National Arthritis Week is October 12-18, 2015
I was asked by Emily Nix from the UK to participate in the National Arthritis Week by blogging about my story. I also submitted a small blurb to their website. Even though this is in the UK, it is a good cause and I was honored to be asked to take part of it.
They had a list of questions to follow, so without further ado:
- The condition I live with is called: Osteoarthritis
- I was diagnosed aged: I suffered from in the year 2000 with joint pain and nodules on my finger joints, but never thought about it, I just kept working and dealing with life. My hands continued to have pain in my knuckles and joints, but I just pushed on… in 2007 I was unable to kneel on my knee and was having trouble walking. I thought it was from twisting my knee in the mud in the garden, however I was sadly mistaken. I ended up getting a MRI, and x-rays and saw several doctors to get their opinions and they were all the same, I had severe arthritis in my left knee, my hands. My shoulders were starting to show signs of the same. I continued to work until 2012, when I no longer could walk without a limp and pain. It was impossible to write all day with my hands. Both arms and hands were showing signs of weakness. So I was officially diagnosed in 2012 with a new MRI and x-rays.
- How my arthritis most affects my day to day life: I am unable to walk without a limp on my left knee, which makes walking any distance difficult at best. (not ready for knee replacement yet) I am unable to open jars, and bottles of any kind with either hand. I have difficult cooking and chopping food, I can only do small amounts at a time. Most days I can not make a fist due to inflammation and pain. I also play the piano and have had to cut back on that as well due to pain.
- A new hobby / interest I have taken up since my diagnosis: Biggest hobby is working on my weight. It has taken more than a couple years to get my head on straight to get it together. I started a blog to journal to myself my progress, fears, and anything else related to loosing weight. I find using the computer is less painful that holding a pen or pencil. I read more than I did before. I do volunteer work with the elderly. We travel more in our RV and are trying to enjoy life.
- What living with arthritis has taught me: Well first I should of listened all those years ago when your told me to take it easy your body/joints. Not to be stubborn and think nothing will ever happen to me!! That weight can hurt you in more ways than one. I should of gotten serious about my health years ago and stopped procrastinating. Now I know what my elders felt like all those years ago.
- My advice for others living with arthritis: don’t let it dictate your life, listen to your MD and take the medicine. If something doesn’t work, try something else, do not live with severe pain. If your heavy, loose weight. If you don’t have a pool, find a gym with one, it really does help to keep you joints fluid and moving, something I didn’t believe. I use many herbs and spices that reduce inflammation ie: tumeric, ginger, cinnamon, green tea. I use them on my food and also take some of them in capsule form daily. You should look up arthritis diets, learn what not to eat. Food can make a huge difference in your pain level.
- My biggest challenge/triumph has been: Loosing weight. It took me forever to take the first step, and when I did and the weight started coming off, it helped. The constant ache in my knee is better, however it is not winter, but it is better. My hands haven’t noticed any improvement in pain from weight loss, what helps them are arthritis gloves, and topical creams. I have lost 58 pounds so far and my lower leg joints have benefited for it immensely. The largest challenge has been learning my limits in life. I can not cook as much as I would like. I have to ask my husband to open all my bottle and jars, I do have a contraption that makes it easier to open them, but its difficult to use. I can no longer play my piano for long periods of time. Sleeping so your joints (knees and ankles) don’t touch each other, and can’t sleep to long on my shoulder joints, you wake up with sore inflamed joints. So sleep is interrupted with turning side to side all night.
- What gets me through the day: Positive attitude helps. No reason to live in misery. It is what it is and you might as well make the best of it, I don’t like to complain about my aches. if its a bad day, Advil or Tylenol Arthritis helps. Just knowing if I don’t keep moving and using my joints, they will become stiff, sore and inflamed.
- How my friends and family help me: My family is wonderful. My husband totally understands what I am going through. He has lived with arthritis for years and has had a total knee replacement himself. He is always there to lend a hand, opening all my bottles and jars. My children are great, if we go anywhere together they don’t out walk me, they stroll slowly with me. They are very encouraging and are being my cheerleaders for my weight loss. My friends and family send me information on arthritis if they see something new on the market.
- This National Arthritis Week I’d like to say thank you to: My husband, family and friends for being there for me and never get put out with my limitations. My doctor for listening and helping to find the best medications for me. For the National Arthritis Foundation, they have a great website and good articles that help answer questions. I would like to thank the blogging community at Word Press, everyone has been so positive, encouraging and helpful. Thank you all.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story, please take a minute and go check out the other stories on their website. kathy
Arthritis Research UK
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