September 8, 2017

#535 – Your Input, Please

I’m working on an article for HealthCentral about Breaking Rules with Chronic Illness. My topic will explore how your rules for living change when you have a chronic illness, or have they?

Lene Andersen explains:

As a society, we have a norm, an average, and this determines how we react to each other. For instance, if you are having a meeting with your boss, showing up in ripped jeans and a cropped shirt is not likely to enhance your promotion chances. Adults are expected to work, couples are expected to marry and live in the same home, and we are all expected to say please and thank you. Not following those rules can bring censure by others and possibly societal stigmatization.

When you have a chronic illness, you find out that there are a whole lot of unspoken rules regarding health that you didn’t know about. Which makes sense — when you’re a healthy, able-bodied person, you’re not navigating those implicit commands of the chronic illness world we live in. Throughout September, we will be exploring what it’s like to be a rule breaker, the consequences we face, and how to cope.

I’d love to hear your comments about the rules you have now that you have a chronic illness, versus those pre-diagnosis:

  • Do you have rules?
  • Do other people have rules or expectations of you?
  • How have either of them changed since your diagnosis?
  • What happens if you break a rule? How do you feel?
  • How has this impacted you, your loved ones, your colleagues, etc.?

Please feel free to email me to add your input.

Please share this post if you know someone who might like to comment. Thank you in advance for passing it along.

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August 31, 2017

#534 – Double up on Things that Work

Shoes

Yes, you are seeing double. That’s intentional.

It’s taken me longer than I care to admit that when I find a product that works well for me, such as these shoes, that I should buy more.

I’ve written about what I love about the water shoes you see in this picture. After posting, I hurried off and bought another pair. Lucky for me, they were on sale!

I loved my first pair of  Merrell slip-ons  so much that I bought a second pair, just in case they stopped making them. (Isn’t that often the case? You find something you love and when you go to replace it, it’s no longer available.) For a slip-on they’re surprisingly comfortable. The sole provides support, yet is cushioned enough to treat my RA feet with TLC. I also like the fact that they allow air to circulate. (No one likes stinky, sweaty feet!)

Recently, I found some baby-skin soft bamboo blend underwear at Mark’s.  (Yes, my mother would be horrified. I agree that  maybe it’s a little TMI – too much information! ) Regardless, I’m planning on stocking up because they’re just too good not to have.

When you have a chronic condition, some things become very important. For me, it’s shoes. While the bamboo blend underwear is comfortable to wear, it’s not crucial that I have them. However, Lene Andersen has a different take on them, which she describes in her epigrammatic style on A Farewell to Underpants. One word: fibromyalgia.

Whatever is important to you, whether it makes your life easier, more comfortable and/or aesthetically pleasing, you may wish to double up. Now, if only I had bought a second three-quarter length sleeves black sweater with the cute polka-dotted placket!

 

 

August 24, 2017

#532 – What to Do at the Beach When You Have RA #4

BeachZone

Put away your phone. Put down your book. Stop chatting.

For the next few minutes get into the zone. Let yourself be transported by the grace of nature into a place that resonates with the beat of your heart.

To do:

  1. Go to your favourite beach.
  2. Get comfy, either on the sand, a chair, the dock or a log.
  3. Pause.
  4. Exhale slowly to the count of 5 or 6.
  5. Inhale slowly to the count of 5 or 6.
  6. Establish a nice smooth rhythm which you will continue for Steps 7 to 10.
  7. Gently shift your attention to your hearing. Notice the symphony of sounds such as the water lapping along the shore, the wind whistling in your ears, the birds singing, etc.
  8. Next, pay attention to what you see. Nature has provided a living landscape for you to enjoy. Notice the colours, the light, the patterns, etc.
  9. Finally, notice your breath. How do you feel? Is there any tightness anywhere? What does the sand feel like under your feet? How does it feel when the sun kisses your skin? Perhaps your feet are being massaged by the water at the shore – what does that feel like? Has your mind quieted down? Do you feel more peaceful?
  10. Repeat often.

 

 

 

 

August 17, 2017

#531 – What to Do at the Beach When You Have RA #3

laddergolf

I’d heard about it, but until this summer, never had the opportunity to play Ladder Golf. It’s an easy, fun way to build some movement in those lazy, hazy days of summer.

The game is simple and gentle enough that it can be played with arthritic joints. In the photo, you can see me toss the red bolas (2 golf balls attached to either end of a rope), towards the ladder at the other end of our playing area.

If you’re game to play, I’m ready.

For the rules, check out Ladder Golf.

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