Tag Archives: Dumb

Wellness Contract Update

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Alternate title:  The post where my writing makes my lawyer friends cringe.

(Address withheld)

23 February, 2011

(Address withheld)

Dear Amanda:

You are hereby put on notice that as of 23, February 2011, you are in breach of our contract dated 13 January, 2011. The nature of said breach is:

-Consumption of more than 3 glasses of wine per seven day period beginning on a Sunday during the period of 13 January- 23 February, 2011 bordering on perceived mocking of said contractual clause.

-Consumption of three jars of Tostitos medium queso WITHIN A THREE DAY PERIOD.  Also, over consumption of “comfort foods” during a cold.  Contract to be modified to allow some comfort foods but never again will daily meals consist of pancakes, grilled cheese, and baked spaghetti.  Boo hoo hoo…you didn’t feel good…NONE OF THESE ARE GLUTEN FREE.

-Blatant disregard for physical activity or cleaning provision of contract.  BLATANT disregard.

It is our desire to inform you of the foregoing and demand that you cease and desist the above behaviors to cure said breach. You are already being held responsible for all damages arising from said breach in the form of increased joint pain due to the introduction of gluten and alcohol into your body, increased fatigue due to glutens and lack of physical activity, loss of favorite clothing due to inability to put up laundry leading to you not being able to find a damn thing, and lost opportunities to regain strength and increase mobility through responsible exercise.  You may be held responsible for additional damages arising from said breach.

You have until 23 March, 2011 to cure said breach, after which we will be forced to further recognize that your own decisions are in no way helping your health.

Regards,

Amanda

2011 Wellness Contract

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So, in a long overdue blog update, I thought I’d post the contract that I typed and posted on my fridge. After posting and thinking about how I do so well with goals at work, I completely dorked out and wrote something similar to what I work with all day, everyday.

Initially, it was to begin on Jan 1st but I spent the first two weeks of the year cheating and tweaking and learning how to cook.  Yes, you read that last part right.  I can now make the following paleo style: chicken marsala, roasted veggies, braised cabbage, greek chicken, stewed apples, and fajitas served on lettuce rather than a flour tortilla.  And you know…the first time I made roasted veggies, I went back for SECONDS because they were GOOD.  Any of you who have ever fell victim to my culinary inexperience would know that this is a definite first!

So, I tried and am learning and thought I’d restart the contract on a date more meaningful to me: January 15th, my diagnosis anniversary date.

2011 Wellness Contract also known as

Operation Get Your Sh*t Together

This contract is made between yourself (an individual, referred to as AJ) and yourself (an individual referred to as AJ) and will commence on January 15, 2011 for a period of thirty (30) days and can be renewed with negotiation on both parties after each thirty (30) day period.  Neither individual can hold the other liable for any results or lack thereof resulting from actions defined in this contract.

The purpose of this contract is to establish certain desirable behaviors that may or may not directly influence AJ’s health or well-being and overall standard of living.  Behaviors include the following:

Medications: AJ must take all medications as prescribed for the next thirty (30) days.  It is not acceptable for AJ to skip medication for the following reasons: desiring alcoholic beverages, sheer laziness, or not wanting to have an upset stomach.

    1. Medications, specifically methotrexate, may be skipped if AJ is battling a cold or other illness or has been exposed to communicable diseases.
    2. AJ is granted an exception to methotrexate for a week involving any air travel but must resume methotrexate as soon as air travel is complete.
    3. If medication is forgotten and not missed because AJ doesn’t feel like getting her lazy self out of bed, it must be taken as soon as remembered.

Diet: AJ must try to eat in accordance with Paleo Diet guidelines.  This includes avoiding the following: Starbucks, Jason’s Deli, and any sort of buffet/meat and three dining preferred by AJ.

  1. Exceptions may be made for work functions where there are no other options AFTER AJ has attempted to find something that falls within Paleo guidelines.
    1. Starbucks may be substituted with coffee from a coffeemaker and rice or almond milk may be added for flavoring purposes.

Alcohol: AJ is allowed three (3) glasses of red wine per week.  Each glass of red wine must be accompanied by healthy food and a full glass of water.

  1. A glass of wine is defined as a NORMAL wine glass around 4-6 ounces, not a big gulp, big nasty, or anything with the words big, super sized, or fishbowl attached to it.
  2. No, seriously.  4-6 ounces.
  3. Topping off a normal wine glass continuously DOES NOT constitute one glass of wine, even if AJ may typically consider it one continuous glass.  Each top off constitutes a new serving.

Exercise and Cleanliness: Each night, AJ must either go to the gym for 30 minutes of light impact cardio, a yoga class, or, if neither option is available or if AJ is unable to go, something at home must be cleaned.

  1. Light impact cardio is defined as thirty (30) minutes on a machine, walking in the neighborhood, or taking a class.
  2. Light cardio is NOT spending thirty (30) minutes watching hot guys playing basketball at the gym while “waiting” on a machine to become available no matter how much this affects AJ’s heart rate.
  3. Yoga classes must be completed.  Also, it is unacceptable to attend a yoga class after consuming one (1) or more glasses of weekly red wine.
  4. AJ is not to be that creepy girl in yoga class who reeks of alcohol ever again!
  5. If neither yoga nor gym attendance are options, AJ must clean something at her place of residence (address omitted).
  6. AJ must clean whatever is most pressing.
  7. It is unacceptable to stall on a chore while waiting for another chore to be done.  IE AJ will never, ever, ever again put off folding two (2) weeks worth of laundry because she was waiting on herself to make her own bed…for two (2) days.

Miscellaneous, also related to cleanliness: AJ will put things up in their proper places at the proper time.

    1.     Coats: are hung in the closet by the door, not on chairs or floors.

    2.     Laundry: belongs in the hamper, not on the floor next to the hamper.

    3.     Toilet paper rolls: are deposited in the trashcan and new rolls are placed in the holder, not on the floor next to empty rolls.

    4.     You get the picture: clean up your crap!!!!

     

    At the conclusion of each thirty (30) period, contract will be reviewed and, if determined that AJ is TRYING (not perfect), AJ will be rewarded with a manicure and pedicure at salon of choice as long as price does not exceed thirty (30) dollars.

    Contract may also be modified if necessary and renewed for consecutive thirty (30) day periods.

    If it is determined that AJ is not trying, AJ will have to publicly acknowledge not trying on blog and to friends and coworkers.

    Off to dream about pretty fingers and toes in a month…

    What’s next

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    It was a beautiful day here today and I treated myself to an hour long walk through the park and my neighborhood.

    I have to bribe myself to walk lately- I think a summer of laying on my rear thanks to a flare has killed my motivation.  A couple weeks ago I figured out how to stream Pandora radio on my phone (my Ipod is MIA).  So I type in ‘old school rap’ and walk through the neighborhood repressing my urge to start dancing and feeling like a badass.  A badass who limps.

    Can I please call that my pimp gimp?

    Anyways, I was almost home this afternoon and a good song came on which necessitated an extra lap around the block.  Because, you know, it’s just not as much fun to listen to a good song sitting still!  In the course of that extra block, my left knee and left foot decided to mutiny.

    I still haven’t been able to figure out how I can go from just fine to noticeably swollen in a matter of minutes.  It’s cruel.  It’s also evidence to me that I’m still having a lot of disease activity…

    I have my last drug study appointment tomorrow.  I will find out what medication I’ve been on although I already am convinced that I’m on the placebo.  Why, you ask?  Because it hasn’t done a damn thing for me.  I feel like I’ve felt before- on the receding end of a really bad flare.  I remember how I felt the first time I took Humira and while I don’t expect to feel such a difference everytime, I would expect to feel improvement.  And I haven’t.  So…the drug study wasn’t beneficial but it also wasn’t harmful.

    So what’s next?  My doctor wants to look at infusions. Specifically Remicade.  I want to try Enbrel first for a couple of reasons.  It would be so much easier for me to inject myself once a week than to go for a periodic three hour infusion.  Infusion therapy also really scares me.  I don’t want to try it until I’ve exhausted all easier resources.  I realize that sounds silly.

    I’m a little frustrated.  From a lab-work perspective, my doctor says “you look great.”  I’m still seronegative which baffles me but my doctor doesn’t seem to think that is significant.  My CRP has dropped.  On paper, everything is better.  But physically, I’m still not where I was months ago.  My feet and knees are still bothering me.  My shoulder is too.  Remember that hellishly awful joint aspiration awhile back?  That ended up being a bust. Finger= just as swollen as it was before.  The fatigue is better but the nausea can still be a tad bit on the ridiculous side.  I’ve always had a sensitive stomach but it’s getting to be a running joke with my friends.  And if a certain coworker makes one more pregnancy/morning sickness joke, I may need help hiding a body.

    Stay tuned- I will be sure to let you know if (when) I’m right about the drug I’ve been receiving and what the plans moving forward will be.

    Whitewater Rafting

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    Two weekends ago, I went whitewater rafting with friends.  And oh-my-goodness was that a whole lot of fun but also not the best decision I’ve ever made in my life considering that I need to protect my joints.

    Prior to our trip, we had to sign the necessary waivers and listen to a safety talk given by our raft guide.  It sounds pretty routine but that safety talk was one of the funniest things I’ve ever sat through, mainly because our raft (who used to legitimately be a crackhead but has gotten his life together) was a dead ringer for Spiccoli and even funnier.  Highlights of  the safety talk included what you should do ‘in the event that you exit the raft in order to take your own personal rafting trip in your life jacket.’  Oh my god.

    I realized as we made our way to the boats that hey, you’re actually getting ready to do this for real!  And even though we were on a manmade course that was built to be safe (shallow, no undercut rocks, lifeguards, eddys made so that they protected you from the current if you happened to wash into one on your own ‘personal rafting trip courtesy of your life jacket’), it only then dawned on me that hey, you could still get hurt here.

    So, I chose a seat in the back of the boat right in front of the raft guide and hoped for the best.

    Before heading out into the channel, we practiced paddling as well as ‘getting down’ when the guide told us to- this was what we were to do whenever he yelled get down which he said would be in most of the larger rapids and involved just that- sitting in the bottom of the raft, leaning to the middle, and holding your paddle straight up in the air so that you wouldn’t clock anyone in the head.

    The first few strokes were great.  We approached our first rapid and all of a sudden I hear, “get down!”  I quickly slid to the bottom of the boat as we dropped down about 2 feet.  The water splashed up in the boat and sent my gym shorts and underwear…um…up.  I had to quickly right the clothes situation before getting back up on my seat.  Getting back up into the seat with creaky RA knees when there’s water everywhere was hard.  I found  that I had better traction if I hooked my foot underneath the seat in front of me- I didn’t slide as much and ironically, this would come in quite handy in just a few minutes.

    On the second rapid, we lost one of the people in the front of the boat. No worries, she was fine and we pulled her back in quickly.  On the third rapid, I almost lost a contact.  We finished that channel and rode the conveyor belt back up and did a second time.  Then we moved on to the harder channel.

    Now, I had some apprehension going into this.  One of my favorite pastimes is sitting at this particular rapid and watching people bite it.  So I knew that was a possibility.  Paddling towards it, all I wanted to do was say hey, just drop me off and do it without me, but I had no time.

    We did the first few rapids perfectly.  As we got closer to the spot I was worried about, I heard our raft guide yell ‘get down’ again.  I quickly complied.  We went down the drop, the raft dipped down in my side at the bottom, my friend on my right slammed into me, and I fell out of the raft.  Kind of.  Remember that I had my feet hooked!  So I am hanging out of the side of this boat in perfect sit-up position surrounded by rocks on all sides.  I remember thinking that I know I need to protect my hands and my neck but all I could think about was the fact that EVERYONE CAN SEE MY BUTT RIGHT NOW.  The raft guide stood up in the rapid, grabbed my life packet by the shoulders, and yanked me back in.

    We did  the same channel one more time and I managed to stay in.  Then it was over.  I was SO sore afterwards- you know how we have a hard time with stiffness when we stay in the same position too long?  Imagine staying in the same position for an hour and a half while actively clenching your muscles in that position to keep yourself in place.  OH MY GOD.

    I had a hard time getting out of the boat!

    I wasn’t as terribly sore the next day as I thought I’d be but I was totally bruised on one whole side of my body.   Seriously, I looked like I’d been beat up!

    Coming up next: DC Trip with the ACR

    372 Month Update

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    Dear Amanda:

    Yes, you are writing yourself a letter in third person.  Why? Well, for one thing, Facebook has ruined you.  You and your friends tend to state things as Facebook status updates.  Why, I am not sure. Damn you, Facebook!  For another, you spend an awful lot of time reading the blogs of all of your friends who have children.  And so, in honor of your 372 month of life, you thought you’d be funny and mock the monthly updates that a lot of them do.

    Yes, my dear, you are 372 months old today.  Let’s see what you’ve been up to!

    Height: 5’6…you get very defensive if anyone says 5’5 because your goal in life was to be taller than your mother…who is 5’5.

    Weight: 110 is the weight on your old SC drivers license.  For the record, it also says you’re 5’8.

    Hair: Yes, you’ve had a full head of it for approximately 370 months.

    Eyes: Still blue.

    Motor skills/development: You’re working on being able to grip things. The actual gripping is fine but you have a hard time with ‘grip and twist.’  Hey, doesn’t that sound like a dance  move? And speaking of dance moves, you’re going to be taking a dance class soon.  You learned another lesson while searching for a dance class.  Never google ‘adult dance class.’  The results will not be what you are searching for.  A better query would be ‘your town name AND dance class.’  You can search through specific studios pretty quickly this way and not have to worry about people seeing the results in your search history.

    Language Skills: Some problems here.  Nothing that a well placed bar of soap couldn’t fix.

    Diet: You are SUCH a cheater this week.  But tomorrow starts a new week and a new commitment to being truly caffeine, gluten, dairy, and anything that tastes good free.  You really can tell a difference when you stay true to the diet.

    Milestones: You are officially off of Prednisone.  YEAH!  Your wrists are really sore today- maybe because of this or maybe because of excessive red wine consumption. Who knows.  But you’re off of it and you’re still functioning which was not the case a few months ago.  Also, you attempted riding your friends bike the other night and while it wasn’t pretty, you didn’t fall on your ass!  YAY!  And when your friend offered to run after you holding the seat like you’re a baby with training wheels, you didn’t say anything incredibly rude!  MIRACLE!  Nope, you just cut your eyes, took another swig of wine, and wobbled down the driveway on the bike (which I may add is WAY too short for you) looking quite mature for your 372 years of life if I do say so myself.

    What’s next for you: another glass of wine and some cake.  Duh.  Then some building back of strength/stamina that you lost over the summer, some losing of weight that you gained over the summer, and hopefully some attempting of antibiotic protocol after you finish your study.

    Somewhat of a solution

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    I sat down to write a post tonight that I’ve been stewing on and all of a sudden things went a little haywire.  Phone ringing, email buzzing, friend stopping by…so until I have a little more time to spend on it I will leave you with something I shared on my Facebook page that I’m still sheepishly chuckling over.

    What does one do when one buys an expensive bottle of vitamins from the vitamin store and realizes after one removes the plastic security seal hence rendering it unreturnable that one is totally and completely physically unable to open said bottle after trying with bare hands and numerous implements?

    Why you lose your temper and grab that ‘forever sharp and will cut through steel’ knife that your mother for some reason thought you needed when she was at a stooped up tupperware party and that you unceremoniously threw in a drawer and forgot about, you saw the top off, and then you store the topless vitamin bottle in a ziplock bag.

    Problem solved.

    Dating, Shopping, & RA

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    A couple of my friends have taken it upon themselves to set me up with every single guy they know.  I appreciate it…I guess.  No, I appreciate the thought. But you have to understand that right now dating for me is like going shopping with my mom: show me the shirt (single guy) and I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it (him.)

    There’s actually a lot of overlap between shopping and dating.  Think about it- the reasons you don’t buy a pair of pants are the same reasons you ditch a dude.  Too tight.  Too baggy.  Not scuffed up enough.  TOO scuffed up.  Too sparkly.  Looks too young.  Definitely too old.  Threadbare.

    Ed Hardy.

    Yep, that last one disqualifies both gentlemen and any type of clothing. I am not interested in dating or wearing anything that looks….airbrushed.

    So throw all of those choices on someone who knows exactly what she wants and therefore tends to be pretty selective but who also doesn’t have a freaking clue what she wants because she has really had her heart stomped on in the past which then has made her selective to the point of snobbery.  AND THEN…BECAUSE IT’S APPARENTLY NOT COMPLICATED ENOUGH…AND BECAUSE SHE CAN DEFINITELY HANDLE YET ANOTHER THING ON HER PLATE…

    Mix in a chronic illness, you know, just for shits and giggles.

    Which makes a snobby selective cautious girl a REALLY FREAKING PARANOID snobby selective discriminating girl.  I discriminate against Ed Hardy. And ‘chewy’ hair.  And guys who I don’t feel I can ‘trust’ with RA.  Although, admittedly I screen most of them out before it even gets that far.  You know, the guys who are not scuffed up enough or too scuffed up.

    So now imagine you’re shopping with your mom and you have all these choices for jeans but all you want is a simple pair of jeans THAT FITS but even if you find that perfect basic pair, you may still wake up one morning WITHOUT your jeans but instead with a tattoo.  And not just any tattoo but a Chinese character tattoo that you think means “peace” but actually means “taco” because let’s face it, you don’t know Chinese so someone could totally play that trick on you.  And now you have “taco” on you for the rest of your life.

    And that, folks, is what dating with a chronic illness feels like for me.

    Also known as why I’m still single so please stop setting me up with these admittedly nice guys that I will forever have to avoid until I tell you I want to be, please and thank you.