Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day Two Of Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program

I went to my second exercise class for people with Arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program. It was, yet again, amazing. I felt like I could climb Mt. Everest afterwards. My body still feels incredible. My back pain is gone, my shoulder pain is nonexistent, and my knees are half as stiff as they used to be.

It has significantly reduced my Lupus joint pain and my fatigue. This class is great exercise without being too strenuous or tiring. I don't feel tired when I leave at the end of class. Instead I feel like running a marathon. Also, the people taking the class and the instructors are so friendly. I feel so welcome and everyone is so encouraging. Almost everyone in the class is 70+ years old, but instead of acting like the old people stereotype of grouchy and mean, everyone is very supportive of each other and of my journey to regain my youth. And it's only day two!

Friday, I won't be able to cavort with my fellow fitness fiends. I'll be staying at home wishing I was there.

If you didn't get a chance to read my post about my first AFEP class you can check it out here.

Have you ever taken classes from the Arthritis Foundation? What has your experience been like?

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Conquer The Pain, Exercise It Away

Image by Colin Brough

Life Before Lupus

Before getting sick, I used to go for long walks every day. Walking 5 miles or more was nothing for me. I really enjoyed it. If I was craving something to eat, I would walk all the way to the grocery store, pick it up, and walk back. When I'd get a paycheck, I'd walk to the bank. I'd walk to the park. I visited the antique store all the time.

Since then, I don't exercise at all. The thought of it is just painful. Lying down is painful. I've let my lupus control my activities and I stopped being okay with that when I stepped on the scale and realized I had gained almost 30 lbs. My clothes aren't fitting right anymore and my self confidence has plummeted. It is time to make a change.


My city offers exercise classes for people with arthritis. It's $12 bucks a year and I can go three times a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I figured this would probably be the best route for me to take. I don't want to get a gym membership, because gyms are hothouses for germs. I'd get sick trying to get healthy. I also didn't want to do anything that would be too intense for my sore, achy body. So why not work out with the city's little old ladies where I would fit right in?
English: Arthritis Foundation Logo
Arthritis Foundation Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went this morning, walked up to the front desk, and said, "I'm here for the Arthritis Exercise Program". The lady at the front desk looked so shocked, I almost burst out laughing. "I know, I'm young." She told me what room it was being held in and I marched on in there. Well, it was more like dragged my achy body in there.

It was a wonderful class. Arthritis Foundation  Exercise Program. "Designed for those with any form of Arthritis". Here is what the pamphlet they gave me says:

"APEF is designed to increase flexibility and mobility. It is not designed to be a cardiovascular work-out."

It's great because most of the exercises are done sitting down. Since I have very little stamina anymore, this is great. And when the class first started, I thought, "Oh. This is going to be way too easy for me." Uh, no. Some things were very difficult for me to do. Like this one exercise where you sit on the edge of a chair and lean back until you lightly touch the back of the chair, then return to an upright position. It also happens to be my favorite exercise. I have so much lower back pain, this made me feel like a new person.

Jackson Haines, considered to be the father of...
Jackson Haines, considered to be the father of modern figure skating. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am definitely going back for more. If I felt that good after one hour long session, imagine how I'll feel if I go 3 times a week. And I really can't wait until I work up to more vigorous exercises. Maybe I'll figure skating again. And hiking. And I really want to go rock climbing. And I really (*Keeps blathering about all the things I want to do*).

Thanks for reading. If you like what you saw, share it with your friends and family! Feel free to leave a comment and remember to come back soon.

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Bumps, Lupus Rashes, and a Late Birthday

After almost a month, I finally got to celebrate my birthday with some of my friends. Endless sushi and trick candles. What more could a girl want?

When I got home, I spent an hour or two with my family watching "The Big Bang Theory". I think "The Big Bang Theory" is one of the funniest shows on television. Jim Parsons is absolutely perfect for the role of Sheldon. His laugh is the funniest thing I have ever seen.
Strange bumps- looks like bug bites.

After the show, I got ready for bed. It was then that I noticed my arm was covered in red, raised bumps. They look like bug bites, but I wasn't outside for more than a minute. I know they weren't there when I left the house, and I wore my leather jacket the entire time. Except while I was eating. Maybe that was when it happened. I don't know. I'm a bit creeped out that I didn't notice them at all. 

At the restaurant, I did notice that I had developed a Lupus rash on my cheeks. They're do darn annoying. I know when I'm starting to get one because my face will feel hot, as if I had gotten a sunburn. It happens very suddenly, usually in a matter of seconds. It almost always happen if I go outside and it's sunny. Sometimes when it is cloudy it will appear, but rarely. It also will happen when I'm at home or random places when I'm inside. Sometimes it will last for 15 minutes. Other times it will last for a few hours. I have never had it last for more than a day. It's slightly raised. I can feel the difference if I lightly brush my finger along my face. It almost isn't noticeable. It doesn't itch, though. It mainly just burns.
My typical face rash.
This time I was just sitting in the sushi restaurant with my friends when I felt my face burning. For a second I wasn't sure if I was just blushing. But I didn't have a reason for blushing. When I went to the bathroom after our meal, I checked myself out in the mirror, and there it was.

Does this ever happen to you? When things like this happen to you, do you ever wonder why all the weird things happen to you? Ever since I was little, I always had the strangest medical problems happen to me. When I got my ears pierced, my earring was sucked inside my ear by my earlobe. When I got my wisdom teeth removed, one of my teeth were growing in upside down. Nothing ever seems to be normal or straight-forward.

Stay tuned... I'm going to an exercise class for people with arthritis. It should be an interesting experience.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

8 Magical Items To Never Leave Home Without

Lupus turns your body into a ticking time bomb. You never know what your body has planned next. The first thing I learned after being diagnosed is to be prepared for everything and anything. I've had days where I wake up feeling fine, but by the end of the day I had to taken to the emergency room.

For some Lupus patients, being unprepared will not be an option. Your health will depend upon how well you anticipate possible problems. If you don't know where to start, here is the list of items I keep on me at all times:
Medical Card

8 Items You Should Never Leave Home Without

  1. Your Doctor's business card. If you have a medical emergency, it will be important to contact them and let them know what is happening.
  2. Your Health Insurance card. Hospitals will need this information and if you are in bad shape, repeating this information orally is a nightmare.
  3. A card with your allergies, your current medications, and medical problems (Lupus) written on it. This is perfect for situations when you are not able to tell the health professionals yourself. (Feel free to use the one I made for you on the right).
  4. Travel-sized container of an allergy medicine (like Benedryl).
  5. Travel-sized container of pain medicine approved by your doctor. Make sure your pain medication is approved by your doctor. With certain medications and health problems, you won't be able to take pain medication you are used to taking.
  6. Water or other hydrating beverage. It's very easy to get dehydrated, and by staying hydrated you will feel better for a lot longer And it's useful if you have to take your medicine during the day.
  7. Hand sanitizer. With your immune system not working the way it should, it is important to do what you can to stay healthy. They have lots of great smelling hand sanitizers now so you don't have to deal with the harsh alcohol smell.
  8. Travel pack of tissues. Keeps you from re-infecting yourself if you are sick.

These items have all been life savers for me. Literally. Staying healthy is important, and it is extremely important to always be prepared. By keeping these items on you wherever you go, any problems you might run into will be less stressful and much easier to deal with.

Do you have any items that I didn't cover that you keep on you at all times?

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Defeating the Canker Sore

How To Get Rid of Canker Sores

Canker sores are very painful sores that appear in your mouth. They don't show up on your lips. Those are cold sores. They are evil things that get in the way of talking and eating.

So what are your options to help get rid of them?
  1. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. It MUST be warm or hot. Swish, swish, spit.
  2. Rinse your mouth with Hydrogen Peroxide. Again, swish, swish, spit.
  3. Go to the drug store or sometimes the grocery store will have some medicinal treatment you can use.
  4. Go to your dentist and have them prescribe something for you.
But those take a few days to work. Sometimes a few weeks if you are like me. I don't want to wait a few weeks, and by then a new one has usually popped up. I use this both as a preventive measure and to make them go away. I am so glad my dentist told me about this.

The Cure For Canker Sores

  1. Sprinkle a very, very tiny amount of baking soda onto your toothpaste when you brush your teeth. I know that since you were little you were always told not to brush your teeth with baking soda, but my dentist told me that most toothpastes these days are actually more abrasive on your teeth than baking soda. And you're only using a very tiny amount. I use this as my preventive measure. My dentist says this works because the food we eat (fewer fruits and veggies and healthy foods than our ancestors) messes with the pH levels in our mouths making it more acidic. This can be one of the many factors that cause canker sores. So by balancing out our mouth, we lessen the chances of getting canker sores. Voila!
  2. Get your finger slightly damp, stick it into the baking soda, and then press the powder directly onto the canker sore. It may sting slightly, but it will take the pain away and by the next day it should have started to really shrink. And if you catch it before the canker sore fully forms, you can avoid the problem completely.
Learning the baking soda secret has made my life a lot easier and less painful. If you have a canker sore, you must try this out!
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