First and foremost, I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to my brothers and sisters of the Great White North, Canada!!! Enjoy your holiday and eat lots of pumpkin pie for me....the countdown to turkey day unofficially starts now!!
I hope everyone had a great weekend! I had some excellent adventures and found out wonderful news regarding my dad - he's coming home this week, probably tomorrow or the next day!! Today's My Monday entry is about my struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), then onto For Your Health, where I'm sharing my top 7 beauty tips and secrets to staying young! I also have a few Adventure Pics for everyone. For those who live in Southwest Florida, I have some great ideas for a good weekend day-trip!
My Monday: Living w/RA
There's not really a time in my life that I don't remember having to deal with excruciating pain. A pain so intense that no amount of medication or steroids provides much any relief. That's the life of someone who has an Auto-Immune Disease, in my case it was Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is arthritis times 1000! It disfigures and cripples the person affected by it. It runs through most people's bodies and immobilizes them. I got it when I was 8 years old, but since there wasn't a whole lot of children who suffered from such a "mature" disease, I was probably 11 before I got properly diagnosed and by 14, the meds they had me on was working on eating a hole in my stomach and not much more. Ulcers were a common side effect of taking arthritis medication in the 1980's and since I was so young, my mother insisted I stop taking it. I resorted to handfuls of Advil.
Living with RA is like waking up everyday and your wrists, knees, elbows and fingers want to move in slow motion and the pain is like thousands of needles stabbing you over and over again- its such a deep, intense pain. Throbbing, even. I self-medicated myself until 3 years ago when it was just too much to handle. I could no longer manage my pain, swelling and overall discomfort and frustration.
I now rely on a compounded medication that doctors give to HIV/AIDS and cancer patients, even severe withdrawal symptoms are treated with it in some drug abuse cases, in other words, it's pretty hard-core. The nicest benifit besides helping to manage my pain is that it has no narcotic-type side effects! I don't feel "high" or "nod out" or anything like that. I have use of my wrists and fingers (they're the worst - very deformed and just a mess to look at) I'd say at least 85% of the time now (it's still painful and it still is hard to do everyday things like put Ben's socks on him or even type this post)! It's been a lifesaver but it's breaking the bank!!
I am going off of it in a few months to once again go back to the drawing board, I simply can't afford to keep paying close to $500/month any longer and have to try something new. I'm scared. I have to be able to use my wrists for everything! Its getting harder to even use my phone or type blogs or brush my teeth....do you know how embarrassing it is to have to have your mom dress you as a child all the way through your teens cause you can't do it? It sucks. So to have to feel like that again, it's heartbreaking.
My life is and has always been filled with obstacles like opening pickle jars, using can openers, carrying anything, taking notes or writing letters by hand...the list goes on and on. I just hope that I can refrain from going on total disability, but I'm afraid that by the end of the year, I may just have to apply and start the process. It's really that bad. Case in point, my 84yr old grandmother has the same thing and isn't nearly as bad off as me - her hands are still pretty to look at, unlike mine!
But, I handle my RA like I do everything else, with a smile and a positive attitude! I know that God gave me this terrible disease that has stunted the growth in my jaw, disfigured my arms and fingers from the elbows down on both sides, my hips pop in and out of place and my knees lock up and I either can't get up (if I'm already down) or I just plain fall over, because I CAN handle it, I CAN manage the pain somehow, I CAN take the stares and the questions about why my face is so tiny and how come I don't have a jaw-line. I'm confident and secure with who I am and who God made me. I am perfect in his eyes and in mine, crippled or not! And as for the pain, whatever doesn't kill me will make me stronger!!
** for information on different medications and treatments that have worked for me, email me privately and I will respond back to your personal email - not on a post, medical matters are private - I always protect my reader's anonymity.
For Your Health: My Top 7 Beauty Tips & Secrets For Looking & Staying Young
A lot of my friends, myself included, are getting grey hair, crows feet and the always disgusting old-lady-skin!! You know what I'm talking about, the skin that just won't shrink, no matter how thin you get or how many crunches you do! Here's what I've been doing to help bend time and fool gravity, and yes, these tips really work- I get carded all the time for just about anything you could possibly get carded for and when they person who cards me sees my age, I always hear the same thing: NO WAY!?! You're really that old?! (Not that a month away from 35 is old, but when you're 17, it's old). Hope these secrets help!!
1.) Drink LOTS and LOTS of H2O!!!
2.) Exercise regularly - at least 3 to 5 times a week for 30 min to an hour each time. Your body (and your spouse) will thank you, plus who doesn't want to be the neighborhood MILF? ;-)
3.) ALWAYS apply sunscreen or lotion w/an SPF to your face and invest in some enormous, trendy sunglasses - you may look like a bug, but you're gonna look pretty damn hot with LESS CROWS FEET!!
4.) Dye them roots!!! Nothing says "I'm a worn out, thirty-something who has NO time for herself" like roots that need a dye job! Run to the grocery store or pharmacy and pick up a box for under $10 and 1 hour later, new 'do, new you!
5.) STOP SMOKING!!!
6.) When you go to the park w/your child - PLAY TOO!! It's a great cardio workout and anything that gets your heart rate up is awesome! Just remember to stay hydrated!
7.) Make up can make you look older or younger - easy on the "Spackle" ladies, it makes you look WAY older, invest in some Mineral make up. It goes on great, is good for your skin and provides excellent coverage. Also I suggest a white eyeliner pencil. Lining the bottom inside of your eyes and in the corners can give the illusion of bigger, brighter eyes! Youthful eyes, that scream "Hey, I swear I'm not a day over 20-blah,blah,blah..."!
I just know y'all are gonna try 'em out and LOVE some of them!! Let me know your health/beauty tips and secrets - I will publish them in an upcoming feature of For Your Health: Fan Favorites Edition, where I'm compiling all your tips and secrets for everyone!
My Adventures: Celery Fields & St. Jude Nature Trail
Celery Fields, Sarasota, FL
My adventures led me to a wonderful spot right off of I-75 outside of Sarasota called the Celery Fields. It's basically a man-made mountain! Now, if you've ever been to Florida or live here, you would know that mountains or hills in Florida are unheard of! The further south you get, the flatter it is. Anyways, this Celery Fields Park is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. There is an animal sanctuary right beside it and plenty of places for a picnic lunch, a gazebo and free parking. There are trails for walking, hiking or jogging - pick your poison! Here are some of the breath-taking pics I got on a cloudy, overcast Saturday
|Celery Fields, Sarasota, FL|
|View From the Top!|
|Lake @ My Dad's Hospital|
St. Jude Nature Trail, St. James City, FL
We visited a favorite place on Sunday - the St. Jude Nature Trail in St. James City. It's only about a 6 mile drive to get to this secluded nature trail, complete with a boardwalk to the water's edge and also a small fishing dock. There is water on either side of the trail and is pet-friendly! Below are a few shots from our adventures in nature:
|Water's Edge @ St. Jude Nature Trail|
|Me, Walking the Nature Trail|
Peace, Love and Light,