“You Have Arthritis”

SavannahLessons Learned, Make a Change, New Experiences Leave a Comment

*This is an old post I made for a friend’s blog last year and just now got around to adding it to my page. Enjoy!*

Today was a big day. I got dressed up and wore heels for the first time in two years. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s huge.

One year ago this week I was diagnosed with seronegative arthritis. This means that my body has all the symptoms of arthritis, but none of the damage it causes. It took a year to get this diagnosis because no one could figure out why an 18 year old went from being perfectly fine to not being able to get out of bed in the morning because of such severe pain with every test result being negative.

I will never forget the first morning I woke up in excruciating pain. I couldn’t move at all and honestly wondered if I was dying. It was the scariest time. Then, I got to endure the longest few months of my entire life. All I felt was pain and then I was in and out of doctor’s offices seeing every specialist you could think of. I was prescribed steroids, which worked well, but are unfortunately not a long term fix. I had so many x-rays. Seriously, my doctor joked that I was keeping his X-Ray Technicians employed. I had massive amount of bloodwork done. Every time I went to see a new specialist they had x-rays and bloodwork done. I was given an ultrasound where one specialist eventually determined the source of the problem. Then, they sent me to a rheumatologist who would drain the fluid off my knee and give me a steroid shot. This process was repeated twice. The rheumatologist requested an MRI to be done at the hospital on Christmas Eve which resulted in my official diagnosis.

I’ve never shared this story on my socials and I haven’t discussed it much with people in-person either. I feel like I’m finally at a place where I can talk about it though. I went through one of the hardest times in my life before and during the diagnosis process. I felt ashamed of my body. It couldn’t do what it was supposed to and I didn’t understand why it had to be me experiencing this. I stopped caring about my appearance and my body. I wore sweats everywhere because the swollen joints made it entirely too difficult (and took away all my desire to try). I’m the type of girl who enjoys getting ready and looking nice as the way to start my day. I feel like it puts me in a “conquer the day” mindset.

I knew God had a purpose for my pain, but I didn’t know what it was. So I just focused on being positive and keeping my struggles private because if I shared my struggles, I’d have to share my diagnosis. I didn’t (and still don’t) want people looking at me differently. I’m still Savannah. I still love to laugh and have fun. I don’t want to be a burden and that was what I felt like. I decided in January to change. My health was suffering from this mindset and that wasn’t ok. I began exercising, journaling, and making the effort to be more intentional with my time in the Word. I wasn’t going to just pick the books that are in my comfort zone or that I’m very familiar with. I want to be open to what God has to teach me in more ways than one.

On Friday, I got the amazing news that I’m doing well! That’s the first time I’ve heard this in two years. I’m not healed, but I feel better and the medicine is doing its job. I’m able to walk around the block without the left side of my body throbbing. I can sit in the floor with my preschoolers and read books or do puzzles. I can essentially be me again.

I no longer view my body for what it can’t do, but rather, for its abilities. There are still difficulties, but I’m able to get up and be thankful for my mobility because I know what it’s like not to have it. I now praise God for every day that He gets me out of bed because that means that my purpose on this earth is not yet done and what a joy that is. I know He is using this for His good, even though I can’t see it quite yet. He is such a gracious Father!

Today, I felt great. I felt like the person I’ve been missing since March of 2019 – except a little bit older and a lot wiser. I felt like me and that’s the best person to be. 🥰

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *