Welcome to my blog! My name is Ferhaan. I’m 35 years old, happily married, have a great three-year-old son and I have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
RA is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints. It has been described as ‘a disabling a painful inflammatory condition, which can lead to substantial loss of mobility due to pain and joint destruction’. I would compare it to ‘A shot at love with Tia Tequilla’; painful, debilitating and mind numbing. Something I could definitely live without.
I was diagnosed with RA a week before I turned 30 and at the time I remember thinking it would be tough leaving your twenties, but this is a bit ridiculous! Suffice to say that my life has been turned upside down since then. I had to stop working, stop playing tennis, put a halt to my social life and, at times, be bedridden.
Then I got help. My rheumatologist set up meetings for me to see several specialists. I saw a physiotherapist who set up a program to get fitter and stronger and at the same time loosen and treat my joints. I saw an occupational therapist, who showed me how to perform every day tasks without hurting and damaging my joints, sometimes with the help of aids. And I saw a social worker who helped me deal with the anger, frustration, sorrow and acceptance of RA.
This combined effort helped my condition to stabilize. Though I realized I could never be the way I was, at the same time I had left rock bottom behind me. My wife and I decided that this was the best time to jump off a cliff: We had a baby. And this is when my life really started to turn around. Even though looking after my son is tough with RA, he is my biggest source of inspiration and energy. I went to see a career guidance counselor and discovered my passion for writing. I joined the Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients In Training (RAPIT) program and got fitter and stronger than I had thought possible. And I had managed to give RA a place in my life, though at times it still felt as a very unwelcome visitor.
On this blog I hope to write about my experiences as a Dad with RA. I welcome your comments and suggestions and initially hope to write a new piece every week.
Thank you for your time, take care of yourself and remember to keep passing the open windows.
© Ferhaan Kajee, August 2009