When you were first diagnosed, can you tell me how you felt emotionally? You said that you were upset.
Yeah. I was really upset. Because I assumed I'd be fine. And I was really upset and I was worried because I didn't know what, I didn't know anything about what RA was really apart from just the brief part the consultant had spoken to me about. So I was really upset. I was scared I think. I was quite scared because I didn't really know what was going to happen. I was really, I was worried.
Were you angry?
Yeah. I, not at, initially. Probably the first week I was just really upset. I was gut, I was really upset and I just thought, “Oh no, everything's going to have to change, you know. I'm going to be in this amount of pain for the rest of my life. I'm going to yeah, have big man hands and man feet forever.” [laughs] And I'm going to, you know this, that and the other. And then, I think, a week or two later I was angry and I was, just thought, “This is really unfair you know. I'm a good person, I haven't done anything bad, you know. I've tried to live a good life. It's not fair that this has happened.” Which I think, naturally I think most people probably go through that when they find out they've got something. And what got, and what I was saying to some people was I feel, I felt like, because you have it as far as they know for the rest of your life, there is no cure for it, I felt almost like you've been given a life sentence. OK, it's not going to kill you but you still have to spend the rest of your life thinking about things, doing things differently. You know, if you want to go travelling to different countries on the medication I'm on at the minute, you can't go to certain places because you're not allowed certain vaccinations. And so, you, I just felt like I'd been given a bit of a life sentence because you have to be careful for the rest of your life and you have to think about when you want to have children and you have to think about where you're going on holiday and you have to think, “Can I leave the country for two week because I have to go for my two weekly blood tests?” And now that it's gone to a month, that's better.
So, yeah, then I was really angry because I just felt it was really unjust. And then I kind of accepted it and thought, you know, “Oh we just need to work with, worse things happen, I just need to now get on with this, look after myself, get, educate myself the best I can and just see what happens, just look after myself and not run myself down.” I think it was probably a bit of a wake up call that you can't do everything. Yeah, but yeah, I definitely I was upset, angry and then kind of accepting.
[laughs] And your attitude now is to work with it?
Yeah. Very much, very much. And try not let it get me down. And try not make it rule my life if that makes sense. I try and, sometimes I'm so, prime example, I was really tired on Monday and I thought, “Oh I don't' want to do anything,” and my sister phoned me and said, “Do you want to meet up and go to the cinema?” And I thought, “Oh, I just can't.” I thought, “I'm going to do it.” You know, even, it doesn't matter if I'll be done in for the rest of the week I will, because you don't want to let it rule, rule things. So, yeah, now I'm just very much, I have days when I'm upset and sometimes if I'm talking to someone particularly about it or, I don't know what will trigger it. I will get upset about it. But generally you just, you think, “Well I'm glad it's not something else”, you know, so….