Tag Archives: challenges

Wellness Contract Update


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.



2011 Wellness Contract


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…

    Trying to feel festive!


    I’ve been a bad blogger lately… and for that I apologize.  I’ve been busy taking some much needed time off, getting ready for the holidays, and thinking a lot about what I want 2011 to be for me.  I know…the person who is morally averse to making any sort of New Year’s resolutions because she thinks it sets you up for failure…is contemplating making 2011 resolutions.  I wonder if that’s mentioned in the book of Revelations.

    Anyways, I am also proud to say that I have been trying my hardest to not hate Christmas like I usually do AND have also conquered two of my bigger fears this week: ice skating (ie falling) and parallel parking.

    I do not have any clue how I missed it last year but Charlotte has this nifty tradition every December of hosting OUTDOOR ice skating.  For a meager $10, you can rent smelly hockey skates that are still warm from the last person and skate in a very small circle on badly maintained ice with a lot of other people who are thinking the same thing: DUDE, I’m a SOUTHERNER, we can’t drive on ice but let’s strap some shoes with blades on and fling my body as fast and hard as I can WITH ABSOLUTELY NO REGARD for the safety of all the other people here who also don’t know what they’re doing!

    Sounds like fun, right?

    My first two laps took me approximately 15 minutes apiece.  I clung to that wall like I was tiptoeing the top of a skyscraper and timed my moves to be as far away from a large group of kamikaze high school kids as possible. (By the way, high school boys of Charlotte…skinny jeans…bad choice. Just saying.) One of my friends lived in Boston for five years and she literally had to hold my hand and lead me through a couple of places because I was so nervous.

    What if I fall?  I could really hurt my hands.  And what if I fell, hurt my hands, and then some high school kid skates over my fingers and cuts one off?  A very rational fear followed by…not so much.

    The crowd eased up a bit and I was able to convert my 15 minute laps to 5 minute laps, letting go of the wall briefly in places.  I realized at some point that my anxiety was more of the cause of my stability issues than any sort of body/joint problem.  Actually, my feet felt fine!  It WAS beautiful, as clichéd as you can get, but how many times have I ever been able to ice skate outdoors underneath a canopy of Christmas lights surrounded by skyscrapers?  Never!  It was very festive.

    And finally I felt ready to do a lap unassisted.  I was slow as can be, but my friend skated with me and coached me.  Push left, push right, it’s just like skiing.  It was great.  But then I was faced with the decision that I had been dreading since I strapped the shoes on.  Do I run over the poor little kid who fell immediately in front of me…or do I cut sharply to the right to avoid her?  Obviously, as soon as I saw the hurt child in front of me, I knew I was going to cut sharply to the right and I also knew that I was going to fall.

    I cut to the right and immediately started bending my knees knowing that I would either fall completely on my butt or would be much closer to the ground so that I could control impact to my hands.  I honestly would’ve preferred to fall on my butt but I had no freaking clue which way gravity was going to take me.  In the end, I fell forward but was already so close to the ground that I put my hands down and stopped it quickly and painlessly.  I was proud of myself for trying and for being able to trust my body and instincts enough to not completely freak out.  The kid was fine, just twisted her knee.

    I spent the rest of the time standing on the wall on the ice watching people skate.  Why tempt fate twice?

    I’m signing off for the holidays but I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and get to spend some good times with your loved ones.  I will be back before 2011 to tell you about these resolutions of mine!

    A rant on perspective


    I’ve been tasked with the misfortune of planning my company’s Christmas festivities.  I’ve never been more disappointed or frustrated with my coworkers than I have the past few weeks…

    We have a sister division in town who we work closely with; their manager and I wanted to have a joint party so we could combine our meager budgets and do something nice.  Sounds like a great idea, right?  Right. Apparently, my office doesn’t want to hang out with their office because so and so doesn’t like so and so.  That was an embarrassing phone call to have to make…

    So I went for Plan B…a small catered lunch with a fun game of Dirty Santa.  But they didn’t want to play Dirty Santa…because what if they found a cool gift they wanted and someone took it away?

    Then I proposed an ornament exchange…but ‘nobody wants ornaments.’

    I got them to agree upon a regular old Secret Santa.  Someone pulled me aside and mentioned that financially this is a hard year for them so I set a $10 price limit.  Again, more whining because they thought it should be at least $20.  I put my foot down- it’s going to be $10, and you can be happy about it or you can be talking about me behind my back-I really don’t care.

    THEN someone had the audacity to approach me with the request that I give her Secret Santa her Christmas list so that ‘maybe I’ll have a chance of actually liking my gift.’ Um, no.  Do not pass go, do not get $200, DON’T YOU DARE SEND ME YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST.  Ironically, the person who asked me this is the person whose name I drew and now I’m having to dig really deep to not purposefully buy something that sucks.

    And finally, they threw a fit when they found out I’m having it catered by Boston Market.  Apparently, that’s not nice enough.  LOOK. You turned down a situation where we would’ve had a much larger budget, you embarrassed me in front of another colleague, you’re made this a GIGANTIC pain in my butt…you should be counting your lucky stars that I’m not renting a van, driving you to McDonalds, and making you select a value meal because I’m one complaint away from that.

    There’s just too much of an emphasis on things that just don’t matter

    There are a lot of negatives that have accompanied this condition- A LOT- but it has helped me grow up a lot and see things from a new perspective.  I lived quite the lovely life until I started having symptoms.  If I wanted something or wanted to do something, it just happened.  I will admit that I was a bit snotty about it.  But if your worldview your entire life is that you always got what you wanted, it is a little hard to understand people who don’t have things quite that easy.

    Getting RA for me was a super sized serving of humble pie.  All of a sudden, most of the core things I defined myself by- feeling pretty, being the best at anything I tried, choosing any sort of physical activity and putting forth at least a respectable performance, having lots of fun friends and being very social- were being threatened.  I felt fat, ugly, deformed, sedentary, and useless.  I made some really bad decisions, let some really bad people into my life, and threw myself into work. You probably haven’t noticed but while I allude to the first few years of my diagnosis, I have yet to really write in depth about them.  I should and I will eventually…but it’s a hard place to revisit and until I have a little bit more distance between then and now, I just can’t.  Suffice it to say that I felt (and still feel sometimes) that EVERYTHING has been a fight in recent years and that for awhile, I felt like I had lost everything.

    I found myself in a really bad place where I really was all of the things that I never thought I’d be and you know what?  The people who mattered were still there.  The job that I was still very good at was still there.  Doing that first 5K and finishing in 42 minutes felt like the biggest accomplishment in the world whereas several years before, I would’ve died of shame with that time.    Weight…it comes off and that feels like a huge accomplishment too.  I hate how I had to learn the lesson and how long it took me to realize it but I have learned how to better spot what’s important and what’s not…and how to really appreciate working through challenges.

    I think that’s why I’m having such a hard time with all of this petty nonsense at work.  Because it is all about things- gifts to be specific- that just don’t matter.  All of our hard work this year…the fact that we’ve taken the challenges of a newby team in the smallest office in the region and turned it into a force to be reckoned with (if I do say so myself)…matters and should be celebrated.  THAT is the accomplishment here, not the friggin candle you buy me for my desk.

    I know it’s asking too much but I really wish they could see it that way.

    Lovely irony is that nobody wants ornaments, right?  Because, as my manager’s gift to everyone, they will all be receiving ornaments.

    Enjoy them, Grinches!!!