Author Archives: AllFlaredUp

Kriss Kross will make ya…


Jump Jump!

Maybe I should apologize for writing that because I know all of us now have that song stuck.

It could be worse. Eyes slanted at a certain awful Miley Cyrus song.

Anywho. I got on the elevator at work the other day with a kid and his mother. As the door closed, the kid handed his mom his Sprite and his mom started laughing. He bent his knees and as soon as the elevator started moving, he JUMPED and started laughing too.

I smiled. I remember doing the same thing in elevators when I was little but had completely forgotten that.

They got off on the floor before mine. As the doors closed and I found myself alone for the ride to the third floor, I laughed and bent my knees.

As soon as the elevator dinged my floor, I too jumped. And my feet barely left the floor. The door opened and nobody was there so I jumped again. And again.

Three jumps. No air.


I walked to my office stewing.

Since I’m one to beat a dead horse, I thought about it until I got home that night. Since when can I not jump? All of those ballet lessons where I used to FLY. All of those 5Ks I ran. I mean, RA certainly has me jumping through hoops; it doesn’t seem right that it would take away my ability to jump for myself.

Ri-dic-u-lous. As in ridiculous that I couldn’t do it, ridiculous that I was obsessed with it, and ridiculous that I’m writing about it now.

I got home and found myself barefoot in the kitchen. I held on to the counter, bent my knees, and jumped.

A little better. I tried jumping just on my right leg. A lot better. Switch to the left- tentative but getting there. I felt my body’s defense mechanisms kicking in, protecting the healing ankle sprain and permanent erosions on the ball of that foot.

Aaaahhhh. This makes sense now.

Ever the obsessive persistent patient, I found my tennis shoes and headed back to my lovely kitchen support counter.

Supported jumping commenced. Both feet, right foot, left foot.

Grand finale: unsupported sneaker jump in the kitchen. I didn’t jump high because I respect my body’s right to protect itself but…I was able to do it.

So why am I detailing my jumping madness for you all to read? Because the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that these little albeit highly modified victories are incredibly crucial to all of our morales. I feel just a little more in control of myself for engaging my own internal stubborn, obsessive insanity.

So yeah…

The Daddy Mac will make ya…

I’d like a reality show please.


Watching Betty White’s Off Their Rockers leads me to think that we as patients need a similar concept show.

The sick punking the healthy! Calling hilarious attention to all the things we deal with that they simply just don’t get.

After all, I’ve been punked by my immune system. It would be a shame not to pass that sh*t along.

I’ve been outlining my sure to be awkward and cringe inducing reality show concept.

Should it be a vote off like Survivor? The tribe has spoken: you clearly couldn’t hack it like we can. Or a single decision like The Bachelor? I only have one remaining rose and I will be giving it to…me. Because you get to watch and laugh but I am the one who gets to go home with it. I assure you that earns me a rose.

But not to steal anyone’s sparkle (who saw that? Have some dignity! OMG!), I much prefer a good old gag show. Why? Because I’d like karma to point out and fix what I consider are injustices of this disease by making us laugh.

Track with me here.

Pet peeve: athletes. Runners specifically. Because I miss it. How about we commandeer a 5K course and rough it up a bit? Not a mud run with visible obstacles. Better.Make people sprint through a field of cow pies with hidden holes, invisible tree roots and uneven terrain. That is what running is like for me now. A flat surface is scary and unknown…and this one time I twisted my bad ankle because I slipped on a nice wet pile of crap. That really added something to the experience of the ankle twisting.

Pet peeve: RA pharma reps who come in the office wearing sky high heels. Taunting me. How about we install some grated flooring in the lobby and watch them get stuck? Because that’s what high heels are now. I put them on and then can’t go anywhere.

Pet peeve: ‘just take a pill for that.’ Ok, I am obviously not going to recommend drugging anyone. But to understand that feeling of helplessness and frustration and anger, let’s get a gaggle of three year olds. Gaggle defined as 6-10, whatever the mandate is for safe class/daycare size. That should be plenty! We’ll treat them to a lunch of cotton candy and Mountain Dew and let them skip their nap. Then we will hand deliver them to the person who suggests ‘taking an Advil’ to watch for a couple of hours. We’ll pop in to offer helpful, know it all, busy body advice from time after time. ‘You just need to calm them down.’ ‘Its just a child, why can’t you just read them a story?’ And my favorite that I overheard at Target recently ‘Lady, your kid needs to stop crying.’ Throw in some condescending and judgy judgy looks. Maybe a surprise clown or two. I think that would be a fair comparison!

I think I’m onto to something. Now it just needs a name.

When a pet is more than a pet


Ten years ago on Feb 2nd, the cutest little two pound ragamuffin decided to allow me to adopt her. I had no idea what her name was so I resorted to calling various names out to see if she’d respond. I finally called out ‘Molly’ and she turned and nodded to acknowledge that I’d figured it out.

Ten years later, I can tell you that they vastly undercharged for the adoption fee. $65 was a steal…and if you offered me billions for her, I’d give you the stink eye.

This little companion of mine…


Well, she has cuddled her cute little self up to me through so many serious times. Four job changes, three moves, two broken hearts, one deployment, one family suicide, and the aches and pains that come with learning who you are fresh out of college and new to the workforce. All of that would be a lot for one little cat to comfort, right?

Then top that off with one chronic illness, the loss of several beloved hobbies, the fear and temporary loss of identity, and the aches and pains that come with pulling yourself out of this.

I may laugh about how badly she can behave, but she really is a very good girl.


The little (very unhappy) pumpkin knows my emotions better than I do. When I flared so badly several years ago and every time I’m sick or upset, she is in whatever room I’m in. I’m in bed, she’s in bed. I’m on the couch, she’s on the couch. I’m in the shower, she sits between the curtain and liner and hisses at the water. If I cry, she follows me around crying until I sit and she can crawl in my lap.

Her presence is calming and her antics are adorable.

She’s even tough on guys who come by.


Well, that picture was her posture for the cable guy who was a stranger but still. Guy = protective. And unlike my dad and brother, she has claws and teeth.

I’ve noticed many patients rely on their pets for comfort. I’ve read literature that states pets are good for longevity, blood pressure, and happiness.

These are all things that are true at my house.

Happy 10th Birthday, Molly cat! I love you to pieces!

Healthy Lunch Success!


I don’t know about you guys but I struggle with healthy lunches. Sundays are my self proclaimed ‘cook for the week’ days which means that I start with the best of intentions of cooking healthy lunches for a whole week and then quickly lose interest/motivation.

By the time I finish my slicing and dicing and can opening and baking, I am beyond over it. And the thought of doling all the portions of (let’s be quite honest here) lackluster tasting nutrition due to chef incompetence into five Tupperware containers? I have been known to occasionally say screw it and instead eat somewhere healthy like Chipotle.

I particularly struggle with vegetables. To get 5 days worth of veggies prepared is like 15 ziplock bags and I just have no time for that nonsense.

Last week, I realized how much money I was spending on eating out for meals I had sitting in my fridge awaiting the trash can. I feel terribly wasteful even admitting that. So I am no longer allowed to do this.

Sunday night, I cut up two big bunches of broccoli, a bunch of carrots and a whole thing of celery. As I threw the last few pieces in the bowl, I already felt annoyed at the prospect of having to bag them up. So I didn’t.


Yes, that is a week worth of veggies on my desk. There is also a whole container of homemade black bean cakes in the fridge. And yes, I am being teased mercilessly.

But you know what? It made things just a little bit easier and I feel good about sticking to the healthier side of life for once!

7 Year Diagnosiversary


So you break a mirror, you get 7 years of bad luck, right?

Happy 7th RA Diagnosiversary to me!

If my RA was a human child, the little Satan spawn would be a first grader. Perfecting how to read, starting to get sassy, developing a sense of humor, playing all the requisite 7 year old games. Heck, it may even have its own Facebook page. All in all, it would be growing more independent of me and preparing to leave my house in 11 short years.

In reality, RA itself is very much like that kid. Except my RA specifically is Doogie Howser. Let’s check off some milestones, shall we?

Learning how to read: while it certainly can’t read aloud to me in bed from my Nook (which would be pretty stellar for it to do by the way, maybe consider it a type of body rent?), it can certainly ‘read’ when it would be inconvenient to show up and have a temper fit. My RA needs to be strong armed to the restaurant bathroom for an attitude adjustment, in my opinion. So reading, at a very high abstract level: check.

Sassy. Sense of humor. Playing games…these are all very similar and detailing all of these is…well…part of the point of this blog. Read back some and I think the evidence speaks for itself. Check, check, and check.

Having its own Facebook page? Duh. It got that in 5k. It is well connected via social media. Check.

Preparing to leave my house in 11 short years? I sure as hell hope. I sure as hell am working *diligently* to make that happen. Diligently I say! I would be thrilled to lose custody early. But just in case, Orencia boarding enrollment is completed and right now, it’s parent day at orientation. I hope to soon see your teary red face in the rearview mirror. Partial very faint check.

I’m still not sure if I broke a mirror or if I just have some sort of blood sucking demon attached to me. Seven years of bad luck…I’m curious to see what the next seven bring.

Happy Diagnosiversary RA! Mama’s gonna go have some wine and hope CPS removes you soon enough!

Note: I would NEVER EVER have these emotions toward a real human child.

Happy New Year!



This is the only picture of me that exists from my annual New Years Eve celebration. THIS is what ‘I have bronchitis and am only interested in being asleep in bed a good two hours ago yet you made me sit here and drink a huge cup of coffee I don’t want and wear a stupid hat’ looks like. A regular Mary Sunshine!

Yet as unthrilled as I was to have to interact with other human beings, as coughy and sneezy and sleepy as I was, having a cold or bronchitis is actually thrilling for me because until I’m better, my RA symptoms drastically reduce.

It’s the best feeling (minus the plague symptoms) to wake up warm in bed, stretch, and feel…different. Sure- my hair may be slobbered to my cheek because I’m mouth breathing due to congestion. Sure- the movement of stretching may unleash a maelstrom of coughing. Sure- the wheezing is quite attractive with the comfortable sweat pants you should’ve thrown away years ago but they’re just oh so broken in.

But there’s a calmness in my body too. Because for that day, that’s all that’s really emergently wrong and to be frank, it’s not all that emergent after the doctor confirms its not the flu.

So while I’m not enjoying late night forced socializing, I’m enjoying a nice respite of symptoms to usher in a new year.

Happy Festivus!


In lieu of a Tuesday post, we are going to have a brief Festivus celebration.

If you aren’t familiar with my favorite holiday, Wikipedia is your friend. If you dislike Festivus and/or Seinfeld, the lovely red x in the upper right hand corner…see it…click it. :)

I will now air an abbreviated version of my grievances for your viewing pleasure.

Left ankle: your lack of cooperation in the healing process disappoints me. Don’t call my bluff on not following doctors orders. To that I say IRRELEVANT. I cloth you in the finest socks and shoes that money can buy are sold at Target or that I have a coupon for. Orders followed or not, this is my house so we go with my rules.

Wrists: Didn’t Heath Ledger say ‘I can’t quit you?’ Learn that phrase, love that phrase, LIVE that phrase. This resistance to forward flexion will cease; it is your decision if it will be on your terms or mine. You have let me down in hurtful and malicious ways. I will concede that you are useful in getting me out of things I don’t want to do. BUT. That is to be my decision and not yours moving forward.

Blue Cross Blue Shield: The language to describe my disappointment in you doesn’t exist. Take the most vile thing you can think of, multiply that times infinity and then take that and cube it. I’m not a math person so I can’t give you what that exact quantity of grievance would be but you should know that it is a whole lot. Grievous disappointment.

RA: Did you see my standing ovation and hear my boisterous cheers of BRAVO? Oh, you didn’t? Oh right. I didn’t give you one. Because you suck. You are on notice. See notes to wrists and ankles. MY house, MY rules. YOUR way vs MINE. I don’t see any ‘RA’ in ‘your’ but I sure as hell see ‘me’ and ‘I’ in ‘mine.’ And that means that I’m the boss of you.

I am bound and determined that by next Festivus, we will not be airing these same grievances. That is a threat and a promise.

Happy Holidays and determined wishes for the healthiest 2013! I am excited and quite determined to regain control of my health, and very thankful that changes I’ve made in 2012 have finally allowed me the time and clarity to actually follow through.

Take It Back Tuesday, The Fourth


Aaaaand it’s Thursday.

Whatever. Begins with a T and ends with a day. Close enough.

So I missed this past Tuesday because I’ve taken back the art of the nap.

College ruined me on naps. In this setting, I created the expectation that a real nap requires 3 hours of sound sleep. I do believe that’s a full REM cycle. And then I’d wake up at dinner in a completely evil mood.

I don’t like being in a bad mood so I honestly haven’t taken one since unless I was sick. Sick also coincides with bad mood.

But I came home from work the other day and I was exhausted. Exhausted, achy, kinda flary. I had an hour before I had to meet a friend for a networking thing and all I wanted was to lay down on my comfy couch with my fluffy fleece blanket.

So I did!

I slept for 30 minutes and went on to my event feeling like a new person. Good mood and less achy! I’ve officially taken one every day this week.

Naps are now added into my treatment arsenal.

What are you taking back?

To my 16 year old self


Hey! Hey you! With the Friends haircut and helmet bangs!!!


You are between conflicts in Iraq so I’m unclear as to what you are trying to deflect with that thick fringe of awesome. I have it on good authority that they did not hold special powers for you so please hurry up and grow them out.

Now. I know you are VERY proud of that uniform. I know you trained your butt off to get there. Years of ballet and jazz and tap. I particularly respect how you practiced your tryout dance by yourself in the backyard. Booty shaking and blasting Coolio while your Southern Baptist neighbors watched from their porch.

You worked hard for it and you didn’t care what other people thought. I know it’s hard to have that attitude about life as a whole in high school but you’re learning and it will take you far in the long run. However, you will forget this for awhile in college, engage in some lemming like behavior, and have a time finding your way.

But I promise you, finding that again is just as satisfying as pop, lock, and dropping it in front of the fundamentalist freaks. It will also keep you somewhat sane when you face some major adversities.

Back to the uniform. You are struggling…don’t deny it because I KNOW…because on the outside you are this proper little package. On the inside, you are an observant ball of sarcasm, cynicism and sensitivity. Can I tell you a secret? THAT’S OK! Just because you can’t relate to girls who squeal OMG doesn’t matter. Move on. Again, these qualities that you’re so insecure about and try to hide will carry you far. Want another secret? You will come across this way your whole life and it will let you get away with murder. Seriously. You say something snarky and people will never be sure if you’re kidding or not! It will also be a great coping mechanism.

Other things you are struggling with…just let them all go. None of them matter. That boy- he will be quite insignificant. Calculus- also insignificant . I assure you that you will never need to know when Train A passes Train B at whatever speeds because you will end up flying everywhere. You will never get busted skipping physics. You will be shocked to know what your parents are actually aware of just as they will be shocked at what they missed. No sweetheart, I’m not going to tell you which because I gotta keep you on your game.

So what do I tell you here from the future that would be of value?


This. This picture. Fourth from the right.

In about 10 seconds after this is taken, you are going to do something that will get you in trouble and that you will beat yourself up about.

In the original choreography, everyone moves to a straight line and does a stag. Because it is such a hard jump and not everyone can do it, they change it to a straight jump. But you will be pumped full of adrenaline and nerves and will execute a full, technically beautiful stag all by yourself. Your coach and team will be upset because you were the only one who did it. You will be upset because you feel like you ruined the dance.

Sweetie, I’ve seen the video. I’ve seen that perfect jump. I’ve seen your big smile. I’m not going to tell you about any of your physical struggles that will start in 10 years…yes, you read that correctly. But I will tell you this: live that moment and soak up that perfect jump.

Don’t be hard on yourself for that.

Be hard on yourself for the bangs.