Today we are supposed to share 5 things about our condition, well since I have more than 5 I'm going to break it down to these few.
Let's start at the beginning I have Rheumatoid Arthritis/Disease I was diagnosed at the age of 23, after waking up out of the blue with a bent finger unable to move, within a week I was in a wheelchair. I was put on steroidal medication through an I.V. in the hospital after a few weeks I was able to walk again.
My wrists fused simultaneously and both have been surgically fused to take away the pain. I have also had a full joint replacement on one knee and due to that surgery to repair a nerve that got damaged during it causing foot drop. I still have some issues with that, not nearly as bad as before the surgery to repair the nerve.
Here are a few things about Rheumatoid Arthritis it is an Autoimmune disease, meaning your immune system attacks you, leaving you susceptible to infections etc, the joints get damaged due to inflammation, or sometimes without inflammation, you feel like you have the flu of the time causing you extreme fatigue and fevers. Your organs are involved and you're at a higher risk of having a heart attack than a person with Autoimmune Arthritis/Disease.
I also have Raynauds, or Raynauds Phenonenom. I'm not sure why they call it a Phenomenon because there's nothing Phenomenal about it :) There is a problem with the way your blood flows in your body, the blood doesn't get to your fingers, toes, nose, or ears causing them to go numb and get very cold. This can be caused by really cold weather or can be brought on by stress. Raynauds can be considered a Primary Disease or a Secondary Disease. Primary meaning it occurs on its own. Secondary meaning it occurs along with another Primary disease which in my case was at that time Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Sjogren's Syndrome, which is pronounced show-grins (I'm not grinning about it), is another Autoimmune disease that can be either Primary or Secondary. Your Autoimmune system attacks the moisture producing glands. The main symptoms are dry eyes and a dry mouth. I have to carry water with me wherever I go, I have had plugs put in my eyes to try to get the tear ducts to drain. It feels like you have sand in your eyes all the time, my vision has been affected, so have my teeth. Although eyes and mouth are the most well known symptoms Sjogren's can affect all of your other organs and cause serious complications.
Lupus is also an Autoimmune disease with joint involvement, fatigue, fever, pain, there is a lupus rash that usually occurs after being in the sun. Lupus like all the other Autoimmune Diseases is hard to diagnose because as you can see with my descriptions each one mimics the other. Some people may tests positive and have no symptoms, or test positive and have a full blown flare.
All of these diseases are treated with drugs like Methotrexate, which is a drug administered to chemotherapy patients. We do not take aspirin for these diseases. We inject our medications or we sit in infusion centers for hours.
I'm guessing this is a bit more than 5 things but there's so much to choose from :)
I hope this gave you a good idea of what each disease I and millions of others live with.