What is gained by concealing arthritis? Have you done it yourself? What was your motivation? Did you fear losing a job, losing a boyfriend or girlfriend, feel your friends wouldn't understand -- or just plain not want to explain it to strangers?
Do you think there is a deeper issue that comes with concealment? Do you think you were trying to avoid the realities of arthritis -- you know -- encase yourself in denial? How did that work for you?Share Your Story
- After being fired within a week of asking for time off for double knee replacements, I learned the hard way never to reveal my OA and RA, especially to an employer. Two weeks before being fired my performance was praised in writing. You cannot trust people who are in a position to take your ability to sustain yourself with such sensitive information. I guess they figured if they fired me then their insurance rates wouldn't go up. Well, jokes on them, because I did it with Cobra anyway. It's been over a year since my surgery and I am still jobless because my resume is blemished by this "termination." My livelihood has been stripped from me because I am seen as damaged goods. If it weren't for my sweetheart I would be homeless by now. Discrimination is alive and well.
- —Guest SoSore
- Most of my friends know that I have osteo-arthritis, but I hardly ever complain, mainly because I do not want to be a sorry Suzie, looking for sympathy all the time. Like the others say, no-one can imagine the intensity of the pain, so why complain, they can't really sympathize. It is quite obvious that it's not easy for me to get up from a sitting position, or do loads of other little things. My friends realize this, but I will make a joke about it and they will help me matter of factly, without making a big hoo-ha, which I really appreciate. I think other people find it very tiresome to be around people who complain all the time.
- —Guest Sealti
Impossible to conceal
- At the time shortly before my RA diagnosis, I worked in a busy emergency room as a tech. The job in itself was physically stressful, then add in the overall stress of an ER, and, well, no.....I couldn't hide it. I found myself choosing never to sit down because it literally hurt too much to try and get up. My coworkers would notice my limp at the beginning of the shift and towards the end. My demeanor also began to deteriorate as I was constantly in pain. I finally gave in and started telling people when they started to notice things I was doing to help manage my pain like rubbing my hands, knees, shoulders, etc. I didn't even realize half the time I was doing any of those things until they pointed them out. So imagine working with about 30 professionals who are trained to assess people's ability to function and how much pain they're in from across the room or from non-verbal cues. Impossible to conceal.
- —Guest SeriouslyRAD
Yes, I try to pass on a daily basis
- Yes, only my closest and dearest friends know that I have RA and have had it for 17 years. I don't dare tell my co-workers because they feel they are entitled to give me medical advice and ridicule me. They have done so in the past when I've had RA related issues. I don't know what I will do in the next two weeks when I install my handicap license plates on my car. I know they will bombard me with questions and say that I do not need them.
Living with many types of joint pain
- I have had two shoulder replacements and one thumb joint replacement. My left shoulder is frozen but I have learned to live with it. I like to run and hike but now because of all the pain in my right knee I at least for now cannot hike again. I had my right toe broken many years ago and need to wear Spec. shoes. My doc told me you should never run again.
- —Guest pete gertsch
- Yes I conceal my RA from my friends. Once I confided in a guy I was dating and got dumped. It is difficult for some people to understand what RA is and the impact it has on the sufferers.
- —Guest katie
- I was just diagnosed with RA. I was hoping I had something else. I am now learning about it and am scared. I am only 46 yrs old. What can you tell me?
- —Guest Lauren
Concealing rheumatoid arthritis/fibro
- I concealed it for more than twenty years until I couldn't anymore. People thought I was always tired. I perpetuated the myth. I can no longer hide it so I own up to my issues.
- —Guest Rosie
All the time...
- I cover it up a lot from co-workers and friends that don't know me very well. When people have found out in the past, they treat me as if I'm broken or... sometimes they would treat me as if I am crazy, because they just can't relate to the pain. It's so indescribable... and when you say it's inflammation, they think of a tension headache or something. It's just too different. I'm around people who complain about an achy leg or a sore wrist, when my joints hurts on a daily basis, all the time. So yeah, I hide it.
- —Guest Hayley-Lou
- I guess I had OA for 15 years before it was diagnosed. I'd take Tylenol and hope the aches would go away. Because I looked well and healthy, doctors would just say I was "neurotic". They really didn't care until I had hip replacement surgery. They broke my femur during the surgery. It was by accident, they said. Post op, I developed RA, but they still weren't sure about that. Finally, after 14 months of blood tests, MRIs and x-rays, they decided I have RA. I now take Methotrexate and Prednisone to contol the systemic inflammation. I am fortunate that I can work from home, because it would be difficult for me to go to the office every day. Because I "looked healthy" and had very good ROM, they failed to check my shoulder pains. Finally, they did MRIs at my request. They discovered I have 3 rotator cuff tears in my right shoulder and 3 in my left shoulder, also. The only cure is surgery, which I do not want. In the meantime, I still carry on as though there's no problem.
Been in pain but don't know
- I am a 35 years old living in KENYA AFRICA. I have been in pain for the last 20 years but I did't know it is Arthritis. I have gone to so many doctors but none seemed to know what is wrong with me, but after the pain became to much to bear I visited a specialist as I was advised by a friend and it happened I have arthritis. The pain is so much in my joints, I now don't know what to tell my wife, and family. Of late, walking and any other manual work has became a problem. In fact, even making love to my wife has become a problem. I am confused and I don't know what to do. The drugs I am using for pain are not helping. Please anybody who can help. Thanks.
- —Guest L
An emphatic Yes!
- I have done it for the past 15 years from strangers and so called well wishers who always say they feel sorry for u n try to sympathize with you since you have this disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis. Basically I do not want anybody's sympathy.
- —Guest Joe Rani
- No. no. Not that, though it is very difficult to really explain what is going on through my joints and the extent of the pain. Actually, I feel good and relaxed whenever I shared my experience of living with RA with others. Mine is so obvious. It could not be denied or concealed. Thank you anyways!
- —Guest From Ethiopia
- Yes, I concealed. When I could not walk, I got a scooter. When I fell, I stayed in my scooter. When I had arthritic attack spasms, I just rubbed it until it went away. All this was to keep my job. The threats and focus on my health at meetings diminished. This is necessary to keep a job I need whether I like it or not.
- —Guest Anonymous
Denial or Ignore
- I've ignored, as much as possible, the pain of arthritis and fibromyalgia. When I think about it or read about it the pain increases. When I am busy with work or interests, I don't seem to hurt as much. I don't tell most people because I don't want them looking at me differently. Those to who I am close know, and are supportive if I take it a little easy at times. If there were a sure cure, I'd go for it but since there isn't, I'm not going to let it rule my life. I am 65 and have had some arthritis for over 40 years, fibro for the last 8 years.
- —Guest sandy