Recently I've been thinking of the term "Arthritis Survivor." I've read it in the past and never really thought about it until now. I really don't have an opinion about people refering to themselves or others as an arthritis survivor, but I do have a story.
My dad used to work with a man who had a daughter about my age with severe rheumatoid. She was constantly in and out of the hospital and used a wheelchair because it was too painful to move. She had it since she was very young and went through years of aggressive treatments and surgeries. She also had severe complications from the RA.
When we were about twelve or so, she got leukaemia. It does happen rarely with kids with arthritis who take DMARDs. I can't stress how rare it is. But it did happen to her. She was very weak between the arthritis and now the chemo. She passed away when we were about thirteen.
It's a really horrible thing when children pass away. Knowing someone with almost the same disease as you passed away is a bit sobering, even when the disease is worse that yours. I have friends from all over the world with arthritis, and I cried a lot when one of them had a cancer scare over the summer that turned out to be nothing. This friend too, has very severe RA as well as other immune diseases.
It's scary, I think, to realise how true the term 'Arthritis Survivor' is. Whether you use it or you don't use it, I think it's important to understand the depth of our words and to make sure others do too.