My Reality Demands Answers.

Constant pain is difficult to process, both mentally and physically. Obviously, something was wrong. Every time I convinced myself I was getting better, I was slapped with reality. On a trip to NYC with college friends, David and Kevin, I struggled to get out of cabs. My damn knees, again. When Kevin asked me what was wrong, I lied and said it was a gym injury. I wanted one weekend without having to confront my reality and even that was asking too much.

My healthy facade at work quickly faded . I worked for an organization focused on keeping Downtown a vibrant place for businesses and apartment dwellers. Part of my role was to complete an inventory of first floor retail options within the Downtown area. Ordinarily, I would be excited by the work. I loved walking around the city, without my boss’s prying eyes. And any day away from an office is a plus for me. Unfortunately, with my pain level, walking more than a couple of blocks was out of the question. My ridiculously supportive fiance, unbeknownst to my boss, drove me to every retail shop so I could complete the work. I knew better than to trust my boss with personal issues. This is a man who literally chuckled when he saw me limping into work and wearing a brace. I sure as hell was not going to mention my medical woes to him.

At this point, reality forced my hand. I needed the pain to stop. Self diagnosis is dangerous for a hypochondriac such as myself, but I proceeded. I searched for joint pain causes and arthritis kept coming up. Arthritis? The disease old people get? Digging deeper, I learned arthritis conditions were treated by rheumatologists. I did not have a doctor at the time, so I went to my fiancé's doctor as a starting point.

Of course, my knees locked on the way to the doctor's office. Dr. P was pleasant, but his emotional IQ was lacking. He rattled off potential diseases like a waiter going through a restaurant's specials. "It could be different forms of arthritis, a virus, cancer..." My eyes bulged as he nonchalantly mentioned the “C” word. He drew blood and told me test results would be available in a week. Now, I just had to get through the week.

A couple days later, it was New Year's Eve and we celebrated with friends. I put on a brave face, but was distracted and anxious when the clock struck midnight. What would the new year have in store for me?