All posts tagged: Exercise

Stronger with exercise

  October 2019 I am amazed that I feel so much better. It has been a gradual process, a yearlong process. Recovery from the treatment of a rare uterine cancer is long, discouraging at times and scary at others. I say scary because the fatigue and the use of a brain that seems murky and sluggish is not something I would want to live with permanently. My fear was that this mental and physical slowness might just be permanent. So, I am relieved, quietly jubilant. My spark has re-ignited and I feel alive again. I am now able to go to the gym without being worn out for the day. My legs are stronger. I am becoming sturdy. I am reading again. I just finished Educated by Tara Westover and thoroughly enjoyed it. Her evolution from a brain washed, isolated child into a creative, educated and accomplished woman is inspirational. In the last few months I have found a comfort zone in riding the recumbent bike for 45 minutes three times a week at Planet …

the joy of roses

Cancer Number Three and RA

  It is almost a month since I had a robotic radical hysterectomy and it has been four days since I had my first chemo. I feel pretty good all things considered. Additionally, a minor surgical procedure placed a power injectable SMART PORT under my skin connected to a catheter that was threaded into my jugular vein and down to my superior vena cava creating fast access to my body’s circulation.  It is not as bad as it sounds. Sloan Kettering has a PDF that explains the procedure. My skin has been tender, but the lidocaine ointment works and relieves the discomfort. My RA is complaining with all joints hurting morning and again evening time. Walking hurts my feet even though I have custom shoes and custom triple layer inserts.  I am glad I take methotrexate injections, Plaquenil and meloxicam. I take 6 mg Medrol and can boost the dose into a dose pack if needed. So far, I am holding steady. With RA I think it is important to move. Aerobics are nice but …

RA treatment in the 1920s

In the early days of the twentieth century very little was known about rheumatoid arthritis.  It might have been called chronic infectious arthritis, proliferative arthritis or atrophic arthritis. Rheumatology was not a specialty. There were no rheumatologists. It was not a good time to have RA. Arthritis treatment at the Mayo Clinic  included bed rest. Patients were admitted to the hospital and put on bed rest for several weeks. They were given a balanced diet. Physical therapy was an important therapy. It improved range of motion, strengthened muscles and prevented deformities. Heat and massage were used  to improve circulation and to remove toxins. Bracing and casting were used to support joints and reduce contractions. Canes were prescribed. Shoe corrections were prescribed. Vaccine therapy, fever therapy and sympathectomy were popular treatments at the Mayo Clinic based on the theories of the time. As medical knowledge grew these therapies fell out of favor. Salicylates were drugs of choice. Remember this was before sulfa, penicillin and cortisone. It a was long time before ibuprofen would be formulated. Any …

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 …

gardening notes

Albuquerque will be 95 today. Yesterday it was 98. We missed the set of super hot temperatures for July. So we are just catching up. Blue skies. Nice. This is the Rio Grande. We have plenty of water in it this year. And now we have more. Torrential downpour came later this afternoon. Reminds me of Miami. I am happy to see the rain. I would dance it it but the lightening forbids it.  I have those big office wastebaskets to gather water where it comes down the hardest. This is great for my RA as I just need to scoop the water in a little bucket to water container plants. I feel like I am doing a good thing. I have passed out of the RA Flare Fog. Don’t know if it is residual from the Medrol Pack or the Orencia starting to work. I am cheering for the Orencia. Feels so good to move.  Hope it lasts for awhile. Back out in the yard. This is Apricot Sunset. Climber. Strong and beautiful.  Roses …

My RA 10 minute exercise plan

  Repeat after me Move! Historically, I have always been a mover: swimming laps, walking a big dog, yoga classes, physically active job, cancer rehab, silver sneakers core, tai chi, gardening, etc.  RA changed a lot of that. I reached a point where I was so sick I could hardly move. I moved only because it hurt more when I didn’t move. I don’t think anyone understands how hard it can be just to get dressed. Running errands is exhausting. Going to the gym, just a dream for the moment. I cannot walk far  as I have bad ankle and foot damage. Going to the gym, for now, feels like planning a trip to the moon. However, I know that muscle strength, flexibility, aerobic conditioning are vital to RA stability. And it needs to happen every day. When I feel better, I swim laps. In June it was a quarter mile free style. Felt good.  Presently, that seems overwhelming. Not the swimming but the dynamics around it. I have devised a ten minute exercise set …

Exploring and moving

Do you really want to spend any time walking on a treadmill or  riding a stationary bike?  Indoors? Sure, it’s great if you live in Watertown, NY and you get socked in with snow. It’s also good if you live in a bad neighborhood.  But if you live in Albuquerque( ABQ to us), there is more to be had.    Walking with your camera in the great open spaces. I am a professional photographer. I have all the big expensive cameras with the impressive lens. I also have a seriously progressing Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have been lying low with pain and inflammation. Finally, I am ready to move again.  Baby steps.  Out walking trying to get my legs again, I take an old digital Canon. Fast. Satisfying. Easy. I would never have seen these Sand hill Cranes when walking on a treadmill. I love these guys. Makes my heart happy to see these 4 foot visitors from the North. One of the oldest surviving birds, they mate for life and care for their young for a …

RA tools-Massage

In the proper spirit of being the manager for my RA, I thought about what tool I could use to help manage my RA. Top on my list was massage:  Helps the pain-tense muscles to relax. Stimulates the lymphatics. And best of all is a thoroughly relaxing experience. Today I had an hour massage at ABQ Medical Massage Therapy. It was an Oncology Massage. I have several cancers as well as RA and they do open a few doors. The massage was given by Sean, a senior student. I was directed to a quiet room. Asked if the room temperature was okay. Offered water. And directed to disrobe to my comfort level. I go to my panties. Lay down on the table which was warm and cozy. Covered up with a sheet and a light blanket. When Sean returned, he adjusted my head pillow and placed a pillow under my knees. Quiet music. Sean worked his magic as he worked my body into relaxation. Peaceful bliss. I felt pampered and happy. When I was diagnosed …

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. 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 …