How to Make Your Family Understand Arthritis

The other night I had family over. I have quite a large assortment of uncles and aunts, which means I have various cousins as well. Rest assured, there were a lot of people. And it was quite nice as well- we all truly enjoyed one another's company. And then there was the nice offer of sleeping over a relative's house so it would be easier to go to an event occurring that morning. I was thrilled and quickly threw together my things. And then I remembered something- it was Enbrel night.

It had been defrosting for a while and needed to be done- I had missed it the night before. So, I got ready to do my Enbrel before leaving. I held ice on my stomach to try and numb the spot and that's when I began attracting attention. One of my aunts had actually thought I hurt myself. When one of my uncles asked what I was doing, my mum explained and when he went to leave the room saying "I can't watch," my mum told him "oh no, you're going to watch. You're going to see what I see twice a week, every week." Sometimes I forget how that needle hurts her too.

So, with the quick dagger like motion, I stuck the needle in once I was all nice and numb and began to slowly inject the Enbrel. Some aunts and uncles closed their eyes or hid their faces. One aunt actually walked in whilst I was doing it and was horrified. One of my littlest cousins, aged eight, walked up to me, took a good look and was quite calm when she said "Why is it taking so long?" I smiled and told her that if I do it slowly it doesn't hurt as much, and I appreciated the brutal honesty of children.

When I took out the needle, I began to bleed like mad. Everyone, including me, was horrified. I had bleed after Enbrel before but not to the extent it dribbled (onto my favourite jeans). I must've scrapped myself as I was removing it. However my aunts and uncles helped by getting a paper towel to help the bleeding, and removing the paper from the plaster (band-aid).

It was only when they witnessed this that they realised Elizabeth isn't actually faking. That there is something wrong, and it affects my life in serious ways. That medicine- treatment- does not begin and end in the hospital. It comes home too, it follows me everywhere. And they had to watch me stab myself in my stomach to see it. And if that's what it takes, I'm glad to show them. After all, blood is thicker than water.


  1. I'm sorry about the bleeding, but I am glad the shot made your disease more real to your family. It's so important to us to have a family who understands!

    1. It's so true: even though having great friends here, on other blogs and on Facebook makes everything much better, it still brings you down when the family doesn't understand or try to. After all, family is forever.

  2. Sorry you bled also, but glad you had the opportunity to give your family a tiny glimpse into your life. As arthritis fighters we often feel the need to downplay our conditions, but your experience shows sometimes it's good to be open (and normal) about it all, as it helps others learn. Thank you for sharing :)

    1. It was nice to finally feel honest. It's true, we do play down our conditions sometimes, but when we try and be truthful there can be quite a struggle. I'm glad I had this experience and I'm happy to share. :)


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