Sick With Rheumatoid Arthritis

By |

Huh.

From the very moment I received my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis I carried my illness with my identity.

I am ill. I will always be ill. I am living in illness.

People who do not live with something like an autoimmune disease don’t get it. They don’t understand that RA, Lupus, and Crohns are in fact so dynamic that they can change your identity. Illness transforms an individual from carefree and lighthearted to fearful and depressed. Illness has the power to make a young person old–not just in their mentality, but in their actual bones. Do you know what it is like to be 26 years old and have the bones of a 90 year old?

I do.

Perhaps the most devastating power of disease is the robbing of pleasure.

Oh you love to run? Sorry, that’s not the best exercise for someone like you. You’re a gifted painter?  No, your hands cannot properly hold a brush anymore. You love to hold and nurse your baby? Sorry, those hands cannot hold him, and your medication is inappropriate for breastfeeding.

You see how bitterness seeps in like that? Pleasure–stolen. What makes it worse is being surrounded by people doing what  you loved, but are unable to do.

There was a time, a recent time, when it hurt to see Pinterest’s “inspirational/motivational” pictures of fit women in hot shorts, plastered with quotes about hard work, dedication, and being “clean.” The root of the message is that health is a choice. Not everyone has that choice, though.

woman running

Now, for the record, I think that working out, eating healthy, and setting goals are all wonderful things. But let me tell you this, when you’re trapped in a body that isn’t functioning the way you want it to, and the future is full of pain and debilitation those supposedly inspirational photos are actually quite crushing.

Caught in the throes of pain and defeat, a person with chronic illness will look at the above photo and think, “Tomorrow I will be sore and sorry…sorry that this is my body. So shut the heck up.”

For the last two years this has been my mindset. At first I thought about my illness constantly. I seemed unable to escape it even in my sleep. Gradually, I adjusted to and it became more organic to my nature. I’m just a sick person who will never get better, is how I thought of myself.

And then, quite recently, I started not thinking about it as much. It’s actually been a good six months that I haven’t woken up with swollen hands. I’ve been able to wear my wedding ring for the first time in over a year and a half.

A few weeks ago, I went in for routine RA testing. The results were emailed to me and I couldn’t believe it, so I emailed the doctor with some follow-up questions. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my husband, fearing it was just a big misunderstanding.

The doctor again confirmed the results. No misunderstanding. Good news.

I am in remission.

Remission.

I am not ill. I won’t always be ill. I am not a person living in illness. Anymore.

Just as I would repeat my diagnosis in those early days, so I am repeating this unbelievable good news.

Me? In remission?

Several months ago I was told that I would never go into remission because I have erosions on my bones. Something about a recent study, blah blah blah medical terminology. Translation: you’re stuck with this thing.

So this news that I at first did not believe is in fact a miracle.

In the face of that odious recent study I say this: oh yah? Well, I believe in miracles. Jesus did this, I know it. Where do I feel it? In my bones. And I am so, so very thankful.

All praise to God.

 ***

Mama’s Losin’ It

81 thoughts on “Sick With Rheumatoid Arthritis

    1. hillary

      I totally became my illness, and I think everyone does to an extent. It’s on your mind 24/7. How are you supposed to separate that from your identity. I dont know. I hope that you find remission, too! I feel so unworthy knowing how many others are in miserable pain. All I can say is, prayer works.

      Reply
  1. thedoseofreality

    Such an exciting post! Congratulations! ???? Stopping by from SITS.

    Reply
  2. Chris Carter

    I’m crying. Tears of Joy. Tears of Praise. Tears because I know your faith and I feel your pain and I love your healing miracle. THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  3. Dieting Is WrongBecause my life is fascinating

    […] as you know, I went into remission. Hurray!  No more fevers. No more nausea. No more ice-picks stabbing the tissue between my […]

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  4. Keesha

    Yay, Hillary! That most have been the most amazing news to receive! I am so thrilled for you.

    Reply
  5. Denise

    I am so very happy for you! As some who lives with chronic illness I definitely get how it wears you down. That is so awesome!!

    Reply
  6. Paula Kiger

    This is a powerfull piece!! I have a friend with RA who works out with me – I am admiring of how she has managed both and I know it has not been easy! Take care!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Thank you. RA was one of the most difficult struggles in my life. Encourage that friend!

      Reply
  7. Keely

    Hillary. You just gave me chills. This is AWESOME. Keep it up, sister (you know, whatever the “it” was that caused you to feel so good. Prayers? Positivity? Ginseng?) Humongo hugs.

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Definitely not ginseng. Never touched the stuff ???? But I did have a ton of people praying for me.

      Reply
  8. hollow tree ventures

    Love this – what fantastic news, and what an amazing message of hope to so many.

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Thanks, gal! Its so fun because this kind of news is good for everyone!

      Reply
  9. Mel

    It’s so hard to imagine how getting the diagnosis as well as getting news of remission must feel. Thank you for sharing that and I hope remission lasts forever!

    Reply
  10. Susan

    I love that I can celebrate with you. As a Lupus sufferer, it is true, these diseases will never treat any of us the same – it is a struggle, but finding the joy in the midst is what I must do. Celebrate in a big way!!!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      I am sorry for your Lupus! I never thought that remission was possible for me.

      Reply
  11. Mimi

    Most days i never forget your RA ???? We are so excited for you!!!!!

    Love you so much! Mimi and Papa

    Were going to do some celebrating!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      I know. And I appreciate your prayers more than I could ever say. Love you!

      Reply
  12. candotche

    Tears of joy just flooded my eyes and heart reading your post. I cannot even express to you the happiness I have for you. I wish more than anything I could give you a hug and a kiss and a hug and a kiss and a hug and a…ok. Once again God has proved His sovereignty, mercy and power! At Christmas I once again saw the pain and sorrow it brought on. I have prayed CONSTANTLY for you, I told you I would, and God has answered us all back, the answer we wanted! I cannot even imagine how He is going to use this for His glory. But I’m SO happy you are free from this evil disease. I love you so much. *a hug and another kiss*

    Reply
  13. Chernell

    YAY HILL!!!! Btw, I love that this post has more responses than any other post. You. Are. Loved. And you’ve got a kick butt family that’s been praying their socks off for you since like the beginning of Matt’s birth ???? Just sayin…. SO excited to hear this news!!! I’m gunna shout it from the roof tops. Well, maybe not the roof because I don’t want to break my leg, BUT I am going to tell everyone I know. Because everyone needs to know how big our God is! He can do anything. Anything. Love you!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      It’s so fun! I know this is wonderful for everyone to hear ???? Love you, cuz!

      Reply
  14. Linda (The Princess Blogger)

    Praise God! Praise God! So glad that you are blessed with remission! Great post!

    Reply
  15. Susan R.

    Hillary, I’ve shared your story on my Facebook wall. I don’t have RA, but I’m friends with a couple of people who do. Also, I have friends with fibromyalgia and other ‘hidden’ disorders. I underwent surgery in November of 2011 to remove a brain tumor in the center of my head. Recovery has been slow (not necessarily in my neurosurgeon’s eyes, but mine. Patience is not one of my virtues. :)) I’m ‘getting there’, though. I’m just now allowing myself to look toward the future. It’s been a long haul but God is good.

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Thank you! I am so sorry for your struggle ???? It is so hard to be patient when its your body and health that you are waiting for. I know God has taught me SO much through the waiting. Don’t lose heart!

      Reply
  16. ilene

    My future ex-husband has RA and I know it well. I saw how it debilitated him first hand and how much pain he was in. He lived with pain but then the attacks were just awful on top of the everyday pain. I am in tears reading this because I really feel the pain you talk about in this post but I am also so happy for you! xxxooo

    Reply
  17. Ninja Mom

    This is so uplifting! I couldn’t be happier for you.

    Reply
      1. Evelyn

        I’m really good!!! Definitely on remission! It feels good! We are back in Davis. Would love to see you guys from Solano Park! I’ll try ti visit sometime next week.

        Reply
  18. Rabia @ TheLiebers

    Hooray! My mom has Psoriasis. She tried all kinds of different treatments and medications while I was growing up. She was always embarrassed to go out with shorts or short sleeves. It has gotten better these last few years and she has even been able to wear a swim suit. I’m so happy for her finally being able to do that!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Ugh. Psoriasis is so terrible–I can’t imagine the burden of all the pain AND having it show on the outside.

      Reply
  19. I can do tomorrow, because today...

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  20. Jennifer

    Amen and amen. The power of God is truly amazing. Many people don’t understand illnesses that you can’t see – arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, even mental disorders so often get tossed aside because “oh, you’re not really sick.” Yes, we are. Thank you for this post. So glad that you have gone into remission – with God ALL things are possible!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Absolutely. Hidden illnesses are so misunderstood. I got so tired of hearing, “But you don’t look sick!”

      Reply
  21. Kim

    Oh, Hillary! That is incredibly awesome! I am so happy for you. I can’t begin to imagine your exhilaration at being in remission, but I can sure cheer you on!

    Reply
  22. Kathy Radigan

    Hillary I am so happy for you!! I believe in miracles and am thrilled you got one! Much love to you!

    Reply
  23. Miriam Gomberg

    Wow! That is a powerful story. Your life truly is fascinating. Thank you for having the strength to share with us. M

    Reply
  24. Amanda

    Oh I am so happy for you, Miracles do happen. I could relate to every word you wrote… coming from a different context (we reallly want a baby but it’s been 2 years already and our diagnosis is “unexplained”, which basically means everything that can be tested seems *fine*, textbook fine even). We have to accept that we don’t know how this story ends, or what life will look,

    We can choose to be sad and wallow or not really pay attention to it anymore than it needs(we are pursuing treatment) and focus on living, on being aware of every moment, of the good things of every day- About the inspirational images I kind of feel the same when people talk about how they planned their family and it worked, to me is just seems like such a foreign concept.

    Anyhow enjoy every second of this. Sending you love and hugs.

    Reply
  25. Kelly

    Wow!!! What amazing news. I can’t even imagine the elation you must be feeling. Thank you for sharing this with your readers.

    Reply
  26. Stacey

    Glad to hear you are in remission! My husband has MS, and in the beginning people didn’t believe he had an illness because he didn’t “look sick”.

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Ugh. Its so hard to hear that, isn’t it? My heart goes out to you and your husband!

      Reply
    1. hillary

      Hey! Yes, I wish we could hang out more :/ Sorry if I seemed scattered–it’s always a hassle for me to get in and out of there with Chaucer.

      Reply
  27. Nikki

    I am so happy for you…that is fantastic news. Very inspirational to hear RA can go into remission! Yay for you and others that might have felt the way you did & now have hope!

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Thank you! I hope it does give others hope–I feel very undeserving of this huge gift. I’m not taking it lightly.

      Reply
  28. Adrienne

    I’m crying! God is so good! I’m so happy for you. Walk in that truth sweet girl! I believe in miracles too and this is why! Such a great post, Hilary!

    Reply
  29. Melissa Moor

    Read your blog and almost cried. I am so sorry to hear that you have RA. It’s so debilitating. Glad to hear it is in remission. Praise God! We miss you and Matt here in Barstow. You guys were a huge blessing while you were here. We would like to adopt you in prayer.

    Brian, Melissa and David Moor

    Reply
    1. hillary

      Thank you so much for that, Melissa. What a sweet thing to hear! I would love for you to adopt us in prayer–we’ll take all we can get ????

      Reply
  30. laurie

    Congrats! I hope, wish, and pray that you don’t get really sick another time.

    Reply
  31. Kristen

    Oh wow Hillary! I had a family member who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, and I hated to see the pain she would go through from this terrible disease. When I read the word “remission” I nearly cheered out loud. Wonderful story and an even better ending!

    Reply

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