Receiving a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease is overwhelming. There is so much to take in, especially if you have no knowledge about your diagnosed disease and weren’t expecting it.
While there are many resources available to educate us about our symptoms and treatment options, there aren’t many resources for patients to be made aware of the changes that will, at some point or another, become an issue in their personal lives.
I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and frustration had I been warned about and/or educated on the subject I am sharing today.
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This topic was and still is rather confusing.
Within a few months of seeing me for psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia, my rheumatologist could see how much I was struggling to walk any distance. In fact, it was he who suggested that I get a parking placard for my car and handed me a form with his signature to get one ASAP. What was strange was that he never discussed the use of a mobility aid.
If we are ashamed to admit we require the assistance of a #mobilityaid we will deny ourselves help of any kind. #fibromyalgia #psoriaticarthritisTweet
Why do we hesitate to use an aid?
To this day, I feel like the talk of mobility aid with a physician is taboo unless you are recovering from a major injury/surgery or have lost complete use of your legs.
It is my opinion that it stems from the idea that asking for help of any sort is a sign of weakness.
It may also feed on the stigma that has been engraved into our minds that mobility aids are only for the elderly and those who have lost complete use of their legs.
I fought using one for many years and had a handful of reasons for doing so.
Another reason for suffering without using one was because I wasn’t emotionally prepared to deal with the questions, stares, and remarks from friends, family, and strangers.
I walk and roll! #parttimeroller #crutches #rollator #fibromyalgia #autoimmunearthritis #chronicpain #spoonieTweet
More than a bruised ego
Last but not least, I truly didn’t believe I would ever need one and was not financially prepared to purchase what I needed.
I am thankful that I was able to get past those obstacles and later learned to love my mobility aids. There is so much I would have missed out on had I continued to refuse my need for one.
Maintaining Mobility with Pro-active Care
When I mentioned how terribly I hurt whenever I attempted to exercise, my rheumatologist told me to stop. I liked the idea of not adding to my pain, so I did as he said. Unfortunately, it was the worst advice I could have ever followed.
What should have been suggested were exercises that could strengthen my body. Movements that would have allowed me to maintain mobility without aid for longer.
Yoga and Pilates are fantastic options that were never brought up. If your insurance covers a personal trainer or physical therapist, I recommend seeing one build and keep your strength. Just ensure they have been educated and trained to understand your chronic illness.
Yoga for chronic pain?
Melissa vs Fibromyalgia shares how yoga helps with both chronic pain and fatigue!
What could help a newly diagnosed patient?
- Assistance in dealing with insurance companies to cover or assist with the cost. Along with suggestions on how to find an affordable mobility aid.
- A list of different types of mobility aids. Including how they may improve the quality of the patient’s life when used.
- A discussion or pamphlet letting the patient know that using mobility aids doesn’t mean they are giving up. But instead, they are taking control by making it easier to get around.
- To be told that their level of assistance may change at any time. Also, one mobility aid may not be enough. Suggestions for why and when they should consider certain types of aids.
Thank you for reading the final post in this nine-part series.
See what you missed:
- 1 Mental Health
- 2 Therapy is Important
- 3 Intimacy Issues
- 4 What is Health Journaling?
- 5 Pain Relief Options
- 6 Relationship Troubles
- 7 Need for Assistance
- 8 Importance of Self-Care
- 9 Keep Moving with a Mobility Aid