My hands swelled up this summer and I stopped being able to wear my wedding ring, for the first time since being married five years prior. I thought it was the heat, and that the swelling would pass, but it hasn’t. . I told my aunt about this offhandedly, and she (rather apologetically) reminded me that is one of the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis, which she knows all about because she herself has RA. . So I did the thing you should never do: I read about RA on webmd and other websites with articles like, “5 early signs of RA”. 🙈😂 I mean, good god, what was I thinking?! Never do that - You’ll be convinced you have every disease! . But then, how else to learn? How else to educate yourself? Libraries are a good start, but I haven’t gotten over there yet. . I have all the (somewhat vague, could be anything) early symptoms of RA, so I made a doctors appointment and read what I could find about diagnosis, which was informative, not like reading the “5 early signs of RA” shit. . I share this because it’s been an interesting and reflective journey for me so far, and gives me insight into people’s experiences with disease. I’ve had a variety of thoughts and emotions arise that rather surprised me. . I felt a desire for a diagnosis, I felt a desire for knowledge, and I felt a feeling like....if I were to have a disease condition such as this, it almost feels like: I’m special, I get special care, special attention, diet, etc. . It sounds utterly bizarre but that came up for me! So I sat with it, am still sitting with it, along with the other thoughts and emotions. I used to be so neurotic about my health - afraid a swollen lymph node was a tumor, that sort of thing, all the time. . My mom had ovarian cancer for 10+ years before it was detected, and by then it had spread throughout her pelvis and even into her colon. So, I was not hard on myself for being neurotic, it made sense that I was. But, I find little of that neurotic, irrational fear about my health now. I feel little fear about this “health scare” I find myself in now. . I feel confident in my body’s power to heal, and in disease being an ordinary part of life. Whatever unfolds, I feel ok with.