Battle Scars

All of us RA’ers know that arthritis can sometimes leave a mark, whether it be inflamed joints, disfigurements, or nodules.  This sort of “mark” can be recognized by the Non-Ra community as arthritis (even though some, if not most, will not understand it in its entirety).

But there are other sorts of battle scars, if you will, that RA patients may bare.  One of mine, for example, are bruises on my legs (see picture on right).  This is an after product of Enbrel, my biologic of choice, taken by injection twice a week.   In this picture, you can see the bruises of not only this week’s Enbrel injections, but last week’s as well.  These bruises have always been embarrassing to me.  For a long time now, I’ve disliked going swimming without a pair of shorts or a long T-shirt on to cover my battle scars, I usually don’t wear shorts (and even when I do they are almost to my knees), and I don’t wear dresses as often as I would like (I absolutely adore summer dresses).

Today was the first day that I wore shorts that showed my bruises in public.  I’ve been on Enbrel for almost four years, so this was a pretty big deal.  Even though I only went to two classes and the office of my apartment building, I was pretty nervous about it.  I pictured one of my classmates asking me about them, and wondering what I’d say back.  “Oh, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis.”  If I were them, I’d think I was full of you know what.  How does arthritis justify bruises?

But I don’t think anyone even noticed.  And even if they did…why do I care so much?  It’s time for me to put this silly fear behind me.  Sometime this week, I’m going to wear a summer dress in public.  😀

Yes, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but RA should never define us.  RA can put a limit on what we do, especially if we’re in the middle of a flare or if you avoid certain activities like I do to try to prevent a flare.  Therefore its silly to limit ourselves more than what is necessary, and I’m going to work very hard to make sure I never avoid something I want to do and that I’m fully capable of doing just because of embarrassment.

Lesson learned!  Life’s too short for such things.

Stay healthy!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherri Taylor
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 19:55:52

    This blog is like an RA Bible for me……I am forever grateful
    that you have put your Ra knowledge in print…..!


  2. kim paolino
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 21:59:18

    hey! i’ve had RA since i was 21yrs old. i know exactly what you are going through!! but i do have a suggestion for your battle scars!! i bruise VERY easy and i like to wear summer dresses and shorts too. i like to use a self tannng moisturizer, it kinda keeps your skin a tiny bit more even. then if i’m going out or something, i use sally hansen leg make-up. i know it sounds kinda yucky, but its very light and not heavy coverage, just enough. and you can pick the color closest to your skin color. i usually find it at rite aid or walmart or some place like that! i hope this helps! i’m 47 now and i’ve had a few yrs experience at this! i’ve always been into fashion and make up and stuff. i had my cosmetologists license until i was diagnosed at 21. in retrospect i had probably started the disease at around 16 or 17 but was not diagnosed until 21. i tried to keep working at doing hair, but that didn’t last too long, it was near impossible. so i found work in an office for a while until i just couldn’t work anymore. that was 20 something yrs ago, there wasn’t the meds out that they have today. i always say that if you have to be diagnosed with RA, its better to be diagnosed now than when i was, because there all so many new drugs to slow the process of the disease down. anyway, just thought this might help you!!


    • Cari Elliott
      Apr 08, 2010 @ 23:50:21

      Kim! I had no idea a such thing as “leg make-up” existed, but it sounds like my soon-to-be new best friend!! I have great respect for you for trying to do hair for as long as you did, most of the time I can’t even do my own hair. You are one tough cookie!

      I remember when I was still newly diagnosed and started injectable methotrexate. I strongly dislike methotrexate, but I know how much it helps and how lucky I am to have it. Whenever I feel like I just can’t take it, I think of my grandmother, who also had RA. She had to have gold shots. O_O I’m so very thankful I will never have to do that!

      Thank you so much for your tips! 😀


  3. Elizabeth Wald
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 06:03:58

    This is awe inspiring. Ms. Winner, you have been through so much, yet you still give to the world. I have RA, RSD and a host of other conditions not surprisingly related to this disease.

    What you have accomplished, what you envision as your life dream is a true inspiration to me. This story is about courage, strength, the know-how, love and above all – hope.

    You are needed in this world. You are obviously loved by many, many people. You are a winner, Melinda Winner.


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