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Rebecca Barnard

2017-01-19 10:32

Joyce's Story

I am a 75 years old and have experienced bouts of pain and inflammation for many years, affecting my knees, hands and feet in particular. Doctors thought it was osteoarthritis mainly, with swollen joints probably affected by rheumatoid arthritis. However, recently, after 35 years, I saw a consultant who was puzzled by some symptoms I had. I had volunteered for hospital trials on rheumatic disease, and it was only because of this that I ended up getting a consultant appointment. After making detailed notes and ordering X-rays of my feet, hands and knees, he identified pseudo gout, or "crystal gout". Pseudogout has nothing to do with real gout or the associated dietary problems. Evidently, crystals form in the fluid between the joints. Symptoms are swelling of the joints and severe pain due the crystals (calcium pyrophosphate) preventing smooth movement. My one knee is permanently larger than the other as a result of this (although this may be due to more than one problem). Pseudogout is a difficult condition to manage and very painful at times.

As well as the pseudogout I also have lower back problems, and have spent years seeing specialists, such as chiropractors and physiotherapist etc. To help with this, and the pseudogout I try to keep mobile. Older age does make life harder though, and I am losing my mobility due to long term damage of the joints. Yoga is very helpful for keeping mobile as it uses gentle movement; it also helps the mind deal with the pain.

Now I have been diagnosed I am not sure what the consultant can do, but a replacement knee has been suggested. My permanent swollen knee is debilitating, unsightly and difficult to live with, and I am afraid that I am going to have to wait a long time for relief. I have had anti-inflammatory tablets in the past, but over time these have damaged my kidneys, so although they were marvellous for pain relief, I can no longer use them. Pain killers and exercise is all I have now.

I signed up to your site, because I believe that my problems are shared my thousands and anything that gives hope of a cure or relief, will be beneficial. I think that medical staff need all the support that they can get.

I live in Torquay, Devon. A mild climate helps a lot and I am at less risk of falling on icy pavements etc. I wouldn't be able to get out so much if I lived elsewhere.