Sunday Break

Because there is no such thing as taking too many breaks!

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Lily

At eleven years old, Lily is the oldest of our three dogs (and is definitely the top dog). She is a Cairn Terrier, and will always be my first dog. I got Lily when I was in my last year of graduate school. I will never forget running into the superintendent of the building we lived in as we were going out for a walk (pets were not allowed the Harvard-owned apartment in which we lived). “Oh, don’t be worried” he said, “I figure that if you are responsible enough to go to grad school here that you are responsible enough to know how to take care of a dog.” Saved! Often when I am working at my desk, Lily begs to get up on the chair next to me. Once she does, she will lay down and spend hours by my side. (In fact, as I type right now, she’s by my side.)

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Yesterday was a really good day – one of my best days in weeks, in regards to pain. (Although it was by no means pain-free…just before I went to sleep, my right wrist and hand swelled up considerably.) I did some yoga late-morning. It was nice to once again be stretching and moving around without too much pain in my ankles and feet. Instead of fretting about how long this period might last, I will just accept if for however long or short it lasts…and enjoy it!

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No brunch today, but we are having family over for lunch. We will be serving Surubi (a type of large tiger catfish common in parts of South America) served with a side of mashed potatoes and a salad.

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With the Fall television season back in swing, the season passes on my Tivo have been updated recently. In: The Office, Parks and Recreation, Top Chef, Project Runway, and The Amazing Race. Out: Community (couldn’t even get through the entire first episode). Anxiously awaiting: Ugly Betty (October 16th).

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Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

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Actress Camryn Manheim & RA

Winning a Battle Against Pain

GHOST WHISPERERTeaching sign language in her son Milo’s preschool class last year, Camryn Manheim felt a sharp pain in her left hand as she tried to form a word to a favorite tune. “We were singing ‘Old Mac-Donald had a farm/ E-I-E-I—ouch!’ ” she recalls. Manheim, who played attorney Ellenor Frutt in The Practice from 1997 to 2004, went to several doctors to find out what was causing the stiffness and pain in her hands. After eight months of searching, she got a surprising answer: At 44, Manheim had rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that affects about 2 million people—70 percent of them women. Finding relief through twice-weekly injections, Manheim, who lives with 4-year-old Milo in Venice, Calif., is once again swimming and Rollerblading—and hoping to help others receive a faster diagnosis than she did.

About a year and a half ago, I just wasn’t feeling myself. I was feeling aches and pains in my hands, which was upsetting to me because I’m a sign-language interpreter—I use my hands all the time. I could hold a pen or a cup of coffee, but it was difficult. I was starting to feel fatigued too. I had to have somebody run alongside Milo when he was learning to ride his bicycle without training wheels. I had somebody else in the pool with him. I had somebody else doing hula hoop with him. That’s not the kind of mother I wanted to be. I don’t know that he could tell I couldn’t be there for him as much as I would have liked—certainly not in a way that he could express. But it was clear to me and that made me sad. [...]

Her doctor then prescribed steroids.

Immediately I felt some relief because they are an anti-inflammatory. But as soon as I would go off them the swelling and the pain would return. [...]

Finally, in May, she got a referral to a rheumatologist.

So I get there and he’s like, “Put the gown on.” And I said, “Why do I have to wear a gown? It’s my hands that hurt.” And I’m thinking to myself I didn’t even wear nice underwear that day. He did blood and bone density tests and took X-rays. When he told me it was rheumatoid arthritis I said that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m too young. Well, I learned I was mistaken.

Full Article: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20144746,00.html.

More Info: http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/news/0510/104.htm.

Camyrn Manheim has always been one of my favorite actresses – even though she went public years ago about the fact that she lives with rheumatoid arthritis, I found this out only yesterday.

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Can I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus?

Is there an association between rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)? Can someone have both diseases or must he or she be diagnosed with only one? What are the challenges in addressing these questions and more?

Read More: http://www.healthcentral.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/c/72218/87314/lupus.
Read More: http://brassandivory.blogspot.com/2009/10/ra-and-lupus.html.

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Before/During/After: Helpful Hints From A Girl With New Knees

I try to remember all of the things I promised to follow-up on. One of them is sharing the things I learned along this journey, specifically related to the medical treatment of getting total knee replacements. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but they’re the most important points I am still thinking about at almost five weeks post-surgery.

Read More: http://newkneesforlisa.blogspot.com/2009/10/beforeduringafter-helpful-hints-from.html.

Lisa, what a great resource – thank you for putting this together!

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Superhero Arthritis Gloves

What’s a superhero supposed to do when his hands are hurting, but he can’t just drop everything he is doing in order to give them a rest? Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy pulls out and puts on his pair of Thermoskin Arthritis Gloves!

I don’t know if it is the slight compression or the warmth that is generated by wearing these gloves – or a combination of these two items – but I generally begin to feel some slight relief just minutes after putting on my gloves. One of the nice things about these gloves is that the material is thin and comfortable. This allows me to wear them for extended periods of time, and to continue to do what I normally do with ease.

And when they get dirty, we just wash them in the bathroom sink and hang them out to dry…within minutes, they are ready to wear again.

The one thing that I did not like – initially – about these gloves is that they have a slightly shiny scaly texture. It’s not too noticeable, but noticeable enough. In a way they look like something a superhero would wear…so I just remind myself of that, and continue to wear them with pride – whether I am in the privacy of my own house or out in public.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Thermoskin Arthritic GlovesThermoskin Arthritic Gloves

Specifically designed to relieve arthritic pain in the fingers and hand. Outer layer is textured to provide extra grip, while the trioxon lining alleviates skin irritation, allows skin to ventilate, and increases circulation. Velcro closure allows for ease of application. Sold in pairs. Latex free.

More Info: http://www.amazon.com/Thermoskin-Arthritic-Gloves-Black-Sold…

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

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