World Arthritis Day was yesterday, October 12. I was originally planning on writing an entry devoted to arthritis awareness, and then posting a link to it on my Facebook so my friends could learn about arthritis, but I changed my mind.
I have had a lot more problems with nerves in my right forearm. I’ve had to miss a lot of school and actually stayed at my parent’s house for a while. I went to my rheumatologist who then decided it must be my swollen wrist compacting nerves, so she prescribed me predinsone (I’ve been wondering when I’d get my turn at this drug…). My friends had been concerned, and they knew I was getting pretty bummed about the situation. More crap to deal with, more missed classses, yadda yadda. They were very supportive, and while talking with them I realized their knowledge of RA was beyond impressive.
When I was first having problems, they would ask, “Do you think it’s broken? Or is it the RA?” With these two comments, I realized this particular friend knows the symptoms of RA well enough to understand I might be flaring, and they said “RA” instead of “arthritis,” which can have different connotations to people without RA.
Another friend asked me about how it would impact school. They realized the effects the disease has on me.
Other friends knew I needed cheering up. One constantly reassured me, and told me that they didn’t hope everything would be okay, but that everything WOULD be okay. Another suggested I go play in the rain. The rain????? I’ve hated that junk for almost five years now. It always makes me feel louzy. That’s how I usually feel about rain. But this time I trusted my friend, slipped my rainboots on, and went splashing through puddles for a good twenty minutes. And it was FUN!
While at the doctor’s, I was texting my friends to let them know things as I found them out. I thought it was so sweet that they all wanted to hear from me, but I was really taken aback when I found out that these friends were texting each other to make sure they all heard. Wow!
Arthritis awareness among my friends is completely unnecessary. It didn’t happen overnight, but my friends now have a good understanding of RA and what I need from them when I’m flaring. I’m incredibly lucky to have such great people in my life who care about me enough to learn about this disease.
I know many of you feel like no one understands what you’re going through, and that you can only get support from others with RA. But I think this is proof that this is not the case. It’s gonna take some time, and you’re going to have to forgive them if they do not understand sometimes or if they get something wrong. But good friends care about each other, and even when they get things wrong they’re still trying, so don’t give up on them. With a little work on both ends, you can have a loving support group, too. Awareness should start with those closest to you.