Emotional

English: Jump! Deutsch: Spring!

English: Jump! Deutsch: Spring! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes you have to move on.  Not because the person or situation has been resolved.  Not because you have been heard or because your feelings and concerns have been violated.  Sometimes you have to move on simply because it is the best thing for your health.  This decision must be made when emotional stress manifests itself physically.

Today, as I sat stewing about a situation at work I realized that my RA symptoms had gone from background noise to loud and intrusive.  It seemed the more I agonized over the problem the more physical pain I found myself in.  I have always known that stress was a trigger for me, but today really hammered the lesson home.  I went from slightly stiff to having joint pain that made me catch my breath when I made certain movements.  It was in that moment that I had to make the decision if being vindicated about a work altercation was worth hours or perhaps days of pain due to prolonged flare brought on by stress.

So I had to let the situation rest.  Not because I wasn’t right, or I felt that my grievance was unfounded.  I instead chose to preserve my life outside of the work environment.  I want health and a full life.  And for right now, this means that some skirmishes will be conceded so that I may win the war and achieve my goal of a healthy life!

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Being Silly

English: A pill box with various medications i...

English: A pill box with various medications in it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am finally going of vacation!  It’s not a huge deal, but a friend I are spending the weekend shopping and eating great food.  Nothing overly fancy but it’s a nice excuse to get out of the area and do something fun.  I’m not too worried about navigating the big bad city for shopping.  I’m not even worried about my feet and knees taking the punishment of going from store to store in search of a great pair of shoes.  The thing that has given me pause is probably the silliest and most vain thing possible.  I am kind of embarrassed at taking my meds with me on the trip.

I know that sounds completely shallow and it is.  My medications allow me to function somewhat normally. I tend to downplay and discomfort that may be noticed by others and on those occasions when I cannot hide my disease I lock myself inside my apartment until I can.  Very few people who know me think of me as having anything more than a limp from time to time.  Yes, they may mention a RA drug commercial they see from time to time but I make an effort to let very few people into the private battle that I fight on the daily basis.

But spending time with my friend on vacation means that this shroud that I have placed around my daily fight with an autoimmune disease will be ripped away.  I will take my MTX injection early and not split the dosage.  So instead of bringing a syringe and bottle of chemo with me I will take the full dosage earlier in the week.  But I still have to take my daily plaquenil along with the folic acid and Vitamin D.  They will be in their normal Sunday-Saturday pill box.  I will also be taking a new bottle of A.dvil.  I have my rheumatologist’s permission to take an insane amount of the stuff to control pain and swelling which is a probability during this shopping excursion.  There is a possibility that my swollen hands and toes will be on display.  There is a chance that I will not be able to hide my chronic illness.  My friend knows that I have RA-but she may really know after this trip.  And for some reason this leaves me feeling exposed.  Silly I know, but true.

For now I will focus on shopping which I love.  I will eat great food-which I love.  And I will enjoy this girls weekend with a friend of over 15 years.  And I will hope and pray that the one thing I leave at home on this vacation is my chronic illness!

Sick

I haven’t been around this week.  I haven’t been posting or reading.  Unfortunately I have an upper respiratory infection that has taken a lot out of me.  I’m also dealing with the unpleasant side effects of a high dose of antibiotics.  No matter how well I care for my health the fact remains that I spend a good amount of money on drugs that suppress my immune system.  Getting an infection is worse than it used to be.  They seem to take hold faster, stay around longer, and I end up feeling wiped out for way longer than I used to.

So I just wanted to say that I’ve been away-but not because I wanted to. I am trying to get over this infection.  I will be taking it easy this weekend.  Hopefully I can be more present next week.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Staying the Course Dispite . . .

50:365 - Allergy Relief Pinks*

50:365 – Allergy Relief Pinks* (Photo credit: Nomadic Lass)

So, I have a rash.  On my FACE!  I’ve turned into an itchy bumpy monster and I don’t know what to do about it.  I don’t even know what could have caused it but I fear that it may be due to my recent increase in my MTX dosage.  It seems like a rash can be a rare side effect of this medication.  Nothing in my routine has changed in the last few weeks except me increasing my total MTX dosage. I’m not sure what to do right now.  The only thing that controls the discomfort is Benadryl.  I am alternating between topical Benadryl and the pills.

Right now the plan is to call my rheumatologist office and see if they think that the MTX could be what is causing the rash.  I will also try to get an appointment with my primary care physician for them to check me out.  Maybe I have developed an allergic reaction to something I routinely come into contact with. Even if my primary can’t diagnose what is causing this rash maybe they can get me a referral to a dermatologist.  If I make my own appointment the office has a 3 months waiting list.  Maybe my primary can get me in sooner.

If my rheumatologist thinks my outbreak is a rare side effect from the MTX I don’t know what I will do.  This rash, if it is from the increased dosage of the MTX, is not an acceptable side effect. I will have to come off of it.  My symptoms are not currently under control so the thought of coming off the medication is scary. I don’t know what our next step would be.  We increased my dosage because my symptoms were returning-stepping down my dosage would be inviting a full-fledged flare.

To be honest I’m kind of scared.   Once again something is going wrong in my body and there is nothing I can do about it.  Tomorrow I will begin trying to figure out what has gone awry in my body.  Hopefully this latest health hiccup will be quickly resolved.  I have to remember that this bump in the road must not throw me off of my road to health.  I will continue to eat healthily, increase my activity level, and search for health.  Sure my face feels like it is on fire-but that is not an excuse to undo the progress I have been making.

Relaxing the Rules

Chicken sandwich on an onion roll served with ...

Chicken sandwich on an onion roll served with onion rings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many diet books recommend a “cheat” meal once a week as a way of keeping cravings under control.  Often this meal consists of high calorie and low nutrient foods.  Having a cheat meal is supposed to give the dieter a reward for strictly adhering to the dietary restrictions during the rest of the time.  Personally, I don’t believe in cheat meals.  I believe the idea of cheating or a rewarding oneself for eating healthy unconsciously signals people to think of a healthy lifestyle as something to be endured.  I simply relax the rules of my clean regimen during the weekends or for special occasions.  I also believe it is important to indulge in calorie dense/nutrient poor meals from time to time-but for a totally different reason that is given by many diet experts.

I find that having a fat laden, high sodium, and nutrient poor meal allows me to remember how horrible I felt when those types of foods were my primary choices in my day to day diet.  It is the bloating and sluggish aftermath after indulging in these “delicacies” that send my running back to my plant based clean diet.  This week I went out to dinner with a friend.  I had already planned to relax my clean eating rules and indulge in anything that caught my eye at the restaurant.  After studying the menu I decided that the chicken buffalo sliders with house made potato chips looked too good to pass up.

Just one hour after finishing this meal I was miserable.  Not only did my stomach rebel but my energy levels plummeted. I did not feel nourished after the meal like I normally do. Instead, it was like my entire system was in revolt.  Sure I enjoyed the food.  Fried chicken sandwiches paired with potato chips are still one of my favorite combinations.  But the price I had to pay after eating that meal was high.  I spent the next couple of days gladly loading up on fruits and vegetables trying to get my system back balanced after that indulgence.  What I took away from my meal was how much I appreciate how my healthier food choices make me feel.  Was that the last time I indulge in those spicy sliders?  No. I believe that sometimes we need to be reminded of why we make clean food choices.  And for me, nothing does that better than the after effects of non-clean meal.

Getting It

It’s hard when the people around you just don’t “get” where you are coming from.  And it seems especially difficult when those close to you don’t “get” the lifestyle changes that are necessary for you to be healthy.  During my detox fast and in the days since breaking my detox it has been difficult to get people in my circle to understand that I can’t return to my previous eating habits.

I will have to get used to co-workers peering into my packed lunch and making jokes about how my food choices will result in gas and frequent trips to the bathroom.  I will have to learn to smile at the jokes that are made claiming that all I eat are nuts and berries.  I will even learn to ignore the insistence that I should cheat almost daily or the concerns that I am not getting enough protein because I no longer eat meat every day.

After all I am the one who has the most to lose if I continue down the path that I was on that was leading me to poor health.  The extra weight and strain on my knees does not affect those close to me in any way.  They do not have to worry that the inflammatory foods that they consume on the regular basis only aggravate the autoimmune disease raging in their bodies.  That can’t rap their head around eating 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  All my friends and family can see is that I am certainly not on the SAD diet anymore (Standard American Diet).

I am embracing a plant based diet the best way I know how.  The benefits, for me, were almost immediate. I just feel stronger.  My better nourished body seems to handle the daily ups and downs with RA better.  I haven’t seen a lessening of my symptoms.  But it does seem that I am able to deal with the aches and pains better.  It is as if even though one thing isn’t working right everything else is working so much better.  And I need this added strength that I am getting from my new lifestyle to deal with my increasing RA symptoms.

I guess what I am trying to say is that those around me don’t need to “get” my healthy journey.  All that matters is that I am slowly and surely figuring out what I need to do to have optimum health.