Of course the first person I told about my symptoms was my husband. He really thought they were work-related, as I tend to push myself pretty hard. I was seeing a lot of massage clients every week, and we hoped maybe that was the reason why these various joints in my hands, wrists, and fingers get swollen. But after a long holiday weekend off I noticed no improvement. And in fact, I would sometimes see improvement on days when I gave many hours of massage.
I talked to some massage therapist friends during this wondering phase, but really didn’t mention it to anyone else.
Then the RF test came back at 26 (normal is up to 13). And the PCP asked me to see a rheumatologist. Then the rheumatologist said it really looked likely to be RA. And ordered Xrays and more blood tests. Still waiting for all the final details, but this is 99% likely to be RA.
Why did I struggle about telling the kids and their significant others? Well, they all have their own challenges and struggles too. And we are the support mechanism for a lot of that. Or maybe I just didn’t want to make the RA seem more real.
But when I realized that several good friends knew, and that at least one of those friends saw one of our kids nearly every day … I had to tell them. And so I put an email together. It’s hard to find the right tone for an email like this. I’m not dying. I’m truly not in excruciating pain, although the fatigue can be overwhelming some days. I want my life to be as normal as possible. And I really don’t feel comfortable with pity or a lot of sympathy.
By now I’ve heard back from all but one of the kids. Some in person, some by email (from out of the state & country), some by phone. And they love me. They care that I am okay. They want to know how to help. (And I need to find the answer to that question!) I feel better!
On the other hand, I am not ready to tell clients or my mother. But that’s another post.