Dear Loved One,
I am sending this letter to help you understand my feelings as I deal with arthritis and the changes it brings to my life.
I am scared. I don’t know what the future holds for me. Will I end up crippled and in a wheelchair? Or will I be one of the lucky ones who have very little joint damage. If you find me being quiet and reflective, please don’t think I am upset with you. I am trying to sort out my fears.
I am angry. Arthritis has taken so much away from me. I can no longer do many of things I enjoy doing. I sometimes have difficulty just completing simple tasks. If I appear angry please understand it is the disease I am angry with, not you.
Please don’t assume you know what is best for me. Arthritis has affected my joints, not my mind. I am capable of making my own decisions. If I make the wrong decision, it is I who has to deal with the consequences.
I still want to be part of the “gang.” Please continue to invite me to participate in activities. I’ll decide if I am capable of it. You may think you are being considerate by not inviting me to go ice-skating with everyone else, but it hurts when you exclude me. Maybe I can’t skate with everyone else but I can bring the hot chocolate and watch.
Don’t tell me how Aunt Martha cured her arthritis by drinking vinegar or any other supposed remedy. I have done much research and I keep up on current treatment options. I speak with my doctor regularly, if there is a possible cure out there, I will know about it.
Please don’t tell me you know how I feel. You don’t. Don’t offer me sympathy; I don’t want your pity. But do offer me support and understanding, which I appreciate.
I know sometimes I look perfectly healthy, but looks can be deceiving. Please understand that I am dealing with invisible pain and a lot of fatigue. Even on a good day I feel like you do when you have the flu, tired, achy and sore. Please keep that in mind.
I want you to know that arthritis moves around. Just because I climbed the stairs yesterday doesn’t mean I can do it today. Yesterday my shoulder was throbbing; today it is my knee, who knows what it will be tomorrow.
Finally, please remember that I am the same person I was before arthritis; arthritis doesn’t change the heart and soul. I still laugh, I still cry. I still love and I still hate. I am me, I am not my disease. Please continue to love me just as you did before. I need lots of love, understanding, support and hugs, just like you.
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