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Guilt

Ms. Meniscus advises a woman who has been diagnosed with arthritis in her knee to move beyond her guilt.

In lieu of letting yourself become limited and defined by your diagnosis, you are going to have to make some changes and learn how to re-invent yourself.

Ms. Meniscus:

I have been diagnosed with arthritis of the knees. My doctor advised me there was nothing he could do, but in ten years when I turn 60, he can do a knee replacement. I'm not excited about that idea. After working all day, when I get home, I can barely move. I know my husband, kind and supportive as he has been through this, gets tired of cooking or doing things for himself. But I am in so much pain, it’s not worth the walk across the room to even eat. I am getting very depressed and find myself pushing him away, thinking he does not deserve this. I can't go to festivals and do activities like I use to. I loved yard sale-ing in the summer, but find that unattainable now. How do you get over the guilt of what this disease does to you and your family?

sjjones

Dear sjjones,

I’m not sure why your doctor said you can’t have a knee replacement now. If he gave you a reason, please write back and let me know what it is. You will want to get a second opinion regardless of what your current doctor says.

But for the moment, let’s assume your doctor has a compelling medical reason for telling you to postpone knee replacement. Having a knee replacement looming over your head is not a prospect anyone can readily accept or hardly look forward to.  The last thing you want to do though is throw in the towel and give up hope on your life and future.  Sometimes there is guilt associated when someone is diagnosed with a chronic disease and they are unable to do function the same way they could before, thus causing a loved one to carry that extra burden, but you have to remember that you cannot let your disease control your life.

In lieu of letting yourself become limited and defined by your diagnosis, you are going to have to make some changes and learn how to re-invent yourself.  Dr. Laurie, another CJ columnist wrote an excellent article last week about clearing space and letting go.  The column talks about how we sometimes need to leave things behind that we are no long able to do or that might be painful reminders of our past and fill that space with new things that we can accomplish. 

Don’t frame yourself as you were before your arthritis, but instead learn to re-measure your abilities.  CreakyJoints Producer, Louis Tharp and Seth Ginsberg recently produced a video which I encourage you to watch, called Defining Success: with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

One of the most important areas which you should be thinking about is how to become mobile again.  Speak to your doctor and find out what is necessary in order to increase your physical activity.  Articles and news reports have been released recently which discuss about how increasing your movement actually can help people with conditions such as osteoarthritis (oa).

Please keep in touch, and let us know how you are progressing.

-- M

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