After arthritis confined him to his home for over four months, 26-year-old Cody loves anything that takes him outside – especially road trips and camping with his young family. It’s been a decade since Cody’s journey with arthritis began and he is thrilled that his double hip replacement and the right medications make adventures with his family possible.
It all started when 16-year-old Cody suffered terrible hip and back pain. Doctor visits resulted in physio, pain-killer prescriptions and the assumption that he had pulled a muscle in his back. But years of persistent agony convinced Cody his discomfort was more than a back injury.
His tireless self-advocacy resulted in a trip to a specialist who ran many tests and confirmed Cody’s speculation. At the age of 19, Cody was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis – a form of arthritis that attacks large joints that requires regular treatment and daily medication.
“My first thought was how does a healthy 19 year old end up with arthritis?” explains Cody. “After some discussion and research I learned it is simply a condition that can affect many people.”
At the age of 20, Cody spent his wedding day on crutches. Soon after, Cody would have to leave work as he could no longer walk on his own and was confined to a wheelchair. In what should have been the happiest times of their lives Cody relied on his new wife Jenn for everything.
“I was attending Holland College at this time and unfortunately had to drop out as I could no longer get around easily to my classes or missed too many classes due to the pain,” recalls Cody. “Simple things, like rolling over in bed became excruciating. These months were the darkest, most painful times of my life,” Cody remembers.
After months of calling almost daily, Cody received the news that acted as the light at the end of the tunnel – he had a surgery date to replace his left hip. Within one month of surgery it was determined his right hip was worn beyond repair after compensating for the left and Cody’s right hip would be replaced within the year.
“The moment I woke up from the second surgery the pain was gone, I can’t explain it any better than that it was a miracle!” remembers Cody. “The pain was gone for the first time in two years!”
Three days later, Cody was discharged from the hospital and within just six weeks he was back to his full time job. Cody and Jenn have since founded their own company and have welcomed two children, Micah and Macie.
Cody’s self-advocacy and amazing story of recovery is why he has recently been named the Walk Hero for the 2017 Walk to Fight Arthritis on the University of PEI’s Outdoor Track in Charlottetown on Sunday June 4th.
“It’s important to me to give something back, there has been tremendous improvements in research and development in treatment for arthritis just even in the time since I was diagnosed,” Cody explains. “The Arthritis Society’s programs benefit people of all ages and I want to help fundraise to keep those programs coming.”
You can make a difference for people like Cody and the 25,000 Islanders living with the physical and emotional pain of arthritis. Fundraise, donate and register to join Cody, his family and friends to take steps towards an arthritis-free future. Register now!