The day before yesterday I went to the doctor. My knee has been hurting off and on for months. I was afraid I was going to need surgery and/or physical therapy. Instead I got a diagnosis of osteo arthritis.
This hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. I've been expecting this conversation all of my adult life. My mom and my uncle were both disabled with arthritis. My mom started using a wheelchair in her late 30s and my uncle before then. I guess at 45 I hoped I had eluded the family curse. I should have know better. It runs rampit in my mom's side of the family and even makes appearances on my dad's side.
So - no surgery, no PT, and ... no cure.
There are things I can do to limit the impact of the deterioration in my joints. I can eat foods that lower inflammation (colorful fruits and vegetables). I can exercise (oh boy) to strengthen the muscles around the joints, and I can lose weight. Yeah, that sounds easy. (sarcasm) I guess there is nothing in my life that is not related back to my issues with food.
Before I can fight this thing I have to deal with the emotional impact. I have to be honest.
I am afraid .... I don't want to be on a cane in a few years. I don't want to be confined to a wheelchair. (I know many people who live amazing, full and successful lives this way, but I also know how hard it is.) I don't want my girls to watch me losing mobility and losing the ability to participate in their activities because my body won't let me. I don't want to be in pain every day.
Then there is the fact that my best chance to fight this thing lies in areas where I am weak - healthy food and exercise.
Still, this morning I woke with a peaceful spirit. I was reminded of an old hymn I love. To paraphrase it says, 'I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future and I know who holds my hand.' There is no certainty that this disease will cripple me. It could stabilize and be simply a chronic irritation. Even if it puts me in a chair, I can still watch my girls grow up and cheer them on. God has a plan for me and nothing can change that.
Uncle Arthur as my mom used to call it, has made an appearance in my life and he's not going away. That first night as I was falling asleep I envisioned an ugly, angry monster attacking. Then I envisioned a hand stroking the monster and soothing it. In the end it was a funny looking character just sort of looking up at me.
I can't make this go away, but I can do what it takes to minimize the effects, and I can live my life to the fullest each and every day.