It was one year ago this October that Kim and I sat in the rheumatologist’s office as he told us that Kim had severe rheumatoid arthritis (RAD). In almost every way the whirlwind we have been on this last year makes it seem like we have been dealing with this for much longer. Maybe it is partially because Kim has suffered with fibromylagia since 2007 that creates the impression that it has been longer than it actually is. Or maybe it’s simply the myriad of juggling new diagnoses, diseases, and medications that give the feeling that we have been dealing with this for years.
Looking back it is hard to remember all of the doctor’s appointments Kim has been to in the last year. The changes in her medications — adding a new one, taking away another, or increasing and decreasing dosages — seemed to come weekly. Many symptoms came and stayed. Some came and left and haven’t come back. Others come and go without warning and, seemingly, without a reason. Honestly, it would be nice if her RAD would drop us a note a few days prior to a weekend of fatigue hitting her, but so far we haven’t gotten any memos.
Here are a just a few things we have learned in the last year.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is not just an old person’s disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis affects more than just joints. It is a systemic disease that attacks the whole body.
- That means it can also attack your organs including your heart and your lungs.
- Prior to Kim’s diagnosis we thought the term “rheumatoid arthritis” simply meant a more severe form of osteoarthritis. It doesn’t.
- So far, almost every doctor that Kim has been in contact with through work and personal appointments is tragically uninformed about the realities of rheumatoid arthritis.
- We cannot imagine trying to deal with this past year without prayer and the support of our friends and family.
- Kim’s diagnosis has caused the depth of many of our friendships to increase dramatically.
- We have made many new “friends” through the Rheum community on Twitter. Though we may never meet any of them, many have become very dear friends.
- We cannot imagine trying to deal with this past year without the online Rheum community. Nowhere else can we ask a question and get educated information literally within minutes!
- Nothing means more to us than to hear someone sincerely tell us they are praying for our family. Nothing.
- In the last year, Kim and I have had some very emotional, tear-filled talks about what the future might hold. They have been some of the sweetest moments of conversation in our marriage.
- We still believe that God is in control of every moment of our lives and that He gave the gift of RAD to Kim and our family.
- We believe ultimately that Kim’s RAD will glorify God and that it is for our good.
- There are many days our flesh struggles to be thankful, but God’s faithfulness strengthens us.
- We would love to get rid of the “A” word in rheumatoid arthritis. Our preference would be to call it Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD).
- Contest number 1!!! You can help raise awareness and win some great prizes while doing so! The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation is having a video contest! If you can’t enter yourself, would you spread the word through Facebook and/or Twitter?!?!
As I close I would like to put out a teaser about contest number 2. Early next week I will be posting the details for our very own giveaway/contest on the blog! I am very excited about what we have planned and look forward to sharing it with you!