Krysia-Maria's story – living with osteoarthritis
Diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in 2003, every day is a struggle to carry on a normal life for Krysia-Marie. A lively and outgoing professional woman of 64, she is determined to keep going and continue working as a photographer, even though her joint pain is sometimes so intense that it regularly reduces her to tears.
'I just wish there was something that would help with the pain more. I sob my heart out when the pain gets to its height every day.
'Sometimes when I get dressed I scream with the pain because it is so excruciating. The pain is always there even when I am sitting down, and it’s very hard to get up in the mornings. But I have to fight.'
Krysia-Maria’s knees were the first to be affected by osteoarthritis but now most of the joints in her body are swollen, sore and painful. She has other medical conditions that make it impossible for her to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and she has been recently prescribed morphine patches by her doctor. She also takes amytriptyline to help her sleep.
'For three years I battled with lack of sleep while I was working, and was just too tired to work, too tired to drive, or do anything,' she explains.
Although she is registered disabled, she finds the lack of physical evidence of her condition means that most people don’t know she has arthritis. 'Although I’m in such pain it doesn’t show. When I get on a bus people don’t stand up to let me sit down because they don’t think there’s anything wrong with me,' she says. 'If I was a little old lady with a stick it would be different.'
'When I get on a bus people don’t stand up to let me sit down because they don’t think there’s anything wrong with me.'Somehow, and with support of husband Brian, Krysia-Maria, a former hairdresser and estate agent valuer, soldiers on with her professional and personal life. A member of the Royal Photographic Society, she recently had an exhibition in her home town of Nottingham, and does what exercise she can; walking every day, and cycling.
“I know there is no real answer at the moment and that’s why I’m so glad that the pain centre in Nottingham has been set up,” she says. “All we can do is hope. I know that everyone is doing all they can to find an answer to treating pain more effectively. I hope the centre will help others, as well as me.”