Ow! …I mean, Ohm!

Mindfulness

I’m reading a book by the venerable Buddhist monk and sage Thich Nhat Hanh called “Peace Is Every Step.” I discovered it way back in the late 1980s, a year or so after my diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis, and it started my long—and admittedly stuttering—journey into the practice of everyday mindfulness. I pick it up and read it again every few years. It always re-opens my eyes and my mind.

In “Peace Is Every Step,” Thich teaches, with sweetness and gentle humor, that we can find inner peace in everything we do, from walking to washing dishes. Being mindful doesn’t require actual meditation. We don’t need to sit in the lotus position with our palms up, eyes closed, attempting to levitate. Instead, we can use frequent moments during each day to find our peace, our inner calm, and ourselves.

Mindfulness, of course, is currently getting a lot of attention as a way to manage chronic pain…

Please read the rest at RheumatoidArthritis.net .

Staying busy … in a good way

As you’ve probably noticed, most of my writing these days links back to RheumatoidArthritis.net, a fantastic website for those of us who find ourselves in the
“rheumatoid arthritis community” (whether we like it or not…). I love writing for them. Smiling at RAThe website is filled with personal stories about every aspect of having RA and credible, accurate information about the disease, it’s symptoms, and the drugs that treat it. As an artist and graphic designer, I’m enamored of the art and design aspects of the site as well. I feel honored to be one of their RA patient advocates.

Writing for RheumatoidArthritis.net and doing other freelance writing for health-related websites has kept me busy. Along with that, I’ve been indulging myself in creating new artwork on a regular basis, a pastime that gives me real joy. It’s also turned out to beGardener-CC-070116 amazingly therapeutic: when I’m drawing, my mind is far away from the stresses and worries of everyday life. It also works as a form of meditation, helping me cope with my RD symptoms. Even though my RD affects my hands and wrists more than any other joints in my body these days, I can usually at least draw lightly with a pencil. What more can any artist want?

I’ve also taken to Twitter as an RD/chronic pain patient advocate and have been the beneficiary of some incredible cheerleading and encouragement during several Joint Decisions and HealtheVoices conferences. And I’ve been honored to serve on several pharmaceutical patient advisory boards over the last 18 months or so. All of these endeavors puts those of us who live with rheumatoid disease every day first as they advocate for us and search for new and better treatments. One day perhaps they’ll even find a cure!

Finally, as many of you know, I’ve been living with my elderly mom for several years now as her companion and her caregiver. Sometimes the caregiving part takes a great deal of time; other times, hardly any at all. I never really know which to expect when I get out of bed each morning. Nevertheless, I feel blessed that I’m able to spend such truly precious time with my Mom at this stage in both our lives.

All of these things take up a fair amount of my time–which is a lame way to apologize for not posting here as much as I’d like to. It’s also why I was surprised–and honored!–2016_badge_list_v2_badge-rheumatoidarthritis (1)to receive an email from Healthline.com today informing me they’ve chosen Rheumablog as one of their Best Rheumatoid Arthritis Blogs of 2016. Wow! I think this may be the fifth consecutive year for my humble blog!

RheumaBlog is only one of a handful of rheumatoid-arthritis related blogs chosen for this honor. Please click the badge on the upper right in the sidebar and, when you have time, visit them all and offer your congratulations. Each of them is unique, written by truly great, down-to-earth, compassionate and empathetic people who not only live with this crap disease every day but care enough to want to pass on whatever they learn–along with support and encouragement–to others and their caregivers. I’m still just gobsmacked that, given my spotty posting record over the last year or so, RheumaBlog was chosen to be honored with them. Thanks so much, Healthline.com!

JDTwitterChat-072616Finally, I’d like to let you know that Joint Decisions 2016 is sponsoring another of their really popular Twitter chats next week on the 26th. If you’re a tweeter (or whatever it’s called), mark your calendar and join Molly Schreiber of You’re at Jax and Rick Phillips of RA Diabetes to chat about preparing for your appointment with your rheumatologist, primary care provider, or other clinician. These chats are fun and lively, and I always enjoy them. It’s easy: just search #JointDecisions and tweet. I plan to be there (@RheumaBlog_Wren), so be sure to chirp “hi” at me!

Until next time, friends. Be well, stay safe, and don’t forget to look for the gifts life offers us each day.

 

 

 

The Joy Garden

The Joy GardenOh, it was such a nice day!

The late spring sun was shining and the air outside was as soft and warm as a caress. My husband, a master gardener, was on his way over to my Mom’s to help me tame a wildling umbrella plant. Living outside on her apartment’s small, half-shaded patio here in California’s hot Central Valley for the past 18 months, my little Schefflera plant had gleefully grown nearly two feet skyward. Most of the growth was on two branches, so that the plant resembled a giant “V.” The center was finally filling in nicely, too.

But it had outgrown its pot and was now so large I’d had to tie half of it to one of the posts supporting the upstairs apartment’s balcony…

Please read the rest at RheumatoidArthritis.net .