Archives for March 2018

March 20, 2018

The Fatigue of it all!

Long before I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis my life had already changed.  I dealt with the challenges and innumerable doctor’s visits in stride, always hoping that each definitive diagnosis and medication would return me to myself.  Well, that never happened until the correct diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, which came with a regimen of medications and a realization that life will never be the same!  These medications have side effects and the first one that reared its ugly head was the chronic fatigue that is part of the challenge that is rheumatoid arthritis.  

The loss of energy caused by chronic fatigue can be devastating.  When I first complained about the effects of chronic fatigue I was told to eat several small meals throughout the day to help keep energy levels up.  I was totally on board with this, but several meals morphed into many, and weight gain and fatigue were ever-present.  It’s funny how many lessons we learn in life that transcend into other areas of life.  Working with a dietitian these past three months I’ve learned to create tool boxes to address the challenges associated with eating nutritious meals, and now I’ve created a tool box of strategies to combat bouts of chronic fatigue.  The weather of late has caused flares and compromised daily schedules, therefore I now follow my newly formed tool box to help tolerate chronic fatigue flares, these are some of the things that have helped me when I’m struggling with fatigue.

 allow extra time to complete simple tasks and accept that some days you will be able to do more than other days     

balance how much I do with the amount of rest I need

exercise is helpful but I must be aware to not overdo it and pace myself accordingly

wear a mouth guard when I sleep

 avoid caffeine and sugar that may spike my energy level 

 avoid or limit stress if possible and keep a record of stress triggers to avoid

 stay positive

Sometimes it feels like a full-time job tracking and addressing my needs when chronic fatigue takes a hold on me.  The weather certainly causes an immense effect on how I feel and it becomes a need to prioritize what I to do versus what I’m able to do!  Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and an excess of six inches of snow is predicted to fall.  The past three weeks have been quite a rollercoaster of weather and today in anticipation of the storm to come the buffleheads were enjoying the mild weather and having a great day, I should follow suit!

 

 

 

March 13, 2018

March Stormin’ 2018

Three storms within the last 11 days!  It is incredibly beautiful, but individuals with rheumatoid arthritis will tell you, these days can be extremely difficult. Individuals with different forms of arthritis are known to predict the weather with joints acting up when a rainstorm is approaching or flares may occur for those with rheumatoid arthritis when a blizzard hits.  

At 4 am this morning when I awoke to a light dusting of snow in the driveway and the brushing of a tree against the side bedroom window, I knew why I awoke so early!  It was going to be a challenging day, considering my experience with previous storms. I knew I could weather this blizzard with the help of my tool box of bad weather necessities and my walks on the beach that loosen me up.

With the impending storm barreling through the northeast and the knowledge that many with arthritic issues may be having a rough time, I decided to forgo today’s scheduled post and let all who are having a difficult time know that I am thinking of you and hoping this storm has not overwhelmed you and you are all well!  Here’s to a great week!

 

March 6, 2018

Nor’easter 2018

March, 2018 came in like a lion and hopefully will leave like a lamb!  After 2 1/2 days of brutal,  wet, and windy weather, I awoke this Monday morning to a light dusting of snow and winds whipping through my side yard. Being a true New Englander, severe storms and hurricanes are what one grows accustomed to living here!  I don’t know whether it is the rheumatoid arthritis or I’m not a kid anymore, but I realize you need more than milk and bread to survive a Nor’easter. A young Mary Ann would love sitting around in candle light having a few cocktails and playing games while listening to the transistor radio, eating junk food.  Well, this past weekend it was mighty difficult putting together combinations of healthy food and limited exercise, leaving me in a blue funk craving healthier food choices and wallowing in the carb doldrums.  Even though I didn’t stray very far from nutritional balance, I really missed the energy and sound sleep I’ve grown accustomed to when eating healthy.

So, this morning I’ve started to compile an “ICE” file, suggested by my RD, Patty Berry!  My “In case of emergency file” will be supported by a gas fireplace, gas stove top, and great neighbors. I will not be dependent on the 3 day supply of non-perishable food products commonly suggested by emergency readiness organizations.  My supplies are going to be the large amounts of batteries I will need to allow me to read my large print books and dine sensibly.  I will now structure a three-day meal plan that will contain ready-made salads and protein, stored in a cooler on the porch.  On the stove oatmeal, soups, and omelets will be a mainstay, and I will have that bottle of wine ready to be uncorked.  Writing this after weathering the storm I realize the cavalier attitude I had that placed me in an awkward position whereas we didn’t have a great selection of healthy food available.  I hem and hawed a day before the storm and didn’t make it to the store, therefore our food selection was limited.  Thankfully, our neighbors fed us Friday night, and Saturday we hunkered down, listened to the wind howl, and ate soup!  

I’m sharing this in an attempt to explain how complacency bit me in the butt, and I’m glad because I’ll be ready when the next storm hits!  It is always a wake up call when you wander the neighborhood and realize just how powerful Mother Nature is!  

Aftermath of the Nor’easter!

Have a great week!