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What Happens When You Lose Something You Love?

As I write this, I am at home in front of my computer instead of riding my bicycle.  Instead, I am sitting here nursing a broken foot one day away from my second infusion and thinking I may not get on my bike until at least Friday or maybe even next week, depending on how my foot heals.

Reoccurring issue

Foot injuries are not new to me.  I have had three in my right foot in the last 2 years, and even before this one, I was on track for a foot surgery at some point in the future.  So breaking bones is not a new thing.  This break is again in my right foot (no driving which means once again Sheryl is hauling me around).

I cannot say for certain that the break is associated with RA, Diabetes, or Ankylosing Spondylitis.  It may be unrelated or some odd combination of the three.  The radiology report notes a loss of bone mass in my foot which is likely contributing to the issues: two ankle breaks, stress fractures, and now broken bones.

I had an osteoporosis test a few years ago, and the results were negative.  Making this seem like a localized issue in my body.  It may be associated with neuropathy caused by diabetes, a condition I have had for several years.  More likely it is just the combination of everything.  One condition impacts the others and the others impact the original until my body is a witch’s brew of craziness.

What I do know is that not riding my bicycle is a terrible let down for me and at least this week I will need to really work on remaining positive.  Because the real universal condition that impacts everything is depression, and I cannot afford to get depressed in the middle of summer, the time of year that has almost always been the best part of my year.  It is too easy to get depressed because one thing happens, and then like that witch’s brew of contributing issues, the entire sum gets blown out of proportion.

I must keep in perspective that this is at most a two-week issue.  I broke it a week ago, and I will likely lose most of this week on my bicycle, but I will also likely be back on the bicycle next week. This little setback is just that, a little setback. So not riding the bicycle is the symptom and I cannot let depression become the issue.

Depression, the major issue

I wonder if this struggle to remain positive is a universal issue in the RA community?  I know in my case I am great at catastrophizing little setbacks.  Like last week during shuffling between two doctors to understand what happened to my foot and what had to be done; I was convinced I would have surgery almost immediately.  But the specialist confirmed the breaks (there are two), and he said this would heal, no surgery necessary, wear a boot, be sure not to bump it and use ice and check back in 3 weeks.  That seems like logical advice, and I was grateful for the assurance that things will be alright in the end.

How do you keep from catastrophizing setbacks?  Am I looking for any coping mechanisms you use to keep the little setbacks of life with RA in perspective?   I am hoping someone has that killer app that I can install on the telephone and make my little worries go away.  If not maybe we can invent one.  I, for one am a buyer if one exists.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • hope2bikemore
    7 months ago

    Hello Lawrence “rick”. I appreciate your sharing with the community the challenges facing you. I am fairly new to all this – only started getting symptoms in August, 2018 and now finally getting a diagnosis and treatment for RA and possibly Spondyloarthritis. Taking Sulfasalazine, which my rheumy ended today and starting to prepare for Cimzia. Meanwhile taking MX with not a lot of progress (though enough to give me hope, though the rheumy certainly has seen so much more than I.

    I, too, as you can see by my handle, love to bike and miss it terribly. I’ve tried a few times to ride and have done so but the next day have suffered. I’m starting to think it’s the disease not the exercise. I used to ride every day, commuted by bike for years. I worked on my bike myself and now that is most difficult because of hands and wrist. I’m fortunate right now not to experience the breaks or surgeries which you are so strong in persevering through.

    I struggle a bit with depression but find a couple of things helpful –

    1. Mindfulness – trying to be in the present moment, using meditation techniques to help but living a day, an hour, a moment at a time.

    2. Hand in hand, I try to be grateful for what I have and to concentrate on that. So I appreciate the few moments when I can bike, as pathetically as it may compare to what I used to do.

    3. Also, hand-in-hand, I try not to project (and this is really hard for me!). I try not to think I am going to get better or worse but to feel what I am at this very moment, good or bad. Imagining a future that may not come puts a terrible burden on me. I am best just getting through this day, this moment.

    All of this requires effort that would be nice to be spending on biking. But that’s not in the cards so I work with what I have right now.

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator author
    7 months ago

    Hello hope2bikemore.

    I think your idea of biking more is wonderful. For me I know the minute summer comes along I want to be out riding my bicycle. I have had two summers of setbacks. Last summer I had the surgery described and the summer before I also had some issues that kept me off the bike. As I write this today I am once again in a boot and chomping at the bit to get back out there. I had a revision surgery on my right foot again two months ago.

    What I have learned is that I can ride my bicycle but that I had to modify some of my practices. I have had to dial back to 6 to 10 miles about five times per week. I ride in my neighborhood more. I ride slower and most of all I had to change out my equipment.

    I went to a more upright bicycle, a commuter instead of a racer and now I ride along with my Iphone blaring tunes. Yes not the most elegant way to ride, but it is fun.

    I have had RA for 19 years and I can say once you get to the right medicine that works, you will regain tremendous function and desire.

    I hope Cimzia will be that medication and if not the wonderful thing is there are others. So hang in, I trust you will get to ride your bicycle soon.

  • Patricia Darstein
    1 year ago

    Hm..If it helps any, you are not alone. I am trying to recouperate from surgery #4 on my left foot. I developed an infection so I’m popping strong anti-biotics and I STILL have the surgerical stitches in the will be 3 weeks Tomorrow. God never closes a door without opening a window. You just have to remember it can always be so much worse! That is how I cope. I am thankful I am alive today!

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator author
    1 year ago

    Patricia: I think we are almost int eh same boat. This was surgery number 3 on the foot, I am off to get another minor one in September and I anticipate a large surgery in January. Now luckily I do not have an infection. Other than that, we can be foot (or boot) buddies, me with my bad right and you with the left. 🙂

  • Leanne Donaldson moderator
    1 year ago

    Wow @PatriciaDarstein, I really admire your perspective. Tolerating 4 surgeries on one foot is a lot for one person to bear. Your positive outlook is inspiring. Thanks for sharing! -Leanne, Community Moderator

  • KarenG.
    1 year ago

    I have brittle bones in my left foot. Technically I have osteoporosis, but my left foot is the rebellious child that likes to break, fracture or cause any trouble. What has helped me is a carbon graphite spring plate. It was recommended by the orthopedic doctor who fixed my last fractures. He said it’s like wearing a boot, in your shoe. It has helped tremendously. I have not had any breaks or fractures over the past 1 1/2 years, since I started using the plate. You can order it online.

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator author
    1 year ago

    Karen: Actually I wear one of these as well. Those things are amazing.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    1 year ago

    Oh my gosh. This article spoke to me. Just yesterday I burst into tears and couldn’t gather myself because I ran out of my pain medication for just a day. I felt pretty okay except the inflammation in my rib cage made me immobile. I mean, yes, I took my finally filled prescription and the pain subsided but yikes, I was inconsolable!

    Thanks for the great article, Rick! I hope these two weeks fly by! ~Monica

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator author
    1 year ago

    Monica I feel for you. I think pain is the worst when we do not see a good way out. I know I once had an infusion that was painful to my legs. I nearly lost my mind with pain. Yeah we don’t do that anymore (or ever again).

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator author
    1 year ago

    Update- I wrote this item on July 12,2018 and despite my doctors revised orders I got on my bicycle on August 12, 2018. I was supposed to be off for at least another ten days but I could not resist. My foot will be fine, and it feels mostly healed.

    Getting on my bicycle was like starting the season all over again. There is nothing I dislike more than physically starting the season twice. Still it is worth it to get back to peddling.

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