However, arthritis doesn’t happen overnight, you don’t just go to sleep and wake up in the “body suit”. It is a slow, debilitating illness which can take months or years to develop enough for a diagnosis to be made, as so many people find out.
Mine started in my right hand, around 6 years ago when I was living in Spain. I put it down firstly to the stress of moving, then to too much driving and cleaning, our house had 23 rooms! My right hand aches, I can feel it right down to my bones, sometimes the ache travels up my arm. I have even felt the same dull ache in my eyes. It has never deteriorated though, I have bad days with it when I can’t use it and have it wrapped up to try to ease the pain but in general, I cope well with it.
A year ago next week I first saw a Rheumatologist about it, having been referred by my GP. She ordered full bone scans which did not show any arthritis in my hand but did pick it up in my right toe, which had been painful but I assumed it was just one of those things, as you do… The toe took until February to stiffen, finally locking itself completely around June.
A year on, I am now walking with a stick, yes, I took “the Secret” out this week after so much Twitter support.. I was amazed at the difference it made, not just to my mobility but to the way I was treated by others. Suddenly, I was disabled in their eyes. I was offered help, doors opened for me, people started unnecessary conversations, maybe to prove they’re not disablist? Who knows.. It was eye-opening though.
Once I have my operations, I probably wont need the Secret but I will still be suffering from an invisible condition. Just because you cannot see illness, does not mean it doesn’t exist..
Please raise awareness for invisible illness when you can. If you have a story you would like me to add to this page, please give me a nudge : )