I was at a dinner party a few days ago and it was a friendly bunch of us that have known each other for quite a few years. The wine and conversation were flowing and everyone was having a great time. I was expecting the good company, food and banter, but what I definitely wasn't expecting was to discover that one of my good friends also has arthritis.
This friend had been in hospital recently with a really bad case of..something to do with inflammation of the stomach. I asked what they thought it was, and she said, 'They're not sure. I just hope it's not my arthritis coming back.' This friend did not know about my diagnosis as I've only told about 10 close friends. When she said that I of course questioned her and said I had arthritis too. It was all a bit strange since I've known this girl for about 4 years and she is THE most energetic/busy/sociable person I know. She works as a sales executive for a magazine so she's out schmoozing and partying with prospective clients every night.
Basically her story was, she got JRA when she was about 11, had it pretty damn bad until she was 18 and then it went away. She's now about 29-30. She was on methotrexate when it was still being trialed, but hasn't been on meds for a long time now. She says she's not sure if the stomach thing is to do with the arthritis but she's been getting a lot of pain in her knees and hands so she thinks it's coming back. She's going for tests etc in the next few weeks.
I was really stunned! First of all I can't possibly imagine her, the life and soul of the party, being ill or tired or unwell in any shape or form. Second of all, I dread to think how horrific she must feel just now and how scared she must be that it could all be starting up again after such a long remission.
I said to her that she can come talk to me anytime, even though she probably has a lot more experience of arthritis than I do. Still, it must be different as an adult.
How very very unexpected.