post2, RA Solutions
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Knitting and RA

Last summer I had a strong urge to take up knitting again. I hadn’t knitted in many years and wasn’t sure I remembered how. I bought a book for teaching children how to knit and learned quickly that knitting was like riding a bike, once learned not to be forgotten. I enjoyed the projects. Easy. Big needles. Satisfying. The basket in the picture was one of the projects. Circular needles.

A few years ago I was sent to a  hand clinic for my RA. I learned a series of exercises to strengthen my fingers, hands and wrists. It was the most helpful process I had had for my RA. I still do the exercises. I have added knitting as another way to exercise my hands. I enjoy projects simple and repetitive and I enjoy projects with complicated precise instructions. I usually knit a bit every day.

There are times when I can’t knit. My hands are too inflamed. Sometimes my shoulder is too inflamed. So I just stop for a bit and carry on when I can.

RA is debilitating. All the RA drugs are palliative only. Yet they are important in that they can slow the destructive process. Recently I had a severe episode of hip and shoulder pain. It was scary on many levels. Pain. Mobility. And it was new.  Medrol saved the day for me. I have hydrocodone. But I don’t take it for this. Medrol is the miracle drug and it is at 8 mg over my normal of 4 mg a day. Remember 4 mg Medrol is equal to 5 mg prednisone.

With a disease that is a permanent part of life learning to manage is very hard to do. Yet it is an important part of surviving the ups and downs of a painful and debilitating disease. As time passes and my experiences with RA increase in number, I see that I am managing and I am happy that I can.

I am currently making Easter baskets for my family. They are small, colorful and charming. The bottoms are detailed and artistic. Satisfying and productive.

3 Comments

  1. Helpful to know the conversion factor of Medrol to prednisone. Thanks. And I never learned to knit and think I’m hopeless now! Good for you.

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  2. Anonymous says

    Hi Mary,
    My name is Regina. I have RA as well and my company is Knitfittery. You can find me on facebook. I love teaching people a new skill that they can take anywhere with them, that has no limitations but their own imagination. I guess i teach very different to that average knitting teacher, I was taught to knit growing up in school in Ireland and it was very strict so I wanted to take a very different approach that would make knitting a fun learning process.
    I love that you don’t let an illness define you and you take a skill like knitting to help allieve the pain and stiffness that comes with RA to help you . Its a great approach! I wish you the very best on your knitting journey and the very best with your RA.
    Knitfittery has a free event going on right now ,” knit a squeak to show you care” if you are interested. Thought i would share.

    Take care,
    Regina

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    • Thanks Regina. Teaching people to knit is a noble calling. Teaching them in a fun way is a bonus. My grandfather was a Finnegan but a few generations away from Ireland.

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