Year: 2019

Life is good

Christmas is surrounding us. Thoughtful considerations given. Small kindnesses. Music. Good chocolate. Desserts. Hugs. Packages in shiny paper. And the knowledge I am cared for. I feel fortunate. I have loved ones to share the holidays and although I am a little wobbly at times, I am able to do my favorite activities for the season. I have had past years where I have felt frightfully alone. I have been fearful for my life. I have been fearful for my future. But now my heart has settled down. I know better who I am.  I feel satisfied with myself. I accept my place in the world and I am grateful for it. Life is good. My son and I took Francis for a picture with Santa at Petco. We were first. Francis growled at a young French Bull dog and then sat on Santa’s lap like they were old friends. Another good memory.

Our core and why we need it

  Our core is our foundation. It is the stabilizer muscles. It links the upper body with the lower body. Our core  keeps us upright, agile, and able to perform all the daily tasks that constitute our lives. The core muscles are located in our trunk. Our core is a muscular corset that keeps our organs inside, our backs upright and our bodies able to do their job.  It lets us twist and bend.  A strong core will keep us in good shape as we age and when we are ill. With a strong core we are less likely to fall as we get older. We are less likely to have back problems. We use our core when we do housework and when we play golf. We use our core when we play with our children and when we have sex. The quality of our activity depends on our core. The core comprises groups of muscles with strange sounding names. The rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis; the obliques, front and side,  lower lats, erector spinae, running …

RA in New Mexico

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis in New Mexico. Are there advantages to living in New Mexico with RA? Sure there are. The climate is high desert and very dry. Humidity is tough for many situations. It is frequently hard on the joints.   Less humidity is a good thing. Another one. New Mexico is sunny. Our brains love light. Light helps to keep us happy. RAers need happy help. Sunflowers are like happy pills. They make us smile. New Mexico is a good place to have RA.

My favorite RA Book

When I had a severe episode of RA in December 2012, I was in so much pain that coping day to day was my only focus. As the diagnosis of RA was made clear and treatment commenced, I had to learn as much as I could. I also needed to understand my situation. I turned to the best book I could ever recommend to someone who is new to RA. It is called The First Year Rheumatoid Arthritis by M E A McNeil The book explains a lot. And equally important it helps a person shape a healthy attitude toward  RA It helped me take charge of my illness in a healthy, positive manner. Another pain free day. I am in paradise!

MS an autoimmune disease

MS

MS usually affects those who live in the colder northern countries. I was born in the  border town of Fort Covington, just a walk down the street to Canada. And then I grew up in another nearby border town. In the winters our temperature dropped below freezing and stayed there until March.  My mom was Irish and my dad French Canadian. My brother was just like me. MS usually starts somewhere between 20-50 years. Just like RA there is an elderly onset MS striking those age 60 and above. Children also develop MS. MS is an autoimmune disease where the T cells of our immune system think the cells of the myelin sheath, the nerve covering, is foreign and must be attacked. This arbitrary attack affects the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerve and creates a a variety of symptoms. More women than men have MS. Genetics play a role. MS interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Walking becomes difficult. Hands may lose their grip. …

Mary Man's RA Journal Icon

Disabling RA

One of the big pleasures I have is watching the full moon make its way up and over the mountain. I see it from my patio doors as I am making dinner. Lately, it not only is a big, full moon but also a beautiful, warm yellow. When I first see it, the moon  is just peering over the top edge of the mountain. Then it seems to sit on the edge of the mountain top just before continuing  its journey up into the night sky. A moment in time. I was thinking of good things to distract from the pain I have in my joints and the nagging fear in the back of my mind that I am becoming more disabled with each passing day. My RA was diagnosed seven years ago in January. Since then, I have had three cancers and a hip replacement. Most of that time I have been on methotrexate, mostly injectable. It has slowed the progress of the RA. It could be worse. I’ve been on almost all the …

Mary Mann inflammatory arhtritis

Meet Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

Spondylo means vertebrae or bones in your back. So, you can see that AS affects the spine. With the progression of disease, the vertebral joints fuse causing the spine to be stiff. AS affects the  areas where the joint capsules, tendons and ligaments attach to the bones. Pain and swelling occur  along these “hotspots”. The lower back, the sacroiliac joints,  the cervical spine, pelvic bones, the rib joints and the heel. Classic AS involvement. Many other joints can be involved. The joints of the hip, shoulder, and knee are commonly involved. Involvement of fingers, toes, wrists and jaw, although possible, is not common. It is a disease of younger people (teen-40s) usually. It is common in men, but science is learning that women have AS frequently, too. It is a major cause of low back pain. It is an inherited disease. There are many genes involve. The gene HLA-B27 is present in 90% of those who have AS. As in many cases an environmental trigger like an infection activates the genes involved. AS belongs to …

Silica is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis

Silica, the earth’s most abundant mineral, is made up of oxygen and silicon. It is a part of many, many processes including mining, pottery making, glass making, and granite work including tombstone making. The lung disease caused by crystalline silica dust is called silicosis and has been known since the time of Hippocrates. It is an inflammatory disease. In the fifties after many studies, it was learned that autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis could be caused by exposure to crystalline silica. The connection though proven is not well understood. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an inflammatory disease. This morning I was reading one of the comments on the forum Health Unlocked. It was written by a woman who has RA as does her brother. Interestingly, both had jobs where they worked with silica.

RA, Mojo and writing a book

My mojo  means that I have creative energy and an optimistic outlook. When I  have those things, I am good to go. I can write. I can read complex articles. I am living in a good space. Happy. I have found my voice for my RA book. My writing had stalled at 75%. Dead in the water. It just wasn’t where I wanted to go. I finally figured it out. With some modifications I will have it running again. From time to time I will include samples from a chapter.   Chapter Five The Character of RA Learning you have a a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, starts you on a journey of a lifetime. When I was diagnosed with RA, I read a wonderful book that proved to be a guide for me on my journey. One of the things I came to understand was that I was in charge of me and I was in charge of managing my own RA. My responsibility. It is important to understand your rheumatoid arthritis and it is …