Tom Roberts shares his inspirational story of getting a diagnosis for arthritis, and finding out how self-management can give a new lease on life.
“You learn to accept what you can’t do, and you develop what you can do.”
I am Tom Roberts. I spent a long time as a secondary school Teacher and have been retired for quite a while now.
Before I had arthritis, I used to be a very active person; I did a lot of jogging, I played badminton.
Discovering that I’ve got arthritis was an absolute shock. It’s a thing for old people. At the time I was 48 years old and I didn’t think of myself in that light at all. I was upset, I resented it. But I began to realise that it’s part of the human condition – it’s what’s going to happen. Turn it around and accept it and then learn to deal with it and learn to manage it.
I used the computer and did a lot of online research. Through that I discovered there were a number of charities in the field, but the one that focused most on helping individuals was Arthritis Action.
Arthritis Action was particularly useful because they help individuals. I was able to see individual stories of other people who had gone through what I’d gone through. Promoting exercise in whatever form you are able to do it, and changing/modifying your diet, to reduce the risk factors, that’s what helps.
There are a lot of benefits to going in the sauna and what I found is it relieved pain virtually instantly. It being dry, I can read the paper I can use my iPad and there’s a sound in there Wi-Fi and I could just sit in there for very long period of time and get really comfortable, and bones and joints and muscles just relax. It is the best painkiller I know and this no side effects.
I would always recommend somebody to join Arthritis Action because it’s a supportive network. You learn a lot of things about the condition that you have, from other people who also have it. Their experiences and what they’ve learnt along the way. There’s a myriad of little tips of what you can’t do and things that you might not have thought of that someone else has been trying.
There’s a mutual support there, and to be honest in the general sense, apart from the arthritis, I have never felt better.