I walked a mile in my shoes

Seven months ago, when I had the big flare that led (finally!) to my diagnosis, I couldn’t walk except very slowly with a cane, and I could hardly do anything at all. I was sleeping in a recliner in the living room because I couldn’t get upstairs to the bedroom. Worst of all, I had begun to think this might be my life going forward. Prior to the flare, I had been a very active retiree: hiking a lot of mountains, daily exercise, lots of pretty heavy work around the house, the guy everybody relied on to get stuff done.

Since then, with a couple of good doctors and a regime of methotrexate and Enbril, I’m doing a lot better. I’m far from pain free, and though I think I have damaged a few joints, I can get around and accomplish things from time to time.

Before my last doctor visit, I made a list of goals/tasks I want to achieve by next winter. That’s just what I do: I’m a mad maker of lists. (30+ years of teaching school have made me this way: in teaching, if you don’t plan and make something happen, nothing - nothing good anyway - happens!)

The first two items on my list are:

  1. Walk three miles at 20 minutes per mile on the hilly dirt road I live on.

  2. Jack up my wood shed and put a new sill under it.

Yesterday, the first truly springlike day around here, I got started. I hooked up Kutya, my Puerto Rican mutt (See pic in circle to left) and headed out to see what we could do. I made it a mile! I didn’t time myself. It was slow: Kutya had a lot of investigation and evacuation to attend to. That’s my excuse. A year ago, I would have regarded walking a mile as an embarrassingly measly accomplishment, but yesterday it felt like a real start.

After we got back, I started on the shed. I pried off a few floor boards, experimentally jacked a few joists with an old railroad jack, pried, banged, chainsawed - all the stuff that used to make me me. It felt good to work in the sun. I was slow and creaky, but I was getting stuff done.

I know, though I am not sure I accept, that I won’t get back to what I was, but I am going to do what I can. I wanted to post this here because it helps, when I have a goal, to tell people what I intend. It puts pressure on me to see it through. So thanks for reading.

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Hey Kutya,
Although my condition is not psa related (mine’s a brain thing) some of the things you’ve said resonate with me (and many others I’m sure). Your ‘measly accomplishment’ for a starter. It’s funny, if I can call it funny, things we used to consider normal or insignificant are now an accomplishment and although some others may consider them, as I did, as insignificant, now some of those little things are huge. As for your acceptance, well, when you get to ‘fully’ accepting please tell me how. I still have battles with myself accepting this reality, sure as time has gone by I’m a little less hard on myself, but to say I fully accept would be stretching the truth of it all if I’m honest with myself. Some days I have no choice but to accept, but then on other days I still push myself more than I should.
Maybe I need some sunlight, that sounds like a good idea to me as I’m pretty much couped up inside most of the time.

Best of luck with your goals. I’ll be interested to hear how you have gone with it all.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

I think it’s tntlamb who compared managing PsA to a 3-legged stool: meds, exercise and … oh, I can’t remember what the third leg was, good food maybe. But exercise IS THE BIZ with this disease. Congratulations!

Never underestimate getting old as part of the problem… Tai chi and pool work really help.

I think that’s just fabulous! Often when you find out that just walking to the loo is hard work and forget about the stairs, you get to thinking your whole world is shrinking horribly. And then you actually find out it’s not, thanks to meds and sheer persistence. That’s just the best feeling, isn’t it? So pleased for you.

It is. There is always the lurking awareness of the progressive (Why not “regressive”?) nature of the disease and of the aging to which we all are subject, but these facts are firmly in the category of that about which we can do nothing, so our job is to ignore them when feasible to do so. For the time being, for me, it’s feasible. Kutya and I hit the road yesterday again and did pretty well.


Great to hear you are managing a mile… well done!!! Please don’t underestimate how far a mile is… I know I can rarely walk that far (without stopping for a rest or two) and I’m quite a bit younger than you are… it’s embarrassing how little I can do at a time these days.

Keep it up!! I’m sure Kutya just loves stepping out with Dad :slight_smile: