Might inspire some newly diagnosed

jassie Member Posts: 17
edited 6. Jan 2011, 14:37 in Living with Arthritis archive
As I’ve read a few posts from younger, newly diagnosed people worried about their future, I wanted to share this with you.

I was diagnosed in the early 70s when there was virtually no support – no information on the Internet and now wonderful forums such as this: People generally thought that arthritis was an elderly person’s disease and for anyone else just an excuse for skiving (‘Arthritis? At your age? I’ve got arthritis’, was my mother’s reaction for example). Therefore the ‘dark secret’ was kept between me and my GP for many years.

One of the major things that kept me going, made me follow my career and eventually to ‘come out’ as an arthritic was a book written by Christiaan Barnard. For youngsters who have never heard of him, he was (is) the South African surgeon who perfomed the first heart transplant and a heck of a hero back then. His book not only details treatments for arthritis (probably out of date now) but talks about his personal struggle because he, amazingly, was RA, frequently operated in pain, and suffered from the negative attitudes of his family and employers, which is something many people may not know.

I just thought I would mention this here as some peoplem, like me, might gain strength and inspiration from knowing that someone who reached the top of their profession not only had the disease but also had to put up with the negative attitudes (thankfully now less pervasive but still around) .

As it was a long time ago, I can’t be sure of the name but I think it’s ‘How to Live with Arthritis’ and, I found that in my local library catalogue so you may be able to get a copy if you’re interested even if it’s out of print.

Hope it helps someone.


  • suncatcher
    suncatcher Member Posts: 2,174
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I will ask at my library thanks for that. x Joanne
  • Alice's mum
    Alice's mum Member Posts: 21
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you, I will source that, need all the inspiration we can get at the moment,
  • chris7
    chris7 Bots Posts: 2,696
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Jassie

    Sorry you had a long haul yourself there but this is very interesting as a former librarian who now does a bit in a bookshop and likes a challenge I couldn't resist a bit of googling. I am old enough to remember the name in the heart surgery context but have just discovered what a very interesting man he was. He also wrote two biographies I should like to get hold of now.

    The book you mention is called The Arthritis Handbook, how to live with arthritis by
    Christiaan Barnard and Peter Evans
    published by M. Joseph in 1984
    The ISBN for the hardback is 0718124138

    I fear it may well be long out of print but any library should be able to get hold of a copy and I did find one or two used copies on that infuriating website which sells alot of books!!!
    Hope this helps anyone interested and thanks again for mentioning it.

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That was an interesting post, jassie, thank you. It is interesting how, in the past forty years, the perceptions about arthritis have not changed: youngsters are still being told that they are too young for arthritis, that only older people get it, or, my particular favourite 'Oh yes, I had arthritis but it went.' :shock: Whatever you had, hon, it sure weren't arthritis. I have found the forum to be a wonderful source of support and encouragement, it has changed my life and very much for the better. It's good to know that I am not on my own with this foul pestilence. I hope you are as well as you can be today. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,281
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi jassie
    Thank you for sharing this, I will certainly look up the book,and thank you Chris for googling it for us.
    Barbara x
  • cherrybim
    cherrybim Member Posts: 334
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Jassie,

    I'm of an age to remember Dr Christiaan Barnard and the world's first heart transplant. I also know that he too suffered from RA and as my diagnosis of RA was in the 1970s he was a total inspiration to me.

    After a month spent in the hos whilst they tried to stabilise me I came home fueled by admiration for him. As an enthusiastic needlewoman I thought, **** it, I'm going to have a go and despite the hand splints, managed to knock out a dress with fine pintucks around the bodice and skirt. Family and friends wondered how on earth I could've managed it but it was purely his magnificient drive and determination that spured me on :grin:

    I've not read his book but would love to see a copy.

    Thank you so much for mentioning this.

    Cherry x
  • kmr
    kmr Member Posts: 108
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    [q 'Oh yes, I had arthritis but it went.' :shock: Whatever you had, hon, it sure weren't arthritis.
    i love this quote :smile:
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you so much Jassie

    very thoughtful of you to post this and thanks too Chris7 for giving us the information :smile:


    toni xx
  • dorcas
    dorcas Member Posts: 3,516
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you Jassie and Chris too for the book information. :wink:

    I too remember the inspirational Dr Barnard but wasn't aware of his own challenges with arther.

    I guess libraries up and down the country will suddenly find there's a great demand for this book!

    thanks again,

    Iris xxx
  • jassie
    jassie Member Posts: 17
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for asking, dreamdaisy. I'm a bit tired after my efforts yesterday but in better spirits than I have been for weeks. Love the quote. My particular faourite is the 'miracle remedy' (very often cider vinegar) that apparently instantly cured so many people's aunts who are now in their 90s and still hillwalking! You have to laugh but it's disgraceful how ignorant people still are and I push to raise consciousness in my very small circle when I can, even at the risk of sounding bolshy. It's an uphill struggle though.

    It's good to hear that the remarkable Chris Barnard inspired others of my generation and so sad that he is virtually unknown among younger peopleand his work largely forgotten. I don't know if you're still able to enjoy needlework now Cherry but I do hope so. Thanks for the info, Chris. I might read the book again myself. The biographies too if I can get hold of them. I didn't know of these before. Do you or anyone else know of any other famous high achievers with arthritis? There must be/have been some. Perhaps there are even some on this forum.