Having autoimmune arthritis is not easy, in so many ways. One of the things that I struggle with, and which I have been dwelling on lately is the contradictions in my feelings towards it. As with anything there is no one clear feeling that is attached, but what I find so puzzling and hard at times is how different my feelings can be, how contradictory they can be, all with in the space of minutes, or even existing together at times. It’s like this little inner battle inside of me, as I try to reconcile these two very different worlds of feeling. Often leaving me feeling exhausted, frustrated and sometimes guilty about how I feel.
Let’s take yesterday for instance. I go to see my rheumatologist for a follow-up visit after my MRI on monday, and to see how I am progressing since she made the change of meds (also my mom was in town, and it was important for both me and her that she met my rheumatologist). I get the news that my MRI came back clean, there doesn’t seem to be any signs of damage or inflammation in my hips. Which is great right? Then why is my first reaction a shoulder slumping, heat sinking feeling? Why am I simultaneously relieved and thankful for the news, but also upset that it didn’t show anything, that everything seems alright even though I hurt, even though I don’t feel quite alright? Then just to add to the party, thrown into the mix is my fear of being dismissed, or even worse, blamed. That I need to prove to my doctor that I am not crazy, that there really is something wrong, and they really need to take me seriously. How does one deal with this twisting, turning, confusing, and contradictory mass of emotions. How can I feel all these things, and yet not know how I feel, truly know?
Luckily I have a great paediatric rheumatologist at the moment, who doesn’t discount my experience for a moment. Who tactfully (huge emphasis on the tactfully) talks about how I do have autoimmune arthritis, and that is at play. But how because of everything I’ve been through, the intense presentation of my disease, the needless surgeries and countless other thing, pain amplification is at play too. Which hopefully over time, with appropriate treatment and exercise will fade. I came out feeling good about the thing as a whole, mostly. I guess it’s all just really a bit of a balancing act really, emotions included.