One Step At A Time

Suzanne was diagnosed with seronegative inflammatory polyarthritis in February 2022. The symptoms began five months earlier with sore shoulders. She thought she might have overdone the balance classes at the gym in Berry where she lives with her husband. By December her foot swelled up and, with additional sore hips, she went to her GP. He thought she might have gout.

Suzanne was back in January with more sore joints and blood tests were taken. She was advised to see a rheumatologist, and by February, Suzanne was diagnosed and put on methotrexate with additional cortisone injections in her shoulders.

‘I went back to the specialist in October 2022 and he put me on an additional drug,’ said Suzanne. ‘Finally in November I became pain-free because the drugs stabilised the inflammation.

‘Before that, I couldn’t lift my arms out to the side, nor upwards. This meant I couldn’t wash my hair or put on a bra or lift a pot off the stove. My whole shoulder was so restricted, I couldn’t carry a plate with any confidence or comfort. I couldn’t drive because I couldn’t manoeuvre myself behind the steering wheel or sit comfortably without pain.’

Now Suzanne can function in her life again but is easily fatigued. ‘An exercise physiologist has helped me regain a lot of muscle strength and is getting me back to fitness with clinical Pilates using reformer equipment.

‘I’ve also joined the Arthritis Assist Program which pairs you with a mentor who has been through a similar experience. I’ve spoken to two ladies who were supportive and understanding. They’ve helped me set goals to become functional again, to do housework and get in and out of chairs easily and comfortably.

‘My specialist doesn’t understand my fatigue, but my Arthritis Assist ladies do understand and tell me to take one step at a time.’



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