Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Resolutions

We all do it every year. We sit back and try to think of things we would like to change for the new year. It is always interesting what things I can come up with yet never follow through on. Seems to me I have been making the same new years resolutions every year. This year is different. When I reflect on all the changes in my life the past year I feel confident I have grown enough as a person to move forward with the next big changes. I have let those go out of my life that I felt were not enhancing my life. I have allowed new friends to grow which have brought me strength and true happiness. I have learned that the things I need around me to complete my life are simple and easy. As we get older things change dramatically. I remember New Years was always a time to get gussied up and hit the town for some great fun. Now I am content on staying home cooking a nice meal and watching a movie. When I reflect on this past year I think about the changes I made with my arthritis. I started a new drug which changed my life completely. Besides being sick and learning the ins and outs of this new drug I was able to physically accomplish more then the previous years. I had 2 newspaper articles and also was able to help and donate some time to the arthritis society. I learned how to crochet and although a few of you who own my "Hot Damn" dish cloth may state is a bit small, I want to let you know it was actually a blanket.......LOL just kidding it is a dish cloth! My cooking and baking has improved dramatically. When I say dramatically I truly mean dramatically!!! I also took up a bit of love for the kitchen and trying new dishes. Although I did not accomplish any of the things on my new years list I still accomplished some. Key word is some. With this year fast approaching I have a couple new years resolutions that I hopefully can accomplish. First I would like to pay my debt off,  I would like to do a half marathon, I would like to get in the best possible shape, and  I would like to be healthy. I am also going to try to be a vegetarian for half the year. I would like to be healthy enough to spend more time with my friends. All of these things are attainable with discipline and motivation. Resolutions are a good way to start from scratch and get back to basics. I have read my upcoming horoscope and it states that this coming year will be a good one for me. I feel excited about the changes I have ahead of me and I look forward to all the wonderful memories I will make. The best part is I know that I have a great family and wonderful friends to help me reach all my goals. I want to put this past year of sickness and struggles behind me and embrace a new fantastic year ahead. My heart will be open, my mind will be ready to learn, and my mouth will be ready to laugh. What does not break us truly does make us stronger. For every obstacle we encounter and conquer, a  stronger person shines. Although I have had struggles I still see the light at the end. I refuse to let 2012 go by without living, laughing and loving just a bit more.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good day!! Yes today I woke up on the right side of the bed...although a little stiff my mood is pretty great. I'd like to share a bit about my mornings. The mornings at times can be a very hard part of my day. Generally since I have been on the humira I have been having great mornings but before the new drug I was a mess. I bet you may crack a wee smile as you read the next part.....I would like to explain some of my morning thoughts prior to the humira. I think I may have come up with some great inventions really......My alarm goes off at 3:45am YES 3:45AM. I then consist on hitting the snooze button a couple times, then try to lift myself up. Some mornings I could barely lift myself up so I would roll over like a dog and use my arms to get me up. The stiffness and pain was unbearable. I would have most of my clothes ready for action, but depending on how stiff and sore I am  determines what I would wear. I actually got to a point were my shoes were pre-laced or velcro'd and my pants were ready for easy step in. My worst issue always was about the underwear.....YES underwear. When you can not bend over to grab anything and you can not lift your legs properly, putting things like underwear on is a bit difficult. I came up with a system that worked really well for me which I will not describe but one morning I thought about cutting my underwear and attaching Velcro on the sides. I bet you are laughing. Well  I never got around to it because I started me new meds. It did cross my mind numerous times but just never could quite bring myself to cutting my underwear.
  I do not get sad about those days. They actually make laugh at times. I know how ridiculous I can look in the morning. Like an 80 year old woman trapped in this 33 year old body. I like to see the humor. Those days are behind me for now. I do feel we have our best moments of clarity at times which are difficult. My moment of clarity was when I decided it would be better to cut my NICE underwear and put Velcro on it so I could get it on easier.........That is the day I decided to go on HUMIRA and I have yet to put Velcro on my underwear.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The good The bad and The ugly

As I sit and think about all the goodies packed away in my freezer for Christmas my mouth starts to water.......butter tarts, snowballs, Christmas crack. Oh how I love the sweets. The other night I walked to Whole foods and ended up at the bakery. First off stores should not have bakery's they only cause trouble. I bought a creme brule'. I ate it like it was the last one I would ever have. I took my time enjoyed ever bit of it. It made me feel happy, my soul feel happy, and it brought a bit of peace into my life for a brief moment.....THEN ALL THE SUDDEN I heard this little voice saying "Erin you know better, this is your arthritis speaking and we have spoke about this so called treat eating already. You know that when you eat this stuff you piss me off and I hurt you" I finished the last bite I told myself this will be the last creme brule' of 2011......and 2012 maybe emotional strength depending. I would also like include that holidays do not count, or birthdays. They could be my free days. My point here is food makes a huge difference with my arthritis. I am now able to trigger my arthritis with certain foods. I would like to share some goods, some bads and the ugly........
What I have learned is everything that I love and have found comfort in is everything I should not be eating. Part of my "I Will" attitude for 2012 is to make a drastic change in my diet. Lets start with the UGLY. The ugly foods are foods that you know are not good for you. Foods high in saturated fats promote inflammation and can cause major issues with pain management. These would include things like french fries, onion rings, anything deep fried. Also anything with Omega 6. Omega 6 is most baking icing, sweets, candy and can cause major issues with inflammation. All those wonderful tasty bits that come bagged that seem to help me when I am down...CHIPS and dip these are bad. Oh gosh chips and dip a family staple. Anything that you can buy at 7-11...LOL is bad for you. Also beef I love a nice burger but beef is very high in saturated fat and even extra lean is not the best idea. Anything that is processed is not good. We've all had that craving and we go through the drive through, half an hour later we feel like crap. The problem is all of that food is process and has been modified and had stuff added her and there. Ever wonder why McDonald's french fry will never go moldy???? hmmmm that can not be good for you. My last rant is sodium, be careful of anything with salt. Salt causes water retention that can be extremely hard on the joints because it also bring about my favorite thing which is inflammation. You must be careful with any canned veggies. Be sure to rinse them off very good before cooking with them. Check the back of your labels for sodium, fats and try to make them minimal amounts. One more thing about the ugly...POP or any canned diet, no caffeine bubbling drink. Just don't do it switch to water, pure fruit juice and or herbal teas. I am sure I have only skimmed the top of the ugly train but now for some of the bad. I consider the bad to be foods I consider to be healthy but are just not the best choice for people with arthritis. Potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and strawberry's are my top ones but when you search the intranet you will see alot of readings stating you should also be aware of banana's, pineapples, oranges, apples. Although I believe that for the most part a good balanced fruit and veggie plan is good just keep it all in moderation.  No for the GOOD...yes the good. Since I have listed off everything I feel a little sad that it seems there is nothing to eat in my house...but AL LASS these are some of the things that are beneficial for us arthritis people. Olive oil, Flax seed, Salmon, Halibut, Squashes, Onions, Beans, Leafy greens, mulitgrain anything just try to stay away from white flour. Cinnamon and turmeric have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body so it is important to make sure you are somehow incorporating it in there. The easiest way to remember the GOOD is to think back to basic food groups and try to stay away from anything white, or processed. I am not a pro at this I am only learning that as I get older and my arthritis progresses I want to have a healthy strong body. For every person it is different but you need to try out some to see to what extent it will bother your system. With autoimmune diseases it is important to keep our engine running properly. Make sure you take extra immune boosting vitamins, and drink lots of water. Try your best to squeeze in 2-3 fruits a day but most of all just try to eat in moderation. I am not a doctor and I know I have not touched every single item on the good, bad and ugly but I will try to update you every time I read more news.
While I sit here and write about all this food I have decided that maybe I should take all this baking to work or give it away. Gosh it's amazing how everything I baked is not so great for me.......very depressing actually.....okay well with that said please think about what you are eating this Christmas and how it is effecting your body, mind and spirit. The GOOD will make you feel good, the BAD will make you feel bad, but to much of the UGLY is just not good at all........

Friday, December 16, 2011

Acceptance and the "screw you attitude"

 I recently read a post by a woman who just was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. She currently has a couple other autoimmune diseases so I can only imagine that this current diagnoses only added to her stress. I find social networking, emailing and reading others blog posts has really help me come to terms and work on my acceptance of this disease. Last night was my injection and I did really well all things considered. I now have been sick though for a very long time. I can tell since September 8th I have NOT been sick a total of 25 days...the rest I have been fighting off all types of fun stuff. My Body is in constant attack mode all the time so I am understanding why it is so hard to get better.  I had a moment after my injection last night where my world broke for a couple minutes. I basically felt the white flag come up and me give in to this disease. In my head I said I give up.....I just don't want to do this anymore....I put my head down and the tears started to fall. I looked at Roger who was holding my hand and had his arm around me and I said "I just can't do this I am so tired, I seem to always be a sick and I just can't figure out what I need to do to get well".  Roger is always so good with me. I can not even imagine how hard it is on him some days. It can really weigh heavy on me, and lucky him gets to see all the colors of my rainbow if you know what I mean. He is always positive and he really has accepted this as a part of me. He allows me moments to break and he lets me cry but then he helps me snap out of it. I think because I was so tired last night I just felt done. I did not want to do the injection, I started to ask myself  if it is worth it or not. I can go off it and be in constant pain, or I can stay on it feel good physically with my back but be sick all the time. I just don't know why I can't have a happy medium......or is that my happy medium???

I do not think I am ready to accept this as my life. I don't think I want or have any desire to accept the arthritis. I have come to terms with the fact that AT THIS POINT there is no cure but I refuse to accept that that is the way it always will be. I want to believe that one day I will go to my specialist and he will say " Erin we have found a solution, a cure". I need to look at last night as a motivation for me to fight back. I do not want to let this get the best of me and my disease does not make me who I am . It does not define me. In 2012 I am going to try some new things to help me on my journey. I want to get a nutritionist, a good natural path and I want my life back. I want to do all the things that I feel this has taken from me including at times my spirit. I WILL get better, I WILL run my half marathon and I WILL find a way to accept what I can one day at a time. My saying for 2012 Will be "I WILL" because I will find my way. Someone said acceptance can bring freedom and clarity........I have yet to fully embrace it but I think I will find my freedom and clarity by fighting back and NOT accepting this disease. By not accepting it into my life does not mean I am pretending nothing is wrong it just means I have thee upper hand in my a "screw you" attitude. Maybe some will disagree but as far as I am concerned 2012 will be a great year as long as I stay strong I WILL be fine!

Very well said.

Good morning world,

After this frustrating past couple weeks I am at the end of my rope. I recently read a post that actually clicked with me. It was in regards to a woman who has been diagnosed with more then one form of autoimmune disease. I can not even imagine!! I have at this point only been diagnosed with one and it is way to much for me. She spoke about what is happening in her body in such a way that I actually had a different perspective on how I explain it to people. It was just so simple. In short form if you can imagine the body thinking that all the organs joints, and other parts are foreign invaders. Basically the body is attacking all the healthy stuff becauae it is confused. I take medication to help with that. It is just sop simple really. There is so much more to it but I am alwasy stuck when someone asks me to describe what is happening in my body. It was also comforting to learn that she also is sick alot. Apparently this is normal. My body is in complete attack mode all the wonder I am tired and sick and have such a struggle some days. It was great to see a funny yet unlifting post by someone who is going through what I do. I will never get tired of explaining to people what I am going through, if it means making them aware of a disease like arthritis I am game.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being honest

I said from the beginning I would always be honest with my blog entries. I want to help others going through what I am going through on a weekly or daily basis. When I write I do it it express my feelings or emotions. I am only human. I am not depressed or trying to be negative but only honest with what I am feeling. I do not want you to think I am being a Debbie downer but I will be truthful and say my situation sucks. Today I am feeling the frustration of having this disease. Out of all days when I am trying to see the eternal light at the end of the tunnel someone told me a story that made my heart sink and I felt this heaviness over my heart. You can not help but think of the negative at times. We all do. If we are to be truthful to ourselves we first must admit that we all can get down on ourselves at times. Today I am hobbling a bit. Of course ever person I work with sees and feels the need to ask how I am doing. I know they all care and I appreciate it. There just happened to be one person who stopped me on my hobbling way to let me know her older girlfriend has something similar and she was on Humira and was sick all the time........also she added with a semi  laugh "can you believe she still ended up in a scooter because she couldn't walk"...............................All I could say is wow, I hope she is okay. Talk about kicking someone when they are down. .I walked away and instantly started to feel my heart sink. What if.....what if...what if....then this little voice in my head says ERIN pick your ass up do not let others experiences get in the way of your own, then a couple more what ifs and a quick head shake and I decided I needed to write about this. I have tried to think about every outcome of this disease but what keeps coming back is how unpredictable it can be and how it is different for every person who has it.  In all honesty it is hard at times to always be positive when you read stuff on the Internet or hear stories. I just wish that others would consider the things they say before they say them. When you are already feeling down the last thing you need is a kick in the balls. I do not think it was intentional but it got stuck in my head. I think if I was to pretend that I am feeling positive today it would a lie. It just happened to be the straw that broke this camels back this morning........

I have been sick off and on since September. My poor immune system can not decide what it wants to do. I try to be healthy and doing everything I can to stay as healthy as possible, but here I am sick again. I have been coughing so much that there is a serious amount of pressure on my back and I am walking a bit funny. The humira is wearing off and injection day is coming up so it is pretty normal for me to be hobbling a bit. I suffer from fatigue already with the type of arthritis I have but when your body is working harder then normal to keep everything healthy I get extremely tired quickly.  I am going back and forth trying to decide if this medication the so called "miracle" drug is actually helping me. Is it worth it to be sick all the time?? or am I just having a tough time on it. Do the pros's weigh out the cons? When I feel great I don't complain but now I need to make a decision by Thursday if I want to inject this drug in my body so I can physically function normally, although my immune system hates it. The question is, is it worth it? Do I want to end up in a scooter.....NO will I end up in a scooter...NO and for those who feel like it is helpful telling me negative stories....I must be honest and tell you it is not helping me. I just want to wake up one day and feel normal. I do not want to put these drugs in my body and have to worry. I do not want to think or dwell on the what ifs. Here's the good news, tomorrow I will wake up and be in a better mood and I will feel positive again. You must be honest to how you are feeling each day and accept that everyday is not going to be a good one. Pure honesty TODAY is not my best day but it will get better.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HOPE in the battlefield

 Today's post is going out to someone who inspired me yesterday. My dear friend Jan has been going threw Some personal health issues and yesterday did not receive the care and attention she needed. I called her this morning to hear only things that would "break" a person who is struggling with their health. We rely on our Doctors to guide us down the right path. I personally have gone through a few specialists because they did not mesh with me. My first specialist was horrible, basically told me I was fine there was nothing wrong and that I basically needed to suck it up. Here I was diagnosed with something by my GP, and was sent off to a specialist who told me to suck it up. I remember waiting in the room with my mom and when he came back to the room I emotionally had given up almost excepting everything he had told me. I then decided to go to another specialist who was better but a bit to old school for me....the relationship worked but I still felt like I was not receiving the guidance and positive outlook I needed. It is imperative to have a doctor who believes in the cause he is working with, that offers hope, positivity and suggestions to ensure your personal quality of life is at its max. The bedside manner of some of these doctors is outrageous! Why are you a doctor......I am it to help people?? It takes a special person to really be a GREAT doctor. I now have the worlds best specialist. The moment I met him I knew I would have in my life to help me have a great quality of life. He has changed my life. Best of all when I go for my check ups every 3 months his positive attitude and his knowledge always makes me believe that one day they will find a cure. I had been putting of injection therapy for a long time because I was afraid.....I still am but the difference is he changed my mind to help me look at the bigger picture. My quality of life was the most important thing. He changed a non believer into a believer. I am now on my 5th month of my injection treatment and although we have had some bumps I feel like I have hope for my future. I try not to listen or read to much about the bad stuff with my drugs I just go with it....what is meant to be shall be BUT  now looking back at the way my life was 5 months ago I would not change a thing or decision I have made. I have been my own health advocate and really have stayed passionate about turning my situation into a positive thing. A regular saying I hear alot is "God only gives you what you can handle". I am not religious, more spiritual and I believe I've been given this disease to help and to inspire others that we must not give up. We can cry be frustrated and feel like the future is a scary  but we must not give up. My mom constantly reminds me to be more positive....I honestly really try. No one can ever understand what it is like to stand in someone Else's shoes, this is understandable but we can offer them hope and support in the times they feel like they are falling...we can catch each other. Cheesy as it sounds there is hope. I get hope from the great things that happen around me. I get hope by the support I feel. I get hope knowing that I can offer my experience to someone else and hopefully give them the lift they need to fight and continue fighting.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Santa

I love christmas! I love the holidays. I think what I love the most is that fact that growing up my mom would always decorate everything. It is not any of the presents that santa brought that I remember but the holiday decor, love, and food my mom made. She really made the holidays special with her angel hair mantel peice. I always remember looking forward to putting up all the decorations. The trip to go get the christmas tree was always an aventure, mom and dad could never seem to agree on a tree. One year I remember my dad got this dinky tree which we ended up having to place up on tires to make it the time no one was laughing but now I laugh. Every year my family would have an open house on Christmas eve and all the family and neighbors would come by. I miss those days. When I think about christmas I think of all the family times together and christmas eve pj's! My brother sister and I would have so much fun with the annual fashion show. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days. My mom would always make her shortbread, moon cookies and a wack of other baked goods. The classic Eggnog!! she makes the best damn eggnog. Two glasses and your done! Homemade and full of booze. The holidays for me are really about the memories, the giving of love and the family times.

I have not asked for anything this year....what I asked for is peace in my life, health in my family's life, a and a great year of success with my personal health. I wish all my dearest friends alot of luck and love. This year has been filled with alot of change in my life and I only wish that for the new year I am able to continue getting super healthy and stronger. Christmas is a time to reflect on the past year and get ready for the new one. I plan on making a tremendous amount of memories over the next month and embracing Christmas in my home. Yesterday we bought a tree....NOBLE FIR...ohh lalalala it is a beautiful tree. It is funny because when Roger and I buy a tree we always seem to pick one that have some imperfections. Nothing is ever perfect and we all have our imperfections but it is how we represent ourselves or in the trees case decorate it...that always will bring out our true beauty. I will find ornaments to fill all the little holes in the tree.

This year when you are sitting at home or with your family just stop for a minute look around at all the laughter, happiness and love around you. Often we never stop and just take it in.....I think that is why I take some many pictures. I can look back and remember certain moments. I have this relaxation book and one of the methods they use is to stare at a photo for a minute, then close your eyes and meditate. What happens when you look at a photo for one minute is it gets some what burnt into your system if that makes any sense.....once you close your eyes after you can still see the picture. I want you to take a minute to look at all the happiness around you and burn it into your memory. The all you have to do is close your eyes and think about the image and it should will appear.