Friday, June 29, 2012

Medical Advice I Had to Pass Up

I didn't get to be 93 by submissively accepting everything a doctor ever told me. Far from it. During my first pregnancy, my doctor told me I had "post-traumatic arthritis" (due to a couple of serious falls as a teenager). He said my entire back was involved, that eventually I would be in a wheel chair, and be disabled for the rest of my life.

I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had believed that doctor?

But I didn't believe him, perhaps mostly because I didn't want to. Instead, I went to the library to find out all I could about arthritis. For several days I immersed myself in facts about arthritis, how it affects you, what you can do about it, and what the prognosis might be. The main concept I came away with was that it was important to move whatever hurts or is stiff (or both), and not to give in to the pain and be inactive.

From then on, it became my habit to walk, swim, play tennis or golf, or go bowling-- anything that allowed me to keep moving and have fun at the same time. I did NOT end up in a wheelchair, exceot on the rare occasions I was put in one when I left a hospital after the birth of a baby, or some surgical procedure such as a breast biopsy or hysterectomy. Of course I was able to walk out on my own, but hospitals like to deliver you safely into the custody of your own family, so they will be free from blame or lawsuit in case you fall.

The arthritis in my back was actually never as bothersome as the osteoarthritis that came later on and stiffened my joints without mercy. Yet I have always kept moving, no matter what, and there have been very few things I just couldn't do, except for reaching certain guitar or ukelele chords. That was very disappointing, but far less dramatic that spending my life in a wheel chair.

Over the years I have congratulated myself so many times for not having accepted the doctor's dire prognosis. Thank God I absolutely refused to accept the idea of living a helpless, invalid life!

This was only the first of several disastrous diagnoses I absolutely had to ignore. I'll tell about others in future blogs, and in the mesntime, I encourage everyone never to follow anyone blindly, not even a doctor. It's your life. Ask every question you think of. There are no stupid questions when it comes to your own body and your own life.


  1. I commend you for that, Troy! You’re such a strong, determined woman! I was amazed with how you dealt with the pain, and how you find a way to prove that finding is wrong. Well, it’s not actually bad to follow professional advices from them. What’s wrong is when you let pain and frustration sink in your mind. When you’re in this kind of situation, keeping a positive outlook in life is no doubt the greatest help you can offer yourself.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. Of course its not bad to follow professional advice, but it's so important to be sure, to ask questions, and to follow your own gut instincts.