The grieving process is overlooked in this country; we seem determined to get up and get going again, regardless of the loss we’ve suffered. This is most evident in the “Are you still talking about yours?
The funeral was three days ago – get over it!” attitude from pretty much everybody but the bereaved. Grief is a process, and it takes a while, no matter what you’re grieving about. Loss of a loved one is the hardest to cope with, but it is by no means the only form of grief you can experience. Getting a life-altering diagnosis is also difficult to deal with, and yes, you experience grief over the loss the diagnosis is bringing. Being faced with a life-long illness is a daunting thing; you will deal with the loss of many things the vast majority of us consider normal – mobility; living without pain; energy to keep going. These are just a few of the changes a diagnosis of arthritis may bring
Arthritis comes in many forms. The most common, osteoarthritis, is normally seen as part of aging, as it strikes in mid-to-late life. However, osteoarthritis can strike at any age, with early onset due to injury or infection in a joint. The constant pain of inflamed tissue and the effects of cartilage loss can make living a very uncomfortable proposition. Grieving over your loss is a perfectly normal, although not well-accepted, process.
If you live with an allopathic mindset, you see joint supplements as junk; just something designed to separate you from your money, with no real benefits to be had. Being told you have arthritis, in any of its one hundred forms, may change your mind. The allopathic world has very little to offer the arthritis patient. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain killers do take away the pain for a brief time, but their side effects are worse than the arthritis. Also, you habituate to the OTC medications, and require increasingly large doses to get the same effect. This moves you into the world of allopathic prescriptions. The allopathic prescriptions are stronger versions of the OTC medications, and the side effects are worse. You start working your way up this ladder, and you’ll face digestive problems, liver problems, and cardiovascular problems down the road. The allopathic world also offers supports and topical analgesics. The supports make good sense, and the topical analgesics work in a limited fashion, so there’s no problem with using either of these solutions. They don’t do anything about the damage to your joints; they just help you live with it.
In the alternative, or integrative, medical world, joint supplements are in the forefront of therapy. Joint supplements have been shown to reduce inflammation in the affected joint, rebuild the flow of lubricating fluid inside the joint, and to repair cartilage. These supplements such as omega XL don’t just ease your pain – they actually help reduce the disease. The integrative medical world also has pain relievers and topical analgesics. These pain relievers are non-habit forming, and their side effects are negligible; the topical analgesics work as well or better than the allopathic versions, but they may not be as readily available.
Going Through the Process
I am one of the unfortunate people who have a relatively uncommon form of arthritis – I have fibromyalgia, or fibrositis as it’s sometimes called. Until recently, this disease wasn’t even considered a disease, but a syndrome. You know – one of those ‘all in your head’ diseases, but it sure shows up in a lot of people, so we’ll call it a syndrome – types. Fibromyalgia is considered a form of arthritis, and is diagnosed and treated by rheumatologists. It is an auto-immune disorder, and no one has the faintest idea of what causes it, and the allopathic world has less idea of how to treat it. There have been a few new pharmaceuticals specifically designed to treat fibromyalgia, but their list of side effects is worse than the disease. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, at first I was relieved – I finally had a name for the constant, excruciating pain I was in.
Now they can do something, right? Wrong! I started on a merry-go-round of prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs, and the attendant prescriptions to counteract their most common side effects. I also had to face the limitations this disease would put on my life. I had to grieve, because my life would never be ‘normal’ again. I found my way off the prescription carousel when I became pregnant with my son. My rheumatologist told me, when I told him the news, no medications for the duration of the pregnancy. He recommended I try a pregnancy massage therapist for pain relief. I did so, and found a wonderful therapist who uses aroma therapy as part of her massage. I was introduced to the world of integrative medicine, and I found natural joint supplements which not only relieved my pain, but helped repair my damaged joints. I found other supplements to help with my fibromyalgia, and learned mind-body techniques to help me cope with the pain.
After the birth of my son, I went back to my rheumatologist, and told him what I was doing. He, bless his heart, told me if I was getting better relief from the natural supplements, then go for it – he would not put me back on the prescriptions. This was seventeen years ago, and I haven’t had a prescription for my arthritis in all this time. The natural joint supplements gave me safe relief, and allowed me to start living again. There are still things I can’t do, but I’m OK with that – I’m able to do so much more than most people who have fibromyalgia, due to my natural regimen. My fibromyalgia is classified as moderate to severe, so I’m grateful for everything I can still do, even with this diagnosis. I’m most grateful to my rheumatologist, who accepted the lack of therapy available in the allopathic world and told me to do what made me feel best, instead of insisting I stay with the prescription therapies. I’m especially grateful to the world of alternative, or integrative, medicine, for providing me with the means to participate in life, as opposed to being confined to a wheelchair and my house, completely dependent on someone else. I’m really grateful for the supplements, as they are my means to living.