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RA and the Bread Machine

In December I had the urge to make bread. It was the same urge that I had several years ago to start knitting. I knitted everyone a beanie, or a wrap or a special heart to say I cared.  I am still knitting. I am working on a blanket project that is over half done, a wrap for my Watertown, NY sister-in-law and a fluffy, bright red beanie for a friend.

Now I am adding breadmaking to my list of activities. I researched bread machines on the internet. Found the one I liked, a two-pound Oster and added it to my wish list. Eventually, Amazon made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. In December during my hip replacement recovery, I became the happy owner of an Oster bread machine. The bread is made in loaf form, has nine plus settings and produces perfect bread mostly by itself in a little over three hours.

Along with the machine, I ordered The Bread Machine Cookbook by Donna Rathmell German. It was her first book and I love it. One of my favorites is the honey nut oatmeal bread. Simple ingredients including honey, rolled oats, whole wheat flour, protein rich bread flour, cranberries and walnuts. Truly a healthy feast. Great toast for breakfast.

My reasoning was that I like fresh, whole grain bread for breakfast. There is no better way than to make your own. I had lost 25 pounds during my hip odyssey and continue to lose although at a slower and healthier rate.

The Arthritis Foundation says we should eat whole grains, fruit, and olive oil. My bread machine also produces dough for Focaccia. Left to rise on a peel, pressed with olive oil and fresh herbs, sprinkled with coarse salt and baked on a baking stone in a nice hot oven. A tasty addition to supper. Pizza is also good and quick to make with a fresh tomato sauce and plenty of mozzarella cheese plus pepperoni for those who like it.

When I started making bread in December, I was still at a time in my recovery where it was hard for me to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. I used to quickly measure and toss the ingredients into the machine, turn it on and let it go. Now my hip is much better. I can enjoy the process of my bread baking. I have found specialty items, explored the thoughts of other bread bakers and experimented with new processes.

I am now in an RA flare. My feet rebel as do my hands and shoulders and the rest of me. I have started a Medrol dose pack. I still feel lucky to be involved with creative activities that keep my mind happily engaged.  I did have orange bread (made with orange juice and orange peel) for a snack today and plan on pizza for supper tomorrow night.

I thought I was going bald, it was just the MTX

About six weeks ago, I started noticing my hair thinning. I thought it was odd because my dad had thick hair in his older years. I expected my hair would do the same. My hairdresser also noticed the thinning. It was real. Next, I started noticing bunches of hair on my comb. “My hair is falling out,” I thought. Right again. I quickly realized that it was the methotrexate (MTX). Hair loss only occurs in 1-3% of those on MTX. I have been on it for five years and the last three years I have been giving myself 25mg injections. It works for me. I am also on hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). Plaquenil can also cause hair loss.

I started taking MTX every eight days instead of every seven. Every nine days starts an RA flare. I stick with the eight days. I also cut the Plaquenil to 200 mg daily from 400 mg daily. My hair is no longer falling out. However, my hair hasn’t grown since my last haircut. Unfortunately, it was the second worst haircut my hairdresser has ever given me. MTX and Plaquenil can also stop the hair from growing. It would have been lovely if my hair had stopped growing after the perfect haircut. Not to be. I now have thin hair with a terrible cut. It is short, so I am reluctant to have it reshaped. So, I will wait and see. I see my RA doc in a month maybe she has something to offer.
I am on 1mg folic acid and a 50mg B-complex. Any suggestions?

It is not the end of the world. Fortunately, it did stop falling out. Eventually, I will see my hairdresser for a better shaping. Then if it never grows again, I will save a lot of money at the hair salon.

My first book

After all the books I have read, I have finally published my own, Surviving Hip Surgery Ten Things You Need to Know. You may visit my author page on Amazon at  ,                                                                                             

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