The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard
On almost a daily basis, someone sends a message to Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, thanking him for writing this blog. Sometimes these messages come in the form of blog comments and sometimes they come in the form of private emails. I have not always responded to all of these messages personally, so today I would like to write a little about how writing this blog and how connecting with others has helped me on my journey with rheumatoid arthritis.
More importantly, I would like to thank everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. Whether you have commented or not, I appreciate the support that you have provided – both to myself and to others.
Up until April of this year, I knew no one else who was living with rheumatoid arthritis – even though I myself had been living with rheumatoid arthritis for years. I often felt like I was the only one living with this disease…but I now know otherwise. Hearing about the ups and downs of others has made it a little easier for me to accept the ups and downs that RA brings into my life.
I now know that I am surrounded by a strong community of superheroes – people who also show me that life does go on, in spite of living with a chronic illness. I have learned so much from each and every person I have communicated with, and for that I am grateful.
A few months ago, it was my rheumatoid arthritis – and not I – who was in control of my life. I was spending another day stuck in bed. Having just visited The Single Gal’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis for the umpteenth time, I thought to myself that I should start blogging as well. (Thanks, Sara, for inspiring me to start blogging!)
I started sketching on my tablet computer. My one and only criteria was that I wanted to blog anonymously, because I felt that it would allow me to be more open when it came to discussing personal issues. Who could I possible blog as? I had no clue. Then I started thinking, what is the exact opposite of the way I am feeling at the moment? Superman popped into my head. Perfect! Being a superhero would not only inspire myself, but it would also provide the perfect cover for my true identity.
A few more strokes of my digital pen, and Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy was born. My original brainstorming sketch is shown below.
When I launched this blog, I honestly expected to have an audience of a couple of dozen readers, maximum. If I reached as many as fifty readers total, I would be more than happy. Now, I have hundreds of readers each and every day…and in terms of page hits, I should hit 54,000+ sometime later today. All of this is much more than this humble superhero could have ever anticipated.
That said, the true reward of writing this blog comes not from seeing the counters increase on my WordPress dashboard, or from keeping track of the number of fans on my Facebook page or followers on my Twitter account. In a way, numbers can be somewhat boring, and can actually be a distraction from what they truly represent.
Every new person who I meet online, every new message I receive from someone who had never previously shared anything about living with RA, every laugh and smile that I receive from reading the comments that are posted, and each message of encouragement and support that I receive when I am going through a difficult this – this is what this blog represents to me. All of this would mean nothing, if not for my family, friends, and readers who continue to form an integral part of this blog.
Seeing this online community continue to grow – and being a member of this community – is the best reward of all. I would not exchange this for anything else.
Once again, thank you.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!