I am suuuuper late, as always.
If you don’t know already, this week is RAAW – Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week 2021.
I have just not had chance to write anything before now, and even now I am cramming this in before I go to work! So, I will get straight to the point.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is definitely something I had never heard of until I was diagnosed with it and I don’t think that I would know about it if I hadn’t had been diagnosed.
Everyone has heard about arthritis – osteoarthritis. Most elderly people in your life will have it to some degree (well especially where I am from anyway – all old farmers!).
But Rheumatoid is so much different, so much more.
If you have read any of my previous blogs, you will have learnt that Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. The human body is attacking its own cells. Our bodies ‘think’ that they are helping us but really, just crippling us. Putting us in pain, limiting our movement, affecting our futures. Defining us to a disease. Or that’s how most of us feel at least at some point.
But the chronic illness community has taught us that we are more than our illnesses.
We are here for a purpose and we can defy all the odds against us.
I could start to list everyone within this community that has helped, inspired and empowered me but that would take waaay too long! There are SO many – take a look on our new Chronically Connected pages to see the stories of those living with chronic illness.
Every day I think about who I could be or what I could be doing if I hadn’t had had all these years affected by my arthritis. Every day I wish I could do more. But really, I am grateful that I have met all these people. That I am able to write my blog, create Chronically Connected, raise awareness, educate others.
It feels so weird to say and some days I could not feel more the opposite, but I am grateful for my illness. I suppose I just wish we all didn’t have to go through our pain just to have found each other.
Rheumatoid Arthritis has much more awareness than it ever has done before but we still need to increase this. We still need to keep educating. Sufferers still get medically gaslighted, have comments made about them, wait years to be diagnosed, pushed aside by others. This needs to change and that is what we are here for.
As I have mentioned in my previous posts - after I had Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), I should have been checked up on. The chances of getting Rheumatoid Arthritis were so high. I was still having problems but got discharged from the hospital anyway. I was only young; my parents weren’t given the right and enough education. We were left. Therefore, it took years and it had to get really bad until anyone took us seriously enough again. No-one should have to feel that way. And as a newly qualified healthcare practitioner, I swear that in my career I will try my very hardest, 24/7, to change that – to make every patient feel listened to and understood.
Please refer to reliable sources, such as NRAS and Versus Arthritis to learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis and other similar conditions. Feel free to ask me or any of the team any questions about our chronic illness. We’d love to share our story with you and help raise awareness and try to break the stigma around arthritis.
If you want to join me and the Chronically Connected team – drop us a message, we would love to have you on board.
Thank you for reading,
@alidaggett underyoungskin.com firstname.lastname@example.org
@chronicallyconnected21 chronically-connected.com email@example.com