Wednesday, October 24, 2018

RA + Love

{A note since I've not shared this much: I've had rheumatoid arthritis for five years now, and I was diagnosed and started treatment about a year ago. Some day (maybe soon?) I'll write more, but mostly it is better now than it once was.}

Last night I went to a little evening seminar on Rheumatoid Arthritis in Salt Lake.  It was so interesting and enlightening to look around the room and see such a variety of faces, united just by this disease. The doctor presenting was fabulous, and as she talked I was surprised at the lump in my throat and how emotional I was feeling. But as she was reviewing the new vocabulary that has become familiar to me over the last year or so of NSAIDS and DMARDS, I could feel this doctor, this stranger to me really saying "I know you. I understand you. I care about you" in such a remarkable way.

We had a short break where we were each asked to write down and plan out a specific goal we'd like to work toward. When she asked for volunteers to share their goals, I raised my hand and read mine first - "I'd like to make breakfast for my kids." And then, seeing the loving kindness in this doctors face, I found myself crying.

I've been grateful to have a diagnosis and to be working toward finding some helpful treatments. But my doctor's approach has been very much "You have this problem. Now what do you want to do about it?" And though the doctor presenting didn't say this, I left with this message instead. "You are loved. You are cared for. I want to help and serve you the best I can. You are strong and capable and doing wonderfully well in your roles. Let's work together and see what great results we can find for you."

(And also, "She's my doctor, isn't she the best? Sadly, she's not accepting new patients.")

Today, I'm feeling still tenderhearted at how well she shared her love even in such a professional setting. And I'm feeling more hopeful and motivated to communicate better with my own doctor and hopefully find some better treatments (so I can make those special breakfasts for my kids again soon.)