I wanna thank my buddy, Beans, over at Trauma Dad, for a recent post in which he talked about ugly-ness, and also linked to a pretty inspiring Ted talk by Lizzie Velasquez . Lizzie's parting words to the audience was getting them to question what defined them.
I know some people with RA, and other disabilities, really hate to be defined by their disease or disability, but I am not one of them. It certainly isn't ALL that I am, but it is a part of me. It's a part of me visually (in my strange movements, stiffness, limp, or crutches/wheelchair) and it's a part of me emotionally, mentally, intellectually, and every other -y.
It's in everything I do, helping me make decisions about whether I should get up, how I should get up, should I really get up? It's always in the back of my head (and my feet, neck, knees, wrists, shoulders, you get the idea). I have to factor it in to my plans - should I really go for a ski-doo ride on Saturday and Sunday? The answer is yes, by the way. Yes, go for those ski-doo rides, but be prepared to spend Monday, and probably Tuesday, and maybe even Wednesday, on the couch recovering (worth it).
Having this disease can really, really suck, and I often wish I didn't have it. Or, that it was less severe, with less pain, requiring less surgeries, etc. I can get pretty down about it. But, I don't have any problem in using it as defining part of who I am. I am a woman with a disability. The important part, for me, is recognizing that that definition does not make me "lesser than". It just is.