Mary Walker shares her story for World Arthritis Day
“Hi, I’m Mary and I have inflammatory osteoarthritis affecting almost every joint in my body. I have been having joint pain since 1999, when I was 43.
My initial arthritis symptoms included lower back pain and neck pain. I was lucky that there wasn’t too much of a delay before my diagnosis; I have a great GP who referred me to a fantastic rheumatologist early on.
The main impact arthritis has on my life is that it makes me very tired. I have had 18 operations for my joints, as well as over 100 cortisone injections into various joints, so my time is taken up with treatments/ recuperation.
The things that help with my arthritis include warm water classes, keeping warm in cooler weather, medication, cortisone injections and ultimately joint replacements. You also need to keep moving so your joints do not become too stiff.
I am a life member of Arthritis & Osteoporosis NSW, and I have been attending the Ryde support group since 2011, now helping with the running of it. I go to 3 warm water classes a week which are organised by Arthritis NSW. I have helped with the organisation’s fundraising events and also the KidsFlix cinema outings.
Messages I’d like to pass on to others with arthritis: Keep your spirits up, it helps to be happy. After all, as they say, Laughter is the Best Medicine. My Mum had generalised osteoarthritis too, but she kept her spirits up and her stiff “British Upper Lip” helped her to cope. She was a great example to follow.”