Let It Snow?

Oh the weather outside is frightful (as “springtime” usually is in Minnesota), but my joints feel so delightful. Well…maybe not delightful, but I’ve noticed that they’re definitely a lot happier and manageable during cold, dry weather. The heat and especially the humidity of summer greatly increases my pain, swelling, and, well, RA discomfort and misery. I know that I’m probably a bit of a weirdo and in the minority for preferring cold weather instead of warm/hot weather for my RA, but I can’t be the only one–right?

Here’s a link to my latest article for RheumatoidArthritis.net about this:

“Let It Snow?”

I’m really sick of seeing snow and especially in April. Yes, we still have snow here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota; I’m looking at the disgusting stuff right now through the window as I write this. I desperately want sunshine and green grass and no more cold, gray, and snowy days. I just wish my RA liked summery, warm weather too.

Dreamland: The Opiate Epidemic

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Here’s my latest article for RheumatoidArthritis.net about an excellent book I recently read, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by journalist Sam Quinones.

“Dreamland: RA & The Opiate Epidemic”

The book is a fascinating and eye-opening account of the current “opioid crisis” and  basically the mess that our country is in right now regarding the shockingly high number of people addicted and overdosing on opiate drugs. Quinones, a former reporter for the L.A. Times, meticulously explains the origins of the crisis, including the “pill mills” (pain clinics) of the 1990s, the explosion of OxyContin onto the market also in the ’90s, and the rapid rise of black tar heroin trafficking from basically one small region of Mexico–the state of Nayarit, which is on Mexico’s western coast.

Even though the book deals with a lot of serious and heavy material, it’s definitely worth reading. And it’s a page-turner, which surprised me. For a rather long and dense non-fiction book, I found myself flying through it. I’ve also been recommending it to everyone, even those who don’t personally have a chronic illness or suffer from chronic pain. There’s so much sensationalist media coverage of the “opioid crisis/epidemic” right now that it’s difficult to know and understand what the real facts are. Sam Quinones’ “Dreamland” is a fantastic place to start, I think.

And please, let me know what you think of my article and the book if/when you read it!

I Am Not Lazy

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Image via @girlboss on Instagram

I just posted this all over my social media pages yesterday because I love it! Having RA and an invisible illness, this statement really resonates with me. I often struggle with feeling “lazy” (and then guilty) just trying to make it through each day living with this exhausting disease. I’m NOT lazy, though. None of us are. We’re doing the best we can while living with constant, debilitating pain. That should be enough.

Link: girlboss.com

I’m still here!

Hello! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted on here. Very embarrassing. So many things have happened regarding my health, work, family, and friends since November. There’s a lot to catch up on and I am going to do it!

Right now, I’m going through a pretty bad flare-up in both feet and ankles and a bit in my hands. The feet/ankles flare started about a week ago and then got quickly worse while I was in Chicago last weekend for a wonderful conference called HealtheVoices. I will write more about that very soon, I promise! Despite suffering through the staggering physical and emotional pain of the flare, I was so inspired and energized being a part of the conference again (I was at the first one held last year in Jersey City, NJ). Just being there with my fellow RA friends and advocates as well as connecting with people who are advocates regarding other chronic illnesses…it was incredibly motivating and empowering. But more on that later! Know that there are a lot of people out there who really care about those who live with RA and are passionate about making lives better. This gives me great hope.

This post is a bit rambling and scrambling, but I wanted to post something now. Finally! I’m still here and this blog and cause are still so very important to me. They always will be. :)

I hope you’re all happy and as pain-free as possible out there…in the Internet universe.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk

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I just finished editing and posting the photos I took at last weekend’s “Jingle Bell Run/Walk” which was put on by the Arthritis Foundation’s Upper Midwest Chapter. It was fun seeing all of the people decked out in their crazy Christmas/holiday outfits. It was also great to see such a big turnout.

Here’s a link to the album on Flickr if you would like to see more photos:

2015 Jingle Bell Run/Walk: St. Paul, MN

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