READER REPORT:

My body gets sore just from shopping

COLLEEN HENRY
Last updated 05:00 08/06/2014

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In December 2012 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

I was 17 years old and I was two months away from starting my last year of college.

I was confused and angry and didn't understand what it was or why it happened to me.

I was hospitalised multiple times following the diagnosis. Ultimately, I was told I had to have three months off school to rest because my RA was bad.

It infuriated me. I liked school and I was working up to my goal of being the top academic person of the school. Which, in the end, I received, along with graduating.

What annoyed me was explaining to everyone what I had, when I didn't even know what I had. All I knew was I had something that put me in excruciating pain and had changed my life.

I went back to school first thing, but I had to be in a wheelchair. I still haven't fully got out of the wheelchair, but I'm trying.

I think the hardest thing for me, is adjusting to everything. It has been hard to understand that my body gets sore and tired just from shopping, so the next day, I can't go out.

I don't hang with my friends much anymore because I have to know if I can definitely do that activity or not without being in too much pain.

I'll be 19 in October.

My illness isn't invisible yet, only because I'm in a wheelchair half the time. When I'm not, I limp, but I'm strong

I wish people would understand that my RA isn't only a physical pain. You need to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually strong to deal with any chronic illness.

Any chronic illness, especially an invisible illness is hard. In a couple years, I'll fully know the feeling of having an invisible illness.

Right now, I'm just trying to deal with seeing other teenagers my age being able to do whatever they want and not having this hanging over their head.


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