I dug up my old journals a couple of days ago. These are my diaries from when I was a pre-teen, teenager and in my early twenties. I was a fairly prolific writer. I wrote poems, articles and editorials for both my high school yearbook and my university newspaper. I also kept a spotty journal detailing my life before and after my diagnosis.
When I re-read my journal entries over the past couple of days, I cried. I just sobbed. I was so heartbroken with what I read and how I felt back then. I was an active teenager who was a little boy-crazy. And then I hit this wall called RA - and things changed. I have an honest account of my past pain, loss and realization that things have changed for good, and not for the better. Here are some selected, direct quotes from my journals. It shocks and pains me that I had such clarity and articulation on how I felt when I was 16 and 17, and how these thoughts continue to resonate:
"I want to go back to normal. Like the way I was six months ago." June 1991
"this arthritis thing is a massive emotional roller coaster" July 1991
"I feel cheated by my arthritis. Cheated out of a life I felt comfortable with." August 1991
"I have Polyarticular Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is no cure." August 1991
"I want to be a normal person without pain. I want to play basketball" September 1991
"I think I am having a relapse... It really bugs me that this is happening. I want a life not a medical problem. Why me?" April 1992
"Uh-ooo, I've had a relapse, a flare something bad. I can't even play soccer." April 1992
"I feel like my body turned against me. My friends don't understand that I can't do the things I used to be able to do. It really upsets me." April 1992
Sarah McLachlan came to mind - "I will remember you". Bitter sweet song and seems appropriate for this post.