Archive for the ‘Coping Mechanisms’ Category

Getting Ready for Your Night Out….Fabulous and Sick Style

When I was a little girl I would watch TV shows that would depict a very beautiful women getting ready for a date with her husband at her dressing mirror. I would always think, WOW, now that is glamour. Now my Mother was a single woman with a full time job and two kids so her getting dressed time consisted of a lot of running around and a quick stance in front of the mirror to put on her makeup. Till this day I am not sure how she could put on a whole face of makeup so quickly, but as all of us women know you do what you got to do to get things done. By the way, my Mother is the type of woman who has to at least have on concealer and lipstick to get the mail…LOL got to love her..

Needless to say, I don’t have that problem, I am sitting here now at a coffee shop, makeup free (BTW this Turkey, Pesto and Gouda grilled cheese is freaking Delish). I also don’t have the ability to go into the bathroom and come out in full makeup at the speed of Clark Kent in a telephone booth. Yes, it takes me a while. So I follow a few simple tips to get ready for my evenings out..

  1. I try to make any plans to go out in advance. I am not big on short notices, plus I like to rest up. If the evening is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., I usually take an hour nap around 3 p.m. This allows me to be well rested and clear headed.
  2. Shower time. I take a long hot shower to helps relax my muscles and get my joints nice and warm. Plus you just feel refreshed and energized.
  3. After my shower, I grab a snack and load up any needed pain medication. All while on the couch, lounging around before a night out helps to conserve your energy for later.
  4. Dressing time is always fun. I try to pick out my clothes and get them ironed the day prior. This helps to eliminate the feeling of being rushed and over exerted by the time your evening is scheduled to start.
  5. Time for the makeup chair. I Always Always grab my stool, now it is not a glamorous dressing table or anything like the ones they would show on tv, but it does help get me off my feet and sits me up high enough to see myself vividly in the mirror. My stool has truly been an Angel in this department, and it was $9.99, can’t beat that..
  6. Majority of my makeup is applied with long stem brushes. This helps alleviates stress on my hands, elbows and shoulders. They are pretty easy to find at any nice cosmetic store such as ULTA and Sephora. I usually buy them with coupons. They are not the cheapest, but if it helps to ease my pain, for me it is worth the investment.
  7. I typically use makeups that are on palettes.  It helps to eliminate the need to keep opening up multiple compacts, searching my make up drawer, everything is right there in front of me. I just sit on my stool and make myself extra pretty. 😉 I scoop up makeup palettes around Christmas time when they are on 50% to 80% markdown, you know I am not a full price type of
  8. Now it is time to ‘Fix My Hair”. After make up, I do my hair, simple hairstyles, as I don’t have the energy or capability to get extra fancy, I get fancy via makeup and accessories.
  9. I get dressed, and then at the very last minute I put on my shoes, with my inserts of course. I also pack a pair of sandals in my car in case the inserts don’t get the job done.
  10. I check to make sure I have all the essentials in my purse  gum, comb, keys and of course pain medications.

All these tips can help with a wonder evening from a romantic dinner with a loved one to an after work affair. It is my routine every time; I try not to deviate too often because for me it just works. Now, of course you can tailor this to your specific needs, the goal it to leave out the door alert, well rested, looking fabulous and ready for a fun evening.



Medicine Payment Assistance Options..

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

As many of you may know I am an advocate for those struggling to afford medication. Why? Because unfortunately, medications that really help you live your life as great as possible with Rheumatoid Arthritis can be very expensive. So I have been spending some much needed time researching insurance benefits coverage plan booklets. Now a new thing the insurance companies utilize are formulary tiers for medications. Of course, majority of the RA medicines such as Remincade, Celebrex and Humira are on the higher tiers, which means they have the highest out of pocket co-payments. However, I have discovered there is hope in regards to securing better pricing options. Depending on your situation , you may be able to request a “Tiering Exception”. If the medication is medically necessary and alternatives do not work or cause damaging side effects, your doctor can make a written request to lower the medication to a more affordable tier.

Now, I do not know of the success rate, but if your medication co-payments are draining your bank account, I think this is something that is definitely worth investigating.

Also, You may want to check out the following link for other options and resources for financial assistance.

Icicles and Flare-Ups..

January 10, 2011 5 comments

Well its winter time and with the winter comes the cold temperatures, snow, and icicles. Welcome old Man Winter ;-). However cold temps can bring more than just a snowstorm when u have an illness such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, it can bring aches, pains, inflamed joints and full on flare ups. And unfortunately, life doesn’t stop for our pain, there are still demands from our work, family and friends. And although we want to rest inside snuggled in our fuzzy slippers and warm quilts, we always make an effort to do as much as possible with our restrictions. I still wonder why I push so hard through the pain, but I already know why. I feel G-U-I-L-T-Y!! G-U-I-L-T-Y!! G-U-I-L-T-Y!! I never want to miss appointments and feel as if I disappoint people when I can’t meet my commitments. But I am growing in learning that people who really care about me will understand, and I just can’t do much about those who don’t, except educate them on my illness as much as possible. Now, don’t get me wrong, when I am on full on flare-up, I shut everything and everyone down and won’t think twice about it (well maybe not But, for my better days of pain I will alter instead of cancel.


Here a few tips that I and a few of my friends have found to work well:


  1. Lunch with the Girls. Instead of heading to your favorite lunch spot, invite your fabulous friends over for lunch at your house and order delivery take-out. This allows you to stay inside, stay in your fuzzy slippers all while keeping up with the latest gossip and everything else you love to share with your girls.
  2. Work! Work! Work! For the most part, we all own a computer and have internet access. Or we have employers that appreciate their employees enough to provide them with a laptop. If this is your case, telecommute is the word to learn and invest in honey. With technology such as phones, virtual meetings, dial-in systems and video chats, we can stay in touch from around the world. Ladies, take advantage and use technology to your advantage. Why? Because this allows you to complete your work assignments, stay in contact with your co-workers and clients while residing in the comfort of your own warm home. And don’t forget, lunchtime can equal a much-needed naptime, just don’t oversleep and miss your call-in meeting. Or it may be your last telecommute day.
  3. Family meals, kid-drop offs etc. Listen, I know us strong women want to do it all, with no help. But lets face it, when you have a chronic illness, sometimes you do need help and there is nothing wrong or shameful about asking for help. Enroll your parents, siblings, husband and good girlfriends to pitch in on helping out with dinner, running errands, picking kids up from school and just helping in general. Remember your friends and family love you and probably offer their support all the time and we always reply “Thanks, but I am ok”, well during a flare-up it is the time to say “Thanks, and this is what I need”. They will still love you and things will get done, just remember to return the favor when you are feeling well enough to do so. This helps to alleviate that Guilty feeling we feel when we let others do for us.  (Info on Home Health Care Coming Soon!)
  4. Personal Business. If its not necessary and can be postponed, Post Pone It! And get some rest so you can come back Refreshed and don’t forget Fabulous!



Categories: Coping Mechanisms

5 Tips on how to make Yoga class work when you have a disability…

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

All the experts say Yoga is a great way to stretch your muscles, relieve stress and get some very much needed gentle exercise. However when you see people in certain extreme poses, it can be a little intimidating. But now, I must admit that I personally love Yoga, it is low-impact and very relaxing. However when your body has certain restrictions, some of the poses can range from challenging to down right impossible. And if you are taking a class with a hands on teacher, they are eager to help try and push you into the proper position.  Which may be great for some, but for those of us with body restrictions certain movements are a NO-NO.  So what do you do to get the most out of your Yoga class for which you have paid for with your hard earned money? Well here are a few suggestions that I found helped me with my Yoga experience:

1.)  The Studio. If you are going to a Yoga studio, select one with various levels and types of classes. This allows growth in your Yoga experience and the chance to sample each class until you find the one perfect you. You should also ask for their advice on which they believe is the most appropriate class for your level of ability. Make sure you ask a qualified Yoga instructor and not just the desk receptionist.

2.)  Be Early on your 1st Day. Try to get to the class a few minutes early to talk with your Yoga instructor. Let them know your body restrictions and request for them to provide alternative poses during class. This will help you get the most out of the class while preventing you from doing hurtful poses.

3.)  Props! Props! Props! Don’t be afraid to use props such as rolled towels or blocks to add support when trying to achieve certain poses. Most reputable Yoga studios have them available for use free of charge. Call ahead to verify, if not, bring your on.  Try Target, Wal-Mart or Marshall’s, they have some great prices.

4.)  Please Don’t Touch. If you are sensitive to touch, request that when your instructor has a recommended alternative pose, to let you know verbally. Let them know upfront that you do not like to be touched, without permission.  If your instructor is a professional, they will not be offended. If they are too bad, remember, it is your body and an unwanted movement can hurt. Remember you are they to help your body, not hurt your body.

5.)  Take a break. If any pose is too difficult, feel free to sit down until they move to an accommodating pose. Trust me you will not be the only person sitting, just try to remain still and not to disturb the other participants. If you find yourself at your limit during class, quietly excuse yourself from the class.

These five tips can really help make your Yoga experience wonderful and allow you to really get the health benefit of the Yoga poses. Enjoy!

How to deal with Holiday Parties when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Congratulations! We have made it through Thanksgiving so now the parties, the office Holiday party, the neighborhood Holiday party, your friend’s Holiday party, etc. Everyone will be having a Holiday party. So now you feel obligated to attend in the spirit of the season and you genuinely want to support others who have supported you.  But there is only one complication, you have Rheumatoid Arthritis and you simply cannot go to a party almost every day of the week. So let me give you some tips.

1. Attendance Decision. Decide which parties you will attend and which you will not be able to attend. Try to spread out the parties as much as possible. A party every couple of days, weekend dates only or every other Saturday. The goal is to give yourself time to recoup between each event.  You want to make sure you are well enough to continue with your regular routine after the party.

2. How to RSVP. Once you make your decision, RSVP with a “Maybe”, this way if you don’t feel well the day of the event you will not feel the guilt of already sending an acceptance. This often puts too much pressure on you to participate in activities your body is simply unable to handle. Plus this avoids insulting your hostess.

3. How to Dress. Once decisions have been made, select your outfit accordingly. Select a few comfortable basic pieces (Black dress, Red Dress, Pant Suit), then obtain fancy accessories, bracelets, necklaces and earrings with lots of glitter and flare to make your outfit pop.  If you stick to basic pieces, more than likely you will be able to find something already in your closet, then you can just add new accessories.  This will help save a ton of cash.  Basic pieces also allow you to repeat the outfit itself with just a switch of your accessories; a different belt and handbag can really create a totally different look without breaking the bank.  I do this every holiday season, and no one is the wiser, plus I must have enough money to pay for my very expensive medications.  Because my pain does not care that I wanted a new outfit.

4. Shoes Shoes Shoes. Lets face it, shoes can really make an outfit, but if they are not comfortable and you can’t walk around in them they are useless. I recommend investing in a great black holiday shoe that you can transfer over year to year. A pair of shoes that will go with multiple outfits, which allows you to really get the worth out of the shoe. If you can’t afford to invest in a really good shoe, then buy a holiday shoe that will still match various outfits and purchase on orthopedic insoles for about $15. I buy mine at any local pharmacy store, they tend to work better than those you find at shoe stores. These insoles can really change the comfort of a shoe.  I use them on all my less expensive shoes, because without them I can’t make it out my own front door.  Look in the fashion session on my blog to identify great brands and retail locations.

5. The hostess gift. I always bring a nice bottle of inexpensive wine in a nice carry bag. I shop for a nice Merlot, Pinot Noir or Riesling, which are always on sale this time of year. I buy a couple of bottles and they make the perfect hostess gift.  This eliminates the stress of trying to make a dish, the pain of doing unnecessary store to store shopping and gives you more time to rest up before the big party.

6. Party Attendance. When you attend the party, try to show up a few minutes after the party starts. If you show up too early you feel obligated to help out, which is wear and tear on your body, and leaves little energy for you to enjoy yourself. If you show up too late, you may not be able to get a seat, and no matter how comfortable your shoes are, when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis you will want to sit. I find a good 15-45 minutes into the party is excellent timing.  Sit as much as possible, but get up and walk around mixing and mingling. If feel up to a few dances, get out on the dance floor, but monitor yourself, you don’t want to get over exhausted.  Once you have made your rounds, mixed and mingled and you start to feel tired, politely make your exit.  Remember you showed up near the start of the party so there is no need to feel guilty about leaving early.   I use these tips at every party and my hostess is never upset about my early exit, because I got plenty of face time at the beginning of the party and socialized enough for them to know I had a great time.

7. Pain Management. I always take a few pain pills with me in a small pouch, something that will inconspicuously fit into an evening bag. I make sure it is mild enough strength that I don’t fall asleep during the party, but strong enough to control my pain. I always use caution if I am driving myself, and ensure enough time has lapsed to ensure a safe drive. I am not a doctor so I recommend discussing your strategy with your physician.

8. Relax

9. Enjoy

10. Have a Happy and Fabulous Holiday! You deserve it.

Categories: Coping Mechanisms

How to get through the Hoilday Season when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis..

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Holiday season can be rough, but do your best to make them work for you.  I would always try to make a nice traditional dinner for my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But with Rheumatoid Arthritis, it has become more and more difficult to produce by myself. I would make it through the day, but the next couple of days I was stuck in bed. So I tried enrolling my Mom, but she is not a domestic goddess by any means. Then I tried enrolling a few siblings for help, but too many cooks in the kitchen is never a good idea. So this year, I am going to go the catering route. Yes, I know people tend to shy away from catering, but I did some taste testing at various restaurants and found a place that is both reasonable and tasty.

For me, spending a couple dollars is worth the trade-off of spending several days in bed. Plus the clean up is a snap.  So look around at various restaurants and gourmet markets. If you are really on a budget, Boston Market does a pretty nice turkey and roasted chicken, and you don’t like their sides, you can make your own or pot luck the sides dishes. If you want to go less traditional, try Famous Dave’s catering menu it is delish, and people may enjoy a break from the traditional items.

The important thing is not to overwork yourself into a flare up…Work the Holidays, don’t let them work you..

Categories: Coping Mechanisms

Keep it Movin…

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Living with an Autoimmune disease is not easy. You never know what to expect on a daily basis. You may awake in the morning with great intentions to have an active and productive day, however, your body had a different intent. These days can drive you insane and bring your mood to one of somber. However, I recommend allowing these days to happen, but on the days you feel well, do your best to make the most out of your pain-free or pain reduced days. Participate in yoga classes, water aerobics and walking.

Now, if you can not afford to join a yoga class, turn to YouTube and find a class and use a beach towel for your mat. If you live in an apartment complex with a pool, go before the crowds and do water exercises, even if it is just walking back and forth. Get creative! As for walking, just step outside and walk around the block, the mall or a nice park.

Exercise is a great way to relive stress, get out of the house, meet people with shared interest and help keep the body healthy. Did I mention get out of the house. As a person with RA, it is important to stay as healthy as possible, plus it makes you feel sexy and provides a great source of confidence, which can diminish when you feel sick on a daily.

Remember, you are a fabulous person who just happens to be sick.

Categories: Coping Mechanisms