Thursday, December 12, 2013

One Step at a Time

It has been almost two months since I began my journey of a healthier life style.  Having rheumatoid arthritis makes that challenge that much harder.  I started out too hard without really meaning to.  I found a 10 minute workout video online that I thought I could manage. It had the word "beginner" in it, so obviously it should be easy.  Sometimes I have the ability/curse/bad habit of seeing only what I want, because there were some another words in this video's title.  Those words were "boot camp."

In fairness to me, the video really didn't look that difficult. I guess I am more out of shape than I thought...aren't we all?  I didn't try to move quite as quickly as the instructor, knowing full well I couldn't keep up.  I was introduced to my first burpee.  Gotta say I'm not a big fan. Long story, short, I was sore for two days. I decided perhaps I should ease myself into this a bit and decided to start yoga. I work five days a week at a law firm and it is a bit stressful so I figured this could help me de-stress a little.  I was right.

I try to do short ten minute routines in the morning before work.  This really helps stretch my back out and get me prepared for my day.  I LOVE it! A couple times a week I manage to do some before bed too.  They have some routines that are designed to help you get more relaxed and fall asleep easier. It really helps my back and it stretches my muscles in a gentle way.  Some days, I'm not going to lie, getting on the floor is just not going to happen.  I don't beat myself up over it though.

I have also stopped eating before going to bed (mostly).  It was hard to do at first, but like everything else, your body adjusts.  In total, I have lost 8 lbs!  Not a lot, I know, but I think those pounds are staying off.  I didn't get fat over night and it's not going to come off that way either. I try to stay away from all processed foods. I just believe that they are not good for you.  Your body cannot possibly know what to do with some of those unpronounceable ingredients. I also try to drink plenty of water throughout the day. I think this is key.  At work I am always drinking water as it is a habit. I drink at least two 16 oz. glasses full while working.  During the weekends, I have to remind myself all the time to drink more.  I will get there.

One thing I haven't done that I wanted to is keep a food journal.  I think that would really help me to stay on track and see where my weaknesses are and help me to see what foods I need to eat more of.

Over all, I think I have done well.  I feel better, that's for sure and that was the whole point.  I want to be healthier so I can feel better and be more active.  The weather hasn't been cooperating and my joints have been taking a beating.  The newest joint to get involved is my wrists.  Weird to have pain there, I guess because I never have before.  Sometimes I get discouraged because the joint pain is always there and between working and running a household, it can be overwhelming.  I begin to feel sorry for myself and that's never a good thing. A positive attitude is key to healthy living I believe.  I am lucky in that I can usually recognize in myself when I begin to slide downward.  It is easier to stop it, if you can see it.

I hope everyone has a very blessed and safe holiday season.  If you are fortunate enough to be spending it
with your family, what more could you ask for, right?  Happy New Year everyone!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013


Me and My Son David


There's no way around it.  I have to do something about my weight.  It keeps going up, up and up.  It is affecting my arthritic joints and the rest of my health as well.  My blood pressure is up as is my cholesterol.  I guess over the past couple of years I have stopped moving as much, mostly because it hurts. But it is hurting me more to do nothing.

The thing is, I already eat pretty healthy, but I do enjoy my sweets. Ugh. The only way I am going to do this is a lifestyle change.  I do not do change well.  I recently gave up smoking. Not easy.  I have to make myself move, move and move. More salads, less ice cream. Ugh. 

What really got me scared is my HRA (health risk assessment) report came in the mail today. Cholesterol 201 (last year it was 160); blood pressure 130/90 (usually 120/80); and, the best number?? 42% body fat!!! Almost half!! Good, grief!

First I need to come up with a plan.  I guess I have to join the gym. Did I say ugh??  I have to do it in the morning and with arthritis in almost every one of my joints, it takes a while for me to get moving in the morning. Everything hurts.  Therefore, I must wait for pain pills to kick in...which means I will have to get up super early. Ugh.  Which means I will have to go to bed earlier. Ugh. I get home from work around 5:30, after making supper, cleaning up, taking care of dogs, it's usually 8:00 before I even sit down.  Now I can go to bed at 9:00 so I can get up at 5:00 a.m.  Ugh. Did I say that already?  

Okay, I've done enough whining. Now for the positives:  my joints will feel better with less weight on them; less pain, happier me!  I will like my body again.  Right now I can't stand looking at myself in the mirror.  I have always had a poor body image, now it is beginning to turn into a loathing that I can barely tolerate.  According to the report I am 25 lbs over my maximum ideal weight.  I would like to lose 30 though, as this will still put me at around 145 lbs.  I know I will never be at my before children weight of 110, but I don't need to get down to that.  I will feel so much better being thinner and having good numbers come back from the doctor.  I will appreciate my body and learn to take much better care of it.  I have begun doing yoga in the mornings and that is helping me be more conscious of my movements and I am beginning to see how much I have abused my body.

I will post my progress, or lack thereof right here.  Wish me luck.  This will be one of the most challenging journeys I will ever embark on. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Miracle (Shhhh...we don't want to jinx it!)

     One Small Pill=Giant Difference

On August 14, 2013, my life changed for the better. That is the day I went to see my family doctor. If she were here right now, I think I would kiss her. She did something, actually two things: a) she listened; and b) she prescribed something that finally worked on my arthritis.

Almost three years ago I began having painful hands. Then painful feet, shoulders, wrists and elbows. On top of a bad back, somewhere along the line I developed a bad neck.  Some of this stuff I assume starts happening as we age. I am in my mid 40's. But why do I feel like I'm in my mid 80's? My Dad was 86 when he died and he stayed active his whole life. I don't know how he did it.

After a few appointments, my doctor thought perhaps it was Rheumatoid Arthritis. The pain was symmetrical, it went away when I went on prednisone and I had low grade fevers.  I've been through three Rheumys and several different meds to relieve symptoms. Plaquenil, prednisone, methotrexate, cymbalta and tramadol. Some made me sick, some did nothing and the tramadol actually takes the edge off. Blood tests and X-rays reveal nothing. Docs tell me that some people don't test positive for the RH factor (seronegative). It still means we don't really know what I have.  The past few months I have been bothered mostly by the fatigue. I work in a law office and I began taking two hour lunches so I could go home and sleep. I was falling asleep at work.

After complaining to one of my friends about not being able to clean my house or go to any social events on the weekends because I was so exhausted and in pain from working all week, she gave me a pill. She said it would help me have some energy to get some things done. Its name: Vyvanse. She took it for ADHD.  I am not advocating sharing prescription medications, but I was desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. I took the pill and it did what she said it would. I had the energy to do my housework I had neglected for so long. After about two hours, I noticed something. I. had. NO. pain. Zero. Zilch. Nada. For the first time in almost three years, I was pain free. Well, I thought it was a fluke. A couple weeks go by and I am feeling worse and more fatigued than ever. I go to see my GP and talk to her about my meds. I am hesitant to tell her about what I discovered for fear she would think I was a drug seeker. I had nothing to lose, so I told her. She said she was going to prescribe something for the fatigue anyway, so why not try it.

I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but so far I have been not only virtually pain free but the fatigue is gone. I do wake up with sore stiff hands. I eat breakfast and take two tramadol and one Vyvanse and within an hour the pain/stiffness is gone.  Pain is gone from wrists, shoulders and elbows. I still have pain in the balls of my feet if I am on them for any length of time. I still need to wear my Sketcher Shape-ups to work. I was taking six tramadol a day and now I am taking three.

I can't tell you how excited I am! I just hope it lasts. There are some side effects.  Loss of appetite. I don't know why this is a problem...I am at least 30lbs over weight, so another bonus. Also, I have been compulsively chewing the inside of my lips. I can deal with it.  One pill lasts all day, so much so that I have to take a melatonin to get to sleep.  I no longer need to take a nap in the middle of the day.  What I am trying to say is I AM ME AGAIN. I am the me before arthritis stole so many things.

I will write about my progress or lack thereof. I hope you will come on this journey with me. Discovery is so much more when it is shared.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. I know I will enjoy mine :)