If you were to think about the concept of time….do you view it as precious? When you think about the past and then about your future..how does it make you feel? Do you feel angry because you feel like “wow…I could have done so much but I did not.” Or are you happy because you have accomplished so much in life? As I sit and think about time tonight, I cannot help but think back to the moment (two years ago on Tuesday) that I finally (FINALLY) received a official Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis.

An official diagnosis…some may say.why did you want that??? I wanted it because it meant treatment! It meant I could stop taking pain pills that did nothing and it meant that maybe by the time I turned 23 I could be moving freely and not screaming in pain every night. It meant hope for me…but at the same time ..it felt like I was given a life sentence. As if a judge hit the gavel and I was setenced…not to hope of a cure …..but to a life of pain. Yes I know that we can go into remission….I wish it would happen for me but it has not yet…I pray it does for you.

The days of living in pain were even when I was a child. I would suffer so much many nights because of leg pain that no doctor could understand. Why would a young girl’s body hurt so much…I was not that active (because I already hurt)…but still no doctor could find a reason. Fast forward through college and the pain never left but it seems after I hit the magical age of 21…the pain just started getting worse and worse. I was in the prime of my life….yet I was suffering so mad many days I would stay in my room…trying anything to ease the pain.

Since those days, I have lived two years on auto immune suppressant medication….Plaquenil was the first, followed by Methotrexate and Arava. The side effects are rough but the relief (minor as it is some days ) makes me thankful for it. The experiences of living on it…I could do with out!!! I know for a fact my bank account could have stood not pay the $89,000 (give or take) hospital bill (one 13 days stay…praise God for insurance at that time). But the truth of the matter is…my story is not unique. There are MANY who struggle with daily pain, daily struggles of getting out of bed, morning stiffness, exhaustion and fatigued “fibro” brain.

I do not want you to think of your time as a painful life sentence. Instead I encourage you to think of your life (your time) as something you can use to touch someone. If that is someone right next door to you (even your caregiver or spouse) or something you never have meant. I know for me, I don’t want to be remembered as THAT person who just existed. I want to be remembered as that person who looked at her time and lived!

Whether you have an invisible illness or not..you only live once..you can only change someone else’s life once! Be a life changer, look at the past to shape your future and remember that you are not in this journey alone!

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