Love comes in many forms, but today, in this blog, I am not going to write about traditional love of a spouse, a lover or a child.
I have a special love for a group of people who likely I will never meet in person. We live across the country and across the pond. We laugh together. We encourage one another. We share information. We share tears. We challenge each other. We cry. We learn. We love. We live with a common bond, a disease. We share a diagnosis – rheumatoid disease.
We share a world where the public has little knowledge or understanding of this invisible disease that changes our lives forever. Sometimes there is little understanding from our own families. The impact of rheumatoid can be devastating and the meds, even worse. Yet, we understand with perfect clarity because we share the journey.
When I was first diagnosed I was in denial. I didn’t want to tell anyone mainly because that meant I had to acknowledge something I didn’t want to acknowledge. I didn’t want to be sick. I didn’t want to have something that could not be cured. I had taken my life for granted – I was strong, athletic, competitive in sports. My level of activity was cut significantly. I lost the ability to do a lot of things I used to do. I had a new life that I didn’t want — that terrified me.
One day I could not hold my camera. I could barely walk. I was terrified. My first adventure on an arthritis forum was horrible. It took a while before I would post anything again. I finally found a site where people were supportive. Someone eventually suggested we start a private group. I set it up and people joined.
Our core group is great. These are people who know what it’s like to live with RD. We share about pain and meds and side effects. We share about our families and work. We share about our pets and vacations. The one thing we all know is we truly understand each other. This journey we share that binds us together is a disease, but we try very hard not to be defined by it, and we help each other do the same. We are friends; we are warriors. We fight our battles in the quiet stillness because most do not understand what this battle brings to our lives.
Yet, even in the stillness, we know we have each other. Somewhere to go when we are hurting, need answers or reassurance and comfort. We stand strong – together.
Today is dedicated to my love for each of the members of our group. I am so very blessed to be part of this special team and to know these remarkable people. They have become a valuable part of my life because I know they understand. I know they will help. They will be there in time of need. And they will simply share a laugh to brighten my day.
We share this journey and we find hope in each other.
Love you my dear friends! You are amazing and I am inspired by your lives.