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Archive for April, 2011

Day 12 HAWMC….It was all a Dream (Yes I just quoted B.I.G. LOL)

I ran into a friend of mine one day and we began to talk about the changes that were going on in her life. She has been laid off from her job for a bout a year now and has been unable to find employment. She has been on many interviews, both 2nd and 3rd phases, however nothing has materialized. Then she began to notice that in many of her interviews, she was asked if she would be able to consult with them on training programs and other projects. In the past she had declined, however, in her last interview she agreed to become their training consultant. I congratulated her and told her that this sounds like a good opportunity. She replied, thanks, but consulting was not her plan, getting a job was her plan. I laughed and told her to think of the many consulting offers you have received in the past year as whispers from the universe putting her on a different path. Then of course I had to reflect on something I heard Oprah say “God can dream a bigger dream for you then you could ever dream”.

This image helps to remind me of this. On days when you can’t get out of the bed from the pain, the meds aren’t working the best and you have to schedule another week off of work for health reasons, the universe still has a plan for you. It may not be what you wanted or expected, but there is a bigger dream for you to fulfill.

Photo by: Ameir Amadi

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How has RA made you realize What is Important ??

April 11, 2011 1 comment

I was reading a post in one of my favorite online chat rooms and notice the question of the day was “How has RA made you realize what is Important” and I thought to myself, WOW that is something to think about. So many times in my life I have found myself thinking about the limitations Arthritis has placed on my life, so it is refreshing to focus on the positive aspect of RA.

In my life I have had to make many adjustments to accommodate my illness, from my career choices (reduced hours, less stressful position, time off of work) to how I do my laundry (I use a butter knife to open the dryer door). But in making these adjustments, I have discovered wonderful things about life and myself. I now practice Yoga and Meditation, which has brought a new level of peace and calmness in my life, while providing some much needed stretching for my sore joints. The time I have spent in my practice has allowed me time to focus on the positive aspects of my life and listen to my heart, which has become inner teacher.

Physically, I have had to gain a confidence in a way I never thought would be required of myself.  My surgeries have left me with scars that are a tell sign of my condition. At first, I was ashamed of my scars and never wanted them to show. I even selected my clothes around which items hid my scars. But after much reflection, I have learned to accept these scars as a part of me and accept them as things that do not define me. Now I wear what I want, without any thought if someone will see my scars, because what is on the outside is not as important as what is within me. The medications I take for RA have harsh side effects that have caused extreme swings in my weight, resulting in a transformation that have brought me in and out of my comfort zone. To the point where people have ridiculed me and made me feel very self-conscious. But I noticed that my true friends, who were aware of my illness, loved me regardless of my size and never took a harsh position. Not to say they did not show concern, but they never made me uncomfortable. They always showed their support and love, which helped teach me about the importance of real friendship and love. As a result, I make a concerted effort to nourish and support my friendships, which is something I was not the best at doing in the past.

Overall RA has made me realize that Peace, Health, Happiness, Love for Myself and True Friendships are important to me in my life. These things are staples that I must have to ensure a joyful life and I don’t think I would have learned these things this early in my life if it were not for RA.

How has your illness made you realize What is Important?

Relationships Effects Rheumatoid Arthritis | Shelley Kasle | Arthritis Today Magazine | Arthritis Foundation

 

Interesting article evaluating the impact a positive relationship can have on RA. Focusing on the benefits of having a good communication network.

Relationships Effects Rheumatoid Arthritis | Shelley Kasle | Arthritis Today Magazine | Arthritis Foundation.

Initial Diagnosis..What You Should Know..

I came across some information from the Mayo Clinic on how to prepare for your initial doctors appointment and what to expect. Hopefully it will help prepare those of you who are in the early stages of being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. When I was initially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I had no clue what it meant. I was basically told it was an auto immune disease that causes my body to attack itself, primarily my joint tissue. With that information, I thought, OK, so now I understand why I am in pain. But I really didn’t understand all the other symptoms I was having and how they related to me being diagnosed with RA.  Without understanding there was a connection between certain things I was experiencing and RA, during my first few visits I only focused on discussing a few symptoms primarily focusing on pain. Why, because that is what I understood RA to about, PAIN. Now, years later after much research and discussions with my doctor, I understand a RA diagnosis is more than experiencing pain. I should have also been discussing pain management, fatigue, anxiety, appetite, exercise and various other issues. Hopefully this information will help to provide you with a more informed office visit.

Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic staff

While you might first discuss your symptoms with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions — for further evaluation.

What you can do
Write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms, including when they started and if anything makes them better or worse
  • Information about medical problems you’ve had in the past
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

What to expect from your doctor
During the physical exam, your doctor will check your joints for swelling, redness and warmth. He or she will also check your reflexes and muscle strength.

In addition to the physical exam, your doctor might order imaging and laboratory tests to help determine the cause of your signs and symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages because its early signs and symptoms mimic those of many other diseases. And no one test or physical finding confirms the diagnosis.

Blood tests
People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate), which indicates the presence of an inflammatory process in the body. Other common blood tests look for rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.

X-rays
Your doctor may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in your joints over time.

www.mayoclinic.com