June 5, 2018

Not Everyday Is A Picnic With RA!

Early on when I was initially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I not so graciously decided to will it away, no such luck.  My next attempt at accepting this diagnosis was to live it with style and flare.  I’ve worked real hard trying to maintain a positive attitude and I am usually successful.   At times I even surprise myself when the effects of rheumatoid arthritis have enhanced my standard of living.   Yet, after two hot and humid days, and a Monday filled with rain, and torrential downpours, my Pollyanna attitude eluded me.  

On this rainy day Monday I searched online for places I could relocate too that would be most conducive to living with this chronic condition.  There are many individuals that move to areas that are warm and dry, others move south or west. I searched for hours, not impressed with any one area, and moved on to read medical information regarding rheumatoid arthritis.  To my surprise I came upon an article examining best places to live with rheumatoid arthritis.  In a nutshell, many individuals that treat for RA, including myself are affected by low barometric pressure before a storm, causing uncomfortable pressure in ones joints.  The article went on to explain that living in a warm climate, individuals actually will experience greater discomfort when weather changes.   If you live in an area that experiences frequent barometric changes, such as the New England states, your inflammation is lesser than individuals living in states that have fewer barometric changes. Individuals that normally live in a dry or warm area are more affected by weather changes since they are not accustomed to changes.

So today was not such a good day, and I am not suffering in silence, I shared/vented my frustrations with this miserable condition.  Self-care was my number one priority today, and I am feeling my Pollyanna attitude returning.  I’m refreshed, with renewed energy and ready to take on any new experiences, maybe even predicting weather in a circus side-show!  Have a great week and hopefully the weather will moderate!  

May 29, 2018

The Unofficial Start of Summer!

Memorial Day weekend is when we remember all who courageously gave their lives for our freedom!  Growing up, in addition to the ceremonies at local VFW Posts I would attend, it was also the unofficial start of the summer, white shoes and bags could now be used!  If memory serves me correctly, I don’t remember many Memorial Day weekends that weather was not conducive to outdoor activities.  Unlike this Memorial Day weekend that challenged my balance, short sleeve shirts and shorts during the day, the fireplace on in the evening, and leaving home with an umbrella.  I’ve had a lot of time to read while recuperating and I thought with the summer approaching, I would share some of my favorite reads from previous weeks!

‘Simplified Life: Tactical Tools For Intentional Living by Emily Ley’

Yes, a self-help book by the creator of the Simplified Planner, a daily agenda. This is an easy read, totally relatable content that includes practical steps to simplify your life.  I found it to have useful ideas with the outline of steps to take one by one, day by day, easy to follow and doable.  Not a big fan of self-help books, but this one is a worthy read.  

‘Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Satisfying Plant-Based Recipes by Angela Liddon

I’ve mastered meatless Monday meals and needed to find quick and easy vegan recipes to add variety to my Monday menus.  I enjoyed the full-page pictures and the recipes I have tried have been full of flavor and satisfying.  I’ve only tried the Thai Crunch Salad, Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato, Smoothies, and Chia Pudding recipes and loved all!  

‘Design Your Life:  Creating Success Through Personal Style by Rachel Roy’

This was a grab and go on the bookshelf while I was exiting the library.  It encourages you to present yourself in your best way and therefore you will feel good about yourself.  I liked it!  The advice regarding developing your own personal style, given by way of tips on how to use clothing was rather interesting.  It is an easy read, I read it on the train in one round trip and took some good pointers away from the book.  

‘An Irish Country Courtship:  A Novel by Patrick Taylor

This was not the first book I’ve read from Taylor’s series of Irish Country Books. The books are set in Ballybucklebo, Northern Ireland, during the 1960’s.  A general practitioner is mentoring a young doctor and you are entertained by the many characters they interact with.  It is a relaxing and humorous read, as you follow the goings on of the characters in this small and rural town.  

Have a great week!



May 22, 2018

The Resurgence of Exercise

Exercise is great if you want to lose weight or for weight management, but I have always put it into the same category as dieting.  In my younger years, I had no problem during the school summer break going to aerobic  classes twice a day, riding on the bike path, 6 miles out, breakfast of bagel & cream cheese with coffee and stopping a few miles into the return trip for my first aerobics class of the day, before biking the rest of the way home!  The rest of the day I walked the beach, swam, cleaned house, and then set off for my 4 o’clock class.  For most of the summer this was my schedule expect for the three weeks we spent at Old Orchard Beach, at this point, all bets were off!  Jeff and I spent hours during the year plotting and planning what we would do on our summer vacation.  Sadly, I think of the decade plus on these vacations fondly, it was time we went wild!  We ate ice cream, fried foods, pizza, candy, and liquor daily!  Some of my fondest memories are the nights we spent planning for our upcoming vacation.  We spent hours discussing what would be our drink of this summer,  and judging which one would win the coveted spot of “Summer Cocktail of 20..”!  Things changed when our vacations were halted in 2010 due to Jeff’s medical condition.  Until Jeff was back on the road to recovery we only returned a few times spending a week here and there!   Subsequently, my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis squashed my wanderlust physically, but now I’m ready to embark on tamer vacations, with the same anticipation and gusto we once enjoyed, primarily due to my updated relationship with food and exercise.  

Working with Patty Berry, my registered dietician, my attitudes and behaviors are slowly changing.  We will go to Maine this summer, but we are not preparing as if it is the last supper or our last hurrah!  I’m ready and willing to eat in moderation because I realize how good  I feel when I do! Feelings are extremely powerful, so I am embracing moderation and will enjoy the good feelings it brings. 

As far as exercise is concerned, I doubt I would risk a fall after a shoulder replacement so recently, so biking is out!  Jeff and I have been strategizing what we will do for exercise, we have eliminated miniature golf, arcades, and hiking.  It seems rather straight forward that we will be walking and swimming.  Unlike my acceptance/enjoyment of eating in moderation, I really did not give up anything in the food category.  The only downsize of eating in moderation is the loss of income for Dairy Queen, Feilder’s Choice Ice Cream, Beach Bagel, The Pirates Den, Bill’s Pizza, and Pier Fries.  The absence of biking is really going to impact our vacation.  Without the bikes, the traffic will determine where we go, as well as the parking situation is always difficult in this tourist town.  We will need to substitute our biking adventures for something and hopefully we think of it before we leave for vacation!

Here is a sampling of past Maine adventures!

May 15, 2018

I’ve Been Absent, Hopefully Not Forgotten!

It has been no secret that I’ve been nursing an injured shoulder for months, awaiting surgery. Nine days before the original operation date, preparing to leave for an overnight at the Castle Hill Inn I received word that the operation would be in two days. Sean Patrick being taken care of by my friends Val, Tre, and Jan, we left for Newport, I thinking this will be my last hurrah!  On the way to Newport, I did the whole self-talk thing, convincing myself that everything was going to be okay, but not really believing it. As we entered the grounds of Castle Hill Inn, I started to relax and our 20 hour mini staycation began.  Briefly, the operation went very well, I’m recuperating slowly, (reason for absence from my blog), and I want to share how ones surroundings can make a difference in attitude and strength.

As you enter the grounds of Castle Hill scattered on sand dunes, are the Beach Cottages.  We drove past the Portside cottage, our sanctuary.  The sun out and excitement growing in anticipation of walking the beach and just enjoying some time away from home.


A quick check-in, and a visit to the Terrace Bar for a shanack, began this staycation!


A picture is worth a thousand words!  The Portside cottage was our entrance to the stunning views from the cottage to the private beach and ocean beyond!

The perfect weather, the sounds of the waves rolling in, and the salt mist caressing my face transported me to a happy place.  I could have walked the shoreline for hours but, afternoon tea beckoned us to the main house!  Sweet and savory scones, cucumber and cheese sandwiches, chocolate bundt cake, and hot madeleines served with butter and clotted cream.  Delish!


After walking the trails and grounds of Castle Hillwe retired to the cottage to relax and hang out!

We just sat, talked, and rested for a while and I realized how happy and content I felt.  The stress of the upcoming surgery had diminished and I was thinking about the positive results of the surgery, and all the things I’ll be able to do comfortably after. When I vidyo chat with my nutritionist,  we talk about positive thoughts/attitude and I believe this staycation brought it to light.  As difficult as it may be, it is better to think positive thoughts.  Negative thoughts are just wasted energy, because any negative outcome you may experience is going to need a positive attitude to change.

It feels real good to be back writing and sharing my thoughts!  Hopefully, I will back on track, and posting weekly. 

April 17, 2018

Eat to Live a Better Life!

This week marks the beginning of the fifth month I have been working with Patty Berry, RD. In previous blog posts I’ve shared my progress without sharing the amount of weight, to this day I don’t have an accurate number, and frankly, I don’t care about the number. Living a healthy lifestyle is more than a learning experience, it is more of an awakening! I never realized how many components are involved in eating a healthy diet. It is so much more than portion control, types of food, timing of meals, and food preparation. Eating healthy is a commitment to change, not a temporary change until a desired result is attained, but a commitment to accountable eating habits and maintaining lifestyle changes. I needed to safely change to help manage my chronic condition. It was evident to me that my excess body weight might be increasing inflammation and may also be affecting medication effectiveness. What most impresses me about my growth by working with Patty is the steady improvement of decreasing stiffness and increased mobility. Whether these are attributes of diet or increased exercise, doesn’t really matter, but I’m loving it.

Here are a few of the elements of healthy living I’ve adopted and ways working with Patty has been both challenging and satisfying:

…after our initial conversation, Patty coordinated my specific needs and tailored a food plan not only for my health needs, but more importantly by my food preferences and lifestyle.  

…by regular interaction whether by phone, email, or video conferencing, she consistently helps me with challenges I face eating healthy, at times tweaking my food choices and meal plans, making it work for me.

Patty’s non-judgmental approach to slip ups allows discussion and accountability without sense of failure or of making a mistake.

…the added bonus of working with this dietician is her savvy food shopping experiences, food prep, exercise, and just about anything that will make this experience meaningful and worthwhile.

It feels so good to not be complaining about my weight, just sharing this wonderful experience.  Have a great week!