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What My Walking Stick Means to Me

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The day I was told I had rheumatoid arthritis was the beginning of a change to my life. It started over 15 years ago with pain in my legs and back. I would notice walking up the stairs would be a challenge for me. I always loved walking. I would walk five miles a day. One sunny day as I attempted to go on a walk, I was ready. I had on my gray comfortable jogging gear. I had my Puma running shoes on. I began my walk.

I hadn’t made it a half a mile when I collapsed right there on the street. My knees and legs were in excruciating pain. I called a friend and asked if they could come pick me up. As I was sitting on the sidewalk awaiting my ride, I was balled up in a fetal position in so much pain.

For me this diagnosis was very bad news. I was the woman who loved to dance. I would dance myself out of any situation. I would move every which way you could imagine. Now I couldn’t even walk a mile. I had to turn my dancing shoes. Before long I was having to take injections and pills. There’s been so many nights where I couldn’t go to sleep.

Walking became very hard for me. I got a walking stick that became such a friend for me. I was afraid to fall outside, so I’d use my walking stick to get around. When you depend day in and day out on your walking stick, it becomes very difficult not to have it. Going grocery shopping,I have my walking stick. When I go to my doctor’s appointment, I have my walking stick. I would have never thought in a million years this dancer would be using a walking stick to get around.

There are mornings when it is very hard to get out of bed. I lift my stiff body off the bed, lift one leg up and then the other leg. I then sit up and walk to the bathroom and begin my day. Pain is sometimes the order of my day.When my body is in pain,I rarely go out of the house. I sit in the house and hope the pain will leave.

I really appreciate the days before my body was filled with pain. We can’t take our healthy bodies for granted. We never know when out of nowhere we may find ourselves needing a walking stick. RA is a disease that affects my joints and leaves me stiff and very sore. I can truly say I have good days and bad. However, through it all I’m grateful for having a walking stick to assist me in difficult times. My walking stick is always there for me and I don’t leave home without it. I may have turned in my dancing shoes and I can’t walk five miles a day, but I can grab my walking stick and slowly get to where I need to go.

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Thinkstock photo by AarStudio.

Originally published: May 2, 2017
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