Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Do Not Go Gentle

Well, damn it anyway.

Most of you know that I like to climb around on rocks with my children. I stink at it, but I love it. I also have this medical theory that one's body is beautifully made, designed to heal itself most of the time. Yeah. About that. I've had some chronic, worsening pain for a while. I figured I was bashing myself around with the rock climbing. (And I do have some interesting owies, if you'd like to see them.) But I finally had to concede that my body was not healing and go to the doctor.

I told him that the pain in my knee was from a rock climbing accident -which I believed to be true. Unfortunately, it was not. I have arthritis and not just in my knee. It's in my hands and feet as well -which at least explains the chronic pain I have there, for whatever that's worth. It's not, apparently, a mild case and the doctor concedes that I am too young for this situation to be quite as serious as it is. It makes knitting hard. On bad days, it even makes typing difficult. Yoga and biking and rock climbing can all hurt.

This seems like a situation that I should be able to reason away. Don't you get it? I am too young. I am not obese. As far as I know, I have none of the genetic risk factors. Shoo. Go bother someone else. Alas, arthritis seems to be immune to reason -and completely uninterested in the fact that it is an unwelcome guest in my life. Ghastly, rude thing!

So, this gets to be (yet another) area of my life where I have to take charge because of information I didn't want. I take medicine when I remember. Losing a bit of weight is now urgent and about much more than aesthetics. Reclaiming an exercise regimen is non-optional behavior. Finding new activities, adjusting old ones, figuring out what soothes, trying to be bigger and tougher than the obstacles -those are my tasks. Every once in a while, my brain dances around the questions of an old age fraught with limitations and indignities. Southern belle that I am, I channel Scarlet O'Hara and vow to think about it tomorrow. I just don't want to go there right now.

I know plenty of people who have it worse than I do, and I'm ashamed to be whining. But today I feel like I'm about 900 years old, and I'm raging.

Work it, Dylan, work it

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Lisa :-] said...

My mother started suffering with some pretty bad arthritis when she was in her forties. Knowing that is the stock I come from, I'm not really too shocked that I have it, too...in my hands, feet, knees, you name it. I just try to ignore it, because it isn't gonna go away.

JenR said...

Andrea, I'm in the same boat as you and Lisa. I've tried to ignore it, but mine won't go away. Over the years I did find a thing or two that seems to help and also help other things besides the arthritis. I'll get back to you on it.

My mom's still working her way through pain at age 74, and raging too! It beats lying down and becoming an invalid, like my aunt did.

You keep climbing, and I'll keep kayaking, OK?

Anonymous said...

there are lots of good anti-inflammatory OTC medications available. Now that you know more about the problem, it makes it easier for you to adapt and work through it. Don't get too discouraged, knowing what the problem is, is half the battle.

we'll have a good chat about the relative merits of pain medications when I come to town....how exciting!

Anonymous said...

I've got some arthritis also. As soon as I started complaining about it my mom gave me two big bottles of glucosamine chondroitin. A couple of studies have shown that it has benefit in the treatment of osteoarthritus, especially in the knees. You could check out the information online and of course check with your doctor though.