I have had osteoarthritis for many years, and, in spite of a wide variety of pills, medications, shots, physical therapy (in and out of warm water), creams, ointments, ad infinitum - including nine surgeries and joint transplants - I've been a survivor. All of the above, including a myriad of braces, crutches, canes and supports have been my idea of a good time, but I knew that, with hard work in therapy, and a little time, I would be better than ever!
In SPITE of all of these things, I've been able to continue my life as a photo-journalist traveling to many countries, photographing and even volunteer-teaching in parts of Africa including Madagascar, a life-time dream!
I've been incredibly spoiled because I've never had to endure really long, persistent bouts of pain. I've had a lot of pain, but knew I could somehow get through it! Recently, a new "factor" has entered my life, much to my dismay. I've been aware of the intensive amount of arthritis in my lower back, however, it has decided to rear its ugly head! In addition, the arthritis in my neck and shoulder have joined the chorus.
My walking is now - frustratingly enough - dependent on a cane for balance. Good news though - I saw an awesome cane the other day with the print of a cheetah skin on it. If I'm going to need to use a cane, at least I can be "classy" about it!
My internist first thought I should have an MRI, but I can't have one because of all of the metal in my lower body! I'm scheduled for a CT scan after returning from a visit to my granddaughters in California, then we'll see. Being honest, I, like many of our readers, tend to have knee-jerk responses to this challenge - the "what-if" kind. The reality is, I'll turn my health once again to two people who know far more than I - the "man" upstairs and the specialist treating me. I have put my faith in them to this point and they've done an awesome job so far!
As I've traveled photographing many parts of the world, I've made a point to enjoy many parts of the cultures including the foods, where I'll eat almost anything! I was recently visiting some friends in Brooklyn, NY, who took me for a brief, fun weekend at Chesapeake Beach where I was treated to two things I've never had: Crab Cakes (no, in Illinois we don't have them) and Whoopi Pies. I'd heard of both, but this was my first REAL taste. Actually, I'm not a sweet-eater, but at least I can add them to my list of things I've tried! The best part of the weekend was photographing a portfolio for my friend; we were adopted by a wonderful bassett hound on the beach who seemed to be attempting each Yoga pose. Great fun for all.
On another note, World Arthritis Day will be Oct. 12 this year. The goal is for every arthritis patient to MOVE however they can (run, walk, swim - even a wheelchair counts) and keep track of the mileage. It is to be sent into the National Arthritis Foundation. The goal is to try to make it around the world - WE CAN DO IT!