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To the Men With Rheumatoid Arthritis Who Feel Alone

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It seems men don’t receive a lot of support and understanding when it comes to dealing with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Men are supposed to be “tough.” We may not talk about the disease with anybody and we probably don’t even know another man with the same disease or even an understanding of our daily struggle to just live. I am not saying we struggle more than women do. How our disease affects us has no gender bias; some women have it worse than some men and vice versa. But men aren’t supposed to be bothered by things like pain and sickness, and if you are? You’re a “wuss.”

I feel like I’m a wuss. My RA has affected pretty much every aspect of my life. From my outdoor hobbies to the bedroom, it’s always there. Always ready to say “No way man, not today.” I dread shaking hands with a new acquaintance. Men are supposed to have a firm handshake, but my joints in my hands are soft and my grip has diminished drastically. That is just one tiny example a lot of people wouldn’t think about, but not shaking hands in our society is considered rude and explaining I have RA to everybody I meet is not an option.

So guys, you are not alone. There are a lot of us out here and we do understand what you are going through. We understand your love of fluffy soft socks and PJs, we get that a hot bath can be heaven. We understand when you pay somebody to mow the lawn or ask your significant other to open a pickle jar. We understand when you cancel plans to hang out and we understand if you don’t want to shake hands.

You aren’t a “wuss,” you have a life-altering disease you are trying to make the best of and I understand.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 11, 2017
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