A devastating diagnosis of early onset osteoarthritis became the inspiration for Stuart Jackson’s book of poetry
My journey with osteoarthritis began when I started noticing that I was having great difficulty with climbing the stairs – in terms of pain and stiffness – and getting in and out of the bath. The pain in my legs began to get much worse and my partner suggested I go to see my GP.
The GP referred me to a rheumatologist, and over the course of a year I was X-rayed, scanned and had many blood tests. It was a very frustrating time for me, as I just wanted to know what was wrong. Finally, after almost 12 months, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
My diagnosis brought relief and shock. I was only 46 years old at the time, and was told that I was quite young to get this type of arthritis, and that it was more common in older people. I had damage to both my hips and my knees, and was given steroid injections to try to relieve the pain. Unfortunately the relief only ever lasted for a couple of weeks before the pain was back again.
As the injections didn’t seem to do much for me, it was decided not to continue with this form of treatment. I had tried quite a few pain relief medications, but I usually found they made me feel very drowsy, without really doing much for the pain.
Support and inspiration
I struggled to come to terms with my diagnosis, and it was having a devastating effect on me. I felt as though nobody really understood how I was feeling, and the amount of pain that I was experiencing.
I realised that I needed some support, and to connect with other sufferers, and so I joined a Facebook group, for people with osteoarthritis. I found it helpful just to chat to other people who were in the same boat as me, and decided to share some poems I had written about my experiences of dealing with chronic pain.
I had written poetry for a long time, and I soon found that I was able to express my newfound feelings and frustrations through my writing. I got a very positive response from the support group, which encouraged me to write more. Many people said that I was able to put into words the way that they were feeling too.
I had wanted to publish a book of poetry for many years, and I thought it would be a good idea to put together a collection of poems about living with chronic pain. It was a bigger challenge than I had first thought, but after much hard work and perseverance, I managed to get the book finished.
The book is called Painfully Poetic and is a collection of just under 50 poems.
Finding other people living in a similar situation as my own and expressing my feelings through poetry has helped me to come to terms with my diagnosis, and I hope that Painfully Poetic will help others to realise that they are not alone either.
Painfully Poetic is available from www.amazon.co.uk.
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