RheumaBlog

Same dragon, different day.

I had my hair tinted yesterday. Today I had it trimmed. Both days I found sitting in the stylist’s chair a miserable chore. Both my hips ached, the knuckles of both hands were nauseous, and both feet felt like they’d been whacked and battered with truncheons wielded by scowling, aggravated trolls for hours on end.

My stylist was a 20-year-old, about-to-graduate beauty school student. That’s why my new look took so long—six hours all together. But my hair looks great! She did a terrific job with the color, the weave, and her scissors—and she was friendly and professional and full of humor. Kudos to the Paul Mitchell School in Sacramento.

I wish dropping 30 pounds could be so easy!

I’m feeling a lot better about the changes I’m making to be healthier. Slowly, I’m getting my mind around resuming my low-carb, high-protein, high-veggie, low-sugar-and-salt diet. After all, it can only help.Change And while my blood sugar is great right now, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way without some vigilance on my part.

Slowly, I’m accepting that coffee is Not My Friend. I’ve almost gotten to the point where I can drink just two, 8-ounce cups of joe a day without getting a horrid caffeine-withdrawal headache. I took a 45-minute walk the other day while Mom was at her physical therapy appointment—and I enjoyed it. So I’m working myself up to daily exercise, too. There are nice neighborhoods all around our new home that’ll be really pleasant for walking in. And our fitness room here at our new home should be finished and ready to use any day now.

What I haven’t managed, yet, is to talk myself into liking all these changes. Yes, I want to drop some weight. Yes, I really, really want to avoid a heart attack or stroke. Yes, I would prefer not to get type 2 diabetes, and yes, I want my muscles to be stronger so they can support my RA-compromised joints better.

I know my success in these things hinges on my attitude and my mind-set. What I’ve discovered about myself, though, is that I can’t force either to do like I want them to. It’s like my brain has to work it out subconsciously before it clicks over into “go” mode. Still, I’m trying.

Moving Mom took a lot of oomph out of me. I turned 58 in late October, and for the first time, I felt my age (even as I threw a childish tantrum and pity-party over my health). But I’m recovering. I keep telling myself how nice it will be to fit into my size 14 pants—I’ve got a closet full of them, most only worn a few times—and how nice it will be to tone up all the flab that’s built up everywhere over the last two years or so.

And I hope that making these changes will also have a positive effect on my RA. Actually, I know they will, even if achieving them won’t cure it or even necessarily send it into remission. If I feel better about myself, my RA will feel better, too.

Maybe change isn’t so bad, after all. 😉

Categories: RA

19 thoughts on “Changing for the better

  1. Very best of luck with all your changes!! I hope you manage to stick to your new regime and that you really start seeing benefits soon!

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    1. Wren says:

      Thanks, Penguin. That’s the thing: I know the benefits are well-worth the effort–I’ve enjoyed them in the past. They encompass both my physical and mental health. It’s the getting started that’s tough, but coming this close to a stroke or heart attack–or even death–does help put it all into perspective. I appreciate your kind words today, and the ones you left in my previous post. You’re so right that our taste buds grow accustomed to different tastes. 😉

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  2. Jules says:

    Even when you know how good it will be for you in the long run, change is Just. So. HARD! You have been through so much, I am glad you are in a place where you can start working your way back to the track that you want to be on in the midst of so much upheaval. Your strength is showing my dear!

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    1. Wren says:

      Ah, Jules. You’re such a sweetie–thanks for the encouragement and kindness. I don’t feel very strong at the moment, but if I stop and think about everything, I know I am. Funny how that works. Wishing you the best, m’dear. You’re one tough cookie, too. I hope your health issues are resolving and improving. Hugs to you. 🙂

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  3. Sabine says:

    You are doing all the right things and before you know it, you’ll enjoy it all. My very best wishes, stay positive.

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    1. Wren says:

      Danke, Sabine! Your comments have given me pause for thought and encouraged me to persevere in spite of my recent darkness. On another note: I’d gladly exchange our never-ending California drought sun and heat–it was 80 degrees here again yesterday!–for your rainy German November weather. I think the last of seasonal change has affected my mood, just as it has yours. Except … mirrored, somehow. As I recall, November in Germany can be bright and crystal cold, too, and beautiful. I loved the season there, and always started looking forward to gluwein and Kristkindlmarkt about now. Feel better, please?

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  4. I’m glad things are moving in the right direction and, yes, change is hard but before long you’ll be enjoying the benefits. Just keep up that great attitude of yours. I’m sorry to hear, based on the description of your symptoms, that the Humira hasn’t put the dragon back in its cave (yet). Sending hugs your way. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Wren says:

      Thanks so much, Carla. I’m starting to accept these changes, though I haven’t quite been able to embrace them yet. 😉 As for the Humira, I know I just have to be patient. I’m a product of my times–I want results NOW, not sometime in the future. In the meantime, there are other ways to handle pain, and I’ve become rather good at them. Just soldiering on. 🙂

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  5. Eileen Harrison says:

    Don’t we get to see the new you? Since we know you can do photos – unlike me!
    I’m sure Sabine will confirm that autumn in Europe this year is – well – strange! Last week I was still able to sunbathe on the balcony half way up a mountain. For the last 3 days it has RAINED here in Italy, one village not too far away has had more than 8in of rain in 3 days! We have had almost no frost – so the trees went from green to no leaves via a gungy sort of brown – no red/yellow. And the ski season starts in 3 weeks – maybe, they can’t even make snow at the top yet.

    Acceptance is a good start – I remember leaving the dietician in tears on a few occasions 2 years ago. Especially when she tried to stop me drinking proper tea with milk altogether! Hang on – I’m British!! Now I can’t imagine eating any differently. Hugs – as I know it is a major struggle at this stage.

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    1. Wren says:

      Hi, Eileen! Actually, the tint didn’t change my hair very much; I’m a natural blonde and this just blended my highlights-grow-out with my own color. I had a little bit of silver, too. Didn’t mind it–it was hardly visible–but it’s gone now, too. And the haircut just trimmed up the style I already had. Tell you what: when I get a moment, I’ll take a new profile pic. 😉

      The weird weather we’re having all over the world is more than a little frightening. I wish the Powers That Be here in the U.S. would take more serious steps toward dealing with climate change, but I’m afraid, given the results of our election a few days ago, absolutely nothing will be done. The men in charge now refuse to believe in it. Dangerous idiots, risking all our futures.

      I appreciate your words of encouragement. I’m struggling, yes, but I’ll get past it. I’m just spoiled and don’t feel like giving up the things I like. I’m only human, right? Sending a warm hug your way. 🙂

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  6. mary says:

    I’m not very good with change. Any change seems to throw me off a little so I can’t imagine multiple changes all at once. Looks like all the changes on your agenda will have a our come positive effect down the road.

    I recently had to have a spinal fusion done. I put it off for years and finally had to have it done. While recuperating I decided to let my hair grow in its natural color, white. I’ve been white since I was 30. Anyway, back to the point, the changes you are making will have such a positive effect on your mental and physical wellbeing and you know you can do it. Is it fair to have to deal with yet another medical challange, nope. Is it fair to have to give up yet another thing you love because of your health, nope. What can you do but just what you did. Have an It’s not fair day or two and then get on with it. It’s just a matter of getting started. It sounds like you are well on your way. Sending you positive thoughts.
    Boy that was long winded. See what happens when you sit at home for weeks recuperating.

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    1. Wren says:

      I love it when you’re long-winded, Mary! Feels like we’re having a real conversation!
      I think white hair is gorgeous. Always have. I’ve hoped mine will be white someday, but I think I’ll be silver-gray like Mom. She was a blonde, too.
      You know, I learned way back when I was a kid that life isn’t very fair most of the time. You’d think I’d be able to deal with it better now, some 50 years on, but no, I’m still grumbling about it. Some things NEVER change!
      Yup, I’m on my way. Bleh. I’m sure I’ll be happier about it when I start seeing some positive results.
      Sending my best wishes your way, Mary. You can gab all you want, here! 😀

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  7. J.G. Chayko says:

    Changes can be so exciting and can help using deal with the challenges of life. Here’s hoping more positive changes present themselves to shape your life in happiness and comfort. Hugs 🙂

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  8. J.G. Chayko says:

    Sorry, meant to say help “us” deal…not “using”…sigh…spellcheck…

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    1. Wren says:

      Yarghhhh! Spellcheck! I do believe it was created for the sole purpose of embarrassing us into learning to spell!
      Thanks for the encouragement and kind words, JG. Staying pragmatic but positive–that’s the key. Hope all is well for you!

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  9. gaby says:

    Hi Wren I just want to wish you well with the changes and would like to emphasise that it does work.Just perserve.I have Rhuematoid Arthritis and have managed to contol it through nutrition .I have never felt happier and am now completelty pain free after being on heavy medication, cortisone and cancer tablets ( methtrexate ) I was still suffering severely and had constant flare-ups.
    Now I am on no medication but am strict with what I eat and it has become a lifestyle choice.
    I no longer want to experience the pain I went through so I continue eating healthy and I now really enjoy it.
    I just want to say carry on it works but never just stop your medication.You have to wean yourself off slowly once your eating plan is 100% and it is a lifestyle choice.
    For me it is the only way as medication never helped me.I still used to get major flare-ups.
    Keep it up Wren! The results will speak for themseves

    Big Hugs

    Gaby

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  10. Wren says:

    Hi, Gaby! Thanks for your kind words and smart advice. I’ve adopted a healthy diet in the past with great results, so I do know how beneficial it can be to eat mindfully. I’ve never noticed that it had any direct effect on my RA, other than the weight loss was good for taking the extra stress off my hips, knees, and feet, but I know that diet can be helpful for some people. Maybe it will be for me, too, this time.
    I–like most people, I suspect–have always had trouble sticking to a healthy diet, though. There are so many temptations in daily life, and often, fast-food is so much more convenient. I like to cook, but there are times when I just don’t feel like it, or my hands hurt enough that chopping and prepping and going through the whole process just seems like too much. And it’s during those times that I tend to eat badly.
    In addition, I live with and care for my elderly mother, who detests *natural* foods like brown rice and whole grain pastas. She’d much prefer a frozen French bread pizza to a nutritious plate of rice and beans with a salad. So cooking for both of us can be a challenge!
    And, I have to admit, I’ve never *liked* veggies very much. I have a few favorites, but they can’t hold a candle to *bad* food in terms of flavor and texture. Changing my tastes to enjoy and even look forward to eating them is–and always has been–a struggle.
    Still, for my overall health and for my RA, this is something I must do–and I’ve started back into it, slowly. I know I can, as I’ve done it before. And I will come to enjoy it. The hard part–and it’s always the hardest part–is sticking to it after I’m feeling better and I’ve lost weight.
    Thanks again for your comment. I look forward to hearing from you again in the future. And hey–I’m so glad you’ve managed to bring your RA under control! I wish you continued health and pain-free days. 🙂

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  11. Irma says:

    Glad to hear things are starting to look up. I know what you mean about knowing to do the right thing, but getting yourself to do it is another. We can lecture ourselves till the cows come home, but sticking to a new diet or exercise regimen can be tough at first. They say if you do something for 21 straight days it will become a habit, second nature. I keep meaning to try that out for myself! Hoping your improvement continues. Take care.

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    1. Wren says:

      Heh. I’m doomed, Irma. 21 days sounds like a lifetime. 😉
      But, it’s a short one. I can do this. I want eating a healthy diet to be second nature–that way, it won’t seem like a chore or like I’m depriving myself of the goodies I really like. I know in the past my taster changed enough that sweet or salty, greasy snacks didn’t even sound good anymore. That’s what I’m striving for again.
      Sending a warm hug your way. Any new quilts in the works?

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