This July, it will have been 5 years since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. This August, it will have been 4 since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Today I’m sharing 10 things I wish I had known when I was diagnosed.
1. The first medication you try isn’t going to work. Neither will the second. It will take years to find a treatment that you respond to because you don’t respond to TNF inhibitors. So don’t pin your hopes on the first treatment you try or the second or the fifth.
2. You can’t do everything that you used it. It’s really, really bad for you to try!
3. Some of the things you’re eating are making it worse. Eat as clean as possible.
4. Every patient is different, which can be great and awful at the same time. Embrace it.
5. It’s not a bad thing to talk about your condition regularly, and it’s not narcissistic, either. There are a lot of people who benefit from hearing what you have to say. Some of them will tell you immediately, some of them will tell you years later, and some you’ll only hear from through other people. And that’s not to mention that people who won’t tell you at all.
6. You will lose friends because they can’t accept that your life has to change or they can’t accept that your disease has nothing to do with them. You will lose friends because they can’t accept that some things they do make your life worse. And that’s fine – they’re not worth the anxiety attacks that lead to flares.
7. There will be guys who run away as soon as they hear that you have an autoimmune disease. And there will be some who think they can handle it but actually can’t. It sucks, but it happens ad you will be okay.
8. But there will also be some, as well as friends, who can completely handle it and who offer to help you in any way you need and who take you to the ER when you need to. Cherish them because they are awesome.
9. Telling professors that you might need accommodations is scary but worth it, and none of them make your life harder.
10. The most important thing is taking care of yourself in body and in spirit.
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