Just because the symptoms of her arthritis aren’t visible doesn’t Chyrle Kyritz’s pain is any less intense.
Kyritz, who resides in the RM of St. Francois Xavier, has lived with arthritis for more than 30 years and has learned during that time how to cope with the pain. For example, she now cradles a bag of groceries in her arm rather than carrying it by the handles which is far more painful for many arthritis sufferers.
"I’m an expert at coping," she said.
Kyritz will be sharing her knowledge at a series of upcoming workshops offered by The Arthritis Society in St. Francois Xavier.
The Arthritis Self-Management Program consists of six two-hour workshops which will be held at the local community club starting at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning Tues., Nov. 13. The program is free to attend and arthritis sufferers are encouraged to bring a spouse, family member or friend.
The program was developed by Stanford University and is designed to help people better understand their arthritis, learn ways to cope with chronic pain and to take a more active role in managing their condition.
Kyritz said she used to be reluctant to ask anyone for help when arthritis prevented her from completing a task. But she stressed it’s important for others to know when they should offer assistance.
"That’s why it’s great to bring someone in your family or a spouse," she said.
Just being able to share their experiences can be therapeutic for people, she added.
The workshop will offer discussions on exercising, healthy eating, how to prevent fatigue, protecting joints, dealing with stress and depression, taking medication and evaluating alternative treatments.
Tanya Misseghers, marketing co-ordinator for the The Arthritis Society’s Winnipeg office, said the self-management program has been offered across Canada for the past 20 years.
"We generally offer the ASMP in rural areas where we have volunteers available. Right now, we are trying to organize programs in Brandon, Rivers, Minnedosa, Dauphin and The Pas," she said.
The number of Canadians living with arthritis continues to grow. More than 250,000 Manitobans have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The commonly held view that only elderly people have arthritis is wrong, said Misseghers, as 60% sufferers are below the age of 65.
Kyritz said people should be aware The Arthritis Society has a number resources available that can’t be found at a doctor’s office.
For more information and to register for the ASMP in St. Francois Xavier, call 204-942-4892 or toll-free 1-800-321-1433, or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.