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Celebrating the victories BIG and small

What do you like to do to celebrate yourself and your victories? 

I think it’s so important to celebrate the victories B I G and small
It makes me feel good about myself. Good about my place in this world. 
It makes me feel like I’ve conquered something I couldn’t do before. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the disappointments of having a Chronic Illness. Especially when you have a family and responsibilities. On days where I’m feeling less pain than normal, I find myself catching up on chores I wasn’t able to do the day before. 
I often spend the “good days” folding laundry, changing the bedding, cleaning the bathroom, grocery shopping, etc. 

“Bad days” aren’t spend relaxing in bed and watching TV as most people would think. They’re spent covered in Ice Packs from head to toe, laying as still as possible as not to aggrevate the joints that are frozen in place. Attempting to sleep, exhausted from the agony my body is experiencing, but unable to get a wink in. Holding my pee till I can work up the nerve to hobble to the bathroom. Making that trip worth the physical exertion by combining my need to empty my bladder, brush my teeth and my hair, put in contacts, shower,  and change into a new set of pjs (ones I can put on by myself) into one trip down the hall to the bathroom. 

Spectacular sunrise over Miami Beach. Photo © William Wetmore: facebook.com/NjordPhoto







But as a wise person once told me, sometimes it’s important to “just sit back and enjoy the good days. Instead of spending my good day doing chores, even if it’s for just a moment, take the time to celebrate it. 
I like to reward myself and my ability to keep moving forward with a chocolate treat or a small gift like a book I’ve been wanting. Sometimes just an experience, an experience not clouded by pain, like laying in the grass, watching the sunset, thinking to myself, “I did it.” 

There’s something so satisfying about dressing up on a day that I feel good. Most days I don’t have a choice but to dress in pajamas. On “Ok” days I take it up a notch by wearing an actual bra and a tee. So when I’m feeling good it’s important to me that I style my hair, put on make-up, and a nice outfit…even if it does take me three hours… 😉 

It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life, especially when you feel like you’re always playing catch up. But for just a minute, an hour, a day, taking the time to paint my nails, watch the Sunset, or take a long, relaxing shower makes me feel not just like the girl with Arthritis, it makes me feel like a woman, a human being- just like everyone else- again. 


And for the “great days,” there’s always skydiving! 😀

Normal is BORING

Today someone told me (multiples times…), “You have to think you’re going to get better to get better. Don’t be so negative. You have to stop talking about negative things. Positive things happen to positive people.” 

Most anyone who knows me knows that I am a very positive person. I pride myself in being positive. It wasn’t easy to get here. It was an honest-to-God uphill battle. It took a lot of practice, hard work, and patience. 
To me, being positive means accepting my pain and living life happy with who I am even though I have pain. I don’t try to be normal, because I’m not! I’m special and even though I’m not like everyone else I can be just as happy and fulfilled, if not more than those ‘normal people’! I choose to live my life knowing that God gave me this disease because he knew I could handle it and chose me specifically because He knew I would try my hardest to turn it into a positive. What’s so negative about that??

What I like to say is, “I’m not just LIVING with Arthritis, I’m THRIVING with it.”


My RA Fit Kit

OK, so now that I’ve posted my New Year’s Resolutions I guess it’s time to begin following up on them, right??

My second resolution [loose 10 lbs/exercise/eat healthy] is something I can get started on, but first, I need a plan!

Having Arthritis makes it difficult to do exercise of any kind and these commercials of people hiking and riding bikes don’t help either. It’s true that movement helps ease the fatigue and stiffness, but the ugly truth is that some exercises also makes my pain and inflammation worst! Not to mention, leaves me unable to sleep a wink and out of commission for the rest of the week. Just ONE afternoon of walking at the mall leaves me with red, painful and swollen knees that I later have to treat with ice packs throughout the night.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Inflammation in the joints cause deformation and exasperating it can actually increase this damaging inflammation. Any doctor or physical therapist will tell you that joint pain is NEVER good, which is why it’s super important to listen to your body whenever you do physical activity of any kind, whether you have Arthritis or not! 
However, on the flip side, it is important that I move around because unfortunately the stiffness can also worsten my already decreased range of motion and cause muscle atrophy (aka: more problems I DON’T need). 

So, not only is it a challenge for me to get up and get going, but it’s also very difficult to find exercises that I can actually do! 

So what is a girl to do in this situation?! 

Luckily, there is a great resource online called, My RA Fit Kit where you can customize  a fitness program based on your personal limitations and interests! I’ve filled it out and here is the program I’m going to get started on today! I’m not sure if this Arthritis-approved workout is going to help me loose 10 lbs….but either way I think it will help. 😉  I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes. 

Just go to My RA Fit Kit, fill out the questionnaire, and get moving with me!! Together we will hopefully loose 10 lbs. xD


*I am not a doctor and you must always seek care from a medical professional before engaging in any strenuous activities.*

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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