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Enough is enough

Annie Lévesque cannot keep quiet any longer. She has joined voices with the 4, 000 Canadians who have called on the provincial and federal governments to find solutions to joint replacement delays affecting osteoarthritis patients.

In March 2020, at the very beginning of the pandemic, Annie’s doctor informed her that she had to undergo a joint replacement of both hips. “When I first learned of the one-year wait time for my surgery, I was surprised and felt extremely discouraged.” Since then, the delays for joint replacements have increased because of the temporary closure of operating rooms. Annie's hip replacement wait time may extend from one to two years.

Annie LévesqueAt 42 years old, the impact of these delays is significant for Annie. More importantly, the financial impact of pain relievers, treatments, medications, task assistance, and day-to-day adjustments add up. In addition, her income has decreased since she is no longer working full-time. Finally, the additional wait time has meant putting more effort into managing her energy levels in order to avoid chronic fatigue. "It's like walking on a tightrope; balance is key.”

These added delays and worries are not a first for Annie. She has named herself the big winner of the “disease loto.” Annie was already suffering from a rather rare genetic disease, spondylo-epiphyseal dysplasia (which alters the epiphysis and vertebrae) when she was diagnosed with lattice (an eye disease leading to retinal degeneration) as a teenager. Annie then developed osteoarthritis of the hips at 18. The icing on the cake was when she was then diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 32.

Whewy is right! However, Annie’s health struggles have not stopped her from living a full life. She studied administration at university, found her “perfect” partner, has two beautiful children, and built a successful career.

At work, trying to hide her disease and show that she could handle multiple tasks, proved to be exhausting for Annie. At the age of 39, she suffered from depression. She had to revisit her priorities, for the first time, fully acknowledge the illness with which she lived all along.

Since then, Annie sought to be the master of her body by remaining active while respecting her limitations. Annie has noticed that stress and pain do not mix. “It requires practice and with enough perseverance, it’ll work out!”  Yoga and meditation help her achieve this goal.

Despite being declared permanently disabled while waiting for her joint replacement, the young mother decided to return to work part-time to maintain a lifestyle balance. Annie strives to maintain a healthy lifestyle and channels her energy in the right places while awaiting her joint replacement.

Following a webinar offered by the Arthritis Society in May 2020, Annie decided to speak publicly about her situation and the joint replacement surgery delay she was facing. “This is a terrible situation. The government needs to hear us out on these replacement surgeries. They need to resume as soon as possible at a pace similar to before.”  (Check out Annie Lévesque’s interview with Téléjournal Québec from June, 2020.)

Stand with Annie and take action today.

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