I’ve been talking more and more to my friends about my RA- they’re awesome and want to know as much as I’m willing to share which is somewhat of a shock to me. Did I say already that they’re awesome? Anyways, one of them asked me how people react when they find out about my diagnosis and I was reminded of this gem that I don’t think I’ve told you guys about.
Allow me to first give you some contextual information. I may or may not have been attending a lunch meeting about volunteering for an organization that may or may not be arthritis focused. I may or may not have volunteered through email to help organize a silent auction. I may or may not have been nervous about attending because this may or may not have been the first time I had really admitted to anyone about my RA. (After a year and a half of being pissed off at the world, I thought it was time to try to channel my energy into something positive.) And this person’s response may or may not be the sole reason why I may or may not have done a damn thing. Let’s just call it the perfect storm, shall we?
Meeting Organizer: Let’s go around, say our names, where we work, and our connection to the organization.
Amanda: Hi, I’m Amanda, I’m in outside sales, and I’m a Rheumatoid Arthritis patient.
Older Lady Next To Me: (Audible gasp) AND YOU WORK???
Voice in my Head: No crying, no cussing, no crying, no cussing.
I was very much taken aback to have such an uninformed response in what should be a very well informed audience. I still want to kick myself for simply nodding that yes, I do indeed work rather than giving a meatier answer that talked about meds, age, diet, working with my doctor to achieve goals and the fact that because I define myself so heavily by professional success, I would be in a very bad place if I couldn’t work.
I’m such a nerd that I really did go home and create a 30 second “elevator speech” in the offhand chance I should ever encounter said situation again.