A Fabled Illness

This chain of events, and how they unfold, convey my story as a weird, twisted fairy tale.  I wouldn’t believe it for a moment if I had not been cast as the main character.

I had a “stranger” knocking at my proverbial front door. This stranger was persistent and I really had no choice.  It would quickly enter and make itself at home in my forty-eight year old “castle.”

I didn’t get the name right away.  I would learn that about a year and a half later.


My new unwelcome visitor didn’t travel alone. Many of its unruly friends barged in as well. I was in no way prepared for the late night parties they would hold inside my body and mind.

This rowdy bunch were the symptoms of my new “roomie.”  Over a period of only twelve days, they would quickly take control of my castle and alter life as I knew it.

I was quite fond of my little corner of the world so I would not give it up easily; however, I was clueless and completely caught off guard.

After about a month, God would have to intervene on my behalf.  He would urge me to press forward. He would also provide me just enough strength to muster up enough energy to flip my survival mode to the “ON” position. “Thank you Lord.”

On June 17, 2016, I would be embark on a new journey into my alternate universe.  This is not a fairy tale.  My story is true.



After driving more than 4,600 miles, we pulled into our driveway.  I opened the door and stepped out of the car.  I noticed my feet and ankles were swollen beyond recognition. They were very red and hot to the touch.

They looked hideously ridiculous!  It was painful, but at the same time, it was also quite comical. My husband (Pop) and I would often get a good chuckle before the swelling subsided a few days later.

My toes were even sore.  I had never experienced all ten of my cute little painted toes hurting all at once.  My sweet mama always tells me how cute my feet are, but for this day, and the following five days, they were definitely not cute!

“It’s probably just the road trip.  I’ll be fine in a day or so,” I told Pop.

That evening, and every single day for the next four months, I had an upset stomach. I would self-diagnose this as IBS from the unrelenting stress taking place inside my body.  As quickly as it started on June 17, it would abruptly end on October 17. There was no rhyme or reason. It was there, and then it wasn’t.  A definite victory in my win column. “Thank you Lord.” 

A few days passed and although the pain was still prevalent in my feet and ankles, the swelling finally started to subside.

It had been only five days since our return from that unadulterated, let the top down, wind in your hair road trip to Arizona.  This very trip would obviously go down as one of the highlights of my adult life. How can things change so quickly?

On day six, I jolted to an upright position from completely asleep to fully awake. I saw that the swelling from my feet had moved and settled nicely in my fingers. I would also feel the intense pain gripping each digit.

I do not know how many joints I actually (medically) have, but I recall counting twenty-eight places that hurt in my skinny, but now very swollen fingers alone!  I became obsessed with this counting process.  I would squeeze each individual joint hoping to somehow entice these tiny little monsters out of them.

They were all in a vicious competition to see which one could hurt me the worst.  They all won the grand prize!  “Ding Ding Ding Ding!”  Someone please bring twenty-eight gold medals to the podium!


It was all or nothing for these little beasts. They are horrible house guests! Can this possibly be where I drop the mic, leave the podium, and walk away? Not a chance! There’s more…but at least I had my cute feet back! 😏

All simple tasks were now simply dreadful. It was very difficult wrapping ten fingers around anything!  Why won’t my hands function properly?

Can I at least drink my coffee in peace?  Other than waking up, this is my favorite part of the morning!  My bizarre visitor would quickly reject my request.

Pop would pour my coffee on the mornings I couldn’t lift the pot. My hands were very weak, but I would always at least try. Lifting it with one hand would certainly spill the coffee everywhere! It was mind-numbing having to lift even my favorite mug using both of my hands.


Coffee has never been so tough to drink!  When did it get so heavy?  Yesterday my hands worked perfectly fine.  I seriously cannot make this stuff up.

 “Dear Lord, please help me.”

The coffee got heavy on June 24, 2016.

These formidable little adversaries were settling in for the long haul.  They would methodically begin dispersing themselves throughout my entire body.

Five days later, on June 29, my nameless “houseguest” invited more “bone dwellers” to my hands, wrists, shoulders, and entire neck. There were lots of invitations sent out, but not one of these bone-dwelling rascals sent an R.S.V.P.  Maybe I would’ve been more prepared if they had.

My broken down little body couldn’t possibly take anymore pain and grief…until it did.  The very next day, my knees and elbows decided to join in on the fun!  They were both fashionably late to my never-ending wild party, but why not! “Better late than never, but never late is better!”

Every bending part of my body, except for my hipbones were in turmoil. My crazy bones individually, yet simultaneously seemed to ache from the inside out…from the marrow to the outer surface of each affected bone.

This may also be a strange observation, but what I felt was very distinct. The tissue, muscles, and bones between my painful joints, except for my outer, upper arms were perfectly pain free. It was a very peculiar feeling.  Of course with the deep, stinging, throbbing, continuous pain in my joints, it didn’t really much matter at the time.

Half of me was normal, and the other half was slipping into unknown territory.  I was officially, inexplicably miserable!


I generally do not take pain meds so I would pass on the Advil for now.  I am tougher than I look. Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t work anyway. I’ve got this, but I must soon find the answer!

Pop commented I could’ve been bitten by a scorpion while we were out west. Surely, I would’ve felt this, but we searched for potential sting marks anyway.  We found nothing.

I didn’t want to alarm anyone, but I secretly thought I had bone cancer. I had no earthly idea how bone cancer presented itself, but I certainly would NOT “google” anything about it.  Yes…you read that right!

  1. It actually hurt to pick up my iPad.
  2. Googling my symptoms would certainly have me six feet under in a matter of days!

I felt as though I doubled my age from 48 to 96 in twelve short…but very long days! No offense to healthy 96 year olds everywhere, but this was unbelievable!

I didn’t have a family doctor. The only doctor I had at this point, was my OBGYN.  If I had something that required antibiotics, I would go to the “doc in a box” down the street.

Good thing I had a previously scheduled appointment with my OBGYN in a couple of weeks.  I know, I know!  I was obviously dealing with something very far from his specialty, but he could (and would) set the wheels in motion.  This would be the day my survival mode was switched to the “ON” position! “Thank you Lord.”

  Had I not possessed the foresight to begin journaling my account and all the intricate details, it would all be lost in a blur.  Writing notes down on paper made my illness very real.  

I wanted to share these events in order to remember.  Hopefully, remembering…will help me put them all to rest.  

No worries!  “I’M GOOD, I’M GOOD.”

I must pray, carry on, and smile along the way.

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”  John 14:18 KJV (always)


  1. I love love reading these posts Marianna! I remember you saying even the iPad resting on my lap hurts! Such a tumultuous journey! Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sitting here drinking my coffee out of my (enormous) favorite mug thinking how hard it was for you to pick up your smaller mug. We don’t realize just how wonderful our bodies are. I just realized that I am the same age you were when your journey began. We never know what God will bring our way. ( When I typed that, my auto-correct brought up “God will bless”. I guess RA would be a “blessing in disguise”. 😕)
    Love you and thank you for writing this. I don’t have RA, but am getting such encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading my story and sending me encouraging words. Yes…it will eventually be a blessing in disguise. I guess you see where I’m going with my blog.😊 God is good every minute of every day. Sometimes we just take that for granted. Love you.


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