Showing posts from February, 2013

Blog Tour Kick-Off!

I'm happy to announce that my blog tour kicked off today! What's a blog tour, you ask? It's a book tour where you don't have to put on makeup or even leave your home! My lovely friend Cathy at The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo agreed to host the first stop on the tour and to hold my hand through the jitters. She asked some fantastic questions about RA meds, alternative treatments and sex. We also included a giveaway of two copies of the book. Hop on over to Cathy's blog to read the review and Q&A and enter in the giveaway,      


Hope. It's a very big part of Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's something I mentioned specifically in many of the chapters in the first book, Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain . More than that, though, finding a way to connect to hope is the driving force behind the series. The dictionary defines hope as "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best." Over my decades of living with RA, through good times and bad times — and really bad times — a belief has quietly and steadily grown within me. It is the belief that hope is central to living with this disease. When you spend every day with this cantankerous companion called RA, it can be difficult not to get pulled down into the darkness. Sometimes, it's pain that drags you down, other times it is being overwhelmed by medication and medical issues. During the good times, the spectre of a flare can hang over your head like the other sho

Reinventing Yourself with RA

This week on HealthCentral, I riff on how Ra can prompt your to seek renewal and reinventing yourself: "RA can be a gift. When I say that, people usually look at me as if I've grown another head. How can this chronic autoimmune disease that frequently and randomly takes over your life be a positive thing? Sure, it isn't always all rainbows and unicorns — sometimes it's like being perpetually rained on and speared by that unicorn's horn. But RA doesn't just take, it also gives. And one of its gifts is the opportunity to reinvent yourself. The moment you receive a diagnosis of RA, you are no longer the person you were. Now you go through life with a chronic illness that requires medication, coddling and juggling a host of challenges. Sometimes, these challenges sideline you for a while and sometimes, they mean changing your life completely. Living with RA forces you to reevaluate your life, both physically and emotionally and that can be a g

Family Day Tinks

In between this past weekend's madness of getting The Book ready to launch , we had a wonderful respite in the form of a Tink visit. There's nothing like two 7-year-olds to blow stress and lists out of your mind and just focus on the present. We went for lunch at a local pub.While waiting for the food, the kids mauled Janne Morgan and I shared some confidential information Photo by Janne/Tink/Mama Liam showed off a Blob Fish  While Janne and Morgan looked on Eventually, the kids' got tired of waiting for the food and started gnawing on each other After lunch, we went back to my mother's place and the kids mauled The Boy. Here Morgan's trying to hear if the wind from the small fan moves through David's head from one ear to the other Practising for the trapeze   And Liam investigates the fan in more detail   

Meet the Book

Three years ago, I finally went public with a dream . In so doing, I trusted the meds enough, trusted fate, the universe and/or various divinities enough that I could start making a long-term plan. The dream was to have a book with my name on it. And today, I do . After a gestation period longer than an elephant’s, my baby is finally ready to see the day. To meet you. To meet the world and see what the world says. That part is a bit nerve-racking.  Well, to be honest, all of it is more than a bit nerve-racking. There’s a really big difference between sitting quietly at my desk dictating words into a document and then putting it all together and offering it up for sale on Amazon .  Nonetheless, that’s what I’ve done. It also has a beautiful new website .  Three years ago, the idea started out as a book about how to live well with rheumatoid arthritis. Because having RA is about so much more than a physical disease. As is the case with so many oth

Happy Valentine's Day!


Anger Has a Place, But So Does Joy

A while back, Laurie suggested that I watch Pink Ribbons, Inc. and it's been on my list of movies to buy. It turns out that sometimes, when you lollygag long enough, really good things happen. Last week, she posted this news : The National Film Board of Canada is currently offering the movie as a free download . All you have to do is answer a short survey before the download and after watching the movie. So naturally, I signed up. And it is an amazing movie. One that will open your mind, make you think and quite likely change how you act. After watching it, I called to tell my mother about it, hoping to encourage her to watch it herself. I was so revved up that I went on at some length and subsequently, she may not have to watch it after all. A-hem. She asked me if I felt sick inside, because that's so often the reaction to documentaries, isn't it? I told her that I didn't, because Pink Ribbons, Inc. manages to do that rare thing of making you angry and at the

A Learning Experience

Last Monday, the stairwell next my apartment got painted. I have massive problems with paint fumes — it triggers my asthma in about two nanoseconds. I have an arrangement with my landlord that involves advance notice (so I can plan to be elsewhere), taping up the door to painted areas, etc., but through a farcical chain of events, the painting was a surprise to all. Compounding the issue is the fact that the fresh air exchange in the public hallways of my building is currently not working. Thanks to this, I learned something. Paint fumes make me stupid. Not like fibro or RA fuzzy brain. Paint-induced stupidity is far more profound, which was a surprise to me as I thought fibro/RA fog was about as uncooperative as my brain could get. I had no idea. I spent last week in some sort of strange fugue state, where I couldn't focus, my concentration was nonexistent, I was vaguely aphasic both in speech and writing, everything was blurry and it felt like my eyes were moving ind

Pain, Touch and RA

This month on HealthCentral, we're writing about relationships. My contribution is a post on the importance of touch and what you can do to meet your need for physical contact when you hurt (yes, that includes sex): "Touch. We know it's important to babies and children, but once we are grown, we pay less attention to it. Nonetheless, it's still important to our daily lives and mental health. The skin is our largest sense organ and touch has evolved as a medium of communication for humans. Your skin tells you if it's hot or cold, humid or dry. Your skin is involved in greeting strangers with a handshake, interacting with your family and connecting to your spouse or partner. And then RA comes along and touching falls by the wayside. You hurt and are afraid that that physical intimacy — hugs, touch, sex — will hurt and the people who love you are afraid that their touch will make things worse for you. Before you know it, this essential way to nourish you

Book Review: Rather Outspoken

The news matters. This is the central tenet that runs throughout Dan Rather's Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News . Woven through stories of 60 years working in the news, Rather has written a passionate argument for keeping the news independent and unbiased. And then he tells you why this is an important topic, but does so in such an interesting and entertaining way that you don't notice you're learning something crucial. The book starts with his version of the events that led to him leaving CBS news. Namely, the reporting about Abu Ghraib and his report about George W. Bush's time serving — or, more to the point, not serving — in the Air National Guard. These are the stories that put corporate interests right up against reporting the truth and the truth lost. Rather offers up his side of the story and even if you subtract some of it to account for personal bias, it's a doozy. If you assume that just half of it is true — allowing for an exaggerated am