Down, Down, Down

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Today is Day 1 of me taking 1mg of prednisone! I almost hate to celebrate because I know how likely it is to be suddenly forced to have to increase the dose of this nasty drug. But, I will celebrate a little. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been at only 1mg, and it’s taken seemingly forever to taper down this far from 5mg. It is a very difficult process: bit by bit, milligram by milligram, flare-up by flare-up. So far today I’m enduring this minuscule decrease fairly well. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, however.

I WILL be prednisone-free again someday. I swear it! Let’s hope it’s this month.

Good Morning?

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Are you a “morning person,” or do you absolutely dread and loathe mornings, like I do? No matter how early I go to bed or how much sleep I get, I always have a hard time getting up in the morning and I rarely feel well-rested. Or rested at all.  I was just reminded of this when an article I wrote a few years ago for RheumatoidArthritis.net popped up in my Facebook feed:

“Morning Misery”

I wrote this article when I first started substitute teaching and I was working at a long-term job subbing for a kindergarten class. Even though the article is now a bit old, my feelings about mornings remain pretty much the same. I hate them! I wish I didn’t, but I do. Nevertheless, I’m often forced to drag my stiff, painful body out of bed at an early hour, but THANK GOD FOR COFFEE!

Also, if you’re interested, please “like” and follow RheumatoidArthritis.net on Facebook! They have lots of great articles posted from several different patient advocates living with RA on a huge variety of topics.

Check it out here:  facebook.com/RheumatoidArthritisDotNet

Thanks for reading and have some GOOD mornings!

I’ll still be in bed.

Clinical Trials: An Introduction & Journey

This July marks my 21st year of living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I was diagnosed with this painful, debilitating autoimmune disease at age 18, right after graduating from high school. It was a terrifying and devastating blow, and I remember waking up every morning wishing that the pain and disease would just leave me alone and go away. Sadly, it didn’t go away and it never has, even for a temporary period of remission. Also since those first days of diagnosis and wishing the illness away, I desperately wished for a cure—or something to let me get back to being a healthy and active teenager, instead of someone who could barely get dressed or wash her hair on her own.

Today, over 20 years later, I’m still wishing for a cure for RA, and in the meantime I’m hoping for the development of better and more effective medications and treatments to help ease my pain and stop joint damage. Ultimately, that’s what all of us RA patients want and need, and we need it urgently. This need and the realization of its importance in the treatment and hopefully one day cure and prevention of the disease is what has finally made me begin to get involved with clinical trials.

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Just Add Exercise?

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The “opioid crisis” is something that affects my life every single day, as it does for many other chronic illness patients I know. Here’s a recent article I wrote for RheumatoidArthritis.net about this issue once again: “Just Add Exercise?”

Sadly, with all of the misinformation out there regarding opioid medications for chronic illness patients (well, any patients), I know I will continue writing about this subject. So many patients who take and need these medications are suffering great harm due to the continually increased restrictions on them. And these are patients who take opioids responsibly, safely, as-prescribed, and under the care of a physician (such as myself).

STOP THE STIGMA: chronic pain patients are NOT addicts!