If you were to meet me on the street, you wouldn't know anything was wrong with me. I like that for personal reasons, I'm not someone who likes attention drawn to them, but it makes our acceptance suspect. Other diseases have obvious trophies, rewarding the patient for their participation. When you see me, you do not know how I struggle to take my first few steps of the day, or how after taking those first few steps of the day, I can tell how good or bad my day will be. You don't see me grimacing while putting my socks and shoes on everyday. You don't notice my hands, fingers now starting to hook and curve, or how it hurts somedays just to grip and hold things. I drop things now, as an accepted part of my life, and usually joke about it or scold myself for being so clumsy and dumb. If you were to meet me face to face, I would most likely be smiling. I don't always smile outwardly, due to the pain, but I'm still smiling on the inside.
You wouldn't know that I have had to give up golf, riding bicycles (I still have a mountain bike but days are few and far between when I feel like riding it now), I play bass guitar but my fingers limit my days that I can do that, I gave up woodworking and sold most of my saws, routers and planner because clumsy fingers don't belong around saw blades.
If you read my blog much, you know that I ride motorcycles. What I really love is to ride single track, but my RA doesn't allow me take that much abuse anymore. I have started riding dual sport rides instead. Don't think that this pain free either. It hurts getting on and off of my bike, once on, however, all is good for the first 70 miles. By this time, my right hip and hands are starting to voice their opinion about the ride. After that, somewhere around 110 miles, my right shoulder starts aching and, well ... my feet hurt all of the time. Although it hurts, I refuse to give in on my riding. RA has taken too much from me in the first 7 years.
This might seem like a lot of change, but in reality, I'm no different from anyone else with this disease. You just don't know that when you meet us on the street.