Being an Orthopaedic surgeon, I first advised arthritic patients to abandon gardening (in my training years). Then I matured a bit more, and advised them not to overdo it - just do as much as you can (in my registrar years, in the UK). Now I tell them to use all tricks in the book, and keep working manually (proven antidote to arteriosclerosis), stay outside (proven antidote to osteoporosis) and keep doing nice work - it boosts your morale, which is the basic weapon to fight arthritis.
Keep going, I admire you all, I love you all !! You keep teaching me every single day !!
When I was a little girl, there was a woman from my home town who had been stricken with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 24 in 1924. She was a friend of my grandmother's and every year when they brought her to a summer home in the little lake village near us, we would go to visit her. She had been bedridden for 28 years before I was born, and when I remember her from, she was virtually immobile. Her hands were very straight and smooth, like ivory they were so still. Five years ago, when I was told I had RA, all I could think about was Jennie, all that she went through and her courage in the face of it all. She lived well into her 70s, and I had taken my own little daughter to visit her once before she died. Now, with all of the advancements in medicine in the last century, I wasn't afraid that I would spend my days like Jennie did, but I knew that I would be up against my own body working against me. I kept working on our dairy farm daily until this spring. The cows are just to unpredictible and rough on me. I will keep gardening as long as I can crawl out the door and wrap my fingers around the weeds. THAT will be a long time - I am in pretty good shape for the shape I'm in. And it always helps to have a doctor encourage you to keep moving!
A great message, Dimitri. My family has lived with generational repetitions of arthritis of various sorts. Most have kept as active as physically possible, including me. My grandmother gave up the acre-sized market garden in her early seventies when she could no longer walk over rough ground.
One cousin, like Kathleen's Jennie, was totally immobile from about the age of 25 until, when 32, she met and fell in love with an osteopath, trained in Europe. He had her up and walking with canes in a year, and leading a pretty normal life by their 3rd wedding anniversary.
My Mom is 79 and she works circles around us,she hurts everyday of her life with this RA and I know if she ever layed down and gave into the pain.she would give up and die.
So I do agree that even tho it is painful ,when you let
it stiffen up then you are in TROUBLE
while the doctors were trying to find out what was wrong with me, a friend noticed that i had lost muscle mass in my thigh. well that gave me a good kick in the fanny and from then on i said, no matter the pain, i will do as much, and a bit more than i can tolerate, because i'm not going to loose the use of my leg to what i found out to be RSD or CRPS. this disease hates activity of any kind, so with a chronic pain medication regimen, Lidocaine Infusion Therapy, a now ever present knowledge of my body, and little things i've learned to aid myself through life, i do what i can do for this moment, this hour, this day. Today was a day of mostly rest. We'll see what tomorrow has in store.
Thanks for the encouragement Dimitri. Gardening has been the only thing I've found that encourages me to stay physically active. It's also a great motivator to get out of bed in the morning on those days when you'd just as soon sleep in and not go through the aches and pains of getting up and getting dressed. I have a job which pays the bills and that's important, but it's one thing to get out of bed to go earn a living and something completely different to wake up early just so you can go see what your plants are doing :)
Thanks for being a healer...I've gone under the knife more than my share, but thanks to good capable orthopedic surgeon's like yourself, there is help available..maybe not cures yet, but help.
Bless you DPMICHEAL! I have had several joint replacements when I was younger. The first one was when I was 26 and had no other choice if I was to keep on walking, but mainly to curb the pain. my muscles would spasm and the pain was unbearable. I had lived with pain a long time so it wasn't just learning to cope. The surgeries helped me live a somewhat normal life. I married and was able to bear a healthy boy child. My life has been blessed in many ways and I pray for those who are going through a lot of pain.
God Bless You All!