We are ALL the Face of Arthritis

Autoimmune diseases bring a whole different set of problems. There's no reason to try and deal alone. Why not be in it together?
We would LOVE to feature your stories and opinions- email us at contribute@thefaceofarthritis.com !

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Unrelated: FOUND!!

Thank you so much to those who shared and tried to help us last week. Autumn was found and is safe as if Tuesday (sorry, I was out of town and didn't update you as quickly as I should have. I suck.)
The family appreciates everyone so much. Thank you again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Unrelated but URGENT

Devoted readers and pain sufferers: I am making a personal plea today for you to please try to help us. The daughter of a close friend has gone missing and we are desperate to bring her home safe. She is only 15 and has had mental and emotional issues in the past. She NEEDS to be in a safe environment, NOT on her own depending on strangers.
Her name is Autumn Sky, but she prefers to be called Sky. She is 15 years old, about 5'7" and was last seen with blonde hair, but may have dyed it at this time. Attached is the Facebook page to help find her, which has information about last known whereabouts, possible accomplices, etc. We ask that you share the page, as a person can get pretty far in 48 hours and she is most likely trying to get out of our area.
PLEASE if you have ANY information post to the Facebook page and/or call your local authorities immediately. She is registered as a missing person nationwide.

Thank you for taking a moment to indulge this request.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sometimes a hurdle looks like Mount Everest

Everything is relative. Most people don't know the little joy of being able to underline something with a straight line if their hands don't shake. (And they will look at you with their judgey eyes if you squeal with happiness when it happens.)
So it is hard for people who don't deal with chronic pain, chronic illness, chronic "I want to, but I don't have the energy" to understand how warped my world is compared to theirs.
A while back I wrote an article about not being able to treat toe fungus because it would stress my body too much with my other medications. That was the first time I had ever been told "we can't treat this because you're sick" and it was a painful blow.

I think we all know in the back of our heads that there will come a day when our illnesses will interfere with daily life, medical care, or career. Yet, when that day comes, it is still like having someone say "what's in you're ear" and then cut it off to look inside instead of just leaning in. It hurts, its surprising, and it feels ridiculously unfair.

And now, folks, I find myself on a precipice in my career. If you've been a long time reader, you might remember that I was given the opportunity to work 4 days a week instead of 5 after I had an especially bad flare. It was such a blessing, and it drastically cut the amount of sick days I was using. But, as businesses do, our business has grown, and with that comes a need for more man power. Which means there is no longer room in the practice for "part time" or "less time" workers.
We had "the talk" last Friday, and I was wrecked. Do not misconstrue this, though, nothing was malicious or ultimatum-y or anything. But I was blind sided by it, and completely overwhelmed. I still felt like shit. My lab work came back abnormal last time and I had to go back for additional tests. I was exhausted all the time, I didn't even have the energy to shop. Like, not even for makeup. I don't have the energy to go to ULTA which means that something is seriously off.

My mind was a jumble. I felt awful, I'm not sleeping soundly. I usually take my methotrexate on Tuesday night, knowing that I can rest on Wednesday. I make all my appointments on Wednesday so I won't miss any more clinic. I had been planning to go back to school, to get prerequisites fulfilled for grad school. That certainly couldn't happen on the current course if I went back to 5 days a week. So much would have to change. And what if I got sick again? Then what would happen?

You all know me, though, and of course I'm going to try. You never know until you try, and who knows- maybe this is just a hurdle and not Mount Everest. Maybe jumping this hurdle will be the kick in the pants my body needs to get its shit together. Maybe it will make things better.

It's so easy to only see things in a negative light. But if I- if you, if any of us- give in to the temptation to do that, then it's a slippery slope to nothing but darkness. So I am choosing to think of this as an adventure.

Besides, people have climbed Mount Everest and survived, right?

Why would I go on a diet? I'm fucking fabulous!

I mean, ok if I'm being totally honest with you all (which why the hell would I put the effort into getting a blog and then NOT be totally honest in it?) I do, in fact, need to lose some weight.  But as long as I fit into my clothes well enough, then I have a hard time using that as motivation to diet and exercise. However, pain is one of the best motivators for anything. And the idea that a change in diet would improve my pain levels and reduce the amount of pain relievers I need to take, then despite my love of crappy food I have to at least give it a try. After all, I can't actually complain about a diet or turn my nose up at it without having tried it first.
So I'm going gluten free.
And I want you all to know, this is very hard for me. Everything in my house was whole wheat. Bread, chips, bagels, all of it. I was in LOVE with gluten. Yet, so much of the research, and so much of the personal testimony, shows that gluten can increase the amount of inflammation overall in the body and exacerbate the pain of RA, PA, OA, or whatever kind of A you have. It can also be an irritant to gastrointestinal problems like IBS or Chron's. So I did it, I ditched the whole wheat, whole grain everything and started looking for the labels with "Gluten Free!" on it.
Let's talk about the fact that anything with a "gluten free" or "organic" or any other health craze catch phrase has at least a $1.00 Zeitgeist tax on it.
Seriously?
I added it up one week and it would actually have been significantly cheaper to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at McDonald's dollar menu for the entire 7 days than to pay for the entirely gluten free, trans fat free, no preservative, no additives from the Mars rover groceries I had purchased.
I don't know if you're familiar with the Supernatural
fandom, but we have a meme for everything.
No wonder we're a nation of Type II Diabetics with chubby children; we have become so financially dependent on artificial sugars and over processed flour that our bodies don't know what to do with the food we're putting into them.

So WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY are we dragging our asses on demanding that quality food be affordable on a living wage?? Have you noticed what products have the WIC stickers on them? I'll give you a hint, it isn't Dr. Praeger's spinach pancakes.
Whoa, that got political really quickly. That's ok, that's where I was headed anyway, I just got there a lot faster than I anticipated. And please realize that I understand WHY it is cheaper to buy shit than not. All of those factories pounding out our prepackaged, premade foods are getting bangin' sweetheart deals with the producers of the ultraprocessed wheat flour that barely resembles wheat in any way shape or form. So when they make something that is gluten free- read as: made with rice flour or corn flour- they lose that cheap supply and have to go somewhere else for their flour. That place doesn't get much business because the Super Wheat's have eaten up all the major business opportunities, which means they have to charge more per unit for their flour than SuperWheatCor or whoever it is making that fake flour is charging. That means that, in order to not cut the profit margin on the individual units of product being sold, the producing company has to hike the price to reflect the change in their cost of production.
But is it equivalent? Are they only hiking it by how much more the flour costs? Or are they taking this opportunity to slap that Zeitgeist tax on everything, knowing that half the people buying it have no choice (Celiacs patients, for instance) and a third of the rest don't know any better. The other 2 thirds of that remainder are like me and know its happening, don't like it, but prefer life withthout SuperWheatCor inside our cabinets.

OK let's take a step back from the political fire I just lit. Leave it over there, don't touch it kids. Let's instead focus on what I found physically after cutting out gluten.
I felt better.
Fuck me if I didn't want that to be the truth, but it is. At the suggestion of my nutritionisty friend I switched everything and- especially after seeing the price tag- I didn't want it to be as obvious a change as it was but... well, God is mean sometimes. And after a month of doing that we then had to deal with that heinous move, so of course the diet structure went out the window and I went back to shitty fast food, Stouffer's, and Eggo's. Can you guess what happened then?  Very good, Dora, I felt like shit.
Now I'm kind of half on the wagon, half hanging off repeatedly hitting my head on the big rocks as they roll under. I've replaced a lot of things again with gluten free options, but I also have not been as strict on myself about eating out (most fast food places the only gluten free option is the one with no baked products involved. Salad. Salad is your option.)
So would I recommend it? Yes, if you can afford it. I think its at least worth a try. Like anything, it won't work the same for everyone. Some people have life changing differences in health, some people are like me and just feel better but not perfect, and some people notice no change and have a huge hole in their wallet to boot. But you can at least try it. Pick a month that won't be stressful for you, without moving across state lines, for instance, and just make the switch. You don't have to throw everything out, just put it all in one cabinet and don't touch it. Replace it with the gluten free alternative and see how it goes. If it is life changing, you can give away the other food at work or to a homeless shelter. (Unless its open. But I bet you could find a homeless person who would take it directly, open or not.)
It isn't for everyone. But if it is for you, isn't that so much simpler than having to take more ibuprofen/Tramadol/narcotics of any kind?

Yes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#TuesdayTwosies

Representing our love for Lake Placid NY!!  And a little bit of dorky got out somehow,,,,

Holy tick-tocks, Batman!

My clock shows that it it 12:44 AM central time on Wednesday 7/8/15. And I'm still awake. Thank God I don't have to work tomorrow.
So why am I still awake?  Why, its that refrain that I'm sure y'all are as sick of singing as I am: I'm hurting.  Jesus Christ, when does this song end? I already tried the ibuprofen. The Tramadol. A xanax to make me sleepy. Finally an Ambien as a Hail Mary. Yet I'm sitting at my desk typing this message to you guys. When do I get an effing break???? Truly, this is maddening. At least this time I decided to be productive (in the relative sense of my life.) instead of laying there thinking "maybe just five more minutes. Maybe the eucalyptus lotions I slathered on to help the pain will relax me as well.

If nothing else, I'll look terrible tomorrow but smell FABULOUS!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

#FlashBackFriday

#FlashBackFriday to when my poochy was an itty bitty baby terrified of his first experience with water! #fbf #CoonhoundsOfInstagram #BoxerCoonhoundMix #BoxersOfInstagram

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#WomanCrushWednesday

Our #WomanCrushWednesday this week is Jennie Garth, best known for her roles in 90210 and a bunch of Lifetime movies that we promise we didn't cry over. Her daughter, Lola Ray was diagnosed with JRA and Jennie has been a stellar mom, exactly what any child needs when learning to grow up with these different challenges.
Bravo!