Diagnosed with osteoarthritis at 21
Published Aug 30, 2018
Discover the story of Maria Eugénia, a member of Carenity. Learn about her daily life with osteoarthritis and chronic pain.
Hello Maria Eugénia, could you introduce yourself in a few words?
Hi, I am a 35 year old woman who can finally live a normal life after 16 years of physical and mental suffering.
How did you find out that you have osteoarthritis?
After falling down the stairs at age 19, I began to feel a daily pain in my knees. I had X-rays and MRIs 2-years after, which showed that I had osteoarthritis.
Did you expect this diagnosis?
No, I did not. Osteoarthritis, for me, was a disease that happened to the elderly. I worked in a home for seniors at that time, so the osteoarthritis for me went hand in hand with old age!
You were diagnosed at a very young. How did your doctors and loved ones react to this diagnosis?
Of the many doctors I had: the first was really nice, he offered me an osteotomy explaining that it would give me a break of 7 years, which was the case.
Then, several surgeons and professors explained to me that I was too young for a prosthesis, that I should to take medications and physical therapy sessions for at least another 30 years. There was nothing else to do according to those surgeons. I was 28 years old ...
Then, finally, a surgeon took the trouble to do an exam that no other doctor had decided to do before: a simple arthrography that revealed that my bones were bare! Surgey was urgent, I am a "medically interesting" case as he says!
In summary, the vast majority of doctors focused on my young age instead of taking into account my physical and emotional pain.
As for my relatives, it varies between the misunderstanding and the fault of my parents because it turns out that it is a congenital osteoarthritis.
My husband and my parents supported me during those years, however, I feel they suffered when I got angry or had a crisis cause I feel like I was a burden to them ...
What impact did osteoarthritis have on your daily life?
I now have femoro-patellar prosthesis, a second will be added in a few years. But there were several effects fro OA on my life: I lost my job (due to inability to work).
It was a struggle to make the doctors and other medical administrators understand that this condition hindered my daily life much more than for an elderly person because I was not able to work, pay my bills, etc.
16 years later, I still have not succeeded elsewhere ... Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of cartilage, but for Social Security, it is not a long-term disability if it is not widespread ...
Are you satisfied with your treatments?
Since I have had my prosthesis (March 2015), yes, I feel like I can now live again. I now can walk for more than an hour, I have returned to being able to ride my bike and I have professional plans!
What message would you like to give to others?
Do not be discouraged! It's easy to say, but I am proof, one day you'll be relieved :)
Thanks to the other Carenity members for supporting me and helping me in multiple times in the forums.
As I give this testimonial, I have tears in my eyes because I tell myself that I have come out of a very long nightmare, but I will never forget that nothing is totally finished.
Do not be discouraged! I am proof... One day you'll be relieved.