Jodie wrote this letter in response to Tina's column in the newsletter discussing how difficult it was for people without arthritis to understand how we feel. This letter was so touching, we asked Jodie if we could share it here. What a lucky lady Jodie's Mum is!
My name is Jodie, I do not have RA but i have watched my Mums body wage war against her for the last 18 years, she was first diagnosed with RA when i was 14 years old.
You are right, there is no way to completely get how it feels to have RA unless you can feel it for yourself, the closest I came to how Mum must feel was when I was completely overcome with Ross River Virus 4 years ago. My joints swelled, got hot and sore and nothing the doctor could offer me made much difference, it hurt to sit, lie still, walk, took me 10 minutes to get into the car to go to the doctors.
I healed, meanwhile my Mum gets worse, I have watched her have to slowly give up most of her activities, she nursed at our hospital, was a volunteer ambulance officer in our home town for 14 years, she would knit, crochet, garden all in her spare time.
Mum holds strong, even though the tablets she is on make her skin break out in sores, mess her liver about, she is even on tablets to combat side effects from other tablets she has to take. Still, she goes on with her life, fighting tooth and nail with all she has.
I have a great admiration for the way Mum fights for the activities she can do, the life she takes hold of with two hands and lives every day to the full.
So you see, although what you said is true about people not understanding how it is to have RA, please have hope that not all of us non-sufferers are unable to understand at all. Watching the changes in my Mums life through RA have been quite an education to myself and the rest of our family.
Keep your chin up,
best of luck