Gina and tiger mascot

Along with living with arthritis I am also a person with passions, like hockey. I grew up watching the Buffalo Sabres hockey team here in my home town of Buffalo, NY.  I’ve always gone to a lot of games and even did hair for tickets often when I used to own my salon.

When I moved back home a few years ago after my husband got out of the military, I went to my first game in almost 20 years and boy was it different.

Climbing the stairs, sitting in the chairs for hours, not drinking, and being upright for about 3 hours or so. I couldn’t believe how much things had changed for me with my most favorite thing to do in life.

My most favorite thing in life had become an exhausting task and driving down to the arena then driving home after sitting for 3 hours, was hard as well.

 Now I have to plan:

  • I’ve gone to about 10 games in the past 2 years.
  • A game day for me includes lots of rest, stretching, over the counter topical pain reliever, and even a tweek of timing for my meds.
  • I don’t suggest bringing meds with you to any event so I take some before I leave, then by the time I get home it’s almost time for my next dose.
  • I also make sure I wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I’m not really concerned about fashion these days.
  • My illness affects my whole body so I have to consider all of my joints when planning an outing. For example, I wear appropriate braces for my knees. They really help when I go to get up, climb stairs, or dance when someone on my team scores.

Things are different at the game as well:

  • While everyone is pounding beers I’m drinking some water or maybe a hot chocolate. My life is a sober one even at hockey games.
  • During the games I get up every once in a while to stretch.
  • I take the time to walk around a bit during the intermissions.
  • If I have to sit in the so called nose bleeds, which involves climbing a lot of stairs, I don’t drink as many beverages. Otherwise, I’d be running up and down the stairs every half hour going to the bathroom!

Sometimes, watching the game at home is easier.

All of these things are great when venturing outside the house, but honestly I really enjoy just watching the game at home, with my two dogs on my couch in my pjs. I have found that it’s nice to go to the games only every once in a while because the day after going to a game I’m exhausted and in a lot of pain. I try and look on the bright side that I am still able to venture out and see a game from time to time, but I am content to stay home and watch it on TV. I like being comfortable, I don’t have a problem being home alone with my dogs and my blanket. I am happy with a big bowl of popcorn and a can of Sprite Zero. My party of choice. It’s the simple things in life that make me happy.

I may not be able to play hockey anymore but I’m still active.

I also used to play hockey. I had the most penalty minutes in the whole league. I owned two teams in NC and really enjoyed the camaraderie among my teammates. I especially liked the gathering in the parking lot after games for cold beers even with the opposing team. I miss this a lot.

I had to quit playing hockey back in 2007 and it made me really sad. I also quit working out for a while because it was too painful for me. I started up again with a new attitude. Something is better than nothing. It’s OK if I’m not running marathons, scoring goals on the ice, lifting heavy weights. The most important thing is that I stay active, I go and I try. I don’t give up. I try new things. I meet new people. I make plans with people at the gym to take classes. I am very passionate about working out and I wish I could do more but I have not given up and nor will I ever.

Doing things we are passionate about is good for the soul.

Mentally we need to keep ourselves in check. Life is about challenging yourself even when it comes to things you love. If you find yourself giving up, find some people who inspire you to keep going, some people who also enjoy the things you are passionate about. When you’re surrounded by people who are also passionate about the things you love, you are all there for the same things. I enjoy the classes I take not only because I am being active but because I am surrounded by people who are also into the class. It becomes fun and more exciting.

Hey, life happens. Things change, and it’s OK. We can still enjoy the things we feel passionate about, if we plan things out in advance. Hey, we might enjoy it even more when we are prepared for this life we have. I learn new things everyday on how I can enjoy my loves better with this new body that I have.