Monday, May 14, 2012

Fighting a War That Can't Be Won

I am normally not someone who is at a loss of words.  Usually when I am not saying something it's much more likely that I am biting my tongue. 

For some reason I have had a horrible time working on this post.  It has been written and re-written at least a dozen times.  It has been saved and deleted, ripped apart and left with nothing.  I just could not find the words to express what I was trying to say in a way that made sense to me.  How could I expect anyone else to understand it? 

Lucky for me, one of my Facebook Friends commented on a note I had posted in December on my page.  I also have posted it here previously.  You can read the post Having RA means...Letter to those Without Rheumatoid Arthritis here.  My friend's comments made me revisit the post and rethink on it.

I finally figured out part of why I spent so much time not writing this post.  I know I will offend at least a few people with a statement I will make but please ready the entire post before passing judgment.

There is a phrase in the post that says "Unlike having cancer or being hurt in an accident, most people do not understand even a little about RA and its effects."  From those that I know with auto-immune diseases, the phrase "I wish I just had cancer" is not an uncommon phrase.  Don't get me wrong, I don't truly wish for cancer.  But while the word cancer scares people, people understand it.  People have a grasp on it.  Most people will ask questions about it and try to get it. 

People don't do that with auto-immune diseases.  If I say to someone I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, they give a list of the same responses.  Two of the most popular statements I get are "You are too young for arthritis" or "Oh yeah, I injured my knee and have arthritis in it. <Insert over the counter pain med here> is amazing for it."

Please believe me that if over the counter meds worked for RA, I would be all over that.  But no, I take many medications, some of which are in the same class of drugs as drugs given to cancer patients and sometimes the same medications.

This brings me back to the comment made on my post that had been passed onto her.  "Cancer survivors deserve that title they won their war. Someone said to me, RA & crazy amount of other autoimmune disease..We treat with similar drugs, but I hate the comparison, you will never stop fighting, you'll never come home from the war."  This comment opened me up to what I was trying to say all along.  The rest is all my opinion, not necessarily the opinion of the person who commented.

Before I go further (and offend anyone still reading), I know that not every cancer is curable.  I have lost people to cancers.  My point is for those that come through on the other side, they earn their Cancer Survivor title. 

I (and many, many others) will not be Rheumatoid Arthritis Survivor.  At the rate research and lack of awareness has gone, it will not happen in my lifetime.  I hope that it happens for the next generation.

I fight my battles and sometimes I win a battle or two but it's not a war I will win in the end.  RA gives in for a few battles and I have medications on my side helping but I will not leave the war as the victor. I will still fight but RA will win in the end.

Every day I fight a war that I know I will eventually lose but have to keep trying to win a battle or two.  I will fight the battles because I have no other choice.

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