I’m Angela and I’m from Minneapolis, MN. I started this blog in 2007 just as a place to write down my thoughts, frustrations, and inspirations about living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in July 1997. The diagnosis was a shocking and devastating blow. The only person I knew who had RA was my grandmother who got it when she was in her 60s, I believe. Growing up, I watched her struggle with great pain and become crippled by the disease.
The day that I was diagnosed I remember going home from the doctor’s office and crying alone in my room thinking about my grandma’s ugly twisted fingers and collapsed knuckles. Was that also my fate at age 18?
I had been an active kid and teenager. I played basketball, fast-pitch softball, tennis, and just really enjoyed being physical and running around outdoors. I also played the piano for nine years and loved to paint and draw and create art. I dreamed of traveling the world and doing so many things. Yet with the daily debilitating pain of RA, I often felt helpless and alone. How could I possibly live these dreams when I could barely take a shower or get dressed on my own? It didn’t seem fair.
Life hasn’t been very fair during these 22 years of having RA. However I’m happy to say that I have accomplished many goals, including graduating from Augsburg College with a degree in International Relations (minors in English and Studio Art). I’ve lived in Ireland and France and have traveled to many countries (which will continue, I hope!). Recently I’ve been trying to play the piano again and I am intent on getting back to working on my own artwork–especially photography.
Having a painful chronic disease is indeed not fair and I’ve spent many days wishing to be given a new healthy body. That said, I will admit that living with RA has also taught me some good lessons. The most important one, probably, is that life truly is short and unpredictable and that we have to make the most of what we have with the time we have. I don’t want a disease that I had no control over getting stop me from living.
I hope you enjoy my posts and will find something interesting and worthwhile from what I have to say.
Thank you for reading!