I have an invisible illness.
It’s called Palindromic Rheumatism. It’s a form of autoimmune arthritis and to be honest, most days I don’t even know that I have it. I’m not on any medication, no physical limitations, I just can’t eat gluten or dairy but half of my friends are lactose intolerant anyway so I’m not special.
Symptoms can include pain around my joints, stiffness, soreness... probably all of the things you’ve heard about arthritis except the nature of the word palindrome - front to back - is reflected in the symptoms.
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The pain jumps around from joint to joint as it pleases, leaving no lasting physical damage.
I probably have joint pain once a week in a miscellaneous knee, elbow or hip. But in 2022 when we spend most of our week folded up like prawns on the couch as we work from home, again... I’m not special for having a sore joint every now and then.
I haven’t had a serious flare-up since I was diagnosed in 2020 and I’ve only had to take one day off from work for arthritis-related reasons since.
I’ve found a management plan that works for me and I’m entirely thrilled about it.
But the symptom no one told me about is the way people’s perception of me would change once they knew I had an autoimmune disease.