With all the advances in medical science the past few decades, there are so many options when it comes to treating chronic illnesses. There’s often a wide range of treatments for patients, with varying levels of side effects and invasiveness. Osteoarthritis is one of these conditions where the average sufferer may spend years exploring treatment options before realizing that they may not be a great candidate for any of them. Perhaps their arthritis is resistant to medication, or the unwanted side effects are too much to handle. Maybe they can’t afford surgery, or they’ve had ineffective procedures already. Whatever the reason, they may have to come to terms with the fact that they’re going to be living with a difficult condition for the long haul.
You’re Not Alone
It’s easy to feel like the medical field has failed you and left you behind in this situation. Don’t let that negativity seep into other aspects of your life, though! You still have a great support system in the form of family, friends and even mental health professionals to get you through the tough times. And there will likely be times when your chronic osteoarthritis pain feels like it’s going to overwhelm you. Keep a list of people, either in your head or physically, to call when you’re not feeling your best.
Our moods are greatly influenced by our expectations. If we simply expect our lives to go on unchanged after a diagnosis like osteoarthritis, we’re bound to disappoint ourselves. The way forward may involve developing different hobbies, altering your physical expectations, and finding joy in your personal accomplishments no matter how small.
The best part of this strategy? It allows you to take the wheel with your own happiness. And once you learn to adjust as you go, future changes may be that much easier to adapt to.
Life Is a Balancing Act
While lowering your expectations is a great path to happiness, it’s important to avoid those impulses to completely let go of your old life. Osteoarthritis may mean a one-mile hike with your dog instead of the 5 miles you used to do, not that you never hike again. It’s especially important to keep up with some form of physical activity to maintain a higher quality of life.
If you’ve struggled with a treatment-resistant chronic illness, try to remember that there’s always a way forward, even if it doesn’t look how you’d expect.