Hinge joints in the human leg connecting the tibia and fibula with the femur and protected in front by the patella; knees.
Today Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy would like to present his first ever “Joint of the Month” award to his knees. My knees has been through a lot, and were the first joints in my body to experience major problems due to my rheumatoid arthritis – so I think it’s only appropriate that they receive this inaugural prize.
I have not always been so appreciative of my knees. In fact, I went through a period where I downright hated my knees. I had no idea why they would just stop working at times (this was back before I received my diagnosis). I felt let down by my knees, as if they had failed me.
I started using crutches periodically in my early 30’s because of the problems in my knees. The pain that I felt in my knees was often unbearable, and all of a sudden things that used to be simple – such as walking and getting in and out of the bathtub – became difficult if not impossible at times.
I stopped looking at my knees. I stopped touching my knees. I wanted to have nothing to do with my knees. It was during one of my periods when I could barely walk that I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My world came crashing down on me, and I in turn came crashing down on my knees. I didn’t blame my problems on my RA, instead I blamed them on my knees.
One day, out of seemingly nowhere, I looked down at my knees – and had a huge change of heart. I realized that even though my knees were not working as I hoped they should, that they were indeed my friend. I, in turn, needed to be their friend. As I began to learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and the inflammatory process, I started to understand that my knees had no other option than to stop working when the inflammation got so severe.
Since that day, and almost every day since, I have tried to do my best to help out my knees during our struggle. Sometimes this means months on end on physical therapy. At other times this means doing something as simple as applying lotion and gently caressing my knees as soon as I get out of the bathtub. (They really seem to appreciate this simple act.)
My knees have been kind to me. When they are healthy, I go on walks that last for hours. While in yoga and pilates class, they allow me to perform lunges and many other different postures. A few months ago I was just beginning to enter into a full lotus pose…but I have since given my knees a break and don’t push them past a half lotus.
At the moment my knees are hurting…usually the left one requires more attention than the right one, but at the moment their roles are reversed. They can be funny that way.
Sometimes my knees get bright red, and are puffy. Often, when I look in the mirror my first response is “that is now how my knees should look” – but I promise that I will work to eliminate this response and accept them however they are.
Come to think of it, my knees have never really failed me (although this sometimes seems to be the case). I begin to realize, though, that I have failed them at times. It might be when I repeatedly pushed them beyond their limits, or forced them into positions with which they were not comfortable.
This month, in recognition of their “Joint of the Month” award, my knees will get just a little more pampering than usual. They have earned it.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!