FishDreamer scribbles: Seeking Serenity Online

Thursday, 28 October 2004

Major Setback

I remember how hard it was to tell people I had cancer. It still is, sometimes, although I really try not to make a big deal out of it. But it's something that invariably garners sympathy, and I hate looking like I'm asking for sympathy. So I'm just going to say it.

I have osteoarthritis. I found out today. It's in the early stages yet, and I start physical therapy next week to see if I can halt progression. But there's no cure for this. I am once again not allowed to run, and I don't know if I'll ever get to do that half marathon I've been trying to do for three years.

This is the second time I've been forced to stop doing my favorite form of exercise due to medical problems. The first was in college, when I had to give up swimming because it permanently scarred my bicipital tendons (shoulders). I can never swim competitively again. Imagine hearing that when you're 23. The full implication didn't hit me for years, but eventually it did.

This time, as I sat listening to the doctor and looking at the drawing showing what was going on with my hip and neck joints, it hit me immediately. I managed not to cry there, but I cried all the way home and most of the afternoon.

I've always had bad joints, it runs in the family. I believe both my parents have this too. This is why I lost weight and started running regularly. I wanted to prevent it as best I could, by eating enough calcium and keeping my muscles strong and my joints flexible and lubricated. And now, I don't know what I can do. I am researching and preparing questions for the PT next week. Most of the information readily available is for people who don't exercise already. I'm trying to figure out how I can get the endorphins and the good hard aerobic workout without running. At least for a while. I'm hoping I can continue to run without causing further damage.

I need running. I also need to not be in pain all the time. Currently, those two needs are incompatible. I am willing to run less often, or shorter distances. I can give up the half marathon, if I can keep the 5K. I just... I have always been someone who works out hard. Walking is not a workout. I might have to skate more often, which I can't do in winter here.

This is not what I was hoping to get out of this doctor visit. Right now I'm just trying not to explode about it. I need information. I don't see the PT until Wednesday. A seven a.m. doctor visit was NOT in the cards the day after the election, but it was that or put it off another week. The pain is already bad enough, especially in my neck, that I can't wait. So I go.

I'm struggling with this, and with a lack of information out there. I know I'll get used to it, I'll wrap this new irritant into my world and keep moving, but right now I'm angry and sad and miserable. And I don't quite know how to tell people.

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