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Diagnosed at Seventeen My Struggles and Triumphs Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Diagnosed at Seventeen My Struggles and Triumphs Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Diagnosed at Seventeen My Struggles and Triumphs Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

132 pagine
1 ora
Apr 18, 2016


Rheumatoid arthritis changed my life. Follow me on a journey of doctor appointments, therapy, and surgeries to manage it's devastating effects. Learn about my low points,discovering severe damage to my esophagus making swallowing difficult. Read about my high points, graduating college by taking classes between surgeries. R.A. wrecked my body and drowned my childhood dreams. But my faith endure

Apr 18, 2016

Informazioni sull'autore

Ruthie Spoonemore, an artist, blogger, and writer, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her fiancé Greg and their rat terrier Harlo, (having recently lost her cat Sasha after 19 years of companionship). She enjoys spending time at the Pacific coast. Her first visit to the Pacific Ocean opened up a ‟yearning in my soul that I didn't know existed”. For now, her yearly visits ‟feeds my soul and keeps my dreams alive”. One of those dreams was to be a writer. For years she toyed with the idea of writing a book. Growing up with rheumatoid arthritis, was the inspiration to finally follow her passion. Signing up for an online writing course gave her the skills and confidence to achieve that goal. Diagnosed at Seventeen is her story.

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Diagnosed at Seventeen My Struggles and Triumphs Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis - Ruthie Spoonemore

Diagnosed at Seventeen

My Struggles and Triumphs Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ruthie Spoonemore

Copyright © 2015 Ruthie Spoonemore

All rights reserved.

Distributed by Smashwords

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this ebook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

ISBN: 1511619155

ISBN-13: 978-1511619158

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This book is for you, Greg. Your support, encouragement, and patience kept me writing. Thank you. I love you.



Preface: My Faith Journey

1. Introduction

2. Life-Changing Diagnosis

3. And So It Begins

4. Leaving Home

5. Next Steps, and Living On My Own

6. Regaining My Health

7. Going to College

8. Yes, I Am the Tutor

9. I Waited Too Long

10. From Math Guy to My Guy

11. Much More than a Friend

12. Blinded by the Light

13. You Have a Broken Hip!

14. Finding True Love at Last

15. A New Life

16. Life Goes On

Epilogue: He Was Always Near Me

About the Author


I want to thank all of you who helped me along this journey of living with rheumatoid arthritis. My family and friends who encouraged me and supported me in the good times and the bad times. All the doctors, nurses, and therapists who helped manage - and still help manage - the effects of this disease.

I want to thank my editor, Lindsay. Your advice and suggestions grew my simple, 11-page report into a real book. I appreciate it very much.

Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank Greg Laws. Without your pushing me, I probably would never have completed this book. I love you.


Church was a time of renewal; every Sunday I would sit in the pew soaking up God’s Word and singing His praise, loudly, very loudly. I enjoy singing; it makes me feel closer to Him than any other religious act does, except praying. Most of the songs were powerful expressions of God’s strength: A Mighty Fortress is Our God, All Hail the Power, and How Great Thou Art. My favorite songs are: Love Divine, All Love Excelling, Holy Holy Holy, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, and Amazing Grace.

When I was little, Bible reading with the family, my grandparents, and a couple of aunts and uncles, brought every day to a close. This was an hour of learning more about God’s Word. It was also a reading lesson for the younger kids. Inexperienced readers, as well as experienced readers, took turns reading the devotional booklet’s daily scripture and illustrative story. As an incentive to improve our reading skills, my grandmother presented each child with his or her own Bible as soon as he or she was able to read a verse. I was proud to get a Grandma Bible by reading John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Unfortunately, the Bible readings stopped when I was ten because my mother, my brother, and I moved to a town on the other side of the state. My mother, a single parent, worked hard and would get tired in the evenings. Getting food on the table and kids settled in for the night left little time for anything else. Initially, I continued doing my own private Bible reading, but eventually, the activities of a growing child took higher priority.

I still prayed. By now my prayers had transformed from formal recitation into informal discussions with Jesus throughout the day. I was often alone and talking to God made me feel less lonely. Although my mother didn’t go, I went to church and Sunday School every weekend. I felt grown-up going without my mom and enjoyed seeing my friends.

As I got older, my church attendance started to wane. Sleeping in on Sunday morning was more attractive than an 8:30 worship service. When I learned that our pastor had been arrested for embezzlement of church funds, I stopped going completely. I still believed that ministers were one step below God. They didn’t sin or break the law. It wasn’t until moving in with my grandparents in my late twenties that I began going back to church.

In the beginning it was to appease my grandmother. As time went on, that feeling of being home returned and I became an official member and got more involved, even teaching Sunday School for a couple of years.

Today, my relationship with God is strong. I enjoy spending time in His Word and expressing praise and gratitude in daily sessions of worship. This intimacy with Him each morning fills me with a sense of peace that carries me through the day’s challenges and victories.

Having a close, intimate relationship with my Lord is a blessing. I am grateful that I was given the gift of knowing Jesus from childhood. My solid foundation of faith kept me going even in the times when I didn’t actively seek the Lord. It was there even when I lay in bed screaming at the ceiling, Why are you letting this stuff happen to me? Are you there? Do you care that I’m hurting? Knowing that He was watching over me has given me the strength to go through the challenges of living with rheumatoid arthritis.


I was seventeen years old, enjoying my senior year of high school. I was hanging out with my friends, going to football games, and having a good time. I liked school, most of my classes anyway. Life was good. Suddenly I began experiencing pain in my hands every morning. My fingers were stiff and swollen; they looked like little, fat sausages. When I walked barefoot across the room, it felt like I was stepping on sharp rocks. Constant pain put a damper on my appetite and I began to lose weight.

After a few weeks of the symptoms not going away, we made an appointment with my doctor. Her diagnosis was rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, a crippling disease that would change my life.


As I worked through the process of writing about my experiences, I realized that to properly understand the story, you would have to know why I was writing it.

When Greg, my fiancé, and I were dating, I often wrote about things I did during the day. One day I got an email and his words jumped off the page. You should be a writer. When you wrote about the food you bought at the store, I could almost see it. You described them so good. I had always liked to write; in fact, when I was young, I wanted to write poetry like my Grandma.

I actually had a box filled with snippets of stories and scenes I’d written over the years. However, I wasn’t sure I could be a writer. I didn’t think I had the gift to entertain others with my words.

Greg kept insisting that I had a story that others needed to hear. You’ve been through so much in your life, and yet your faith is strong and you still have a positive attitude. I don’t know how you handled it. I couldn’t have. Your life could inspire others. It is because of his support and encouragement that I’m telling this story. I hope when you read it you are not only entertained, but also inspired.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis, and its struggles and challenges, has been a journey to test my faith. I went through times of anger, times of rebellion, times of frustration, and times of denial. I experienced many ups and downs, not only in my health, but also in my faith. This is my story.

The journey covered in this book was a long one, over forty years, therefore I don’t remember the names of all the people involved. Several names have been made up to give the person an identity. Although the names are fictitious, the events are accurate to the best of my memory.


I was surrounded by boys while growing up; my brother and three cousins were always nearby. As a result, I became a tomboy. Occasionally, I could be found playing with my dolls on the porch, but more often I would be riding my bike or skateboard, or playing cars in the dirt.

My mother and father divorced when I was very young; Mom was raising my brother and me by herself. She worked long hours every day and we spent the time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Their yard had a big box elder tree with a fork in its trunk, which was perfect for sitting in and watching everything going on in the neighboring yards. I spent hours shimmying up and jumping out of that tree.

Alongside their house was a vacant lot that they used as a garden in the summer. Whenever any of the grandkids complained about being bored, Grandma would say, Get your ‘pea-picking butt’ out there and pull weeds. Then, maybe you won’t be bored. She also sent us out there when we misbehaved, but I didn’t mind these punishments because I’d sample the sweet peas, the crunchy green beans, and the baby carrots while I worked.

Being so active, I often complained about aches in my legs and arms. Since there didn’t seem to be any visible damage - a few bruises were all - my mother and doctors dismissed the pains as normal growing pains and childhood gripes.

When I was ten, Mom met someone and we moved to Manchester, Iowa. We now lived an entire state away from Grandma, and I missed always having her around. Letters flew back and forth between us several times a month. When I was sixteen and going through difficult times with my mother, Grandma’s letters of comfort and encouragement helped me get through. One letter

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