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.