I'm new and scared

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East2West
East2West Member Posts: 8
edited 31. Jul 2014, 06:41 in Say Hello Archive
I'm new to this site & to arthritis. I'm in my early 40s and I'm feeling a bit sad at the moment hence this post. So please be kind. I'm not sure I have the right to complain or moan as I know there are many people worse off than me but my doctor has recently told me I have OA in the hips & I'm struggling to deal with that. I've a few more tests & I'm awaiting an appointment with the rheumatologist so I guess I'm stressing out early, I guess I'm just scared of the future as pathetic as that maybe.

Having suffered from sadness I started to exercise which kept the black clouds away! In the process I managed to lose a considerable amount of weight, found my self esteem, felt more confident & happier than I had in years! Well life wasn't perfect but at least I felt the sun shining!

The problem is my doctor has recommended that I stop running but I've been training for a couple of races (both signed up before my diagnosis) & I'm wondering what to do. It will hurt me so much to give up running as its been my therapy but I'm scared of escalating my OA. The race & distance will be a tough challenge for me even before being diagnosed and I would really appreciate your thoughts.

If you don't have any thoughts - a little hello or something would cheer me up :P

Thanks for reading. X

Comments

  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello, this arthritis business can be very scary, you are not alone there. Of course you are be grateful it's not worse and at the same time still be very worried that you may have to give up the life and things you love to do! Please don't feel that in order to prove that you are grateful for the former, you are not entitled to worry about the latter.

    Since you have already been training for an upcoming race why not complete it? I think any damage would occur over time anyway, so what's the harm in doing your race? (I should say I'm no doctor, just a sufferer that has given up a lot) It will give you a positive distraction and, having had to give up a lot of loved activities to accommodate the "needs of my arthritis" I'm not sure it yielded much positive affect on my life. There's a lot to said for doing things that make you happy, that effects your health positively.

    Anyway, I don't know if there is an absolute right in dealing with arthritis; it affects us all so differently. You may not be able to continue running indefinitely, but if it makes you happy and doesn't add to your suffering too much, then I'd go for it. Sitting around giving arthritis your full attention isn't much fun and I'm not sure it makes the joints last any longer, either. Also, doctor's aren't always right in there predictions of how things will work out. I'd get get as much information as you can first, including from your rhuemy consult, physiotherapist, and then decide how to proceed. Maybe the future will have less running, but maybe more time swimming will take some stress off joints while preserving your fitness and still allowing you the joy you obviously have in running? I'm several years in with PsA and some OA, etc and my arthritis progressed regardless of my efforts to scale back on various activities. Looking back, there's lots I couldn't do and lots I didn't do because it might make things worse. Well, they got worse anyway, so I wish now that I'd just kept on doing those things anyway.

    Good luck.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,732
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello East2West and welcome from me too.

    You do have the right 'to complain and moan' and here is a good place to do it because we all understand and are not going to be upset as family and friends might be. By 'gaining' arthritis you have also 'lost' a fair bit and losses have to be mourned. Otherwise they just stick around and turn us into bitter individuals.

    I'm a bit puzzled. You say you've been told by your GP that you have OA but you also have an appointment to see a rheumatologist. I'm puzzled because rheumatologists don't normally deal with OA. That's the GP's department. Maybe there is some doubt about whether it's OA or an auto-immune form of arthritis. (I have both.)

    Exercise is recommended for all forms of arthritis. It keeps muscles strong and supporting and also, as you've discovered, helps with our moods too. Having said that, running is not recommended for arthritic hips and knees as it does put a lot of pressure on them. When is / are your races? How much running are we talking about? How much info about them did your GP have before advising you not to do it?

    We can't tell you what to do. I would guess - and hope - that your GP gave serious consideration to all you've told us before advising you not to. Mostly they do advocate exercise. How long before you see the rheumatologist? Maybe he / she could offer a second opinion? Or even just check it out with a different GP in your practice.

    It's a tough call. I've had to give up a lot that I loved in my 53 years of arthritis. Whenever I give something up I try to take on something equally absorbing. So far it's worked.

    Would it help to give our Helplines a call?
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • East2West
    East2West Member Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    A big hello and thank you for your replies and warm hug from me too! I felt awful and terribly low yesterday when I joined this forum and put out my first post! I'm still not brilliant but my mindset has shifted slightly - a bit of acceptance maybe.

    This (OA and the forum!) is all very new to me so please bear with me!

    I've just had some blood tests and I'm going to book a doctors appointment for about a week's time to get the result. In the meantime I will organise the Rheumatology appointment. Am I correct to think that the Rheumatologist deal with RA rather than OA? I was diagnosed with OA following an Xray result. I was finding I was getting stiffness and some aches and twinges, I thought this was a result of upping the intensity of my running so I'm unsure if running makes the wear and tear on my joints / bones worse or it is just part of the effects of OA. I think there is some doubt over this diagnosis but as it's from the Xray result - there will be little doubt? I think the bloods / Rheumatologist will shed more light on any other areas perhaps.

    I'm planning to run 10k on 27/07/14 and a half marathon on 21/09/14. Both of these distances are a real challenge to me so please don't think I'm incredibly fit as I'm not! I've worked hard to train for these distances so neither of them will be easy. I'm going ahead with what I've been doing as ironically I have had the best runs in my running journey in the last month or so. I will try and seek more advice from my next appointments as I know I need to modify my exercise. I haven't run for a few days this week since I've had this news (unusual for me!) and I find that I am still aching / stiff. I haven't gone into details with my gp, do you feel that you are taking up too much time? I mentioned that I run, the first gp was dead against running (this was before I went for the Xray). She was just against it. When I got my Xray result this week, the 2nd gp understood a bit but did advice swimming which I will look at doing. I've already started to do some Yoga stretches which I think has helped.

    I'll keep you updated but I really appreciate you both replying. It's been worth it to know I'm not alone so thank you for lifting my spirits. It really has meant a lot to me - more than you will ever know - thank you. X
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,281
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello East2West
    And a warm welcome from me
    Of course you are in shock, its hard when you are told your joints aren't in good order, especially in someone so young
    Exercise is brilliant when you are feeling low..endorphins are released..but you have to be careful of the running or jogging because you are pounding the floor..so that is not good..the best exercise are none weight bearing ie cross trainer...yoga ...palates..and exercises that builds up the thigh muscles..not much help when you love running..like one of the others said you have now done your training maybe entering the race will not make matters worse..but I hope you check with someone..you don't want to make matter worse for the time being...good luck and I hope to see you around the forum
    Love
    Barbara
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,732
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    It sounds as if your GP is being very thorough by sending you to a rheumatologist when he knows you have OA. (Yes, an x-ray would be fairly conclusive and it is GPs who deal with OA.) Normally though, a GP would wait for blood test results before referring you. The blood test results that he / she does are not conclusive for an auto-immune arthritis. One which is sero-positive would be conclusive but some forms of auto-immune arthritis are sero-negative. The rheumatologist can organise further tests which are more likely to give a conclusive result. Are there any auto-immune diseases in your family? There can be (though not always) a genetic factor.

    Your life is your life and you are in charge. Running, especially on hard surfaces, is not advised for arthritis as it puts a big strain on the joints. I guess your 10k is almost here. I think, in your situation, given your great desire to run, I'd maybe go for it while accepting that that was it. A half-marathon? At the end of September? I don't see how it can be justified. Or even possible. But go ahead and talk to your doc about these things. If you're worried about taking up so much time, why not explain when booking the appointment that you have a lot to deal with so could you have a double appointment? Also, when you get to see the rheumatologist, ask there, too, about running.

    As for feeling stiff and achey without having been running – yes, that's arthritis :roll: Exercise is vital but it should be 'good exercise' – stretching and strengthening rather than pounding.

    For the record, here is Arthritis Care's booklet on 'Exercise' http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/PublicationsandResources/Selfmanagement/Healthylifestyle Good luck and keep us in the loop.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I have two kinds of arthritis, an auto-immune which has led in turn to osteo. I have around forty affected joints, it's not fun. Arthritis of any sort is degenerative and progressive but doing what you are planning to do will progress yours much faster.

    I concur with Sticky about the half-marathon - you are already struggling with pain and stiffness and that will be so deleterious to your affected joints you could end up in a right old state and unable to do anything for a while. Arthritis demands changes to how we live our lives - if we are unwilling to make those changes then it wins which is not a good idea. I used to love dancing, swimming, walking and walking along hand-in-hand with my husband. I can't do any of those any more (the latter because I am either on crutches or being supported by a rollator) but I do what I can, when I can, because this is not going to beat me. I am eighteen years in and accepted long ago that things will never get better, only worse but if yours is OA then there are measures you can take to slow its progress. I don't think you will be able to organise a rheumatology appointment, you have to be referred by the GP so hold your horses on that front, let's see what's what, yes? Please let us know how you get on. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • East2West
    East2West Member Posts: 8
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello everyone,

    Sorry for my delay in replying but like anyone in this situation I'm still trying to get my head around things.

    I ran my 10k on Sunday in Hyde Park, London and I was very aware of my body, OA and what I'm doing to myself. The race was part of the Race For Life, Cancer Research series and I raised some money for charity. If I'm honest I took the race at an easy pace being aware not to push myself and I completed the race comfortably. Mentally I felt absolutely fantastically, really great and the endorphins definitely kicked in! I made sure I did some stretches afterwards and we went for a walk afterwards to get some lunch. My legs felt a little stiff whilst walking and I was aware that I wasn't walking as fast as I usually walk (or used to?) but the difference was subtle. I had a wonderful time & a great day.

    I've taken aboard everyone's comments re the Half Marathon and I'm planning on going ahead with it understanding it is very likely to be my only Half Marathon but I'm also smart enough to know how far I can push myself and to respect my body. So I will see how it goes as before then there's the intense training, I've already registered so I will just pull out if I'm not able to go ahead.

    An update on the medical side, the blood tests did not show anything of concern (it was an X-ray that showed OA). I've got an appointment with the Rheumatology, Physio & the Orthopaedic dept. Unfortunately these appointments are after my race due to the NHS waiting list so I can't get any advice regards to running but sadly I know what the advice will be. It's not the advice that I want hear but I guess that's life or living with arthritis! :(

    I also want to add how wonderful this site is especially the forum, it really does help not to feel alone / on your own. Thank you. X
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Congratulations for completing the shorter race, you were sensible and everything went OK so that's a good thing. Any diagnosis comes as a shock (I remember my plunge into depression when my OA was diagnosed, I already had one arthritis but no, I go and do the double! :wink: ) but I'm settled with it now. There's no point in fighting it, it's here to stay.

    You don't have to make any adjustments at all to your current lifestyle but please think ahead to the future. From what you have said I have no idea why you are going to see a rheumatologist because they do not deal with OA. Of the two I have I much prefer the OA because it is more honest in how it presents and how it affects me. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,732
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thanks for the update. I'm glad all went well in the 10k and well done on the money raised.

    I guess we all have to get used to arthritis in our own way(s). I reckon your best bet for advice will be the physio. If you want advice before the half marathon you could always book to see a physio privately but do your research and get one that specialises in musculo-skeletal conditions :)
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright