Finding a Way to Move

Over the years, as job and life became more sedentary, it got more difficult to move, and flare ups with my back and other joints became the norm. With my sixties looming, I wanted to be more active and shed some of these pounds that had crept on, but every attempt resulted in pain, stiffness and even less activity.

I knew I had arthritis going back to at least my thirties, but when symptoms would ease, I would get back on the same merry go round without exploring what was really going on with my body.

Suffering daily

Fast forward to age 55, I was in a job sitting at a desk, tied to a phone for eight hours a day. When time for breaks came, I would be too stiff, and it was painful to get up, so, by the end of shift, I was a wreck.

I used a sit to stand desk and ergonomic tools, but even that wasn't enough. Pain in lower back, neck, hips, knees and feet kept me from wanting to move. Sleep was not restful, I started sleeping in my electric recliner just to get anything resembling rest. At least I could adjust it through the night to help.

Brain fog and memory issues became the norm and my job performance went from top performer to not meeting expectations, and my boss began to talk to me about my job. Disability became my reality.

Getting a diagnosis

Braces for every joint, waking sticks, a cane, every pain cream known to man, ibuprofen to choke a horse, chiropractor who realized something big was up, but I wasn't making a dent in the issues. We had to give up our dream of taking our camper to Alaska (from GA) because I couldn't travel. Time and activity with my family was so limited.

So, with my chiropractor's encouragement, I gave up and went to my primary care who got me in quickly with a new rheumatologist. The diagnosis was Ankylosing Spondylitis. It was visible on x-ray, and we started treatment as soon as Humira was approved.

Still figuring this disease out

I wish I could say life became a bowl of cherries but, coming up on two years after my first rheumatologist appointment, I'm still not there. I still slept in the recliner. I couldn't figure out how to increase activity without flares, much less lose weight.

Walking makes my feet, ankles and knees hurt, my back can only handle 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Gym activities flare my neck and back. I'm only five feet tall and the stationary bikes are hard to use with short legs. I couldn't even crochet without pain!

Relearning how to live my life

Fast forward again, my rheumatologist has switched my biologic to Simponi Aria, I've found Autoimmune Strong, an exercise program designed for people like me, and I've discovered the joy of an electric bike. It has flat foot technology, (yes, it's a thing), and I am very slowly fighting my way to a little bit more.

Relearning how to ride a bike at 60 has been interesting, to say the least. I find joy in little things, I have a new, flashy Neo-walk cane that's pretty and it makes a yucky thing fun. I'm not winning any races, daily life is a struggle, my house is a wreck, I tip over at the drop of a hat and I'm slow as molasses, but I embrace every positive change and I'm thankful for all the good things in my life, especially hubs and family that get it, (most of the time). I do a little bit, rest, do a little bit, rest.

Haven't lost a pound yet, but all in good time. In the meantime, as the song goes, feeling stronger every day!

My reasons to get up every day

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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