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Favorite Things Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fay Farms Rejuvenation 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. “

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If you’ve read my blog or followed me on Twitter for awhile, you’ll know that I’ll try anything to get rid of my pain. Even when my pain is relatively under control, I still find myself wandering the first aid/pain relief aisle at the grocery store. I’ve tried every spray, balm, patch that’s OTC and plenty of prescription products as well. So, I was skeptical when I received The Fay Farm‘s Rejuvenation lotion to try and alleviate my pain.

In short, I absolutely love this product. Let me tell you why. I received this lotion shortly before my knee surgery. I was in tremendous pain prior to my surgery from both my knee and almost every other joint due to a lack of my RA medications as I was trying to keep my immune system somewhat strong for the surgery. I was taking pain medications around the clock and still wasn’t getting relief. I initially tried a little of this lotion on my hands and noticed they felt better but was still skeptical because, as I mentioned, I was taking pain meds nonstop.

After the surgery, I started having sciatic nerve pain, which was brand new to me. My hip pain came back with a vengeance, I’m sure walking with crutches didn’t help keep it away. And this lotion helped! And by helped, I mean it took my pain away! I could rub it on my hip and literally within a few minutes (sometimes needing a repeat application for stronger relief) my pain was gone.

Now that my incisions have healed, I’ve used this lotion and again, it substantially reduces my pain on my post-operative knee. This lotion is the difference between me taking a prescription pain medication and not. It even relieves menstrual cramps (TMI I know…).

So what exactly is this magical lotion? The Fay Farm’s Rejuvenation Lotion is a blend of herbs and essential oils designed to relieve joint and muscle pain. Notes of vanilla from peru balsam essential oil complimented with a delicious top note of camphor makes for a mild, almost decadent aroma.  Made with organic ingredients: Purified water, hemp oil, grape seed oil, apricot kernel oil, emulsifying wax, stearic acid, argan oil, magnesium, white sesame oil, jojoba oil, essential oils, 200 mg. CBD oil, fennel, licorice, turmeric, valerian, gluconolactone and sodium benzoate (certified organic preservative).

The lotion has a thick consistency- thick enough to really be able to rub into problem areas but not too thick that you struggle to get it out of the bottle/pump. And you truly don’t need a ton to get relief. One pump usually is enough for each area (big areas, like a hip, might need two). I’ve been using this lotion almost daily for weeks and still have half a bottle remaining.

And guess what? The Fay Farm is offering my readers a 10% discount and free shipping (within the US) if you use the code “ATJAX” at checkout. What are you waiting for?! Click here to order your own and please let me know how it works for you.

 

Favorite Things Rheumatoid Arthritis

Mo’s Dream Cream 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.

As you’ve read in countless posts by me, I take a lot of pills. And although some of my pain can only be relieved with a pill, there are times when I will try everything I can to avoid taking one. I have lidocaine patches (great relief, if you can get them to stick to you…forget about large joints that you might want to move and keep a patch on at the same time), prescription NSAID gels (work pretty well but the smell leaves a lot to be desired and the copay can be expensive), and every over the counter cream you can think of (yes I own BENGAY).


Enter a new product into my pain relief arsenal: Mo’s Dream Cream. What makes this product different? It’s all natural. As in legit all natural- you can read and pronounce every ingredient: Capsaicin paste, essential oils, cocoa butter, glycerin. Sure it’s nice to be able to pronounce the ingredients but you know what’s even better about them being all natural? They are safe. Safe to use and to have around pets, children, etc. One of my favorite things that the creator, Keri, told me was that she used the lotion on her Chocolate Lab for his hip dysplasia and he was able to run again! And I absolutely love that the product is named after him and his adorable photo is on the bottle.

What else makes this product different? The product creator and owner, Keri Anderson. First of all, Keri understands chronic pain. She herself has spent years suffering from pain and has taken a variety of pain medications as well. She understands that although a pill may relieve your pain, the side effects can be gruesome (she notes being so confused that it was hard to remember her kids names at times). She also understands that most over the counter creams/lotions typically don’t offer lasting relief.

Keri spent years studying Apothecary and Chinese Herbology in an effort to create a product that would eliminate her pain for a long period of time- long enough to get a decent night’s sleep! She learned how to make her own homemade capsaicin paste that would be powerful enough to eliminate pain but not so powerful that it burned the skin.

So why should you give Mo’s Dream Cream a try? First of all, it works. I was able to use the Pain Relieving Lotion and notice a difference within a few minutes. Sometimes I would need a second application which Keri herself mentioned can be necessary with severe pain. Secondly, the scent. This product smells nothing like those drugstore creams and lotions that you’re thinking of. It doesn’t smell of chemicals- it smells fresh and clean. Even I was surprised that the cayenne sent wasn’t as strong as I expected.

Want to give Mo’s Dream Cream products a try? Use code “MOLLY4U” at checkout and you’ll get 10% off of all products/promotions. This code never expires! Click here to visit their site and please let me know in the comments if you purchase a product! I’d love to hear your opinion.

 

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! 

2,016 Miles in 2016 Rheumatoid Arthritis

Looking Backward to Look Forward

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Sometimes you have to look back to look forward. Today is one of those days for me. I worked all day, no major pain, things seemed good. Went to the gym after work and everything seemed to stop. My feet hurt (they haven’t hurt in months), my body felt slow- every step felt like I walking in mud. I couldn’t get a rhythm going on the machine- I tried for 40 minutes to get a good workout in and I eventually threw the towel (into my gym bag of course haha) and went home.

Once home, I stopped to think. A little over 4 years ago, I couldn’t walk up the stairs to my bedroom as I had done immediately after coming in my front door tonight. I couldn’t stay awake to get my hair cut- the gym wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. I had to take time off of work because my Rheumatoid Arthritis was so out of control. I work full-time now and can’t recall the last time I took off due to my RA.

I have been pushing myself nonstop. I go to the gym the day after injecting methotrexate despite my body’s protests. I get so pale that my husband has to come check on me mid workout. I cry some days driving to the gym from work because my pain is so great.

When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I tried to find the reason. I need to understand things. I need to have answers. Five years ago, I was running myself to death- working crazy hours, including overnights and weekends, plus trying to care for two young children. I ignored the times my body tried to tell me something was wrong- I ignored the aches in my feet and the deep ache in my elbow until my body stopped. My elbow stopped bending, my feet stopped allowing me to walk up or down stairs. My body had had enough and forced me to listen.

Tonight my body gave me a reminder to stop. So tonight I’m going to listen. I’m going to celebrate what I’ve done this year in my journey to walk, dance, crawl my way to 2,016 miles in 2016. I’m a bit behind but I know I’ll catch up. I’ve moved over 400 miles since the beginning of this year despite knee and hip problems. And as I sit here, on the couch, resting, I’m damn proud of myself.

2,016 miles in 2016! (1)

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Opiates give me time

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Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released these guidelines in regards to prescription painkillers. The guidelines encourage physicians to only prescribe opiates to cancer patients, those that are terminally ill, or those in acute pain.

As a patient living with Chronic Pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis, I’m disappointed. The guidelines are intended to reduce addiction and death rates related to opioid use. I understand the risk of addiction and death but as a patient, what are the proposed solutions for me?

Here are the CDC’s Guidelines for Patients:

img_2661.jpgI’ll use myself as an example to address the options above:

  • I have seropositive Rheumatoid Arthritis- in short, there is no doubt about my diagnosis.
  • Imaging tests- multiple x-rays and MRIs show permanent damage to my elbows, knees, hands, and feet.
  • I honestly have not tried Cognitive behavioral therapy- I am open to it but would need to find someone who accepts my insurance.
  • Acetaminophen on its own doesn’t touch my pain, moderate doses of ibuprofen do help with pain during the day.
    • As a side note- I was taking 600-800mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day with pretty good results during the day but needing some extra relief in the evening (not to mention the burning in my stomach…)
      • I also have Type 1 Diabetes and finally asked my pain management doctor and endocrinologist if ibuprofen was an appropriate long term solution for me. Their answer? No. Why? Kidney disease. Ibuprofen puts additional stress on my kidneys. I still use it occasionally but not regularly.
  • I have gone to physical therapy multiple times- I’m currently going to work on my knee and hip pain. I exercise 6 days a week at the gym. I average 11,000 steps taken a day.
  • I take Cymbalta which helps with my anxiety and helps decrease my overall fibromyalgia pain.
  • I have had multiple steroid injections in my elbow, foot, and knee. As recent as last month.

I doubt anyone working on these guidelines for the CDC knows what it’s like to be up all night crying in pain. What it’s like to experience such intense pain that it makes you vomit. And then to try to go to work the next morning and care for your family, after being up all night in pain with no relief.

Here is what opiate medications help me do:

  • Be a present wife and mother. I’m not in bed all day. I’m not crying all night. I’m at my son’s basketball games and shopping with my daughter.
  • Work full-time. Sure I have to make accommodations for my illness, opioids don’t make everything perfect.
  • Keep my blood sugars in control. My blood sugar is, unfortunately, affected by much more than food. Pain and stress cause it to rise dramatically, so much so that my basal rates overnight are higher for when my pain is typically at its worst.
  • And most importantly- opiates let me have a good chunk of my life back. Time that would be spent suffering in pain. Time that is priceless to me.

How do opiates help you?

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Be Gentle

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I’ve been having horrible knee pain for the past few months and saw a new orthopedist last week for a consultation after my rheumatologist had ordered an MRI. After examining me, my doctor noticed pain in my hip and limited movement so he ordered another MRI. Today I went back for those results.

The good news- no tears as originally suspected. No immediate reason to look at anything from a surgical standpoint. The not so good news- I have multiple erosions on my hip.

I know I have moderate-severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. That’s not news to me. I was diagnosed almost exactly 4 years ago and although I briefly had what I consider remission to be (9 months), I haven’t gotten much of a break since. Finding out that my hip isn’t looking so great, felt like a slap to the face. It felt like all of my hard work- all of the pain, the fatigue, the injections, the nausea, the pills…everything, meant nothing.

I pride myself on being positive. I shrug off worry from others. But it’s hard to fight this fight every day. It’s hard to go to battle for a fight you’ll never win. Never. Remission? I don’t think it’s possible for me anymore. And the thing is, if for some reason my disease activity disappears, my permanent damage that causes daily pain, won’t. That isn’t going anywhere. I can honestly say that I will never experience a day without pain, without the help of controlled prescription medications. That’s a heavy thought for me.

So after mentally beating myself up all night..after unsuccessfully trying to psych myself up and say “it’s going to be ok”. I came across this quote on Instagram. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

It’s ok to be scared and tired and angry. It’s ok to cry. I know I’m doing the best I can and for tonight, that has to be enough.

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!

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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.

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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!

 

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Time

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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

Positivity 

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Day 16 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge: On a bad day what is a way to redirect yourself to a more positive place?
  
Today has been rough. I woke up with pretty strong pain. Resisted the urge to burst into tears on the drive to work. Resisted the urge to cry before I got to my car after work. Pain is relentless. I’m now lying in bed with ice on both of my legs, my thumb in a brace, and pain meds already on board. 

Days like today are hard to pick myself up out of. I can’t even go to sleep, I’m too uncomfortable. 

So how do I get things back on a positive path? I vent. I share online with others that know exactly how I feel. I share a laugh with my kids. I grab the cat and rock him like a baby (he hates it!). I put something mindless on tv and do a jigsaw puzzle on my iPad. I color. I do anything to give my mind a break from constantly assessing how I feel. 

Am I going to scream “I Love Rheumatoid Arthritis” out my window? Nope. But if I can get my mind to focus on something else, even for 2 minutes, I win. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ice, Ice, Molly

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If you’re like me, you often ignore your husband’s constant reminders to take pain meds before the pain gets bad. I don’t know why I ignore them and quite frankly, I’m stupid to do so. 

So here I lay, hurting. Hurting so much that finding something to watch on tv, in order to distract myself from the pain, is too tall of an order. 

  
The only solution I have when pain gets this bad is ice. Ice packs straight from the freezer. I have a ton in a bunch of different shapes and sizes, but this one that NatraCure sent to me is by far my favorite. Why? 

  • It gets very cold, in the fridge or freezer, but remains flexible, it does not solidify. 
  • It drapes over my knee and gets both sides of it, without me having to use multiple packs or lay in an uncomfortable position so it doesn’t fall off. 

I find that ice helps dramatically lessen my pain while I wait for pain meds to kick in. What do you do when you’re waiting? 

*Although NatraCure sent me this product for review, all opinions are 100% mine*