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Hello Everyone!

This is my first post.

Ten years ago I started to get pain in my feet while walking. At that time, my ex-wife was having bunion surgery and recommended I see her surgeon. The surgeon diagnosed me with arthritis in both ankles and gave me shots of cortisone. She said I would have pain in old age. The shots helped temporarily but six months later the pain returned.

In 2011 I did something stupid: on a bet, I started running. And I started to like it. I bought minimal Nike shoes after reading 'Born to Run' and ran 3-5 miles daily on hard asphalt. I then trained for and ran a 10 miler, often in intense pain during and after running. I thought the pain was mostly due to running. But it got so bad that I could only run a couple times a week and then I had to stop completely.

In 2012 I quit my job to travel across New Zealand and Asia. I backpacked for six months walking an average of 10 miles a day, often carrying my pack that weighed 70 lbs. Each day I was in constant pain but the excitement of being in new places every few days distracted me.

When I got back in 2013, I went to see Dr. Paul Cooper, a well-regarded surgeon at MedStar Georgetown in DC. He was rude and curt, but diagnosed me with subtalar arthritis in both feet. I got orthotics but they don't help. I can barely make it three miles before I have intense pain in my ankles. I've managed to hide the limp but it's starting to get noticeable. It's on my mind from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep. I find myself staring longer at people in wheelchairs; noticing the slightest limps in people; listening more intently when someone complains about foot problems.

And now I'm noticing pain radiating from my hip area (groin, buttocks, sides) and knees...it's probably just more arthritis. Lucky me!

I'm planning to marry my girlfriend and have a child soon. I love to travel and my goal is to visit 100 countries (I'm at 46). I love adventures; walking around the city; going to concerts, plays, musicals, art galleries, happy hours. I take walks at lunch. I'm thinking about joining the foreign service. Just like all of you I just want to be a normal human being enjoying the benefits and freedoms of living in this great country. I'm terrified of what's going to happen to me and what my future looks like. I just turned 40!

But despite the pain, anxiety, depression, sadness, fear and all else that accompanies this disease, I'm trying to stay positive. So here are three things I promise to do every day:

1. Be grateful
2. Think positive
3. Keep moving

I would love to hear what helps you get through. Thanks for reading.

ZK





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