Category Archives: Daily Life With RA

Blogging and RA Remission

After a series of never-ending anxiety attacks a few weeks ago, I realized I needed to put on my big girl pants and get my life together. But that’s not the moral of this story. I took to the Internet in the midst of my anxiety attacks to search for a way to manage my anxiety without having to resort to medication. I already take more pills than I’d like to, thanks to my immune system.

If you type “Natural ways to cope with anxiety” into Google, one of the most common suggestions is to keep a journal of your feelings. That’s such a no-brainer that I felt stupid for not thinking of that on my own. And it’s not like I don’t have 21,484,o86,102 blank journals lying around. I get at least one for every birthday or gift-giving holiday (writer problems, except not really).

So, here’s the interesting thing. I found this article by Maud Purcell on PsychCentral.com which says the following:

There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Did this blog lead me to remission? I always thought of it as a place to rant about how much my life sucks sometimes. I never considered the idea that it might be a form of physical therapy. Would I still be almost bedridden if I never took the time to write here? Food for thought.

So, I guess I’ll have an anxiety journal and an RA blog. If it helps, then it’s worth the extra effort, no?

Leave a comment below if you journal for your health.

 

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Random Thoughts on Pant Buttons

Dear Clothing Manufacturers,

Until today, I hadn’t realized how awful some buttons are. Have you ever stopped to think about that stupid little hidden button most dress pants come with? You know the one I’m talking about: it’s the little clear one on the inside of the waistband that’s always in the weirdest spot. It’s supposed to hold the extra material down after you fasten the buttons/clasps right on top of the zipper, right?

You know what I think? I think you put that evil button there just to mess with people like us. I can barely get the important buttons on my pants/shirts/pea coat fastened sometimes. Why would you ever think that I’d want to spend time on a button that, in theory, only I know about or see?

I try not to use the damn thing. My pants have held up just fine on those days. But then my OCD kicks in and I’m obsessing over the fact that I’m not utilizing an item the way it was intended to be used, so I try to awkwardly fasten the material over it until five minutes have gone by and I am still no closer to victory than I was before.

If you’re making a quality pair of pants, then your zipper should hold up just fine. Save yourselves the trouble of sewing on an extra piece I don’t really need. In turn, you will save my sanity.

 

Sincerely,

Disgruntled Pants-User


The Shaving Dilemma

I realize that most of the men who follow this blog will have absolutely no interest in this post. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to talk about it, of course.

Shaving. In the U.S., it’s basically expected. Those who deviate are quickly labeled hippies (I’m not saying being a hippie is a bad thing. I’m merely pointing out stereotypes). So what happens when a woman in her early twenties begins finding it difficult to continue this ritual?

I’m glad that I enjoy wearing jeans in 90 degree weather, because I happen to be said woman. That whole “bending down to shave my legs everyday” thing ain’t working anymore. I might be able to get away with it if I had a bathtub to sit on, but all I have to work with right now is a walk-in shower.

Talk about frustrating. No, I don’t enjoy the feeling of having ape legs. And as ridiculous as it sounds, I’m too damn stubborn to buy a shower stool. I contemplate, I research various products online, but I never purchase. Quite frankly, I think I’m just ashamed of the reaction people will have if they find out I have one. A shower stool is an “old lady thing.” I know I’m being stupid. Watch, pretty soon I’ll be writing a glowing review on one of them.

I think I’m ranting here more than trying to make a point. I guess the moral of this story would be that sometimes we’re forced to do things that might embarrass us for our own good.  And that sometimes you just need to suck it up and deal with it so that you can be a productive human being.

Now this particular human being needs sleep. Good night all.


RA And Sjögren’s Syndrome

Though I’m living more pain-free these days, I don’t think my eyes got the memo. Quite frequently I wake up feeling like I spent the night frolicking through a windy desert. Sometimes I’m forced to leave my desk randomly throughout the day (as I just did while in the middle of writing this sentence) to dart into the bathroom and attempt to put eye drops in my eye (I miss on the first try every time. Without fail). It becomes a bit of a problem when your job requires you to stare at a computer all day.

It’s not rare for Rheumatoid Arthritis to affect other parts of the body besides the joints. Sometimes certain medications people take for RA are the culprits. A lesser known fact is that there are other medical conditions that develop as complications to autoimmune diseases like RA. Sjögren’s syndrome is one of those complications. It is an inflammatory disease that affects tear and salivary glands. According to the American College of Rheumatology, between 400,000 and 3.1 million adults have Sjögren’s, and half of those people have a disease like RA or Lupus. A rheumatologist can test for it during a routine visit. I haven’t been tested for it, to the best of my knowledge. Either that, or I have been tested for it and it came back negative.

The good news, it seems, is that the symptoms of Sjögren’s may go away on their own. Certain RA drugs like Plaquenil may help alleviate symptoms.

Even though my eyes get dry and itchy and my mouth sometimes feels like it’s stuffed with cotton, I’ve found that drinking a lot of water and keeping artificial tears in my bag really helps. My favorite brands are Blink Tears and Clear Eyes Natural Tears. Just make sure that whatever drops you get don’t contain an antihistamine or other allergy component.

Anyone else have this issue? What have you done about it?

 


Hobby Lobby vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

While I try not to get political in my blog postings, yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby is too big a deal to not talk about here. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this article from Mashable.

The ruling is appalling. Not only did some men decide that it was okay to take away women’s reproductive rights in the name of religion, but lots women now have something extra to worry about: the consequences that come from getting pregnant while having a serious disease. Okay, sure, women can still go buy birth control on their own. It just wouldn’t be covered by insurance. But birth control is expensive, especially if you’re already struggling to afford the medications necessary to keep you alive.

Most people know that cancer patients need to come off their chemo drugs before trying to get pregnant. What most people don’t know is that women with autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis are often prescribed those same chemo drugs to combat their immune systems. Drugs like Methotrexate are poisons that often lead to miscarriage or serious birth defects.

I’m lucky. My doctor has decided that I don’t need aggressive treatment for my RA yet. He’s purposely keeping me on what he considers “baby friendly” medication for as long as possible. Most women don’t have that option. Women with aggressive autoimmune diseases have to plan their pregnancies as much as two years in advance. They need to quit their medications and allow the drug to work its way out of their systems before they can even try to conceive, which can take months or years.

I can’t imagine how painful this ruling is for these women. I can’t imagine being told that I have no choice but to risk suffering through the heartache that follows a miscarriage that would have been avoided if certain forms of birth control had been available.

I have RA, I’m engaged, and I’m looking for a full time job. Do I seriously need to limit my job options because my future boss may have some ridiculous vendetta against my reproductive health and the choices I make with my future husband? Anyone else find it highly ironic that Hobby Lobby’s owners claim they won’t support abortifacients (chemical abortions), yet they just made it more possible to have unwanted spontaneous abortions via chemo drugs? Yeah, a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is not the same as an abortion. I get that and I’m not trying to start an argument over which is worse.

My point is that no one should have any right to dictate the decisions I make based on their beliefs. Religion is something that is supposed to be personal. I’d never try to enforce my beliefs on anyone, and I have no respect for people or companies trying to push me to follow their supposed morals. Where is the morality in putting a couple through emotional and physical trauma?

If this whole argument is over “religious freedom,” then where the hell is mine?

 

 


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