Forums: Climbing Information: Injury Treatment and Prevention:
Rheumatoid Arthritis
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Injury Treatment and Prevention

Premier Sponsor:

 


outsidethelines


Sep 6, 2013, 9:17 PM
Post #1 of 14 (2754 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 17, 2012
Posts: 14

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hey everyone,

I was recently diagnosed (about 8 months ago) with rheumatoid arthritis. I have been climbing for 4 years now (or since I was a small child if you count trees, buildings, etc.)

For those of you who don't know, rheumatoid arthritis is not only something that causes joint pain, but it is also an autoimmune disease. Because of this, I find myself exhausted a lot of the time and really struggle with the pain in my hands, knees, and feet to climb anywhere near to what I used to.

I have started to come to terms with the fact I may never be able to do anything higher than a 10 ever again, I still want to be able to climb easy stuff at the gym and have an occasional trek outside.

I am posting here to see if anyone is going through anything similar to what I am and if you have found out ways to cope that make climbing realistic? I have been getting really discouraged lately and have been extremely frustrated with my body and my inability to climb. Thanks for any suggestions!


onceahardman


Sep 7, 2013, 6:40 AM
Post #2 of 14 (2695 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 3, 2007
Posts: 2459

Re: [outsidethelines] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

outsidethelines wrote:
Hey everyone,

I was recently diagnosed (about 8 months ago) with rheumatoid arthritis. I have been climbing for 4 years now (or since I was a small child if you count trees, buildings, etc.)

For those of you who don't know, rheumatoid arthritis is not only something that causes joint pain, but it is also an autoimmune disease. Because of this, I find myself exhausted a lot of the time and really struggle with the pain in my hands, knees, and feet to climb anywhere near to what I used to.

I have started to come to terms with the fact I may never be able to do anything higher than a 10 ever again, I still want to be able to climb easy stuff at the gym and have an occasional trek outside.

I am posting here to see if anyone is going through anything similar to what I am and if you have found out ways to cope that make climbing realistic? I have been getting really discouraged lately and have been extremely frustrated with my body and my inability to climb. Thanks for any suggestions!

Obviously a terrible diagnosis.

Presently, the treatments are not great. Joint protection is essential. You will have good days (to weeks) and bad days (to weeks). Avoid climbing when you are in a flareup. Avoid bouldering (because every fall is a groundfall) and climbing little fingery things, and finger jamming. Learn to listen to your body. Try to enjoy swimming, cycling, and maybe paddle sports. Best of luck to you.


outsidethelines


Sep 8, 2013, 6:20 PM
Post #3 of 14 (2600 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 17, 2012
Posts: 14

Re: [onceahardman] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Thanks for your answer. I already rarely boulder since I just plain don't enjoy it, but when I do I down climb anyways, so that isn't a big deal.

I am trying to listen to my body to know what is going on, but the problem is I am 19 years old and if I am not going to be able to do the things I love, then what is even the point in life? I personally think, without climbing and my other hobbies that all are affected by my RA, I would be a shell of a person.

Anyways, thanks for the response, but was hoping for some tricks on how to continue to make climbing possible Frown


Partner rgold


Sep 8, 2013, 8:01 PM
Post #4 of 14 (2585 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 3, 2002
Posts: 1788

Re: [outsidethelines] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (3 ratings)  
Can't Post

Outsidethelines, a little story for you. Climbing used to be the most important thing in my life, a long time (about forty years) ago. I had conversations in which I said life wouldn't be worth living if I couldn't climb.

Then, one day, I woke up paralyzed from the waist down. My girlfriend got me to the hospital, and I was admitted to the neurology ward. I was told that I had a non-specific viral inflammation of the spinal cord, that I would probably recover a good bit of my mobility, but exactly how much was unknown. Meanwhile I was in a wheelchair. There was no treatment.

I figured climbing was over, I'd be lucky to be able to walk down the street without a cane. But if my legs were f#cked, my mind was fine, and it seemed evident that I ought to try using it a bit more than I had been, seeing that it was the only thing left functioning reasonably well. There's a long story to tell after that reaiization, but the punchline is that I ended up with a PhD in mathematics and became a college math professor.

As it turned out, after a month on the neurology ward, I was discharged and recovered fully in about eight more months. But having confronted the loss of physical activity and having realized that if that's what was in store for me, there were other directions to head in, I never devoted myself again to climbing in the same way. It's not that a door closed so much as other doors opened, and I was so happy to get out of that chair that it seemed ungrateful to ask for much more.

I think it is fair to say, looking back, that the experience changed the course of my life in the best possible way. But of course I got to have my cake and eat it too, because I did recover. Even so, one of the lessons I learned is that our capabilities are more extensive than we believe, and there are unimagined pleasures to be found in realms never contemplated. So don't let your perspectives narrow and blind you to life's opportunities, and remember that the lessons learned from climbing translate well to dealing with all kinds of adversity.

I wish you the very best, and hope you find a path that allows you to do the things you love, and discover new ones.


outsidethelines


Sep 8, 2013, 10:11 PM
Post #5 of 14 (2571 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 17, 2012
Posts: 14

Re: [rgold] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Thank you for sharing your story. I was really glad to hear you made a recovery from such a terrible accident and situation. I am really glad you were able to find new directions to go in your life and I respect that a lot.

Not to delve too deep into my story, but I am currently going to school to become an engineer, have a long history of academics, etc. I am a knitter. A sewer. A climber. A snowboarder. A reader. I have a lot going on in my life honestly, always busy with something!

The problem with my diagnosis for me is I have seen my grandmas (both had RA) completely deteriorate, be in extreme pain, not be able to enjoy anything in their lives because of the disease.

I have decided to take an alternative path for treatment than the typical medicine prescribed. Because of this, one of the doctors I have seen told me I would probably not live to see 35. I have thought about it all and that is a risk I am willing to take. The side affects alone on the medicines make it not worth it to me.

So really my situation is that I have a small window of time to live. I know I will be in pain and will have to deal with many symptoms. I am only posting on here specifically to ask if there is anyone else who has chosen to do what they love because its what they LOVE, not allowing a disease to redefine them as a person, has any tips for me to manage pain and keep my mental spirits up.

Thank you again for sharing your story with me. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your story and let me know there are other things than climbing. It is inspiring to hear people can recover from major injuries.

I just think you completely missed the point of my post and where I am coming from, because there is no cure for me, no getting better, just living out my few years the best I can doing things I love. I just want to be me without letting this disease change who I am as a person and I just want to be as happy as I can.


milesenoell


Sep 9, 2013, 8:24 AM
Post #6 of 14 (2521 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 19, 2006
Posts: 1156

Re: [outsidethelines] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Listening to your story makes me think of a couple of cancer survivors I know, and while I can't speak from any personal experience, I've seen that those who stay positive and try everything available to them seem to have the best outcomes. Restricting yourself to the things you now and trust may cut you off to the option that your illness would respond to.

My son suffers from a currently incurable condition that has robbed him of his voice, restricts his breathing and requires surgeries every 3 months. We are more than 20 surgeries in and still trying things out, and have not found any treatments that he seems to actually respond to, so we keep going back for regular surgery to his larynx to maintain his airway.

Not everyone finds a treatment that works, but if you stop trying you accept the crappy odds. Don't accept the crappy odds.

One of my best friend's mother was given six months to live nearly ten years ago when they found stage four metastatic lung cancer in her body. She never gave up and is now part of less than half of a percent of a around 10,000 people remaining in her cancer study group. She tried so many things that she has no answer to give when you ask her what the difference was for her.

Just keep trying.


(This post was edited by milesenoell on Sep 9, 2013, 8:26 AM)


camhead


Sep 9, 2013, 8:30 AM
Post #7 of 14 (2513 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 9, 2001
Posts: 20656

Re: [outsidethelines] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

I was diagnosed about 6 years ago with Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is an AI disease and a type of Rheumatoid Arthritis (I think). Everything that hardman and Rgold said is right on: flare-ups will lay you out, and you may as well not climb during them, but at other times you'll be fine.

Furthermore, for me at least, I have been able to keep flare-ups (which are mostly manifest in lower back pain for me), I am actually able to keep flare-ups at bay by doing a lot of physical activity (climbing, cycling, hiking). The more active I am, the better my back feels.

My AI issues have altered my approach to climbing– I need more time to warm up, sleeping outside can sometimes be outright painful, I'm more prone to joint issues– but my climbing goals and progression have most definitely not been affected negatively. I'm still doing and progressing exactly as I want to.


onceahardman


Sep 9, 2013, 11:56 AM
Post #8 of 14 (2472 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 3, 2007
Posts: 2459

Re: [camhead] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Thanks for sharing.

Your story reflects a very mature and thoughtful attitude, and I hope the OP pays heed.

The fact that the available answers are not what you want to hear, does not mean there is no optimum solution to you problem.

I wish you and the OP well.


marlene


Sep 9, 2013, 12:26 PM
Post #9 of 14 (2466 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 11, 2007
Posts: 21

Re: [outsidethelines] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I sent you a private message.

Marlene


Syd


Sep 9, 2013, 11:08 PM
Post #10 of 14 (2425 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 25, 2012
Posts: 300

Re: [outsidethelines] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

It's all part of aging. I'm fine apart from my knees, slipped disc, arthritic hips (I was supposed to have a hip replacement 7 years ago), degenerated neck, bad big toes. I can no longer mountain bike, windsurf, etc etc, but fortunately I can still train and climb well. It's just a matter of adjusting in whatever ways you can, to what life throws at you.


outsidethelines


Sep 9, 2013, 11:55 PM
Post #11 of 14 (2412 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 17, 2012
Posts: 14

Re: Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I thank everyone for their contributions to the discussion. I understand you all are saying to find something new. That wasn't what I was asking of you, and quite frankly makes me feel even worse about my diagnosis. Of all people, I have found climbers to normally be the most supportive. You don't know my back story with climbing just like I don't know yours. I was honestly just looking for a little encouragement, not told I should completely abandon who I am as a person and let a disease define me, and also abandon something that means so much to me personally.

I seriously thank Marlene for her private message, she gave me exactly what I was looking for with this post.

Camhead, thank you for your advice. I appreciate hearing from someone with some experience in what I am feeling. When I have a flare up I literally cannot get out of bed for anything, much less to climb, so no worries on that front. It makes sense though that more activity will help keep the flare ups away.

Everyone else, thank you for taking the time to read my story and give me your opinions. The only thing I urge for you all is to, next time, look at things in that person's point of view and only give them advice towards what they were asking for. You can do way more harm than good saying things like well you need to stop doing the thing you love because of my personal opinion and story of something not related to your own circumstances at all.

Unless anyone has anything for me specifically with the advice I am seeking, I think it would be best to drop the thread since I will not stop climbing.

Thanks everyone! Cool


jonapprill


Sep 10, 2013, 12:37 AM
Post #12 of 14 (2408 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 12, 2004
Posts: 41

Re: [outsidethelines] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

There are some very effective drugs these days to treat RA. Pharmacology is not my field, but I do have a very close acquaintance who was given a diagnosis similar to what you describe. She's now been in remission for over 15 years and is probably one of the healthiest people I know. I remember that it was very difficult to convince the insurance companies to pay for some of the drugs, but for her the results have been amazing. Please PM me if you'd like her email.


geraldine502


Sep 29, 2013, 6:55 AM
Post #13 of 14 (1958 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 27, 2013
Posts: 31

Re: [jonapprill] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

https://sites.google.com/site/livewatchnflonline/home/pantson2


dindolino32


Sep 29, 2013, 11:59 AM
Post #14 of 14 (1942 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 3, 2008
Posts: 150

Re: [outsidethelines] Rheumatoid Arthritis [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I have been reading a lot on hookworm as a treatment for autoimmune diseases. It's funny because the whole idea makes sense. Until the last 50 or so years, we (as in humans) have been plagued with parasites, worms and all other nasty stuff. Now that we can kill everything in our body, our body starts looking for things to fight. I am in no way saying this is the cure or anything like that, but scientists have been researching into this. The other interesting thing is that there is a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases in "1st world" countries than in "3rd world" countries. Maybe it is because of the lack of resources to study etc etc, but the basic idea makes sense. It's like how we have bred "super bugs" like MRSA from over prescribing antibiotics, or not taking the full treatment.
That is a perfect example of evolution in a population.


Forums : Climbing Information : Injury Treatment and Prevention

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$17.95 (10% off)
$4.95 (10% off)
$13.46 (10% off)
$13.46 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook