Anna with Arthritis

I found out this week that I have arthritis in my back.

Yep. You heard me right. Anna Yoder, a 28 year old, has arthritis in her back like the old person we always knew she was. I've been telling people for years that I've never been young in my life, and this just seems to back that up yet again. 

But jokes aside, I am actually really deflated by this news. You may know that I've been loudly complaining on this blog about my weird hip and leg problem. After months of laying low (in terms of physical activity), physical therapy, going to the chiropractor, acupuncture, going to the medical doctor, taking oral steroids and getting deep tissue massages, I finally decided to take plunge (since I am already half way to my deductible for for 2016 already) and get an MRI. 

That was Tuesday and maybe one of the weirdest experiences I've had in awhile. They played music for me to drown out the noises from the machine. I told them I wanted something relaxing, thinking of music they play at spas as I was a little nervous about the whole process. It ended up being this really strange mix of what I would call " hazy space sounds". That, plus the loud banging sounds of the MRI, and maybe feeling a little dizzy from the close confinements left me feeling super trippy. (Not that I know what that's like, but I image it being similar to getting an MRI. Tells you how much I know). Another weird element was that one of the MRI techs looked like Lunchbox from The Bobby Bones Show, my favorite morning radio show. What a weird day. 

The following day, my doctor's office called me with the results. This sounds ridiculous, but I was really hoping it was going to be a stress fracture, or something that resulted from over exercising back last fall. You know, something that one can completely heal from. No such luck. 

I took this news probably way harder than I should have taken it. After all, I am not ill. I am still a young, healthy person. Every day, I think I accept a little piece the fact that I am always going to have arthritis, that my fears of peaking physically already is, in fact, true. But I have a long way to go. Again, I am only 28. There has to be a way I can still be an active person. Even though running is hell, I really enjoy exercising (mostly after the fact). I constantly struggle with eating healthy; so I really took pride in how disciplined I was in my exercise routine. I want that again. I want to go back to my cardio X classes and kickboxing. They were really good workouts and I have found that I really miss the community that I was a part of in those classes. 

So what's next? Well, I have to go to Canada for a conference (which is maybe going to be super stressful) and then next Friday when I get back I am getting a steroid epidural. Then, the following Tuesday, I am going back to my nurse practitioner to ask her more questions about arthritis and hopefully figure out how to still be a healthy, active, young person. 

I'm doing better with this news than I was on Tuesday, that's for sure. On some level, it's probably a relief that I psychically might not be able to (or shouldn't) run ever again. But this whole process makes me really wish I lived in a city where I would have unlimited access to lap swimming in an actual adult size pool where senior water aerobics classes don't dominate prime swimming times. (No jokes about me joining them please. I cannot handle that idea). And if I lived in a big enough city, there would be yoga studios like whoa. I hope that's in my future. 

I also worry about physically not being able to do my job. And then what? I travel a TON for work, spending hours and hours sitting on planes and in cars. Having arthritis in my back is not an ideal situation for needing to drive 1600 miles around the region I represent. This plus the emotional turmoil of travel anxiety is an awful combination. I find myself trying to reevaluate my intimidate vocational future and at the same time being horrified of change like the old person I am. 

In the end, I am going to try really hard to make the best out of this situation and try and find things that work for me. However, I am probably going to complain through this whole process via this blog. Just a disclaimer. But just let me have this space, okay? After all, one should respect one's elders.