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Showing posts from October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

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Thoughts on Cold and Stubbornness

It all started when The Boy said something last weekend that challenged me to not wear socks until November.
Well, to be honest, I'm not quite sure what he said, but it's possible it wasn't a direct challenge. All right, so whatever he said triggered the challenge gland in my brain which then came up with the idea of not wearing socks until November.
What? Don't you have a challenge gland in your brain?
Every fall, I go through some sort of demented competition with no one in particular and the entire world about how long I can go without turning on my heat. It’s a relatively benign way of letting my stubbornness and competitive instinct come out to play and generally less damaging than trying to beat my own record in Minesweeper or creating new ones in Angry Birds. Anyway, I usually win this game of heat because I live in an apartment building and the people who live in the apartments around me are wusses. They warm up their units, which means I have a layer of warm …

Remission: An Interview with Dr. Yusuf Yazici

I had an opportunity to interview a doctor from the Langone Medical Centre and ask endless questions about remission:
"Remission. We all strive towards it, dream of it, wonder why we aren't there yet. When you have RA, the word remission is everywhere, but what exactly is it? How is it defined, how do you get there and what if you haven't yet seen any signs of it? To get more answers, I spoke to Dr. Yusuf Yazici, assistant professor rheumatology and head of Clinical Outcomes Research Unit at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Much of the discussion was framed by your questions."
You can read the interview here.

Limited

Limits are everywhere I go these days. It seems as if almost every post I read and every question I answer on MyRACentral has an element of someone beating their head against the wall of limits. Of no longer being able to work, no longer being able to kick a ball around with their kids, of having trouble cleaning the tub and the feelings that come with this loss of normal. And outside of work, they are there, too. Someone I know struggles with finding worth and self-esteem in a life that is shrinking around them, questioning who they are now that they can do less. And yet another flails in frustration, alternating between anger and sadness, frequently reduced to tears and all of it because of limits.
And it is there within myself, as well. I'm getting closer to the release of The Book and reading writers’ blogs about what happens after your work is published, how to promote and get it passing before eyeballs of potential readers. And there are terrific recommendations about blogg…

Occupy Toronto

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The Occupy movement has come to Toronto and have settled down in St. James Park, not too far from my nec of the woods. I went by earlier this week to check out this new village
I liked the sign at the entrance. Which was surrounded by media vehicles to such a point it was difficult getting into the park

this was my first view of the tents and I hadn't expected there'd be so many

It was well-planned, there was even a medic tent

Headquarters
Creative people were making signs and let people know they could take whatever spoke to them

I like the sentiment
I get it. I really do. Sure, you can give in to cynicism and sneer at the hippie commune, making decisions by consensus, fighting capitalism and working towards an impossible utopia, but... the banks are making billions in profits and only give their customers 1% interest rate on their deposits, yet another luxury hotel is being built with suitess above it costing in the millions, 40-story condos are springing up everywhere …

Chronic Illness, Disability and Abuse: Staying Safe

MyRACentral and several other HealthCentral communities are marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month with posts about the issue and how it relates to chronic illness and disability. This is my contribution: Other posts and resources are on our   Domestic Violence Awareness Month page.
""Ow." "Ease up a little, please." "Not so hard."
Almost every time this attendant was scheduled, she'd used too much force when assisting me in the shower, dressing or other personal tasks. Almost every time, I'd have to ask her to be more gentle. I told management about it, but not in a formal complaint - I was afraid of reprisals from her or her coworkers. Then one day, as she was washing my hair, she pressed harder and harder and harder on the back of my neck, causing a severe injury. Finally, management made it safe for me to complain. They asked me if I'd told her to stop that day in my shower and I hadn''t. I had been incapable of…

A Wonderful Evening. Or Not.

I've had the most delicious opportunity. I subscribe to a magazine called Canadian Living. Terrific magazine with helpful articles and really wonderful recipes and a few weeks ago, I discovered another good thing about it. Because that's when I got an e-mail with a special offer for subscribers that was out of this world. An evening with Jann Arden. Who I adore. And who gives terrific interviews – John/TinkPapa has interviewed her on his show and she’s just wonderful.
The even will be held in an intimate old church which is walking distance from where I live and sounds like it’s essentially a high-end pajama party. There'll be a chat between the magazine’s Life editor and Jann, there'll be tea and snacks (which I probably wouldn't eat because of the nut allergy), hand massages (which sounds lovely for RA hands, but I probably wouldn't do that either if the lotion was scented. The asthma, y’know. And yes, I’m aware I’m a wreck) and Jann will sing songs from her…

How To Ruin a TV Show

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It's been a couple of very, very busy weeks and all I can say is thank various divinities for vitamin B12 shots. Amazing conveyors of energy in a syringe! However, even with this miraculous bit of boost, I am now so toasted that I'm crispy and plan to spend the next couple of days drooling in front of the TV. Which brings me to the topic of today's post, namely what these silly networks do to shows I like, causing me to have to walk away.
Starve Your Female CharactersCastle, along with Dancing with the Stars, remains one of the reasons I now am quite fond of Mondays. However, lately they seem to be withholding food from Beckett (Stana Katic). She's always been slim, but this season she's nothing but cheekbones. Every time I see her, I want to give her a sandwich. Castle (Nathan Filion), on the other hand, seems to have "bulked up" - perhaps every pound she's lost gets moved to him? Moderation, show!
Glamourize Your Female Characters out of Proportion to…

World Arthritis Day: Awareness, Building Bridges & an Exciting Announcement

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 Today is World Arthritis Day and this is what I wrote for MyRACentral to celebrate:
""Arthritis? I have that, too. My knee acts up when the weather changes.""Arthritis? But that's for old people!""Rheumatoid arthritis? It's such a tragedy you won't be able to pursue your dreams."
We face misconceptions about rheumatoid arthritis every day. Very few people know what it is, confusing it with osteoarthritis, often shrugging off the effects. When someone does know a little about rheumatoid arthritis, it’s usually accompanied by a soundtrack of doom, expecting you to spend the rest of your life being tragic with a capital T.
These misconceptions have an impact beyond the daily frustration of having to educate someone yet again. The misunderstandings about RA carry a stigma that affects how we live our lives. Some have to hide their diagnosis from fear of losing their career and with good reason - many people with RA face discrimination at wo…

How Lucky Are You?

Sometime in the last month or so, I read some suggestions for writing exercises somewhere and this one struck me. Or maybe it was from Katie Couric’s book, I forget. Point is less about where I found it than the question itself:
How lucky are you?
Nifty question, innit? Since yesterday wasThanksgiving here in the not-so-frozen north it’s a natural one to post about.
I think I'm very lucky. I look around at my life and feel grateful for all that’s in it. I'm lucky that I have a wonderful family and am friends, genuine friends, with my mother and my sister. I am lucky that my family includes a number of chosen family members, such as John, Ken and Michele and her kids. I’m lucky that I get to be moster/aunt to two beautiful kids named Liam and Morgan. I’m lucky that I’ve found the love of my life and lucky that he’s head over heels with me, too. And the cat’s a pretty lucky find, too - her sweet goofiness makes me laugh every day.
I'm lucky where I live because Toronto has …

The Best Advice You Ever Got

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I'm reading The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric. She asked a plethora of well-known people from entertainment, industry, philanthropy, sports, politics and everything in between to tell her what was the best advice they ever got. It's a terrific compilation of nudges, comfort and encouragement. It's good if you're not sure where you're going, have a choice to make, feel disconnected from your dreams or need some motivation in the middle of a hard slog. Get the regular book version, though. The narration is terrible. Entirely too many people e-nun-ci-a-ting as if they're speaking to the dimwitted.


Anyway, I decided to do my own little version of it. I'll go first.


My parents always told me to do my best and celebrated my results. When I got a D (as tended to happen in anything math-related - all those years of hospital school weren't really conducive to understanding that field), they asked me if I'd done my …

CN Train

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An Open Letter to Dr. Phil

Dear Dr. Phil,

Late last week, there was a bit of a kerfuffle on Twitter about a statement on your website. In the summary of the show Saving Alex, youare quoted as stating that as a consequence of being obese, Alex may develop "medical complications … including rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and heart attack."
Rheumatoid arthritis is not a medical complication of being obese. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand - the "wear and tear" arthritis - can be. RA is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks itself, causing a chronic inflammation in synovial tissue and erosion of the cartilage that cushions the surfaces of joints. We don't know what causes the immune response that triggers rheumatoid arthritis, although there are some indications that smoking, periodontal disease and a certain type of bacteria in the gut may be involved. It affects 1% of the population, women three times more often than men. In the last 12 years, the Biologic m…