It came as a surprise when Soleil Guérin was diagnosed with hip arthritis at the age of 44. Since childhood, Guérin lead an active life involving swimming, dancing, practicing theatre and yoga.
She knows all too well the importance of taking care of your body and overall health. Soleil was diagnosed with mononucleosis in her late teens, founded her own in-house corporate yoga company and trained as a massage therapist.
Soleil had been suffering from recurring hip pain and movement restrictions for several years, often limping. Following several years of consulting with a number of therapists, and with no improvement, an X-ray revealed the presence of osteoarthritis in her hip. “It was quite a shock. We had just sold our apartment to buy a larger one in order to set up a massage therapy studio at home,” explains Soleil. She was able to better understand the disease following the discovery of the Arthritis Society’s website while browsing the Internet.
Her orthopedist recommended that she wait as long as possible before undergoing surgery. In 2019, Soleil decided to get a second opinion. “I could not walk without limping and most of my activities were painful, working was next to impossible.” Soleil’s physical challenges also lead to mental health challenges, which is an aspect of life with arthritis that she wishes others could understand.
Soleil and her specialist decided to go ahead with her hip replacement because cortisone injections were not helping her. While her case was deemed urgent due to her age and circumstances, Soleil’s hip replacement surgery was delayed by four months.
The hip replacement led Soleil to regain restful sleep, greater movement, strength, and balance. Her rehabilitation took a little longer as she continued teaching yoga and practiced massage therapy during that time. She had to reduce her workload and adapt movements and teaching methods for some months. “It was great to see the impact my successful rehabilitation had on people around me. My loved ones were very impressed by my courage, tenacity and inner strength.”
Since then, Soleil stays alert for any surfacing pain and tries to manage it instantly using various techniques in the days that follow. Her training gives her an extra advantage when it comes to proper treatment: she takes breaks, tries to lie down for short periods of time throughout the day receives massages or practices self-massage with balls and rollers. She focuses on the healthy parts of her body and eliminates any possible stress factors from her environment.
Practicing meditation, Pilates, cycling and swimming on a daily basis helps Soleil manage her pain well. Massage therapy, physiotherapy and chiropractic therapy are also very effective for her.
Despite a successful surgery, Soleil’s arthritis slows her down and affects many aspects of her life; her work in particular as it is quite physically demanding. She constantly questions her future in her profession. Should she give it up? Should she go back to school or find a job that requires less physical effort?
It is for this reason she advocates the importance of research in order to find ways to repair damage caused by arthritis. “I would worry less for the future,” she says.
Despite feeling discouraged at times, Soleil maintains a positive attitude which she believes is the key to success. “Once you acknowledge what lies ahead of you, and modify your habits, regaining your life’s balance is feasible.”
Thanks to her hip replacement, arthritis will not stop Soleil from living a healthy and active life.