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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Release the burden!

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Back in October, I had the pleasure of being with fellow RA patients in Philadelphia for our Joint Decisions Summit. On the last day, we had the chance to participate in the What I Be Project (you can read about my experience here).

After some discussion with the founder, Steve Rosenfield, I decided that I needed to be free of feeling like a burden. A financial, emotional, physical burden.

For the few months following the summit, I had a better perspective. Sure I would say that I was sorry to my husband too many times and yes, unnecessary tears were shed but I really tried value myself. Until this morning.

If you follow me on Instagram or twitter, you may know that I am almost always in some state of nausea. My pain patch makes me nauseous and when I take my morning or evening meds, my nausea spikes significantly (post methotrexate injection nausea is in a category of its own). I drink ginger ale every morning on my commute- I have my nausea attack down to a science. I have Zofran but I try to save it for when I’m traveling or really need to function after methotrexate.

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Favorite Things

The Whole Health Life Review

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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.

The Whole Health Life is, to put it simply, a book that discusses how our mind and body are so tightly connected and how that connection impacts our lives, especially the lives of those with a chronic illness.

Before I tell you what the book is about, let me tell you what it isn’t. The Whole Health Life is not:

  • a quick fix or a cure for your disease or a guarantee that you won’t get a disease in your lifetime
  • an alternative to every medication your doctor has prescribed for you
  • full of expensive supplements and treatments

What it is, is a comprehensive guide of simple, evidence-based solutions to improve your health from all angles. Continue reading

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Hope Rheumatoid Arthritis

A much needed dose of hope

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Today I *finally* saw my new rheumatologist (in case you missed it, my previous doctor retired in November, coincidentally when one of my worst flares decided to start). I had such high expectations for her. The funny thing is, they weren’t concrete expectations- like a good listener, researched focused, etc. I was just looking forward to seeing someone who understood my disease and could maybe help me. That simple.

She started the visit about 30 minutes late. Continue reading

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Favorite Things

PillDrill is a must for patients!

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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.” 

 

When I was offered the chance to have a PillDrill system sent to me to review, I had high hopes. Like many of you with a chronic illness or two, I take a lot of medications. Some are morning only, some have to be taken at night, and others are taken weekly or throughout the day as needed. I found myself jotting pain medications or antibiotics on post-it notes around the house. I tried to remember the last time I took a pain med by seeing if I happened to tweet about my pain earlier. There were days I’d start feeling strange at work and didn’t realize until I got home that night, that I hadn’t taken my morning medications.

In short, my system wasn’t working. All of that time and energy I spent trying to remember my prescriptions and jot down how I was feeling that day (to share at future doctor’s appointments) could have been spent on much better things.

Enter the PillDrill.

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Hope Rheumatoid Arthritis

Don’t make decisions for tomorrow based on today. 

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Today was one of the worst days I’ve had in my five year battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I woke up hurting but taped myself together and took three tabs of ibuprofen as I dropped my son off at school.

As soon as I got on the road to start my 50 minute commute, my elbows (freshly taped this morning) were so painful and felt so weak that I had to switch back and forth between each arm to hold the steering wheel. My hands started swelling and my knuckles wouldn’t crack, no matter how hard I tried. I grabbed my heavy compression gloves and put them on at a red light.

My knee decided to join the party a few minutes later. Since I was driving, there wasn’t much I could do except massage it (and punch it) with the tennis balls I keep in my center console.

By the time I arrived to work, my eyes were red from crying and I was exhausted.  Continue reading

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Gupta Programme

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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.

The Gupta Programme is a three month program that includes a variety of materials. The program is designed for patients with ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, and/or MCS. I can attest to how it helps with Fibromyalgia and with the pain and stress my other chronic illnesses cause me.

Overall, I found the program to be all encompassing- it allows learners of all types to get the most out of this program. The program includes the following: Continue reading

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

I’m tired.

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This morning I went to the ortho to follow-up on my shoulder and knee. My shoulder isn’t better even after an injection two weeks ago. My knee pain is some of the worst I’ve ever felt in my life. Last night it took three hydrocodone pills, ice, elevation, and plenty of tears to get my pain manageable. Earlier this week I called my new rheumatologist’s office to see if they had any cancellation spots, for the millionth time. She’s out of the office this week, so that little glimmer of hope got annihilated. I now have to fit Physical Therapy into my life to try to get my right knee strong enough to have surgery on the other knee. Continue reading

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Type 1 Diabetes

Fingersticks for everyone!

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My Continous Glucose Monitor (CGM) transmitter has died. It was only meant to last a year or two and we have been together for three and a half years. Medtronic is working with my doctor and insurance to replace it. In the meantime, I’m back to fingersticks all day, like some sort of caveman.

No big deal, right? Wrong. I have become so dependent on my CGM that I truly don’t know how to comfortably live with diabetes without it.

I have diagnosed anxiety that is typically managed pretty well with medication and mindfulness. Until my CGM stopped working. I found myself feeling so panicked throughout the day. Was my blood sugar plummeting? Was it rising? Did I take enough insulin to cover lunch? Did I take too much? Continue reading

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

I Did Something Crazy

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This weekend, I did something crazy. Instead of fighting against Rheumatoid Arthritis, I let it win. I let my body rest when I felt tired, I went out when I felt good, ate when I was hungry, and worked when I felt inspired. And I took pain meds when I was hurting.


I did a lot more resting than usual. Any other weekend, I would have gulped caffeine and pushed on. There would have been tears throughout the day- from the pain, from the exhaustion. But not this weekend.  Continue reading

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hands

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Since I was born, my Grandmom frequently told my mom, and later me, that I had beautiful, long, slender fingers- perfect for playing piano (I chose the trombone in middle school haha).

Fast forward quite a few years. For awhile now, my left hand has always more swollen than my right and I usually don’t think much of it. Well that’s not true. I often notice how huge my fingers are, how the veins protrude. I notice my hands all day long- while I’m driving, working, sitting on the couch.

I had my fourth infusion yesterday- this was an important one. If I don’t notice marked improvement, it’s time to move on to another biologic. I found myself checking every part of my body, looking for some sort of progress. Turning my head, bending my knee, etc. I checked my hands and noticed this: Continue reading

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