I Am Not Lazy

girlboss
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

Summer Update

Happy July, everyone!

Once again I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted on here and how fast the time is speeding by. Can everything slow down a bit, please? Even though I haven’t been posting on this blog that much lately, I’m still keeping busy updating my RA Facebook page–“Inflamed: Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis” (like this blog)–and writing for RheumatoidArthritis.net. If you’re on Facebook, please check out and “like” my page! I’d love to have you there. I do plan to start posting a lot more on this blog, too.

In other news, I started another new biologic medication this spring, Rituxan, and my rheumatologist and I are now waiting to see if it’s going to work. I really hope it does because I’m running out of biologic options–which is worrying. I’m also desperate to finally get off of prednisone (and stay off it) after taking it regularly for about three years.

Here’s a recent article I wrote about starting Rituxan for RheumatoidArthritis.net: “Rituxan Ready?”

In exciting/wonderful news, I’ve recently lost about 9 lbs! This makes me so happy and relieved because I feel like I’ve been trying to lose weight forever, and nothing seemed to be working. I’m glad to find out that my body and metabolism isn’t totally broken/defective. Whew.

How’s your summer going? How’s your RA? The heat and humidity drive me crazy and make my RA (especially swelling) a lot worse. If this also happens to you, I hope you can find a way to stay cool and comfortable right now. I’m sick of breathing in central air conditioning day after day, but I’d rather do that than be miserable and in worse pain.

I really need a relaxing beach vacation, I’ve decided.

30 Days with RA!

Happy April! It’s APRIL already? How did this happen? Life moves too fast sometimes (when you’re busy running to medical appointments every other day, ha).

Well anyway, I’m happy that the weather is starting to get nicer and that Spring is approaching (hopefully). I’m also happy to be starting this little 30-day project for the month of April: 30 Days with RA.

I wrote an article about it recently for RheumatoidArthritis.net (the link above), which can give you a better, more-detailed explanation of the project, if you’re interested.

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Weight of the world

Once again time flew by and I haven’t written in here for a while.  Apologies again to my maybe two readers (ha ha).

For the past month+ I’ve been trying very hard to improve my health and lose weight.  I began an aquatic whole-body conditioning class that meets twice a week (I wrote about this once before but deleted my post in embarrassment because my instructor found this blog and told me about it at class one week. I’ll probably repost it sometime soon once I stop acting like a baby).  I also started this “Colorful Choices” program through work that helps a person eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as giving up all soda and drinking a lot of water.  I’ve been doing pretty well with these things, yet I’m growing more and more frustrated because I’m not seeing ANY results – not pounds-wise or in clothing fit.  What is the DEAL?  Do I have to run miles each day and starve myself to lose even a tiny bit of weight?  I’m so unbelievably sick of this weird weight gain (from the last 5 years) that never goes away despite my efforts.  I just want to be my “normal” self, 25-30 lbs lighter, which isn’t even “skinny.”  I’m working hard yet the flab is hanging around (literally).

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Weighting around

In a brief effort to improve my health and lose weight a week or so ago, I decided to try lifting these little 3 lb orange weights a few times a day, every day. At first I was huffing and puffing and “feeling the burn” at the end of each mini “workout,” but also feeling good and energized and happy that I had exercised a bit. I really hoped that this would help me lose some weight, too.

I’ve been 20-25 lbs overweight for the last 5-6 years, mostly due to medication side effects and lack of exercise (my suspicion). Feeling fat and ugly and sluggish and like a disgusting old lump on the couch only adds to the frustration and depression of having R.A. But this is a topic that deserves its own post(s), so you’ll have to wait to read about that another time.

Let’s get back to me looking ridiculous pumping iron in my pajamas in front of the TV every night. So yes, hooray! I can lift these weights and shave off some of my fat arse in the process. Good plan, right? WRONG. After about a week of weight lifting I am having an arthritis flare-up in my left shoulder, both elbows, and both wrists. At first I hoped it was only muscle soreness, but now I fear my gut instinct is true and it’s the arthritis (it’s not going away – always a good indicator). I’m off my exercise plan and today I reluctantly started taking 10 mg of prednisone to try to get this flare-up under control.

The presecription: prednisone daily, rest, rest, rest, and wait. Don’t move the shoulder unnecessarily. Don’t move the arms, in particular the elbows, excessively or in a weird manner. Wrists? Well, might as well try to not move the hands either (hands are connected to wrists, in case you forgot – I do sometimes).

What’s the next exercise plan that won’t land me in an iron body cast? Swimming/water therapy could be it. The warm water pool at the Courage Center feels like heaven; it just may be a fair enough trade-off for having to appear in a swimsuit in public. Hmm.

It really is a shame I can’t continue with these weights, though. Anybody have any other ideas?

Arthritis, ADD, or is it just me?

It’s nearly 1.30 AM right now and for the last 2.5 hours I’ve been glued to the computer, glassy-eyed and claustrophobic, trying to work on grad school applications (deadlines are coming up way too fast). I really do want to go back to school; I’ve wanted to go back for three years or so but haven’t been able to get my act together to actually do it. I applied to two programs at the University of Minnesota two years ago, in a huge messy rush, and got rejected. I also applied twice to a Master’s program in Berlin at Humboldt University; the most recent rejection happened just this May. Throw in an application for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship too, also denied. I did get accepted to a Master’s program at Queen’s University in Belfast in 2004, but I had to decline it because of a freak arthritis flare-up with my eyes.

Oh, pity pity woe is me, right? I know, stop being a baby. But as I sit here feeling like someone is digging sharp knives into both ankles and that maybe another evil person just finished smashing every inch of my body with a lead baseball bat – I do wonder sometimes if I would be having such trouble trying to move on with my life and getting my shit together if I were healthy and arthritis-free. Is the RA to blame for any of these frustrations and failures or is it all me?

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