Finding Perspective Despite Osteoarthritis Limitations
At the risk of sounding somewhat like a "Polyanna," I keep trying to find the blessings in having osteoarthritis. I was diagnosed 12 years ago, and have had nine orthopedic surgeries since that time. Since I live in Illinois much of the year, I found the massive heat and humidity this summer to be excruciating! My doctors have experimented with a variety of pills, lotions, potions, and creams with me, but I have had very little pain relief from any of them (the meds, not the doctors).
I really am grateful that many of the doctors in America have become quite skilled in joint replacements - things that are not even considered in many countries. At times, I do resent the pain I've gone through as well as having to re-learn to walk several times. I try to keep a stiff upper lip and a sense of humor about much of it, but I will admit that I recently informed one of my surgeons that the fun in learning to walk was beginning to wane.
So when I get over my pout, I have to admit that I have a close, young friend in England that will always be in a wheelchair - which, I'm sure, at times, makes her pout, too. She will always have major mobility issues. This young woman has volunteered twice so far in Africa, working with kids that are far more disabled than she. Because I'm a nature photographer by trade, we were discussing the amount of time I spend in the "bush" photographing wild animals, as well as the amount of time I volunteer working with the natives with a variety of things, including teaching in a Juvenile Detention Center for street kids or teaching teens with cerebral palsy. This year I will be helping teach young women how to start their own businesses to become self-sustaining. At one time, I mentioned to my English friend that it was too bad she'd never get to go on a safari - at which point, she gave me a rather stunned look, and stated, "Why not?! I've already gone on some!"
Of course this is the same woman who went to a dinner dance and the guys "fought" over who could take her to the dance floor next!
So, yes, I sometimes have a lot of pain, and sometimes I limp - I don't want to have OA, but I've learned to live with it. I will soon be leaving the US to return to my second home in Tanzania. It's a place with little humidity, happy and loving people, and I feel very much needed there. For me, it's definitely a place where I can quit worrying about my "problems" and actually do something for someone else.
And for that, I'm eternally grateful!