Not to say that your diagnosis will go away, but it is possible to develop strategies to live with it and to feel happy and successful. Your life won't be what you expected of course, but that's not uncommon no matter how healthy you may be.
Just this week I saw the chart below posted by Cheryl Koehn on Twitter, with the comment "Knowing about this would have helped me at RA diagnosis."
She called it a great summary of the stages of grief in death, arthritis or other illnesses. I agree with that, though I did not believe in the up-side of the chart for many years.
When Cheryl developed RA she was a former Olympic Volleyball player. I imagine her plans for the life she expected were totally derailed, but she continues to be an achiever in many advocacy and awareness areas, with a book called Rheumatoid Arthritis: Plan To Win and also as the President and Founder of Arthritis Consumer Experts which publishes the Joint Health newsletter every month.
Coincidentally I also saw Lene Andersen's film, "Live Bold, Live Now" this week at Cure Arthritis. She considered herself a "worst-case scenario" because of the consequences of her Juvenile Arthritis and RA. Now she is passionate about sharing her story to show that it is possible to live a happy life despite arthritis. She is now a photographer an author working on her second book at the same time as being the lead writer on the Health Central RA site.
Both Lene and Cheryl are great examples of the Loss Adjustment side of Cheryl's diagram, the up side that I couldn't imagine when I felt so much isolation and loss of power due to my "chronic life."
For me it was a great online support group, solid encouragement from people on my care team, and social media that made a big difference in my life and extended my horizons.
Here's a big plus for people with a new diagnosis - the treatments for RA are much better now than they used to be. Below you can see my Walking Gallery jacket highlighting problems in getting a diagnosis, and the first treatment suggested to me. It's written under the aspirin bottle "Take 12 aspirin a day and come back in 3 months." (Hint: It didn't work)
Walking Gallery Jacket
My advice to you is to set new goals, do whatever you can to help yourself adjust to your new reality and try to have fun. It's been great reading all of the other blogs on #RABlogWeek.