Friday, August 21, 2009

To Tell the Truth: Will the Real Rheumatoid Arthritis Please Stand Up?

Swimming with dragons

This RA Warrior is a dragon slayer. There is one particular dragon who is my arch enemy. It is the mythical version of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I imagine that as it deceives people about Rheumatoid Arthritis, there is less concern about whether a cure is needed for the real RA. The mythical version of RA is probably not a stranger to you. However, let’s warn any newbies among us about what it looks like.

The mythical version of Rheumatoid Arthritis is a few aches and pains mixed in with a large amount of lethargy. It also includes some stupidity about medical treatments and how easy it is too cure anything at all today. Finally, the mythical RA tends to infect people who have no ambition or self esteem, but try to get attention and assistance by acting sick.

I know none of you has the mythical version of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I don’t either. That’s the reason so many of us reacted the way we did to the Woman’s Day article this summer which treated RA a bit lightly. It seemed that the writer was confused about the real RA.

Fighting the misperceptions about Rheumatoid Arthritis is one front of our war because the mythical versions of Rheumatoid Arthritis just don’t raise much concern for a cure. There is no need to spend lots of money doing research to cure whining. And meanwhile, since people don’t know the truth about the real RA, they may not afford RA’ers the assistance that they require one on one.

This RA Warrior is also athletic. However, the real Rheumatoid Arthritis makes it fairly impossible to express that characteristic. But, today, I got to do it a little.

I got to swim for a few minutes. I absolutely love to swim. I taught myself to swim when I was 18 years old in order to conquer my fear of water. (I had been pulled out of the water by a lifeguard when I was 10.)

One day, I swam 110 laps in my mom’s pool. Of course, a lap was only 7 strokes. I would swim every day of my life if I were able.

Today, I swam a few light laps until my shoulders and elbows could not take any more. Then, I rested in warm sunshine. When I knew it was my last chance, I got back in the water to see if I could do just a bit more. My hip would not let me kick, so I swam a couple of laps pulling my left leg as a dead weight. It was my choice. I was ecstatically happy to do that.


Because I am not lazy or lethargic. I am not stupid, unmotivated, or whiny. I have the real RA which fights my athletic desires. And I fight back like a warrior. And always doing the best that I can is who I really am.

And, by the way, if you ever see me sitting on a sofa with my feet on a pillow, I am still doing the same thing: I am doing the best that I can do. But, you can bet I’d rather be swimming.

(If you have not read the fantastic comments posted by RA Warriors on the Woman’s Day website, you should! Here is a link. I just went there again and it reminded me that the readers of this blog are topnotch!)

Want more Warrior?

Inspiring story: A Summer Read for Rheumatoid Arthritis Warriors!

Or for a smile: Laughter as a Weapon Against Rheumatoid Arthritis


Robin said...

You have spoken the absolute truth for so many of us! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Make your opinion known to the author (since Woman's Day isn't listening):

Living It, Loving It said...

RA has it hardest effects on women, many of those mothers in their 30s and 40s. Hollywood and the media do not give women who have RA enough credit for their accomplishments. There are celebrties suffering from RA,and other autoimmune diseases, we just do not hear enough about it. If we did, then RA would be known and we would be closer to a cure. I wish the media and Hollywood understood how important awareness is.

Kelly Young said...

Good ideas, guys.

I will have to check this suggestion out along with ya'll. We'll keep in touch about how it goes...

LILI: You are so right. Let's all push as hard as we can toward the media, the medical profession, and everywhere else.

Terry said...

We have some celebrities with RA, but still get no recognition from the media. I think our disease will come into the spotlight soon.

I'm glad you got to swim, I have also been active my entire life and it sucks having to give up some of that control over what I want do to RA.