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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia
Fair to Partly Middlin'
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About this blog
By Pamela Engelhard
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Nov. 12, 2012 12:27 p.m.



Not even sure what to say today as ‘brain fog’ has taken control of my thoughts. Brain fog is a symptom of RA and Fibromyalgia. It dims the brain’s ability to function properly. It is difficult to concentrate, affects memory, and actually feels as if your brain is sitting in a soup of fog; difficult to see through swirling mists.

The change in the weather, from 73 degrees to 28 degrees has awoken the beast. I woke up very stiff this morning with swelling in my hands. My right hand is always worse, but I think this is because as a right-hander, it is used more than the left. It took about an hour to an hour-and-a-half for the fingers to feel like actual fingers rather than sausages. Buttoning my shirt and pants this morning was an interesting task. As an observer, I am sure I would have felt sympathy and fought a need to just do it for a person rather than watch him or her struggle so hard, all the while fighting laughter.

I am fortunate in that while I am struggling with the anger, frustration and all the other emotional baggage that goes along with an independent person who has RA, struggling to maintain some type of control of their life, I can also find humor in it. Like the really bad days, days when I am hunched over, barely able to walk. The days I REALLY feel like a grandparent, or rather a great-great grandparent.  

Sometimes you have to laugh, or you will just cry. A perfect example of the humor is actually laughing when my son told me I have two diseases: RA AND AGING!!! Does this mean he thinks I am old?!?! Hmmm, he must be forgetting Christmas is coming up!

Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis is a struggle. It is for the most part, an invisible disease. Only when I am at my worst with swollen and stiff joints, can it be seen that I am sick. There are times though that I am in pain and hurting without presenting any symptoms. For instance, because RA weakens the ligaments attached to the joints. I have a tear in one of the ligaments in my wrist and suspect another tear in a ligament in one of my knees. And remember, it has already presented itself internally in my heart, stomach and lungs.

I say that when I grow up, I want to be just like my grandmother. But I didn’t mean in this way! I want to be strong and be able to say exactly what I want and let people just deal with it..haha. Yeah, I know, I am pretty much already there. My grandmother had a number of health issues; she was, and still is, my mentor for ‘toughing it out’.

Then, of course, there are my grandchildren. I want to be able to play with them for as long as possible. I know what the future holds for me if a cure is not found, I want them to have memories of Nana playing with them on the floor, or swinging them around in the back yard, helping teach them to ride a bike, and most of all, one of my favorite memories of my mother, singing and dancing around the house. 

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