Monday, January 31, 2011

How I Have Spent My Days Recently

Sore Throat, Runny Nose, General Sickiness
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Really Bad Sickiness
Supernatural: Season One
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Really, Really Bad Sickiness
Supernatural: Season Two
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Supernatural: Season Three
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Doctor Says I Should Have Come In Earlier
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Bowling Birthday Party!!!!

That was my week with the flu.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Be Back Soon

I thought that I would write a long post after seeing my rheumatologist on Thursday, but I was so emotionally drained that I just have not been up to it yet. I will tell you that the appointment involved a lot of tears and unanswered questions.

I am sure that tomorrow will be a beautiful day (even though the Bears lost) and I will feel up to talking about my appointment.

Love you guys.

Monday, January 17, 2011

RA & Recovery Time - Update

A couple of days after I wrote my last post, I was reading a book on the wide range of autoimmune diseases when I came upon something called post exertional malaise. defines PEM as

a vague feeling of body discomfort or a general feeling of being unwell, much like you feel when you're coming down with a cold or the flu.

Post exertional malaise is a period of intense exhaustion and increase in symptoms that lasts for more than 24 hours following physical exertion.

Several of the websites I read also describe a "crash" that happens after physical/mental exertion, which can be anything from exercise to daily chores.

I just kept thinking, "This is me! This is what happens to me! This is what I go through every time I push myself past small amounts of activity!" Then I thought, "Why was I able to find this, but no doctor I have ever talked to has been able to tell me what is happening?"

I am definitely going to bring this up when I see my rheumatologist on Thursday, especially since this is not typical of Rheumatoid Arthritis. PEM is actually considered a symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome.

I answered one of my questions, but now I have so many more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

RA and Recovery Time

When I first developed Rheumatoid Arthritis my anxiety level was pretty high. I was going out for errands and little things, but definitely not restaurants or other crowded places. Lets just say that my social calender was not packed with commitments.

After working with a hypnotist for the last few months, I have felt more and more comfortable going out or at least want to put myself out there a little more.

Now I am experiencing a whole new problem, dilemma, whatever you want to call it. Each time we have gone out, it takes so much out of me physically that I spend days recovering from it. One of the best examples I can give is when we went to the flea market this past Sunday. After four hours at the flea market, I was basically a walking zombie by the time we got home. We ate a quick lunch and then I crashed in bed for several hours. I tried to relax the rest of the day, but was suffering from a migraine and a lot of joint/muscle pain. The past two days have pretty much been the same. I struggle to get through a whole day of work without too much pain medication and then crash the rest of the evening. This is pretty much what happens every time - days of recovery.

This whole thing has got me second guessing chances to get out. A coworker's band is playing at the Viper Room later this month and I bought tickets for Rommel and I. I cannot help but go back and forth in my mind about whether it will be worth the energy and the recovery time. I keep telling myself that these opportunities are worth it and I will be so happy I went because I almost always am, but I can be very good at talking myself out of things too.

I just don't want RA to keep me from experiencing life the way my anxiety has. I will keep pushing myself not to miss out and if anything I will just have to plan better to allow myself the time to recuperate.


Obviously I have been very productive today and found a bunch of videos for everyone to enjoy!

<br/><a href=";rel=MSN&amp;fg=sharenoembed" target="_new" title="Pug Sings Batman Theme">Video: Pug Sings Batman Theme</a>

<br/><a href=";rel=msn&amp;from=en-us_msnhp&amp;form=msnrll&amp;gt1=42007&amp;fg=sharenoembed" target="_new" title="'Home' By Dad And Daughter">Video: 'Home' By Dad And Daughter</a>

<br/><a href=";fg=sharenoembed" target="_new" title="Toddler Loves Bob Marley">Video: Toddler Loves Bob Marley</a>

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Flea Market Fun

Rommel and I headed to the Rose Bowl for the flea market that is held there once a month. Let me just tell you that this flea market is absolutely huge with antiques, vintage items, and handmade items. We walked around for almost four hours and still did not see everything.

I set out looking for vintage jewelry, such as brooches, and maybe a smaller purse. I ended up finding some scarfs and a peacock brooch that will be perfect on my orange coat.

I have also been looking for a ceramic plate that has the ridges on it to divide up food. I am not obsessive about it or anything but I prefer different foods not to touch each other. And I found a quirky one for five bucks! We were walking out of the flea market gates and I lost my grip on my bag. Crack! I was really hoping that the damage would be small so that I could glue it together, but it was worse than I thought.

We also had a nice surprise when we ran into the Thierry Guetta from Banksy's movie, Exit Through the Gift Shop. He was extremely nice and when we asked for a picture, he insisted that he take one with both of us.

Four hours of walking definitely took everything out of me, but it was so much fun and I cannot wait to go back again.

My body is completely achy now so the rest of the day will be filled with blankets, books, and mac and cheese. Definitely a good day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Things We Do for Our Pets

My poor Sunny Bunny has not been feeling so great lately. She jumped off the bed the other night and as soon as she landed on the ground, I heard a heart breaking yelp. She stopped using one of her hind legs for a couple of days, but is slowly starting to put pressure on it again. Like most dogs she is a real trooper and if it was not for the little hopping motion she makes, you would not know anything was wrong. She has an appointment to see the vet soon to make sure everything is okay.

Sunny will be twelve in April and I know that she will not always be able to jump on and off the bed like she did. But I just can't leave my little girl sleeping in a dog bed when the other animals are snuggled in our bed with us, so I decided to look for pet stairs or a ramp. The problem is that everything on the market is made for tiny dogs or just seems way to flimsy. I finally gave up the search and just decided to make it myself by adapting a design from a Los Angeles Times article.

I started with a 1/2" thick piece of plywood, a box of 1" wood screws, a drill, and a power saw. Don't you just love my make-shift work table? It's made of two plastic sets of drawers that we have had out in the garage for a while.

I cut out seven pieces - the platform, the backing piece, the end cap, the ramp, the support piece, and the two sides.

The plywood itself probably would have been sturdy enough to hold Sunny, who is about thirty-five pounds, but if I was going to take the time to make a ramp, I wanted it to support Simba too if he ever needed it. Simba is not a small dog; he weighs about ninety pounds. So I added quite a few support pieces using scrap pieces of lumber I had lying around.

Finally I covered the top of the ramp with carpet from a runner that a found on sale somewhere. It was a little too wide, but I just cut a couple inches off and used duct tape to bind the edge for now.

Eventually I will bind the edge of the carpet with actual binding, sand the edges down, and paint the plywood, but I wanted it to be available to Sunny while her leg is bothering her. Unfortunately she will not even go near it right now. I guess I will have to wait until she feels better and train her to use it.

At least the cat loves the ramp. Apparently Zooey thinks it makes the perfect scratching post and launch point for attacking the dogs.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Floats, Rain, and Donations

On Sunday Rommel and I set out to see the Rose Parade floats that are on display the day after the actual parade. I thought that it could be my new experience for January and fulfill one of my goals for 2011. But once we got to the Rose Bowl we realized that we would have to pay for the tickets and the shuttle to the floats plus it was starting to rain. I will admit that part of me was worried about panicking and not being able to leave when I wanted because of the whole shuttle thing, but I was going to go through with it. Then Rommel said that he did not really care if we went or not, so we opted to do something else instead.

We headed to Melrose Ave. to browse the vintage shops and see if I could find some fabulous costume jewelry. We found the best little trading post / flea market when we got there and it was only two bucks to get in. Then it started pouring. We wandered around the booths for a short time before the vendors started packing up.

As you can tell, Rommel was none to pleased to be walking around in the cold rain while I looked for jewelry.

We finally decided that we should go home where it was warm and dry to watch movies. At least we tried though! And Rommel agreed to go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market next weekend, which is a huge gathering of antiques, handmade items, and food. I can't wait!

And I was able to accomplish one goal on my list which was to sort through some of my stuff and pull out anything I do not use, etc. I ended up with two boxes of clothes for Goodwill and a box of books for the library. I don't know why you would want to see a picture of the boxes, but I was happy about finishing the task and decided to post one anyway.

I have also been working on my blog by adding pages about myself and my medications. Hopefully there will be more cool stuff to come.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ready for 2011

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want my life to be in 2011 and how I am going to make it happen. I know that I want to be less anxious, healthier, and be living a more fulfilling life.

I do not think that I have actually kept a new year's resolution before and I think a large part of that is because they are so imprecise. Saying that you are going to lose weight in the new year is not a plan; it is not going to help you accomplish what you want. So instead of coming up with resolutions, I wrote out a list of goals for the new year; something that can actually be defined and measured.
  1. I will continue to work on my anxiety through hypnosis and new experiences. I will do one thing each month that I would not normally do or that I have not done in a very long time because of anxiety. For example, last month I went to a concert that was attended by about 6,000 people. I have not been to a concert in about six years and I never imagined that I would ever go to one again because crowds make me anxious. But I did it! I am hoping that by the end of the year I will be confident enough that we will be able to fly home to see my family for the holidays.
  2. The first week of every month I will go through our house and purge items that I do not wear, do not need, or that do not enhance our life in some way. I will donate the items or give them to someone I know will appreciate them.
  3. I will work on my blogging, which I know is a vague goal but I will come up with something more. I know that I want to be more consistent and have more content, probably on autoimmune diseases, but I am not sure exactly how yet.
  4. I will lose weight. And yes, part of this goal is about how a look, etc, but a larger part of it is about my health. Being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2010 was a big wake up call. Not only does it cause joint pain and fatigue, but the inflammation can cause a large number of complications involving your lungs, heart, etc. Obviously this goal will have to be made up of many aspects and I came up with a plan for the first four months.
1. January
  • At least 16 ounces of green shakes a day (more on this in another post)
  • Only drink tea/water/freshly juiced vegetables and fruits
  • Eat out no more than two times a week
  • Walk the dogs at least three times a week
  • Practice yoga at least one time a week
2. February
  • At least 24 ounces of green shakes a day
  • One tea (no more than one time a day)/water/freshly juiced vegetables and fruits
  • Eat out no more than once a week
  • Walk the dogs at least five times a week
  • Practice yoga at least two times a week
3. March
  • At least 32 ounces of green shakes a day
  • Only water/fresh juiced vegetables and fruits
  • Only eat out at special occasions
  • No dairy or sweets (still need to clarify)
  • Walk dogs at least five times a week
  • Practice yoga at least three days a week
4. April
  • At least 32 ounces of green shakes a day
  • Only water/fresh juiced vegetables and fruits
  • Only eat out at special occasions
  • Go gluten free
  • Walk dogs at least fives days a week
  • Practice yoga at least three days a week
I am going to give myself permission to adjust my goals as the year progresses and needs change. I have also thought of a reward system but I will talk about that at another time.

On lighter note, Rommel and I spent the first morning of the new year at the Los Angeles Zoo. It was an absolutely beautiful day, cold but still very sunny, and it did not really get busy until we were walking out the exit. We headed straight for the new elephant exhibit and it is nice to see that the male elephant finally has some company. If they cannot be in the wild or at a conservation site, at least they are at a really nice facility. (When they were building the exhibit I actually signed a petition against it.)

I guess I could technically cross my new experience for January off the list after visiting the zoo. Last time we were there I became extremely anxious because of the heat, the people, and being really far away from the exit and we ended up having to leave. But this time I enjoyed everything and we got a great walk in. I do not think I will cross my experience off though because the month just began and there is so much more to do.

Hopefully I can take the same picture next year but I will be lighter!

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year's Eve!