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Hello from another newbie

Hi. I am new to the forum and just wanted to chat to others who may be in the same situation or have any advice. Following being diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago, a couple of the lasting side effects has been osteoporosis and now I think I may have rheumatoid arthritis, although not confirmed yet, waiting for an appointment with a consultant. For the last 6 months I've had pain in my feet, knees, right hip and hands which seems to getting worse to the point where I cant function properly, its starting to get me down now and I don't know what to do. I have been taking paracetamol, but sometimes that doesn't help. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for reading.. xx


  • Hi @dij1966 and welcome to the online community!

    You've had a few other conditions, and now believe you have Rheumatoid Arthritis due to pain in your feet, knees hip and hands, although you're awaiting a diagnosis. Your pain is increasing and affecting your life and paracetamol is not always helping.

    At a very basic level, ibuprofen can be taken at the same time as paracetamol, so if you can take ibuprofen I'd suggest stacking them during the times the paracetamol doesn't cut it on it's own. There are also other over-the-counter pain meds you can explore, such as aspirin and co-codamol - although co-codamol is both stronger and includes paracetamol, so don't take those at the same time.

    There are a variety of non-drug-related methods you could also try, We have some information here:

    Exercising the joints (don't worry - it's not big exercise, it's small and targeted and manageable!) has also been shown to be helpful with arthritis. Some more info is here:

    I'd also take a look at this information generally about arthritis, which would help you identify. There are many types of arthritis so it's worth having a look around and see what could be affecting you while you await a diagnosis:

    The online community has a lot of lovely members who I'm sure will help with their personal experiences. Have a look around, and do use the search feature in the forum to see if there are any previous discussions which could help you. Have a look around and see if there is anything else which helps you or you want to join in on.

    Lovely to meet you,


  • Hi Shell, thank you for your warm welcome. I can see lots of posts that sound similar so I will have a look around the site. Following my cancer I do exercise regular, although I may be that I have to change what I do, eat healthly, maintain my weight, dont smoke or drink! I think thats what I find frustrating I try to do all the right things and have had to overcome things in the last 6 years and now there is something to cope with. Sometimes it just feels like one thing after another. Thank you for the links..xx

  • LilymaryLilymary Posts: 375 ✭✭✭

    Hi dij, and welcome. What a lot you’ve had to deal with. My sister is also a breast cancer survivor, and now has osteoporosis, two new knees due to osteo arthritis and most recently has polymyalgia rheumatica. She’s astonishingly stoic about her many conditions, but is determined to get the absolute most out of life.

    But one effect of her stoicism is that she doesn’t talk much about what she’s been through, so I don’t know to what extent these later conditions are related to her cancer treatment, in her case she had mastectomy and reconstruction, but didn’t need chemo. However, arthritis does run in our family (hence why I’m on this forum, it’s my turn for my body to start playing up), so it’s possible she may have ended up with this anyway even without the cancer.

    While you’re waiting for a consultant’s appointment, do go back to your GP to discuss pain management. If it’s starting to affect your daily life to this extent, it would help if you could start to get this under control.

  • Hi Lilymary, thank you for your reply. Sorry to hear about your sister going through BC. I was the same mastectomy, reconstruction and then hormone therapy for 10 years. A couple of years later in 2017 i had a oopherectomy which pushed me to a surgical menopause. So because of this, I don't have any oestrogen, or very little in my body. I know from my experience my cancer is always the elephant in the room, could that be how your sister feels about it? I know one of the side effects of my hormone therapy is joint pain and causes osteoporosis and also when you are going through menopause that causes joint pain so it is really difficult to know which is it is that is causing the pain or is it a bit of all of it.

    How long have you been suffering and have you had a diagnosis of what type it is? I think i will give the doctor a call back after the bank hols and see what they say. I am also going to have a look round this site to see if I can work out what type it may be, I'm only guessing at rheumatoid from the symtoms. I love gardening but it is frustrating when your head is saying, let's do this, that and the other and your body is saying I can't move today. Thanks again. Xx

  • LilymaryLilymary Posts: 375 ✭✭✭

    Hi dij, I have osteo arthritis, diagnosed 6 months ago in my hips after a fall, but it was very advanced by then so I went straight on the list for a new hip and handfuls of painkillers. It really hadn’t given much trouble until the last year or so, just niggling pains in one leg, but after the fall it all kicked off big time and it’s been a rapid downhill slide since then. That was 6 months ago, nothing’s happened yet. I suspect I also have it in my knees, as they’ve always given me more trouble than my hips. I also get RA in my legs when it’s cold and damp, particularly my ankles, I have had that since I was tiny, but so long as I keep my feet and legs warm it’s not too bad.

    I spent a happy few hours pottering about in the garden at the weekend but have noticed my balance is awful now that I can’t rely on my left leg anymore. I toppled over crashing into the shrubbery 3 times and had to give up as I was doing more harm than good 🙁 and was getting covered in cuts and bruises. Still better than sitting on the sofa all day though, and it gives me an excuse for being outside, now that I can no longer go for walks.

  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,943 ✭✭

    Hi dij and welcome from me too.

    I did similar things in a different order and a different way. I started with rheumatoid arthritis at 15 and only got breast cancer some 27-28 or so years later. I had a mastectomy, chemo and two years of tamoxifen but I got lucky and that was that for me. I had no radiotherapy as, despite my lymph glands being affected, my shoulder was too far gone with arthritis to get my arm out of the way for radiotherapy. I also had no reconstruction as I didn't have much to reconstruct😉 and I'd had enough of operations by then. No osteoporosis either but now I am prescribed a Vit D / Calcium supplement as a preventative.

    I think I must have góne through the menopause during this time but I wasn't aware of any extra joint pain though I'm not sure how I'd tell! There's never been 'an elephant in the room' for me. I'm OK talking about it and, indeed, one or two of my old schoolfriends and I have pondered if the 3 or 4 people we know who had it acquired it from something they put in the school dinners - probably the horrible wet, tasteless cabbage😉On the other hand, it was so long ago (about 1989) I've been known to forget to list it for travel insurance, medical forms etc and then have to ring up. ("Oh, by the way....."😁)

    I hope you don't have an autóimmune arthritis but, if you do, I hope the DMARDS which the rheumatologist will prescribe will help a lot as they have done with me. If you have osteo then your GP will deal with it and can prescribe meds stronger than paracetamol if you wish.

    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • Hi sorry its taken me so long to reply and thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.

    Stickeywicket thank you for your warm welcome and advice.

    Lilymary sorry to hear you have been through so much.

    I have been having a bit of a meltdown! I think i was shocked how debilitating it can be and felt like my body has suddenly let me down...again! When you physically can't do something, you can't hide it. I think the final straw was having a steak dinner and couldn't cut the steak. Floods of tears! I know I need to come to terms with it and find new ways of doing things, think it was the shock. I am usually a here, there and everywhere person and now that has changed. I love my garden and in the process of getting the beds raised so easier to weed etc. Is that something you could do lilymary? Xx

  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 25,386 ✭✭✭

    I was a busy busy too @dij1966 so understand how much of a shock it is to suddenly have your wings clipped. Just answered your post on another thread.

    My husband is going to get me some raised beds too I think it's a great idea.

    Nice to meet you anyway🙂


    Toni xxx
  • LilymaryLilymary Posts: 375 ✭✭✭

    Hi @dij1966 , our house is on a sloping site, so we have a few terraces anyway which raises the beds up a bit, but it would be a major engineering exercise to do the whole garden. Luckily there are a lot of large shrubs, so lots of pruning rather than working at ground level. The tubs are planted up with perennials, so I don’t need to replant them every year, I just need to do little and often rather than big splurges when I start getting tired and falling over. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, as once I get started I lose track of time and am often still out there not realising it’s getting dark!

  • Hi I have done the same this year, changed a lot of garden to plants/shrubs that are permanent. I am also looking at changing some of my tools to those with long handles so less bending down...its amazing what you can find on amazon. I have taken over half the shed and now have a potting tray that my my hubby fills will soil and then I can pot up happily without bending. I just need to put some thought into how I do things from now on. Its easy to lose track of time when you are doing something you enjoy.

  • LilymaryLilymary Posts: 375 ✭✭✭

    I find long handled loppers double as grabbits for things/clippings you’ve dropped, and you get brilliant tools for getting weeds out with a twist of your wrist (can’t remember what they’re called). Tall semi-rigid garden waste bags also mean no bending

  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 25,386 ✭✭✭

    No @Lilymary ! Forget tidying up rubbish - that's what husbands are for 😁

    Don't tell mine i said so will you 😉


    Toni xxx
  • CCMCCM Posts: 21 mod

    Try a Google search for Fiskars weeders. You can use them standing.

  • LilymaryLilymary Posts: 375 ✭✭✭

    @frogmorton Not mine! He is only just learning the job isn't complete until you've tidied up and put everything away (he's not a natural born gardener, but he does all the cooking so I forgive him). I've known him hack back a shrub, say "there it's done" and leave all the trimmings, tools and everything on the lawn and go indoors for a cup of tea and a bath. That's how we lost a set of secateurs. More training needed I think!

  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 25,386 ✭✭✭
    edited 18. Sep 2020, 08:22

    Oh dear!

    Poor you! Mine is not house trained like yours, but definitely garden-trained! He likes it all tidied away bless him😏


    Toni xxx
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