I am sharing a personal post with you today. Chemistry Cachet is a fun place to come for easy recipes, gardening tips, tutorials, and things in our life…but I would also like it to be a place for inspiration. I love helping people in real life who are struggling or need advice, and I want to be able to do that with this blog too.
I have been working on this post for awhile. The reason I haven’t posted it sooner is fear. Fear about being defined by this, or possibly judged as I have been for many years. Fear is something God has been working on in my life recently, which is why I finally started blogging too 🙂 My Rheumatologist shared with me that May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, so what better month to share this with you?
Today I am facing the fear and telling you the truth about me. For 18 years, I have had severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was just a child when I was diagnosed (10 years old), and I have struggled with it since then. To say it changed the course of my life would be an understatement. Growing up, I desperately wanted to be that girl who was all about athletics, dancing, feeling good all the time, partying, and the works. The problem was, I couldn’t be any of those things. I was different, and it took me years to realize that was okay. Many people are misinformed about RA, mainly because there is confusion as to what Arthritis really is. There are many forms of Arthritis, but RA affects much more than just your joints. I recently came across a wonderful, inspiring blog that has some great information on Arthritis. Kate from Kate the Almost Great has some good points about the struggles of arthritis. Check that out here. It offers great insight into the complications of living with RA.
I could go in to a lot of detail about what I went through physically and emotionally, and continue to go through to this day. However, I would rather share with you how it has blessed me in ways I never thought possible. These are just seven top reasons for me, but I can assure you there are countless other ways too.
1. It forced me to focus more on academics vs athletics.
Obviously, with swollen and painful knees, I wasn’t going to be winning any awards in the sports department, so I spent more time on my school work. I secretly loved it, and worked really hard to graduate at the top of my class. I went on to get a chemistry degree in college specializing in math, and that is one of the reasons I have the career I do today. I started out just tutoring people in the difficult subjects, and soon realized I had a true passion for academia. I have slowly worked my way up to be an academic consultant in many aspects. In turn, I have helped many students pass college and go on to be doctors, lawyers, dentists, and more. If you would like to read more about that, please read it on my business website.
2. I’ve learned true compassion.
I know how hard it is to go through pain, both physically and emotionally. Anytime a friend or loved one faces hard times like that, I have nothing but compassion. I want to help them in anyway I can and I am grateful for that. I pray daily for those that are suffering and need encouragement.
3. I was able to take care of my sick husband.
Little did I know at the age of 21, not only would I be struggling with health problems, but my husband would become severely sick while he was in the marines. I was his caretaker for many years, and by the time he was 23 he had a complete colorectomy due to severe ulcerative colitis and the early stages of colon cancer. I was so grateful I had knowledge of the medical industry including all the medications he was on. I was no stranger to the medical field and it helped us in so many ways. I also, again, was able to have complete compassion on him. He went through more physically than I could ever imagine.
4. It forced me to find a different career path.
Like I mentioned with the academic consulting I am doing, I knew with a chemistry degree, I probably wasn’t going to be able to be a chemist in a lab for 8 hours a day. You many not realize, but chemistry can be tedious work. There were many times in college, I had to get help from fellow students because I physically couldn’t do some of the lab work. I knew the Lord was leading me down a different career path. Blogging and having my own business are what He has driven me towards. I knew I needed to be able to take a day off when I was sick, or being able to go to my doctor’s appointments. No other job would allow that. I am so grateful to have started this blogging venture to share all my knowledge with you and learn from everyone.
5. I live day by day.
Some days are good, and some days are bad. Taking each day as it comes is how I get through it, but it has brought so much more peace to life living one day at a time. As a Christian, that is how we should be living anyways, and having RA has forced me to do so.
6. I take delight in the little things.
Little enjoyments are what makes the world go round. I delight in the small things like sunrises, birds chirping, flowers blooming, a steaming hot bath, sunshine, and nature.
7. A strong marriage.
My husband and I have truly been through a lot in our almost 8 years of marriage. Our health issues have brought us closer and more dependent on each other. We are waiting to have kids due to the medications, but I am grateful for that too. We are building a stronger marriage and becoming better people each day, so our future kids will get the best parents they can have.
Thank you for reading this today. I know it is much heavier than I usually share, but I want people to know that diseases don’t have to define you. In fact, it can be God’s way of making you stronger. If you need support or have questions, please reach out to me! Also, if you would be interested in some information about stuff like this, let me know!
I have learned many things along the way and would love to share them with you. One of the reasons I got a degree in chemistry would be to have a well rounded aspect of things even including nutrition, exercise, and medicines. I don’t get to work out like some, but I have a routine I do daily to stay in shape. I also care about nutrition especially with the health issues my husband has. You may notice, but I love sharing healthier treats when I can on the blog (although we still delight in the occasional treat, like my cookies :)) I will leave you with one of my favorite versus in the Bible.
James 1:2-4 : “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.“
I would love to know your thoughts on this. Would you be interested in some health related content on the blog occasionally? Do you have any questions? Let me know and have a great rest of the week!