Making an attempt to relate to people with chronic illnesses doesn't always help. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes I'm very appreciative and people have good intentions. Most of the time, it is a sign of a miscommunication.
"I had that when I was a kid," or "Yeah my mom's grandma has that," or "I got arthritis when I started playing sports too," doesn't really do me much benefit. People don't understand how different juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is from injury-related arthritis, osteoarthritis, or even just regular ol' growing pains.
Let's have a little medical lesson, shall we? A little mind refresher?
Autoimmune diseases as defined by www.Wikipedia.org:
"Autoimmune diseases arise from an inappropriate immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks its own cells. This may be restricted to certain organs (e.g. in autoimmune thyroiditis) or involve a particular tissue in different places (e.g. Goodpasture's disease which may affect thebasement membrane in both the lung and the kidney). The treatment of autoimmune diseases is typically with immunosuppression—medication which decreases the immune response."
And a definition from www.dictionary.com:
"A diseaseresultingfromadisorderedimmunereactioninwhichantibodiesareproducedagainstone'sowntissues,assystemiclupuserythematosusorrheumatoidarthritis." (See that? Already making my point for me.)
Now let's get a definition for osteoarthritis (from www.dictionary.com):
Do you see the incredibly remarkable difference?????? I'd like to think that some of you just learned something. For more information on JRA, click here.And don't worry, it opens in a new window so you can still read the rest of this too. People annoy me. That's terrible to say, especially since people are what much of the interesting world is made up of. I think it's more specifically people my age. I communicate and get along with adults much better. Which is not to say that I don't have friends or that I don't love my friends to death, because I do. There are most definitely exceptions. The past six sentences are probably why my teacher has announced to my class that I am an anti-social person and I did my best to talk to as few people as possible on the last day of school. Oh yeah, the last day of school. I was pretty anti-emotional until the last fifteen minutes, when I got a little sad solely because everyone else was sad and it was sort of an unspoken obligation. Plus, emotions are contagious. Who could blame me? It's odd to think that it has only been a week since the last day. It seems like it has been an eternity.
I'm so sorry for not blogging for awhile. We had a lot going on. Sort of. I suppose that I still could have blogged.
My two favorite words in the whole wide word are probably "script" and "sculpt". Obviously, I love the "pt" sound and the unfinished look of the words. I love how deceptive the word script can be. It's as if everything is planned, but every human knows that nothing ever goes exactly as planned. And then sculpt. It's so beautiful because it's hands-on art. You know, I can't really explain exactly what I like about that word. But I really, really like it.
I've actually been getting excited lately! Even though it was only about visiting a children's museum, maybe things are changing. Maybe I'm changing. My joints have been worse in the past couple of days, but I've been happier. Positivity, much?
I really cannot stand it when people don't have vegetarian options, or when their vegetarian options are terrible. Like, "Have this apple, it doesn't have meat." (I do really love apples, but they need to have something related to the meat dish, like veggie dogs or veggie burgers or non-meat sauce or something.) People can be so inconsiderate. Then some freaks say, "Here, try a piece of meat and see what happens!"
I do not want to try meat. I'm not a teenager going through a phase. I've been a vegetarian since I was seven years old and felt bad for the chicken in my chicken nuggets. It's been more than a few years, and I'm pretty sure a lot of it has to do with my stubbornness. I can say with absolute confidence that I am and always will be a vegetarian.
We had our End-Of-Year Formal recently. All of my friends and I put on pretty dresses and did our makeup and hair and all and then it turns out the dance was completely dark with colorful, spinning lights and loud. I was not amused, but everyone else seemed to have fun.
First of all, in every one of my classes I'm in a seat where I can see almost everybody. The largest number of people I can't see is in chorus and strings class, where I can't see like one or two people. Even that drives me a little insane sometimes. I have to be able to observe. I would consider myself both an observer and an engager, so don't ask me which one I am. I like to know where people are, who they're with, and what they're doing. Otherwise my stress level skyrockets. That's coming from someone who pretty much never gets stressed.
Second of all, I avoid specific restaurants that are loud. My family knows this too. There are places they try to go only without me based solely on the noise and activity level. I like a quiet but still busy atmosphere.
So there I am at the dance, sitting outside in one of the little circular tables talking to a few of my friends. People kept coming out and asking me why I wasn't dancing and I just replied, "That is NOT my environment." They probably all think I'm crazy, a teenager who doesn't enjoy dark places with seizure-inducing lights and a bunch of people cramming into each other.
The end of the year is quickly approaching. I'm not very sad about it. I feel almost ready to move on. There are only two classes that I know I'll miss. And I still have the memories. Plus, me and my friends have a pretty darn good system for if we start to feel sad. We're just going to think about this one terrible class and BAM! we'll be happy again.
I have played so much guitar lately. It's probably going to kill me one of these days.
There are so many good-byes and thank-yous that I have yet to save, even this late in the year. Three words: cards and letters. Talking is not my thing and it's not worth trying because I have great assurance that it won't work.
I think the main key to living a happy life with chronic pain is just to get up. It's not worth staying cramped up in your house all day and wasting the days away. Get out there and help yourself and others. Pack food bags for homeless people and drive around and give them out and talk to people. Or just go to the mall to get yourself moving. Go to church regularly or as much as you can. Even just get up and cook a super-nice meal. It's all about not sitting around and sulking in the pain.