Monthly Archives: January 2010

Rheumatoid Arthritis: I Need Wings

As I said lately it’s been and up and down thing.  This morning was a way down day.  I had a hard time sleeping last night because every time I tried to move it hurt.  My knees have really been bothering me these days and unfortunately I need them to move in bed.

So after a very long night, I struggled down the stairs to shower and start the day.  The warm water helps to ease some of the stiffness.  My hands are not where I want them to be but overall really not that bad.  My feet are doing really well, but my knees are really swollen and painful.  The shower helped, but it was only a small improvement.

As I got to the bottom of the stairs I took a deep breath.  It felt like I was about to tackle a mountain. Those 13 stairs may as well have been a mountain; it was going to be a challenge.  I needed to summon up the strength to make it up those stairs.  One at a time. Slowly and painfully. Before I could brave this  project, I turned and said to my husband “I need wings.”  He laughed and said he thought that was a great idea.

It got me to thinking how nice it would be if every time I needed to go from one floor to another or even one room to another I could just flap my wings and glide to my destination.  When I am still there is no pain it is just the movement that is the problem, so a method of transportation that did not involve pain would be amazing. A girl can dream, can’t she?

I know that this is a temporary situation and that with time I will again figure out what works for my body.  I am reminded though, that it takes a great deal of courage to have rheumatoid arthritis and keep moving forward, despite the pain. Even if it is only going up and down a flight of stairs.

My Rheumatoid Arthritis: One Day Up, One Day Down

Lately I have been one day up, one day down.  One day I am experiencing very little stiffness and pain and the next day I am feeling dreadful.

I have been taking a close look at my diet and how it is effecting how I feel.  I know that there are certain foods that without a doubt have a direct relationship to the amount of inflammation that I am experiencing.  Within an hour or so of eating chocolate I start to swell.  The same holds true for dairy products. Sugar seems to be an issue for me as well.  I don’t know if I need to avoid all sugar altogether or if  there is a certain threshold that once I  go over that level there is a problem.  I don’t know if it is just refined sugar or if  natural sugars will give me the same trouble.  I know that things that have a high sugar content cause me trouble. The good news is that since I have stopped taking the methotrexate, it is easier for me to tell which foods are causing the inflammation. It was as if the medication was masking the effects that food had on my inflammation. It has been a game of hit or miss on what my body will tolerate and what it won’t.  I imagine that this will take some time to find every food that is causing me trouble.

It is hard to plan my life right now because I really don’t know from day to day how I am going to feel.  I am keeping a food journal and each day I write down everything that goes into my body and how I am feeling physically.  It is helping to make it easier to pinpoint what food is effecting me so that I can avoid it in the future.  I have done a lot of reading on the subject and I am very hopeful that once I get a handle on the foods that trigger inflammation for me I will be able to manage the disease much better.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: What Six Months of Sickness Has Taught Me.

The past 6 months have been somewhat like a bad dream.  I never could never have imagined being sick for this long with so many different ailments.  I can’t help but wonder if all the years on methotrexate had such an effect on my immune system that everything kind of shut down for a while. With all this down time I have had the opportunity to learn somethings about myself.  I thought I would share some of what all this sickness has taught me.

  • Trust your instincts. When two of my doctors had conflicting opinions on whether or not I had a second or continuing Lyme infection I should have trusted my instincts.  I could have saved myself valuable time and pain and not have subjected myself to way too many diagnostic tests had I just trusted my gut.  I know my body better than anyone else and I knew that I still had Lyme Disease. I shouldn’t have allowed my rheumatologist to talk me into more tests to prove that her opinion was right when I knew deep down inside all I really needed was another treatment of antibiotics.  When I finally got the antibiotics was when the symptoms went away and I started to feel better.  Lesson learned. Again. I hope this time it sticks.

  • Lyme Disease is something to take very seriously. I have had Lyme Disease in the past.  I thought that I knew and understood what this disease could do.  I could not have been more wrong.  I have never in my entire life felt more physically ill than I did with Lyme Disease.  I can’t say whether or not the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) had an effect on the severity of the Lyme Disease but I know that the treatments for the RA had an effect on how well my body was able to handle Lyme Disease.

  • I need to nourish my body and my soul. I have always been the one who puts everyone’s needs before mine.  It wasn’t a conscience decision, but none the less other things took priority in my life. Now every day I am slowing down and taking time to do things that nourish my soul.  Things that bring me joy nourish my self. I find that I have more patience and energy for other things after making my self a priority. Before I put anything into my body I am asking myself will it nourish me or fill me.  They are two very different ideas. I have tried to eat responsibly in the past, but I haven’t always looked at what I am putting into my body as nourishment as opposed to something that will fill me up.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being an independent person and a bit of a control freak I frequently would rather do something myself than ask for help.  Part of me just didn’t want RA to get the best of me.  I felt like it was a bit of a battle of wills.  I wasn’t going to let RA take over my life completely, I could do most things myself and I hated to ask anyone for help.  Being as sick as I have been, I have had no choice but to ask for help.  There were days when getting out of bed to go to the bathroom was an ordeal.  An extremely painful ordeal.  It was simply impossible not to ask for help with some of the most basic of needs.  I discovered that the world did not end and it was okay if things were not done “my way”.
  • A clean house is nice but really not all that important. I used to care very much about how clean my house was.  I felt that how my house looked was a reflection on me and how I cared for my family.  I know that sounds a little nutty but that is how I felt.  I really felt like I could not physically do a great many things anymore but I could take care of my family and a clean house was part of that.  Of course now looking back I can see how crazy that whole idea sounds.  My house currently is picked up. No one is going to trip over anything in my house, but it is a far cry from clean and I really don’t care.  I could spend the next few hours cleaning, or I could spend the next few hours playing with Kevin or reading a good book.  Now I choose something that will fill me up instead of depleting my resources.

  • Connecting with other people that know and understand what it’s like to have RA is important. Knowing that I am not alone in the day to day challenges that this disease brings has helped me in so many ways.  There is comfort in knowing that there are people out there that completely understand what I am going through.  I am very grateful to all the new friends that I have found here and for their kindness and support.

Expanded Tylenol Recall Includes Motrin, Benedryl and More

Friday January 15, 2010, Johnson & Johnson issued a massive recall of several of their over the counter drugs because of consumer complaints of a mold like smell that was associated with nausea, vomitting, stomach pain and diarrhea.  The recall includes some batches of Regular and Extra Strength Tylenol, Eight-Hour Tylenol Arthritis, Tylenol PM, Motrin, Motrin IB, Children’s Motrin, Benedryl, Rolaids, Simply Sleep and St. Joseph’s Aspirin. This is the second such recall in less than a month because of the sickening smell. The exact number of bottles recalled is not known, however the products were sold in the Americas, the United Arab Emirates and Fiji.  The products are in both caplet and geltab form.

According to the press release from US Food and Drug Administration and McNeil Consumer Healthcare:

“Based on this investigation, McNeil Consumer Healthcare has determined that the reported uncharacteristic smell is caused by the presence of trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA). This can result from the breakdown of a chemical that is sometimes applied to wood that is used to build wood pallets that transport and store product packaging materials. The health effects of this chemical have not been well studied but no serious events have been documented in the medical literature. ”

Consumers who purchased product from the lots included in this recall should stop using the product and contact McNeil Consumer Healthcare for instructions on a refund or replacement. For these instructions or information regarding how to return or dispose of the product, consumers should log on to the internet at www.mcneilproductrecall.com or call 1-888-222-6036 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time, and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time). Consumers who have medical concerns or questions should contact their healthcare provider. Any adverse reactions may also be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Program by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, by mail at MedWatch, FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787, or on the MedWatch website at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

For a complete listing of all the TYLENOL lots included in the recall click HERE.

For the complete listing of all the MOTRIN lots included int the recall click HERE.

For the complete listing of all the BENEDRYL lots included in the recall click HERE.

For the complete  listing of all the ROLAIDS lots included in the recall click HERE.

For the  complete  listing of alL the SIMPLY SLEEP lots included in this recall click HERE.

For the complete listing of all the ST. JOSEPH’S ASPIRIN lots included in this recall click HERE.

After researching for this post I checked my own medicine cabinet to find two of the recalled items.  One of which I have given to my children.  I would recommend that everyone check their own homes  for any of these products just to be safe.

Walnuts for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Walnuts are a tasty way to add crunch to your favorite yogurt or salad.

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They also have the added benefit of being loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which are great for fighting inflammation. Only 1/4 cup of walnuts provides you with almost 91% of you daily value of omega-3 fatty acids.  Walnuts also have an antioxidant compound called ellegic acid which supports the immune system. Walnuts are rich in manganese and copper as well. Walnuts are a good source of plant protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins and vitamin E. I love to just snack on just a handful. It keeps me feeling full and helps with inflammation; the perfect combination in the afternoon.

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