Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stiffness and Pain

My pain and stiffness have both been doing pretty good lately, well, until today. I have been experiencing stiffness all day in my hands and some pain and general weakness in my finger joints, too. I do not know if it was caused from a fall I had yesterday or if it was something I ate, or maybe just happening for some unknown reason.

I was under a bit of stress yesterday and was very tense last night when trying to go to sleep...It was one of those nights were I wished I could just disappear, but no matter how tight I huddled under the blankets things didn't get better. So stress may have caused a bit of a problem with my pain today, but it is nothing but a theory.

It has been beautiful here in Nova Scotia for the last few days, very nice to see the rain has stopped and the sun coming out! I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A little pain...

I haven't been posting as much lately due to my pain and stiffness decreasing, but I am trying to keep everyone updated and if I find any interesting articles, I will be sure to pass them on!

The pain has been, well, pretty much non-existent for the most part and the stiffness is a lot less than what it used to be. I have noticed something that I would be very interested to know if other women experience. It seems that during menstruation, or the closer to menstruation I get, the more my joints ache and become stiff. The pain is not like it used to be, but it is there and has been for the last 2 days. The stiffness is also there, but not as bad as what it used to be. Do you experience an increase in your RA symptoms during certain times of the month?

I am continuing to eat a vegetarian diet and am enjoying it a lot, too! I've been experimenting with beans, using them to make burgers, "meat" loaf and soon going to try to make a bean roast. They taste great and the consistency is very good, too.

I hope everyone is enjoying their week!

Friday, November 5, 2010

it's raining, it's pouring...

It's official. The next time Environment Canada issues a rain warning for my region, I am going to listen. I thought the storm might bring a bit of rain throughout the weekend, but it hasn't stopped raining ALL day. Wind, rain...Yikes! At least it is warm(about 15 degrees Celsius).

I did something today that I haven't been able to do in years: I played my flute. The last time I picked it up to play resulted in pain and I wasn't able to hold the weight of the flute in my hands long enough to even play a few simple notes. My fingers would ache and it would be hard to move them without pain, making the instrument even more difficult to play.

Today was different. I played for two hours. I played even though I couldn't remember all the notes on the sheet music or all the fingers for the notes. I played what I remembered, and what I couldn't remember I looked up. I am pretty much a novice again, but that is fine with me. It's exciting that I am experiencing almost no pain and less stiffness even on a rainy day.

I do have to admit that I am missing meat a bit, though. I am not eating chicken or fish, or any other form of meat. Some meats turn me off anyways, but the thought of BBQ chicken is mouth watering. In the end, it is not worth the RA. I just need to remember that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Exciting News!

It's been a few days since my last post, but I am FINALLY feeling better! That cold is a nasty one that seems to attack everything and anything in your body. It started in my throat, went to my sinus's, my body ached, I had headaches and a sore throat, went temporarily deaf from the sinus stuff and now it is in my chest. On the bright side, I am feeling better today than I have been all week!

I found out a few interesting things to help with the common cold during this week, using my body as an experiment...and since I was already sick, it couldn't really hurt, right? I discovered that Tabasco sauce, salt, ginger, black pepper, lemon and honey mixed with a bit of warm water then gargled helps relieve a sore throat. Mind you it burns the tongue. I also discovered how much I hate halls and how badly they upset my stomach, but Fishermen's Friend are lovely and help a dry, scratchy throat more than Halls. They are also easier on the stomach and cheaper on the wallet...

I am also thinking about cutting out ALL sources of meat, including eggs and dairy. The thought of eggs has been turning me off, but cheese, well cheese is always tasty! I am just cutting down on the cheese and avoiding the eggs. I am not eating fish anymore, it just doesn't appeal to me in any way.

Another very exciting thing I have discovered is that my pain is very minimum, hardly there at all and my stiffness! Oh my! Are you ready for the news...? My stiffness, which I have been having for years and years, that causes trouble with me in the kitchen and doing every day things with my hands...It is INCREDIBLY LESS!

I am so happy to see this change! I was at work today cutting tomatoes and noticed it wasn't hurting. I was preparing Spicy Chicken Salad for the sandwiches at work, slicing lots of chicken nuggets and chicken burgers...Normally I would have to stop every few minutes to give my hands a rest. This time, I didn't have to stop once. Not once! I am very happy and excited about this!

It will be interesting to see how things go tomorrow, because we have a rain storm starting tonight. If I am pain free and stiff-free tomorrow, I will be ecstatic. I am already ecstatic, but I'll be even more so tomorrow!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and enjoying the weather. Does anyone have snow yet?

Take care!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Feeling kinda sick...

I'm not feeling so great today. I woke up with a dry, sore throat and tried drinking hot tea, sipping water and sucking on peppermints and hard candy but it is still dry and sore. So I decided to lay down after work and woke an hour later to feeling like my tonsils are swollen. My fingers are aching, swollen and stiff but I don't know if the RA is causing the sore throat or if a cold or virus is causing the sore throat and my RA to act up.

It's been a busy week and I am hoping to get better quickly because I have a cousin I haven't seen in eons coming up this weekend with his wife. I really don't want to spend my time with them sick. Especially on Halloween!

Other than all of that, I've been feeling pretty good. I had fish today but have been sticking to tofu and vegetarian dishes other than that. I noticed the stiffness wasn't as bad this week and I hardly had any pain. Energy levels were up(except for today) and my sleeping patterns were good, too.

I still think this vegetarian(plus fish) lifestyle might be the answer for me. I've been making some interesting dishes and even my boyfriend likes them, especially the Breast of Tofu(recipe here). It's pretty good!

That's all for now and I hope everyone has a fun, safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This week's goal

It's been one of those hectic days where I sit back and just hope Friday will come a little faster. My stress level has gone up and down like a roller coaster, and things are now starting to smooth out. I had thought I needed to get a new job due to the person I am filling in for coming back to work, but it turns out she isn't coming back for a while, if ever. So now I do not need to find a new job, which is great, but I was really looking forward to a few days off. I guess I will just have to wait until my vacation in December!

Pain is a bit bad today. I have not had red meat for a while now, and had chicken on Saturday. I feel good, except for the pain. I really hope I do not have another flare up so soon. I'm trying to listen to my body, and I know I over did it today with my very long walk(I got lost and ended up getting off the bus way too early and had to walk the rest of the way to a meeting). It's also been raining all day and I have been having a bit too much sugar.

So the goal for this week is to continue eating a vegetarian diet(with the exception of fish every now and then) and reducing the amount of junk food sugar I am consuming. I just need to remember tomorrow is hump day. Soon it will be the weekend, and Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dr McDougall

I was doing some research today and found a very interesting article about diet and arthritis that I would like to share with you. I say diet, but really it is more of a lifestyle change, eliminating certain foods while eating more of other foods. Here is the link, and in today's blog I will be talking about the article and some key points that I think may be of interest.

The article is from Dr McDougall's website and talks about his way of treating patients, which is by a vegetarian or vegan diet. Dr McDougall eliminates certain foods depending on what disease or condition he is treating. For arthritis he also eliminates gluten from the diet.

A few interesting points he stresses is the importance of low fat in the diet. He says "Those vegan diets that have failed to help arthritis patients have been high in vegetable oils, which are known to damage intestinal integrity" and he also mentions that little to no oil be used, including flaxseed oil.

I was under the impression that flaxseed oil was very good for you, but I guess if one saw it as a must, they could stick with the actual flaxseed. I am not sure what I make of this yet, but am still eliminating meat from my diet.

I have been doing good so far, at least with the red meat. Right now my biggest problem is with dairy. I just can't seem to say no to the cheese. I hear that nutritional yeast has a cheesy like flavor and is great on top of casseroles and the like. I may have to give it a try.

My other concern is eliminating fish from my diet. I am a born Newfoundlander, and love my fish. I don't eat it every day, but usually have it once to twice a month. I am pretty sure I have no reaction to fish, and am really thinking about riding my diet of all other meat and poultry.

What is your take on Dr McDougall's diet and study?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stress and RA

Ever hear the saying "you're going to worry yourself sick" or hear people talking about the relation between stress and sickness? It makes me wonder if stress and disease activity go hand in hand, much like stress and sickness.

Stress can cause a long list of problems, including:
  • chronic fatigue
  • digestive issues
  • back pain and headaches
  • and it can affect your bodies blood cells, which in turn can cause you to fall ill more often
There are even more issues stress can cause, and if it affects the immune system, it is only logical that it also affects RA activity.

So I've got a little challenge for anyone who is willing to participate! Each day for the next 10 days, take 10 minutes aside for you. In these ten minutes, you can meditate or do yoga. The idea is to have 10 minutes a day where you are clearing your mind and being stress free. If you decide to participate, let me know!

Here's a great link to meditation, its benefits and how to go about doing it:
How to meditate

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A lesson in being love

Today's post is a little different from the usual arthritis talk, but I would really like to share it with you. Do you ever have one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong, but you still can't help but be in a great mood? That is the kind of day I have been having.

I work in a coffee shop/cafe and the rough morning started with me dreaming of my deceased father, then waking up late. The bus was late. I made a pot of coffee without the pot. I threw tongs across the kitchen(accidentally might I add). I was dropping change, running into things and dropping eggs. Normally I would be so upset at this point that I would not even be able to fake a smile and thankyou towards the customer.

Today was different. I feel like the puzzle pieces of my life are coming together, and the last few pieces are no longer missing. I really believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we are not able to understand what that reason is. My father's illness and death, my bad days, strangers on the street...everything is coming together.

I ran into a woman and her teenage son today while waiting to catch the bus. She looked sick and her son was saying they needed to get her home so her sugars could be checked. It just so happened that I had  a chocolate bar in my bag, and I had offered it to the woman. It turns out that she is diabetic, and she accepted the chocolate bar happily. We were talking for a few minutes and she told me she has cancer and her kidneys are now being affected - just like my dad.

I was reminded of how my father helped so many people before the cancer took so much away from him. He would give cigarettes to people who asked for them, talk to people who looked down or lonely. He became love. Love is kind. Love is giving and not expecting anything in return. Love is open minded. Nonjudgmental. Love is warm and welcoming.

Today I decided to be love. No matter what happened, I welcomed it with love. I smiled because I was truly happy despite everything that had gone wrong.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I was feeling much better today compared to how I have been feeling for the last week. I woke up stiff but didn't have as much trouble moving around as I have been having, and the pain was minimum. I packed my lunch for work(rice and veggies, honey pretzel sticks, sliced pineapple, strawberries, melon and a side of guacamole) and was feeling pretty good.

I then had some cheese and potato perogies for supper, and SURPRISE! It's like my pain was throwing me a surprise party...I don't know if it was caused by the perogies or maybe even the temperature. I started feeling pain about an hour to two hours after eating the perogies. Is it even possible to have a reaction to food that quickly? Like I said, it could also be the temperature. The sun has gone down and the temperature is dropping with it, so the cold might be related to it, too.

I found a lovely list of supplements for RA today, and am thinking about bringing a combination of several lists to one of the local health food stores to see what they think and what they advise. Arhtritis today has a good, easy to read list of supplements but I find that herbs2000 does a much better job at identifying why the herbs and supplements are beneficial to RA patients. Just remember that you should consult your rheumatologist or doctor before beginning any new supplements, herbs or medications. Although herbs and vitamins may seem safe enough, some of them can react badly with medicines and should be avoided if you have certain conditions. 

Do you take any of these supplements or herbs? Did you find they helped your RA symptoms?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Food Allergens and RA

The last few days have left me wondering where a person begins on the journey of healing without the use of medication. I've been asking myself (and bouncing numerous ideas off my boyfriend) what causes the immune system to attack the body?What causes the initial change that leads to the attack?

I found an interesting article today on that I would like to share with you. You can read it here. The article approaches the idea of food allergens causing RA. I know it almost seems too good to be true, but can you imagine if by eliminating food that you are sensitive to you could eliminate the pain, stiffness and progression of RA?

I am almost positive that red meat is a triggering food for me, although I don't know if it is the red meat, the protein, or the hormones and whatnot that are added to the meat that I have a reaction to. When I was a vegetarian a few years back, I still had my morning stiffness but I rarely had a flare up. Now that I eat meat regularly(at least twice a week), I am having flare ups more often and they are becoming worse.

I would love to know if you find certain foods trigger flare-ups. I am in the process of eliminating red meat and even considered a basic diet of rice, veggies and fruit for a few weeks then gradually re-introducing foods back into my diet. For now, sticking to no red meat and avoiding potatoes, mushrooms(I'm allergic to them but sometimes end up eating them...) and most night shade veggies minus tomatoes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

RA and the immune system

I know I already blogged today, but I am having a bit of a brain storm and thought you might want to hear it.

We know that rheumatoid arthritis is when the body's immune system begins to attack the joint tissue, in particular the synovial fluid between the joints. So maybe the way to begin to treat arthritis is to help with the immune system. Some questions I have are:

Why is my immune system attacking my joints?
What caused my immune system to attack the synovial fluid?
What will help(naturally) with the inflammation and pain?
Will eliminating red meat from my diet help?

I am hoping to find the answers to these soon. Maybe by reducing the inflammation it will help with reducing the pain, and reduce the amount of damage. I just have to find some natural ways to reduce inflammation!

Glucosamine Sulfate and an update!

Wow, it has been a while since my last post! I just wanted to send a very big thank you for all my followers who are still following me...even though I have been very inconsistent as of late.

It's interesting that my last post reflection on what would you do with a week or day left to live. I had to go through this with my father recently, who we discovered had cancer. It all started with a growth, which was then discovered to be cancer that had spread along his liver, gallbladder, ribs, and lining the heart. We were told that he had cancer on June 15(my birthday) and I sat through that doctor's appointment the entire time, trying to understand everything. The doctors began talking to my father and I about removing him from dialysis in the next month or so, but the cancer progressed much faster. I couldn't be strong anymore...I cried. I was losing the closest person to me, I was losing my daddy. We stayed strong though, and I saw him almost every day until the day he passed, on July 9th.

I have been absent due to the illness and trying to get things back on track. I can't use that as an excuse anymore...So, here I am!

I am still free from medication but experiencing more pain and stiffness then before. It could have to do with the fall weather and the amount of meat I am eating. I am going to make an appointment to see my doctor to try and get a specialist.

For now, I am stretching more, cutting out red meat(again!), reducing the amount of night shades I eat, and resting when my body needs it. I am also beginning to take the supplement glucosamine sulfate, although the pharmacists said there was no evidence of it helping people who suffer with RA. Still, it is worth a try. I'm going to take 1000mg a day with food. I am taking the Life brand version, because money doesn't grow on trees(oh how I wish it did sometimes!).

I tried to take the glucosamine this morning, but it is so hard to swallow. I am going to take it, I just need to figure out how to get it down. I'll update tomorrow with how that went.

Thanks again for following me, and I hope you are all doing well.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Day Left...

Good evening! I hope everyone is enjoying their week thus far. I read an interesting article in a magazine today(I don't remember the name of the magazine). It was about doing what you want to do and living life to it's fullest. A doctor conducted a workshop to help people determine what they want to do with their lives. She first asked the students what they would do if they had one year left to live.They answered that they would eat whatever they wanted, travel to places they have never been, never hold back, ect.

What would you do if you had one year left to live? I would go sky diving, try as many chocolate dishes as I could, go deep sea diving, travel the world and be with my family and friends.

After the students had written down what they would do with a year left to live, the doctor asked them to think about what they would do if they had six months left to live. If you had six months left to live, what would you do with the time remaining? I would spend time cooking the things I have never cooked but always wanted to try, sing karaoke with my friends and family, dance until my feet were sore and not care about how silly I looked while I did it, read the books I love and spend time helping others.

After brainstorming what they would do with six months left to live, the doctor asked them to brainstorm what they would do with one month left to live. What would you do with one month? I would make sure my boyfriend knew how much I love him and how thankful I am for everything he has done, I would apologize to all the people I have ever hurt, spend as much time as I could laughing and making others laugh, write a book and dance no matter how silly I looked.

Now, what would you do if you have a week left to live? With one week, I would honestly probably feel pretty depressed about having to leave my boyfriend and cat behind but would try very hard to enjoy the time I had left. I would be sure my boyfriend knew that no one else has ever influenced my life so greatly, and I that I want him to be happy, I would be sure my cat had everything she would need as well, and spend as much time as I possibly could with friends, family and animals. I would dance, and laugh, try to live as stress-free as I possibly could and go camping. I love camping, but never get to do it. There's nothing better then sitting around a camp fire roasting marshmallows and making smores with the people you love. I would sing around that fire, and share stories and memories from the past.

One day left to live: What would you do with it? I would try some of the fruit that I always wanted to try but was too expensive to buy, spend lots of time with my boyfriend, family and cat, and spend the time around a campfire. I would go skinny dipping for fun and dance for the last time. I would be sure the last memory of me was one of joy and love, and nothing negative.

Now, think of everything. Why wait for next week to do something you can do today. You never know how short life is, so take advantage of the time you have TODAY. Tomorrow may not come.

I think this blog has been an entire positive though exercise, so I'm not going to re-write what I already have! Remember, there is no better time than the present!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Happy Victoria Day Weekend(to those of you in Canada)! I don't normally do anything for the long weekend in May, but this year I did. I spent Saturday with my boyfriend, outside in the gorgeous weather! We went on a long walk, taking the Trans Canada Trail up to Shubie Park and then over to Dartmouth Crossing where we caught Iron Man 2-awesome movie. The picture to the left is a shot from Shubie Park, just thought I would share!

My pain has been absent for the last few days, although my fingers continue to be stiff throughout the day. I am continuing with my daily stretches, and it seems to be helping. My fingers are no where near as difficult to use as they were a week ago! I am sticking to the vegetarian diet, allowing myself to have dairy and eggs for now. I do not eat an abundance of egg or dairy, but allowing myself to have them is making the transition to vegetarian all the easier. I can eliminate them later.

Last night for supper I made a convincing mock-pork with tofu. I tried freezing and thawing the tofu before cooking it and than marinated it in soy sauce, some ketchup and mustard, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, black pepper, chili pepper and dried mustard. While it was marinating, I fried up half an onion and then added the tofu and sauce into the pain and fried it until the outside was crispy and the sauce was cooked in. It had a pork like texture, picture the most tender pork pieces you have ever eaten. We kept expecting to bite into a piece of grizzle, it was so meat-like. My boyfriend said he would consider going vegetarian if I continued to keep this up!

It has been incredibly hot today, reaching 29 Celsius and hovering in the mid 20's as I write this at 8:50pm. It's going to be a long, hot night, followed by rain tomorrow. I don't mind the heat, but this is a little too hot for the end of May!

And the positive thought for today is . . .

Don't knock somthing until you have tried it. You would be surprised to find that you might actually enjoy it.

Happy Victoria Day!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bacon-like Tofu!

Today has been a little easier, with little pain(although a bit of stiffness). One of the best things I find for stiffness is warm water. I don't have a heat bag or heat pad, so running my hands under the tap with warm water seems to help, or if I hold them in a sink of warm water. Add a little lavender essential oil and you have a pampering, stress and pain removing technique!

I cooked some tofu last night, and although I was a little hesitant about using it in my recipe because of it's spongy texture, I'm happy I used it. I baked sliced tofu for about 20 minutes with some oil, chili flakes and chili pepper. When it was done, I cut the slices up into cubes and tossed it in the frying pan with some bok choy, onion, veggies and soy sauce. I then threw in some cooked rice and some pineapple, lemon juice and a table spoon of teriyaki sauce. When that was mixed together, I spiced it up with curry, chili and mustard powder. It was delicious, and the texture of the tofu was similar to bacon. I will definitely be using tofu again!

Tomorrow looks like it will be a busy day! I'll be getting up early to go hiking with my boyfriend and then be coming home to continue packing. This is my final week to finish packing before the move next week. I should really get to work on it quickly, but I can't pass up the opportunity to go hiking when the sun will be out and the temp will be up to 20 degrees!

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend, I'll try to post a few pictures of the hike!

Oh and I almost forgot, the positive thought for today is . . .

Do something you enjoy. Do it for yourself every day. It is much easier to get through the hard times when you have something positive to turn to or look forward to!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Western Medicine

Today was Day 1 of being red-meat free, and I will be cutting out chicken and turkey in the next few weeks to come. I've been vegetarian before, although it was only for a year. I felt very healthy at that point in my life, and was involved in Yoga, ate lots of fruit and was pretty darn active. I don't remember what my arthritis was like at that time in my life, but I do remember it bothering me while writing, doing dishes, ect.

I made an appointment with my doctor today, and won’t be able to get in until June 14th. That's better than the original date of July 2nd! I am still against going on medication for the arthritis, but am slightly more concerned after talking to my boss's daughter, who has RA in her hands and feet. She told me that not only can RA cause heart disease, but it can also cause cysts on the lungs and other complications. Once I get in to see my doctor, get a check up and a referral to a rheumatologist, I hope to see if it is absolutely necessary to be on medication for this.

I think our idea of healing is all wrong. Why put something into our bodies that is filled with harmful chemicals, throwing the body’s natural healing abilities off course, that only cause more problems in the future? I have RA now, but I sure as heck don’t want liver disease, possible stroke, and other complications all because I put something into my body that was never meant to be there in the first place. Medicine isn’t food. It’s poison. It doesn’t heal us, it hurts us. We have everything we need to heal and live healthy lives right here, we don’t need to swallow pills in order to be healed.

Disease is the body’s way of telling us that something is out of balance. When the mind, body and spirit are balanced, disease is not present, and if it is, it can be healed by spending time with the mind, body and spirit in meditation, proper eating and gentle, loving thoughts. I’m just having trouble getting myself back into is much easier said than done.

Positive thought for today...

Be good to your body, it's the only one you have.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One Of Those Days...

Please pardon the lack of blogging yesterday, it was "one of those days". For those of you with arthritis, you know what those days are like, days where you are in so much pain that you cannot think of anything except how much you hurt, how much it hurts to move and yet there are still things that need to get done.

It was a little odd, because I had had a wonderful, easy going day with very little pain and than out of no where, with little warning, it started. I had been stiff, but when am I not stiff? Supper still needed to be cooked, so I made a simple casserole dish that required very little work then curled up on the couch and waited for my boyfriend to come home. I hadn't eaten since mid-afternoon, but I wasn't hungry. I didn't want to be touched, and my patience was incredibly thin. So I got myself to have a few bites of food, ran a warm bath with some lavender essential oil and sea salt than laid in bed and watched "Hot Fuzz"-a comedy about a cop who goes to a small town.

This morning I had no pain, but the stiffness was still present so I did a few finger exercises. I was fine for far for most of the day, I had even walked home from work, ran some errands and went to the library for a little bit. Tonight I am in pain again, although no where near the amount I was in last night. My hands are very stiff, particularly my right index finger. I've also been noticing that when my hands become stiff, my skin starts to feel dry, and even though it is soft to the touch, it feels like I need to pile moisturizer onto it. Do you experience any skin irritation or changes when your hands become stiff?

Positive thought for the day(I'll make it a good one since I missed yesterday) :

Arthritis didn't develop in a day, and it will not be cured in a day. Every step we take is another step on the ladder that brings us closer to our goal: to live pain free without the help of medication, to have a cure for arthritis.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Getting Old

It's hard to believe that we are half way through May already. June is fast approaching, and with it comes stress, excitement and a little bit of mystery. My boyfriend and I are moving on June 1st, and there is so much left to do! I have just started packing up some plates and glasses that we do not need out right now, but have so much left to do. I'm at a loss as to what to pack next, there is just so much stuff!

June also brings around my twenty-first birthday. I've been having a lot of trouble with aging lately. I know there is nothing I can do to really stop it, and it's a little silly, but I can't help thinking about what my body will be like five, even ten years down the road. There are days when my body creaks and groans at me, days where I feel like I am much older than my soon-to-be twenty years. To be totally honest, it scares me. It makes me wonder how much strength will be in my hands later on in life when I have children of my own. Will I be in too much pain to hold my own children, to carry them into their beds when they have fallen asleep? Will I not have enough strength in my hands to tie their shoes or button their coats(tasks that I already have trouble with on some days)?

I know this kind of negative thinking will not get me anywhere I need to go, but there are days when the voice of doubt is louder than the voice of reason, hope and strength. I know that I have the power to change my thoughts, and that my body is an amazing healer that does not need the assistance of chemicals or drugs. There are people who have cured themselves of cancer and other diseases without medication. Why should arthritis be any different?

Positive thought for today:

The human body is an amazing healer. It can heal itself if given the right materials: healthy food, positive thinking and exercise.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Laughter. One word, one action, yet it can change your day. Laughter was present for most of my day, and I have to admit that what had started out as a "I really don't want to get out of bed" kind of day, turned into a "I'm laughing so much my cheeks are starting to hurt" day.

Tomorrow I will be jumping back into my exercise program in hope of losing this extra 70 pounds. I know I can do it, I just like to see immediate results, and well, you don't always get that with weight loss!

Today's positive thought is:

Love yourself. You are worth it!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010


There are events in life that cause us to pause and think back on the past, ponder the present and question the future. One of these events almost always trigger this reflection, and that event is death. It is a simple, reoccurring, unstoppable event that we as humans have absolutely no control over. Some of us fight it, others welcome it and then there are those who ignore it.

Today was a day where I stopped and looked into the mirror of my mind, pondered thoughts that have been pushed about my mind multiple times. Today my boyfriend had to put his dog, Brandy, down. She has been ill for a while, and life has finally caught up with her. It still amazes me how much the death of a pet can affect a person. I had several rats a few years ago who had died of seizures while I held them in my hands. The vet couldn't figure out what was wrong with them, and I was left holding each lethargic body until the final spasm took the breath from their lungs. This happened almost three years ago, and I still have moments where I mourn my lost pets. They were my friends, my family, my confidants, my joy.

If I have learned anything from death, it is that it is sometimes inevitable. You can run, you can hide, but you will die someday regardless of what you say or do. It's a harsh realization that makes you stop and wonder what are you doing here, why are you here?

I have no idea why we are here on Earth, but I do have my theories. One of these theories is that we are here to help one another, to learn from one another and to help the Earth and all the creatures who inhabit It's beautiful lands(and seas). This idea of a purpose, regardless of how open to interpretation it may be, provides a small beacon of hope and clarity on days where I think that life is truly pointless. I do believe everything happens for a reason, and death is just another part of life. It is change, which is why we fear it. But why fear what you can embrace? If you cannot avoid it, why not accept it?

On a lighter note, the other ingredient in the sore joint cream that I mentioned in yesterday's blog is cinnamon. So the three main ingredients are cinnamon, black pepper and ginger. I have had very little pain today, but am stiff.

Positive thought for today?

Life is what you make it.

RIP Brandy. You were a wonderful, beautiful dog full of personality. May you be at peace where ever you are.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Less Pain

I am happy to say that we were granted a day of warm sunshine that lasted until about 4pm or so, and then turned into overcast. My arthritis wasn't even too bad, other than the stiffness. I am trying a new herbal cream for sore joints, and it is composed of black pepper, ginger and, another ingredient that I can't seem to remember. It has a pleasant smell, is gentle on the skin and helps to relieve a bit of pain. I purchased it from a holistic store by the name of Casaroma. The store is just around the corner from me, but they have a fabulous website. You get to by clicking here I'm going to continue to use it for a few weeks on a daily basis to see how it goes. I'll update on any changes I notice.

It has been a bit of a stressful day. My father was diagnosed with liver disease yesterday, and my mother is having a few complications with her back(she had a spinal fusion yesterday morning). There may be nerve damage as a result of the condition her back was in before going in for the operation. As for my father, he is currently on dialysis for his kidney's and we had a close call with him back in January. He is still recovering from that incident, and now to add the liver disease on top of it....It's discouraging to see two wonderful people in a position where all you can do is sit back and see what happens. I've been visiting my father, and will be making a trip to the hospital tomorrow to see my mom. I still have to find out more information on liver disease, but all in time...We don't know what will happen until he goes for his MRI and biopsy.

It's been a long, tiring day so I am going to head off to bed. I'm looking forward to a little rest on the weekend.

Oh and today's positive thought...I almost forgot. Let's see:

Everything happens for a reason. There is little point in worrying as it will only bring more worry into ones life. Acknowledge, accept, and release the problem. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Upon waking this morning I was sure it was going to be a beautiful day. The sun was shining, it was warm and there were very few clouds in the sky. The hands on the clock continued to click away minutes and sunshine. By 9am, the sky was filled with clouds and the temperature had dropped.

I'm starting to think that my pain might be more related to food than I had originally thought. I know Nightshade veggies(tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers) can cause flareups in people who suffer from arthritis. I've been eating potatoes for the last three or four days, and I have tomatoes on an almost daily basis. I know I should probably try to cut Nightshade veggies out, but it can be so hard! I need to find an alternative to potatoes and tomatoes. You can find more information on Nightshade veggies and other foods arthritic people should avoid here.

There are days where the pain is a little too much to deal with. Last night I was in bed by 8:30pm, and today after work I felt so exhausted that I had to lay down. I didn't sleep, I just laid there talking to my boyfriend for a little while. I am hoping to get in to see my doctor and hopefully get a referral to a rheumatologist. I have not seen a rheumatologist for at least three years, because the one I had was in the children's hospital and I am no longer a child. I am also concerned about my wrists. I was told I have tendinitis, but I am wondering if the arthritis may have moved into them. I hope not...

Today's positive thought is:

I release my pain into the Earth and draw in warm healing energy. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful evening. Here's to warmer weather!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A New Challenge

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. I would have posted but had an unexpected visit to a friend's house, which was pretty nice.

I gave myself a pretty good scare over the weekend. I was curious about the long-term effects of arthritis on the hands, and decided to use Google Images. My mind instantly went into "what if" mode, wondering what would happen if my hands became worse and crippled? Would my boyfriend still let me touch him, or would he be repulsed by my hands? Would I even have functioning hands?

The list of what if's went on and on...I'm realizing(thanks to my boyfriend's Mom) that having a negative outlook only attracts negative energy. How am I supposed to help my body heal when I can only focus on how bad things could get?

So, this weeks challenge for myself is to write one positive thought a day, and to acknowledge and release any negative thoughts. Today's positive statement is:

My body is capable of anything, including healing arthritis.

For the rest of this week, I will be focusing on positive thinking and drawing healthy, happy energy into my life.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Learning To Live

Weak. Stiff. Hot. Pain. These are some of the words I'd use to describe my arthritis. If you had told me seven years ago that I would be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis within a year, I think I would have looked at you like you were off your rocker. I was a child in my last year of Junior High when I was diagnosed. I knew my hands hurt, but it certainly wasn't something I was too worried about. I was more concerned about the way my index finger looked. The middle joint almost looked like it has been reversed, so it was sunken down into my skin. My finger clicked when I bent it. My friends thought it was "kinda gross."

Now, a grown woman of twenty, my arthritis has continued to effect my life. I do not believe in taking medication that treats the symptoms but provides no solution to the actual problem. I rarely take Tylenol, Advil or other anti-inflammatory drugs. I take the pain and deal with it, try to cope with gentle hand exercises and am now tackling my diet, too.

When I was first diagnosed I was put on Naproxen. I was on this medication(my dose being increased every month or so) for about six months. I remember arguing with my mother about how I did not like taking the pills. They made me sick, sick enough that eating was uncomfortable and I would have sharp pains in my stomach. The doctor said my body needed to get used to the medicine. I said "Enough!" and refused to take them any more. I honestly think this was one of the best things I had ever done. The list of problems Naproxen causes is, well, discouraging to say the least.

My pain is usually manageable on most days, on other days it results in me curled up in bed snuggling my cat, boyfriend or a pillow crying. Sometimes the pain is easier to deal with than the emotional burden.

Growing up we were taught that older people had arthritis. You know, our Grandmothers, Grandfathers and elderly neighbors. It was what happened to you when you got old. No one ever mentioned children getting arthritis. Not in my neighborhood! I think that the idea of elderly having arthritis and younger people having healthy joints plays a large part on my mind. There are days where I feel like my body is seventy years old, where moving my fingers takes enough effort to send me into the land of depression. Other days I feel my age. It is a constant roller coaster.

I know there are things that I can do to help lessen the pain, and I plan on doing them. I invite you to join me on my journey to healing my arthritis. That's right. I think, no, I know it can be healed. I also invite you to share any stories of your arthritis and how you cope.

Tomorrow will be a new day, a new start. Today I will start my journey, today I will learn to live.