Know…Listen…Act!

By Marianna Boyce

It’s never a good time for a life-altering illness, so when I read Janet Prince’s blog post, “The Whispering Signs of Ovarian Cancer – Do You Know Them,” it made me sit up and take note!  At the time, I was experiencing many of the very symptoms she had mentioned in her post.

stethoscopeSince my annual checkup was just a few weeks ago, I discussed the matter with my gynecologist.  He shared my concern and ordered an ultrasound of my ovaries on that very day.  I am happy to report that it revealed no signs of ovarian cancer.  Although he thinks I’m a few years away yet, my 50-year-old body is merely preparing for the inevitable.  M-M-M-Menopause!  Yay me, but in all seriousness, the peace of mind I had leaving his office that day was truly awesome.  (Thank you, Janet.)

I’ve barely gotten used to dealing with daily chronic joint pain over the last two years.  Of course, with the right medication the pain is better, but I haven’t had a completely pain free day since June 15, 2016.  I was actually healthy and fit when my unfortunate situation reared its ugly head.  The onset of my symptoms could’ve broken a world record how quickly they spread throughout my body.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, this issue fell in the “autoimmune” category.  This is when your immune system “misfires” and sees healthy cells as foreign and it begins attacking itself.  Weird right?  I thought so too!  Some believe autoimmunity stems from diet.  Some feel it may be linked to environmental elements.  Some disorders may be genetic.

The list of autoimmune illnesses is quite lengthy.  This list includes, but is not limited to, Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, celiac disease, etc.

handsRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is when the immune system attacks the joints causing redness, swelling, warmth, and debilitating stiffness.  RA is often mistaken for an “old person’s disease” which is not the case.  (That would be osteoarthritis which is degenerative, not autoimmune.)  If you spoke with Emily, my 13 year old niece, she could speak first hand what RA feels like.  She is a precious soul!  She was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) at the age of 18 months!  Click this link to read the Q&A interview blog post that I shared on my personal website a few months ago.

For many issues that we all face, it is important to act quickly.  If you suffer from one of these autoimmune illnesses, all we really wish for is a quick diagnosis and a plan to manage the symptoms as soon as humanly possible.  RA is sometimes difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic so many other illnesses.  Oftentimes, these must be ruled out before receiving a definitive diagnosis.

If you’re an RA warrior patient, you must have RA warrior patience.

Just know your body…Listen to it…Be prepared to act…

P.S.   An update since my “Weight It Out” post,  I’m down 4 pounds.  I have 16 more to lose.  If you are joining me…keep it up!  If you messed up like I did today, start again immediately, not tomorrow.  The brownie that I ate was worth every calorie.  I jumped right back on the wagon, and no…I didn’t feel guilty!  Again…worth every calorie…and I still lost 4 pounds.  I will share more on this in the near future.  I appreciate our readers and always welcome your comments!