I recently answered a question on Quora about living with a chronic and disabling disease. I'm posting it here because I've been thinking a lot about mindset. There's no question that my doctor and my medications changed my outcome. But my support system (family and community) and a stubborn refusal to be victimized by a diagnosis probably had a role to play, too. The post on Quora begins with a woman lamenting a painful future with psoriatic arthritis.
What can save me now? My life is completely ruined. I just discovered a "bump" in one finger joint. I'm 28 and I know it's arthritis, because I also have psoriasis.
This post has received 30 answers over the past few days, many of which echo my response below:
"Oh, I understand your reaction. I felt the same way. I had small children at the time, so my fears were more about my boys' future. I remember saying to myself, over and over, "Don't outlive your usefulness. Don't become a worse burden than you already are." I was harsh with myself at a time when I needed to be gentle!
Fast forward 3 years. I'm better. I'm drug free. I exercise daily to keep it that way. I started my own business to solve a problem I had as a patient.
During my worst days, I couldn't dress myself, turn a door knob, or hold a knife and fork. Today, my marriage is stronger, because my husband helped me get dressed and never belittled me. Today, I'm open to the kindness of strangers, because I relied on them to help me do simple things like open doors. And, today my kids cook, because if they hadn't learned to chop, there'd have been no dinner.
Your life will be different, but probably in ways that you can not imagine. There is a strong possibility that it will be better. Cultivate a relationship of discovery and forgiveness with your body. You will survive and thrive, should you choose to."