Category Archives: Rheumatoid Arthritis

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. Continue reading

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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). 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. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Biologics

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Today is day three of the 2nd annual RA Blog Week! Here is today’s prompt:

Biologics can be scary – What did you think the first time you Googled your biologic medication? What advice would you give a person just diagnosed when it comes to biologic medications? Give your readers the scoop on biologics.

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A year ago, I wrote the following post and looking back, I can say that without a doubt, I am glad that not only do I have a choice of biologics, I am also lucky enough to have an insurance company that pays for them. I have spent time off of biologics while waiting for surgery or recovering from an illness and that time is not fun. I just recently had my second Simponi Aria infusion and can definitely say that I need these drugs. Since my second infusion, my “rheum flu” seems to hit me a little later and a little weaker than it used to. I am getting better sleep at night and can definitely feel a bit more energy in my body. I don’t feel amazing by any means but I feel better. And better is my goal. Continue reading

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Starting Story

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Today is day one of the 2nd annual RA Blog Week! Here is today’s prompt:

Starting stories – tell us about your diagnosis, what were you thinking, feeling or when did you first know something was wrong? Or maybe you were having a break from a biologic medication and you decided to give it another try? 

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I often think back to how my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis came to be and I wonder how much differently things could have gone.

In September of 2011, Labor Day weekend to be exact, my husband and I took a trip to Dallas to visit friends for a few days. When we arrived, I noticed that my left elbow hurt and just felt a little weaker than usual. I attributed it to hauling my bag through the airport, took a few ibuprofen tablets, and tried to forget about it. When we returned to Baltimore the following week, I went over to Patient First just to have someone take a look at it. They did an xray and diagnosed me with tennis elbow. They encouraged me to get a brace and told me I’d be fine in a few weeks.

The next day, the nurse called from Patient First to tell me that a radiologist had reviewed my xray and saw that my synovial membrane was inflamed. She said I should follow-up with my primary care doctor that week. I did and my doctor agreed that it was tennis elbow, told me to make sure I got a brace and to let them know if things didn’t improve.

By the beginning of October, my elbow was much worse. It was so stiff and swollen that I couldn’t use a drive thru ATM. I couldn’t bend it to reach my face or to put a necklace on. I was worried. I decided to go to an orthopedist who gave me a cortisone injection and sent me on my way. I was seen again two weeks later and was told by the doctor that I was “favoring” my elbow and that it was fine.

By the beginning of November, things took a big turn. I could no longer walk down the stairs in my house in the morning. I would literally sit on my butt and scoot down. My elbow was more stiff and my fingers and wrists had joined the party. My neck was so stiff that I couldn’t completely turn it to either side. I fell asleep during a hair cut. I was in trouble and something was really, really wrong.

I went back to my PCP and in between sobs, demanded tests. My PCP could tell something was wrong and ordered a battery of blood work- Gout, Lyme, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus…you name it and I was also given heavy painkillers. I got a call later in the week to say that my Rheumatoid Factor had come back positive and my inflammation levels were very high. My doctor didn’t want to diagnose me with Rheumatoid Arthritis but encouraged me to get an appointment with a Rheumatologist as soon as possible.

By now it was mid-November. Every Rheumatologist I called, wanted to review my records before deciding to even see me. I called my insurance company. They tried to help but were unsuccessful. I called my PCP back. She was very honest and said that although she couldn’t instruct me to do so, she really encouraged me to go to the emergency room. This was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I took off work and went to the ER alone. A fellow came into see me and said she was sure they were going to admit me. Luckily, the ER doctor who finally came to see me had a good relationship with a rheumatologist who happened to be doing rounds in the hospital at that time. He was able to secure me an appointment in December.

I wouldn’t formally be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis until January of 2012 and would start methotrexate at that time. I wouldn’t start my first biologic, Humira, until six months later. I think back to when Patient First noticed my synovial membrane was inflamed. If I had known, or my PCP had been more educated, would we have drawn labs then, or even a few weeks later when the swelling had intensified? If I had known that patients with moderate to severe RA do better with aggressive treatment early on, and I had started methotrexate and a biologic in January, would I be better off than where I am now?

I don’t spend time harping on the what ifs, I can’t change anything for myself now. But I do share my story so I can change things for the next diagnosed patient. If you’re recently diagnosed, I encourage you to research your disease and treatments, don’t immediately go with what your doctor suggests. Be aggressive. Ask questions. This disease will be with you every minute of every day for the rest of your life. Do what you can to make let it have the smallest impact possible.

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