Seems like years ago when I first noticed my fingers slightly resembled sausages overnight. I remember thinking to myself did i get into a fight with a fridge at the weekend after a few too many vinos? Well obviously I was a 22 year old living life to the full working and partying hard so it didnt seem too far fetched I had injured my hand and forgot about it! It took quite a few weeks before I decided to go and visit my doc as I started to feel like all the hard work and partying I had been doing had taken its toll. It didnt cross mine or my doctors mind that it was anything sinister just that I was feeling a bit low and I should take it easy for a while. I was really looking forward to a holiday me and one of my best friends had booked to Egypt. We always had such a laugh together and I thought that would take my mind off things and we could relax (with some cocktails on our all inclusive deal of course!) Boy was I wrong!
When I stepped off the plain into this beautiful, boiling country it was not a sense of relaxation I felt. Far from it infact. I was in complete and utter agony. I felt like I had literally taken a sledge hammer to the feet, knees, hands, elbows and back. (Not a great feeling when you have just arrived in a foreign country as you can imagine!) But for the sake of my friend i popped a few painkillers and sucked it up. Trying my best over the week to overcome the unbearable agony i was in (with not a clue as to why i felt like that) I struggled on and tried to fake a smile but my friend, bless her, could see I was not right.
After the nightmare of being away from home and feeling pretty much like I wanted to ride home on the wing of the plane, I got back to my house and made an appointment to see the old doc again. Within a couple of weeks I had my diagnosis. Rheumatoid Arthritis.... "I'm sorry I thought you said arthritis?" I said to the doc, "Thats right" he confirmed.
Forgive me for being potentially politically incorrect but I thought only old people got arthritis?! People that had long, full lives packed with activity like walking up big hills with their grandkids! Not a 22 year old girl just starting out in life. Confused and shocked I walked away from the doctors trying to decide what impact this diagnosis would have on my life. Little did I know then it was to knock a giant asteroid sized hole into the next few years....