Until recently, when I heard the word ‘systemic’ I thought of films and news reports about corruption in governments or multimillion dollar corporations… Press conferences with someone saying “The problem is systemic” as an answer to why they hadn’t simply fired the CEO (or maybe assonated the country’s dictator.) Making a scapegoat of the CEO or Dictator in question, wouldn’t do anything to solve the wide spread corruption infecting the rest of the corporation/government.
Let’s pretend the only one of my joints affected by autoimmune arthritis was my left wrist. If autoimmune arthritis was (as many people imagine) a disease purely of the joints, I could conceivably amputate my left lower arm and no longer have arthritis. I doubt anyone would actually do this, but, for arguments sake, it could be considered a cure.
However, autoimmune arthritis is a systemic disease. In the example of the multimillion dollar corporation, the corruption was systemic because it was spread through all of the employees of the organisation. Firing the CEO would be like cutting off my lower arm. It would do nothing for the disease in the rest of my body.
In the last few weeks I’ve been having a systemic flare of my psoriatic arthritis. I’ve had inflammation in my throat, (making me loose my voice) inflammation in my eyes, (making me see double) inflammation of my skin, (causing rashes and skin ulcers) inflammation in my stomach, (causing pain and nausea) and a whole host of symptoms very similar to those of the flu – fatigue, fevers, dizziness, etc. All of these are caused by my arthritis and none of these would have been solved by the hypothetical arm-amputation.
I wrote this post as a participant in IAAM’s 2nd Annual International Autoimmune Arthritis Awareness Scavenger Hunt, currently happening online at their Facebook page. They are posting several Scavenger Hunt items through the end of Dec. 5th, I am posting #8: Systemic Affects. As I talked about in this blog entry, those dealing with Autoimmune Arthritis experience problems with the "whole system", from the core organs and out to the joints.
So this leads me to your task for Scavenger Hunt Awareness Items for #8: To earn 5 Awareness points (that can be exchanged at the end of the online game for free Awareness merchandise), find a photo of the body with organs and write which of these areas you (or the person you know with Autoimmune Arthritis) is affected. But you must post in the next 10 HOURS to earn your points. Time’s ticking!http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Buckle-Me-Up-International-Autoimmune-Arthritis-Movement-IAAM/124639837561193
*IAAM stands for The International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement, which will soon become the 1st nonprofit in history exclusively benefitting Autoimmune Arthritis. http://www.iaamovement.org/
Little Miss Autoimmune :-)