Favorite Things Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Glowing Review for the Oska Pulse

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I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in now way influenced by the company.

To say I was skeptical when I first saw the Oska Pulse would be an understatement. How could a little, glowing, UFO looking device, help my intense, chronic pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis? In short, it could and it did.

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For over 60 years, PEMF signals (Pulsed electromagnetic fields), similar to those in the Oska Pulse, have been used to treat pain and edema in soft tissue. It’s been established that tissues, including blood, muscle, ligaments, bone, and cartilage respond to biophysical input. Where there is better blood flow (circulation), better structure, and turnover of old structures, significant improvement is possible. The signaling processes of the Oska Pulse are wide enough to respond to the majority of pain experiences and to help the body start its natural internal recovery processes. There are multiple scientific clinical studies that demonstrate the pain relief effects from PEMF signals, click here to learn more.

In short- pain radiates from a damaged area of the body and that same area then exhibits inflammation. When PEMF is applied, your body is stimulated to repair and renovate the damaged area. Immediate relief is delivered by reducing inflammation and long term relief is delivered from the repair mechanisms your body implements while using the Oska Pulse.

 

What do I think?

  • It’s simple. I can’t think of a device that I literally just put on the area I’m feeling pain in (over or under clothing) and touch a button to get started. I don’t have to dial up intensity or go through a series of prompts or buttons to get started.
  • The strap is fantastic. I have used my Pulse for the past few months and the strap hasn’t started to show any signs of wear and tear. Unlike some Velcro straps that seem to fall apart and have threads pulling out almost immediately, this strap seems to be very well made. It also securely holds my device, I’m never worried about it slipping off. The strap is long enough that I can wrap it completely around myself to hold the Oska Pulse on my hip but it’s not too bulky when I wrap it around a smaller joint, like my elbow for example.
  • The device is quiet- no buzzing, no continuous beeping. Simple beeps allow you to know that the device has turned on or off.
  • Most importantly, it works. I have noticed that I have a larger range of motion in joints that I use the device regularly on. I have less pain, especially when I use the Oska Pulse prior to or after things that cause me discomfort. Driving is especially painful for me but my shoulder and knee pain are dramatically reduced if I use the Oska Pulse during each commute.
  • It’s portable- I have used my Oska Pulse in my car, at my desk at work, on an airplane, laying in bed. It’s easy to use anywhere!

 

What could be improved upon?

  • Length of treatment. It would be nice if I could set my device to do more than one treatment without having to turn it back on. Thirty minutes can go by fast and I’d love to see how much benefit I would get if I was able to wear it continuously overnight. But you really can’t beat hitting a button one time to get a new treatment started.
  • The lights. Ok, I love the lights. I love the blue light and think it’s so unique. But- it can be distracting if you wear it on your shoulder while driving at night, for example. Or if you’re trying to secretly use it- that’s not very easy to do.
  • A carrying case. The button on my Pulse can be very sensitive at times and just jostling it in my work bag can cause it to turn on. It’d be nice to have some sort of hard sided case to protect it from turning on accidentally and wasting battery life.

If you’re debating on trying the Oska Pulse for yourself- let me remind you that the device is backed with a 90 day money back guarantee. A guarantee that includes all taxes, shipping, and a return label to ship the product back to their factory if you aren’t fully satisfied. And, if you enter my code “ATJAX” at checkout, you can save 5% off your order! Click here to visit their site!

 

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Honey Colony Superior CBD Oil

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I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

First things first, what is CBD? CBD stands for Cannabidiol which is extracted from the Cannabis plant. Although CBD does not have any euphoric properties, there is the possibility for a drug test to result in a positive test for THC. Although this product contains .03% THC (federal limit is .3%) you should still use caution if you are planning to get tested. The product is legal for sale in the United States.

I’ve been using Cannabidiol products topically for the past few months- they have been very helpful in reducing my Rheumatoid Arthritis and fibromyalgia pain. I was asked to try Superior CBD Oil, made by Honey Colony, which is a custom made CBD oil that nourishes my body’s endocannabinoid system, also known as ESC. The ESC is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the brain and the central and peripheral nervous systems. When you have a decrease in the functioning of your ESC, you can have chemical imbalances throughout your entire body. The Superior CBD Oil acts on the ESC to increase its function and promote whole body health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Benefits from using the Superior CBD Oil formula:

  • Balances the Nervous System
  • Balances the Musculo-Skeletal System
  • Promotes Mental Clarity, Focus & Memory
  • Supports Calm & Relaxation
  • Supports Healthy Immune & Stress Response
  • Supports Healthy Inflammatory Response
  • Provides Anti-Oxidant Support
  • Supports Healthy Energy & Stamina

The Honey Colony’s Superior CBD Oil aims to enhance, regulate, and support a long healthy life by including the following ingredients, known as “The Superior Six” in its formula:

  • Sichuan Teasel Root- used to stimulate the liver and kidneys, promote blood circulation, and strengthen bones and tendons.
  • Dang Shen Root- provides energy, mood enhancing, and restorative support
  • Astragalus Root- supports healthy respiratory function and a healthy inflammatory response
  • White Peony/Bai Shao Yao Root- promotes healthy liver and musco-skeletal function; supports brain health and balance
  • Propolis- supporter of healthy immune and stress response, healthy blood levels, and supports gastrointestinal health
  • Bitter Orange Peel- antibacterial and antioxidant properties

Suggested use is four drops under the tongue, three times a day. When you place the drops under your tongue, it is advised that you hold them there for ninety seconds before swallowing. This method allows the CBD oil to enter the bloodstream quickly.

One of my initial concerns was what this product would taste like- especially if it I had to hold it under my tongue for over a minute. I’m nauseous for most of the day, thanks to my medications, and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to keep this under my tongue. I was pleasantly surprised- this product did not taste medicinal at all, it had a slight bit of sweetness to it.

When I tried this product, I did not notice any results immediately. After two weeks of use, I began to wonder if it was going to work at all. I then noticed that overall, I felt more balanced. I felt like I could focus better, my mood was more stabilized, and I had an overall feeling of calmness- not as tightly wound as I seemed to be prior to trying this product.

To learn more about Honey Colony’s Superior CBD Oil and to purchase it for yourself, click here.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Pain Relief with Quell

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Disclosure: I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. 


First things first, what in the world is a Quell (aside from a really cool word!)? In short, the Quell is a 100% drug free, wearable pain relief device. It’s designed for use by patients with chronic as well as widespread pain. But how exactly does it provide relief?

  • the Quell is worn only on the upper calf where it stimulates sensory nerves
  • while wearing it, Quell taps into your body’s natural pain relief response
  • those stimulated sensory nerves carry neural pulses to your brain
  • those neural pulses trigger a natural response that blocks pain signals, leading to widespread pain relief

Sounds similar to a TENS unit, right? Here’s what sets Quell apart:

  • The technology that Quell uses, called WINS (wearable intensive nerve stimulation), is five times more powerful than traditional, over the counter TENS units
  • Quell is the only over the counter electrical nerve stimulation device that has been cleared by the FDA to be used a night. This means that you can use it twenty four hours a day, seven days a week
  • Quell’s OptiTherapy customizes and adjusts therapy so you receive optimal pain relief

Since Quell is available over the counter, you don’t need a prescription from your physician. This also means that your insurance will not cover the device but it is flexible spending account eligible.

Once the device arrives at your front door, it’s very easy to get started!

  • Check the battery- my device arrived charged and ready to go. If yours isn’t, you just plug it in (cord and adapter are provided)
  • Insert the device into the provided band and attach an electrode (super easy, it literally snaps in place)
  • Remove and save the electrode’s liner and attach to your upper calf
  • Using the button on the device, you calibrate it, and then you’re done!

Quell has a fantastic app that allows you to control your device and check your device’s battery and electrode stats right from your phone.


With Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, I am in pain all day, every day, at varying degrees. I have daytime prescriptions and nighttime prescriptions, as well as breakthrough pain medications. I struggle a lot with being in pain while driving, when I cannot take strong pain medications. I also struggle a lot at night. The Quell system has helped me lower those pain levels to where they are manageable and not as overwhelming as they usually are. The device can be put in “sleep mode” which allows it to deliver pain relief continuously all night while also tracking your sleep.

My favorite things about the device:

  • rechargeable- the battery doesn’t deplete quickly
  • the design and look of the device- modern and clean looking
  • ease of use- very simple to get started
  • customer service- phenomenal and quick to respond
  • sleep setting and the fact that it can track your sleep as well

Items that could use improvement:

  • the price- $250 initial investment and then monthly electrode purchases can add up
  • the band- after a month of use, it’s starting to show some wear and tear
  • ability to wear the band somewhere other than the calf- as someone who wears a lot of tights and leggings, it’s not exactly discreet

To learn more about the Quell system and/or to purchase one of your own, click here.

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Type 1 Diabetes

DKA

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My father was 68 years old when he passed a few days ago. He had Type One Diabetes for almost 60 years. Sixty years of urine test strips, insulin injections, fingerpricks. Sixty years of low blood sugars and high blood sugars.

This is a portion of his death certificate. 


Three little letters that mean so much. D. K. A. And why was my father, a diabetic who for years had his A1C never higher than 5.8, in DKA? Because nursing homes and even hospitals don’t know anything about insulin dependent diabetes. His nursing home didn’t get his insulin from the hospital when he was transferred there. They had him wait a day to get it. A day. An entire 24 hours without insulin. And no one batted an eye. Not a doctor, not a nurse, not a medical assistant. No one. 

This has to change. It has to change starting with educating the public, medical school, with each other. As diabetics we have a responsibility to explain our disease every chance we get. I owe it to my dad to try to make sure those  three little letters aren’t on another person’s death certificate. 

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA patients deserve better bandaids

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It’s 5:00am on Sunday morning. As the rest of my house soundly sleeps, I’m awake. I’m exhausted, woozy, easily confused. One look in the mirror shows that I’m as white as a ghost. I’m so nauseous, there is a diet ginger ale bottle within a foot of me.

Last night I injected methotrexate (see the gorgeous color of this chemotherapy medicine below). This is the cause of most of my symptoms right now. 

In addition to all of my methotrexate hangover symptoms, I still have my “normal” RA issues. I’m in a lot of pain right now but unsure if taking pain medications would upset my stomach more than it is already. Just holding my phone to write this post is causing the fingers on my left hand to swell.

We need a cure. My treatments, like methotrexate, aren’t doing much at all for my quality of life. Sure, my joints feel a bit better and hopefully some damage is being prevented when I inject my neon yellow solution every week. But I also lose an entire day of the week to recover from the hangover. A day that could be spent with my family but instead I’m relegated to the couch and bed. I lose my hair, my eyebrows, and my eyelashes. My infusions are great and with them comes an increased chance of getting cancer and/or extremely sick with an infection.

These medications are not cures. They are bandaids. Cheap bandaids that don’t stay on very well and are a pain in the ass to get out of the wrapper. If you can’t find us a cure, at least get us some good bandaids. The name brand kind, preferably with a Minion image.

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Family Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes is Scary

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This photo is of me and my dad (yes, it was the 80s). My dad has had Type One diabetes my whole life. 

My early memories of diabetes weren’t good, they were scary. My dad would have low blood sugars a lot and often need assistance. An ambulance had to come to our house more than once. I can remember my dad biting his tongue so bad during a low that there was blood all over his bed. 

I used to have nightmares about getting diabetes. My dad used to always tell me there was a “one in a million” chance of me getting it. In 1988, I won the Diabetes Lottery. 

Over the years, I have watched diabetes own my father. He had a brief stint working from home when he had passed out from a low, at a PGA tournament. The department of motor vehicles considered it to be a seizure and briefly suspended his driving license. He later decided to work from home full time. That fueled his “diabetes OCD”- the need to eat the same things at the same time every day. He planned any outing around his meals and his diabetes. He could not and would not go off schedule. Dinner was at 6:30pm every single night of my childhood. 

My dad has always refused an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. He would look at mine and tell me that with his “A1C under 5” he didn’t need all of that technology. Truthfully, he needed it much more than I did. 

My dad has always run his blood sugars extremely low- his A1C has been in the 4s multiple times. Last year, a bad low caused him to fall, hit his head, and become unconscious. He hasn’t been the same since. He has a catheter, cannot walk without a walker, has developed MRSA, in addition to suffering brain damage and broken bones. He has been discharged to nursing homes multiple times but his diabetes is so out of control, that he is readdmitted to the hospital almost weekly. As I write this, he is currently in the hospital, finally out of ICU and in a regular room. 

Diabetes is more than shots. It’s more than having Diet Coke instead of regular Coke. In an instant you are diagnosed with a life altering disease and in another instant, that same disease can kill you. It’s not all about the numbers. It’s not about having the best A1C. It’s about balance. Diabetes may be extremely loud and obnoxious but you are in charge. So in honor of my dad- eat dinner a little later today, go to church a little earlier, and have a few more Reese’s cups then you intended to. 

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Savor

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This morning I plugged a few numbers and answers into a form on JDRF.org and was presented with this:
Whoa. These numbers are estimates, they don’t include rollercoaster days and nights where I’m not sleeping and pricking my finger over and over. 

They also don’t account for my life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. The injections, the blood tests, the pills, the infusions, and the time, not just sleep, that I’ve lost to pain. 

They don’t account for the cost of medications and copays, the countless hours spent in doctor’s offices. And the time I spend worrying about my diseases now and what life will look like with them in future. 

When I look at this, it reminds me that life is hard. Really hard. If you are in good health, savor it. Enjoy your sleep, your freedom. Appreciate your life, every minute of every day. Because, like my diagnoses of Type 1 Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis, poor health can come out of nowhere. 

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Hope Rheumatoid Arthritis

I am not my burden

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Steve Rosenfield joined fellow Rheumatoid Arthritis advocates at our Joint Decisions Empowerment Summit in  Philadelphia almost two weeks ago. Simply put, the What I Be Project by Steve Rosenfield is a “photo project which focuses on building security through insecurities”. If you haven’t heard of this project before, do me a favor and click on the link- it’s an amazing idea.

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“I am not my burden”

My biggest insecurity? Asking for help. Accepting help. Feeling deserving of help. My diseases are a burden to myself and to everyone around me- family, friends, coworkers. They are a financial, emotional, physical drain.

My medications are so expensive, why should I feel that it’s ok to spend extra money on getting my hair done or buying lunch? I don’t deserve “treats” because I am a financial drain on my family.

“Can I take your mail for you?” My coworkers regularly took my mail to our mailroom at work after my knee surgery when I wasn’t permitted to use stairs. But now? They still take it. And I feel horribly guilty. Why? Because I feel the need to do everything myself, to prove that my disease isn’t winning. Such an intense need to do everything that I feel bad when others do something as simple as taking my mail along with theirs.

“How are you feeling?” Fine. Right? I’m fine. I’m never actually fine. I am constantly in pain, just a varying levels. But I don’t want to talk about that. I don’t want my family or friends to feel bad for me, pity me. I don’t want them to think of me as a burden and reach out to me less and less.

The truth is, I know better. I know that true family, friends, coworkers want the best for me. I know that they don’t ask me how I’m feeling, to get a canned response. I know this. But, the guilt remains. The burden remains. And by admitting it to the public via this photo project, maybe I can let a little bit go.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

It’s Not Pretty

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This is what I look like after:

  • Spending my commute screaming f*ck because the sciatic pain was at its worst
  • Trying to work all day with a fever
  • Being unable to get my blood sugar down because the pain is causing it to rise
  • Drinking a ridiculous amount of caffeine so I don’t fall asleep driving home later
  • Sitting on an ice pack all day because I can’t get my back to stop hurting
  • Getting ready to drive home with my sciatic nerve feeling like someone is stabbing me up and down my leg


Just living with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Type 1 Diabetes is hard enough but working full time and caring for a family is a battle a lot of patients, like me, fight every day.

I’d be disrespecting myself and my community if I only showed my “good” photos and didn’t share my struggles. So here I am. It isn’t pretty.

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Knitting Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Self Care

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This is a sponsored post for Self Care Catalysts. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I couldn’t stop asking “why?”. Why did this happen to me? What did I do to cause this disease? What could I have done to prevent it? The truth is, there isn’t a reason. I know that. But four years ago, I needed something tangible to tie my diagnosis to. The year right before my diagnosis, I was busy. Busy with a husband and two young children. Busy working full time in a job that required me to work early in the morning and late into the night. It required weekends and events that had me on my feet for almost 24 hours. In between meetings I would rush home to say goodbye to my daughter as she was getting on the school bus or quickly help with homework. I was exhausted but I never stopped.

I look back on the few months leading to my diagnosis and realize my body was trying, trying so hard, to tell me to slow down. I didn’t listen. Eventually, my body just stopped. I literally could not walk. It took another serious diagnosis (I already have Type 1 Diabetes) to realize that I needed to take care of myself. And that’s where self care comes in.

When I first saw the term self care, I thought it had to be a certain something. It had to be an appointment and it had to cost time and money. Like a spa day. Sure it can be a day getting pampered but that doesn’t fit into my life or budget.

Self care is something you choose to do for your physical, mental and emotional health. One of my favorite things to do for myself is knitting. My Grandmom taught me how to knit when I was a kid and I think of her every time I pick up a pair of needles. I love browsing stores for yarn, I love looking at all of the beautiful colors. There is something so calming about hearing the click of the needles, even when my cat is pawing at the yarn.

My Rheumatoid Arthritis has not always been knitting friendly. There are times when my elbows hurt from holding up the weight of the project I’m working on. But I’ve found ways around my pain. Lately I’ve been working on a patchwork blanket. The squares are simple to knit- garter stitch, nothing fancy. I use thicker yarn and bigger needles which are much gentler on my aching hands. The squares don’t weigh much at all and I get to switch colors continuously which is something I miss when working on one large project.

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Working on my patchwork blanket has also made my self care easier to do. I can quickly pull out my project without a lot of supplies or preparation. I’m currently in the stage of sewing all of my squares together and then I’ll curl up in it and watch Netflix, another great way to self care!

Want to learn more about the self care movement? You can visit them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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My name is Molly, I live with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I love to knit.

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