February 2, 2014 is not just Groundhog’s Day or Superbowl Sunday.
As with any condition or disease, awareness can translate into more research money, better medical care, better treatments, and possibly a cure. All of these things are not just a pipe dream, but a very real need. Without them, patients will continue to be misdiagnosed, mistreated, and we will suffer more than we already do.
Awareness means something more to me, though.
See, despite the knowledge that I cannot change others, there’s still a little part of me that hopes. I want to change the doubters, the nay-sayers, the critics.
I want to show all the people who question me how real it all is. I want to show my parents, my sisters, people who used to be friends that I AM NOT ALONE. It’s not all in my head, it’s not a result of my being overweight, IT IS NOT JUST ARTHRITIS.
No matter how many times I try, I always come up short in trying to get people to see just how serious RA is. When they see me walking with a cane, when I have to stop and rest, when I have to back out of plans- I get the dreaded eye-roll. With that one derisive look, my heart crumbles.
I don’t want their sympathy, I want their understanding. I want them to realize that I’m not trying to be difficult and I’m certainly not begging for attention. I’m different from who I used to be, and as hard as it is for me to come to grips with this, I know it’s even harder for others. They can’t see the ravaging that is going on inside my body, so to them it’s just an attitude problem.
Awareness could change that.
I could mean that when I have to break down and use the motorized carts at the grocery store, I don’t get dirty looks from both the staff and the other customers. It could mean that when I’m walking slowly with my cane, my fiance and I won’t get bombarded with rude comments. It could mean that when I need to cancel plans, I won’t hear that sigh on the other end of the line.
It could mean that the world around us would be just a little bit kinder, a little more understanding.
** This post is part of the #Rheum Blog Carnival. For more information on the Carnival or Rheumatoid Awareness Day, please visit RAWarrior