Showing posts from September, 2017

Five Tips for Better Mental Health with Rheumatoid Arthritis

How do you push back against the sadness, worry, and frustration of living with RA? That’s the first prompt in the 2017 #RABlog Week and today, I’ll share what works for me. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other chronic illnesses aren’t just physical, they affect your mental health, as well. For instance, approximately one third of people with RA have experienced depression, some so severe that they have thought of suicide. Having RA batters at your body, your mind, and your soul as you fight fatigue and pain and the stress of trying to push through it all to live as normal a life as possible. Many of us, even if not officially diagnosed with depression, experience awareness of what we have lost, anger, frustration, sadness, and worries about the future. I’ve felt all of those, in the distant and recent past both, and likely will again. For most of my life, I was stuck in a really difficult place where everything I did was tinged with sadness. Then that big flare ha

Tips for Wheelchair Travel

I have always loved travelling, still do even though I can't do so at the moment. But when you use a wheelchair, travelling can have some extra challenges. In my new article for HealthCentral, I share tips to make wheelchair travel easier . Which includes photos from some of my travels! "Having physical limitations does not have to prevent you from seeing the world. Whether you use a wheelchair full time or have one for backup and going for longer distances, travelling is not only possible — it’s also fun. I’ve used a wheelchair since I was 16 years old and in it, I have visited several countries in Europe, Romania when it was under communist rule, Las Vegas and California, both coasts of Canada, and more. I’ve seen the ocean, the mountains, and the desert, been to cities and the countryside. Every trip was an adventure and I treasure the memories. That said, once you add the extra coordinating required for mobility equipment,

The Invisibility of Pain: The New Ontario Opioid Strategy

Sometimes, sharing the chronic pain voice and perspective on opioids feels like shouting into a gale. But you have to keep trying. Thank you so much to the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance for the great work they do and for hosting my article about the n ew Ontario Opioid Strategy and the missing missing voices of people who have chronic pain therein: "Ontario has a new opioid strategy and it’s missing the voices of Ontarians who live with chronic pain. One in five Canadians have chronic pain. The cost of chronic pain is more than the combined cost of cancer, HIV and heart disease. Direct healthcare for those who live with pain exceed 6 billion annually, and lost productivity is $37 billion. For many who live with chronic pain, opioids are an important part of their pain management program. Without these types of medications, so many of us would be unable to function and participate in our families, communities, and work. “I was struggling with the pain of u

Too Much Work and a Pile of Books

via GIPHY In the past few months, I’ve gotten really good at limiting how much I was doing. This was after I had to take time off for the second time in six months to cater to a body that didn’t like my stress levels. I’ve learned that when you have PTSD , there is a certain level of constant stress in your body. No really, Lene? Well, some days are blonder than others … What I didn’t realize was that my normal levels of activity — work, medical appointments, meetings, volunteering, spending time with friends and family – together added up to a certain level of stress (even good stress is stress). Under normal circumstances, it was something I could handle. But now that PTSD is underneath it all, my normal routine puts me past the limit of what my body can deal with. Which means I had to reduce my normal routine or my body would make me sorry. Interesting, isn’t it? And then September happened and all that went out the window. I’ve been writing a fair bit,

Michael Kuvula & CreakyJoints Team Up to Spread Awareness About RA Through Fashion

This was one of the most fun interviews I've done in a while. Michael Kuluva premiered his 2018 Spring/Summer Tumbler & Tipsy collection at New York Fashion Week last Wednesday. And I got to interview him and get a preview of the collection! In a video! I also talk to Seth Ginsberg of CreakyJoints, the official sponsor of the show. I can't pop the video into this post, but I promise it will be worth your while (I want that jacket!): "Lene Andersen gives us a peek into fashion designer Michael Kuvula’s 2018 fashion line, debuting at the fall 2017 New York Fashion Week—and talks about how he’s continuing to use his fashion platform to spread awareness about RA. CreakyJoints president Seth Ginsberg also shares why they’re happy to support Kuvula, and how he’s a shining example of pushing past your chronic illness to do big things in life." You can also read the accompanying article where Michael talks about his fashion line, Tumbler and T