I am not lazy, I have arthritis

By Lana Latest Activity February 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm Views 13,088 Replies 36 Likes 29


Fogginess, fatigue, and pain are symptoms of arthritis conditions. All of these things force us to rest and to conserve our energy. I have often told people if I rested every time I felt fogginess, fatigue, and pain, I would never get out of bed. Many of us push ourselves because of the fear of being called lazy and when we do rest or do less, that fear can come true.

It is not hard to believe that one of the biggest misunderstandings given to arthritis sufferers is that they use the disease as an excuse to be lazy. This is definitely a touchy topic because many of us are trying to overcome the physical limitations posed by our conditions. Often times, it is those closest to you that give you the hardest time. It is the little criticisms like why your home is not as clean as it used to be or why you need to rest more that can be the most hurtful.

Has this lack of understanding from family and friends been a problem for you? How is it that you would like to respond to such comments even though it can be hard to provide a response because of their lack of understanding and because these things touch an emotional nerve?

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  • lovecraft ian
    lovecraft ian June 7, 2013 at 1:55 am   
    Edited June 7, 2013 at 11:42 am by Hyrum Anderton

    ****, if i could, i would replace atlas just to prove i was strong enough. I want to be strong enough. I should be strong enough. This topic is huge to me. It took me years to accept i shouldn't push myself. This body, i hate this flesh shell. Hell, practice makes perfect but not with fucked up elbows. I loved to play guitar but strumming, fingerpicking they hurt so much. Hands feel good and strong but i can't get them into the right position. Can't practice and maintain a skill with constant flares where i can barely touch my face or feed myself.

    I am not lazy, i have arthritis.

    **** snacks

  • acebass
    acebass September 15 at 6:33 pm   

    I've been very lucky. In addition to osteo arthrits, I acquired Bone Marrow Cancer. It gave me a dozen nonhealing broken bones. The first year or so, I had to spend in bed - unable to walk. Finally, I decided I wasn't gonna spend the rest of my life in bed waiting to die. I took out my old cane and started walking. I was taking a good deal of Fentanyl, so it didn't hurt that much. I kept at it and, pretty soon, I was driving myself and walking to my doctors' appointments.
    Well…The good news is that I didn't die and actually got over fatal cancer. I had no chance of survival, but the doc said I was cured. I slowly started reclaiming my life, although it was painful and exhausting. Started going to the gym again (Zumba Class), even when it was a day's work for me. Then I worked out an exercise program to strengthen my legs and back, and was able to lose the cane. I got off the Fentanyl and got a neuromodulator implanted in my spine, instead.
    Then, I started practicing bass again. Joined an orchestra a few weeks ago and played my first post-cancer concert last week(with an xtreme back brace). Of course, I can't hump my stuff in, so I get the cute little violinists to carry in my bass fiddle and stool. I get too exhausted to practice like I used to, but I did the best I could. Luckily, I was able to pull it off with style and avoid getting fired, LOL!!!!
    If I can do it, I'll upload a piece from the concert - Jupiter from Holst-The Planets.
    So - That's how I managed to reinvent myself at age 71, in spite of osteo arthitis, 6 broken vertebrae, broken hip, sacrum, and pubis. Some of us get blessed!!! TG I'm one of them !!!!
    Anyway - What do I know? I'm only the bass player!!!

  • ammasbear
    ammasbear August 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm   

    In Addition to arthritis throughout my spine and severely in both knees, I also have COPD, and Pulmonary Hypertension. I had a cousin accuse me of being lazy and told me I should get off Social Security Disablity. As if I wasn't proven disabled. It was cruel and insensitive. I also have gained weight due to the inability to exercise much at all. I get winded and run out of energy very quick. I even had an ortho doctor actually claim that he couldn't help me with my knees and was very nasty, After just looking at me without examination, he left the room and said I have two words for you " portion control". The truth is I eat very little and eat organically with plenty of fruits and veggies. I have people telling me all the time what to do and how to eat. It's a total insult as I have studied and looked all possible remedies. I am sick of the unconsciousness around disability. I was a firefighter, worked as a chef, and for 17 years worked with the mentally ill. I was a hard worker and did very intense labor throughout my life. I continue to stay active as much as possible. I am becoming militant when these senseless, insensitive, self righteous people try to impose there judgements on me.

  • Judith Hamm
    Judith Hamm April 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm   

    Hello to everyone, just like you, I have retired from both of my jobs because of pain and depression. If you are not going through it, you cannot understand. I was lucky enough to find a doctor who prescribed a back brace and I have hired someone to come in and do the heavy stuff for me. My son does all he can, doing my grass and other things I cannot do anymore. I am still able to do some coooking so I cook for him in return. My grandson drives me where I want to go, so I am more blessed than others. My husband divorced me and I am lucky enough to have children that care and support me. The depression and wothlessness are the worst and I have bouts of crying most every day because I cannot do things. The drugs that I have been taking caused heart problems, I just wish that I could find a balance, quite frankly there are days when I wish I would just die and get it over with. I found this web site today and will continue to try to dervive some comfort that others feel the same way. God bless everyone.

  • Betafish07
    Betafish07 April 15 at 6:16 pm   

    Do not give up! God love us and he has plans for all of us. If he was not for him, I also would be gone along time ago. I have not met you I just know … wish I could give u a hug.

  • Huffy
    Huffy April 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm   

    I know this attitiude well. My mother and step-father have finally started to understand that what I'm going through is real and not faked. I have had so many surgeries that they can hardly think otherwise. But, I have a sister-in-law that at Easter last year was saying to my sisters that I was just lazy, that I could work if I really wanted to. I think she said that partly because my brother, her husband, has some arthritis and works. But, what she doesn't understand is that I have alot more. I started getting OA when I was in 7th grade. All these years it just kept developing. I have had both knees replaced, 5 joints in my right foot fused, a back surgery, surgery on my left hand, etc. I still have several surgeries to go. I need more back surgery, my ankles need to be replaced, my left hip is about ready to be replaced, both my hands are very painful, my new knee replacement is wearing already because of the bad hip I have. I also have severe fibromyalgia. I am 51. My mother at 76 is in much better health than I am. I don't have diabetes, high blood pressure or anything like that even though I weigh 305. And I weigh that because I can't exercise. It's a catch 22 thing. Believe me I'm not lazy. I love working. I would much rather work, but my back can't handle it. I can barely stand long enough to do a sink of dishes and I have to sit for a long time. I've looked into back surgery but it's too dangerous and even the surgeon told me not to have it until I was in so much pain I couldn't handle it anymore. So, until I can't put it off anymore I won't have back surgery and even when I have it it isn't a guarantee that it will help that much. Pain is a daily thing and I resent people saying those things when they have no idea. I think there should be more education to family members, all family members of people with arthritis. Linda

  • Betafish07
    Betafish07 April 15 at 6:21 pm   

    So true, thank you for sharing, I also have a mom that is in better health than me, and she is 89. The comment about the standing to wash dishes or passing the vacuum, it kills me.

  • ceja
    ceja July 6 at 2:42 pm   


  • shakleebat
    shakleebat March 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm   

    So many stories are so familiar. I work 40 hrs a week (most weeks) and am blessed with RA, Fibro and OA, with Degen disc disaease. I have been here 17 years and still I had to bring in letters from my Dr , etc. I was told not to discuss my illness with anyone. Yet they have come around to accepting the fact that I cannot always be here. Yet, my co-workers for the most part treat me like I am faking it. The gal who works for me get so angry when I am out, I am sometimes nice and polite and others, I just tell them plain. My boss' read up on everything so he understands a bit more and has some empathy he gets mad hearing them talk when I am not here. But I don't care , I do my job and do it well.
    I live each day and get thru it with the help of the Lord. And I give thanks to HIm for His care of me. WIthout Him I could do nothing, with HIm I can do all things "through Christ who strengthens me."
    God BLess all

  • Betafish07
    Betafish07 April 15 at 6:28 pm   

    Amen!! I admired you, can not believe you still working . I am 59 and thanks to my husband I was able to stay home. I worked with children ECE and when I started to notice, was went I did the finger play ,my finger would not do what I supposed, they would get stock,also the flannel boards or standing in the playground,my feet used to hurt a lot, thinking that it was my shoes I started to take a second pair to switch during the day, not knowing of my deceased . Thank you for sharing it does help knowing that I am not along.

  • marieanne
    marieanne July 4, 2011 at 1:23 am   

    And "May God Bless U" dear1~ Hugs, marieanne

  • kimdupell
    kimdupell March 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm   

    Not only am I living with arthritis, but polymyositis (a form of muscular dystrophy) I'm 48 years young…and thankfully have my daughter, son-in-law and 2 month old grand-son here to help me. Some days are better than others…and yes there are some days when getting out of bed feels impossible. My husband is 10 years older and seems not to have a health care in the world (thankfully). I do believe that sometimes he thinks I am lazy. My doctors have even told him that what I go through is a major thing. I keep a positive attitude and live each day to it's fullest.

  • Pammy Sue
    Pammy Sue March 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm   

    I'm betting that most arthritis sufferers have similar stories. Mines the same. My husband tries to understand, but still says things like "you never do anything around the house any more". He just cannot understand what the arthritic's life is like; it's all we can do most days to get out of bed and go forward. Like many, I try to keep up and then feel worse after having overdone; feels so selfish to take care of myself.

  • Mumsy
    Mumsy March 31, 2011 at 4:38 pm   

    Pammy, I know what you mean. Knee pain is my constant companion(OA). I also have calf pain, which I belive is myofacitis. Makes it hard to walk sometimes. On the weekend, I just want to rest, but then the house work will never get done. I had partial knee replacements, but the only good it did, is that now I have pain meds that help some. Take time for yourself. You deserve it!!

  • doingwell
    doingwell March 31, 2011 at 11:58 am   

    My family thinks I want to be treated like a queen. I want my independence back. Its humuliatng to have my 70 year old mom walk and run better than me

    MABELSMAMMA November 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm   

    no kidding! my mom is 73 y/o and she is amazing.

  • memaw
    memaw March 31, 2011 at 11:23 am   

    I have had RA since I was 23 and am now 56. I have had 2 hip, and 2 knee replacements, and 2 wrist surgeries for tendon repairs. My hands in the last 6 years have gotten bad, with swollen joints and very limited movement. I was forced-by myself-to reitre 1-1-09 from a job I loved and that loved and respected me. I know, I was very lucky, they were very accomodating. Even when I told them I was retiring, they offered me a position in their call center so I wouldn't have to worry about handling cash anymore (I worked for a bank for 12 & 1/2 years). But that would have meant doing steep concrete stairs 3 times a day as there is no elevator in the building so I had to turn them down. I always kept a positive attitude so people really did treat me w/the utmost respect. Family and friends really were the ones who didn't understand as well. Since I retired, I have my husband give me my Simponi shots…I have always just injected myself on all other drugs I have been on…and he really does have a greater appreciation for what I go thru now. Sometimes we, as the sufferers, really do need to let some people in on just what we are going thru, not expect them to just KNOW. I went to a bank meeting one day and they had a game and my supervisor asked if I wanted to play and I said NOPE, you all go ahead and Welcome to my world! The game was putting on work gloves, opening a pack of Wrigley gum, pulling out a strip, and unwrapping it and placing it in your mouth. They could not believe how hard it was…DUH? I can't even open an envelope without a knife or an envelope/slicer/thingy. So now, I make up little stategies for what works w/me and how I can help myself when no one is around. The other thing I noticed, especially when I first got my handicap placcard…other handicapped people were ruder to me than regular people were. Since I wasn't on a walker, or a cane, or on Oxygen…they just thought, what the heck? I try never to be judgemental when I see someone walk with seemingly no difficulty, from one of those spaces. I have a friend who is 3 years younger than me and she had heart problems, you can't see that from the outside. My family and friends are wonderful now, and help me whenever they can. I still value my independence, so they always ask if I want help, not just assume and take over…

    KAGAMBLE March 31, 2011 at 9:25 am   

    I was diagnosed with RA at 24 (I'm now just shy of 33) and I read all the posts below. You're right there are A TON of people out there who don't understand what we go through on a daily basis but on the flip side of that, there are lots of people who do. I've gone through several different types of medication and what is working fabulously for me right now is a mix of Remicade, Prednisone, Naprosyn and Arava. I feel better on this combo than I have felt in years. I am also blessed that I have a supportive family and I work for a company with a supervisor that is extraordinarily understanding and supportive. My suggestion to everyone is keep your faith strong, educate the idiots around you and remember that even though we wake up and live most days, if not every day, in pain…it's better than taking a dirt nap. God Bless.

  • renih
    renih March 31, 2011 at 8:09 am   

    Before i had a dx my mil always treated me like i was a bad taste in her mouth and acted like a was a horrible wife and mother no less a poor excuse for a dil. all my life i have worked hard and done what needed to be done i just had to take breaks and do things my way so i could handle things, like our farming, like raising 3 sons, like driving a school bus on rural country routes, like working in special education help the kids in public school with personal needs and this involved picking them up and working physically with them. when i did go get a dx and hubby told his mother she never said a word she just quit talking to us. whats up with that? no more rude remarks to me or behind my back… did she finally decide she was beating a dead horse?

  • ophliablue@yahoo.com
    ophliablue@yahoo.com March 31, 2011 at 7:56 am   

    Well it looks like we are all in kind of the same boat. I have RA , Fibro, and COPD and they all effect each other. I have one friend who also has fibro and we help each other. The problem is with others they dont understand the Pain or the fatigue that i have. I have my RA doctor pigeon holing me saying I am depressed we have the same conversation every time I go there so he doesnt treat the fibro or RA just the depression he thinks i have. My regular doctor is the one trying to find the right combo of medicine to help control some of the pain. What i hate the most is you cant see Fibro and RA has not twisted my joints yet. So even family cant understand what I go through every day so I dont complain and do things that I shouldnt do. I wish there was more out there for RA and Fibro for support and info on anything new that may help. I hope all of you the best in your fight to make it through this.

    ZOWLUCY March 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm   

    oh boy all of your are really hitting the nail on the head here. I work 40hours a week the poeple I have are my supervisiors and co workers At work I walk with a walker now cause the paing in hips knees and feet are so bad at times I could just cry I was feeling so guiltly about giving a woman I work with a small piece of my mind (sometimes I wonder how much I left) I was having a particular difficult day walking really stiff and my feet were going like rice krispies Her comment was "whats your problem sunshine you need to get moving cause were in a hurry"I wasnt polite and just brush it off Maybe I should have But I just couldnt keep my mouth shut. I see from some of the comments made I am not the only person that has run into this. I try very hard not to let the comments get ya down What my husband thinks of me is the most important to me He understands and doesnt critize or make hurtful comments he helps as much as he can I am not a lazy slug like person I do what I can when I can I like to laugh and smile and have a conversation with people Its a crying shame most people that dont have any health issue just dont get it I have to realize and remember myself that Im not a lazy person and that I'm not worthless thanks for listening it is appreciated I had to vent a bit

  • Gemm
    Gemm February 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm   

    My husband and son have been really supportive but others aren't so much. One of the things we have all told people that ask stuff like that is: I'll give you my body for a week and I'll guarantee you'll want to give it back in less than 1 day. lol
    It may not help keep them from being so negative to me but it sure helps me feel better lmao

    Not everyone will understand or be supportive. That's on them not on me. I don't have to allow what others say get me down if I don't choose to JFT (just for today)


  • squog master
    squog master February 21, 2011 at 12:42 am   

    You hit the nail on the head. So many people just do not understand what arthritis does to a person. They think that if you do more exercising & strengthening excercises it will go away. So as not to be called lazy or so not to being seen as not being able to do your job we work harder probably doing more damage to our joints than we should.

  • kiratae
    kiratae February 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm   

    I haven't been logged in since I posted and I have read all of your replies. I've been going through one of my what I call my "rat in a hole" days. I close myself up in the house for a few days and don't come out. Between the fear of not having a way of supporting myself except for my SSI check (what a joke), being depressed, and being pissed off at both, I'm draining the life out of me. RA in my family is inherited on the women's side. My uncle (my mother's brother) is the only one who had RA. He didn't have it in his limbs. He died with RA in his lungs. With all the research in the medical field going on, I don't understand why they aren't doing more of it on RA. It's not like there is just a handful of us who have it. And there isn't a lot of info on the internet. We know more about RA than the medical field does. The only problem with that we don't have access to the medical field or the money to figure out things ourselves. My hands are starting to hurt so until next time hope everyone is having somewhat of a good day.

  • melendez50
    melendez50 March 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm   

    Hi, I have read your story with tears in my eyes because you have done what I am doing right now. I have RA and Pulmonary Fibrosis(which I got because of the RA). I was diagnosed when I was 32 and am now 52. Because of these 2 illnesses I have had over 30 surgeries(3 on my spine), and my lungs are so scarred that my doctor says that they look like honeycombs. I haven't worked since 1997 and have been struggling on disability ever since. My family have been supportive, but only to a point. I had an aunt that died not from the RA that she had, but from one of the medicines that they prescribed for her. I have a positive look on life but it's a major struggle every single day. I feel blessed to be able to open my eyes everyday, and I know that there is depression there. I don't leave my house for weeks at a time, and I cry alot. I have always been a go-getter, going back to school trying to better my situation, but the illness will only let me go so far. I am getting ready to have my 33rd surgery and I'm scared…I need to have a support system…we all need a support system. We have bad times and that's when we need this the most. I pray to God that there will be a cure found in my lifetime so that others don't have to suffer the pain, degredation and depression so many of us have gone through.

  • oldbuttercup
    oldbuttercup February 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm   
    Edited February 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm by oldbuttercup

    My story is very similar to the ones posted below. I am frequently in pain and have difficulty ambulating. One of my supervisors said oh it's just anxiety. NO IT'S PAIN! one of my conditions is osteoartritis. Even my wife has become more and more upset with me because basically by being off of work for two months, I am useless.
    Sorry I was just letting my depression take over again.
    I wish everyone here at least some relief from their own pain.
    May God Bless you.

  • Lin Bigknife
    Lin Bigknife February 17, 2011 at 9:20 am   

    YES! You are ALL expressing what I feel. My sons think I am a 'druggie' and my husband keeps telling me to exercise more! I walk on a treadmill as much as possible, but it is agony. I KNOW exercise is good for me but am limited to how much I can do. I am SICK of my family blaming me instead of supporting me. I guess it is true that no one can understand what is occuring unless THEY have experienced.

    My work is the same - have used ALL my sick leave AND now use my vacation for sick leave and never have a vacation! The people at my office are so critical and talk behind my back all the time - make frequent complaints to my boss and she is the ONLY one who is sympathic. Even though I have lost my home due to extensive medical bills, they still don't believe I really hurt! God, I hate these diseases that rack my body!

    You would think people would understand as I have always been a work horse - frequently working 60-70 hours! Anything that needed to be done, I took care of and then volunteered my time in addition to raising my 2 sons. But I can't even take care of my small (rented) house now! My husband is sick of it after all these years and seeing us lose our home and our savings. Why oh, why isn't there more help?????

  • waffles1953
    waffles1953 February 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm   

    Now, see, reading all this is kinda opposite for me. It's just me and my husband and he understands me totally. My blessing is I got my SS like in 5 months time. My husband has been out of work for the most part for three years. I feel guilty about not working. I did telemarketing and I could get a job in a minute, but what if I do then lose my SS and fall apart again? I very seldom feel like I could go back to work but our finances are going to hell and it's not looking better anytime soon. My fibro is so unpredictable. Sometimes I am so weak I could die and feel better. Depression is always there. Did any of this make sense to anyone? I feel not. Blessings.

  • Andresbity
    Andresbity February 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm   

    My favorites one to date so far is by my own husband. He is constantly saying that i need to work out the pain by moving more. This is what he read, but the problem is the constant pain and the fact that I can hardly walk at times.

  • Holly3
    Holly3 February 7, 2011 at 11:14 pm   

    I can already imagine the criticisms coming my way when my inlaws visit this weekend. They'll see that my house is falling apart and tell my husband behind my back that I need to pull it together. Little do they realize the constant pain I'm in as I struggle to continue working and raising my 4 children. It's going to be a fun visit as always.

  • MS. SLWG
    MS. SLWG February 8, 2011 at 8:38 am   

    I truly understand where you are coming from Holly3. I went through the same thing, people used to call me lazy then when I started going to the doctors and they gave me Oxycotin for pain people thought differently. When they found out I needed hip replacement they were apologizing for things they were saying about me. I used to get on the treadmill and after 2 mins I couldn't do anymore because the pain was so unbearable.

  • tghostlaw
    tghostlaw February 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm   

    I know people at work think I am CRAZY, one filled me in on what others have said. It hurts me that they think 'no way is she really in that much pain all the time". I show up to work everyday even the days that I can barely move and have been in tears at home because I have no sick leave to use. I had a bi level cervical diskectomy four years ago and had to go in the hole with leave 240 hours. Then I'vwe had gfrandchildren born out of state, so I have barely been to the good on leave in over 4 years. I feel my husband doesn't really care anymore, he probably too thinks, yeah right. It gets pretty depressing knowing how people can't understand the pain I'm in because they can't see it. If I had a broken leg or a visible disease or injury it would be different. There are days that i wish they would all have 2 weeks of the pain I feel daily. I do my best now to just hide the pain, basically grin and bare it.

  • Drew Girl
    Drew Girl February 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm   

    I am with you. I had the diskectomy and fusion too. It is so difficult when those around you have no empathy. They can not understand the frustration, pain and depression that you are feeling because they have not experienced it. I hide pain too, grin and bear it all the time. I don't think it should be that way. There should be a shoulder to lean on. I can't offer much, just understanding. Will be thinking of you.

  • priceless91351
    priceless91351 February 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm   

    I totally agree with you. My husband really has no idea or understanding how much pain i am suffering trying to do simple everyday chores are for me. He does not understand why doing a lot of walking is not necessarily therapeutic for me. it brings on the pain, along with the elements. people need to realize that arthritis can be debilitating. i have also had a hip replacement from DJD. It is like a double whammy.

  • kiratae
    kiratae February 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm   

    I totally agree. What really hurts is the people who know me well, know that I am a workaholic. I've always worked as a laborer. I use to work with horses 10 - 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. They all know the work I use to do. I don't even tell them how much I hurt anymore. I just grin and bear knowing I am hurting my body more than it is worth.

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