Favorite Things on the Icky Days

Today the methotrexate hangover, fatigue, and the cold weather has made the couch my cushy friend. I tried to do a few things on my to do list but, it just isn’t happening. And ya know what? After a long talk with myself I’ve decided that it’s okay!

On days like this I have often become frustrated and tend to pick on myself- look at the sun shining- look at the list of things to do- look at those dirty dishes- look at those weeds- look at the floors- and on and on. Then I look at my list of accomplishments for the day and get even more frustrated and feel tremendous guilt. I did a load of laundry- wow I sarcastically think. Get off your ass and move, I tell myself sternly.

Forgiveness and acceptance are two things I work on very single day. On methotrexate hangover days and fatigue funk days I have to work particularly hard on those two things. I often blame myself for getting sick, like I could have somehow prevented it. I also have a hard time accepting how I cannot hop up and move my ass like I used to. I especially have a hard time when I try and fail. Realizing I cannot do it isn’t easy but, fighting with it is worse. I make myself miserable. It’s a choice that I make and can change.

Today was a challenge because it’s my last day before student teaching begins. Tomorrow is the big day and I have felt a range of differing emotions- excited, terrified, anxious, and fearful all at once. I have to get up at the crack of dawn and function. Today is my last day and although I don’t really have anything pressing to do I felt that I should be up and practicing for the big day. I also feel like I have forgotten something. I should have gotten up earlier the last week to see how I would do. I also should have gotten up early to acclimate my body. I should be doing more around the house to test my energy. STOP. This is a normal Monday for me. Hell, even if it wasn’t why am I picking on myself? It’s all okay.

I stopped the negative thoughts and focused on forgiveness and acceptance and diverted my thoughts to more positive things. I feel grateful I’ve been able to do some writing, look at, read, and watch inspiring things. I thought it would feel good to share some of my favorite things for the icky days. In no particular order…

1. Lightly scented Soy Candles. Okay, I admit it I used to avoid candles because I was afraid one of my kitties would light themselves on fire. Excessive worrier- yep that’s me! I’m workin’ on that about myself! Now I enjoy the sense of warmth, flickering light, and aromatherapy.

2. My electric blanket- it’s soft and comforting. My kitties also love it so I get extra warmth and snuggle time!

3. iPad- it’s my reader, social networking, and writing device. It was also a gift from my husband- Rad! I’m able to read and write in comfort thanks to this awesome device. Kris Carr, David Sedaris, Danielle LaPorte, Wayne Pacelle, Gretchen Rubin on the Kindle app- yes, please!

4. Comfy lounge pants- my mom bought me these awesome, super soft, pink polka dot, fleece ones for Christmas and they are my absolute favorite. I have several others that are also awesome.

5. Great Television/Movies- Doctor Who, Sherlock (BBC), Six Feet Under, and Sex in the City are all engaging and wonderful. I also have found several shows I love on OWN that are wonderful- Our America, Next Chapter, and Super Soul Sunday. I also thoroughly enjoy Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel. Netflix is also awesome- I most recently enjoyed Star Trek and Helvetica (nerdy things).

6. Animals- my kitties and puppies (one of my dogs helps me get up and around even- he’s perfect), reading about all things animals, vegan, victories, petitions, pictures, VegNews Magazine, sanctuaries. Animals and their welfare is everything to me.

7. RA communities/social networking/blogs- It’s nice to have so many people to relate to. I love RA Guy and RA Warrior and have no idea how I would have made it this far without them.

8. Pinterest- art, design, architecture, humor, fashion, food, awesomeness. It’s super inspirational- love it! The humor section just might be my favorite- I love to laugh!

9. Music- Spotify is the most amazing thing and it literally has saved me from losing my mind some days. Music really heals my frustrations and helps me to change my outlook. Jim James, Wake Owl, Alt-J, Bat for Lashes, and Ane Brun are some of my current favorite musicians.

10. Quiet- no devices, no music, no tele, just quiet.

11. Self improvement- looking for ways to be better and live better. It has been especially helpful to recognize my feelings, understand them, and adjust them accordingly.

12. Family- they always make me feel like a rock star and provide me great comfort. I am so very grateful.

13. Laughing- at myself, the silly puppies and kitties, books, articles, Pinterest, but my very favorite is my husband. He is so funny- it hurts (in a good way).

How do you get through the icky days?

Pillow Update

Looking at it as my husband pulled it out of the packaging, I thought it definitely would not work. Sigh. The pillow looks like its made to prop me up not sleep. What’s up with that? My husband jumped to action to get me setup for bed. He poured two liters of water (for the softest option) into the pillow and remained innately optimistic. He carried it to the bed and plopped down to try it out. “It’s super soft, I think it might work!” he enthusiastically said.

Given my husband’s support, optimism, and despite the pillow’s appearance I decided I would give it a try. The pillow initially felt nice and soft, yet supportive. As the night went on, I really struggled to be comfortable. I woke up stiffer than usual and felt discouraged but refused to give in so easily. It’s a big adjustment to go from sleeping on basically nothing to something.

Today, I would say I’m pretty happy with it! My neck hasn’t strongly objected and my shoulders have thanked me. I didn’t realize how much pressure laying so flat (on my sides) was putting on my shoulders. My biggest complaint is that I cannot flip the pillow over. The water is designed to be on the bottom with a cap that sticks out. I wish the water was in the center of the pillow with a spout on the side. Though, it’s pretty heavy so I’m not sure flipping would occur anyway.

Despite it all, it’s much better than what I have had. The best part is with time it’ll get flatter and will be even better! I’m so thankful for RA communities and folks sharing what works for them!

Swept Off My Feet

“Doctor says to skip Humira.” I knew those words were coming but, really wanted to yell LALALALALA over them to live in denial. A few days after the yeast trip up I noticed symptoms and after two oral treatments, my excessive and unwelcome fungal friend is still hanging around. Luckily, it’s nothing like what I have read it can be and it’s honestly hardly noticeable. But, it’s there which sets me back on my Humira journey. Sadly, I believe the Humira caused and kept the yeasty beast around. Though this is a bit disappointing, there are definitely worse things in life!

In an effort to improve and create a positive vision of my life, I recently bought an awesome inspirational/self help book. I am a huge fan of continually improving myself and love self help books. As I have already mentioned, Kris Carr is a rock star to me. She’s relatable while being able to be incredibly motivational and inspirational. Plus, she has a thing for unicorns! I recently found she has a Pinterest page and was super-duper excited about it. I quickly discovered the wonderful Danielle LaPorte, The Fire Starter Sessions, in her “Books Worth Reading” board. Ohmygoodnessitisamazing! It’s all common sense, as you would expect, but I feel it’s putting me back on track and allowing hope back into my existence. Many of the questions she raises in each session, as she calls them, I am unable to come up with answers. But I love that I have them in mind each day. I am a huge fan of the Secret book and audio and this brings me back to that space.

I was often waking up to fight RA. To conquer it. To kick its ASS! But, in reality that is the furthest thing I want to do. I greatly dislike fighting. I greatly dislike violence. Therefore why would I think and put out into the universe that I am going to fight this? It is because that is what society says to do- fight cancer, beat diabetes, and so on. I want to treat or cure RA NOT fight it. I’m done fighting. Fighting only ensues more fighting in a never ending war. I say no thank you- like I say to a yeast infection- YUCK!

Also, there’s this whole idea for those who are ill to not be a victim. The truth is I am a victim of RA. My body was duped into thinking that the lining of my joints are invaders and need to be destroyed- which is the definition of a victim. It is what it is. However, that does not mean I am laying in the fetal position, submissive, and/or complacent waiting to be beat. I accept, live, and cope with it to the best of my ability. Like the disease activity, some days I will handle it better than others. I will continue to care for my body, learn as I go, and apply necessary changes. I have a green juice and/or smoothie at least 5 days a week, eat a healthy plant based diet, mostly gluten free, have low stress, and will continue to grow and improve everyday.

RA has actually been a great gift in many ways. It allowed me to slow down, pay attention, look at the present, and plan where I want to go from here. Before I was floating, stressed, kicking ass, working hard, unaware, fearful, overworked, exhausted, sick, and out of touch. I worried about everyone and everything- but me. I had a lot of drama that was attracted to me. People needing help in every direction and I was completely unable to say no. What you think about, you bring about- it’s true. Though I love helping others, it can be consuming. It’s necessary to say nope not going to participate in this- not my life and won’t make it my life. I was an expert at taking worry to bed and lying awake at night trying to resolve it. The truth is that unless it’s my life I cannot change it. I can provide my best advice and then let it be free. If I start to head back to that place, RA reminds me no stress (or the pain worsens).

I initially started to fall with grief from hearing I would be temporarily pulled off of Humira. Inside I screamed and cried NOOOOOOOOOOO! Then an awesome reality check swept me off my feet saying- Look this is going to happen. You read it in the literature. This is not a surprise. You are going to get sick. When you get sick, you’re body needs help and that help is a higher functioning immune system. It’s okay. Your body will get to heal. It’s just the way it is right now.

I have a long way to go but, I’m learning and that feels rad!