There’s a shadowy club whose business is escalating each year. A sketchy welcome mat is positioned at the front entrance. A red glow emanates from hazy windows; curious passer-byes stop and take a peek, unaware of the peril to their health. A number of unlucky patrons will be coaxed to enter. No password is needed. There’s never a line-up for this club. There are no bouncers at the door checking identification.
The band offers up a soulful blend of The Blues, crooning tales of a nameless threat, offering the hope of relief from its woeful clutch. Teenagers mingle with adults, hobbling around chatting with nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and surgeons, making an effort to rebuild a new life within the walls of their ill incarceration. The bar is always open serving up assorted cocktails of Biologics and DMARDs. There’s a vending machine with NSAIDs for those who want a little something extra. There’s even a JIA room for children. The proprietor of this club does not discriminate. They open their doors to all ages and ethnicities.
There are no exits; however, there is much gossip about a “Room of Remission” that will lead a lucky few back to a normal life. Protestors march outside the building calling for its condemnation. Research scientists are continually investigating ways to destroy it; but until that time, this club will continue to flourish.
I entered this club in my thirties. I call it “The Old Lady in My Bones” but it has many names: http://contributors.healthline.com/voices/naming-your-ra
What can we do to bankrupt this club?
September is arthritis awareness month. Millions suffer from arthritis. There is no cure. Many people have the wrong impression of this Invisible Disease. Arthritis is not restricted to any age group; any person at any age can be brought down by the pain and inflammation of arthritis. It has many faces, but you can help bring it to the surface by spreading awareness and offering support to organizations in your area to help find a cure.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.