Living with a rheumatic disease is not easy, and there are a few things that people with these conditions wish you knew. Firstly, just because I may look fine and smile, it doesn’t mean that I am not experiencing pain. Rheumatic diseases can be treated with medication such as cortisone or biologics, but this doesn’t mean that I’m cured or that my condition isn’t serious.
Secondly, rheumatic diseases are not solely related to old age. If I say that my back or legs hurt, please don’t dismiss my pain with the assumption that it’s just a sign of aging.
Thirdly, there are some days when I may need to take a nap to rest my body. Please don’t make fun of me or assume that I’m being lazy. A nap can be an important way for me to manage my symptoms.
Fourthly, following a special diet or taking medication does not guarantee a cure for my condition. While some may find relief through these methods, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Finally, my rheumatic disease affects not just me, but also my family members who live with me. It’s important for them to understand that my pain and limitations can impact our daily lives. Thankfully, I have a supportive spouse who understands my condition, but it’s not always easy to find someone who can empathize with my struggles.