How To Feel Beautiful and Worthy with Chronic Pain Disorders

United States
October 22, 2012 7:06pm CST
I am a 40 year old woman that feels 3 times my age due to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Just around 5 years ago I looked great, thin, wore clothes that made me feel beautiful and looked sexy. I worked out every day and was in amazing shape. I was working a full time job that was so much fun and rewarding as a barber in a major bank building making a great income. Now I feel like I have aged 30 years, I am exhausted and am not able to run or do any moderate exercise without creating major problems. I am constantly uncomfortable with my joints and swelling..including my face due to arthritis in my jaws. I have gained a little weight and get frustrated because crunches are out of the question due to the arthritis in my back and hips. I do walk everyday and it makes me feel great to do that, but I was just wanting to know if anyone is going through the same thing. I want to look amazing for my husband again. Tell me your thoughts on it please.
6 people like this
7 responses
• United States
23 Oct 12
I am a 40 year old woman too but I have had multiple sclerosis for over 14 years, and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my neck about 12 or 13 years ago that appears to have spread throughout my body. When I was diagnosed, I had desk jobs (3) yet still managed to keep up working and commuting about 60-70 hours a week. I was tired and weak, even once I cut down to one full time job. I didn't exercise, but I tried to walk as much as I could. As the years have gone on, I've seen my health improve tremendously to deteriorate. I'm still quite ambulatory, but I learned just how slowly I walk compared to others a few weeks ago while attending a class! I have also gained weight, mostly around my midsection but am unable to do any core work due to back problems. What I've done recently is start taking vitamin D and I've noticed I have more energy. Three and a half years ago, I took a job as a personal shopper at a supermarket and my overall health and walking improved tremendously! I then worked as a retail merchandiser last two years to continue to keep my dexterity but in the last couple of months the work became too physically demanding for me to do it every day. I want to try yoga-it's supposed to help keep the body flexible while not putting a lot of physical strain. I'm going to try a seated version since my balance isn't as good as it once was-perhaps it could help you too.
• United States
23 Oct 12
My doctor put me on vitamin d that I only take once a week..it is very strong. I can tell that it helps the fatigue, and even makes my digestive system work better. I have low thyroid, estrogen, and progesterone, so I supplement them also. I can't take any RA medications because of the side effects. I have enough problems already. Yoga is a great idea! Stretching feels really good. I will try to do more stretching and maybe work with very light barbells. Hope you try yoga, then you can tell me how it's going!
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Oct 12
What is the dosage on your vitamin d? I take 2000 iu daily (I was taking 500 to start, but someone I met at the MS seminar I was at told me she was taking 2000 iu, so I slowly upped my dosage). I'm struggling to get my boyfriend to take it too-he has RA, as well as effects from serving in Desert Storm. I'll have to order the yoga program-I know a few basic moves, but I haven't done them in so long, I might hurt myself doing them incorrectly! I should probably start with stretching-that always feels good! Good luck with your workouts and keep in touch!
@Sandra1952 (6052)
• Spain
23 Oct 12
I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Lupus, and I've been unable to work for 15 years now. However, I feel beautiful and worthy, because I've learned how to manage my condition. You have to forget about what you can't do, and focus on the possible. I can't go to the gym, or run, so I go swimming and do water aerobics to help me stay in shape. I can't work outside the home or do anything physical, so I am a freelance writer. I feel worthy because I am using my skills and contributing to the household budget. Is there an arthritis management course in your area? I attended one when I was first diagnosed, and it really helped me to think more positively about my condition.
• United States
23 Oct 12
I started making handmade jewelry and opened a shop online, and I am so grateful for that. I still have days where I just don't want to believe that I have these illnesses, but it has changed me for the better in many ways. I walk everyday even though it doesn't seem like it is enough. I am good friends with a personal trainer at a gym and he is always trying to get me to go to his gym and swim..I need to just go and not worry about what I look like! They do have meetings here, but all they do is swap gifts..nothing really impressive. That's really neat you are a writer. It is great to see you doing well!
• United States
13 Dec 15
SandrainSpain you are awesome! You have the best advice of anyone I have read so far! To feel your best you do have to forget about what you can't do, don't focus on the negative but focus on what you can do. Excellent! Having been recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I kept finding myself ruminating on everything I couldn't do anymore--the more physical sports, biking for hours/long distances, working sitting in one place for 8 hrs straight or working any type of constant physical job. It's hard because I am naturally a negative person but yes, you need to focus on the positive and what you can still do. I can walk for long distances on level ground rather easily. Sometimes I have to walk slower because my muscles just won't allow me any faster but I can still walk. I can still bike, I purchased a recumbent so it would be more comfortable, I just can't go as far. But I can still do it. And what you say about swimming is supposed to be true and I wish I could or did do that as well. Less resistance for the muscles but you're still getting a good workout. I think how you feel about yourself has to do a lot with your outlook on life and whether you choose to focus on the positive or dwell on the negative.
@sjvenden27 (1851)
• United States
23 Oct 12
I have chronic pain; in my back, hips, legs... and some days all over.. arthris in my knees hips and back.. During phyiscal therapy I was trying to get a routine that would help me stay in shape and not hurt... Strenching was the end result for execrise.. so my main excrise is walking.. I am not going to lie it hurt like a beep beep beep.. but I do it any ways... My uncle who just turned 60 told me that if I didnt keep moving and doing stuff I will stiffen up and wont be able to do nothing later on in life.. Since then which was the beginning of September I move around cleaning the house, and taking care of my boys.. Without help.. It really hurt for the first couple of weeks.. but now that I am in a routine, going up and down stairs. (which can be very hard to do but doing it every day its gotten easier) I am starting to get stronger and lost weight.. I do so much every day.. and rest when I can.. There are still lots of hulders to go through but I have learned to a point how far I can go before I crash.. being 10 for the level of activity.. I do about a 6 or 7 in activites for four days a week and then one 9 or ten.. and one 2 or 3... I have a high tolerance to pain.. but the pain does get extreme.. So the biggest suggest stay active.. I went from staying in bed most of the day and night to doing stuff 4 to 8 hours.. basically the more active you can be the better you do not neccersary have to go to a gym.. Eating health is a key too;-) BTW Asparagus is a good natural type of ibuprofen to eat.. When I was pregnant I couldnt take anything for the pain.. So I ate a pound of asparagus three times a week.. any ??? please ask
3 people like this
• United States
23 Oct 12
I think it is great that you are so active! I am pretty active too..to the point I over do it sometimes and then end up sick a few days after. I walk everyday and even attempt to do some of my daughters Just Dance games without bouncing..sometimes that's a little too much. Climbing stairs is a huge no, no for me..I stiffen up so bad afterwards I look like the tin man. I have chronic bursitis in my knees also. Just a few years ago I was running, lifting weights, going to the canyon and hiking, and riding a bike..how times have changed things. I agree with you 100 percent to get moving..sitting for too long can cause even more problems. The one thing you mentioned is nutrition which I need to work on, now I am not a junk food junkie, but I do eat some..and don't eat enough good stuff so maybe I will try a little harder and see what happens.
2 people like this
• United States
23 Oct 12
Before I lost all the weight I could not even walk a few blocks my feet and back hurt me all the time. I would stop mid way to where I was going and sit down and cry because the pain was so bad. I lost the weight and my pain went away. I was able to get me some cute clothing in a much smaller size and my man loves how i look without my clothes. I feel great. and that can happen with you as well. all you have to do is just buy yourself a few new pieces no matter how bad your body feels. the sexy can come back with a new style. you will still be in pain but only you will know that. Your pain is not going away so try to work around it and just make yourself a little happier with what you have. good luck
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Oct 12
I am so happy you lost your weight and your pain went away! I really don't have much to lose, the way I feel makes me feel yucky about the way I look...the fatigue is the most aggravating. I am still pretty active, just not where I want to be. Your right about how clothing can make you feel much better..especially comfortable ones.
@bretay61 (723)
• United States
23 Oct 12
Oh yes.I understand completely.I am 50 and feel like I am 90.I have osteo in my hands,ankles,knees and in my back.I also have bursitis in my hip.It has changed me so much.Things I used to take for granted have knocked me down.I have gained weight,it is so hard to just get moving in the mornings with my back pain and after walking about 5 minutes,my hip and back start back hurting.My knees and ankles are all the time giving out from under me.My hands hurt so much.But I take one day at a time,that's all you can do.Good luck.
• United States
23 Oct 12
Good luck to you too! The small things that we notice I will never take for granted again! I have a hard time bending to turn on the faucets to the tub, or making the bed..oh and holding a glass or fork! I remember a few months back I was visiting my parents and my hands were so stiff I couldn't lift the fork up to my mouth right..they didn't notice but I could feel it. It frighted me and angered me to the point of crying. That's just some of the things that I have noticed.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Dec 15
@jessielee72 Yes, when the pain affects parts of your body like your hands, which you need for just about everything, it gets very scary and you just want to have a meltdown because you begin to feel so helpless. How can you function without hands? There's so many things you can't do and of course it's upsetting! The fact that others can't see or know your pain (unless you have a limp because of stiffness or whatever) doesn't help matters either. They tend to forget about your pain unless you say something and I think most of us want to try to be strong if we can and not broadcast our pain if we don't have to. By the way, I am 40 as well and have Fibromyalgia.
• China
25 Oct 12
HEllo jessielee72 I dont realy know about what rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis could cause,but i met some people got some healthy problem alike,they got same condition had different mood,someone has been positive,others got in silence.I am glad you have such courage to work out what's all around you,walking seems be effective to your health then keep doing it.You will get more and more confident once you find right attitude to face it even it is too hard!good luck to you..
• United States
25 Oct 12
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause serious damage to your joints and organs to where you are completely disabled, even when you do your best to take care of yourself. It is an auto-immune disease, which means my body is attacking itself. I swell and have severe pain in all of my joints. It is even in my jaws so there are certain things I cannot eat anymore..and when cold weather hits...ouchhhh! Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is very disabling and very painful. I have primary osteoarthritis in my knees back and spine, and face. I have primary rheumatoid everywhere else. Osteoarthritis is also considered the wear and tear type, which is what many people have when they are older, and it can be devastating. I consider myself to be extremely lucky. I do have severe pain, but I am able to get around well and walk. I know people with these diseases that are bed-ridden and are in wheelchairs. I am trying my best to stay active and move, because if I sit too long, I get so stiff I can't move. I love my life and I grasp every moment like it is my last.
@mikyung (2235)
• Philippines
23 Oct 12
I understand where you are coming from. The pain which you usually have, your fair share of those excruciating feeling is seemingly unbearable. With all these things, you still find the way to live a normal life and that's what I admire in you. I seldom see people like that. The feeling is controlled by the mind, I believe, we must have a mindset that inspite of all the issues, we have the right to be happy and to live a life with beauty and grace. I'm positive that we can handle things because we are born beautiful. Good luck
• United States
23 Oct 12
Thank you for that inspiring comment! I usually do really well, but there are times when it's hard to be positive...and then I remind myself that I am a very lucky woman to have what I do. It really nice to have conversations with people that now exactly how I am feeling, and can give me tips on dealing with these issues.