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Fearless. Unstoppable. The poster child for dealing with chronic illness. That’s how family and friends always describe me.
I have both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as Ulcerative Colitis and Asthma. Despite all of that at 63, I have a wonderfully full and busy life. I work two fantastic jobs; a field interviewer for a national study and coordinator for an Alzheimer’s respite program. I walk six days a week, water aerobics twice a week, six grown children, 14 grandchildren, active with our church and theatre and I’m a successful playwright. But I do it all in pain, sometimes lots of pain especially at night.
Read more: Waiting for the Surgery
The last x-ray of my right knee showed bone on bone, bone spurs, fluid, lots of arthritis AND a hairline fracture of my knee cap. Wow! Just wow! No wonder my knee doesn’t bend anymore and so even though I’m not quite eligible for Medicare, I decided to go ahead with TKR (Total Knee Replacement).
Read more: I saw an Angel after my Heart Surgery
I’m not even scared of the surgery or the rehab but I am scared of the week before surgery, the week when I have to stop all anti-inflammatories. No Celebrix, no Advil, no nothing, for a week.
I deal with a lot of pain and think I have a pretty high pain tolerance but I do it with a little help. I walk at least 10,000 steps a day on my terrible knees but the idea of doing it without any pain suppression is terrifying. I feel like a prisoner of war being told, “You’re up next for the week of unremitting torture.” The advice I get, “Just grin and bear it because it will be so worth it after its done.”
Probably, but I still have to get through it don’t I? And I just don’t know if I can.