It all began for me about four years ago, when I noticed I was struggling with climbing the stairs, and getting in and out of the bath, due to the pain and stiffness in my legs. This steadily became worse over time, and my partner suggested that I go see my GP.
After visiting my GP I was referred to see a rheumatologist. I then had x-rays, scans, and many blood tests, before I was eventually diagnosed with Osteoarthritis. It took almost twelve months, before a diagnosis was reached, which was a very difficult and frustrating time for me.
Being told that I had Osteoarthritis at the age of 46, came as quite a shock, although at the same time I was relieved to know exactly what I was dealing with. The doctor’s told me I was quite young to get this type of arthritis, and that it was more common in older people.
I had damage to the bones in my hips, and in my knees, and was given some steroid injections to help to relieve the pain. Unfortunately, they would only last about a couple of weeks, before the pain was back again. So it was decided not to continue with this form of treatment.
I tried many different pain relief medications, but found most of them just made me feel very drowsy, without really doing much for the pain.
It was difficult trying to come to terms with my illness, and it was having a devastating effect on my day to day life. By this time the pain had spread to most parts of my body, and I felt like nobody really understood what I was going through. I realised that I needed some help and support. I needed to connect with others, who were in the same boat as me.
I joined a support group on facebook, which helped me to feel that I wasn’t alone, and there were others out there, who were going through the same things as I was. I had written a few poems about my experiences of dealing with chronic pain, and decided to share these with the group. I got a positive response, and people said I could put into words, how they were feeling too.
I had written poetry for many years, and had always wanted to publish my own book, so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a book of poetry just about chronic pain. I soon realised that putting together a collection of just under fifty poems, all under the same theme, was a bigger challenge than I had first thought.
After everything I had been through since my diagnosis, and the devastating effect it had on me, I wanted something positive to come out of it all. I wanted to share my experiences with others, and to bring about more awareness and understanding, of the harsh realities, of living a life with chronic pain.
Even though it was difficult to write, I was determined to get it finished, in the hope that it would give hope to others. The book, which is called “Painfully Poetic” has just been published, and is now available to buy on Amazon, and to order through all good bookstores.
This post was written by Stuart Jackson using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.