Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dealing with Arthritis

If you've been reading my blog posts lately, you're aware that I've been going through some tough days dealing with arthritis, which is a painful stiffness and inflammation of the joints.  In all of the excitement of preparing for a quick trip to Maui for a wedding, I didn't realize just how painful my joints were until I went to the nail salon for a manicure early this morning.
Photo Credit:  Salon Manon
As the technician massaged my arms and hands, and with each stretch of the my fingers, my head exploded with silent screams of pain.  I know it took only minutes for the massage, but it felt like hours.  I kept my eyes and mind focused on what I was reading.  I didn't want to be obvious to anyone in the salon that I was hurting.

As a young child in the 1960s, I loved looking through my parents' medical encyclopedia set.  The set contained volumes of books that explored medical conditions from A to Z.  I always lingered in Volume A.  It contained photos of people who suffered from various forms of arthritis.  The book included photos of hands that were gnarled from the disease. Looking at the photos, I hoped I would never have arthritis, ever.  But here I am, and my hands and feet show the trauma of the disease.

It got me at age 38, and my life changed forever.  I was diagnosed with lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis was a manifestation of the autoimmune disease.  Arthritis has robbed me of the ability to live my life comfortably on a daily basis.  I live with some level of pain daily, and should I have a lupus flare-up, going through a normal routine at home or at work is almost impossible.  

Gerry asked me if I was going to be okay getting on the airplane and carrying a heavy tote bag and small suitcase.  I replied that I'd just have to ask a  passenger to help store my suitcase in the overhead bin.  Usually Gerry does that for me, but I'm traveling solo this time.  It's a strange feeling to know he won't be with me to do the little things I can't.

Anyway, I have my medications, chemical and organic, and some over-the-counter pain aids to get me through the day.  I don't use all of them in one day. The prescribed meds are taken daily, but everything else is a day-by-day evaluation of what will help push me over the edge to feeling better.

Having a positive outlook on life, and the support of a loving family helps, too.

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