“I’m 28. WAAAYYY too young for osteoarthritis. This is something old people have to worry about.”
“This can’t happen to me, I’m still active and have BIG PLANS for my future.”
“Doctor. You have to be joking.”
“This isn’t funny anymore. Seriously…how do you make this go away?”
Those and tons of other questions stormed through my mind once I was diagnosed with arthritis. I still repeat the last one from time to time.
There’s the initial shock of being diagnosed with ankle osteoarthritis. Thinking that you’re too young and healthy for something like this to happen. Then, slowly, it’s the realization that you have no idea what to expect now that you’ve been diagnosed with ankle osteoarthritis. So you take to Google, maybe Reddit, Inspire.com or one of the other sites that talk about arthritis, to find out everything you can about
There’s a lot to digest and you’ll probably feel overwhelmed at times.
It can get expensive
There are doctor appointments. Medication(s). Physical therapy appointments. Changes in diet. Sure, depending on what insurance coverage you have, some of the medical costs can be mitigated. But arthritis can touch just about every aspect of your life and at some
It’s an emotional roller coaster
HOLY CRAP! This was something that was never brought up by my doctor, or anyone else really, in the early stages of my diagnosis. I lived an active lifestyle – basketball, working out, I loved walking everywhere, and backpacking. And that was either taken away or greatly reduced as my ankle arthritis got worse over a few short months. I went from playing basketball with my friends in summer leaguers to needing a walking boot to get around relatively
Maybe you like swimming, taking your dog for a walk, or writing. If you have arthritis that affects a
This topic alone deserves its own post, probably a lengthy one, which I hope to get to soon.
People will not understand your pain
Arthritis is called an invisible illness because no one can see that you’re actually hurt. They think that if you don’t look hurt – then you must be fine!
“Suck it up!” They say. Because if they can’t see it, like a cast, they assume it’s “not that bad” or “you’re just a wimp, it’ll pass.” This misunderstanding can also put a strain on relationships and in the workplace.
It’s a long road
There’s no definitive cure coming up in the next few years (hopefully after that!), so expect that dealing with your arthritis will be a lifelong journey. It’ll be a long and bumpy road. But, there are stretches when you’ll feel great and you can be active and get back to some of the activities you use to do. Learning to properly manage and cope with your arthritis doesn’t happen in a few short weeks or months. Something always happens to pop-up that you were not expecting. So as long as you remember to take the long view, that’ll be a huge help.
I’m going to end on 2 positive points. It’s not all bad…really.
You’ll find a TON of people out there who share your pain
From people who are way too young to people in their 60s, 70s, and up. Whether it’s through a friend, family member, or even an online support group, you’ll be able to find someone who’s been there and they can help you navigate your life with arthritis. Be proactive and ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Learning to appreciate new activities
Sure, some, or many, of the activities you use to do might not be doable. But now you have the chance to find something new. I can’t play basketball. Haven’t for 9 years now. Departing from that was difficult, but I’ve learned new activities I like to do that have made living with my arthritis a little easier. Having someplace positive where you can channel your energy will be a big help in keeping a healthy mind and body.
There’s a lot to process when you’re first diagnosed with arthritis, as you learn more about it, and understand how it’ll affect your lifestyle. It is a difficult path, but not an impossible one. Knowing what to expect, or at least preparing yourself in