Shingles and Rheumatoid Disease

You’ve probably seen the commercials about getting the shingles vaccine on TV. If you had chickenpox as a child (or as an adult), you’re at risk. The chicke230px-Herpes_zoster_necknpox virus (varicella) remains in your body after the contagious rash and other symptoms are long gone. It mutates, nestles down somewhere in your body near a nice cozy bundle of nerve endings, and goes dormant. The commercials soberly show how painful and debilitating shingles can be.

As someone with rheumatoid disease, which makes me more than twice as likely to get shingles as a healthy person of my age in the general population, I’d sure like to bare my arm for that preventive vaccination!

But I can’t have it …



Posted in RA

Smiling at RD

You’re in the midst of a rheumatoid flare. You’re hurting, fatigued, and feeling like a flattened bag of week-old French fries someone dropped in the parking lot. So when a friend or family member says to you, brightly (and sincerely), “A smile is the best medicine,” it’s likely to elicit a biting snarl—or at least a dramatic roll of the eyes—in response.

That’s perfectly human. But (and don’t hate me, please?) your friend is right—and science proves it…

Read  more at

Posted in RA

Say Good-bye to Rhuema Wrap-Rage


DOESN”T NIMBLE come in the cutest wee package?

You know how utterly frustrating it can be to open many types of packaging these days! Whether it’s a bubble-wrap-lined mailer with a glued-on-flap-from-hell, a sealed-tight bag of kitty treats, or an annoying and potentially wrist-slashingly sharp plastic clamshell package, opening any of them can be a (literally) serious pain for arthritic hands, fingers, and wrists.

Scissors can work when the going gets tough, but using them can hurt tender, achy fingers, even when only cutting paper. Box-cutters and craft blades can work, too, but they require some kind of non-damageable cutting surface, like thick cardboard or a self-healing mat. I generally don’t have either just laying around handy.

And I don’t know about you, but my old box cutteris unreliable. The blade is always dull, even when I’ve just changed it. On top of that, it sneaks out of my kitchen drawer every now and then. I try not to think about this too hard. (It’s probably my family stealing it, not the cats. Right? Please?)

Anyway, about cutting through that all-pervasive and persnickity packaging: some bright, smart, and very nice people have come up with a new and (I have t say) fun way to open those stubborn packages. It’s called Nimble.


NIMBLE SLICED through this kitty-treats bag like butter. Usually I have to use scissors on these. They hurt my hands!

The Nimble fits like a sewing thimble over any finger you choose, even a thumb, on either hand. Made of thick, slightly stretchy rubber, it fits snug and secure, ready for cutting.

There’s a tiny ceramic blade embedded in a black strip on one curved side near Nimble’s top. Once you’re wearing it on your finger, this is the business side. Put something underneath whatever you’re going to cut, such as a chopping board or a maybe a thin piece of cardboard, like from a cereal box. The tiny ceramic blade, while it can barely scratch your finger, can mar some surfaces.

Now, just slide the blade along the paper or plastic you want to cut and bang! You’re done.


I LIKED USING Nimble on my thumb best.

Although the Nimble can’t cut through thick plastic clamshell (yet), it can open just about any package you have hanging around your kitchen, including thin clamshell. The ceramic blade holds a sharper edge than steel and can’t rust.


Nimble was developed in partnership with more than 150 volunteer testers–young and old, abled and disabled–to ensure it does the job better than anything else out there. For people with rheuma-hands, it’s a real gift.

It’s a colorful little gadget, too. The bright yellow color stands out in my utensil drawer, making it easy to find and grab whenever I want to open something and my tender digits are too sore for ripping, tearing, and swearing. Nimble is portable, too. Take it along for your next picnic!

Check out this video and get more information about the Nimble, including the Kickstarter campaign now underway to raise manufacturing funds. It really is the coolest little one-finger cutter around. Everyone should have one.

Note: I received no monetary compensation for reviewing Nimble, though I did get to keep the one I was sent to try out. Today, it lives a happy, industrious, and peacefully sharp life in my kitchen utensil drawer.

Posted in RA