The process of accepting having a disability

Hello there. I am new here. I am a 60 year old man who has a 30 plus year history of low back problems. It has gradually gotten worse over time. I was given a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. I have good days and bad days. On my bad days I struggle to do much of anything as I become very disabled. I have worked full-time until the past year when I dropped a day. I am always in pain. My recent challenge that has spurred this post. Is that I have weight trained for 40 years and recently sold it all as every time I trained I was in loads of pain. I have tried everything and needed to accept I can't life weights any longer. There's so much I am unable to do and the list is getting longer. I understand I need to accept my circumstances and appreciate my life. And I do have a lot to be thankful for. A wife, 4 adult children, 4 grandchildren so far 😀. Yet I still go through periods of feeling angry and sorry for myself. I have sought therapy specially for pain and it was very helpful. I guess I am grieving. I feel like I am just complaining. It is helpful to share this. As it enables me to see I have moved on from where I was even 3 months ago. It's just sometimes really hard. I welcome your thoughts and reflections. I wish you all well. John


  • candicef
    candicef Member Posts: 4

    Hi John

    It hurts to let go of old activities, you seem to have got through it with determination for so long.

    My oa is a very new diagnosis of 4 months and feel a bit woe is me, with only my 70 year old mum giving encouragement to battle through the rusty hinges.

    The new mind struggle, adapts and accepts mind against the so very fed up mind is so annoying.

    Hoping the strength will return to enjoy the bits i can do and wish the same for you.

  • Jasimons
    Jasimons Member Posts: 9

    Ah thank you for your kindness and encouragement. I am trying to find a balance with listening to my body and letting go of pushing myself too hard . And learning to slow down but not give up

    But rather find activities that fit with my current circumstances. I feel like there's a huge space in my life that I need to gradually adjust to. But would like to maybe try something new. Rather than continue to do things ie weights that end up causing more pain. I guess it's character building to let go of things that no longer fit with my life. Thanks for your response. Cheers John

  • Woofy
    Woofy Member Posts: 215

    Hello John. You are not alone. I have days when I feel miserable and fed up too.

    its not easy. I get very impatient with myself sometimes, and feel useless. Sometimes I need to remind myself that my condition makes things a little harder, but I try to find ways of doing the things I like, but approach it in a different way. I try to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t . Good luck.

  • Jasimons
    Jasimons Member Posts: 9

    Thank you Woofy. I agree I can feel very sorry for myself. And this leads to low mood and more focusing on what I can't do. Which ultimately is not helpful. I am slowly starting to find more balance and learning to slow down and accept my disability and embrace my ability. Cheers John

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hi @Jasimons /John,

    Totally empathise with your position as I had to give up a lot of sports I loved after being diagnosed with OA in both my knees 18 months ago. It's not only having to accept I can't do the things I used to take for granted anymore but the mental hit too.

    In my case I substituted those things I used to do for others which not only allowed me to stay fit physically and mentally but helped strengthen the tissues and muscles around my knees in the process, like cycling and hiking. Of course, doing that has taken a lot of experimentation with pain management but the 2 go hand-in-hand. Get the pain sorted and you can do more. Do more and you improve your chances of managing your condition and having a better quality of life. For me it was a combination of GP-prescribed drugs, supplements, aids such as a TENS machine and Acupuncture.

    It takes time and determination but to give you some perspective, in May last year aged 55 I could barely walk downstairs of a morning to make a cuppa. Fast-forward to Monday last week and I hiked 18 miles up and down Mount Snowden and I'm going into hospital next Thursday for the 1st of 2 total knee replacements.

    I'm not in any way bragging, just trying to give you hope that Arthritis isn't necessarily the end, just the beginning and it can be mastered.

    All the best,


  • Jasimons
    Jasimons Member Posts: 9

    Thank you Jon. I probably need more hope. So your comments are appreciated. I think I have been stuck feeling sorry for myself. I am feeling more inclined to live more, just differently I guess. I haven't really figured that out yet. I have always been active. But since selling all my weights equipment. I feel uncertain. I guess I need to try different things and see what fits.

    Cheers John

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    @Jasimons you're welcome John.

    I found the GP Exercise Referral Programme very good. Have you heard of it? Forgive me if I'm teaching you to suck eggs if so but this is a government funded scheme aimed at people who want to get fit, either to lose weight, to manage a debilitating condition or to get fit after surgery or health issues.

    My local GP referred me to my local Council sun sports centre, I got a 1:1 session with a lady who knew about MSK conditions and she recommended exercises to do with various bits of gym equipment and weights targeted at building strength around my weakened joints and other low-impact aerobic activities to keep me in shape. Best of all, it came with a 40% discount off annual fees.

    If that sounds worth looking at, arrange a chat with your own GP or pop into your nearest council run centre who'll also have forms to complete. I'm pretty much going every day, gets me out of the house, keeps me mobile and a great way to earn a coffee and cake guilt-free as a bit of a pat on the back.

  • Jasimons
    Jasimons Member Posts: 9

    Ah that sounds really good. I have heard of it. But didn't really know what it was about. I will investigate this. Cheers John

  • Redlady07
    Redlady07 Member Posts: 18

    Welcome to my world. After being diagnosed with MS in my 30's and then arthritis in 2020, I'd say you gradually learn to live within your limits. Or you get frustrated, miserable and fail again and again at what USED to be possible. So my gardening is limited now. Walking and running a thing of the past. Even jewellry making I had to give up. You find other activities you CAN do.

    I imagine with all those grandkids you will get plenty of weight training anyway - lifting kids is no joke! Look around, there plenty of exercise classes of all sorts. You will find one to suit you!

  • Hi Jon,

    I empathise with you. It is very much grieving for the old you, but then, eventually, you will get to the new you. There is some great advice on this thread I think which I may steal. I'm still not ready to believe that I will have this pain in my knee when I first set off forever!!! Damn it makes you feel old. I'm still working towards what I can do. You will get there. 🙂

  • I came here today to ask if anyone else felt the same as me and saw your post. Grief is exactly how I have described it. I knew this is what it is as I've had depression on and off since childhood having suffered many traumatic events and how I feel now is very different to that. I am a nearly 68 year old female with very advanced osteoarthritis in both knees and both hips. I cry every day when I can't do something I was capable of not so long ago. I have applied for AA so I can hopefully get a cleaner in as my husband is in his 70's and has his own problems. I have also seen a consultant about my worst hip in the last week.Family isn't helpful and because I self managed for decades one member is struggling to believe it is as bad as it is.

  • Sueash53
    Sueash53 Member Posts: 2

    I’m a 70 year old grandmother just returned from a holiday with family, so disappointed that pain and stiffness from polymyalgia and osteoarthritis meant I couldn’t join in with activities and help with meal prep etc.

    I am feeling very sorry for myself, any tips to avoid a flare ups in future?

  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 359

    There is always something that aches that one tries to get the better of. This week its my right foot, normally I can shuffle but this week has pain and a chronic limp. @Sueash53 definitely make with the pain and stiffness nursing until you get the better of it.

    I notice though, at weekend it's usually possible to catch up with activity that overflowed from mid week, which I tend to take for granted as if they were not important. I went for a flu jab, caught up on sleep, finished a letter, etc. It was definitely productive, foot or no foot.

    Its the activity left over from the activity left over that is still a disappointment. I would have liked to complete a physio set, but so far its not happened and I might have to let it go for another day.