Arthritis is something we see in our practice all the time. It affects a wide range of our clients from young to old, and in varying degrees of severity. As therapists, we see first-hand the impact it can have both physically and emotionally on those suffering from this disease. Aside from our professional experience, many of us have also been impacted by arthritis in our personal lives.
For myself, arthritis is something that has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. My mother was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis when I was young, and she herself was only in her late 30’s. I remember when she was first diagnosed and the physical struggle that took place within her body. She experienced pain that was debilitating and caused even small daily tasks to take tremendous effort, if she could even complete them at all. She spent years trying to find the right medication and treatment plan, and in the process many of her joints became permanently damaged. She had to go on disability from teaching kindergarten, a job she loved, but had become too much for her body to cope with.
It is now many years later and she is in a state of peace with her arthritis. She still experiences pain and fatigue, but has learned her bodies’ limits and found the treatments that help her to cope. Still what she experiences on a daily basis, that she considers manageable for her, would have someone else in tears not wanting to leave the house.I speak of her arthritis as if it was something that consumed her life, and it very easily could have, if she let it, but what I have watched is a strong woman who never once let arthritis define her. She never let it be the story she told and she never made anyone else’s pain seem trivial, just because she knew what constant pain was. She is the greatest inspiration in my life. She has taught me appreciation, strength, compassion and she has taught me that, I am, what I choose to focus on.
I am choosing to do the walk to fight arthritis for my mom. For the woman who would, in a moment’s notice, do anything for anyone. For the woman who has had to change what her ideal future looked like because of a body that didn’t match her spirit. For all of the days she has struggled with pain, for all the nights she couldn’t sleep, for all the times she had to decide how far she could push herself that day (and always pushed herself further) I do this walk for her and to raise awareness for everyone out there who has dealt with the physical and emotional struggle of arthritis.
I know that my story is not a unique one. There are so many who are affected by arthritis and have their own experiences in dealing with this disease. I know that every journey with arthritis is unique, and how we choose to deal with it is a personal journey.
For today what I can do is walk, walk to raise awareness, walk to raise money, walk to show my support for people like my mom for whom even walking can be a daunting task some days. With the support of the team here at 3 Leaf we are participating in this walk.
If you would like to contribute to the arthritis society please visit our page http://www.arthritisevents.ca/3leafwellness
Thank you for any support you choose to give
Katie Stamm and the team at 3 Leaf Wellness Centre