When was this nightmare going to end? I kept waiting to wake up from this bad dream, but it just wasn’t happening. I was feeling scared, many thoughts raced through my mind, what if this doesn’t go away? What if I have to live like this for the rest of my life? Can I do that? I didn’t want to be a burden to my family; I couldn’t imagine living my life in the helpless feeling of despair.

Over the course of my life I saw first hand the crippling effects of arthritis. I’ve observed and learned techniques people used to cope with their pain. And most disturbing of all, I have seen the toll it takes on family and friends who stand by silently as they watch their loved ones suffer with this debilitating disease.

My grandmother was one of those people who had to cope with arthritis throughout her life. As a small child I remember watching her attempt daily chores around the house while experiencing incredible pain. I remember some days, the effort and the energy it took her just to move one foot in front of the next. Attempting to find relief was futile, because medications were not as developed as they are today. I watched as she suffered in realms I cannot even image.

Never in a million years did I believe this could happen to me. I was astounded at how quickly it had flared up. Did I miss the warning signals because I was always too busy to notice? What was the trigger that started all of this? I was feeling depressed and frustrated. A victim, feeling sorry for myself as if I was the only person in this whole world experiencing pain. I found myself falling deeper into my own little world, getting bitter and angrier by the day. I isolated myself from family and friends, not even wanting to talk about it. It became harder and harder to concentrate. The fear was taking over my whole being.

A couple of days after the first flare up, and still in a lot of pain, my doctor called with the results of the tests we had done several days prior. His diagnosis Rheumatoid Arthritis. He went on to tell me that it had affected ALL of my joints and my inflammation rate was very high. He recommended I stay on the medication prescribed and come back in two weeks for additional blood tests.

In the days that followed I could hardly lift my head off my pillow. When my feet touched the floor unbelievable pain raced through my legs. Everything used to be so easy, now I just lay in bed trying to muster up enough courage and stamina to walk to the bathroom. Life around the house tried to return to normal, my husband returned back to work, the kids went off to school and I was left to fend for myself. How ironic that I now became the woman I was taking care just days prior to this.

After two weeks of struggling through daily challenges, I went back to the doctor for more tests, and was referred to a specialist in Rheumatology. That doctor explained to me that there was no cure for arthritis. He went on to tell me the treatment strictly involved pain management techniques. He gave me more medication and an injection of Cortisone and told me this was standard practice in the treatment of arthritis pain. He sent me off for more blood work and a colonoscopy. Apparently, Rheumatoid Arthritis has high incidence of damaging the colon, but after my test I was pronounce free of any inflammation in that area. I was fortunate, because this would have seriously complicated my situation.

The doctor started me on an aspirin-type medication that had devastating results for my stomach. After switching medications again and more tests, I was finally starting to reach the end of my rope. I became very angry and decided I was not going to let this take control of my life; after all I was only 51 and had many years ahead of me. It was at that point I decided to take back my life.

I started by asking my husband to purchase an exercise bike for me. I thought maybe this would help with the movement of my knees. Next, I started to educate myself on the subject of arthritis. And through the Arthritis Foundation, I found information and the support I was looking for. They told me it was important to keep the joints moving, once they got too stiff and hardened up, moving them would be next to impossible. Everyday I would attempt to ride that bike, a little at a time I started to feel the effects of my efforts. If not anything, it gave me a sense of accomplishment. I was finally taking control of my life.

I also purchased a small rubber ball that helped me increase mobility in my hands. Oh! It hurt, the pain was unbearable at times, but I kept focused. I was not going to let this get the best of me. Actually, it was my doctor that brought me to this realization of my new found strength. He told me there was a good possibility that as the disease progressed and my condition worsened, eventually I would become wheelchair bound, unable to walk. And it was with those words that I set out to prove him wrong by learning to take care of myself, through exercise, diet and attitude, each making me stronger by the day.

Pain medicines may be effective in treating many types of pain, such as pain from arthritis, back pain, pain after surgery and earaches. Pain medication are medicines which you may purchase no prescription.

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