My name is Pattye Snyder, and I'm a 63-year-old OA patient living in central Illinois. I was officially diagnosed with this challenge approximately 10 years ago, and, as a result of it, have had 4 joint replacements and other surgeries so far. Like most people, I too have gone through the stages of fear, depression, anger (at my body), and ultimately acceptance (on most days). I've discovered that I'm not invincible!!! My life has changed since this began-- ironically, for the better in many ways. At times I've felt like a human guinea pig as my doctors searched for something to relieve the pain and inflammation. I seldom use any pain medications now due to the side effects I've experienced. After being on a ton of different anti-inflammatory drugs, my doctors and I have found one that works for me most of the time (at least for now).
Because I'm a professional nature photographer and also own a small custom landscaping business, I assumed that OA would be a "life sentence" for me---that my life was pretty much over, and I'd soon be in a wheelchair forever. I will admit I have enough canes, braces, and other post-op supports to start my own shop--but I also have 2 full passports, thousands of photographs, journals from 25 countries and 5 continents, and incredible memories. In fact, my friends joke that I only come back to America for new body parts! I just returned from a sailing trip on the northeast Atlantic in a windjammer built in the 1800s--the gentle rocking of a sailing ship at sea--the soft early morning chug of the lobster boats as they go out from shore to check their traps--the apricot sky as the sun lifts behind fog enshrouded mountains---sweet juicy wild blueberries for breakfast--the quiet calls of gulls soaring overhead--the gentle lapping of waves against the sides of our schooner--a quiet peace.
Yes, my life definitely HAS changed--I have some days when I'm relatively OK, and some where I'm in excruciating pain--but my OA has helped me learn to life to the fullest, and to appreciate what I have--and to not take anything for granted!!!
Published On: August 07, 2006