I usually write posts like these as a way of raising awareness as well as reaching out to others who can relate to my life, and know they’re not alone in this! This post follows a similar theme except this time, I’m the one who needs to feel I’m not alone in this and hoping there’s somebody out there in the same boat.
My long term readers will probably know that almost a year ago now, I had a sports related injury that affected one of my knees and a lot of my day-to-day activities. Well, a quick little update – all the swelling and pain of my left knee (the originally injured knee) also happened in the right knee! This was a cause for concern which left Doctors absolutely confused. Over time I’d had nurse’s, GP’s and doctors take a look at my knee and now roughly eight months on from the initial injury, my specialist doctor looks me in the eye and admits he’s never seen a case like this.. GREAT! I was referred to a knee surgeon because we were now looking at the possibility of at least keyhole surgery.
From the pictures you can pretty much see how over time, my knees have completely changed and swelled as well as how visibly obvious it is that I’ve lost almost all muscle tone. By this point, I’m exhausted. It’s been almost a year of constant pain and no answers, no treatment, no cure and not to mention it was all getting worse! However, one visit with the knee surgeon and he was ready to diagnose me… with arthritis! I was told I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but what is it??
Rheumatoid Arthritis – a chronic progressive disease causing inflammation in the joints and resulting in painful deformity and immobility, especially in the fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles.
In layman’s terms, my immune system attacks the cells in my joints, causing inflammation, swelling, thickening of the tissue and pain! The only thing that really runs through my mind is, I’m 21 and I have arthritis! There’s a lot of things I feel I can’t do anymore, or when my friends say “lets go and do *insert activity*” I have to think, can I really do that? It’s great that I now have a diagnosis because I can finally begin treatment and working towards regulating my flare ups. I’m aware I have to change my lifestyle by avoiding certain foods, taking different vitamins and reintroducing light exercises but honestly, it all feels quite surreal. There’s still a number of unanswered questions and as much as I understand RA, I still feel so unsure about what this means for me and what I can expect long-term. Especially as it’s now spreading to joints other than my knees, I can’t help but worry about how far this will go!
I would love to hear your stories! Especially if you’re around the same age as me. If there’s any advice you can offer or anything you feel I should know, please get in touch! I’m also more than happy to share more of my story so hit the contact button my lovelies!