Starting your day
Many patients begin their day with the thought, "I can't get out of bed."
"A typical day for me," says Debra Fisher, 52, of Pittsburgh, "is I get up in the morning and eventually sit on the edge of the bed. I have to sit there for a minute because my feet are so swollen, and that's just from being in bed. Then I just have to stand there for a minute and get my bearings. My hands are really puffy and my joints really ache, like a toothache. And then I just start moving."
"I used to go out five minutes before my wife and daughter because I didn't want them to see me psych myself up for the pain of swinging my legs into the car. It would take five minutes! Some mornings I just said to myself, 'I don't want to do this.' I dreaded it, it hurt so damn much."
For some, it can be the little things that become huge obstacles. For Joanne, 72, of Cape Cod, Mass., it's opening jars and bottles. "Sometimes I leave them out for my cleaning lady or somebody like that to open." If sitting was hard, sometimes Roberts would simply work standing up. "There was a ledge in my office that I could use instead of sitting at a desk."