Mojo Energy

Today I graduated from my Thrive Program. More energy. More attitude. Better balance. Sleeping improved.  Mojo ascending!   The last couple of years have been tough for me.  RA that won’t settle down. Two surgeries. Two radiation treatments. I needed a jump start to get me off the couch and back in the game.   My plan is working.

Mojo Energy

Mojo Energy

For the last 7 weeks I have been in a program where I am in a class or working out 5 days a week. I graduated early as the class is normally three days a week for 10 weeks. The great thing about this program is that although it is scaled to physical recovery, it is a thorough workout.

This is week eight. My plan changes a little. M W F  I am in group exercise at the Presbyterian Healthplex in Albuquerque. Friday is zumba day. Tuesday and Thursday I lap swim at Defined Fitness. I started yesterday at 18 lengths. This is a lifetime program.

It hasn’t been easy. I have been worn out. Have had some trouble with hand and feet joints. Nausea from an RA medicine. A few muscle issues left from radiation. However, I kept on moving every day. I am getting stronger.

I am a big soccer fan. This has been a thrilling week. Finally soccer on ESPN! I watch all the games. Marvel at the incredible endurance of a soccer play. And I’m working hard for some of my own.

 

My optimism avatar

RA 26 plus 2 bones in each foot

There are 26 bones in each of your feet plus two sesamoid bones located under each big toe.  Your feet have 25% of all the bones in your body. Wow!  All these little bones plus the chunkier odd-shaped bones are joined together with synovial joints.

It is the lining of these synovial joints that is inflamed in rheumatoid arthritis. That is bad news as there are so many of them.  All these little joints become inflamed and swell. My feet were the first to complain when rheumatoid arthritis announced itself in my body.

My rheumatologist said it is common for RA to start in the feet as well as in the hands.

 

 

Energy Flowers

Mojo and down days

My mojo is rising today. Feels quite good.

As a professional photographer my skill set has been set aside for the last nine months. I still have not set up my tablet.  I have been making images around me and now I’m starting to use a few of my Photoshop skills. Feels really good. Soon I will have my Wacom tablet set up and I will dive deeper.

Yesterday was tough for me. The frustrating thing about RA is the randomness of its systemic affects. I felt flattened and any effort was difficult.

Awhile back I learned  a few RA tips from  WebMD(www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis). An important tip was to break activities into blocks. Alternating physical activity with restful activities is always helpful on a down day. Sometimes more is done and there is less frustration. There will be pleasures in reading a good book or in catching up with favorite programs and still doing those necessary little chores.

It is a helpful process for all of us.

Sunflowers are happy flowers.

RA update

Methotrexate, Plaquenil and Sulfasalazine are my RA arsenal and are sometimes called triple treatment. I call it Triple Play. These drugs are supported with prednisone and Meloxicam.

I have the leeway of increasing the prednisone to 15 mg for a flare. For the time being my RA Doc prefers to keep me at 7.5 mg on a daily basis.

My hands and wrists are good. My left shoulder has been a problem, but not a big one. My feet and ankles still rebel. My middle toes on each foot are swollen.

I have a minimum (all joints) pain level of three but lately the level has been closer to five. Still, I am functional. I do remember clearly the days of severe pain(I would have to say off the charts. Pain that felt as if all my joints were filled with broken glass).
That pain level is my benchmark for how I am doing. My meds are working. I am much happier.

I do understand that my RA is progressive. I understand that meds frequently only last so long. So as I become established on Sulfasalazine, I am expecting a good run with it before I proceed to the biologics.

I am fortunate to have an excellent RA Doc. With aggressive treatment I have been able to minimize joint damage.

RA is an autoimmune disease. My immune system has become an outlaw. It has caused a persistent attack on my joint lining on all moveable joints throughout my body. It has also caused two random cancers and will probably cause more.

For the time being I am in a cancer rehab program and exercise 5 days a week and I am hopefully building my immune system with diet and supplements.

I do feel lucky to have made it this far. I am finally back to doing some garden work and my RA fog has cleared enough for reading excellent books.

 

Marys cancer icon

Rheumatoid Arthritis a training ground for cancer

Rheumatoid Arthritis: A training ground for cancer. That is how I think of it.

When I was diagnosed last year with RA, I read everything I could find on the subject. I was trying to figure out where I stood with the disease.

My favorite book was M.E.McNeil’s The First Year Rheumatoid Arthritis. The value of this book is that it offers an approach, a way of thinking, to come to terms with a chronic, progressive disease. It gave me the same help when I had to come to terms with the diagnosis of two different cancers.

• I journal regularly, expressing myself and establishing a timeline.
• I think of my medical providers as my team that does include my pharmacist, physical therapist as well as the 6 specialists that I am seeing currently.
• I see myself as the head of my team. I have confidence in my team. Each has a role. My role is to be proactive, to do my part.
• I am able to accept my current situation, relaxing into it, not fighting it.
• I have learned to enjoy what I have right now, today, this minute.

Cancer starts from one single cell taking a wrong turn. RA starts with pain and fatigue, probably more than one cell taking a wrong turn. Both take on a life of their own. Learning to roll with the situation is no mean trick. Situations are always changing.

I have never asked, “why me?”. It just is. I am rarely angry. I do flare just a little when I hit a new bump in the road. I reset myself and carry on. I have been discouraged. I have been scared. I am my own cheerleader so have excellent self talk. It really helps to keep that talk positive. Be kind to your body.

My future is quite uncertain. Less certain than most. How do I live with it? I clearly focus on the right now, not the past, not the future, but right now.