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So, with the improvement in my RA symptoms thanks to Xeljanz and then the diagnosis of atherosclerosis I’ve (once again) made the commitment to get more exercise. Frankly, there isn’t anything that’s wrong with me that wouldn’t be improved by exercise. I got off to a slow start due to the bronchitis and then a business trip to DC. I returned from the trip on a Thursday evening and on Friday morning, I got up and walked.

I have some wonderful walking shoes (Skechers Go Walk 2) but my knees, feet and ankles got really tired and sore. The next morning they were really, really sore. The obvious solution is to get the weight off my joints but still get my exercise, so I’ve moved my workouts to the pool. The health/fitness facility I use has an Olympic-sized pool that is kept to “arthritis” warmth and always has one or two lanes dedicated to walkers. My goal is at least three times a week, which I made last week (go me!) and have a good start on this week.

I’ve added more water to my diet as well. I’ve been increasingly concerned about all the information linking diet sodas to obesity. I don’t drink a lot of diet sodas — usually one in the morning for my “breakfast” drink. But then I’d switch to Diet Arizona Green Tea which I’d drink continually through the day until bedtime. That is an incredible amount of artificial sweetener to be pouring into my body on a daily basis. So starting last week I switched my morning soda for one cup of black coffee and water for the green tea. When I was at my healthiest this was my daily beverage routine, so I am hopeful that it will once again prove beneficial.

I can’t tell that I feel much different, but between the workouts and losing the artificial sweeteners, I lost two pounds last week (go me, again!).

As an update on the medication front, I haven’t been doing well. I was doing my happy dance about feeling so good on Xeljanz. My rheumy and I agreed that we could try cutting back the leflunomide/Arava back from 20mg/day to 10mg/day. I also had dropped the 7.5mg of Mobic/meloxicam that I’d been taking since switching to Xeljanz.

At first it was swollen, sore sausage fingers in the morning. Then my feet started complaining. Then it extended past morning. So after three weeks I added back in the Mobic. That didn’t have much impact so, this (the fourth) week I’ve gone back to the 20mg of leflunomide and (temporarily) the Mobic. The dosage and combination worked well earlier so I am hopeful that things will return to the “good” zone again. Just to help calm things down, I’m also doing a small Prednisone taper.

So that’s what’s up in my world these days. I hope whatever additions you’re making to your life are good ones. Thanks for checking in.