Ever feel like you’re just a cog in the huge machine of medicine? Read my post at RheumatoidArthritis.net: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/third-person-patient/.
I use this blog to whine a lot, so I thought I would also use it to brag a bit. Over the weekend, I crossed the 25-pound weight loss mark. While I still have a way to go, this is the least I’ve weighed since 2004.
Based on the gradual weight loss I’ve experienced, I expect it will take the rest of the year for me to get down to my goal weight. But I didn’t put all this weight on overnight, so I know I’m not taking it off overnight either.
When I hit the 20-lb mark at the end of March, I did a post at RheumatoidArthritis.net that talked about the decision and the process. If you’re interested, you can read it here: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/weighty-matters/.
Thanks for let me brag on myself and thanks for checking in.
Quite a mouthful, huh? My left calf muscle is contracted which prevents my foot from flexing correctly which means I don’t walk correctly and also have pain in the calf and ankle.
You can read a more detailed discussion of the procedure here, but basically the surgeon makes small incisions in the Achilles tendon which then heals in a lengthened state. As part of the surgery, I’m having a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection into the tendon. This kind of therapy has been shown to benefit healing in tendon injuries and repairs. They will spin down some of my blood, extract the platelets from it, mix them with some of my plasma and inject this into the tendon.
Then it’s a few weeks in a boot and six weeks of physical therapy and hopefully we’ll have solved another problem. 🙂
I’ve done the steroid injections, the physical therapy, wearing a split to sleep in at night, putting a lift in my shoe, stretching exercises and every other conservative treatment that might work with little to no result.
I’ve got about a month to get ready for the surgery which is scheduled close to the end of June. Of course, having RA, I have to coordinate my treatments and medications to make sure I don’t cause healing or infection issues.
There’s no way to really determine what causes this. It’s probably more related to wearing 3″ heels for decades than anything to do with RA. But RA certainly doesn’t make things easier.
I want to thank Kim for her detailed posts at http://si-instability.com/my-endoscopic-gastroc-soleus-recession-surgery/ which gave me some great first-person insights as to what to expect during surgery and recovery. Finding this kind of information written by patients helped me when I was first diagnosed and went through hip replacement surgery and inspired me to start this blog in the hope of paying it forward.
I hope whatever surprises your calendar holds are happy ones! Thanks for checking in.
We’ve officially been back from the UK for two weeks and now that my time zones are finally back in sync, I thought I ought to post about the trip. First of all it was a great vacation but it took a lot out of us physically. My husband and I are finally at the point that this is probably the last big European vacation we’ll take. (We have a small trip scheduled for Thanksgiving, but would probably cancel that if it wasn’t so costly to do so.) After this, I think you’ll find us staying on this side of the pond and laying on the beach.
We flew over on our 20th wedding anniversary. Our first stop was London where we basically took a two-night breather before heading on to Edinburgh, Scotland. Last year we went directly through London on to Florence, Italy and it almost did us in. We learned that lesson well. This year, we built in some strategic “rest” days throughout the trip.
After the initial “landing” in London, we took the train up to Edinburgh. Travel by train is so much easier than dealing with airports and planes and it gave us the opportunity to see some of the UK countryside that we hadn’t visited before.
The weather was great and once we got out of the London area into the countryside, the landscape
was dotted with sheep. There were mother ewes, still fat in their winter covering of wool, along with scores of frolicking baby lambs. The land got more hilly the further north we traveled.
In Edinburgh, we stayed in a newly developed area called the Quarter Mile. Along with our hotel, it is filled with restaurants and shops and is close to both the University and one of the major parks in the city. Close by is Greyfriar’s Kirk, where Greyfriar’s Bobby is buried.
Edinburgh is fairly compact and even though we were close to easy bus routes, it was also only a 20-minute walk to the center of town which is filled with amazing history and culture.
Edinburgh is amazingly hilly and steep. We planned more than one excursion based on whether we were going uphill or downhill. The wonderful, hardy Scots didn’t seem to have any problems negotiating the terrain, but we old, fat Americans huffed and puffed our way through our visit.
Midway through our stay in Edinburgh, we took the train to Glasgow for the day. You don’t notice it so much in Edinburgh, but once outside the area, you realize that Scotland really is a different country. Signs, like this one at a train station, start showing up in the native language. I don’t completely understand the differences between Gaelic, Scottish, and Celtic, so I won’t try to explain. If you live there, you understand. 🙂
After five days in Edinburgh, we flew back to London for the rest of our vacation.
We stayed in the wonderful St. Ermin’s hotel where we stayed last year. It’s convenient to everything and the hotel and staff are lovely.
To us, London is a lot like coming home. We ate at some of our favorite restaurants and visited some of our favorite sites. We took in a couple of photography exhibitions — one at the Natural History Museum and one at the Somerset House on the Strand.
The real highlight of the trip, was getting to meet the great Pollyanna Penguin. Polly, an RA advocate in the UK, has chronicled this meeting much better than I could do here. We took a train up to Norwich, a town close to her, and she met us for lunch and a walk through the market. It’s amazing how much we have in common across the pond, but how different things are due to National Healthcare vs. health insurance.
If there were any disappointments, it was that we didn’t make the day trip to Brussels we had planned. Brussels is only a two-hour train trip from London, but due to the recent terrorist attacks, we opted to skip that trip. It was a good thing because I took the day as a “rest” day, which I badly needed. There were days on the trip where I walked almost six miles. My joints aren’t used to that kind of activity and I was really feeling the extra stress even with my traveling companions, prednisone and Voltaren gel.
It was a wonderful, wonderful two-week trip. If it’s going to be our last to the UK, then it was a great one to go out on. And while it was filled with enjoyment and adventures, it was also a real wake-up call about the state of my RA. While I make it through my day-to-day life, I seem to have gone from “absolutely will” to “probably not” when considering many of the more strenuous things I used to do. All that being said, I’m glad I got to do them when I was able.
I hope whatever adventures you’ve had in your life have been amazing. Thanks for checking in.
I’m going to be offline for a bit (more about this below), but in my absence the folks over at Creaky Joints/Joint Decisions team have some great things going on, so be sure and check these out:
- #JointDecisions Twitter Chat #1 – Next Tuesday, April 19, 6 p.m. ET: “Balancing RA and Your Social Life: How to Strengthen Your Relationships In Person & Online,” moderated by @CreakyJoints and featuring Amanda John (@AllFlaredUp) and Wren Vandever (@RheumaBlog_Wren)
- Facebook Chat #1 – Tuesday, April 26, 2 p.m. ET: “Raising a Family While Living with RA,” featuring Mariah Leach (From This Point. Forward.)
- #JointDecisions Twitter Chat #2 – Tuesday, May 10, 6 p.m. ET: “Helping Others Help You: Communicating with Caregivers and Loved Ones”
- #JointDecisions Twitter Chat #3 – Tuesday, June 14, 6 p.m. ET: “Traveling with RA: How to Stay on Track Packing, Planning & Preparing,” moderated by @CreakyJoints and featuring Eduardo Flores (@RA_Guy) and Dina Neils (@titaniumtri)
To participate in the Twitter chats, remember to use the #JointDecisions hashtag and follow the co-hosts. To join the Facebook chat, visit the Joint Decisions page at the designated time and respond to chat questions by sharing your thoughts in the post’s Comment section.
As far as my being offline, as reported earlier, I leave tomorrow to participate in the 2016 HealtheVoices conference in Chicago where I will be joining some of my BFF’s from the RA blogosphere along with some wonderful new friends that represent a wide spectrum of chronic illnesses. *
Immediately after my return, I’m off on a bit of a vacation with my husband to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I may be able to do a random post or two, but no promises until May!
Thanks for checking in.
*Janssen Global Services is paying for my travel expenses for the HealtheVoices conference. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
I think one of the best things that has come from writing this blog is the connection to other patients and bloggers. It has really underscored for me that today, more than ever before, the patient’s voice is being heard. I am also regularly overwhelmed about the commonality that those of us with a chronic condition share. It doesn’t seem to matter whether we have RA or diabetes or Hepatitis-C or what — so many of the challenges (and victories!) are the same.
I therefore count it as a wonderful privilege that next week I am once again able to attend the HealtheVoices conference that brings together bloggers and social media advocates from a wide range of backgrounds and who represent a multitude of chronic conditions. A major focus of the conference is to help us make the most of our patient/advocate voices and help us leverage these platforms to not only tell our individual stories but to better reach those who need to hear them. Of course, I also go to renew the wonderful friendships I have been able to make.
This conference is made possible through corporate sponsorship — sponsors who believe the patient should be a voice in the healthcare landscape. So I thank them for their vision in providing this conference and for the personal support they provide to make it possible for me to attend. Janssen Global Services is paying for my travel expenses for the conference. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
I received this because I am a member of Creaky Joints, but it is an important subject for anyone who is now or may in the future receive an infusion. I apologize that it didn’t copy very well from the email, but the link should take you to the site. If you agree after reading the information, I urge you to sign the petition.
I wasn’t sure what to title this post, but it’s prompted by the terrible terrorist attack in Brussels yesterday. The fact that my husband and I are scheduled to be in Brussels in a few weeks on vacation didn’t help the “Oh, my God!” feeling the scenes from Brussels evoked.
It seems like many things in life, our vigilance/worry about today’s terrorist environment ebbs and flows. An attack, be it the World Trade Center with thousands of casualties or Brussels with many fewer, galvanizes us and makes us more diligent — for a while. Then life, at least in the U.S., goes on and we get distracted with work and family and holidays and daily life which doesn’t include being blown up by suicide bombers. And the threat of terrorism gets banished to a remote corner of our consciousness (again).
As I live in Dallas, yesterday, interspersed with television coverage from Brussels, were interviews from DFW Airport — one of the nation’s busiest airports and therefore no doubt a prime target. I also reminded myself that I live within a close radius of George W. and Laura Bush. (His neighborhood is much more posh than mine, but close by, nonetheless.) I also travel frequently to Las Vegas and regularly to European capitals as well as other major U.S. cities including Washington, D.C. My chances of being involved in a terrorist incident are greater than the average bear’s. (But hopefully not as great as my nephew who was attending a meeting on 9/11 at the World Trade Center Marriott hotel and barely escaped literally with just the clothes on his back. I worked in investor relations at the time and knew hundreds of people who didn’t make it.)
The news coming out of Brussels was bad enough, but it was certainly exacerbated by all the rhetoric coming out of our presidential candidates. I would almost the candidates say nothing than have them open their mouths and confirm the fact that they don’t have a clue on how to address the situation.
I don’t know the answer or probably even how to effect one if I did know. I have a few (what I think are good) ideas. They don’t include wholesale condemnation of a religious group or ethnic population. They do include more diligence and a more aggressive stance as well as greater participation by other countries.
But on a personal level, we have to be more individually diligent. For me, I need to relook at my priorities when it comes to travel and other activities. I had someone ask me today whether we were going to keep our reservations to Brussels (which is a day trip out of a longer vacation). The answer is, I don’t know. Like New York after 9/11, Brussels is going to be the safest place in Europe for a while. I just don’t know if I want to come face-to-face with the aftermath of the attacks.
I hope that you were not personally affected by the Brussels situation. If you were, I am sorry. And I am sorry for anyone who thinks that blowing up defenseless, innocent bystanders is the answer to anything. It’s simply an act of cowardice.
Thanks for checking in.
Stress is bad for you and really bad if you have a chronic disease. Interestingly, the link between stress and failed resolutions is pretty strong. The folks at Mango Health asked me to provide some tips for keeping on track with resolutions. With spring being a perfect time for renewing those resolutions you made at the first of the year, I hope these will help you out. The article can be found on the Mango Health site and on their Facebook page:
My friend and fellow blogger, Wren, has written an excellent, factual article about this important topic. Please find it here: