Some people say I’m passionate when it comes to spreading awareness about autoimmune diseases. They view it as a positive thing and may even call me brave for speaking out.
Others would beg to differ. Recently, I was told that I put too much of my life out in the open and have little to no privacy. I believe that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I talk about everything that being in pain entails. Disability, depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, the list goes on. I don’t give every detail of my journey and battle with my diseases, but I try to give people a glimpse of what it’s like to be in constant pain. Not because it adds something to my story but because it’s the raw truth.
There is no way that someone who lives with daily pain can put what we go through into a positive form. It’s a difficult life to live, but we do it day after day. Sometimes without anyone ever knowing how much we suffer.
I can either choose to remain silent or take a stand and let others know that these issues exist. Some of our diseases are without cures and some are untreatable. It’s up to others to decide whether or not they want to remain ignorant and oblivious to those facts or educate themselves.
I am proud to say I openly speak about how my life has changed and continues to change because of my pain.
If I can make a small difference or impact just one person, whether they be a fellow pain sufferer or someone eager to learn more, than I’ve fulfilled my goal.
Change begins with one person and can spread like wildfire once it’s been ignited.
Maybe one day there will be so much information about pain that more funding will go into finding better relief.
Or better yet, cures for those of us who have been told there is none.
Whatever the case may be, I want to know I did my best to help others like me with my writing and bring some sort of comfort in knowing they’re not alone.
To me, it’s therapeutic. Being able to talk about my wounds and scars begins the healing process, and helps me as well.
My life is an open book, but the only pages that others can read are the ones I allow them to.
Arlene Alonzo Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.