Rheumatoid Arthritis; A Disease Doesn’t have to be Fatal to Take Your Life Away
“I woke up to an excruciating pain, it was like a fire that was burning every limb, every bone in my body and I couldn’t control the shrill screams that escaped my mouth”.
This was the first time the 26 year old Nazia, experienced the severity of Rheumatoid arthritis; as she recalls.
It is a genetic disease, when the body starts preying on itself. When the immune system, instead of protecting the healthy cells of the body starts attacking them.
“It started in one finger and then, like a parasite it spread all around my body to my knees, elbows, and ankles. I was not able to do the simplest of things, like opening my bottle of shampoo to wash my hair or even open my medication without holding back agonizing screams.” Unconsciously, she clasped her hands tightly together as if to keep herself composed as she further continued. “It took weeks of doctors’ appointments and endless tests, for me to find out what was wrong with me. I finally could put a name to the pain I was going through; but honestly, things worsened with time.” She cringed ever so lightly when I asked her, “How?”
She took a deep breath to buy herself a moment to think whether to answer the question or not. “Well, it’s really hard for an otherwise a healthy and a young person to cope up with the fact that this is how life is going to be from now on. A daily dose of a dozen or so steroids just so you can hold up your own tooth brush or fold that blanket yourself, is annoying and depressing at the same time. There’s something particularly melancholic about realizing that medicines are your lifeline now”
“What are the physical implications of Arthritis on you?
“The physical implications are pretty vast. It has effected every tendon, every limb and every bone in my body. But worst of all, I just found out that my knees are pretty much useless now and it’s only a matter of time until they deteriorate. The only way for me to keep walking is a knee operation.”
“You seem to be coping up well with it now, how so?
“I have realized that there are some things you cannot control in your life no matter how much you want to, let’s just say I’ve decided to make peace with that fact. Also I figured that the disease itself doesn’t kill you as much as your reaction to it. It took me a year or so to see that despite the inconvenient turns, I still had a life to live and a loving family to live for. This doesn’t mean it’s all rainbows and butterflies from here, there are still days when the pain gets too much, when even sitting down hurts; but I find the courage to go on.”
“Anything you would like to say to the people reading this?
“Yes. I am sure half the readers will be thinking, ‘So what? There are people fighting worse conditions than this one.’ Yes. People are fighting diseases more deadly than this one, but being less fatal doesn’t make it something to be taken lightly. A disease is a disease and believe me anything that keeps you from living a healthy life is not trivial.”