Showing posts from July, 2014

I hate everything

Well, not really. Not everything. I love my dogs. I love my kids. I love being outside, especially in the woods or by free-moving water. I love learning something new that is also interesting. I love working with my hands - gardening, building, refinishing, crocheting, painting. I love hiking, I love using my body to do incredible things. I love going to the gym. I love mowing my yard. I love spending time with friends. I love movies. Music. Books. Poetry. Writing.

What I really hate is my illness. I hate the way my body is attacking itself. I hate getting one joint through a crisis only to have another joint fail. Hands, knees, shoulders, back, after another, like a cascading systems failure, and I can't stay ahead of it. I hate being in pain all the time. I hate having to ask my daughters for help with simple things like walking my dog or cooking a meal. I hate taking multitudes of medication and not feeling any better. I hate washing my hair because that means losing…


For the past week, I've stayed at a ten on the pain-scale. Monday started out well - my knee felt good, the rest of me was fairly level. Things took a sharp nosedive with an extra dose of emotional distress on Tuesday morning, but I shook that off fairly quickly. It was just a confirmation of what I already suspected; that a person I had spent a lot of time loving had become someone I didn't know anymore. I didn't want to accept it, but denial only lasts so long. I've spent the past three months mourning the loss of that love and it is time to move on. So - I'm doing that; living life, focusing on being happy and getting well.

Wednesday morning, I got up and tried to leash my dog to go for a walk, and I threw my back out. Immediate agony flared across the L5 region. I couldn't straighten up. So I did the bent-double duck-foot shuffle to the couch and pushed myself upright. SCREAMING pain. INCREDIBLE pain. Fortunately, my seventeen-year-old was home and she help…

Dealing with pain

As much better as I feel after having changed my diet and started taking anti-inflammatory supplements like turmeric and magnesium, I still have some bad days. Today is one of those. I got up feeling great this morning. Went through the house to take the dogs out for a walk. I bent down to fasten a leash onto Oskar's collar and couldn't straighten up. I threw my back out!

Well, not really. There usually isn't anything out of place when a back injury occurs. Generally, it's just a strained or pulled muscle. Then swelling occurs around the injury and that presses on the clusters of nerves that run toward the legs; it can cause pain in the hips and numbness or tingling in the feet. Minor back injuries occur for the stupidest of reasons - a sneeze, lifting something as light as a coffee pot, or just bending over to fasten a leash. You don't have to have RA to experience a back injury. I've injured my back several times in this manner - usually after having over-use…

Everything changes

It has been about a month since I started following an anti-inflammatory diet. I am very pleased with the results. Through trial and error, I have discovered that processed, white flour based foods are my primary trigger for inflammation. Pasta, bread, and desserts are the main culprits, though I've found that I can have dark chocolate or a small amount of sugar as long as I don't eat gluten or flour-based products at the same time. I've started putting together a short list of recipes that I hope to lengthen. There are a lot of good gluten-free products out there, and I've been trying some of them out. However, I don't intend to simply replace processed carbohydrates with processed carbohydrates. I'd like to continue to reduce the amount of processed foods that I eat.

This weekend, I harvested tomatoes and squash from my raised bed garden. I also had flat-leaf Italian parsley and sweet basil. I diced the tomatoes and added the herbs, half a cup of diced zucchi…

I'm learning

I've always picked up new concepts and ideas really quickly. Not to brag, but learning has come easily all my life. Until it runs up against my stubbornness or a habit I really don't want to break. Like it did this weekend.

I was on vacation last week. All week long, I did really well with my anti-inflammatory food choices. I ate a lot of fresh vegetables from my garden, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, lean protein, and nuts. I avoided gluten but when I had it, I made sure it came from whole-grains and was a small amount, or I was careful to balance it with lean protein and plenty of vegetables. I felt really good all week long, so much that I was able to go on a long hike on Wednesday.

And then I got cocky. I thought it would be fine to loosen up a little on Sunday. My daughter made brownies and I am a total sucker for brownies. So I ate three. They were small but in the end, it didn't matter. I woke up at three o'clock this morning in agony from head to toe. My …

Spring cleaning

I am on vacation this week, and I guess it's perfect timing. I had a cortisone shot in my right knee on Friday of last week, and the prescription included rest, ice, compression, and elevation. At my last rheumatology appointment, I had an x-ray to diagnose the source of the pain and swelling. Back in May, I was walking and both heard and felt a pop on the inside of my knee. The x-ray couldn't pinpoint soft-tissue damage, of course, but did show considerable degeneration in the joint. So my doctor prescribed a cortisone injection and RICE. I've been doing that since Friday and have seen good improvement.

There is still some pain, but nothing like the constant throbbing I felt before. I can walk without my cane. The knee pops occasionally but it isn't bad. It helps that I don't have much of anywhere to be. I'd have preferred a more active vacation, with some hiking, biking, and maybe kayaking. I'm still planning on the kayaking, but the other two will have t…