I’m 35 and was recently diagnosed with RA (although I tried to convince the rheumatologist otherwise!).
For several years I dismissed all the symptoms as nothing more than the stress of being a recently divorced single mother, trying to make ends meet as an administrative assistant by day and a piano instructor in my home studio by night (my own super-hero identity in the making?). Not once did I think my poor health was due to anything other than sheer exhaustion and stress.
So when the rheumatologist confirmed what my family doctor speculated, I was in shock. I went into denial. I tried to convince myself that I could be healthy if I just tried harder to manage the stress better and stuck to a strict diet/exercise plan.
In fact, I think I still am in denial at times: I’m struggling, stubborn, and stupefied.
I agree with others that a diagnosis of RA causes feelings of isolation due to the general population’s lack of knowledge about it (myself formerly included). I’ve always ‘burned the candle at both ends’ to take care of myself and my family, and admitting to myself that I cannot physically do something was/is very upsetting.
But reading your blog and the interactions with others with RA has helped immensely. I’ve laughed a lot, and laughter is the best medicine of all, right?
And now I have all the more reason to finally purchase a grand piano before the age of 40….it’s going to happen, and I’m going to play Chopin on it beautifully, with all my students on stage with me, and my two wonderful children at my side.
Thank you, and best wishes.