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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cane I ask you a question?

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I broke down and ordered a cane today. A cane. I am extremely self conscious about this. When I mentioned the idea to my husband, he said that his fear is that I’m going to lose the ability to walk. I get that. I have that fear too. And it’s hard not to get pulled into that thought process.

But. I am not buying a cane to use for the rest of my life. I’m not buying a cane to use every day (I have every intention of hitting the gym this week). I am buying a cane for the same reason that I have bought a brace for almost every part of my body. For the same reason that my freezer is half full of ice packs. Just in case. For my bad days. For the days I need a little more support.

I will continue to take this disease day by day. Hour by hour if I have to. Yes, one day I’ll be killing it at the gym. And then the next day, I’ll be ordering a cane. All I ask is that you see me as a person who has good days and bad days. Not a person who picks and chooses when her illness affects her (wouldn’t that be nice). Keep inviting me to Fitbit challenges and keep asking how I’m doing. Whether I’m on the treadmill or walking with a cane, I’m me, not my disease.

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Diabetes Blog Week Type 1 Diabetes

The Healthcare Experience

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Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!


Having multiple chronic diseases does involve a lot of doctors appointments. There are some overall healthcare items I’d like to change:

  • Communication. Especially between providers. And, especially, before my visit. It would be great if my endocrinologist read my rheumatologist’s visit note before my appointment. She would see that maybe I was having a rough month and that prednisone was on the horizon.
  • Fluidity. If I ask my endocrinologist about my trouble sleeping, she gives me some ideas but ultimately says that that issue falls under my PCP. Totally understandable. But maybe she could take the extra step to send a message to my PCP, letting her know that I needed some help. Save me a doctor’s visit and a copay.
  • Timing. My diseases aren’t just being managed from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Recently, my insulin pump decided to stop working. At 11pm on a Thursday night. My endocrinologist and Medtronic were easy to get in touch with but my insurance company? Nope. My endocrinologist called in a Lantus Rx, to my 24hr pharmacy, but it was delayed because my insurance initially rejected the claim. It wasn’t resolved until the next morning. Just because I wasn’t in the ER, doesn’t make my need for insulin any less important.
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Diabetes Blog Week Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Call me Diabetic but don’t call me Arthritic

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There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? 

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I have had Type 1 diabetes for 28 years. I am a diabetic. I am also the child of a diabetic. I’m a mother, a daughter, a wife, a blogger, a worker, a neighbor, a knitter, an exerciser. I’m also a person with children, a person with a blog, a person who goes to the gym, etc. I am a lot of things. And all of those things define me. And that’s ok.

I use “diabetic” and “person with diabetes” interchangeably. I’ll tell a physician that I’ve had diabetes for years but in the next breath I might say to someone in the waiting room “oh this is my pump, I’m a diabetic”. I wouldn’t think twice.

Ready for a curve ball? I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I think I would be pissed if someone referred to me as arthritic. Just typing that word bothers me. Sure my joints are arthritic but I’m not. I can’t really put my finger on why arthritic bothers me so much yet diabetic doesn’t. I have come to terms with diabetes- I have it, I’ve had it for a long time, and I’ll always have it. Sure my blood sugars can be wonky but in a weird way, I’m used to that. But things are different with RA. RA is painful, it’s debilitating. I would take diabetes over RA in a heartbeat, I wouldn’t need to think about it.

So maybe that is my issue. I have diabetes but it doesn’t have me, so the terms and language don’t bother me at all. But most days, I feel like Rheumatoid Arthritis has me. It controls me. It decides if I’m going to cry in pain on the way to work or if the ice pack strapped to my leg will be enough. And maybe, I need to come to terms with that.

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Diabetes Blog Week Type 1 Diabetes

The Other Half of Diabetes

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We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk?

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Diabetes is draining. It never goes away, you can’t take a break- it’s kind of like having a toddler and trying to go to the bathroom for one second. They’re right outside the door, screaming your name. 

In addition to the carb counting, temp basals, infusion set changes, beeping pump alarms at all hours, and your pump falling out of your pants on a regular basis (that can’t just be me, right?), diabetes effects your mood. A simple dip or a climb in blood sugar, can set the tears flowing or make you want to grab a bottle of water out of a stranger’s hand. 

Diabetes is draining. So what can a girl do? Laugh. Today I told people at work that my pancreas needed a new AAA battery. I also said that eating a chocolate covered cricket was 100% not worth a bolus (and I stand by this, I will not be swayed, don’t bother trying). 

What else can you do? Share. Get on Twitter- I guarantee at any hour of the night, someone is tweeting about diabetes. Just knowing that at 2am, someone else is dealing with a blood sugar that just won’t behave, means the world. Someone gets you. They get your disease. I encourage every person with diabetes to get connected- don’t go at this alone. 

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Diabetes Blog Week Type 1 Diabetes

Message Monday

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It’s the first day of Diabetes Blog Week! Woohoo! If you didn’t sign up, it’s never too late!

Let’s kick off the week by talking about why we are, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?

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I think sharing your story is the most important thing you can do as a patient. Why? Because each of us has a unique perspective on diabetes. There are still countless people- physicians, nurses, family members, friends still don’t understand diabetes or even know enough to help us. And even worse, there are countless incorrect myths floating out there.

My mission is simply, to put a face to diabetes. If one person wears their pump proudly, instead of hiding it, then I have accomplished my goal.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

FibroSleep Review & Giveaway!

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Disclaimer: 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.


If you have  chronic illness like me, sleep can often be elusive. Even if you can fall asleep somewhat easily, it’s not always as easy to stay asleep. Pain, for me, wakes me up often. And thus starts a vicious cycle. Pain keeping you up means less sleep, less sleep means more sensitivity to pain, and repeat. No fun.

Last month I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to try FibroSleep, courtesy of ProHealth. FibroSleep is a blend of natural ingredients that helps you sleep better in four ways:

  • Herbal Sleep Support: FibroSleep uses Sedapine which contains Ziziphus Spinosa, Corydalis, Valerian, and Passion Flower which are blended to provide effective support for sleep, relaxation, and general health
  • Digestive Support: Lemon Balm, Ginger, Peppermint, and Hops are used to help support the digestive tract during sleep.
  • Muscle Support: FibroSleep contains two forms of magnesium, ZMA and Magnesium Taurinate, to balance nerve transmission and muscle fiber contraction while you sleep.
  • Amino Acid Support: GABA, Melatonin, 5-HTP, and L-Theanine help with nerve cell health and neurotransmitter/hormone production and balance.

While using FibroSleep, I found that I awoke less often than I typically did. I really like that I’m able to use a natural product in place of prescription medications that often have strong side effects the next day. The suggested dose is 2 capsules, but I found that most nights, one capsule was enough for me. I do tend to fall asleep easily from medication, so that might explain why one was sufficient.

Want to try FibroSleep for yourself? ProHealth is giving away 10 bottles for free! Click here to enter their giveaway, good luck!

Can’t wait for the giveaway? Click here to purchase a bottle and save 20%!

Sweet dreams!

 

 

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Family Rheumatoid Arthritis

An Interview with my Husband

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Yesterday, I shared a brief interview I did with my daughter. Today it’s my husband, Sean’s, turn. Sean and I have been together for a long time (17 years) so my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis (2012) isn’t something he signed up for. I’ll let his answers speak for themselves but I will say that never has Sean doubted my pain. He’s never doubted how I feel and supports me 100%. He would do anything for me and I consider myself very lucky to have my best friend not only beside me going through life’s ups and downs, but beside me while I battle this jerk of a disease.

 

 

Do you ever feel frustrated or angry that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Angry that life has dealt you a seemingly unfair hand.

Are you ever scared that our children will develop a chronic illness because they have my genes?

I’m not scared but certainly concerned.

Do you understand my disease? Are there questions you want to ask but haven’t?

I understand it well and have no questions.

How does your wife having RA affect your outlook on life?

My outlook has not changed.  I am concerned about the future.

Is there anything you miss from before I was diagnosed?

Yes.  There are physical limitations and considerations that must be accounted for when planning events.  We used to playfully wrestle.

How is/will your life be better because of your first hand experience with a chronic illness?

I am more informed and empathetic towards other who may suffer from RA.  I can offer advice and support if need be.

How would you explain Rheumatoid Arthritis to others?

Having the flu constantly with extreme pain in your joints.  An extreme loss of energy.

Are you concerned with my ability to continue working?

Yes

What do you perceive as the worst part of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

As a spouse of someone with RA, the worst part is watching the person you love the most suffer.  Watching them inject themselves with chemicals that hopefully reduce the suffering all the while knowing it is harmful.  As far as the person who lives with RA themselves, I think the hardest part would be the sudden change in ability to perform simple tasks.  The inability to keep pace with the normal world and suffer with unrelenting and unpredictable bouts of pain.  Feeling alone and not truly understood.

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Family Rheumatoid Arthritis

What my daughter thinks of RA

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For Arthritis Awareness month, I wanted to do something special. I wanted to know how those closest to me, see my disease. 

My son, a typical almost 15 year old, laughed and said he’d rather not answer my questions. He does spend his time asking me questions though, which I love. He wants to see the fluid in my hip, calls me “Kobe” when I’m all taped up, and will ask me point blank about my disease. I always know where I stand with him. 

My daughter and husband can be a little more guarded with me. I had initially only asked my husband to answer questions for my blog but when my daughter found out, she begged to answer my questions too. ??? 

Below are the answers that my daughter, Gigi, soon to be 13, gave. I’ll feature my husband’s answers tomorrow. 

How would you describe Rheumatoid Arthritis? As if you were telling your friends. 

 1) I would describe RA as basically a disease that causes your joints to ache, that can sometimes make it harder to use your joints.

Do you understand my disease? Are there questions you have that you haven’t asked? Why?

2) I understand the concept of it pretty well, I just will never understand the pain you actually experience unless I get the disease.

What do you think the worst parts of RA are?

3) I think the worst part is definitely the pain, because it obviously hurts and sometimes you can’t do things as easily as I could do them. 

Do you ever feel frustrated, sad, and/or angry that I have RA?

4) I sometimes feel upset and angry because I don’t think you deserved to have this disease, and I feel upset because of all the pain you’re usually in, it’s hard to experience because I can’t do anything to make the pain go away. 

Do you think your life is or will be better because of your first-hand experience living with someone with a Chronic Illness?​

5) Yes I do think that, because if I ever get the disease I’ll know how to handle it a little easier, and if I ever am friends with someone with that disease I can kind of understand what they are going through.

Are you ever worried that you’ll develop a chronic illness because you’re related to me?

6) I am worried about it sometimes because I would not want to go through all of the pain or mainly have to deal with all of it.

-Bridgette❤️

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Hope Rheumatoid Arthritis

The good thing about RA!

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It’s May which means it’s Arthritis Awareness Month. I’m starting the month hungover from methotrexate and suffering one of the worst flares I’ve ever experienced. Last week I had asked you to share with me how Autoimmune Arthritis has made your life better. Better? Yes, better. Would I wish RA on my worst enemy? Never! Am I grateful to have this disease? Heck no. But I have to find reasons for things, it’s who I am. And I have to stay positive. At least a teeny tiny bit. If I let myself get sucked up in the emotions of this disease, the hopelessness of this disease, the pain of this disease, I fear I will fall into a deep, dark place that will completely ruin my life.

So this month, I want to share how arthritis has change your view of people with Chronic Illness. How it’s changed how much you value those quiet moments with your family. How much you appreciate the beautiful sunrise and sunset.

If you haven’t already, please take my one question survey or even respond in the comments below. I’m happy to link your quote to your social media/blog account as well. Click here!

I have much more empathy for others now.

Today’s author’s blog is http://www.curlysuereview.com/ and you can follow her on Twitter here.

 

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