Monday, October 31, 2011

Finding the Humor!!

Today I posted an old post I did called perception and it got me to thinking about humor, laughter and well being. I recently took a road trip top the states with a dear friend. I can honestly it was the best day. I think we spent at least 95% laughing. At one point we almost went through the border laughing. We did pull it together for about a minute and then completely went straight back into laughter.

Here's the thing about laughter when you laugh it gives you a pleasant sensation that triggers the endorphins, increases blood flow, reduces stress BUT the most important boosts your anti-body cells, enhances your T-cells which then leads to as stronger immune system. I like anything that will help my immune system. It was a group conclusion in the car this weekend that there is nothing better then a good gut wrenching laugh. I am still thinking I need to attend one of those laughing groups!! I think I have found my partner in crime I just have yet to tell her.

It is important to take a moment and laugh or smile. we spend so much time worrying about life and situations that we forget to stop and giggle or share a funny story. What makes me laugh is the fact that two woman on a small road trip found humor in trying to figure out if Chickens had Balls....or testicles.........Still makes me smile!!!


Today 1-10 I am about a 4 which is FANTASTIC!!!!

Perception. Last week I was having a tough time with my walking. I can walk but I just look like I am stiff and sore, especially when my inflammation levels are high. It is very clear to others when I am not at my best. I had recently gotten sick and so my doctor asked me to stop with my arthritis injection treatments. So I had gone approx one and a half months with nothing in my system to help with the levels of inflammation and pain. The past 2 week was physically, and mentally tough. I can not remember having such a tough time. I think I have cried more out of pure frustration more then anything the past month. Last week I got so frustrated by the end of the day that when someone asked me what was wrong I said "nothing"...I am perfectly fine. I usually have no problem telling people because most of the time I think I have accepted it, and I like to educate them. The most common thing I hear when I tell people what I have is "wow your so young","you don't look like you should have arthritis","You work in the wrong place","Only older people have it"..................................Okay so I would like to set acouple things straight. First I am 33 so anytime I get a comment regarding me being young I am always grateful!! Truth is there are millions of people under the age of 40 with diagnosed arthritis. There are so many forms of arthritis that most people are only aware of a specific type of arthritis through family or friends.
What I want to see when people look at me is a healthy, positive role model. That is all. I want people to see that through adversity I truly have found out how strong I am and how willing I am to change the perceptions of arthritis. I can not move mountains but gosh darn it I  will move some hills. It is not until someone close to you gets sick that you really learn about illness and perceptions. I always try to educate others but I really try not to preach. I have met others with AS who have done very well.I know some who dwell in their situations. I prefer to stand tall and try my best to change peoples perceptions on a disease that can take many forms.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I think each entry I would like to start off with my current levels. Pain level between 1-10 is about a 7, low back is causing me issues and lymph nods are really bothering me.

I try to keep my stress to a minimum, but I am not one to be extra care free. I have been told to try to take it easy and live a stress free life....UMMMMM yeah right. There are so many things that can cause us stress during the day, from money, work, people, traffic, and relationships. If I could master the calm non stress life trust me I would. I often think of Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love and I wish I could do everything she did. The minute I get upset or worried I almost slip into a different role. I can actually feel all the stress start to weigh down on me. With having a disease stress can trigger more then what we think. Stress can actually make you feel worse then you do already.

When we get stressed our body gives off chemical mediators into our blood stream. Some of the related symptoms off stress include memory problems, lack of concentration, poor judgement, being negative, anxious, racing thoughts, constant worrying, moodiness, short temper, inability to relax, isolation, loneliness, and depression. You will also find some more physical issues arise like aches/pains, constipation, nausea, dizziness, rapid heart beats, no sex drive, colds/flu's, not enough sleep, over or under eating, isolating yourself from others, using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. I can honesty say that i have suffered at least some of these symptoms on a regular basis. Here are a few of the thing I feel are important in managing stress.

A GOOD SUPPORT SYSTEM is key. It is important to make sure you surround yourself with people who can help you, make you feel positive, and be there for you when you need it. Only a few people I know have actually witness me cry out of pure frustration and these people have always been my family and close friends. My second words of advice is CRY...that's right I said cry.....sometimes I feel when I am overwhelmed or stressed I just have a really good 5 minute cry. I always seem to feel better once I have allowed myself to let out a quick burst of emotion. I have almost cried everywhere....not all the time but I have defiantly hit up some elevators after leaving appointments, washrooms, my car, outside, even a back hallway once or twice. The way I work is when I am frustrated or mad I cry....LOL but with that being said my next advice is SING.....singing really loud (even if your bad) can be a great way to let go of stress. I prefer to sing in my car I usually pull up to the light and pretend I am yawning if someone looks funny. Every morning on my way to work I sing a different artist. This more Shania Twain was my pick. I am in my safe place in my car. Also the acoustics are amazing!!!! LAUGH try to laugh try to find the humor. I constantly try to find the humor in my situations. I love to laugh. there is nothing then a good gut wrenching laugh. I have thought about attending a laugh session where a bunch of people get together and laugh for an hour but I have not found a willing accomplice. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY is very very important. I like to go out for walks, runs, and hikes. I feel it not only takes my mind off my current situation but it makes my body feel good, and when my body is feeling good my mood is good. Yoga is great for stretching, strengthening, and relaxing the mind. On my good days I like to get moving a bit quicker like running, stairs and brisk walks. I think because I am stubborn I like to think I can do everything. I am convinced on a great day I can. I have participated in runs that have all raised money for arthritis and it makes me feel so good when I can take part in activities that support my life. Some days I can barely walk well but then i have these days where I feel anything is possible. COOK !!! yup I said cook.....I feel like when I am creative in the kitchen it allows me to alter things, then adjust ingredient's and control what I am doing. Unlike my arthritis which I can not change I can do whatever I want in the kitchen. I usually play music find a recipe and try my best to make it perfect. I am sure my mom can tell some  stories about my cooking along with my boyfriend but overall I have gotten really good.

Well that is about all I have time to write today but don't worry I'll be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Standing Tall

 My reasoning behind "still standing or standing tall" comes from the perception of people who suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis. The disease can tend to cause a person to become hunched over or have poor posture. AS is an autoimmune disease that basically causes the body to work against itself. It cause inflammation in the joints in the spine and also pelvis, neck and chest wall. What I have learned is that will cause each person different symptoms. It can cause great stiffness limiting walking , lifting and daily activities. The hardest part for me is actually wrapping my head around the fact that there is just no getting rid of it. Depression can play a big role in AS it can be very difficult to deal with,BUT there are allot of things you can do to help make life a bit easier. AS is generally found in men and rarely in women. There is a genetic marker that can be found through blood test which can usually determine if it is AS. Although it took some time to get diagnosed at least we now know and can make the changes in my life style now rather then later.
 I found myself looking for answers when I got diagnosed. I went to a couple different specialists and doctors to finally get the results I needed. Coming from a healthy background of  dancing, playing sports and being active I honestly could not wrap my head around "why me". I hopped on the Internet looking for anything I could find. I found myself so overwhelmed with the different stories and articles it made me very scared for my future. I felt really alone. I started to branch out online and meet some others who suffered from the same thing and I found a bit of relief in this. I think the initial shock of knowing I would have something like this that would be with me the rest of my life was tough. It was not til recently I started to think about a family, marriage and where my life and my arthritis would take me..........I will touch base on these issues tomorrow. I have so many topics to cover......

October 2011 My first post.

Good morning
So yesterday I decided it was about time to get this blog up and going. I will first start this off with a bit about me and my background.I am 33 and have Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was diagnosed a while back and so far my journey has been filled with peaks and valley's. I decided to go ahead with the blog not only for others but a way for me to really express each day what I am going through. I figured I have learned so much about this disease that hopefully I can help someone else, or be a beckon of motivation and determination for others. When I decided to start this blog I really wanted it to be raw, funny, and moving. Writing seems to be the best form of release for me and although I may spell things wrong and my grammar is horrible I still want to write about my feelings. For some this may be another side of me which you are not used to, for others you will know deep down that everything I write is exactly how I feel. Writing a blog gives you the opportunity to open up set everything out there, which is exactly what I plan on doing. Each week I will do an update and through out the week I will try to Blog each day. I hope you will join me on this journey because I feel like it is one you will not want to miss out on.

Love Erin