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Reflections on 2013, Resolutions for 2014

I think by the second or third week of January we all have our New Year’s resolutions set. However, before I tell you what mine are, I’d like to take the time to reflect on this past year. 

In 2013, I spent 2 weeks (including Christmas Day and New Years Day) in the hospital, 3 months on a doctor-ordered liquid diet, and the first 4 months of 2013 using a walker. It was really hard on my husband and I, and to be honest, for a minute there we didn’t know if I was going to make it or not. 

My 2013 New Year’s resolutions may sound simple to most people, but for me it felt like a raging river I was unsure I would ever be able to cross.
  1. Make it through the rest of 2013 without a visit to the hospital.
  2. Be well enough to eat normal food.
  3. Get better on Actmera.
  4. Make it to the annual Arthritis Walk in November.
  5. Reach out and re-analyze the company I keep.
  6. Start a blog, help others like me, and bring awareness to Arthritis.

Although it was a very difficult time, I’m proud to say I achieved all my goals and then some! We did have some bumps along the road. We were forced to move out of our apartment because my health, had to give our dog away, and dealt with two failed treatments. 
It was very disappointing and disheartening, and I cried a lot. But I must say there were some great memories and amazing achievements that I am so proud of. 
For one, we moved back in with Andres’ parents which ended up being a great decision as we now have a much better support system. Second, we gave our dog away to the most perfect couple on Earth-whom I believe really needed and wanted her- which resulted in us making two great friends. And lastly, I was able to switch to two new treatments with the guidance of an amazing doctor
As if that wasn’t enough, I also got the incredible opportunity to start a blog, publish an article in Women magazine, and bring awareness to RA by doing interviews on WSVN and RadioMD
All in all, it was a difficult, but good year. And I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in 2014. 

So without further ado, here are my New Years Resolutions for 2014:
  1. Stay off of Prednisone for one year.
  2. Loose 10 pounds by eating healthy and exercising when possible.
  3. Go back to school.
  4. Have at least one successful treatment this year. 
  5. Be well enough to do the things I love and spend more time with the people I love.

I believe I can do it. I think its very important to have goals in your life. Even if it’s something simple. We have to remember to keep trying even through disappointment and heartbreak. We have to keep dreaming and keep looking forward even through big challenges! I may have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I’m still dreaming and I always will be. ❤
So tell me, what are your Resolutions for 2014?

Products to keep your Joints Warm

If you live in the U.S. chances are you’ve been freezing your little tush off this week like me. 

Last night we got our first cold front of the season and it hit the low 50s! I know, I know. Some of you may be like laughing, but for Miami that’s freezing!! 🙂
Having Arthritis can mean that the cold whether really aggravates your joint pain, stiffness, and swelling and trust me, I am feeling it! 
Last winter, when I spent a week in Boston visiting my family I was in a wheelchair the entire trip because the cold made me so incredibly stiff! Boston is a beautiful city, but I don’t think I could ever live there just because the cold hurts my joints so much.
However, for those of you Arthritis Folks who live up north (or people who just don’t like the cold), keeping your joints warm could definitely help you, like its been helping me lately. It makes a real difference!  
So.. here are a few products I’m using right now to keep my joints nice and toasty! 🙂 

Sunbeam Heating Pad – This I actually use all year round cause it really helps when I’m feeling particulary stiff and you don’t have to keep heating it up in the microwave like some other heating pads. 
Warm Essentials Leggings  – This I wish I had taken to Boston, but unfortunately I didn’t think of it, so I froze. Luckily, I’ve been getting my use out of them this week. They’re great to wear under pants!  
Sunbeam Heated Fleece – This one I haven’t bought , but that’s only because my husband won’t let me! He thinks its a little too ridiculous for Miami. I disagree 😉 

Patients Say Treatment Lacks Goals And Guidelines

Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Say Treatment Lacks Goals And Guidelines

Wow, guys, this makes me so sad. This is why I started this blog. Not only to bring awareness to this disease but also to educate people with RA and give them hope. We need to speak up! We need to fight back! We need to get our confidence back and do something about this terrible illness! 
I know its hard because sometimes we feel judged, misunderstood and that no one understands, but things have changed. We have tools now. We have the Vectra DA test (http://www.vectra-da.com/patients/how-vectra-works.php) which puts a verifiable number to RA disease activity. We have newer treatments being introduced all the time. 

We can do this, guys! All we have to do is speak up!

Remission Shoes

So I bought these shoes and dubbed them my Remission Shoes.” 
Since I got married I’ve been struggling with the thought of my future. What is going to happen to me? When will my body say, “Enough is enough. I can’t take this anymore?” How many years do I have left of being able to walk normally 3 out of 7 days a week? 10? 15? 
I talked to my husband Andres and expressed to him these feelings. You know what he said? He said to me, “I will never give up. I will never back down. I will never accept you as sick and say ‘Well, this is the way things are.’ I don’t accept it now, or ever. I will keep trying till the day you are in remission.
With that I say, forget this disease! Forget planning for the grim future and assume that we are going to be like this forever. There is no cure, but there is a possibility of a remission! There is a possibility that 2014 will be the year there’s a breakthrough. I choose to believe in that possibility. I choose to stay positive. I choose to hope. 

Moon Face

What I look like on Prednisone. HAHA!
Moon face’ is a common side effect of a medication called Prednisone- a very effective corticosteroid anti-inflammitory drug commonly used by people with breathing disorders, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, and allergic disorders. It is characterized by a swollen, round, often puffy-looking appearance in the cheeks of those who use it, resulting in the name.


Recently my doctor started me back on Prednisone. Half of me was thinking, “Oh great, here we go again and just in time for the holidays too…” but the truth is it does make me feel significantly better. I mean, I know in my head its worth feeling better, but the fact that I’ve looked like a chipmunk in the all the holiday pictures for the last 3 years does bother me a little. 
Often, people will ask me, “What happened to your face?” or “Did you know that your face is really swollen?” and I simply shrug and respond with “Yeahhh I’m aware, it’s the medication.” 
I mean, its hard! Especially when you know its going to be for an extended period of time. You feel self-conscious! It’s like all eyes are on you and you know that they know that something is off about your face, but they don’t know why. Although Arthritis can be classified as an invisible illness there definitely are times when it is very clearly visible and its easy to get depressed about it. 
You don’t feel like yourself and you just want to hide and not go to any of the Christmas dinners or New Year’s parties. I know I’ve felt like that a few times. 
I’ve felt ugly, and I didn’t want to go out or get my picture taken, but after hiding out alone in my room, I realized that that’s no way to live! I can’t waste Christmas time with my family just because I look a little funny. And if someone asks, I just explain it to them and make a joke about how I look like I have acorns stuffed in my cheeks or I ate one too many holiday-themed cookies

It’s ok to to be upset and I’m not saying you have to be happy about it, but sometimes we gotta learn to not take ourselves too seriously or let little things get in the way of us living our lives.
We just gotta say to ourselves, “This too shall pass and I am the cutest chipmunk in existence!” 🙂
That’s one thing that this illness has taught me over and over again…

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
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