On Being Human



“I want to show you what I mean when I use the phrase beauty hunting. But I have to get you to believe me that when you listen to people and when you show up, like really show up, there is beauty everywhere. And when you start noticing it, you can’t unsee it.”
Jennifer Pastiloff

*I just started reading this book and I’m already really liking it a lot. And I have a feeling there will be some RheumatoidArthritis.net articles to come from it. :)



“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature–the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” 
Rachel Carson

Exposing RA Through Photography

Image 1

I’m really excited to announce that I’m partnering with Pfizer to launch a new project for Arthritis.com! It’s a photo-essay series that will help shed light on what it can be like living with RA. In each photo of the series, I want to help lift the veil of confusion and misconception that often conceals the truth of RA by making the illness a bit more understandable. In all of its pain, struggle, grief and frustration, RA is worth being seen and can even impart lessons of hope and beauty.

The first two posts are available online now, and several more will be published in the near future.

“Exposing RA Through Photography: Part 1”
“Exposing RA Through Photography: Part 2”

Looking forward to sharing this journey with you!

The Vaping Update

An update on The Vaping Debacle:

So now after an appointment with my primary doctor recently and a visit to the ER last Friday night, doctors think that the chest tightness and pain I’ve been experiencing since 4/24 (the first time I vaped medical cannabis) is actually a G.I. problem. That’s good news, I suppose? I’m not having a heart attack or anything like that. I have an endoscopy scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. I hope it shows something.


That’s all for now.

P.S. At least I’m losing a bit of weight from this and not being able to eat. Ha ha.

The Vaping Debacle


I was going to write something in general about starting the Minnesota medical cannabis/marijuana program recently, but now an adverse reaction has happened from vaping the stuff so I guess I’ll write about both now.

With the encouragement of my new pain clinic provider, I began the medical cannabis program as a way to help my chronic pain, hopefully as a successful substitute to using opioids. I was optimistic and excited about finally trying it and got started at a local dispensary by purchasing a vaping starter pack after meeting with a pharmacist there. I tried vaping for the first time that night, and not long after my first inhale, I noticed a weird tightness and almost pain in my chest. I also had a hard time drawing a deep breath. What is this? I assumed that it was maybe a “normal” reaction, especially since I’ve never been a smoker, nor have I ever vaped in my life.

Well, it turns out it definitely wasn’t a normal reaction. After wasting a bunch of time over the next several days contacting doctors on MyChart, calling my dispensary pharmacist, and finally going to an urgent care doctor on Friday–I was diagnosed with bronchial spasms. From the vaping. It seems like a sort of bizarre development, since I don’t have asthma or any history of respiratory or pulmonary problems. But, whatever, I guess. Quirky, frustrating medical things seem to keep happening to me, and vaping cannabis oil triggered an assault of inflammation on my bronchial tubes.

The other bad news part of this story is that bronchial spasms do not go away on their own. So, I’ve been instructed to take high doses of steroids–a prednisone burst–for at least a week with the hope that this very uncomfortable and often painful condition will calm down and disappear.

I just choked down my second day of 60 mg of prednisone and I’m not happy about it. So far I haven’t devoured the entire contents of my refrigerator yet, however my sleep last night was fitful and sweaty (thank you, clammy disgusting night sweats).

So, that’s basically the update on my first experience using medical cannabis. There are capsules and oral drops available, so I think I’m going to try those once I’m feeling better. I hope the prednisone works its magic fast and that I do feel better soon, because these “spasms” are driving me crazy. I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest while simultaneously squeezing my esophagus (if elephants could do that).

I do not need this right now.