The first time I ever felt the true emotional weight of my disease was upon finding out that someone I considered to be a good friend had been saying terrible things to other friends about my age and how I am almost too old to have kids. I was 32 years old at the time.
This same friend also enjoyed trashing my lifestyle, my apartment [why haven’t I bought a house with Hans yet if we both have such great jobs?] and tons of other ridiculous judgmental mutterings which nobody who is a real friend or decent human being would ever judge someone about.
Part of me wanted to punch her in the face, but another part just did not have the energy to even attempt to process how utterly fucked up this person is for jumping to her conclusions about me especially when she had never once asked how I am doing since finding out I have rheumatoid arthritis. More frustrating is that I was a really good friend to her.
The reason it hurt was that I realized I was being judged on the consequences of having an autoimmune disease and not who I am as a person. I want to have kids, but my body has a lot of issues. One major issue is that my blood is not able to properly clot and there is a considerable amount of caution from both my specialist and gynecologist over this depressing, but unfortunately real outcome of my autoimmune condition. I am well-aware of my body clock and would greatly appreciate that it not be gossiped about behind my back or in any capacity for that matter. I had no idea someone gets their rocks off talking about this stuff to other people. It was shocking and mean-spirited.
As for my lifestyle, I am successful because working is the only thing I have control over. I have 12 clients currently and growing. I am able to handle them because I rarely go out nights and weekends because I cannot drink lest I face the inevitable outcome of becoming wildly sick. I use that time to study, write, work and make money. Money that is then used to pay for medical expenses.
I had double jaw surgery a few years ago and still have to get injections in my jaw because the pain of my joints eroding still exists despite being replaced with plates and screws. Injections cost $2000 a pop. Insurance premiums are hiked because I have a pre-existing condition. Do I want a house? Of course! But I’d rather not be in excruciating pain 24/7 than sitting in a house right now. Life is all about give and take.
“She travels all the time. She’s always showing off.”
I honestly was not at all surprised when I found out she said this- I expected it. I travel thanks to thousands of points that I amass from my clients. I work remotely so I am able to go anywhere I want with said points. While traveling, I take tons of pictures and write about it on occasion. I’m connected to a lot of editors of different travel magazines and sites on social media and have been asked to create content on occasion based on what I have posted. It’s called hustling and I will never apologize for it.
Traveling for me is definitely bittersweet. I have to take steroids whenever I travel or else I could never get out of bed and explore. I do fall sick and there have been times when my body had given out on me which is not something I post about, but I can assure you it happens. I’m proud of myself when I can hike up a mountain and shit so, yeah, I’m going to take a picture of that because it is an accomplishment and a half for someone with RA. It motivates me to keep pushing and not give up even though it feels like my body is about to most days.
I believe even attempting to explain myself will never get through to this person. She has not held a real job, she is not dealing with a medical condition, and she has no real substance in her life if I’m the topic of discussion. The last time I hung out with her I tried to reveal as little about myself as possible and found it really hard to dodge questions which I knew were just her way of prying to get more information about me to talk shit about than genuinely caring about my life and what I’m up to. It was super uncomfortable, but I realized that even though I’m dealing with difficult circumstances, things could be worse- I could be an asshole like she is.
I’m honestly not really sure why I am compelled to write this except that maybe this is how I can finally squash the negative energy this person brought around me and move on with my life happily and in peace. I have several uphill battles to face in my life with an autoimmune disease and I’d rather focus on that. Finally deciding to cut this person off was the best decision I could make for myself. Maybe one day she will grow and understand why I made this decision and we can be friends again, but who knows? Can an asshole become a butterfly? Umm…
All I do know is that I love who I am; the girl with a limp who lives in the cute little apartment with her supportive husband making money moves and figuring out if she can have babies or not (I can always adopt)… flaws and all.