Friday, 3 January 2014

Quote of the Day :)

' Life is a beautiful struggle. Let the challenges make you STRONG!' 

What am I Doing in My life?

Living with RA is a challenge. However, I try to move forward and keep positive. Currently I am in my Fourth year of a bachelors in Psychology, which I will be graduating from this May. I LOVE school, although at times it can be difficult.

With school I have come across a couple challenges. Often I will be in pain in my back, hips, shoulders, and neck due to hours of studying. I also find myself experiencing pain, because of the stress. Writing papers, exams, and doing presentations can cause pressure and stress, which in turn, leads to body pain.

I have had many sleepless nights, because the pain is so uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, I am blessed to be able to have the opportunity to go to University, and I wouldn't want to waste it! It is important to me to keep moving forward and keep challenging myself. I believe this will make me a stronger person in the end :)

This past August (2013), I got engaged! I am very excited, and blessed to have someone who has stuck with me through out my RA process, and to have his unconditional love and support, even though I can be a MAJOR pain in the neck! Of course, with planning and preparing for a wedding, also come many stresses. I have found the stresses of keeping everyone happy, and also balancing what I want has been very difficult and stressful on my body… Does anyone else feel that stresses can cause their pain to increase??

I am still working on my Self-care and meditation in order to relax myself and keep positive. Something I had forgot to mention in my self care, meditation and diet blog, was 'Healing touch.' Have any of you tried this technique for pain relief and healing? I will put a link below of what Healing touch is, and perhaps some of you will give it a go! I have only done this technique once, but am hoping to do it again! I believe it works, and it is extremely relaxing!!

I am heading back to University today to start my final semester!!! wish me luck!!

Take care :)

Links below:

Quote of The Day :)

When Life puts you in tough situations, don't say, 'WHY ME?!' say "TRY ME!"  

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Importance of Self Care, Meditation, and Diet!

Today I would like to discuss the importance of SELF CARE! This is crucial to those of us suffering with chronic pain. 

Constant chronic pain can make us feel irritable, lonely, scared, and most severely DEPRESSED. Depression is one of the most common symptoms of this disease. My goal in this blog is to stress the importance of taking care of ourselves as a whole. This includes, physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. 

First I would like to mention how I personally deal with the stresses, and difficult obstacles I face with RA. When I was first diagnosed (story in my RA journey link) I was 16 years old. Having Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) wasn't easy. I felt isolated, as I spent many days in the hospitals and in my bed at home. I needed EVERYTHING done for me! I needed help getting dressed and doing my hair. Often I simply did not go to school, as it was extremely difficult and painful for me. I found myself feeling depressed, because none of my friends understood why I never wanted to hangout with them. I never wanted to leave my house, I felt too sick. I took heavy amounts of medication, which involved side effects, such as sore stomach, which made me uncomfortable. My main issue was the feeling of isolation. I felt sad, and tired, because I could never sleep. However, in the last 5 years of being diagnosed, I have found a few things have helped me stay positive. 

My parents and sister have helped me stay positive, and are always understanding when I have a hard time performing a simply task. My now fiancé, is incredibly helpful, and even gives me my weekly Enbrel injections! My fiancé and I have been together for 6 years, and he has been with me throughout this dramatic change in my life, and has always stood by me, even on those nights where our friends would go out, he would never leave my side, I am very blessed.

I try to keep my thoughts positive. This can be hard! Trust me I know! There are good and bad days. I am grateful to have been blessed with great medical, which has helped me battle this disease and keep my pain relatively manageable. However, when I am having days where I am stressed (which we know is a pain trigger), and I am feeling very low, I try and think of 5 things that I am grateful for that day. This helps me prioritize my feelings. It also helps to talk to a close friend, or take time to meditate. Meditating can be different for everyone. I often will go on youtube, and watch 'ASMR' videos. These are incredibly helpful for relaxation in my opinion (I will leave a link to a video for you to try tonight!). Meditation videos help me to feel at peace, and put my mind on other things rather than stress and pain. 

In this year of 2014, I plan to take yoga classes. I hear that this form of exercise can be very beneficial to those suffering with chronic pain. I even have a few daily videos that I often do in the morning before I head to class, which helps me with my back pain. I will link the video below. 

Recently I decided to see a Naturopath to discuss some dietary options in managing stomach discomfort, and inflammation. I will make a blog soon with the outline of how to do an anti-inflammatory diet that I hope some of you will try. I have tried this diet, and found it very challenging to stick to, however it was helpful. I have been given a list of foods that are helpful to eliminate inflammation. Some of these foods include: pineapple, blue berries, avocado, and the spice turmeric. I try to make smoothies, and put this spice into EVERYTHING! I will also add a smoothie recipe that is great for anti-inflammatory conditions!

Overall, It is vital that we continue to stay mobile and busy. I know that it can be hard, but positivity is the BEST MEDICINE! 

Please share your experiences, and how you keep positive through your journey :) 

Links below: - Quick yoga for back pain! These help me immensely! - ASMR video! works best with headphones! enjoy the calming sounds. 

Wish you all a pain-free positive day ! 


Since I am just starting out this blog, I would LOVE to receive YOUR input!! Please write me suggestions on different topics and questions you might have for me, or would like me to talk about!! I look forward to reading your suggestions and questions :)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

My RA Journey...

My name is Kelly, and I was diagnosed with a very terrifying, and debilitating disease at the age of 16, known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA). My journey was long, and confusing… I had never heard of the disease, and thought, "how can a child develop Arthritis, a disease of an old person?!" I was angry, mainly because of my confusion, and misunderstanding of the illness itself. I felt alone, like no one understood what I was feeling. I felt depressed, as I began to lose friendships, and I was very scared.

Prior to my diagnosis, I was treated for a variety of illness. I suppose being from a small town in British Columbia, Canada, unfortunately meant there was little medical help and support for someone like me. My symptoms were a bit more on the 'odd' side according to my Rheumatologist whom later diagnosed me with RA. In the beginning I felt cold, so cold my entire body would shake and quiver. Then I would have an incredibly high temperature. My body would become stiff, and I would be unable to move. Finally, I would throw up, it felt as though it would never end, the pain was unbearable.This was a terrifying experience. I was constantly hospitalized and treated for different bacterial infections. One night in the hospital after continuous throwing up, and pain, and nurses that would forget to check up on me, I decided I had enough. I called my mother at home and she came a got me, and the next day we flew to Vancouver, BC Children's Hospital where in a matter of hours I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and my journey with differing medications, and learning how to live in a body that made me feel like I was 90 years old began.

I am now 21 years old, and have learned a lot about my body, RA, and how to live with a disease that is invisible. RA is known as an 'invisible disease' meaning, that a lot of the time people do not even recognize you have any type of disease at all, even though you are living in chronic pain. This can make many feel isolated, and alone. It can be difficult to articulate and explain to others what you are feeling, and this is one of my personal frustrations. One major frustration for many with RA is the famous question, ' is your pain worse depending on the weather?' NO. This is completely different then the Arthritis you might see in your grandmother. The name ' Rheumatoid Arthritis' implies arthritis, when really there is much more to the disease than that! There must be a more affective name that could be used??????

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, it occurs when your own body mistakenly attacks your body's tissues. Not only does this cause join swelling, pain, and deformation, it also effects organs such as: skin, eyes, blood vessels, and lungs. So once again, ' does it get worse with the weather?' NO! (here is a link that explains what RA is).

My goal for this blog is to tell my story, and spread awareness. I want to help other RA warriors become more positive, and most importantly, I want you to know that you are not alone!