Tag Archives: Exercise

A little Labor Day post on my labors

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If I’d known ten years ago that I would have rheumatoid arthritis today, oh the things I would do!  I would spend a small fortune on couture 5 inch hooker heels and prance around in them EVERYDAY until I started having problems.  Going to the carwash?  Awesome- silver 4 inch Loubatin’s just to make a spectacle.  Church?  How about some conservative 5 inch black polka dotted Jimmy Choo’s?  Going dancing with friends?  Prada, Prada, Prada! Doesn’t that sound magnificent?!? Yes, these are the things that this 29 year old RA patient who has, at times, been accused of being slightly vain fantasizes about.

 Then there are things that I chose for myself before this whole RA thing that I’m clinging to like a madwoman.  Things that are very important and self-defining; things that I can’t just let go of like a pair of shoes.  Things that if RA messes with, I say “sorry, dude, these are non-negotiable.”  Running would be one of these- I still do very infrequently- but relish the moments when I can.  My job would be another one of these things.

I love that my job is very fast-paced, stressful, and completely the result of MY efforts.  In today’s environment, I have to triple my activities to yield 50% of what I’ve produced in years past.  To which I say:  Awesome. Bring it.  Rock on, Type A.

I do not love that my RA, when in flare mode, sometimes does not work well with a job that is very fast-paced, stressful, and completely reliant on MY efforts.  In a flare environment which is generally twice a year, I have to sometimes cut back on my activities which (somewhat embarassingly) still yields 50% of what I’ve produced in years past. To which I say: Suck it, you traitor. Leave me alone.

I know, I know.  You can say it.   It’s weird as heck that I am more ok with the whole financial debaucle of late making me have to work harder than I am with the whole RA/flare debaucle of late making me have to chill out some.  

If I’d known ten years ago about my RA, would I have chosen the same career path?  Most likely, yes. But in all honesty, IF I’d known, I probably would’ve tried to go to med school.  I feel like a part time rheumatologist most of the time anyway, why not get some initials to match?

New Way RA

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Go on over here and check out New Way RA, a great new resource for those of us who won the auto-immune lottery and for our loved ones.  This is an online talk show hosted by Deborah Norville, whose mother had RA, and features several chats with experts on nutrition, activity, the emotional side of it, and even career coaching.  I’ve seen the DVD and think it does a great job of breaking these things down in layman’s terms…..YAY for good RA PR. :)

Thoughts…

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I’ve been pretty reflective lately about a bunch of things; amongst them, the events and circumstances surrounding my diagnosis, and how I’m just kinda shocked about where I am in my life right now.  Don’t get me wrong- I’m doing good- it’s just if you’d told me ten years ago that today I’d be dealing with all of this, I would never have believed you.  In fact, sometimes I still am shocked and in a lot of ways, I still haven’t really dealt with a lot of the things I feel about my RA.

10 years ago, I was 19.  I was super active and probably too skinny.  I took dance lessons still (ballet and jazz) and I went to the gym to watch the hot guys play basketball.  I was kinda flighty and spacy, emotional and sensitive, and more interested in having fun than much else.  I hadn’t discovered running yet.  I’m pretty sure I thought that those aspects of my personality would still be there today.

10 years later, I’m trying so hard to be active. I have 10 pounds to lose although I’d love to lose 15.  I do lots of run walks.  I want to dance again so badly but I’m not sure if my feet can handle it.  I still go to the gym to watch the hot guys play basketball. Flightiness and spaciness has turned into sarcasm and witty banter.  Overly emotional and overly sensitive- things that would’ve upset me several years ago really hurt me today.  I think that’s actually the worst part.  

Don’t worry- I’m not in a bad time right now.  I’m just trying to process things.  I really miss the Amanda of 10 years ago. Heck, I miss the Amanda of 5 years ago.  I don’t think I’ve ever really stopped to mourn that loss so I guess that’s what I’m trying to do now.

Feeling good…I think

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I’m afraid to say definitely because the past few months have been like being on a roller coaster with a stomach full of candy apples, corn dogs, and blue slushy.  Blllleeeeecccchhh.  Don’t you appreciate my visuals?

I like my job.  It’s nice to have a job where I don’t have to manage anyone, have measurable goals that don’t change by the hour, and don’t wonder on my drive in if I’m going to get there to find the doors chained shut. 

I love my condo.  It’s in an old neighborhood- very Gone With The Wind esque with gigantic gracious trees, old massive houses, and (what I’m most excited about) A PARK that I can walk to in less than 5 minutes that has free outdoor concerts several nights a week.  I do not love having to fit a 3 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom condo.  But I do love the $500 I’ve made on Craigslist in the past 2 weeks.

My RA is doing better.  I’ve spent the past few months feeling like I was getting ready to flare and then nothing would come of it.  And then feeling like I was getting ready to flare and then nothing would come of it.  Rinse and repeat. I still feel a little bit of it but not as badl.  I live next door to a friend from college who has celiac disease and she’s teaching me about gluten free diets.  I’m thinking about giving it a whirl but probably won’t.  This girl loves her carbs!  My friend is also super into yoga and I’m probably going to try that, if I can find a class that isn’t competitive.  The last class I went to felt that way so that’s why I haven’t gone back.

 I’m a little worried because my new health insurance doesn’t kick in until Sept 1st and I have exactly enough Humira to get through as long as I stick to bi-weekly.  Knock on wood please!

All in all, off to a good start.  I think.

Best Day Ever!

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Saturday was a good day.  No, scratch that.  Saturday was an incredible day.  Since I’m moving, my friend and I met up at lunchtime with cameras and spent the whole day taking pictures of the places around town that mean something to me, the places that I’m going to miss the most.  If you’ve never done that, and you’re looking for something interesting and cheap to do, I highly suggest it.    An added bonus?  The walking- exercising joints that are a little sore right now without completely destroying them.  It was very nice.2333

On the campus of my alma mater, Furman University.

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The building I used to work in.

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My thoughts on that former employer.  

2429The entrance to my favorite restaurant/bar.  Not exactly RA friendly!

2403My favorite place in town, and the best pic in the bunch!  Behind me are various art galleries that are a blast to peruse.

2341My reaction immediately after my realtor calls me to tell me that I’ve just gotten a FULL PRICE OFFER on my house.  Woo hoo!  I’m a NC girl again!!!!!

Walks and Shelving

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There was a running joke growing up that you can’t be from North Carolina and NOT follow basketball.  I’m a huge Wake Forest fan (they’ve been out a week) and a huge UNC fan (final four baby!).  So, you can probably imagine what I’ve been doing for the past week or so and what I plan on doing next weekend.

Watching all of these seriously hot male specimens tremendous competitors in action made me want to get up and do something.  So I went running (ok, let’s be honest- speed walking) in the rain in the park near my house.  If you haven’t tried it before, it’s awesome.  Just make sure it’s a warm rain.  Oh, and I would avoid electrical showers.  But the warm rain and body heat really seem to make my joints feel pretty good.  

In other news, I did something decidedly “un-RA” this weekend and that would be installing ventilated shelving in 3 closets at my house.  I’m not broadcasting that I did that though seeing as I pull the RA card to get out of helping people paint things, install things, mow things, move things etc.  ;) You know, call me for moral support but carry your own damn boxes.  Is that horrible or what?  Disclaimer: I only started doing that after I helped 4 friends move and had to beg when I needed help.

Bikram Yoga

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So as I said earlier, I’m looking to try some new things and one of the things I want to try most is Bikram Yoga, also known as “hot” yoga.  This type of yoga is generally done in a room with the temperature set at 105.  While it does have different poses than traditional yoga classes, it has the same structure- a focus on stretching and focusing inner strength/stillness.  

I’m super excited because I’ve signed up for a beginner’s week pass (unlimited yoga for 1 week for $20).  I called and spoke with the instructor and got even more excited to learn that she has lupus.  I know, sounds weird to be excited about lupus, but I think she understands where I’m coming from and she was very interested to hear about my RA.  

Here are a couple of articles I read- 

Arthritis Foundation/Hot Yoga Event in Canada

http://www.torontosun.com/life/healthandfitness/2009/02/16/8405606-sun.html

A little bit more background on Bikram Yoga:

http://www.articlesbase.com/yoga-articles/bikram-yoga-hot-yoga-benefits-of-hot-yoga-26-bikram-yoga-postures-179268.html

 

Experiments

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So, I’ve been reading a lot lately and am getting ready to try some experiments to see how my symptoms respond.  Ultimately, I want to try to go med-free over the next few months- I’m having some weird side effects with methotrexate right now that are concerning me.  

1. Diet:  Let’s face it.  I eat crappy.  I gave up most dairy a couple years ago and that’s gone really well.  I actually prefer soy milk and yogurt to regular now.  What gets me are cheeses and the fabulousity that is called a caramel macchiato.  So I’m trying to phase these out cold turkey effective immediately.   Another problem I have are sodas and coffees.  There is nothing I like more than a Coke at lunch but I know these are bad for calcium absorption.  So I’m trying to phase out the soda now, caffeine in a few weeks.  

2. “Body Work”- I’ve been slowly easing back into running but I think I’m going to give yoga a shot.  I’ve read a lot about and have now talked to a yoga instructor about “hot yoga.”  I’ll link to an article I read but the heat/stretching seem to have a good effect on anything auto-immune so I’ll give it a shot.

More details to come soon…