All Power To You! Four good mates share their journey with arthritis
“In March 2014, four mates came together to swap a story or two over a couple of burnt snags, share their experiences of living with various forms of arthritis, and solve the problems of the modern world…”. These were the humble beginnings of All Power to You! a video resource for men with arthritis.
I spoke to Arthritis Queensland CEO, Helene Frayne and President of Shed West, Max Lockwood. Max is just one of the entertaining and insightful men who shares his story in Arthritis Queensland’s latest video developed in conjunction with Queensland Men’s Shed Association.
The video resource was developed because men were not accessing Arthritis Queensland services. Helene Frayne commented: “Only about 20% of our helpline callers are men so we’ve got this wonderful service, which is the helpline, and women use it, but men don’t.”
The video focuses on the four main types of arthritis affecting men with each of the men sharing his story. It covers osteoarthritis which is the most common form, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and gout which is common in men.
Humour shines through the men’s personal stories as they relay what they have learnt to assist them to live a positive life with arthritis. The Men’s Shed has played an important part in this journey helping the men to stay active and make connections that help them to work through the challenges.
Max Lockwood was diagnosed with RA just three years ago and talks about his experiences with his diagnosis and treatment of RA and how he was subsequently diagnosed with Osteoporosis. As a former board President of Arthritis Queensland, Max was very aware of the pain and disability caused by RA. He counts himself lucky that his case is not as severe as many, but also acknowledges that his own motivation has enabled him to manage his health effectively.
Max believes he has lots of years to enjoy in retirement and he isn’t going to let health issues get in the way. He said “Your health is an asset. You have to protect your future and not put health issues aside. The challenge is to get in the right frame of mind.”
One of the important messages that Max talks about in the video is, “If you have pain, don’t stop looking until you come up with an answer.” Max says: “For men it can be seen as easier to give up when you don’t get a solution, whereas women tend to follow things through. You have got to take an important role in self-management. Ask for a referral to a specialist if your doctor (GP) can’t help. If you value your health don’t give up. Giving up is selfish to those around you.”
The video also has broader messages for health and well being as you age. Helene commented: “We didn’t want to make it all about arthritis. There are also other messages which include the psychological impact of living with pain and the social benefits of being a member of a shed. There is a really strong health and well-being message about exercise and having a good balanced diet.”
“Arthritis Queensland aims to support all Queenslanders. We don’t have the resources to regularly go to Cairns or Charters Towers or Mt Isa. But because the video is available online, all men in Queensland can look at that video and get the very strong health and well-being.”
You can watch this and other videos about living well with arthritis in our new video room. For more information about accessing this as an education resource, please contact Arthritis Queensland on 1800 011 041.
Our Top Tips
Early intervention – “Be the boss of your own health”
Take charge of your own health and develop good relationships with your healthcare team.
Healthy lifestyle – “Make healthy choices for the future”
Take positive steps through healthy eating, moderating alcohol intake, quitting smoking and exercising.
Dealing with pain – “You are not alone”
Be aware of the impact pain can have on your life. Socialise, use your support network and contact Arthritis Queensland for information and support.