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The litany of famous athletes who suffer from various types of arthritis is long: golfers, cyclists, figure skaters, baseball stars, downhill skiers … you get the idea. There are countless athletes performing and competing at world-class levels in every imaginable sport. They do it all despite their arthritis and many have become high-profile and public supporters for their form of arthritis.
These athletes have found a way to compete at the highest echelon of their sport even as they suffer from the effects of arthritis. They do it with the aid of sports psychologists (keep attitudes positive), physiotherapists (keep joints limber), coaches (keep on the game), trainers (keep in top physical shape), medical personnel (keep tweaking meds), and maybe a financial advisor and a business agent too. On the other hand, we mere mortals must play all those roles (and more) by ourselves and all at the same time. The team behind us is far less comprehensive: probably a medical doc (rheumatologist) and then a bunch of friends and family cheering us on from the sidelines.
Courtesy of lamnee | freedigitalphotos.net
In recent years, arthritis research and advocacy organizations have made important inroads in creating public awareness about the many types of arthritis (and related inflammatory diseases). However, I think that there’s nothing like an athlete’s star power to help focus attention on arthritis, which until recently was not understood or even considered a “serious” disease by many health professionals.
Athletes are terrific ambassadors for spreading the word about arthritis; their personal stories provide comfort and inspiration about how they cope with their condition during their sports careers. They possess the ideal public platform to get out the message about arthritis’ deleterious impact on millions of lives. In bringing awareness to the seriousness of the disease, they also help to direct more dollars towards research and ultimately, a cure.
Personally, we all deserve to consider ourselves as winners. Every day, we haul our pain around with us, we cope with hurting joints and aches, and the secondary effects created by various medications, including fatigue and depression. Unlike high-performing athletes, we do this without the benefit of a team of medical and/or health professionals. We participate as best we can in the “game” of life; we find our personal motivation and encouragement to keep moving. We may not run marathons, bolt down ski slopes at breakneck speeds, or drive a golf ball 300 yards, but we are all arthritis athletes in our own right. ~Fran
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici | FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The long-term usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) has always concerned me. Through the years I have taken different types of NSAIDs for varying periods. These NSAIDs even included (for a short time) VIOXX, which was pulled off the shelves in 2004 after studies confirmed that it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. For many years I have taken diclofenac, which now researchers also believe carries a high cardiovascular risk, especially for people with a history of heart disease or other risk factors such as diabetes or high cholesterol. Continue reading
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I am not an Arthritis Superhero. I don’t work at one of Canada’s best workplaces for employees living with arthritis. I didn’t participate the annual World Arthritis Day in any special way other than my daily dog walk. I don’t produce videos on living with arthritis to win international acclaim. Nor have I ever been nominated or honoured for any outstanding community leadership in the arthritis field—nor do I expect to be recognized.
What I am is one of the 4.6 million men, women and children diagnosed with arthritis, who soldier along as we cope with our maladies and pains as best as we can. While all of the above mentioned “happenings” connected with increasing arthritis awareness create an all-important public buzz, the rest of us mortals are left trying to figure how to climb a flight of stairs, or twist off the top from a jam jar, or find a comfortable sleeping position. In other words, it’s all about our personal struggle on a daily basis to get through the day (and night) in a positive way, and then try to repeat it over and over again . . . Continue reading
Just in time for National Seniors Day in Canada on Wednesday, October 1, Paul Luke of The Province wrote a feature article titled “Over 65 and going strong: Baby Boomers are reinventing old age”. In the article, he talks about the following themes:
- Baby boomers’ perception of physical appearance;
- Baby boomers are the richest and healthiest generation;
- Seniors in the workforce;
- Good health in seniors;
- Statistics on the numbers of seniors in Canada; and,
- The road ahead.
Please find below a summary of each section.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Today, in the first article of our “Spotlight on Arthritis Superheroes” series, we shine the spotlight on Helena Madsen and her blog, Chronic Marriage.
Chronic Marriage is a blog run by Helena Madsen, a wife, mother, writer, and counselor who lives with Muscular Dystrophy. Her blog is all about living with chronic illness AND helping couples build an extraordinary marriage. Continue reading
My friend, her daughter and her 6-month old son recently came for an afternoon visit and while the baby entertained us with his antics, his shirt opened to reveal that he was wearing a necklace made of small amber beads.
The baby’s mother, a university-educated and grounded young woman, told me that many young babies wear these necklaces because it is believed that amber has strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Babies wear amber as a remedy for teething; Baltic amber, in particular, is thought to soothe and calm a fussy baby without resorting to drugs. Continue reading