Archive for ‘Pain/Joint Relief’

October 31, 2017

#542 – What to Wear Home From Surgery

pjsholly.jpg

The Recovery Room nurses were impressed when my husband slung back the curtain and I emerged in my 3-piece pajama set. “Oh, you’re smart. So many people struggle to get into their street clothes after surgery,” was one of the comments I heard. We had to leave home just after 5 a.m. in order to be at the hospital for 6:30, so with the trauma of surgery and the early morning wake up, I figured that since I was going back to bed, I should make it easy for hubby to help me dress in my one-handed state.

I’ve written about this wonderful 3-piece cotton pajama set before. It’s a must-have if you’re experiencing hot flashes.

Holly seems to like it, too!

 

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October 29, 2017

#541 – Surgery for a Ruptured Thumb Tendon

SurgicalSites

While clicking Holly’s leash, things got out of hand. I heard a snap, then I was unable to flex my thumb. (It could have been any action that caused the rupture, so poor Holly can’t be blamed for this.) About a decade ago I ruptured a tendon in the last joint of my ring finger and didn’t do anything about it, thinking that it would heal on its own. This time I knew that it was important to get it seen to asap. Within a week, I had surgery.

I learned that I had a vestigial (extra) tendon, or Palmaris Longus muscle, that could be used in my tendon reconstruction surgery. I opted for a nerve block, which took some time to do. By not having a general anaesthetic, I was awake for the surgey. My wonderful surgeons even allowed me to have two peaks at my own inner workings! Then the shields, er curtain, went back up. Yes, I realize that particular view is not for everyone, but I found the whole procedure fascinating. Needless to say, I’d rather not have gone through it, but it needed to be done.

Fortunately, the tendon ruptured in my wrist, so the incision was minimized. My tendon was fraying like some old rope that a mountain climber had no choice but to use. The surgeon removed the offending sharp bit of bone in my carpal tunnel in order to prevent it from fraying my newly repaired tendon.

The afternoon of the surgery, I was thrilled to see that I could once again bend my thumb! I now have some gentle thumb exercises to do every hour. The rest of the time I must wear a (hot) splint to protect the thumb. I plan on getting back into the pool with my splint, once my incision heals, which it almost has done. For the time being, I’ll be letting things slip through my fingers!

splint

 

 

September 25, 2017

#536 – #RABlogWeek: Day 1 – Mental Health and RA

 

In a workshop, I once asked when I would finally be over an issue that plagued me most of my life. “When you’re dead,” came the swift and pointed reply. Upon reflection, I gleaned the wisdom in those words. Life is an evolving process, with ups and downs, twists and turns. It’s an ever-changing kaleidoscope of emotions, thoughts and feelings, all of which are impacted by hormones, food, exercise, sleep, medical conditions such as RA, work, social scene, climate, perceptions and more. In other words, life.

 

 

Mental health is very much dependent upon cultivating resources, particularly those that enable you to weather the storms, which can vary in duration and severity. It is about taking action and being directly involved in your own well-being. Action that can be as simple as learning the importance of breathing, something you do anyway, so why not make it count. Action that involves reaching out for help to learn strategies to help you navigate your life. Action that helps you cultivate your innate healing powers and wisdom in order to recognize that while it may not be fair, your life path is strewn with bumps, hurdles, detours and stops. It also includes beautiful scenery, unexpected journeys and friends, new and old.

The diagnosis of a chronic illness, such as RA (rheumatoid arthritis), can send you into a nose-dive. Frustration, impatience, pain, regret, guilt, fear, sadness, etc. –  the list can be a large storm surge of negative, stress-producing emotions, thoughts and feelings.

The Dark Days

I’ve experienced periods, some longer than others, when it seems that I am in the winter of my discontent. I won’t bore you with the details, but some adjectives that applied during those times are useless, incompetent, pointless and hopeless. Neither work, nor friends or family seemed to get me out of that darkness. However, gradually, the light got in, the heaviness lifted and I found my equilibrium. All of that was pre-Auntie Stress days. It turns out that there is wisdom in growing older. Imagine that!

My Strategies

Now, my toolbox is full of self-care/self-help strategies. As the primary driver of the vehicle that is me, it is empowering to take responsibility, (even if sometimes I’d rather not!), for my life. If not me, who then? After all, I have the most vested in me. I am here from the beginning to the end, through thick and thin, sadness and joy, disappointments and successes.

However, that does not mean I am the island that John Donne elegantly wrote in 1624: “No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.”

When I’m feeling wretched I know that I can do something about it. I am also aware that I won’t feel that way forever, just like I know that a flare won’t last forever, if you take steps to address it. In this instant world we live in, we’ve been conditioned to having things happen right when we want them to. Life does not necessarily work that way. It can take as long as it takes – not much comfort when you are fighting a flare or flailing around in the whirlpool of despair.

I’ve learned to dig deeper. Breathe. Use the power of my heart. Ask what I need versus what I want. Breathe. Use the power of my heart. Don’t eat my feelings – a decades long habit that I’ve mainly overcome. (Yes, I have set-backs, but not like I used to!) Breathe. Use the power of my heart. Spend time doing the things important to me, such as spending time in nature. Exercise helps, as does realizing that mood and food are very much related. Breathe. Use the power of my heart. Sleep, or lack thereof, is a huge mood downer for me. I am faithful to my sleep regimes, because when I’m not, I don’t want to know me! Yes – more breathing and more heart power.

I have dark days, like anyone else. Challenges. Family concerns. A chronic illness. Dashed dreams. Unfilled wishes. I work on not letting the broken sewer pump of negative emotions flood my life. If I need to rise above the dark stinky mess, I first turn on the light and rummage around for one of the many techniques in my toolbox. If I can’t find the right tool, I know where to go for help. However, there is usually always something there to help me move forward.

Cultivate Your Resources

It can be an easy trip down the road to despair, especially if you have a chronic illness. RA has a voracious appetite for energy. It can be relentless in a flare, resulting in a tsunami of damage, that leaves a path of destruction that can touch many aspects of your life – work, relationships and  finances, to name a few.

You have more power than you realize over your emotions, thoughts and emotions. Be patient. Breathe. Access the power of your heart. Add to your toolbox. Trust yourself. Give yourself time to learn, change and grow. Build a support system, whatever that looks like to you. Access and cultivate your resources. Just like life, the road to well-being is an on-going process.

Finally, ask the birds to leave your hair alone and go build a nest elsewhere!

 

 

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!

 

 

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