All posts filed under: An RA toolbox

Life changes with RA and it keeps on changing. Developing strategies to make life work better.

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!

Gardening and RA

April is a great month for gardening in New Mexico. Sunny, 70’s. Roses blooming. Oklahoma Red bud a riot of color. I am enjoying every bit. This week I planted a Lady Banks rambler on my back fence. There have been times when I never thought I would be able to kneel and happily dig in garden dirt again. Right now I can and I am very happy. In the four years since I was diagnosed with RA, I have learned to modify activities of my life. In the garden I have a kneeling pad for my knees. I buy the smaller size plant so I don’t need to dig a bigger hole and don’t need to haul as much garden soil. I have learned not to buy more than one or two plants at a time. And most importantly, I will relax with a cup of coffee and a book as a rest when my planting is done. The Lady Banks Rose is white and luscious. This is an old rose that was originally brought …

RA Tool Hand Exercises

Another asset in our RA tool box is hand exercises. We need to maintain our flexibility and our strength. Deciding that I needed to be able to do more for myself, I asked my Doc to send me to the Albuquerque Health Plex Physical Therapy Hand Clinic. Wow!  is all I can say. My hands were thrilled with the weekly professional paraffin wax treatment. I learned a set of exercises that will help me maintain my hand function. I do them daily. They can be done anywhere.  Below are instructions for a few. I was fitted for hand orthotics custom made for me. I have them for night use when I am in a flare. My hands are protected while I sleep. I asked and I received. I am also fortunate to have a physical therapy department that is expert in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Finger Walking Place fingers and wrist on the table palm down. Hold thumb in hitchhiking position. Walk each finger one at a time toward thumb. Return to original position …

Massage and RA

Garrett is amazing.  He is tall and lanky. Arty. Welcoming. He is a student at the ABQ School of Massage and he gave me a massage at their free cancer clinic. I remember my first experience. Coming out of the massage room, I felt renewed. Massage therapy started as a new adventure for me.  My RA needed help.  So did I.    Massage therapy seemed like a good thing to try. I made the appointment. After the first massage,  I received an email from Garrett asking if I would be the subject of his case study on Rheumatoid Arthritis. I would receive six free massages. He would ask me questions about my RA.  Of course, I said yes.  I needed another tool in my RA toolbox. I am a lucky woman.  My adventure continues. Today was my 5th massage. I follow the routine of each massage. I check off my choices on Garrett’s  before pain scale sheet. Next I undress in the massage room and slide under the sheet and blanket.  Lights are low.  A quiet space.  …

Keeping RA Feet happy

My RA feet are much happier today.  They had not been happy for several years.  RA had started in my feet and included my ankles.  Pain and unstable gait were serious problems. I was sent to a podiatrist. He ordered weight bearing x-rays of my feet which showed deteriorating joints. He sent me for the following inserts that are available at New Balance stores. About $50 a pair. ProThotics, Motion Control performance insoles Support and stability for overall foot health and comfort Anti-friction fabric, breathable, anti-microbial Vy-Gel shock absorption across the forefoot and heel strike to protect against fasciitis Strong arch and metatarsal features help to relieve pain and guard against harmful over- pronation Structural stabilizer promotes maximum stability and helps correct postural alignment Polyurethane base layer provides cushioning that will never flatten out over time Bio-mechanical design helps prevent pronation and rolling ankles on uneven terrain. They live up to their promise. I have two pairs. Yes, they are expensive but have made an incredible difference for me. My podiatrist also sent me for …

Memory Palace for those precious memories

I’m sure that you have heard how helpful a memory palace can be.   Generally, a memory palace is a system for remembering information.  It is a very special system and can be used in a variety of ways. It is an excellent way to store all your favorite memories so you know where they are located.  It is a place to visit when you want to feel good.  The memory of a feeling, the  feel of a breeze on your cheek. The smell of the fresh morning air. Hugging your chubby baby. Hearing your favorite guy laugh. The good feelings of friends and family happy together. Happy carefree times with children. Valuable memories. It can be memories of favorite books, movies maybe. A memory palace can be anything. Mine is a comfortable old white house with a wrap around porch. An old fashioned wooden screen door. Hardwood floors. Library where many of my memories are stored. A kitchen. Back porch and trees.   I can add rooms but I do think mood more than specifics. I can …

How to tell a charlatan

I met my first  charlatan last week. I’m sure I’ve known other ones.  A charlatan presents as someone who is an authority on a subject when in fact she’s not. She often times is looking to profit from her faulty information, but not always. This woman approached me at a cancer class. She said my cancer was caused by an imbalance in my body. She could cure me. Doctors were clueless. Nurses were clueless, too. I really needed to go to her program and learn about the acid-alkaline diet. ( A friend had already given me a book on the subject.) I would be better. I would feel better. She didn’t have a card and mentioned she did a lot of other things. She wrote her info on the back of one of her other cards. Contact me, she said. To me the fundamental  sign of a charlatan is her attitude that she know best and that all the other resources in the world are bogus. There are too many good resources in the world. …

Cancer Care Yoga

Today I trekked over to Nob Hill for High Desert  Yoga’s  Cancer Care Class. Goes from 11:16-12:15. Given by the expert Patti Lentz. Restorative. with breath work. Perfect and therapeutic for me as I am in a state where I have very little energy but I do need to move my body. My trouble comes in also with rheumatoid wrists and very bad rheumatoid feet and toes. Still adjustments can be made and the benefits of yoga enjoyed. I thank Patti and the extra bonus is that this class is free.

ACT

I am seeing a therapist who has introduced me to the ACT program. It is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I  had read something about it a few months ago. It had made me angry. My pain and fatigue was so bad I could not see that seeing things in another perspective would help me. That has changed. For now my joints are usable and my pain is tolerable. It might not last long but I had three days in a row where I felt normal. So I then found myself tired of the whole chronic illness thing.  I wanted to spend my energy on living not surviving. My visit to Dr Flippit was good timing.  ACT is about accepting the situation you are in. It is not resigning yourself. It is realizing your situation is here to stay. And instead of fighting it, you can learn  to live with it so you too can have a life. I am at the front end of the program. I see it as helpful. If you read about …

Yoga and flexibility

Yesterday when I posted I forgot to enter a title. The title became 406. Now it is up to date and worth checking out.                                                                                                                    https://marysarthritis.com/2013/08/04/helpful-information-about-ra/ Today was a day off from work. Pain free, except for feet issues in the morning, all gone by noon. I am back to my humble yoga practice. The joint flexibility feels really good. I took many yoga classes over the years. Eventually, I developed my own routine. When RA hit me, it was impossible to do downward dog, a favorite. In fact I was so bad I couldn’t do any yoga. Fatigue wore me out. I worried about my flexibility. As I started to feel better, I started a therapeutic yoga. I am developing a routine that will keep my flexibility. It feels so very good. Having my home practice is wonderful. It is still wise to take classes. It is refreshing and prevents sloppy habits from forming. Yoga in a small group has its own rewards. I remember my first yoga class. It was at a health club …