Joanna Oraniuk
  • Location Suffolk
  • Type of Arthritis Osteoarthritis
  • Date of Birth 1971
  • Age at Diagnosis 19

Arthritis is an overlooked and understimated condition. For Wake up to Arthritis we are sharing real stories of people living with arthritis in order to show others with the condition that they are not alone. Joanna shares her story:

Diagnosed at 19

I was in a lot of pain as a teenager. I always had painful knees and ankles. I was officially diagnosed with osteoarthritis at 19, after my doctor decided my hips needed looking at and found they were quite bad. I went on to have my first hip replacement at 27. My sister was diagnosed at 23 and my brother was diagnosed at 19, so it runs in the family. 

I had my other hip replaced at 29. It was brilliant and stopped the pain. Then I started getting problems in my knees. Before this, life was pretty awful. I was only 27 and couldn’t walk far; I needed walking sticks and sometimes a wheelchair. My hips locked all the time. I couldn’t work and got very depressed. 

Having surgery

From 25 onwards, I was in a bad way and couldn’t go out at all. I had no social life. All my friends were getting married and having children, and I was in my one-bedroom ground floor flat, watching telly. I had a very good surgeon who wanted me to wait for a hip replacement until my 40s, but could see I couldn’t wait any longer. He agreed to do the operation early. Within nine months, I had a job and was back to normal. 

Now I have problems with my other joints, but my hips are fine. I have a part-time job where I can sit down. I have a social life and play darts. I’ve gone on to have a child. That was the biggest thing for me - being able to have a child. 

I’ve had a shoulder replacement, but this hasn’t been as successful as the hip operation. There’s no pain, but I haven’t got all the movement back that I lost. I play darts with the shoulder I’ve had replaced, but I’m not as good as I was before. I’m waiting for both of my knees to be replaced now. 

I used to be a member of Arthritis Care when I was younger. It was good, as I met other people my age with the same problem. 

It does affect me emotionally. It was difficult when I was younger and wanted to go out clubbing with my friends. I talk to my family about it because my brother, mother and sister are all going through the same thing. 

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