Tag Archives: writing

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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Guest Blogging- RheumatoidArthritis.com

A few months ago, I received an email from the people behind RheumatoidArthritis.com asking me if I’d like to be a guest blogger. They apparently found this lovely little blog and liked what they saw. So, I did it. This is the story that went live earlier this week.

I’m truly humbled. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that a blog about my achy joints would become anything more than a place where I could post my grievances. Yet I’m constantly getting comments and emails from readers telling me how much my posts have been helping them (I know I’ve said this before. It just still hasn’t fully sunk in).

Anyway, let me know what you think about my guest post. I’m going to go enjoy the rest of my holiday break now.


My Miracle Pen

I’m a writer. Which means I write things, well… a lot. When I was first diagnosed with RA I was terrified that my painfully swollen and stiff fingers would prevent me from being able to pick up a pen. For the most part, I was right. The skinny, generic pens that you can buy in packs of 12 at the grocery store weren’t cutting it anymore. Inkier ballpoint pens and gel pens fixed the problem of having to press down hard on the paper, but they were still awkward to hold. So then I tried fatter pens, which were easier to grip, but they still required pressure to work. I was getting one benefit or the other, but never both.

So like any other frustrated, Internet-addicted young person, I turned to Google. That’s how I stumbled upon the PenAgain. It’s a weird wishbone-shaped writing instrument meant for people with arthritis, carpal tunnel, and other debilitating diseases. It’s designed so that you use the palm of your hand to guide the pen and apply pressure. Since a PenAgain pen only costs $5, I was willing to take the risk despite my initial skepticism. It couldn’t hurt to try it.

I pretty much fell in love with the pen, in case you didn’t get that vibe from the title of this post. It replaced every other pen bouncing around in my backpack. I felt less panic going into 3 hour-long college finals because I knew I could tackle the essays without worrying about my hands giving out. It was easier to jot down messages and fill out paperwork at work. Yeah, I totally got some strange looks from the people around me when they saw me using it, but that hardly matters.

Even though I’m in remission and can use regular pens for the most part, I still gravitate towards PenAgain. It’s easily one of the best RA-related purchases I’ve ever made. My only critique is that there are occasions when the pen will stop writing in the middle of a word, so I find myself scribbling on a piece of scrap paper to get it working again. Also, because of its design, the ink cartridges on these things are pretty short, so if you’re going to be using it a lot you’re going to want to have a backup pen or a stockpile of ink refills. I don’t mind this part so much because the refills aren’t expensive at all, and I realize that I write more than the average person on most days.

You can purchase a PenAgain pen (or pencil!) here.


Exam Panic

Long time no see! I recently began my last year of college (yikes!) and my professors have been keeping me pretty busy. I’m using this semester to focus on my writing, so one of the classes I’m taking is called “Writing & the Blogosphere.” I’m learning more about blogging than I ever thought there was to know. We’re required to keep a blog for the class, but sadly I can’t use any of the ones I already have. I had to create a new one, but I’m still focusing on the topic of RA. Unlike this blog, however, I’m trying to reach out to those who don’t have the disease in an attempt to spread awareness (if you’re interested in reading it, click here). Last Thursday one of my posts was workshopped in class. I received some wonderful comments and a lot of support from my classmates, and I’m truly touched that they care so much. Below is the entry that I wrote. If you want to read the responses from my classmates, click the link above. Let me know what you think!

 

Exams are a necessary evil for students. We all need to take them, and we know to expect them. How we handle them varies from person to person. Some will choose not to study and won’t sweat the material. Others will study vigorously until they feel confident in the material. Then there’s a select few that fall into the “let’s panic about everything” category. I include myself in the panic category, but for different reasons than most people think. For me it has become so much more than just studying and passing a test.

The panic starts the second an exam is announced, with my inner monologue sounding something like this:

Is it going to be multiple choice? I hope it is. Please tell me it is. Oh God, what if we have to write an essay? Shit, what if the entire exam is an essay? Or multiple essays? Oh no, the Blue Books! She said Blue Books! I’m screwed. What if the weather is bad that day and I wind up flaring? Maybe I’ll get lucky and it’ll snow ten feet and Rutgers will deem it necessary to close the campus…

Since being diagnosed, exams have become more of an endurance test for me than anything else. First, there’s the studying part. Chronic pain lessens my ability to focus. I once forgot how to spell my name during an exam, which was a pretty low moment for me. Even while studying, there are moments when my mind wanders to the sharp pain in my wrist, or my stiff neck, or the fact that I can’t breathe because my immune system decided to attack my lungs right at that moment.

Then there’s the night before the test, and try as I might to be asleep by 11pm, my immune system says, “Nope, time to toss and turn and be uncomfortable until 2 am.” So then I start cursing at it, and shift around so much that the dog gets annoyed with me and goes in search of a more peaceful bed.

On the day of the test I’m cranky and exhausted. But the bigger problem is the fact that it’s raining outside and my fingers keep locking up as a result. I can’t give you a scientific reason as to why this happens (people tell me it’s about barometric pressure) but rain heightens the pain. So now I need to start praying that my special pen designed for clumsy arthritic hands won’t run out of ink because I’d never be able to write with a regular pen on a rainy day. Some days I get lucky and I can use a regular pen, but only for a short while.

And finally, I get to the test. It’s a test that requires three hours of constant writing. So I’m hunched over the paper, kink in my neck, hips locking up because I don’t have the opportunity to get up and move around. More wandering thoughts.

I do feel sorry for myself sometimes. It happens to all of us. Then I realize that it could be a lot worse, that I should suck it up and be grateful that I’m in school in the first place. Besides, it’s a much more rewarding feeling when that exam comes back with a good grade, because I know how much blood, sweat and tears literally went into it.


And The Liebster Award Goes To…

the-liebster-award

…Me! I was nominated a couple of months ago, but never really got around to writing this post. I was nominated by The Nail and Makeup Whisperer and honestly, this is one of the coolest things anyone in the blogging world could give me lol. It’s nice just to get some recognition, and to know that people are reading my blog.

For those of you who don’t know what the Leibster Award is, I’ve taken the description right from The Nail and Makeup Whisperer’s blog post, who took the description from the Mommy Loves Nail Polish blog:

What is the “Liebster Blog Award?”

It’s an award that was reputedly started in Germany in order to give smaller bloggers recognition for their hard work. You receive this award from a fellow blogger that feels your blog is both worthy & important to them.

The rules are:

1) Post eleven facts about yourself 2) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated 3) Choose eleven people to give this award to (with fewer than 200 followers) and link them in your post 4) Go to their page and tell them 5) Remember, no tag backs!

Here are 11 facts about me:

  1. I own my own custom jewelry business.
  2. I’m a published children’s author and I’m working on a couple of novels.
  3. I love all kinds of music, but especially Celtic/New Age.
  4. I own more books than I have room for.
  5. I’m a full time college student, majoring in English literature with minors in Psychology and History.
  6. My favorite colors are black and turquoise.
  7. I did karate for 14 years. I taught it for 5.
  8. I have the worst attention span ever.
  9. I love studying mythology in my spare time.
  10. I interned with the Oxygen Network’s social media department and now do independent social media consultant (yes, I have quite a few jobs. 6 total, actually).
  11. I love receiving candles and incense as gifts.

The Nail and Makeup Whisperer asked the following questions:

  1. Where is your favorite place to travel? Down South, particularly to Tennessee. Once I finally get to Ireland, that will probably become my favorite.
  2. Favorite brand of coffee or tea? I enjoy Frappes from Starbucks and ice coffee from Dunkin Donuts, but that’s really it in the coffee category. However, I’m a huge tea snob. My favorite tea comes from www.spiceandtea.com. Seriously, try their Coconut Oolong.
  3. What pets do you have? I have 2 dogs, a German Shepherd and a Beagle/Daschund mix, and a Ragdoll cat (though I have to admit that I like the dogs more…they’re at least friendly).
  4. If you could be anyone for just one day, who would you be? This one’s a super tough question.  Kate Middleton maybe? Her job seems pretty cool. And she has people who clean her room for her.
  5. What are your hobbies? Pretty much any craft I can get my hands on…crocheting, jewelry making, painting, etc. Anything mind numbing.
  6. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done? Put wasabi on my sushi (sorry to disappoint, but I’m that nerd that stays home and reads books).
  7. Last day on earth, what would you do? Considering the state of mind I’m in today, probably just sit on a beach with a pina colada. Ask me this again tomorrow and you might get a different answer.
  8. Favorite beauty product and why? Peach scented Bath Junkie scrub. It smells amazing and it leaves my skin feeling soft. The fact that you customize your own scent is an added bonus.
  9. Is there anything you are known for by family and friends? Being an encyclopedia of useless knowledge. Did you know you can regrow lettuce?
  10. Funniest thing you’ve seen lately? A guy walking into my office wearing a silver, satin pajama suit. He was quite proud of the fact that he got away with wearing it to his business forum class.
  11. What’s your favorite movie? The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Eleven questions for blogs I’ve nominated:

  1. What famous person would you want to have lunch with?
  2. What’s your dream job?
  3. Smooth or creamy peanut butter?
  4. What was your most embarrassing moment?
  5. What new hobby, if any, would you want to take up?
  6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  7. Which book or movie left the biggest impression on you?
  8. Do you speak any other languages? If not, which ones would you like to learn?
  9. Why did you start blogging?
  10. If you had access to a time machine, what era would you travel to and why?
  11. What’s something you want to accomplish in the next 10 years?

Finally, I’d like to nominate the following blogs:

Triathlete Racing with RA

My RAD Life

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Living with Fibromyalgia

Deep Glade’s Apothecary

Chronically Healthy

Alive (To The Tips of Her Fingers)

RheumaBlog

Carla’s Corner

Stream of Caitlinness

Pajama Program

Again, thanks for the nomination!


The Frugal Crafter Blog

Groovy craft projects, crafty recipes and other artsy stuff.

Rebirth of clarity

Live out Loud, Love, Fight, Create and Share

Prose, Poetry, and Coffee

As the title explains, I will post my prose or poetry on a weekly basis (or whenever I feel so inclined). And to jazz things up, I’ll post some of my favorite literary quotes or favorite poems. (I just threw coffee in the title...so *annoyed face* I've gotta clean that up...with my tongue. I love coffee...)

The Clovers Project

Good support is better than good luck.

5x5

Strong, Clear Literature

RAClaRA

A Young Adult's Battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Globe-T.

Le Bonnet voyageur • The travelling Winter Hat

The Thinking Writer

Classes & Community for People With Ideas

MFwAiting

You're Doing Better Than You Think You Are.