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Showing posts from October, 2012

Domino Effect

About 10 days ago, I had a bit of a wonky transfer. The person helping me to get from my bed to the chair put her foot half an inch closer to me than it should have been, blocking my left leg from moving and my left ankle twisted.
These things happen.
My left leg is my stronger leg. When I was 16, I had a synevectomythe in my left knee, which subsequently fused. It wasn't supposed to, but it was a good thing. A fused joint has more stability and blessedly, no pain. It means my left leg sticks out straight, but it's stable, strong, and not subject to the vagaries of RA.
The ankle, however, is not fused. And it didn't like the twist. Thanks to Humira, the sprain. I've been "enjoying" in the last 10 days was a light one, not the colorfully-bruised-and-swollen-extravaganza-lasting-well-over-six-weeks I’ve experienced in the past after an injury. Nonetheless, it hurt and when one area hurts, the rest of the body follows like so:
Normally, my left foot is pressed firml…

Flame in the Middle

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Muffin: She Came, She Saw, She Conquered

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For a while now, I have gently nagged encouraged my mother to consider getting a cat. She (metaphorically) put all four paws in the ground, wasn't sure she was up for having another animal, didn't know if she could take care of it, blah, blah, blah. Then a friend of hers came stay for a day, bringing along her own cat and my mother was sold. Over the next several weeks, we spend an inordinate amount of time on the adoption area of the Toronto Humane Society website (be careful – clicking on that link may cause cat fever). Although we looked at an awful lot of very cute cats, none of them really jumped out at her.
And then one day, we saw this face


And my mother knew. This was the one. We promptly sent The Boy and his sister – good sports, both - to visit the Victoria Park storefront and they came back with a positive report. Muffin, as the wee beastie was called - named by her past owner, who had died - was good-natured, calm and tolerated getting mangled, although she didn'…

User's Choice Awards

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The Arthritis Foundation is currently accepting nominations for their User's Choice Awards. These awards will be giving out to products and services that work well for people living with arthritis.Categories include cell phone, weight management, car, hotel, health plan and so on.

Nominations are open until Sunday, October 21, so hop on over and nominate your choices!


When the Money Runs Out: Chronic Illness and Bankruptcy

This month, HealthCentral writers are doing posts about the cost of illness and staying healthy. Earlier this year, I did a consumer proposal to deal with my debt, so the natural topic for me was medical bankruptcy and its alternatives:

"Six months ago, I faced reality: my debt had become unmanageable. Having a chronic illness and disability is expensive – some of my meds are covered, but some aren’t and don't get me started on how expensive it is to repair a power wheelchair. After years of juggling my finances, all the balls were crashing to the floor. Paying bills made me queasy, I was paying one credit card with another and running out of money in the middle of the month, which meant using credit to buy food. There was nothing for it. I made the call to a credit counselor to explore my options.

There is a lot of judgment about declaring bankruptcy, both from yourself and others. It feels shameful, as if you failed in the basic task of being an adult. As if you'…

Real RA: Blood Tests of Perspective

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RA isn't just about inflammation and your joints. RA is a systemic disease, also affecting muscles, organs and other systems in your body. The first time I learned about that was when I was 12 when it tried to kill me by attacking my heart and liver.
The reason there has historically been a mortality gap between people with RA and those without has a lot to do with the impact of the disease on your heart. So since I'm now officially middle-aged, my rheumatologist and I thought it would be a good idea to start keeping an eye on those potential systemic effects. Which is a long-winded way of saying that my family doctor arranged for some blood tests, including my CRP (an inflammation marker) and my cholesterol. Last Tuesday I went to get my shot and inquire about the results of the blood tests while I was there. She looks through them and I ask how my CRP is.
"Hmm…” She says, sounding a bit surprised."What is it?" I ask."52.""What's it supposed …

Waving for World Arthritis Day

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Today is World Arthritis Day. One of their nifty activities is the awareness campaign Wave for World Arthritis Day. The idea is beautifully simple, something everyone can do: take a photo or video of yourself and family and friends waving and submit it to the World Arthritis Day website. 

So that's what we did after the Thanksgiving lunch last weekend (or, as Ken called it, Tinksgiving)

Photo by The Boy's boy
Why don't you join us? Wave for World Arthritis Day and let us know in the comments when you've uploaded your pic.

World Arthritis Day: Global Awareness and You

Tomorrow is World Arthritis Day and all sorts of cools things are happening. I wrote about some of them on HealthCentral:

"You are not alone. All over the world, millions of people live with arthritis. This Friday, October 12, is World Arthritis Day – a time for all of us to get together and make our voices heard.

An Introduction to World Arthritis Day
World Arthritis Day is celebrated every year on October 12. It was created in 1996 as an awareness initiative by PARE, the Standing Committee of People with Arthritis/Rheumatism in Europe, the patient voice in EULAR (the European League Against Rheumatism).

World Arthritis Day has three goals: to raise awareness of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, to influence public policy to improve the lives of people with such conditions and to make sure that those who need it are aware of the support networks available. To reach these goals, organizations in more than 50 countries work together with EULAR and PARE to create a v…

Join the Show Us Your Hands! Board!

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Show Us Your Hands! is moving to the next level. We are beginning the process of becoming an official nonprofit charity organization in order to continue organizing creative community projects and awareness campaigns aimed at increasing public understanding of inflammatory arthritis. This means we need to grow our Board of Directors.

This is where you come in!

As a member of the Show Us Your Hands! Board of Directors, your responsibilities would include:
defining our Mission and ensuring we stay on course, developing an annual plan and managing programs to accomplish our Mission, implementing and maintaining transparent financial systems, budgets and accounting controls, supporting and engaging in fundraising efforts, internal board management, such as electing officers and replacing outgoing Directors, establishing and overseeing special-issues committees (e.g., community outreach, volunteers, awareness programs, special events), and helping promote Show Us Your Hands! and its …

The Time of My Life

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Ah… The bliss of long weekends. Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and although I never really got into the habit of eating turkey, I do like the part where you remember about gratitude.
I was talking to my naturopath the other day about stress, its physical manifestations and ways to manage that. I talked about being overcommitted - it's something I started recently, this talking about the madness that is my list of commitments in the hope that admitting I have a problem will be the first step in solving it. We went through the various things on my list and most of them are interesting and meaningful - like for instance Show Is Your Hands! and by the way, have you seen our new website? It's beautiful.
And that's when I realized something enough to say out loud to another human being. I'm having a blast. I don't remember another time in my life that was so completely about the joy of doing wonderful, useful things and having the energy and ability to (mostly) do them.
And…

La Lune et Les Moutons

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Nuit Blanche, the annual night-time art extravaganza, was last Saturday. I haven't gone before because it's the last weekend in September and and that usually means it's cold, but there was this sheep thing down the street....

So we wandered out under the full Harvest Moon, headed to see Transhumance by Corpus. Originally based on their piece of performance art called Les Moutons, this included a number of community members and was the biggest flock of human sheep they'd ever had.


I know you're wondering about the sheep thing, but we're getting to it. When you get a chance, check out the links above, as well as this one. Watch the videos. You won't regret it.

So, it's like this… the people who originally put this together spent quite some time studying sheep and shepherds in Europe. Then they made costumes, put people in them and told a story through it. If it sounds demented, it's because it is, but it is also effective and touching and surreal and am…

Generational Dissonance

The automatic door opener on my apartment's front door decided to become processed this weekend. Perhaps it is Regan being a bad influence. Regardless of cause, the thing started opening the door repeatedly without provocation or encouragement from me.
This was a tad unnerving. It was also extremely frustrating, as this is the mechanism that was repaired to the tune of $1000 a month ago.
I turned it off - blessedly, there is a key that can turn off the mechanism - and called first thing Monday morning for a repair. Within a few hours, a service guy appeared accompanied by a young man who was maybe 19 or so. It turns out it was service guy’s son who is following in his father's footsteps, apprenticing to learn to fix automatic doors. From my point of view, a most laudable career goal.
They tinkered around for a while, replacing the strike - the doohickey that lets go of the latch to open the door when a button is pushed - and looking at the wiring in the box above my door. Suddenl…