Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Living with Arthritis


I am 28 years old. For the past 20 or so years I have dealt with pain in my joints and it's done nothing but get worse. Changing my diet hasn't helped. Losing weight hasn't helped. I've felt myself sink into deep depressions over just not being able to physically do what I want to do. It really SUCKS!

I LOVE to cook. Thankfully I recently acquired some cookbooks that line up a whole month of meals that one can cook in a day. So my family does end up with a home cooked meal on a daily basis, without a ton of work from me every day. But it still sucks that I don't have the actual ability to keep up with it on a regular basis.

I LOVE to sew. Thankfully I did recently acquire, for free, a sewing machine, I fixed a few things wrong with it, and can get much done. Trying to do the bits that I have to do by hand, though, can take weeks. I started a blanket for my nephew, Ryan, a few years ago, he'll be 4 in February. Because of the pain in my hands and shoulders I had to put it away before I even finished the embroidery work on it. Even now, on the new medications that allow me more movement in my hands & body, doesn't change the fact that it was a few weeks of working on it before I was able to actually complete the trim work. I did most of it with the sewing machine, but had to finish the back by hand. Its now a gift to my newest nephew, Vincent.

I LOVE to knit. In the last year I have been able to complete a few hat and scarf sets, one pair of socks, and half a pair of socks. When I am having a few good days I can complete a hat in just a couple of hours, a scarf in just a day or two. I can complete a pair of socks in three days. I have a pair of socks in the works...I started it about 5 weeks ago and haven't been able to finish it since.

I LOVE to write. I haven't been able to even fill out a medical form without feeling like I wanted to cut my hand off because it hurt so badly, much less a short story or poem. The last time I was able to actually write out something I was drunk out of my gourd I've been completely sober for the last 4 or 5 years, outside of the occasional glass of wine...I think I average a bottle of wine every 3 months. I didn't notice the pain so much when I was drunk or stoned. Being sober only sucks in that regard.

I LOVE to dance. It doesn't help the fact that my loving husband doesn't like to dance, but it doubly sucks that it physically hurts me to even try to dance.

I LOVE to wear high heels. I may be 6ft tall already but there's just something about wearing heels that makes me feel great, like a fairy tale princess or something. But again, it causes me so much pain that within no time I have to trade them off for something more supporting, and flat.

I LOVE to work with wood and work on cars. Between operating a screwdriver or using some sandpaper I just want to die.

I LOVE to be outside and play with my kids - running, dancing, swimming, all of it. Now I know if I do so one day I won't be able to for a week. It sucks, BAD. I grin and bear it and try to fake my way through enjoying every minute I am playing with the kids by biting my lip or whatever I have to do to make sure I am very actively involved with them, but most of the time I just want to hide in a corner and cry until the pain goes away. Its quite unbearable most days, but I manage. I refuse to just give-in to it.

I recently had decent enough insurance to be able to see doctors and specialists and the like. I prayed for it to just be a pinched nerve or something else similar in nature that could be repaired or fixed with surgery even. Instead everything came back clean and clear. The allergies I've suffered with all my life - turns out I don't have allergies, I just have a super sensitive nose - was given two different nasal sprays and since I haven't had an instance where I felt like I was dying because my head was so congested. Its been great. I was also put on some medication for the pain and inflammation -neurontin and ibuprofen. It gives me some relief from the stiffness, but not the pain. The pain is often EXCRUCIATING. The sporadic numbness and tingling is often unbearable.

But I continue on. I have children who need me, a house that needs to be cleaned, laundry to be done, food to be cooked, a yard to keep maintained, a husband that counts on me to take care of such things, as his partner in all of this. I'm going to school to attempt to improve my financial gain for when I go back to work. If I can't find a way to get around this pain I fear I will screw up my opportunities.

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