Osteoarthritis in knee

Diamond12
Diamond12 Member Posts: 14
edited 15. Mar 2012, 18:53 in Living with Arthritis archive
I have recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee. I have physio - well, they give me my exercises to do, you dont seem to get hands-on treatment anymore, and I do yoga to stretch. However, I cannot exercise in a normal way like enjoying a walk, not even a gentle walk. The pain in my knee and lower leg is so bad and after even 20mins I am limping. I cannot walk up and down the stairs without support and the pain reflects up to my hip when I walk badly. I cannot put weight on my foot and having sat for any time, when I get up my leg has locked and it takes me a few minutes to steady my balance and start walking again.

Its ridiculous, I have never had such a dibilitating illness and it has made me very depressed. As I see it, having been told there is no cure for osteoarthritis, I can only see me living with this for the rest of my life. I am, what I consider, a young 60 and enjoy my holidays and exploring and walking, but now wonder how I can even walk for a mile!

Can anyone advise me if there is any medication - other than normal painkillers which dont even touch it, to be honest, that I could take? My doctor has not recommended medication as yet but I am thinking I should return and ask. I cannot go on like this without some help.

Support and advice from other sufferers please?

Christine
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Comments

  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Christine
    Welcome to the forum.
    Well we aren't doctors and cant diagnose.....only tell you our stories.
    I have OA in the hip, lower spine and ankle.
    I had one replacement hip and was sent home after 3 days with a sheet of paper with exercises and told to get on with it.
    I think a lot depends on what area you live in. The majority of others on the forum seem to have to go for physio sessions.
    I'm 65 {young at heart} just my body lets me down :lol::lol:
    Like you I cant do normal exercises either..,.....
    what about swimming where the water takes your weight?
    I have got a 4 wheel rollator and thats my exercise at the moment.....at least I can walk further with it than I can without it.
    As for tablets .....OA is treated by the GP most of the time and its usually with pain killers and anti inflammatories {surgery if it gets bad}
    Are you on anti inflammatories? Go back to your doc if the tablets aren't working and ask what else can he try.
    Hopefully others will come on with more advice

    Love
    Hileena
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, it's lovely to meet you but I am so sorry you have had to find us. OA is the most common form of arthritis in the UK (cold comfort I know) and it is true that there is very little on the treatment front for it apart from pain relief, possibly anti-inflammatories and exercise. It is part-and-parcel of the aging process for some, for others it starts when they are in their teens and twenties. I have OA in both knees and ankles (thanks to the joint damage caused by my other auto-immune-based arthritis) and I empathise with the pain on walking, doing exercise etc: it hurts but is necessary to keep the muscles surrounding the joint nice and strong so they better support the joint. Have you considered using a stick? They can make the world of difference but ensure you hold it on the opposite side to the affected joint. This will also help you to walk in a better style so that you are not throwing other joints out of kilter. OA is a degenerative disease of the joints, like all arthritis it can spread to other joints but everyone's arthritis is unique to them and what happens to one person won't necessarily happen to another. I am fifteen years into my arthritic life (I began aged 37) and thus much further down the line than you but I can empathise with the disapppointment, frustration and depression this is causing you. We will do our best to help you get through this current rough patch - rest assured you are talking to the initiated. I wish you well. DD
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Christine

    Welcome to the forum but I am sorry to hear about the OA in your knee. I had OA in both knees eventually and have now had total replacements which has been a godsend to me. The knees gradually got worse over the years and in the end one leg was no longer straight. I could always get around without a stick for help, but did not go for walks for a goodly time before the first op, as it was no longer an enjoyable pastime but I was able to get from A to B and carry on with my life with the help of painkillers and anti inflammatories. In the end I was taking 8 cocodamol daily and inflammatory meds daily too. These did help. Locally I ride my bike so that took a strain off the knees. I used to like a heated wheatbag on my knees, when sitting, or in bed. This was comforting and seemed to help.

    I do think you should get some medication prescribed by your gp as this will more than likely take the edge off the pain for you. I wish you well.

    Elna x

    ps I am 61 and do have OA in other joints too but try not to let it get to me too often. :)
  • yaris
    yaris Member Posts: 96
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi I got the same left knee I was all right untill 12dec at work happy then oa left knee I went down local hospital and asked for stick untill I had phyosio
    The doctor put me on naproxen x
  • babytiger
    babytiger Member Posts: 360
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Christin,welcome to the forum.
    I know how you feel,2 years ago I started getting pain in my right knee and was always determined to not let it beat me, Up until last summer I managed on inflammatories and painkillers,I always cycled every day and walked miles with dog. Last summer though it just got worse all of a sudden and I couldnt manage to walk 10 minutes without severe pain or my leg collapsing,even cycling was taking its toll.I have had a total knee replacement ,november there but mine has gone wrong (I had to be the 1% it didnt work on) lol
    Get yourself off to GP and they will reassess your meds etc. Good luck x
    Eileen
  • Diamond12
    Diamond12 Member Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for all your replies and advice. Unfortunately I cannot take anti-inflammatories. Typical ... they give me terrible stomach problems, always have. So I am now thinking I must go and ask my doctor for some stronger medication. What is naproxen? I need something to take the pain away when walking. A stick was an option I have considered requesting .. I didnt realise you used it on the opposite side to the leg pain. I just wish I didnt have to resort to a stick at my age :lol:

    Although I dont want this to beat me, unfortunately as many of you say, when it gets bad the pain kicks in so severely that I just cant walk. I hadnt thought of cycling as I assumed this would be too painful moving my knee round and round? But maybe a good idea in the summer. My fear is coming off the bike! or having to put my leg down suddenly, if I put my foot down suddenly it feels as though my knee as broken. And unfortunately I cannot swim.

    My love is walking ... not big mountain walking, but strolling, exploring and enjoying being out and about especially on a holiday. But now I feel this cannot be after my dreadful experience yesterday after just 2 hours strolling along a river, limping in agony :( The pain in my hip and back when I got home was awful and I can see the pain reflected in my eyes! I feel OLD!

    I really dont want to go down the knee replacement avenue. I have heard good and bad reports and as "babytiger" just said ... sometimes they go wrong. I dont want that to happen.

    But thanks for all your stories and support.

    Christine
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 27,850
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh Christine!

    Life does not have to be so bad. Your doctor should have prescribed you something for your pain.

    Most of us on here take an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen etc) and a painkiller when needed (paracetamol, co-codamol etc). i take ARCOXIA a cox2 anti-nflammatory which doesn't hurt my belly like the others do...worth a try????

    I am sorry you have been given nothing nor even advice on pain relief.

    In addition it might be worth trying something like a heat patch or a wheat bag which you heat up in the microwave??? These can be surprisingly effective!

    Ultimately the doctor might need to refer you to an orthopedic surgeon for an opinion, there are surgical options available too.

    Love and WElCOME!!

    Toni xxx
  • Diamond12
    Diamond12 Member Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks, I will ask about the more gentler anti-inflammatory Toni. I do use a wheatbag. Obviously I cant use the bag when out walking so this is mainly where my major problem lies. I use the wheatbag in bed and during the evenings if it is cold. I have been told warmer weather eases the discomfort a little.
  • diamond
    diamond Member Posts: 396
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I know how you feel Christine and the pain does get you down.Go back to GP they can prescribe painkillers that will dull down the pain,like you i could not take anti inflammatory tabs.I am 58years old and last November had one knee replaced with other one getting done in April.I decided i was fed up not being able to get about so went for op,hopefully things will improve,i also have inflammatory arthritis and i am on meds for this.Mentally it affects you as you cannot do what was easy in past years,but you will adjust maybe even find new interests.I preferred to use icepacks on my knees.Kind Regards xx
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 27,850
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Diamond12 wrote:
    Thanks, I will ask about the more gentler anti-inflammatory Toni. I do use a wheatbag. Obviously I cant use the bag when out walking so this is mainly where my major problem lies. I use the wheatbag in bed and during the evenings if it is cold. I have been told warmer weather eases the discomfort a little.

    You can get heat thingies from the chemist - they go in a sort of elasticcy bandage thing so are mobile. Might be by C*raheat :?

    Ice is very good too - but no idea if you can get anything you can wear out and about :?

    Love

    Toni xx
  • tanith
    tanith Member Posts: 175
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    The Knee replacement avenue really isn't such a scary place.. lots of people get total relief from their pain when they have the surgery.. I had one hip done when I was 58 and found a new lease of life.. I'm sorry to say it but your knee isn't going to get better only worse but your pain can be relieved by pain meds etc but if you really want to get your pain free life back you will have to consider the knee replacement in the future.. you will find lots of info and support on this site.. do go back to your GP and tell them how much your life is being affected.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think that much of the success of new joints is down to the general fitness of the patient and their willingness to be sensible after the op. You may well be out of 'full' action for six months or more, but the blessed relief after would surely make that all worthwhile. I am looking forward to getting mine done (I have to wait at least another two years and lose another two stones (and rightly so)) but it should make such a difference to the quality of my life and that, for me, is what counts. Currently the quality of life is pretty low thanks to arthritis. I have been on crutches since 2002, and before Christmas invested in a cheap rollator to see if that would be beneficial. It has been. I am under no illusion that the rollator and sticks will go when I get new knees but I will do my damndest to make sure the pain does - and if it doesn't well, surely it won't be much worse than now! :lol: Try a stick, I am sure it will help: the handle needs to be level or just above your hip height so that you can maintain an upright posture. DD
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi
    Just come back in and seen the replies to your post.
    As for anti inflammatories upsetting your stomach......,most of us have a "stomach protector" when we take them......the 2 most common/popular ones are omneprozol and lansoprozol {spelling?????}
    Naproxen that I mentioned is an anti inflammatoryh
    Hopefully you get more info from your doctor or what about the arthrits leaflets.....go to the front page and it will tell you about the various ones they do. Or if you are near your hospital usually the physio has a stand with all the different ones in. They are very usefull.
    Sorry if this has been mentioned.......I've just skimmed through them
    Love
    Hileena
  • Puschinka
    Puschinka Member Posts: 176
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Christine, I read your post and I could have written all of that myself, so similar is your situation and the way you feel, to mine. I miss my mobility soo much... can't explain it to anyone how this pain and the fact that I can't walk (it's a crawl and I can't do that without a cane) has affected me. My hip hurts too after a few steps and I even dread going to the loo and can see myself getting a raised looseat before long. :o I too have physio to do at home, but most of these excercises I was incoporating in my Yoga and stretching excercises before my legs let me down anyway... They're supposed to strenghten the muscles supporting the knees but the physio even said my legmuscles were quite strong anyway. I think I have a long way to go yet before I accept that 'this' is my lot now at the moment I'm still at the stage where I cry in desperation and frustration everyday. I actually feel bereaved. The loss of my mobility and independence feels like the loss of a very dear and important friend. The quality of my life is rubbish now and my budgie has a fuller life. He can run and fly! I keep trying going for walks but never last more than 20 minutes tops before the pain goes from managable to unbearable and then I pay the price for the rest of the day and sleep evven less at night as my 'good' knee hurts too. All I take is Paracethemol, anti inflammatories upset my stomach too, and I use a wheatbag quite often. Do you think that in time, with physio, we will be able to walk better and in less pain again? Or are we forever now going to envy even fragile geriatrics, as they overtake us? I try to keep my sense of humour, its possibly the only thing thats just as important as my mobility to me. If I lost that too, then ...well,it doesnt bear thinking about. So I make sure I have a laugh everyday. It's supposed to be the best medicine. Best wishes to you Christine and chin up!
  • Diamond12
    Diamond12 Member Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Pushtinka and everyone else for the input. Although sadly all your stories make for sorry reading :cry: I dont feel I am even at the stage many of your complain about and yet I have had enough of it already and dread it getting worse. I also have the same problem getting up off the loo or even getting down onto a low seat and then trying to raise myself. Its ridiculous - I just dont feel old enough for all this :?

    After my walk at the weekend which nearly crippled me, my left calf is now as stiff as a rod, more painful actually than my knee where the osteoarthritis is supposed to be, and if I sit for too long I cant straighten it when I stand. Luckily I dont get much pain at night. Most of the time I lay there and wouldnt know I have a problem until I have I have to move and get out of bed. My husband thinks I may have been mis-diagnosed as he had sciatica two years ago and says I am complaining of the same symptons. I wish it were, as that gets better eventually.

    Where do you get a stick or cane from as this may help me when I go out for a walk? Would my physio provide me with one or the doctor if I asked? Or do you have to buy them. Presumably you have to ensure it is the right height to keep your back straight.

    Thanks again for all your advice.

    Christine
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,934
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Diamond12 and welcome from me too.

    On a purely practical front - many people get their sticks free from NHS. I'm pretty sure you'd need to see an Occupational Therapist. You can self-refer by dialling Social Care Direct (0345 6080191) but I suspect the waiting time, whichever way you do it, will be several weeks.

    Alternatively you could just buy a stick, or two, from any disability shop - online if you wish but you should be properly fitted heightwise & taught how to use it/them which a good shop would do. Or, if it's just for country walking, a pair of proper hiking sticks might help, certainly going downhill as they take the strain off the knees. (I am no doctor but it is possible that your calf pain may be muscular as a result of you trying to 'spare' the knee above it.)

    There are several solutions to low seats - a higher seat, an extra cushion or things you can buy (again from a disability shop) to fix underneath that will raise the lot. Raised toilet seats are also available from OTs or shops starting at about £13. You may find other solutions in the 'Simple Ideas' thread at the top of the page.

    I'm sure you must feel 'not ready' for all this disability talk but the less strain you put on your knee the better it will be.

    Again, I'd emphasise I'm not a doc but on the one occasion when I had sciatica, in late pregnancy, the pain was at the back of my thigh, not my knee or calf. Others may know differently.
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,595
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,
    I have OA in my right knee which has been partially replaced. Unfortunately I can't say the replacement has taken 100% of my pain away and I do have some things which I can't now do, such as kneeling. I also have OA in my other knee, both hips and both ankles. My right knee first started playing me up in 1998 and I'm now 46.

    I use a stick or crutches depending how sore I am. I have grab rails by my back door, grab rails in my bathroom and a step my partner made out of wood to enable me to get in/out of the bath for showering. In addition, I tend to use the smaller trolleys when going into supermarkets, even if I only want a couple of bits - it's something to lean on and means no carrying.

    In addition I'm in an automatic car and plan everything I do.

    Listen to your knee and do what it allows you to. Talk to your GP about physio and pain relief - there's loads of options out there avoiding anti inflammatories.

    If you haven't already got one, see if your GP would support you applying for a blue badge as this will help when you're out and about.

    In the meantime keep posting. The crowd on here have been a wonderful support to me.

    Take care,
    Grace.
  • Diamond12
    Diamond12 Member Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you Grace. I have today purchased a walking stick, a folding one in bright colours :) it makes me feel not quite so 'old' !!

    I am returning to my Doctor for advice on pain relief and hope he can give me something. I hate not being able to enjoy walking. I am not sure he would think me disabled enough for a blue badge yet. Is this the normal disabled parking badge people use, my elderly father has one.

    My big problem at the moment is how I can get seats with extra leg room on flights I have booked for my summer holiday. I didnt have this problem when we booked and to sit for 3hours with my leg bent in a confined seating space will put my leg into spasm for days. I am about to ask my flight provider but I dont hold out a lot of hope.

    It concerns me greatly when I read some of the stories on here. As to whether my left knee and calf will actually just be the beginning and it spreads to my ankle, hip and then my other leg. I just cant bear it :(

    I also hear differing stories on knee replacements on here and fear being one of the small percentage where it could make me worse, rather than better, if it didnt work. Not going down that route yet.

    But everyone on here is very helpful and supportive.

    Thanks.

    Christine
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,934
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    About the flight thing.

    Get in touch with the airline and explain. They might give you bulkhead seats, which have more legroom though slightly less width but, in any case, they'll sort you out with seats with as much legroom as possible. (Some have big boxed off areas which take up half the legroom.) If you know what type of aircraft it'll be, you can go to www.seatguru.com and see for yourself which seat would suit you best.

    If you need a wheelchair - and many do in airports who wouldn't normally - ask the airline for special assistance and they'll sort it all out including any flight transfers.

    As for replacement knees. I've had 3. The first one packed in after 27 years, the second (done at the same time) is now going on 31 and the 3rd is a young and very strong 3 yr old.
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Again
    I'm glad you got a stick....my first one was £10 from the shoe place...Timps***s.....it was coloured and I didnt feel as bad as I would have with a hospitla one ore even a black one. It was a folding one so stayed in my bacg until I needed it :lol:
    You should be able to get help with your flight.....Any travelling you do if you say you need help you usually get it.
    As for the blue badge....yes its an ordinary one......you dont get it because you reach a certain age......usually because you cant walk without pain very far....eg to the shops etc. Or the other reason is ....its a much wider space so if you had crutches {I know you dont} or any problems getting in and out of the car the wide space is a godsend
    Love
    Eileen
  • Diamond12
    Diamond12 Member Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello again.

    Has anyone tried using Kneease, the type of "tens" machine you strap under your knee which should aleviate pain for 3-4 hours at a time? Although there are lots of positive reviews on their website, we all know how these types of sites promote their own products with their own reviews! At £50 I would like to think it would help, but some personal experience from anyone would be useful.

    Thank you.

    Christine
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Those ads are tempting, aren't they? By all means invest the money if you can afford it, it may or may not do anything to help but if it helps you feel a little more in control of matters then why not? A TENs machine from the chemist will do the same thing, I suspect the 'behind the knee' thing a gimmick My Ma spent £130 on a magnetic pain relief gizmo for me, she was desperate to help and fell hook-line-and-sinker for the lovely advertising. I assure her I use it and that it is a godsend but it is, in fact, in a drawer. I've tried magnetic knee supports, eating a better anti-inflammaotry diet, taken supplements, been to a homeopath, had private physio and still the arthritis progresses because that is what it does.

    Any degree of physical impairment in an affront, whether it be an achy little finger or full-blown top-to-toe disease. Probably all of us here began with just the one area but we are unique in how, and in how rapidly or slowly, things advance. One thing that doesn't help is the stubborness that people understandably show in refusing to use aids that could help them: all that achieves is putting further strain on affected joints and throws the unaffected ones out of kilter which could lead to extra damage. Admittedly the bits and pieces that we may find ourselves needing to use are dull, institutional, inelegant, they trumpet to the world that yes, I cannot sit on a lavatory with a low seat, that yes, I cannot get in and out of the bath without summat to grab onto (radiators, washbasins and towel rails are not suitable supports) that yes, I can no longer walk like an adult should, but I am thankful that I live in an age where I can get stuff to help me.

    Every now and again this forum is a double-edge sword. Yes, we understand the pain and frustrations, yes we know our stuff viz meds and treatments but for those like you who are so new to it all it must appear to be a place full of threat. We chunter on about meds, sticks, rollators, scooters, wheelchairs 'cos to some of us it's no big deal, little thinking maybe about the impact of our words on someone who is actually much further behind us in arthritis terms. I am very fortunate in that I have no idea what good health is like (crappy immune system from the word go) so this slide into early old age is no big deal, but for someone like you, well, I must remember that it is. I am glad you have a stick and I hope it helps. Pace yourself, don't overdo things in an effort to appear to be OK as you will only hurt yourself and there ain't much point in that now, is there? :wink: Take care. DD
  • pinkbritishstars
    pinkbritishstars Member Posts: 731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Christine

    I too have OA in both my knees - my left is the worst.

    I have found morphine helps at night but it makes me hallucinate so its a viscious circle. Hopefully you wouldn't hallucinate on it.

    Also maybe get a referral to the pain team.

    How are you feeling today?

    Take Care
    xx
  • Diamond12
    Diamond12 Member Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello and thanks for the responses. I have just been to see my NHS physiotherapist who put me off the Kneease but as you have said, told me I could get one from the chemist or, in fact, from them. Back to my doctor next Monday to beg for some proper medication to help me ease the pain when I walk. The physiotherapist does nothing to be honest but just talk to me and give me more exercises. I could do with some hands-on physio sometimes I think :)

    I have to say my osteoarthritis is nothing yet compared to some of you on here, and I try to ignore the fact that I will at some point get worse :( I just dread it going into my second leg. That would be the end.

    I am really not feeling good about myself at the moment as I have always been quite active, not sports wise, but I enjoy getting out and having a walk. And my holiday, already booked, on a Greek island I go to every year, is not suited to immobility. All my favourite beaches are to be reached via steep tracks. I might get down if I dont get worse before June, but I certainly would not get back up to the road :( However, the sunshine might be good medicine :D

    I refuse to give up and do my weekly yoga, stretching as much as I can, and my daily physio exercises and some days are better than others. But because most of the time my disability is not noticeable, people just do not seem to understand and think I should be able to get help and then get better :roll:

    So I carry on - after all, there are far worse off than me.

    Christine
  • Puschinka
    Puschinka Member Posts: 176
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I keep reading here about 'good days' and 'bad days' and am beginning to understand just what that means. Last week I had a good day because I managed a slow 10 minute walk and my bad knee, athough there was discomfort with every step, felt 'better' than it has in a long time. I was on a high for the rest of that day, thinking- fantastic, the physio is working and I was aready planning to have a 'burn my walking stick-party' :lol:
    But later that night my knee was throbbing and I kept getting very painful stabbing pains in my groin too. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much. I couldn't face going for another walk for few days and it was raining anyway. My next walk, I didnt even manage 5 minutes before I was in pain and hobbled worse than ever, thinking that stick-burning-party will have to be postponed...
    Yesterday I had a great day, I managed a 30 minute walk, my fella's arm for support on the other side, and although it was a very slow walk, the pain was managable and my spirits lifted again.

    This morning, within 2 minutes of walking (hanging on to the trolley) round the supermarket, not only my bad knee, but my other, so far 'good' knee, were both so bad that every step was a huge painful effort and I felt like passing out a couple of times and by the time I got back to my car I was in tears.
    Not just because of the pain, not just because of frustration and disappointment. But because the realisation hit me once again, that my good knee is getting worse and that I'm probably deluded and still in denial about all 'this' and that possibly there won't be a 'burn the stick party' but instead a 'welcome the rollator and raised loo-seat party' before long :(
    So, once again - Christine, I know exactly how you feel and although I try to make light of it, today I am very tearful and scared of what the future holds.
    And you are so right, Dreamdaisy - for us 'newcomers' to this horrid world of Arthritis, it is all so overwhelming and unbelievable in fact, when it happens so suddenly and goes from bad to worse so quickly...
    And I have to keep reminding myself, that so many,like yourself, are sooo much worse and in more pain,more often and able to do much less and it 'sobers' me up a little and reminds me to be thankful for all that I can still do.
    And yet.... I miss the old me and the things I used to be able to do and take for granted.
    Maybe tomorrow will be a good day again and if it is, I'll savour every minute of it and remind myself that there hopefully always will be some good days.

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