If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that I have had two knee replacements. They have made a huge difference in my quality of life. Before I had them my knees were bone on bone and I couldn't stand for 30 seconds, while microwaving, without being in terrible pain. Now I cannot only stand, but I can walk, and most mornings I take a 30 minute walk. I love it.
This morning I couldn't take my walk because I couldn't tie my shoelaces. The arthritis in my right hand suddenly flared up so bad last night and this morning that I couldn't move my fingers because of the pain. That happens randomly for no apparent reason. It is starting to ease up now so I am carefully typing.
I have had all kinds of blood tests and x-rays. No, it is not rheumatoid arthritis. No, it is not lupus. They diagnosed me with severe degenerative arthritis. Mine started early, and unfortunately I can't seem to tolerate any of the medications. As you know from my post here, I am looking for a new doctor.
Okay, this post is not about a poor Laura pity party. It is about aging women and the changes we face in our health. Osteoarthritis is a big one. Osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as wear and tear arthritis, affects more than twenty million people over the age of twenty five in the US alone. Mine started in my thirties and has an hereditary component. My grandmother had it and so does my mother.
The NIH has a website devoted to arthritis. If you are interested it has a lot of useful information here. I particularly like the self help info as I can't take and don't like meds.
Some of the suggestions:
1) Get educated: learn everything you can about your disease and seek out help. (support groups are good)
2) Stay active: learn which exercises are good for osteoarthritis. Walking is a great one and so is swimming.
3) Eat well: I am a great believer in a healthy diet and experience has shown me which foods have a negative effect on my arthritis. For me chocolate and refined sugars are no nos.
4) Get plenty of sleep: It helps you cope better with the effects of the arthritis.
5) Have fun: Focus on the things you can do rather than the things you can't. I am all for this one.
6) Keep a positive attitude: This is one I work on every day. It is sometimes hard when the pain is really bad, but I try to focus on the good things and before you know it I am feeling better.
See, just talking about it has made me feel better already and without thinking about it I was typing away before I knew it.
Next week I will talk about the uh oh I found something suspicious on my body and what I did to get it taken care of.