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#NeverGiveUp – Surviving Degenerative Spinal Arthritis

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Surviving Degenerative Arthritis - Shawna Coronado and Living Wa

A month ago I was diagnosed with degenerative Spinal Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Disc Disease. Initially I was devastated because there is no cure. I have had daily pain for about four years and have noticed some challenges this year in taking care of my garden. For example, I have not been able to maintain the behind-the-fence garden as well due to the pain in my upper back and shoulders. An orthopedic discovered with x-rays that there is very little padding left between the vertebrae in my back, my spine is already starting to become malformed, and I am an inch shorter than I was before. I was completely blind-sided by the diagnosis. When the doctor told me there is no cure my heart sank. I knew I could not continue at the current over-the-top active gardening lifestyle level I have with severe arthritis.

Motto to live by – #NeverGiveUp

Surviving Degenerative Arthritis - Shawna Coronado in her front

I was horribly upset the first few days of the diagnosis – cried all day – because I was totally worried about the garden and the fact that I’d still have pain every day of my life. I’ve always been the adventurer and pride myself in being a very hard worker, both physically and with photography and writing. This will change the way I can approach all the things I do in life. After a few days of well-deserved self-pity I put my big girl panties on and started to realize that I had two choices: 1) I could wallow in self-pity and become a giant slug of unhappiness, or 2) I could fight this and turn this big ol’ lemon into lemonade.

Knowing I’ll suffer pain every day for nearly my whole life has been the most dramatic aspect of the diagnosis. I can and will continue gardening, but it will be a lot different than in the past. When I think about my future, I see myself fighting with a new motto – #NeverGiveUp – because giving up is not an option. My goal is to try and find ways to reduce inflammation in order to survive every day with lower pain with arthritis. I have started physical therapy, walk 7,333 steps daily, and am working with an awesome nutritionist to change my diet to be more anti-inflammatory. This change is closer to a paleo diet with more proteins and less sugars and carbohydrates. If I sit like a slug, gain weight, or do too much digging, my daily pain will increase. From now on there will be no more hefting 50 pound bags over my shoulders, carrying a purse on my shoulder, heavy garden digging, ridiculous high heels, or backpacking in the Andes. I’ll just be over here with a smile on my face wearing my #NeverGiveUp t-shirt, a fanny pack and sensible shoes thankyouverymuch.

Surviving Degenerative Arthritis - Shawna Coronado Jumping at Lo

Join Me on the Journey!

This is where YOU come in as I could use your assistance in helping me figure all of this out. I began thinking about all my friends and readers and how many of them have health issues they struggle with daily. I need you, love you, and am tremendously grateful for your support now more than ever. Some of you have been with me from the very beginning of my writing a blog in 2008. You have supported me and loved me and encouraged me to continue teaching healthy green lifestyle ideas and I would like to take this friendship of ours to a new level of healthy.

I dream that you might like to join me on my journey to get healthier, whether you have arthritis or some other condition, because I will #NeverGiveUp and I do not want you to give up either. You can walk along with me (in person or via social media on the interwebs), we can rediscover new types of exercise, we will seek out more healthful anti-inflammatory recipes that will make the foodie’s drool, and most importantly – we can continue gardening. I want to teach ideas for healthier physical habits in the garden and in every day life so that everyone can learn to have less pain in their lives no matter what their condition or level of health. I want to make a difference and turn this asshat arthritis lemon into the biggest glass of lemonade ever. Forget the lemonade, let’s make it a beautiful herbal lemon martini, shall we?

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  1. Shawna, I know it sucks to have to deal with this — but you will get through it! You’ve always had an attitude of figuring things out and being in the thick of things, and I know you will learn how to garden and live safely and with as little pain as possible. You are doing the right things! I had to figure out how to garden differently after going through cancer treatment – it’s my “new normal” that I am okay with now. You can do this.

  2. Dear Awesome Super Star Jenny Peterson – You are the biggest inspiration EVER. I don’t think I could have done this without seeing your amazing example first. You survived cancer, you’ve kicked the world in the back end and changed your life. I’m so proud of you. Thank you very much for your lovely comment. ::HUGS::

  3. Shawna, thanks for sharing this with us. Through information and knowledge comes understanding and we are all strong.

    I would like to point you towards “The Abascal Way The Anti-Inflammatory TQI Diet Plan” and the website and eponymous facebook page:

    It is a science and researched based way to test, on your own body (because everyone is different), what foods work best for you. It is not some miracle cure you pay 9.99 for. It is work and takes time. But, it is the only one I’ve seen that uses medical research not pseudo-science to improve your health. Here’s another link:

    I’ll cross post on your FB page.

  4. I too have DDD but mine isn’t as progressed. i’m very thankful for your new passion bc I’ve pretty much ignored mine so far. I love your nevergiveup spirit. as far as healthy recipes go, I request something super easy and quick bc I have other obligations and wants that come first. I’m very much looking forward to this journey. Prayers to you, my friend. xo

  5. Hey Shawna…Having a positive attitude no matter what shows up on our plates is so important in the healing process..and you have that in spades girl! Many many blessings sent your way SC!

  6. You rock girl!

    Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference~said someone, (I don’t remember who). I LOVE your kickin’ butt attitude! It has brought you the success you have today and it will continue to serve you well on your next adventure.

    I’ll follow along and share what I know about adaptive gardening methods. I started implementing them for my mother a few years back and then adopted some myself, ’cause they simplify gardening and can make for a more productive garden whether its vegetables or ornamentals.

    Rock on, Shawna!

  7. Thank you! Kicking butt and taking names is the only thing I know to do in this situation, because giving up seems so wrong.

    Take care my friend and thank you again!

  8. I’d be happy to join you and share my recipes using anti inflammatory foods! I have a kidney syndrome that relapses whenever it feels like it and there’s no way for me to prevent it, but it helps me to stay on low carb, low sugar diet as well. Staying mentally strong is also very important in keeping physically healthy. You can do it!

  9. My husband has M.S. and spinal stenosis, for which he underwent a surgical fusion of his cervical vertebrae. Our sons built him a raised bed for his vegetable garden. He also has containers of peppers, tomatoes, herbs and flowers. Gardening does him a world of good. His health changed over 20 years ago, when our three boys were little. We live what i call “the new normal”. Although it is difficult at times, we have made it work for us and are grateful for all the blessings we have. I wish the same for you!

  10. Such a difficult transition, Shawna. ๐Ÿ™ I have disc degeneration in my lower back and cannot to as much as I use to. However, I’m still rockin’ a 1/4 acre garden! Just a little slower now. I’m looking forward to discovering new recipes with you! I need to change my diet as well. Let’s get started!

  11. I can’t wait to follow you on this journey! I know that this is just the start of more awesome in your life. Pain sucks, period. I know that you will find new adventures, new ways of doing the things you love. This is just a little road block that I know you will overcome!

  12. I have it too Shawna. I lost 2 inches in my spine. I was only 5’2″ in the first place. I was also devistated.. Mine is in my lower lumbar area. I’m with you!

  13. Sorry you are dealing with this. I, too, am a gardener and adventurer with spinal pain. It definitely changes things. By the way, I assume you know that your hashtag is in use by the Texas rangers baseball team.

  14. I have Rhuematoid Arthritis, DDD, Spinal Stenosis ( I keep putting off the surgery) and a few others. I have raised beds, big pots on benches, and have made my gardens a lot smaller, but produce just as much. I had to change my mindset and my posture, but it can be done. There are days when I take it easy, and days when I do too much, but I like to think it balances out. By the way, the planter you gave me is full of beet greens and was full of spinach (it was yummy).

  15. Hi Shawna – You can’t give up because gardening is in your soul not your bones. You obviously will figure a way, a way to keep you hands in touch with the earth, nourishing your garden, nourishing your soul – and then let folks know what works for you, thus what could work for them.

    There is no getting around the sadness of dreams denied. Gardeners seem to think of the next new garden bed or project they will get to in future years; though with advancing age of the baby boom generation, reality sets in, and many simply want to cut back to manageable amounts of time, energy ,and physical ability. I am sorry that you must let go of some of your dreams, but they are just manifestations of your soul wanting to express itself.

    Gardening is not going away, your soul is strong; let your dreams be about who your are not what your were, and there will be peace in what you CAN do. I wouldn’t worry too much about what your audience expects or your ‘responsibility’ to communicate your successes and struggles. Some of your audience will go away as you discover a very different way of gardening. Let it go, let them go because there will be a new audience better served by what you will become. Spend time in the garden, hands dirty, listening to the plants and what you can do. Let yourself become. That will please you and the evolving audience. The more important audience is those who see your soul, who see gardener never giving up.

    The reality of readjusting your dreams hits you in your prime, but gives you an opportunity and vantage point that the elderly don’t have. This happened to you suddenly, while old age is gradual and the slow realization of reduced capacity, but there is no getting around you now have a disability. You have a perspective of an active gardener in a disabled body. I don’t know much about the food and cooking audience, you may find that becomes more satisfying to you, but I certainly know the disabled need inspiring stories to help them keep gardening and in touch with the earth.

    I look forward to what you will become, with very best wishes – Saxon

  16. Hi Shawna.You are amazing and if anyone can rock #NeverGiveUp then you can.
    Everyone says find your new normal and that is so true. Find just how much you can do, instead of stopping short of “I’d better not just in case.” Grow as much food as you can – fresh, whole food is best, and share the gardening love.
    I always say “If I can, anyone can” because I have MS – and from time to time it sucks because I can’t do it all. I’ve had my share of pity parties. But gardening keeps me healthy – and on the bad days I can write from bed! But just the other day I got turned down for a miracle drug because I was too healthy! The garden has a lot to do with this.
    Stay strong Shawna, You are fab.
    Cheers Sarah : o )

  17. Shawna, my heart is breaking for you. You have such a strong spirit, I know you will find your path forward, and that your future WILL including gardening! Saxon captured it perfectly when he wrote “gardening is in your soul, not your bones.” I’ll be following along as you reinvent yourself.

  18. Thanks Robin! I did not know it is in use by the Texas rangers baseball team, however, #nevergiveup seems to apply to many things, so I’ll just keep it around and keep using it to encourage people. If the Texas Rangers get encouraged too, well the more the merrier. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I am so thrilled to hear that your amazing garden is producing wonderful things and that you are able to do such creative work with your arthritis. You give me and lots of other gardeners hope. Thank you!! So glad you liked the planter. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Listening to the plants is healing all by itself, isn’t it? You made me cry Saxon — thank you for giving me hope and encouraging all the people who are reading this living with the same issues that I am. I will work hard to follow your advice. ::hugs::


  21. Your note really touched my heart Susan – and Saxon made me cry – thank you so much for your concern and sweet message. ::HUGS:: I’m glad you’ll be following along.


  22. I have lived with constant pain since 2008 due to complex regional pain syndrome in my left wrist. My original orthopedic surgeon did not give me much encouragement so I fired him. I found a wonderful pain management specialist who worked with me to get the pain at a level that is live able. I have not been on pain medicine since 2009. I have continued working on those things I really wanted to do like knitting and gardening. I have raised beds so there is not as much heavy work and have a few raised beds that are waist high in the backyard. You may have to fight things differently but never give up. You can do it.

  23. Sorry to hear you are going through what I am also fighting in my neck. The protruding disc material has impinged on the nerve so much that my left side of the neck, left shoulder all the way to my left elbow are one solid spasm. And now it goes up to the back of the skull, left temple and left jaw so much you would think I had a bicep instead of a left jaw muscle. And the pain won’t let me sleep more than an hour of deep sleep. I am finally at the stage where I may need surgery which I have been avoiding. In the meantime, using my FitBit for the last couple of years I have gone from my daily 1 mile walk to about 3-4 miles daily. Stay strong. You are not alone.


  24. Hi Imran! Thank you for sharing — I think walking has really been helping me. I can’t wait to share all the details with everyone on that as I’ve been walking my 7,333 and it’s really helping.

  25. Sorry to hear the news, but you have a great fighting spirit and will emerge from this healthier in many ways I’m sure. My pain issue is migraines, though they are mostly under control. I made some changes (no msg–that was rough). I also found that paying attention to the first hints of pain and doing something–even something simple like taking a break and stretching–could thwart an attack and was a lot easier than letting a bad headache sneak up on me because I was too stubborn to take a break. A more anti-inflammatory diet would probably help me out, too; I look forward to your recipes. All the best wishes for you on your journey. You are not alone!

  26. Dear Shawna, I have had this disorder since my forties and have also been an avid organic gardener. My secret for gardening was to sit – right on the ground if need be, while doing my chores. I made raised beds that were only 4′ across, so I could reach into the middle easily while sitting on the wide edges of the beds. I was able to do most of my activities well into my 50’s but can no longer hike, so nice slow ambles that last no more than an hour have become my choice. I play golf which stretches the spine and helps me get outside and feel comfortable. I use nothing stronger than a specific prescription NSAID and take it only when I need it. Cooking became harder, so I use a mini cuisanart to quickly chop veggies and I have micro cell foam rugs in the kitchen. I recently lost my first inch at age 65 and I think keeping active helps. And don’t lift stuff that hurts to life – machismo isn’t necessary. I had a four wheeled plastic wheel barrel for hauling stuff in the garden and a spinning compost barrel. Good luck.

  27. Shawna, I’m 56 now and I’ve had herniated discs since I’ve been 18. I never allowed myself to slow down even w/pain. In 2006 I had a microdiscectomy performed that was a tremendous help however it did not mean I was out of back symptoms. I just had tone more in tune and listen to my body. One of my exciting discoveries in B&N book store was straw bale gardening because it is raised and easy on the back and no heavy digging and weeding is needed. In fact it was one of your show segments with the interview with Joel Karston that really pushed me to pursue this type of gardening. Anyway keep on keepin’ on.

  28. One more thing, just because there is no cure today doesn’t mean there won’t be tomorrow. I think you catch my drift. Love ya girlfriend. You’ll be ok.

  29. it saddens me to see your situation…There are so many people in this world deserving of misery…and I can tell you area not one of them..I am pleased to see your positive this is what is takes to make it…As far a your garden goes…keep this in mind….once your soil is leveled…you never need to till or turn your soil. Don’t work any harder than you must…dig a hole…feed it and plant… my heart goes out to you…you are in my prayers…

  30. I had migraines related to my allergies. I got allergy tested and started basing my diet on my most serious allergies several years ago, so I don’t do cheeses or anything fermented. It’s been a huge improvement and I rarely get a headache any more.

    I was BLOWN AWAY this week when I cheated and had shellfish and spent an entire night in pain. No shellfish for an anti-inflammatory diet. I’m learning slowly and will also do my best to teach all of you. Can’t wait to see if I can help people reduce their pain.

  31. I’ve lost an inch already, so I’m hoping to stop that progress by increasing my fluidity and movement and eating better for sure. Great tips for gardening! Thank you very much!

  32. “Listening to your body” – such excellent advice. And yes – we are friends – I just spent a day chatting with and standing with Joel Karsten at a convention. He’s the author of strawbale gardening and I love his approach.

  33. Thank you for your words and positive outlook. I already have a no till garden. I’ve decided to make some major changes and grow more perennials next season which will certainly change the face of the garden. However, I’ll continue to grow veggies, don’t worry!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the love – it is much appreciated!

  34. I to am suffering from SDDD and its not good I was diagnosed in 2008. There have been challenges to say the least you are an inspiration and a ray of sunshine. You give me the strength and hope that I need to keep pushing on! Your positive outlook is refreshing good luck in all you do and thank you <3

  35. Oh Shawna what a blow and oh my goodness what a fierce fighter you are. I can only think you will win out! I have had ongoing back pain and health issues that continue to limit my gardening the last few years. I have had to change my diet, and use alternatives like chiro and acupuncture which help. So I am with you on your journey and look forward to seeing what you decide for gardening as I am looking at this too. Perhaps an ongoing conversation and some ideas would help so many of us….sending much healing love and wishes your way!

  36. Shawna I have followed you since coming across your wine bottle path and used the inspiration to create my own. While I have some pain issues, for me it is primarily coping with anxiety and depression. I love to garden but this year didn’t happen. I am encouraged by your refreshing honesty and awesome approach to new challenges. I definitely want to encourage you as you walk this new path. For me in the past water has been a healing place–aerobics, walking, or swimming–much easier on my body.

  37. Hi Shawna. If there is anyone who can figure out how to revise their lifestyle to accommodate a new reality, it’s you! You did it once–you can do it again. Being surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of nature is an awe-inspiring and restorative experience. But I also believe in the miracles of modern medicine. I hope you will scour the country for the best experts. That you will visit them, get second, third, fourth opinions on treatments to see what, if anything, feels right for you. That you will study the literature like a seed catalog on a winter night, and seek out the latest advances. I believe digging in will further empower you. My hope is you will be able to nurture a bumper crop of options and grow abundant hope–for yourself, as well as for others. I know you can continue to live a life you love. Thanks for sharing your experience with grace and grit. #NeverGiveUp

  38. Shawna, sorry to hear that! I’ve been in the care of a spine surgeon for the last ten years or so, formally diagnosed w/ DDD about 8 years ago. I went with option 1, becoming a giant slug of unhappiness, and I can tell you – don’t.

    It’s not a death sentence for what you love to do. For me it was certainly exacerbated by working with stone and concrete and huge trees for much of my late teens/early 20s, so I’m looking at it as now having to exercise the judgement that I didn’t use back then (if I could take a time machine back 19 years I’d dope-slap my 20 year old self). That one day project now gets split up into three afternoons. When working a show I force myself to sit down, since concrete floors are a killer. And the rental yard is your friend for labor saving tools!

  39. He made me cry too. He obviously knows a thing or two about living, which is obvious by his photos.

  40. Shawna, I too have just discovered this life-changing diagnosis. And, I do not like it, not one bit. As a gardener I work until I get weak then grab a snickers and a glass of sweet tea. That won’t do it for me anymore. Just last night I went to Trader Joe’s for a bunch of nuts, raisins, etc… which I have mixed together. I am trying (again) to get off sugar. It is hard, but it IS part of the problem. I can wean myself off of, but must have caffeine. I eat cherries by the handful. I chew ginger. I also take a Super B complex, and all of my daughters tell me to take Vit D supplements. But nothing will restore the curvature of my spine, and Epson Salt soaks are the only thing that alleviates the pain. I have found that when I “take myself for a walk” I experience swelling in my joints and I think that is the toxins making their way out of my body. I am slower now, but the walks do help. I believe in you, and I can’t wait to see some of the recipes you share with us.

  41. Oh, Shawna, that really stinks. I’m so sorry to hear this! And I’m also in awe of your strength and tenacity. You are totally going to kick butt.

    I’ve been fortunate to be in reasonably good health (I’m now in my early fifties), except for some aches/creaky joints, especially if I’m stupid and carry on as if I’m 20 years younger. My knees seem to be the most susceptible to pain these days. My mom has osteoperosis and I have osteopenia already, so I’m doing the best I can to try to stay ahead of it, knowing it may catch up to me eventually.

    As a gardener, I’d love to see you share tips on what tools/devices could help us all continue to do some things for ourselves as we age and face these physical challenges. I love the earlier comment about raised beds. For me, crouching is tough – not so much the “down” as the getting back up!

    I’m rooting for ya! Hang in there!

  42. Hi Shawna,
    I am going to be accompanying you on this journey every step of the way as I, too, have DDD and in pain constantly. I am still working full time and have made changes in my diet as well. I have been researching every aspect from nutrition to yoga and I will keep you posted on my discoveries. I will also be following your progress, as well. I think that good self care is essential…something I have not been very good at before now. I am 62 y/o and have always taken care of every one but me. I thank you for having the grace to post this at this time and for every one’s replies. Together we will support each other and offer hope and strength on those days when we are feeling weak.I think every one of us on here are committed to accepting that we must do things differently but it is not the end of the world. I believe that supporting one another is a huge step in the right direction and I look forward to learning all that I can and sharing that knowledge with everyone else. We will ADAPT AND OVERCOME!
    God Bless!

  43. am writing about the degenerative arthritis in spine listed above in website. I am 72 and I noticed most of you people are much younger. What can a 72 do.. I was just diagnosed when I went to my GP because of sciatica nerve that was painful. found in film my 4 and 5th lumbar disc have no jell between them.. please help me if you can.. I am aware of anti inflammatory foods.. exercise moderately what what is best exercise at my age..

  44. I have been doing a lot of research and I think the most significant thing you can do is change to an anti-inflammatory diet. There are many books out on this. Additionally, with a doctor’s permission and advice of course, I’d highly recommend daily walking. It’s the thing to keep your body fluid and moving. I’ll do more research and do my best to cover this topic for you in the future.

  45. Debbie – Believe in yourself! We are going to join the journey together. I’ve decided to post my walking at least once a week on Facebook and am hoping to put a lot of great tips up here on the site. ::many hugs::

  46. This year my pain caused me to slow way down on the garden — I wasn’t able to weed as much for example and I was heartbroken over it. That’s part of what’s inspired me to better understand my condition and to work slowly at it next season. I totally understand your concern. Thank you for your note!

  47. Nature is a cure, isn’t it? I think it is about being consistent as well. I have a fantastic nutritionist I’m working with who is really helping. Thanks for all your concern! <3 <3 I appreciate it.

  48. Dave – Very very good advice. DON’T BECOME A SLUG! If only we all can remember that. It’s easy to let ourselves slip because it’s harder to take initiative and work at it.

  49. My diet includes no carbs and no sugars including no fruit juice or low to no fruits (including dried fruits). Keep reducing the sugars down. I think there has to be a solution here for you. Increase your water. I take a multi-vitamin, fish oil, C, and D

  50. Thanks for the great wishes! I will do my best to work on more tools that help with reach — that’s the toughest for me — bending over to reach. Eat healthy fats and calcium to help with that osteopenia! I’ll be rooting for you as well!!

  51. You and I are similar — I’ve always been one to take care of other people and NOT ask for help. This year I’ve asked for help for the first time and it’s really been a challenging and difficult thing for me to do. You are correct – we will adapt and overcome. #nevergiveup I’m going to use it as a mantra!!!

  52. I was diagnosed with the same disease over twenty years ago, most days are pretty good. The one thing I didn’t listen to was to get out of the nursery industry and find a less physically demanding job. That was just not an option. I love being outside at home and at work and even though I can’t always do what I used to be able to do, my little garden brings me peace and happiness. My job keeps me current with gardening, new plants and ideas , brings me challenges and allows me to work with some really great people. Garden on, just a little slower and take care.

  53. thanks for being an inspiration , so positive and heartwarming . I too am an Advid gardener , garden soul mates lol. My arthritis is nothing like yours , but I also try to drinks& eat anti inflammatory teas & food . My fave is stinging nettle tea , ironically we weed it , but it’s an amazing tea and nourishes your whole body. I did try to make it myself from the ” weeds” but didn’t like it, so buy it already in bags and organic of course . Good luck , happy gardening , enjoy the nature faeries

  54. Shawna, I’d seen your news on FB, but then my mother was having major pain from disc degeneration herself, and I was immersed in helping her for a few weeks and lost track of your post. But now that I’ve read it, I just want to say I’m so sorry this is happening to you, but I admire your spirit and know you will find a way to turn this into helping others, as you do with everything you do. I’m cheering you on!

  55. Hi Shawna, I was diagnosed with that and a whole lot more. It has not been fun. May I tell you to listen to the doc when he says don’t lift over 10 lbs. I always had tough jobs raising my kids, grocery checker, manager of a mini market, and working in a casino. Always on my feet. I am 63 now almost 64. I had back surgery in 2008 and Dr. Brett Abshire in Temecula, got me walking without a walker again. I had to work until it got so bad I had to quit. Disability is a bummer. Anyway, if it gets bad Dr Abshire is one great doc. I pray you take care of yourself so you don’t end up having to have surgery. I never figured out how you quit doing things that needed to be done. This is the sixth year I don’t have a veggie garden. Just couldn’t do what needed to be done to keep the gophers and rabbits out. Good luck to you girl.

  56. Both my father, step-father and female cousin suffer the same diagnosis as you and it is not pretty and full of pain…..pain is an entirely different fight when you know it is chronic.
    I am 38, a Registered Nurse, very amateure gardener with a 2 year old and almost 5 year old. I have epilepsy and malignant hypertension managed very well, but things started to change around 30 yo to keep it short and I am now diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (a disease of my greatgrandmother)……….I HAVE 2 KIDS UNDER 4…..FREAK OUUUUTTT!!!

    1. Avoiding inflammatory foods is a good start b/c most people, including me had a quick results. Quick enough to maintain it for the most part
    2. Can’t agree more with the walking!!! if the bones/joints/discs are falling appart, then grow the muscle which will hold it in place better and reduce pain
    3. I live in Fort Worth Texas and it is hot here, but I get up at 5 for “me time” which is being in the moment with the earth and my garden and I truly know I will be ok………….meditation *****AAAHHH, Mama, Mama, the kids are awake;)
    ***on a side note my father was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, required 3 significant back surgeries and 2 years later diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer and will say this has given him the grace to be still, listen and love. Always love his attitude.
    You can do this!! I stay at home with my little ones now to reduce s9tress of also working and have been told I’m a good listener with tons of great medical resources due to my personal medical history (my mom has had Multiple Sclerosis for 28 years and is now currently battling stage 3 breast cancer)…………….And I worked as a surgical oncology RN, Abdominal Transplant RN, ICU and we do have an MD in the house to help with referrals.
    way too long winded, sorry you are heading uphill on another FGO (F*ng Growth Opportunity) and it sounds as if you will come out better downhill
    Sending you some thoughts,prayers and strength right now

    Sincerely diarrhea of the mouth,

  57. Thank you Pam — it’s a life long journey now, so I’m trying to hash it all out. I was walking at the track this morning thinking I really wished I was at home instead. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure that every minute will not be joyful, but keeping positive through the long fight is important!

  58. Mindy –

    Keep talking! And keep sharing this type of love with everyone — you made me feel great this morning. There is an amazing truth to trying to find your “still” place. I’m struggling with that right now. It will be a lifetime of effort to reach my goal in that I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for your lovely note.


  59. I have degenerative disk disease as well. Recently an x ray showed a curved spine deform. Diagnosed a year ago. Ibuprofen helps with an occasional muscle relaxer at night. Also I use a neck pillow.

  60. Hi Shawna,

    I’m new to your website and this was the 2nd page I came across. I originally stumbled here looking at y our front lawn veggie garden ideas. I have psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and a whole collection of other autoimmune issues. It’s been especially challenging lately as I felt I was losing so much of myself with my declining abilities. It was recommended to me that I search out a new passion, something I can pour myself into and give me purpose everyday. So, I have decided to sink my teeth into my vegetable garden. I am 27 and have…well…no real experience at all and no idea what I’m doing lol. My plan is to spend the winter reading, researching, planning and then starting some seedlings to prepare for next spring and summer and I’m getting really excited about it! I’ll also be doing this on a tight budget. Anyway, I’m so glad to have come across your site today and I’m eagerly reading through your articles now. I see already you’re going to be a great help to me reaching my goals and I’d like to extend my hand to you as well if there is any help or support I can provide to you as you embark on this new part of your life and learn to live with chronic pain. I’m also a holistic nutritionist if there is anything I can do to help with in that realm too ๐Ÿ™‚ feel free to contact me anytime.
    Wishing you all the best!

  61. Kate,

    I was so very thrilled to hear from you. I understand what you are going through and sympathize with the drama of trying to live with less pain. Being on an anti-inflammatory diet has really helped. And about gardening — it’s easy once you jump in and get started. Using raised beds, living wall systems, and other types tools that enable you to raise the garden up really helps!

    Best of luck to you and please reach out if you need help. <3 <3

  62. Hi. Such an inspirational piece. I am right back at the start of your journey. I recently got diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my lower back which has developed quickly and is painful. I am still working this through in my head, with good days and bad days.

    One year ago I invested a lot of money changing my career and setting up a garden design and maintenance business, my passion. It seems the world throws us obstacles and we have to deal with these.

    I hope I can evolve this into a better place for both myself and fledgling business.

    Thanks Mark

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