, and being silly. 

It doesn't mean I'm a miserable, unhappy person. It means that even though I live with pain and PsA-imposed limitations, love and live my life to its fullest, in gratitude for every breath, every step, and every smile. 

Please visit www.showusyourhands.org!
It doesn't mean that I can take an aspirin and get on with life. It does mean that I get to relax for three hours in the infusion center while somewhat scary drugs drip into my veins so that I may spend a good portion of my time feeling better and not needing to make use of my mobility devices. 

It means I get to slow down, appreciate the small things and the not so small things, polish my sense of humor, continue to learn patience, and choose to laugh rather than cry. 

It means that when my hip dislocated while I was trying to get out of bed, there were tears streaming down my face not from pain, but because I was laughing so hard at the fact that the first thought that entered my mind when it happened was, "Well, that will make it easier to get my leg to move where I need it!" 

If someone mentions they have arthritis, please don't assume it's JUST arthritis. 


3 comments:

  1. Very Well Written!

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  2. I support what you wrote, “when someone tells you they have arthritis, please don’t just assume its JUST arthritis”, because Autoimmune Arthritis is an internal ailment that needs proper treatment. How’s your hip now? I hope you have regular checkups to somehow help you through these ailments. I wish you all the best.

    Sienna Christie

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  3. I'm on Remicade, getting massage therapy and acupunture, and doing much better now. Thanks!

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