A friend at work asked me what I would blog about and jokingly said, “I hope you are not blogging about your ideals.” My initial reaction was of course not. I avoid politics as much as I can; I prefer to let other think through their own opinions, but then I realized I will be in a way. Yes, much of what I want to do with this blog is to track the progress of training my horse, Strider and how my other horse, Vanya, does, but I would be remiss if I neglected to include my thoughts on how rheumatoid arthritis is involved in my life. I want people to know more about this disease, and though I by no means want this to be a medical blog, I want to show others how it affects me, and many other people. I am passionate about educating people about rheumatoid arthritis, to the point that you might say one of my ideals is that people need to know about this disease, and it is something many young people have. You cannot be too young to have arthritis, just because you don’t “look sick” doesn’t mean you aren’t in pain every single day. At the same time, this blog will not be a place to whine about my symptoms; I want to make it a place where people see how I make my life work beyond RA; rather than letting it limit and define me I try, as much as I can, to hope, and to work towards my goals and dreams. I don’t pretend that what works for me will work for everyone with RA, but I want to provide information from the perspective of someone relatively recently diagnosed, who is younger but not a child, wants to be active, and has a passion for something that does not always fit very well with the limitations that can come with RA.
When I was first diagnosed with RA I was not feeling very good about life in general. That wasn’t surprising- I couldn’t do any of the things I used to do like swim, run, dance, or ride my horse. When I went to look for resources, information, and hope in the form of stories from people in similar situations I couldn’t find any. I checked with the Arthritis Foundation, and nothing against them, but all the stories I found from them seemed to about older or younger people, or people who were content with less than what I wanted. I have a cousin who is an Olympic athlete. I have ridden one of my horses in the World Championship show for his breed, I have danced in a large professional quality theater production, and I have no intention of leaving behind that part of my life, or at least I want to put it off as long as I can. But I don’t want others who may be diagnosed to feel as lost and hopeless as I did starting out. I felt like there were no voices like mine out there; I know there are other young professional adults with RA, and maybe they are all too busy having fun to write, but after the reactions I encountered when people found out I had arthritis, I think there needs to be a voice.
So I do plan on writing about my ideals in this blog. I plan on writing about my ideals in training horses and how we need to listen to them as we ride in order to teach them. And I plan on writing about Rheumatoid Arthritis, because until there is a cure, any information, support, and hope for those who have it is a blessing. And until there is a cure, more people who don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis need to know and understand what Rheumatoid Arthritis is and be educated about it. Hopefully the more people know, the more they will join me in hoping for a cure, because until there is awareness, there will not be enough research.
I promise, more on the horses next time, but until then, RAWR!!!