Category Archives: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Favorite Things Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ahhh Relief!

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I think I have a fairy godmother that goes by the name NatraCure. After expressing my frustration with my nagging shoulder and being unable to find something that could help, they sent me a Twitter message saying they were sending a product that might be able to help me. Although they sent me the following product to review, the opinions shared here are 100% mine. NatraCure is the first to admit that the following product has gotten mixed reviews, so they weren’t even sure if it would help me.

Enter my magical magnet shoulder brace!


So to be honest, I was a little intimidated looking at it. I didn’t know how it would fit and once I took it out of the package, my first concern was how I would put it on by myself.


It actually was easy for me to put on, even with my bum elbow. Now I have to admit, if you are small chested (ladies…) or very thin/tiny, I can imagine this might not fit well enough to help you. I’m 5’8 and it fit me on almost the tightest velcro placement.

So I put it on, threw a sweatshirt over top and hoped for the best as I went downstairs to make dinner. Usually the reaching, chopping, stirring, etc. involved in cooking dinner doesn’t please my shoulder. But I noticed, it didn’t hurt! It didn’t ache to the point that I had to take a break or constantly switch arms to get things done. My shoulder instantly warmed up and felt wonderful. The brace was so comfortable, I didn’t notice I had it on and my daughter commented that she couldn’t tell through my sweatshirt that I was wearing it.

So a couple of notes- my shoulder flares from Rheumatoid Arthritis, I have not actually injured it and although I have pain, I don’t have limited mobility with it. Just keep this in mind if you’re looking for a shoulder brace for other reasons.

Give me and NatraCure a shout if you’ve tried this brace and let us know what you think!


2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fighting RA with Miles & Dollars

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As if challenging myself to walk 2,016 miles in 2016 wasn’t enough, I’ve also decided to take on raising $2,016 this year for the National Arthritis Research Foundation!

This has been a bumpy week- if you read my last post, I’m moving off Enbrel and back on to Humira. I had labs and an MRI done on Friday. MRI shows some issues in my knee so this week I will be trying to find a new orthopedist who is a fantastic surgeon. Fingers crossed (can’t really do that with today’s swollen man hands, but you know what I mean!).

Here are my updated stats. If you can, please consider donating to my cause. Whether it’s $20.16, $20, $16, a penny a mile, or a shout out on Twitter, every bit of encouragement helps me keep pushing myself to meet my goals.

2,016 miles in 2016!(6)


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Terrifyingly Excited

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The ecard above perfectly sums up how I feel right now.

Today I had my regular follow-up with my rheumatologist. I had a lot of concerns and questions, so I made sure I wrote everything down in my planner- unlike a post it note or scrap of paper, my planner is always with me.

Before I even had a chance to pull my planner out, my doctor looked at the giant knee brace I had on and asked what was going on. I told her that I followed up with ortho regarding the extreme knee pain I kept having. I had an xray, did physical therapy, and now can only find temporary relief when I wear my giant hinge brace. My ortho doctor had said the four words I hate the most “it’s just your RA”. Thankfully my rheumatologist never blames things on my disease without ruling other things out. It’s something I really like about her. She immediately wrote an order for an MRI of my knee.

And then came the questions. How are things? How is work? How is home? I was honest. I wasn’t happy and I was concerned that I was heading down the road we already went down with Orencia. Orencia did absolutely nothing for me and we tried it for longer than we should have (9 months). I have additional permanent damage from this time. In hindsight, we should have been more aggressive but being aggressive is what made me so sick for months with an infection I couldn’t fight. Orencia was safe.

My doctor asked if I was ready to give Humira another try. I didn’t expect her to say that and it took me a second to respond. Humira. When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in January of 2012, I spent six months on methotrexate only before my previous doctor added Humira injections. For the following 9 months I was in what I imagine remission to be. I felt fantastic. I had energy, no pain, I could straighten my elbow for the first time in years. It was great.

Then in the spring of 2013, I got sick. It started as a sinus infection with a cough and then a fever came on that was continuous for the next 6 months. I would go on to see hematology/oncology, infectious disease, have vials and vials of labs done, pulmonary function tests, echo cardiogram, etc. It took multiple antibiotics for the infection to finally die. I wouldn’t go on another biologic until the fall of 2014, when I tried Orencia.

So why try Humira? Why risk another infection? First of all, a few months ago I had sinus surgery. Enbrel is in the same class of drugs as Humira..and both have sinus infections listed as one of their common side effects. I had sinus infections continuously while I was on Enbrel up until after my surgery. Since my surgery, I have had no sinus issues. The thinking with Humira is that I got a sinus infection which my body couldn’t fight off. Now that my sinuses are clear, I’m hopeful that Humira can give me the relief I’m so desperately searching for. And in the end, what do I have to lose?

2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Triple Digits

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2,016 miles in 2016!(3)

I’ve reached triple digits in my 2,016 miles in 2016 challenge! This week was especially hard. With a nasty blizzard on it’s way, my joints were angry all week in anticipation. I rejoined the gym and was able to use my favorite machine, the Arc Trainer, which is much more gentle on my joints than walking or doing other cardio exercises. If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis or any joint issues, I highly recommend giving it a try.

The other hurdle I’m trying to deal with is my blood sugars plummeting while I exercise. My endo gave me a lot of suggestions on when to start temp basals on my pump, what to eat, etc. but this week was still bumpy. Even after eating a banana and a peanut butter sandwich before exercising, having my insulin completely suspended, I will still drop dramatically during exercise. I hate the idea of having to eat because of exercise, very frustrating. This week I’m going to try drinking Gatorade while I exercise- low cal but has some sugar so hopefully it will keep me in check. If you have Type 1, like me, how do you deal with lows while exercising?

In order to meet my weekly mile goal, I made sure I went to the gym every day, Sunday through Friday, including Thursday night and back Friday morning before the storm. I gave myself a much needed break on Saturday (doubt I made it over a mile). Today my joints are still pretty painful plus I have the added bonus of a methotrexate hangover but I’m hoping to meet my step goal by moving around my house. We’ll see!


2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Still moving..

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2,016 miles in 2016!(1)

It hasn’t been easy but I’ve kept up with my goal of walking/running/crawling/dancing my way to 2016 miles in 2016. There are days that I don’t want to move at all and days that despite telling myself the opposite, I don’t feel better after reaching my goal of 5.5 miles a day…I actually feel worse.

But I’ve kept on. Why? How?

  • I’ve made my goals public. Very public. I talk about them at work, at home. I post on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • I’ve broken down my goal into smaller daily/weekly goals.
    • 5.5 miles a day or 38.8 a week doesn’t seem as insane as 2,016 miles
  • I have even smaller goals for steps during the day at work
    • 2,000 by 10am; 3,500 by 12pm, etc.
    • I try to get up and move around every 30 minutes, even if it’s just marching in place

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my Fitbit. From weekly or weekend challenges with friends to just seeing my steps and miles go into the “green”, my Fitbit One is a tremendous motivator and makes keeping myself accountable super easy.

How are your resolutions or goals going? What helps you to stay on track?

2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Resolution to move!

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2,016 miles in 2016!

This year I’ve committed to walking/running/crawling/dancing my way to 2,016 miles in 2016! This resolution was an easy one for me to commit to in theory. Getting my steps in each day makes my blood sugars better, makes them more consistent. Walking makes my joints feel better (my knees haven’t gotten this memo yet but they’re working on it) and will strengthen the muscles around my joints, providing them with better support.

So how does 2,016 miles translate to daily goals? I need to get between 5.5 and 6 miles in each day. This is about 12,000 steps or so depending on the activity I do. On days I’ve been feeling strong, I’ve tried to get a little more than 6 miles to cover the days where my joints are angry and having nothing to do with any resolution I’ve made.

Every Sunday I plan on updating this graphic to keep myself accountable. I track with my Fitbit and they calculate my weekly miles to make it easy for me.

What resolution(s) have you made? Are you still going strong on Day 10?

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Medicine? No, thank you.

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I’ve had a wonderful, productive weekend. Went to the grocery store Saturday morning, got my hair highlighted and cut in the afternoon, and made a delicious, healthy meal, from scratch, for dinner. Got up early on Sunday, exercised, did laundry, and cleaned. After a short nap, I finished measuring and bagging my food for the week. Now here I am, blogging.

Isn’t this what “normal” people do on their weekends? (Well, they probably do more but you know what I mean) So why is this weekend any different? I didn’t inject methotrexate or Enbrel on Saturday morning as I have done for months. I’ve been fighting this nasty cold and instead of gambling, I decided to skip my injections and let my immune system have a fighting chance.

I’ll probably feel horrible in a few days but for right now, I’m thrilled. I haven’t been sipping ginger ale nonstop, only stopping to eat a few cheerios here and there. I haven’t slept for hours on end and accomplished absolutely nothing on Saturday or Sunday. I don’t feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and my stomach feels marvelous.

I know methotrexate and Enbrel are important. I know I need them. But times like this, I hate them. And I hate Rheumatoid Arthritis. I hate that the very medicine that helps keep my joints from being damaged, the medicine that hopefully helps protect my organs from this disease, also literally takes away days of my life.

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis


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Day 23 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: Where are you Living right now? The past, present, or future?
I’m often somewhere between the present and the future. Living with Chronic Pain forces you into the present. Sometimes pain is the only thing you can see. It consumes you. 

The future is worrisome. I avoid thinking about it as much as possible. How long will I be able to work, walk, care for myself? Will the pain get worse? 

On the flip side, if you have a Chronic Illness like Rheumatoid Arthritis, you sometimes have to think of the future. You have to know that a day after your methotrexate injection, you’re going to be extremely nauseous and sleep most of the day. You also have to be aware that overdoing it today could be quite painful tomorrow. 

Time is a delicate line that we walk. We’re constantly paying for the past, distracting ourselves from the present, and trying not to fear the future. 

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis


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Day 19 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What is the most Courageous Act you’ve completed despite your chronic condition? 

I haven’t given up. 

There are days I want to. Times when the pain is so strong that I don’t know what the next hour will look like. There are times when I’m angry that I have this disease. Times that I’m frustrated that no one around me truly knows how I feel. But I don’t give up. And that is the most courageous thing I’ve done thus far. 

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Disease with Benefits

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Day 18 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: What is a way you’ve benefited from having a Chronic Condition?  

This may be my new favorite quote. I have no idea how I stumbled across it but it suits me and today’s prompt perfectly. 

Sometimes you have to feel your worst, to feel your best. It took being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis for me to really slow down and appreciate what’s around me. My chronic condition may make me walk slower than I’d like at Target but that affords me lots of laughs with my daughter as she tries on silly accessories or shows me every funny cat costume in the store. If I were rushing through my errand, I would miss these little moments. 

I spend more time on the couch than I’d like to admit but that means that my son has turned me into a big NBA fan and he loves to sit and talk about whatever game is on. I may never have watched a basketball game if I had been up and running around to do something far less important than spend time with him.