Category Archives: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Slow And Steady

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For the previous nine months I had been in extreme pain. Painkillers 24/7 just to take the edge off and try not to throw up. Ice was mandatory just to drive to work. I tried injections, physical therapy. Nothing helped.

Two weeks ago I had knee surgery. I’ll spare you the details- knee cap realignment, degenerated meniscus, lots of cartilage/tissue work. I can already say that it was a success. I am off regular pain meds for my knee (my other joints miss their methotrexate and Humira badly though) and am ready to power through recovery. Or so I thought.

I’m still restricted to using crutches 24/7. I’m 100% compliant on stairs. When it’s a few steps to the kitchen or in my living room, I’m not so compliant. Tonight I went out to grab dinner with my husband. We parked in the handicapped spot and I decided to leave the crutches in the car and walk the few steps in, holding on to my husband for support. I felt a little weak in the knees (awww ?) but otherwise did just fine.

Fast forward a few hours later. Holy pain batman. My calf muscles feel like I have run a marathon (or what I imagine that to feel like. You all know I don’t run!). Both knees ache, my hips are mad, as is my lower back.

Stupid to walk without crutches? Maybe. But it was eye opening. This recovery is not going to be easy. It’s going to be hard. And painful. I think it was important for me to have this set back. Physcial therapy is going to be rough as is working full time in the office, rather than at home. I need to remember how the few steps tonight made me feel, so that I can focus on going slow and steady.

I’m embracing my new Tortoise Life and the reminder my husband had waiting for me in recovery at the hospital (see Cruiser below) needs to be with me at all times.

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Favorite Things Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

PillSuite Review

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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.

Anyone with a chronic illness or two, will tell you that managing it often involves pills. A lot of pills. I easily take up to twenty pills a day- usually split into AM and PM doses. I have a great pill case for home but what about when I travel? I usually bring my bottles (which are cumbersome, large, and not good at staying closed), resulting in a ginormous carry on. If I’m just going away for a night, I use ziploc bags. A giant ziploc to hold teeny tiny pills makes no sense. So what’s a pill popping gal like myself supposed to do?

Enter PillSuite.

PillSuite is an awesome innovation in pill storage. You fill up a funnel compartment with a week’s worth of pills. You dump them into teeny little plastic bags, and push the open end into a little green machine with one giant button. Pressing that button triggers the little green machine to heat seal the plastic bag together. It is extremely easy to do and very gentle on my hands which are often not the most cooperative.

When I first received the PillSuite system, I couldn’t wait to go on a trip. I figured that would be when I would use this item. Luckily for me, I did have a trip planned very soon after I received this product. And yes, the PillSuite was extremely helpful for travel. But I learned, it has many more uses for me.

I was recently prescribed Leucovorin, which is a single pill, that I take 24 hours after injecting methotrexate. My injections tend to be in the middle of the day- not first thing in the morning or late at night, when I take my pills. I simply packaged one pill and dated the Suite for each weekend..then I didn’t have to worry about adding a pill to my case or trying to remember if I took it or not.

It’s also helpful for my children- if they go on a sleepover, I can easily pack them the single pill they will need for the day.

Overall, I found the PillSuite system to be easy to use and a great help to me in managing my medication regimen at home or away. 

You can visit PillSuite here and on their Facebook page

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Favorite Things Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lidocaine patch tip!

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If you have lidocaine patches prescribed to you, they’re a blessing and a curse. If and when they stay on, they can be really helpful in managing pain. But, depending on where you put them, they may roll off. 

In the past, I tried wrapping an ace bandage around but the pressure made the patch irritate my skin. I’ve tried tight clothing but they still tended to roll. 

But yesterday, I grabbed my cover tape that I typically use with leukotape to keep my kneecap in place:


Three strips covered the lidocaine patch and kept one in place on my knee for all 12 hours! The tape is really gentle on your skin so I had no issues when removing it. 

The tape is inexpensive on Amazon and easy to use. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or tricks that work for you! 

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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 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? 

keep-calm-i-am-a-diabetic

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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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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