Monthly Archives: November 2009

Cyber Monday and Rheumatoid Arthritis

One of the greatest ideas for someone with rheumatoid arthritis is Cyber Monday.  Retailers across the globe are discounting merchandise and many are offering free shipping on Cyber – Monday.

For me, when my RA is flaring or even when it isn’t there are some things that can be just too much for my body to tolerate and shopping is one of those things.  While I really enjoy shopping, the Holiday shopping can be overwhelming for me and just too much for my body to handle.  This year and for the past few years Cyber Monday has been a life saver.  I just simply point and click and purchase my gifts and they are delivered to my doorstep.

I do try to shop from online retailers that I trust and have used before.  Most of my shopping is done at stores that either offer free return shipping if there is an issue with the product. Or I will use a merchant that will take the product back at a brick and mortar store nearby without hassle. I don’t mind that if it is only an occasional thing.  I have been fortunate that I have not had any problems with any of the purchases I have made in the past.

Cyber Monday has made the holidays a more enjoyable time for me because I do not have the worry of over doing it and ending up out of commission for days.  And I don’t have to worry about planning out a shopping strategy to spread the shopping out over several trips to insure that I don’t over stress my joints.

For me easing the stress of shopping has made the holidays a more enjoyable time.

Happy shopping.

Preparing for Thanksgiving with Arthritis

The past several years I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner.  I really enjoy spending time with those I love most and taking some time to reflect on what I am most grateful.  This year I will again host our Thanksgiving dinner and what I have learned over the past few years and through a fair amount of trial and error is that planning is key to a successful day.

Planning is important for anyone hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but when you have arthritis you really need to plan well in advance.  If you don’t allow enough time to get things like cleaning and shopping you run the risk of overdoing it and ending up out of commission for the big day.  I try to start preparing 2 weeks ahead.

During the first week of preparation I try to make sure that all the dishes, glassware and silverware are all clean and polished.  I also iron the table linen and work on a centerpiece for the table.  Some of the housecleaning that can be done during the first week of preparation include cleaning out any cobwebs and washing windows. I plan the menu and start grocery shopping.  I try to split the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving between 2 weeks so that I am not overwhelmed on either week and it also spreads out the cost over two weeks.I get the non-perishables in week one and the fresh veggies and meat the second week. If something is forgotten in week one, there is always week two to pick it up.  I put the leaf into the dining table during this week as well.  If you have a separate dining room I would recommend setting the table for Thanksgiving during this week.  We use our dining room daily so that isn’t an option for us so I have to wait until the night before to set the table.

The weekend before Thanksgiving I get my husband and kids together and everyone gets assigned cleaning tasks.  This includes cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and dusting and polishing the furniture.  Because everyone gets a chore I am not overwhelmed and the tasks get done fairly quickly.  I know that this sounds a little early to clean but I leave the day before to do the touch up cleaning.  A quick dusting and a once over with the vacuum the night before is all we will need.

When it comes to the cooking, I used to cook everything and our guests just showed up and enjoyed the meal and our company.  After overdoing it the first Thanksgiving after my diagnosis, I have changed the way dinner is done. Since then, I have asked that our guests prepare one of their favorite side dishes and dessert.  Everyone has happily brought their special recipes and it leaves me with less work to do. Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving I do any baking that  is my responsibility.  On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I do any prep work for the next day such as cutting celery and onions for the stuffing and peeling in cutting the squash.  I just keep the prepared items in zip tight bags and it makes the few things I have left to do on Thanksgiving go a lot faster.

On Thanksgiving morning I prepare the stuffing and stuff the turkey before putting it in the oven. There have been years that I was completely unable to lift the turkey in and out of the oven.  I found that using my wrist guards helped support my wrists while lifting the turkey.  There was one year that even with the wrist guards on I could not trust the strength in my hands to get the turkey in the oven.  That year I had to ask for help, there was no other option.  The only vegetable that I don’t prepare ahead of time is the potatoes.  So all I have to do Thanksgiving is the turkey and peel and cut up the potatoes for mashing.  If my hands are bothering me I am not shy about asking for some help from my family.  The rest of the meal has been prepped so all I need to do is put it on the stove or pop it into the oven.

The first few years after my arthritis got bad, when I tried to prepare for Thanksgiving in just the days before or even the week of, I found that I was too sore and tired to enjoy the day.  In giving myself an extra week to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner I am not feeling stressed which will make my symptoms worse and I because I haven’t overdone it, I can concentrate on my family and friends and showing my gratitude for them.

I am very grateful for my readers and  hope that everyone celebrating Thanksgiving has a wonderful day with their friends and family!

A New Rheumatoid Arthritis Challenge.

I have not written a post in quite some time now.  I have been going through some physical challenges since this summer.  It seems that lyme disease does not want to let go of me right now and that is complicating the rheumatoid arthritis.  You cannot treat both diseases at the same time so something has got to give and it has been and will continue to be the RA treatment until I am convinced that the lyme disease is gone for good.

I have spent the better part of the past 4 months without the RA treatments that in the past were working for me.  So the challenge right now is finding some natural ways to deal with the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis without it countering the lyme treatments. I am trying right now to find the right combination of diet and supplements that will give me the best results.

This is a new development for me.  Over the past 8 years I have never gone without medication for such an extended period of time.  It has caused me to question a great many things.  In the beginning I was mostly afraid.  I almost feel like the medication was somewhat of a crutch for me.  I am not saying that we shouldn’t seek out medication for RA.  What I am saying is that maybe I didn’t look into some of the other options available to me because I didn’t have to.  The medication worked so well that there really wasn’t any need to look further.

I feel like I am embarking on a new direction for my health.  It is a little scary for me.  There is a certain amount of comfort that goes with handing over the control to the doctor. But now that I have made the decision to take an alternative route,  I am feeling empowered that I am in control of my own health and I am hopeful that this will be the right decision for me and my family.

I am hoping that I will be able to post more in the future and keep you up to date on my progress.  But for now I am trying to focus on my health and healing and trying to take each day as it comes.  I am truly grateful to everyone who has expressed their love and support.  It means more than I can say.

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