I’m so popular

Back in October I got a laser pen, one of those things bright young lieutenants use to point out strategic spots on enemy-territory wall maps to the four-star generals they’re briefing. Presumably, they used a laser pen like mine to point out Tora Bora just before the president butted in and changed the mission so the bad guys got away.

Laser pens. Cool technology. Reminds me of The Jetsons. Weren’t they fun? I loved the flying cars and the robot housekeeper. Astro was a hoot…

Right. Laser pen. Mine is just for the cats. They chase the little, bright red dot it makes like it’s a yummy mouse.

At least, that was the idea. When I tried it, Kitty and Emma gave half-hearted chase a few times, then stopped. The disdainful looks they gave me just before they stalked off clearly said “what, you think we’re stupid?”

So I put the laser pen down on the table  next to the recliner and went on with my life.

Fast-forward to a week ago. It was one of those days when my hips were so sore that walking was the kind of challenge that requires careful planning beforehand. I was flopped in the recliner, bored, trying not to think about my achy parts when my gaze fell on the laser pen. Hmmm. Maybe Mouse would like to chase the Light. Maybe she wouldn’t be insulted like those little snobs. Maybe she’d enjoy it for what it was: an excuse to play like a kitten.

Mouse loved it. Pretty soon she was tearing around, chasing the Light for all she was worth, obviously having a ball. Kitty and Emma watched, interested, their heads turning as the Light went this way then that, Mouse hot on the trail.

Suddenly Kitty–black, tail-less, lithe as a panther–leapt into the fray. Mouse backed off (Kitty is the alpha cat) and let her take over. It was beautiful, the way she stalked and pounced, turning on a hair, never taking her eyes off the Light. Emma joined in, far less competent but game (since Kitty was). Mouse, who’s in the omega spot, being the newest member of the little pack, backed off and tended to her grooming, content.

We played Chase the Light for about 20 minutes, until pressing the tiny button on the pen made my fingers and hand hurt too much. (Sheesh, ya know??) And since then we’ve played the game frequently. Kitty, in particular, seems to have forgotten that she thought it was Stupid at first.

In fact, as I write this, Kitty is meatloafed, facing me on the floor a couple of feet away. She’s perfectly still and staring at me, willing me to pick up the laser pen and make The Light appear so she can hunt. Understand: Kitty is and always has been standoffish. She prefers not to be petted. She feels lap-curling-up-in is for the rabble. She makes demands: “You! Open that door! I wish to explore The Porch.” To amuse herself, she opens kitchen cabinets and dresser drawers and doesn’t bother closing them. If she had opposable thumbs she’d be terrifying.

Until the lowly Mouse showed her the benefits of Catch the Light, I might as well not have existed in Kitty’s world.

Heh. Now I am the Holder of the Pen and Maker of the Light. She’s always within a couple of feet of me when I’m in the recliner. Sometimes she hops up onto the table, sits up tall like one of those Egyptian cat statues, and gazes at me with her dangerous amber eyes. She transmits urgency. “The Light. Pick up the Light. Make it Appear! Do it now, servant! Don’t forget I have claws like tiny curved scimitars …”

I’ve created a monster.

A spin in the Way-Back machine

The pain was slightly to the right of the middle of my chest. It felt as if there was something with a dull point poking me there with each breath I took. I was 28 years old.

Strangely, it would come and go. One day it would hurt as I woke up in the morning and continue until I fell asleep that night. The next, it would be gone. Sometimes the pain stayed for several days before disappearing, only to reappear a week or more later.

The pain wasn’t debilitating. I coped with it. Sometimes it intensified with each breath, easing as I exhaled. Sometimes it stabbed when I moved. Still, in the back of my mind was a vague fear that there was something wrong with my heart, even though the pain wasn’t on the left, but just right of center.

I hadn’t injured myself. I hadn’t been ill with a respiratory bug that could leave me with a pain (something I’d never had happen, but when you can’t explain something, your mind goes there). I hadn’t lifted anything heavier than my three-year-old daughter, and she was light as a feather, a tiny child, smaller than other children of her age.

After several months of this on-again, off-again pain, I finally made an appointment with a doctor. I’d been out of the Air Force for about two years; I’d only recently landed a full-time job that included health insurance.  A friend at work had recommended him.

He listened to my complaint and examined me. He had one of the nurses do an EKG, just in case my heart was causing the pain. The result was completely normal. Since I hadn’t hurt myself, he seemed almost as mystified as I was. In the end, he said that it was possible that the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum at the middle of the chest might still be forming; it does, apparently, grow until we’re in our early 30s. Or, it could be a tiny spur of cartilage rubbing the muscle tissue there, causing irritation and inflammation. It could even be stress-induced, he said, after inquiring about my daily life. As a single mom with a small child, stress was a normal part of my day.

Still, the doctor felt that whatever the pain was, it would go away in time. He told me to take Tylenol for it when it hurt, but not to worry about my heart. And if it got worse, I should come back to see him again.

I went away relieved that I wasn’t in danger of dying suddenly, but perplexed about the ambiguous diagnosis. I did what the doctor recommended, though, and took Tylenol. And indeed, in time, the pain in my chest disappeared. It has never come back.

Three years later, I was re-married, living and working in Northern Germany.  After suffering agonizing, on-again, off-again pain in a variety of joints over several months, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

It wasn’t until recently that I connected that old pain in my chest to my RA. During an appointment, my rheumatologist was talking about how RA also attacks, along with the joints, the body’s soft tissue—and that includes, he said, the cartilage and ligaments. He said my RA was the culprit behind my hip bursitis. Not only were the bursae inflamed in both hips, but the long ligaments (the ilio-tibial bands) connecting each hip to each knee were inflamed, as well.

Now, I already knew that RA attacked “soft tissues” as well as joints, but I’d only thought of tissues like the heart, the eyes and the other vital organs. But RA also attacked the ligaments? And cartilage? Wow. (Actually, if I think about it, RA attacks the ligaments and cartilage–soft tissues–in the joints, as well…)

A couple of weeks later, something piqued my memory of that long-ago mystery pain in my chest. Cartilage! RA affects cartilage! Suddenly, all the puzzle pieces fell into place: That sharp poke I felt  nearly 30 years ago could have been a manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in my body. I had it even then, though it wouldn’t become freely active for a few more years.

Yesterday, my mom reminded me that when I was a junior in high school, I complained once about my right heel hurting. It was so bad I could barely put my weight on it. The doctor didn’t know what was causing it—the usual culprits didn’t apply and x-rays didn’t show anything unusual—so he had me take a painkiller and put me on crutches for a week. The heel pain gradually went away.

Oddly, I had forgotten all about that. I still can’t dredge up a concrete memory of it, though I do vaguely recall stumping through the halls at school on crutches, trying to move fast enough to make my class on time. Could it be? Was that heel pain actually an early RA flare, too?

There might be other childhood pains I suffered that have slipped through the sieve of memory. I do remember, rather clearly, the chronic leg-aches that came on at night when I was a child and a young teen; they hurt so bad they’d make me cry. Mom and Dad said they were “growing pains.” They always went away after an aspirin and a couple of hours. Dad used to wrap the affected leg in his old blue terrycloth bathrobe, a garment that acquired almost magical healing qualities over the years.

Was that rheuma, too? I don’t know. But it is nice when some of these old, personal mysteries are finally solved.

Note: Upon googling “chest cartilage pain” several articles about a condition called “costochondritis” came up. This is a rather common inflammation of the chest cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone–and it sounds exactly like what I had. The cause is unknown, but it does tend to go away on its own. I can’t recall my doctor from way back then mentioning it as a diagnosis; he really did seem completely baffled. I’ll have to ask my rheumatologist if RA can cause costochondritis as a co-morbid condition… hmmm …

Out of the sinkhole

My body seems to have settled into a one-day-up, one-day-down pattern—which, while not perfect, is a lot better than the all-days-down sinkhole I was in last week.

After the initial hour or so of creaky, ouchful stiffness I wake up with every morning smoothed out, I was actually feeling pretty darned good Monday morning, so I went to the gym. I figured I’d do a lighter workout than I was doing before The Flare, just to give my hip bursae and joints a chance to get used to the idea again.

Once started on the recumbent bike, though, my hips and knees and ankles were fine with the work. In fact, stretching and using the muscles felt really good. Later, as I got started on the weight machines, I told myself that taking it easy was okay, that there was no need to overdo and plenty of reasons not to.

And again, my body felt great with the usual amount of weight resistance. My one concession was that on the machines that work the thigh muscles, I did just one set of 20 reps rather than two. (Wouldn’t you know that, vanity-wise, my hips and thighs are the part of me that need the tightening and toning effects of exercise the most?? Grrrr…)

Mike stopped by to razz me gently over my prolonged absence. I explained why I missed those days and discovered (as I’d suspected) that he was confusing rheumatoid arthritis for osteoarthritis. So I told him how RA is an auto immune, systemic condition that involves any and all joints in the body, among other things, as opposed to OA, which is usually the result of normal wear and tear in the joints. I told him about the crushing fatigue that can come with RA, too. And I told him that as much as I want to exercise daily for my overall health, there are simply going to be times when I just can’t. It’s not a failure of willpower that’ll keep me away.

So we talked a little about whether modifying my workouts might help. Since the regular routine doesn’t seem to hurt me while I’m doing it, I decided I’d continue, paying close attention, of course, to my pain levels following the workout. I had a physical therapy appointment coming up on Tuesday, too, so I told Mike I planned to ask the therapist about my workout and whether I was shooting myself in the hip (bursitis) by doing it. And if I was, I planned to ask about alternatives.

That’s how we left it.

And wouldn’t you know it? On Monday evening I got a call from the VA to tell me my PT appointment the next morning had been cancelled. Apparently, the therapist they’d assigned me was out sick.

So. I’m back to waiting for a new PT appointment date. And, for now, I’m doing my usual workout at the gym. C’est la vie.

Update: Just got a call from the VA. My physical therapy appointment has been rescheduled for tomorrow! I don’t have to wait another month, like the last time they cancelled it!

Rock, meet hard place.

That’s how I feel today after waking to a fourth day of a severe bursitis flare coupled with RA joint aches and twinges all over my body.

On Tuesday, I went to the gym early in the morning, then spent the day at my aunt and uncle’s place, grocery shopping and cooking meals. Got back to mom’s around 6 p.m. and threw together a light dinner for both of us. I’m always tired in the evenings after doing this, but on Tuesday night, I was truly exhausted. My hips ached and my hands were twingy, but that’s de rigueur. Usual. Nothing new.

But on Wednesday morning I woke up wiped out. I hurt, literally, everywhere. Now, I’ve read in other RA blogs about whole-body flares. And I was very glad that I’d never experienced such a thing. Having a single large joint flared badly is hard enough—a knee, a shoulder, a great toe, my jaw—but I couldn’t even begin to imagine having joints all over me flared all at the same time.

Well, I can imagine it now.

I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, but even hurting all over like I was, I was lucky. None of my aggravated, throbbing joints flared to the point of immobilizing me. On Wednesday, I experienced a kind of flare that I’ve never had before, but I was still able to move around and take care of myself, even though I limped and winced and whined under my breath the whole time. Fortunately, it was a good day for Mom. She got to mama-hen me for a change, which we both enjoyed.

Along with Wednesday’s weird pain came another RA symptom I’ve had little experience with: fatigue. While I hadn’t slept very well the night before, it surprised me. I’ve always been able to function reasonably well in spite of limited sleep. (I think back to the long months of insomnia I went through as my rheumatologist slowwwwwly increased the dosage of the drowsy-making anti-depressant drug he’d prescribed for me as a sleep aid before it finally worked.) But this fatigue went far beyond the kind that follows simple sleeplessness. On Wednesday I felt like I’d climbed a 9,000-foot mountain to the summit overnight. I had the energy of a nearly depleted smart-phone battery.

I’d told myself when I first got up that once the morning dose of thank-the-gods-I-have-them pain-pills kicked in, I’d decide whether to go to the gym. I felt like roadkill, but I really didn’t want to skip my workout. It had been making me feel so good! But by 10 a.m., with the pain med’s effects peaking, I knew I couldn’t peddle the bike for 20 minutes or do a circuit on the weight machines. I doubted that I could even make it out to my car, as knackered, achy and foggy as I was. Glumly, I gave myself a day off from the gym. I dragged my sorry, aching arse back upstairs and into my bed.

I slept like the dead for five hours.

When I woke, I was still in the jaws of that whole-body RA and bursitis flare, but the intensity was down a bit. That killer fatigue was mostly gone, leaving in its place a more familiar sensation of weariness. I spent what was left of the day resting, sticking mostly to the recliner. I read several more chapters of “The Tiger’s Wife.” I surfed the Intertubes for a while, reading blogs, commenting here and there, and surfing the news of the day. I watched reruns of Mom’s favorite crime shows on TV with her. And I went to bed early. I needed to be back at my aunt and uncle’s house Thursday morning no matter how rotten I felt. They were depending on me.

I was still weary, my hips achy and my hands twinging, when I got up. But overall, I was feeling much improved. I skipped the gym again, though, not wanting to rock the boat. I did everything I needed to do, but I did it slowly and mindfully, and did no more than was necessary. The day passed slowly. I came home that evening exhausted again. Cooked and ate dinner with Mom, and crashed in the recliner.

Yesterday was almost a carbon copy of Wednesday. The main difference? I didn’t have that crushing fatigue on top of the all-over flare, thank goodness. And once again I skipped my workout at the gym. I simply couldn’t face it. Walking further than to the kitchen and back felt beyond my capabilities.

And now it’s today. I slept fairly well, but I’m still stuck in that flare. The overall pain level is moderate, which is an improvement, but once again I’m whupped, energy-wise. I feel like my body might tolerate a workout—maybe a half-workout instead of a full one—but even though it’s almost noon, I haven’t been able to force myself out the door.

And this is my rock and hard place. I hate that I don’t have the willpower to go the gym, which is only five minutes away. And frankly, I’m embarrassed. Mike the fitness guy will be there. He’ll know I haven’t worked out in several days. I know, rationally, that what he thinks doesn’t matter, that I need to listen to my body. I know that pushing myself to work out when my joints are flaring can only injure me and put me out of commission even longer. I’d certainly rather not aggravate the trochanter bursae in my stupid hips, as that pain, too, can be devastating. Still, I’m embarrassed. I don’t want to be yet another middle-aged, overweight, flabby woman with no willpower in his eyes—or my own. If I stay away from the gym yet another day—one during which I’m feeling better than I have all week, even if I’m fatigued and sore—it’ll be even harder to go tomorrow, as I’ll be even more ashamed of myself. And yet … and yet. I don’t want to make myself hurt more.

There’s still plenty of Saturday left. I may go, I may not. It’s almost time for another pain pill. Maybe once it’s working well, I’ll do it. A half-session. A half-hour. Wish me luck.

Stupid hips …

It’s raining, it’s pouring,

the old man is snoring.

He went to bed,

and bumped his head,

and couldn’t get up

in the morning.

This silly song from my childhood played in my head as I woke up this morning and saw the gray skies through my rain-spattered bedroom window.  I’d have been up dancing to it, except my stupid hips hurt too much.

I knew I shouldn’t have bragged about feeling so good, so pain-free, in that last blog post. I did jinx myself. When am I going to learn to listen to my intuition? When it starts yelling, it usually has a really good reason. Sigh.

I took Mom and my aunt to the local Indian casino for lunch yesterday (there’s a great buffet there). After we ate, we wandered around the massive building, looking for a couple of penny slot machines so they could sacrifice some money to the gambling gods. My hip joints felt odd. Not painful, but loose, as if the ball joints could slip out of their cups and dislocate at any moment. I put the sensation down to my workout the day before and ignored it.

When we left the casino a half-hour later, a low, steely gray cloud cover had replaced the sunny blue sky and fluffy white clouds we’d started the day with. Mom and Aunt expressed dismay and instantly felt cold and shivery (though it was still in the mid-60s). I turned the car’s heater on for them. I was pleased. We really need the rain and, as I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy it. Let it rain, I thought.

But when we got home and I was getting out of the car, I felt like I’d rusted into position. My hips and knees creaked and whimpered as I stood up. By the time I got into the house, my knees were okay but hips had started that naggy, low aching I’ve become so accustomed to. I’ve just got to accept that nothing is going to actually cure this trochanteric bursitis. It’s chronic. The inflammation and pain it causes might ease up and even seem to go away when I’m working out and the barometer is steady, but as soon as the air pressure rises or falls, my hips will protest just like my RA joints always have.

When I went to bed last night, I discovered that once again I couldn’t lay on one hip or the other for more than a few minutes before the aching intensified enough to make me groan. If I lay on my back, the pain in both hips intensified. Fortunately, the sleep aid I’ve been taking worked to allow me to drift off, but even with it the pain woke me frequently through the night as I rolled from one hip to the other.

A week from tomorrow I’ve got an ultrasound therapy session scheduled. I was hoping that I wouldn’t even need it, thanks to resistance training. That hope has been dashed, so I’ll hold out hoping for the ultrasound to make a difference. If it doesn’t, and the workouts don’t, either, I’ll have to make a decision: Live with this chronic hip pain for the rest of my life, or let a surgeon remove both of the offending bursae.

It’s not a decision I have to make this minute, thank goodness. Instead, I need to get myself moving, exchange my pajamas for workout clothes and skadoodle for the gym. I’ve not tried working out while my hips ached before, and my bloody hands are twingy, too. Today’s session should be … interesting.

UPDATE: This morning’s workout went just fine. During the first 20 minutes of the session, on the recumbent bike, my fatigue-burn in my legs quickly overpowered the bursitis ache in my hips. Once done with that and using the weight machines, I was able to use my hands when they were necessary without any trouble. I left the gym glowing profusely (glowing being the ladylike word for sweating like a pig), went home and took a warm shower, ate a healthy lunch and now, I’m resting. My hips ache, but you know what? I’m proud of myself for working out successfully anyway. There was a time when I’d have rationalized my way out it. What’s different now? I have a better understanding of why I’m exercising. It has little to do with how I look and everything to do with having strong muscles, hard bones and a strong heart.

Moving toward health

As you know if you’ve read my last couple of posts, I’ve finally started resistance weight training. I say “finally” because it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long, long time.

I’m almost afraid to say it for fear of jinxing myself, but this daily hour of sustained exercise is having an effect on my RA and hip bursitis. I’ll whisper: my pain level for both has dropped way, way down there in the last couple of days. One or two on the scale of zero-to-10 down there. And not only that. The hip bursitis pain that has dogged me so furiously and continuously over the last year and a half only bothers me at that low level for a few minutes each day, usually in the evenings.

I realize that it’s long been known that appropriate exercise can help in the day-to-day management of rheumatoid arthritis pain. I just never had that result, until now. Perhaps I was doing the wrong sort of exercise. Perhaps I wasn’t doing enough. But here’s the surprise: The exercise I’m getting now is working for me–and I can’t describe to you how relieved and pleased it makes me.

Because using a gym and the resistance machines costs money, and my finances are stretched nearly to their limits, I’ve been looking for good ways to exercise at home should I be unable to afford the gym in the days ahead. Today I ran across the Rheumatoid Arthritis link on WebMD. While I was perusing it, I clicked the link to RA exercise–and found this excellent slideshow.

Isometric wrist stretch

All the exercises shown in the slideshow are gentle and can contribute greatly to muscle strength and flexibility. I don’t know about you, but even before I had RA my body was decidedly non-limber. Since I’ve had RA, it’s even more tight and un-flexible. One of the benefits I’ve already noticed from my gym workouts is a less stiffness upon moving after sitting down for a while. And this morning, after a good seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, I got out of bed and walked–not stumped, gimped or shuffled–out of my bedroom and down the stairs for that first, lovely cup of coffee.

Incredible.

I know from experience that no-one can make us exercise. It’s something we have to decide for ourselves to do. Nevertheless, I encourage you to give it a try. If going to a gym is out of the question, perhaps the exercises shown in the WebMD RA link can work for you.

I’m adding them to my daily routine, starting tonight. My willpower is strongest in the morning, so that’s when I go to the gym. But I’ve found myself wanting to do something in the evening, too. Something that I can do at home that doesn’t require special equipment and that won’t necessarily wear me out, just increases my overall strength and flexibility. These exercises are perfect for that.

Here’s wishing you all a restful and happy weekend.

 

It’s a lift

Killer.

That’s my new name for Mike, the fitness trainer at the gym.

Yes, the gym. My gym. That sounds so weird to me: My gym. Why? Because I have never really been into exercise, particularly since passing my 45th birthday and facing the grim fact that cute little gym/workout clothes won’t work out on my unfit, queen-size body. So it’s sort of … odd. My gym.

But back to Killer. I mean, Mike. I’ve gone to the gym each day (except Saturday) since last Tuesday and have become, to my mild surprise, an expert at setting the recumbent bike to my legs and entering the program I want to pedal. Or is that spin? I spend 20 minutes on that thing, legs pumping out Level 2, keeping my heart rate around 135, and then move on to the weight machines. I can change the weights and seat settings on each of those, too. What’s cool: I’m now lifting twice as much weight as I was the first three days, and doing twice as many reps.

I’m doing this because Killer wants me to hurt. Not a lot, mind you, but he wants me to hurt a little doing the exercises. He wants me to walk out tired but strong, and within a day or so of doing all those exercises, feel each and every muscle in my body, the “good” hurt, as he calls it. Not too much. Just enough to know you worked out.

And until today, he wasn’t successful.  My muscles didn’t really hurt. I’d walk into the gym and he’d say, with a grin, “How’re you feeling?” And I’d say “Just fine” and he’d get this quizzical look on his face, a sort of surprise mixed with disbelief. I certainly don’t look like I’m in any sort of shape. I don’t look very strong.  But I was telling him the truth.

Yeah, I was surprised, too. In the past when I’ve started exercising suddenly, I paid for it with sore muscles a couple of days later. But riding the bike and working out on the machines wasn’t causing me any discomfort.

So what happened today? Why call “Mike” “Killer?”

Well, I’ll tell you. Tp my surprise, my legs started burning right away on the recumbent  bike this morning. I kept on, working through it, but was very relieved when the beeper said my twenty minutes were over. I trudged… yes, trudged—to the weight machine area and started my 20-repetition set, one for each machine.  Mike wandered over, studied me for a moment and gave me some tips on form as I was working my shoulders. When I finished, he suggested that I rest for 30 seconds and then try another 20.

He didn’t actually say “dare ya,” but I heard it anyway. “Sure,” I said. Now, I’d increased the amount of weight I was lifting way back on Sunday, and even that hadn’t really strained me. I started the next 20. Got to 10 and… um… ow. There’s that burny feeling again. Oh, well. Just 10 more… um… five more. Jeezly crow! I managed the last five but it was close.

Of course, I wasn’t going to let it show. I moved to the next machine. Mike gave me that gently wicked grin of his. “Do two sets of 20 on this one, too. Oh, hey. You know what? Just do two sets on all of them.”

So I did.

When I finished and was dragging myself over to the cubby where I’d stowed my purse, he called me over to a tall, steel frame thingy. He hung handgrips off a pulley connected to weights. “Time to add some new ones,” he said. “We gotta make you hurt.” He showed me how to pull the handgrips down to my hips, lifting the weights as I pulled. He showed me how the down, up, down, up should go and let the handgrips rise back to their original position well above my head.

“It’s all yours,” he grinned.

I looked at the dangling hand grips, reached up, grabbed them and pulled down, expecting serious resistance. But no, it was easy. I did five or six.

“How’s that?” Mike asked.

“Fine,” I said, my confidence flooding back. Down, up, down up. “Easy.”

“Let’s add a little more weight, then.”

Again, he didn’t say “dare ya.” But I heard it. So I let him add 10 more pounds to make a total of 30. By repetition No . 9 I wanted to crumble, but I didn’t. I kept on … and on … and finally I made it through the taffy-like down-up-down-up seconds to 20 reps. The last five I moaned through, but I did it.

Killer had the grace not to suggest a second set. Trying to remain dignified as my muscles trembled and with stumbly feet, I made it to my car and sort of flopped myself into it. Lifting my hands to the steering wheel worked muscles in my arms and shoulders I didn’t know I had. It took far more effort than I usually put into it. I drove back to mom’s place, braved the stairs to the bathroom and took a hot shower.

As I ate my breakast yogurt and toast and sipped my coffee, I marveled at how tired I felt. It took a week, but the gym finally got to me.

By three this afternoon, while preparing dinner for my aunt and uncle at their house, I started hurting. Not from RA. Not bursitis. No, it was that crazy, fine muscle pain you get from pushing your muscles to do a lot more than they’re accustomed to for longer than a few moments. I was hurting all over.

It’s late now. My body is still yelling at me. I feel weak as a kitten tonight but oddly good, too. There’s a part of me that’s groaning over my self-inflicted pain, and a much bigger part whooping over the fact that I can do this sort of exercise without triggering a bad flare of RA or hip bursitis. That’s not to say that it won’t ever happen. But until it does (if it does), I’ll just keep on counting to 20. Twice. And I’ll keep on doing it every day except Sunday. It’s worth it for the sake of my joints and my bones and my overall health, after all.

“Killer” will be pleased.