Just Go For it!! (Lorraine Pulford)

I can hardly believe it was over 20 years ago when I stood in our small office. ‘My turn to make the drinks’ I announced to the girls. I looked down and noticed my knee had ‘ballooned’, it was sore and stiff. I spoke to my mum and said I thought I had rheumatoid arthritis but she said it wasn’t possible and not to be silly. Really, I think she was a bit shocked as she’d cared for dad with this disease for many years.

Because of the family history, my GP was very understanding, when the blood test results came back confirming I had RA my GP actually apologised and said he was hoping it was only gout. Medication was duly ordered which helped for a while, but the side effects were worse than the RA pain so I was afraid to go back to my GP. Eventually I had to give in; unfortunately, as I’d left it so long, the RA had progressed as it had damaged the joints – if only I had gone back sooner!

I was sent for an appointment with the rheumatologist and we tried other medication but to no avail. Eventually I was offered a trial scheme which had been successful in America. Feeling at the point of no return I decided to take part and I’m so glad I did.  There were 3 trials, of which no-one knew the brand names – one of the 3 was a placebo. At the end of the trial I was told I was on leflunomide and I have used it ever since; the other was methotrexate, which I have tried without success during the on-going years.

During this time my home life was very up and down with the family trying to accept the situation and I was trying to carry on working. Mum passed away and my daughter married, leaving hubby, myself and Sam the dog. After 10 years my hubby decided he wanted ‘some space’ but it turned out he had found himself a ‘newer model’.

Tai Chi - Lorraine Pulford

Obviously I was devastated and also worried how I was going to look after Sam and myself. No need though as I looped his lead onto my mobility scooter and went ‘walkabout’. I met other dog walkers at the local park, some of which I had previously known. A couple of them invited me for coffee and asked me if I would be interested in joining a local friends group.

To cut it short and two ankle replacements later, I am now involved in a lot of local community activities. I swim weekly and do Tai Chi to help keep healthy. 

There is a lot going on in our local communities, it just needs us to go out there and find it. All this has kept me busy over the last ten years and I also have social interaction with friends that I have made within these groups. Having recently retired from work, I am looking forward to many more activities and meeting new people!

Just go for it – no excuses!