RA Blog Week Day 4: TGF Hobbies

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Birthing Autumn by Nicole Jackson 

Are hobbies important? You bet! Especially, when it comes to having an illness or disease that can zap the life and joy right out of you IF you allow it to. I don’t know if my hobbies are hobbies, so to speak. I mean since RA has taken a turn for the worse in my life I would like to think what may be considered as hobbies are really my lifelong passions that have been buried underneath the hustle of life and the bustle of a job. Most of my hobbies center around things I wish I would have done a long time ago or pursued.

Hobbies not only occupy your time, but should expand your mind and it should be something you enjoy. When I tend to my blog, one of my hobbies, I enjoy it. When I thrift and put outfits together, I enjoy it. When I find odds and ends, repaint them or repurpose them, I enjoy it. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of my hobbies. The things I don’t consider hobbies are writing (author), painting, crocheting and sewing. These things are more than hobbies to me. I view them as possible way to establish a new life since I have been left with me the remnants of my old life. Life, before RA. The core of who I am is still there. And to be honest, if RA had never came along and blew my old life out of the water, who knows when these gifts would have been reborn.

~Nikki

 

 

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RA BLOG: Just Not Tonight

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Sciatica nerve, joint pain, fibromyalgia and pinky finger falling asleep along the side of hand up to the elbow, makes for a “hades” of a night. I had to get up and get an ice pack for my back. I did get up and I made it to church. There were some hard hitting pains there, too and in RA Warrior fashion I answered “I’m fine.” The pain for me has been on off today but now it seems like I am going to have a fibro and RA flare. They both move around the body. So, as I prepare to wrap up my night and prepare for a bumpy ride, I hope you know that in those nights, midnights, early mornings, you are not alone in your suffering. Some warrior, of some illness is suffering, too. Someone is praying for the subsiding of pain, too. I pray for them, too.-Nikki

Does Weather Affect RAD(Rheumatoid Arthritis Dis-ease) and Fibromyalgia?

 

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The hurricane is influencing the weather here in my city. I can feel it and it doesn’t feel good at all. I really need my hands today. You can’t tell me weather doesn’t affect joints or muscle. I don’t understand after all the research and patient information, discussions about humidity and barometric pressure, why doctors have yet to admit this and state it as fact. What more evidence do you need? It may not affect everyone, but it is a fact for many of us.

Yesterday, I took every unnecessary item out of my purse and I still could not put my purse on my shoulders very long. Switching it back and forth I felt like throwing it across the store. But, that may get the attention of security and brand me a “crazy lady.” I don’t want to be the talk at the table of employees of my local grocery store.

As I pray and donate to the victims in Houston, I put my pain in prospective. I think of all of the autoimmune warriors there who are experiencing a stress I pray I never have to feel. And today we pray for New Orleans. We do not want it to be Deja Vu. As for me and my unpredictable, growing pain in my hands, wrists, forearms, feet, and ankles today, I sit aside many things on my “to do” list and whatever I accomplish today will be enough.

~Nikki

RA Blog: What’s For Dinner?

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One of my favorite, simple, and easy things to make for dinner is pizza. We all know cooking with RD (RA) or any other autoimmune disorder can be tough and almost impossible. We want it to be quick, easy, and as healthy as possible. You want it now as well if you have had a prednisone dose (most of us are extremely hungry because of this steroid for pain)!

Well, this may or may not be healthy depending on what you put on it and what type of crust you use. In the one above it’s a veggie pizza. You can buy veggies already chopped or chop your own. You can look in the fridge and just throw whatever veggies you have on the pizza. Think outside the box and take a chance with veggies like carrots and cauliflower. You can buy any type of crust you like or even make your own with cauliflower. I used a flatbread crust for mines. You can choose your sauce and add cheese. The one below is a buffalo chicken pizza topped with bacon. Pizza nights for us are usually on the weekend or it can be whenever you are just not feeling up to cooking a big meal. Add a salad and enjoy.

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When making the buffalo chicken pizza, I bake a boneless chicken breast (season it with Tony’s seasoning), cut it into pieces (slices or chunks, most of the time my daughter does this because of my hands), and let it soak in a buffalo sauce. Any buffalo sauce will do. I let it soak for about 10 minutes and then I toss them onto the pizza. Baking times are usually on your crust package. Once it’s done, I top it with bacon (optional of course) immediately so it can stick to the cheese as much as possible ( I cook the bacon while I am baking the chicken).

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing:RD/Fibro Blog: I Want to Play, Too

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You remember what it’s like to get sick as a child and friends are outside playing. You hear the laughter, you see them running around playing a game of hide and seek, or playing with their superheroes or dolls. You say to your mother, “Mom, I want to go outside and play, too.” She says, “I know honey. But, you can’t. You’re sick and you have to get well first.” So, there you go. Back to the window to watch your friends play. Until you feel well again.

This is exactly how I feel many times as I watch the events of family, friends, and other events that play before me live and in living color on social media. I sorely wish I were there, too. Creating memories. Laughing along. Right there in the moments captured forever. Especially, the very big moments and events. I and so many others who live with chronic pain also live with unpredictability of the symptoms. And there we are. Trapped in the house, until the symptoms subside enough for us to go out to play again with everyone else. You may be disappointed and you probably understand. But no one, and I mean no one, is more disappointed and upset or even as angry as we are. We are many times at the mercy of a body we cannot control. And, for the record, many of the other times you see us out living it up, selfies and all, we are smiling and playing through the pain. Tough guys and gals we are indeed!

It makes me happy to see others happy and enjoying life. I know I will be there in the moment soon again. When you realize it’s not about others or you and your pain all the time, but it is collectively about sharing in the joy and laughter of others lives that fills your heart whether you are there physically or through videos, listening to the stories behind each memorable moment and looking through photos. Energy is energy and sometimes you have to experience it at different frequencies. Accept and embrace. Sad that I can’t be there? Yes. But the happiness that you are there, friends and family are there, enjoying life is greater than my sad moment…that shall pass.

~Nikki

 

RA Blog: All Eyes on Me (Thee)

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It seems as if everyone else is whizzing right past you as you “mosey” along or perhaps you are not moving at all. Maybe, you are stuck. Well, I have goals because I set goals. I have dreams and new dreams, new visions, things I want to see happen in the face of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and all of that other noise that seems to slow me down and sometimes get the best of me.

In the effort to lose weight, to achieve my other goals as well, it seems as if the well abled bodied people are just flying right past me. Soaring to their goals, and I, I am left behind in their dust. Me? I’m struggling to stay motivated. I can’t walk that fast, like I use to. I can’t use my hands very well today, I can’t stand as long as I use to, the fatigue…it’s what some call excuses, but it’s a reality for many of us. We are not who we use to be and oh if we would have known this was coming, we may have did the 5K or went back to school sooner.

Q: Dear God, Universe, Creator, Self, Spirit, how do I deal with all the feels of being left behind?

A: Take your eyes off others and put your eyes on me. Keep your eyes on “your” prize. Stop the comparison. It’s unfair and foolish to compare yourself with well abled bodied people and it’s unfair to compare yourself to the old self. You can’t be in the past and present at the same time. This is why you are not progressing as fast or at all.

So, with that revelation, I invite you to meditation and prayer. Center yourself during the times when you are “feeling” so much despair and disappointment. If I keep watching others I will fall. If I keep comparing myself to others, I will fail. If I keep living in the past, I can’t work in the present to prepare for my future. All eyes on the Creator. All eyes on the scriptures, affirmations, practices, that center your heart and mind.

~Nikki

Life is In (A Life and RA Blog)

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Whatever or whomever you believe to be your higher power is what sustains you in times of despair. I live a life that is often filled with physical pain, continuous doctor appointments with specialists, an ongoing fight mentally and emotionally to stay grounded, steady, and balanced. Add in your regular and unpredictable life plans. I am sure you have your own battles. So, you know where I am coming from to some degree we can agree that things get hectic.

One scripture that comes to me when life seems to put pressure on me, when the thing I am dealing with at hand attempts to snuff out my life (my joy and happiness, my optimism, my faith), suggest I’d be better off dead, or just weighs me down is this one: “In God I live and move and have my being.” It empowers me. It says, whatever it is that is making you “feel” this way, has no power over you and it is not what sustains you or keeps you alive. It says, “Move in me, with me, within you there I am, giving you this energy and power to LIVE (AND NOT DIE), MOVE (KEEP GOING/PRESSING FORWARD), AND BE (EXIST).

The ability to tap INto your source, God, and connect to something higher than yourself or your higher self (I’m not big on defining God for people as I believe in freedom of choice), in difficult times keeps your feet grounded to the Earth and your head or thoughts aligned with your divine mission. The fact that you have to reconnect or reaffirm, only suggest that you got so caught up in what was going on around you that you had a brief disconnect from Source. You “almost” forgot that God, Source, Divine sustains you. Or perhaps, your connection was weak and had gotten loose by the yanking and moving around of the cares of this world. Your thoughts. It happens sometimes.

I went for a walk today and walks are suppose to be peaceful. Yet, as soon as I stepped out of the car I felt pain in my left hip which I’ve been having trouble with at this young age of 42. My walk was not as fast and then my hands swelled half way. I was agitated and frustrated and please don’t tell me not to be because I think it’s necessary to feel so you can address it. As I thought “I am so sick of this! Sick of it! Sick of it! Sick of it!!!!” I really wanted to yell that out at the park. I kept walking and speaking to walkers and runners, the few that were on the trail. “I just want to give up.” I was walking my normal pace. And by giving up I meant trying to improve my health. “Flush all the pills. And just let RA run it’s course. Why would I get this at 8 years old. Like…for what?” Then, the scripture that caught my attention from the first time I heard it, and that comes to me often “In him, God, I live and move and have my being.” Next thought was “Right. RA has no power over me. It does not determine my destiny or “run” my life. It is not the boss of me. It does not get to take me out without a fight. It is not my life sustainer. I am. God is. I do my part. God does God’s part. I finished my walk.

~Nikki