6. You Looked Fine Yesterday
Such is the nature of a chronic, autoimmune illness like RA. Patients may look fine one day, even one minute, and feel sick the next. Autoimmune diseases are completely unpredictable and therefore someone can seem perfectly normal, and then be very sick the next hour, day or week.
7. You’re Still Sick?
Unfortunately diseases like RA are chronic, meaning that you will suffer from them for your entire life. RA isn’t the flu – it isn’t something that magically goes away after a week or two in bed. It is lifelong and will last forever.
8. Why Would You Miss My Event When You Were at Christy’s Last Week?
As I mentioned before, most people with RA will never purposefully miss something just to spite you, or use it as an excuse. Missing events and other big things in their own lives and the lives of friends and family is hard enough on the person with RA, and there is no need to make it worse by making them feel guilty on top of it.
Remember, they probably feel terrible already for missing your event as they were likely also looking forward to it. Additionally, RA can be fickle, so that means that sometimes people do feel well enough to attend one person’s event one week (or even one day) and have to miss another event at another time.
9. If Only You Lost a Little Weight…
While this may be a valid concern in some respects, many people with RA are on steroids that make them retain water like crazy or cause severe bloating. They can also pack on the pounds relatively easily with steroids, giving the appearance of or actually becoming overweight.
Unless you know exactly what medication someone is taking and are able to see their daily food intake, you should not make comments about their weight or dietary habits.
10. I Know Someone With RA and They Are Able to Work, Go to School and Raise Three Kids. Why Are You so Ill?
Everyone has varying degrees of RA. Some people with RA are able to carry on lives that are very similar to their lives before with only intermittent pain or flares that will temporarily make them ill. Some people are totally and permanently disabled and may even not be able to walk. It fully depends on the person and their individual journey with RA. No two people with RA are going to be exactly the same.
11. You’re Too Young to Have All of These Health Issues/Arthritis!
Unfortunately, there is no lower age limit on RA or arthritis and people can get it at any age.
Remember, when speaking to someone about having RA, stop and consider whether what is about to come out of your mouth is helpful and supportive, or not.