As many autoimmune disease sufferers will understand…the cold feels like knives stabbing our joints. It is so hard to get out of bed. It is so hard to get dressed. It is so hard to just make yourself do life! But, you have to press on. The more you hibernate the easier it becomes to be that depressed person that isn’t fun to be around. I have to say we all have our moments but fighting a double whammy is NOT easy.

I have spoken about my arthritic condition but as many people will find those who have one autoimmune condition usually end up with others. I have multiple issues to contend with when it is cold. I also have fibromyalgia which is fairly well-managed but add in the arthritis and man oh man the muscles and bones ache. My son was rubbing my neck in church today and said mom your neck is so tight. Well, chalk that up to the fibro. So, when the muscles and joints don’t want to oil up and get moving it makes it extra hard to push yourself. Not to mention the fatigue on top of the shortened days. Shew this is a recipe for disaster.

I highly recommend keeping a journal to see what triggers you have for any illness. That way you learn your body and it’s response to food, climate, and so on. I am the world’s worst on journaling my triggers but I have gotten pretty good at learning what they are from process of elimination. I know that certain foods increase my inflammation, that the cold does not help at all, and that getting out with people is so important.

For two years I was a prisoner to my own illness. I stayed inside all the time. I had no pain relief and no hope at this point. Doctors were not sure what was going on felt like I was just imagining my pain. I started seeing a psychologist because I needed to feel like I wasn’t crazy. I needed to talk to someone who would listen no matter how negative my thoughts were. I am so glad I did that because it got me through a very tough valley before I was diagnosed.

I had no idea I would feel such delight to have a diagnosis. A diagnosis that would possibly debilitate me and be with me forever. But, I wanted to validate my pain and help me understand my body.  However, now the truth remains, I have to live with this diagnosis and learn to be the best me. It isn’t always easy. I hurt, I ache, I feel nauseous from pain. But, I press on. I make myself be a mom. I make myself be a wife. I make myself be what God intended me to be. I want to serve others even when I don’t feel like it. That is what Jesus would do.

Have you ever wondered why you are who you are? I know who God created me to be. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, even if I hurt. Only God can heal me and take this pain.

It is so hard to explain the pain I feel daily to people who don’t suffer from a similar illness. I can probably relate it to the way you feel a couple of days after a car accident, or how you feel with full on body aches from the flu. I pray that I can start Humira soon and that it helps me because if this winter is going to be in the teens all winter; I am in for it. My prayer is for an understanding for those with this condition. I pray that people as well as doctors will listen to your story and help you find a treatment plan. My prayer is that they will find a cure for these types of arthritis.

I have met people as I have become open of my illness that also suffer. I never knew they had this illness. And although I wouldn’t wish this on ANYONE, it is comforting to talk to others that can relate. I am so blessed to have great friends that understand even though they can’t feel my pain. I am so blessed to have a family that understands even though some wish they could take some of my pain. I am blessed to have a God who is able and will do great things in my life, despite my illness.

I can’t let an illness define me. I can’t let an illness become all I am consumed with. But, I can share with others and help them overcome the pain, the fear, the acceptance. I can help others relate to what you go through in your journey to diagnosis. I can be a mentor and love on those who need a friend. I am here because God has given me something to share and to bless others. I love you all and am here whenever you need a listening ear. God bless you all!