Vegas and RA: The Good, The Bad, The Really Bad and Ugly

I have shared with you my wonderful and brief trip in Vegas. The shopping, the entertainment, tourism, my fashion, and family fun. I know it seems so glamourous or maybe not lol! But, anyone can take a trip and it has nothing to do with having a luxurious job, which I don’t have. But, it has everything to do with finding the best deals and planning way, way, ahead. Remember, you can do whatever you set your mind to.

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Speaking of planning, when you have certain physical illnesses and diseases, limitations, etc. you have to learn to plan ahead as much as possible. We who have Rheumatoid Disease, Fibromyalgia, and other illnesses understand our dis-ease can be UNPREDICTABLE. So, this is where experience comes in, Google, and planning ahead as best you can.

  • I forgot my cute and much needed hot/cold reusable water packs. I have a small and a large one I usually take with me. You can find them at TJMaxx or on Amazon.
  • So, that was out! In Vegas there is WALKING, WALKING, WALKING, AND MORE WALKING! However, it is easily accessible for those with wheelchairs if you have one. So, don’t let that deter you from Vegas or anywhere else on this planet. I had my best pair of sneakers. This is not the time to break in a new pair. Go with a sure thing.
  • Pain meds ahead of time if possible. All meds on time. However, if I know I am going to have more than one drink, I will skip my meds. I am just being honest with you. You, however, follow your doctors orders. I’m not that big of a drinker meaning I can have it or not and still have a great time. I am allowed, per my doctor, a glass of wine per day if I want it. It’s not that serious for me.
  • Comfy house shoes with memory foam or something that is plush
  • Pain cream or gel
  • Foldable Flats and a purse that will fit them
  • Epsom Salt

Now, here is where it gets bad and ugly. I love heels and I can still wear them, but not the really high ones I use to wear. I blogged about that journey and halidux rigidus surgery a few years ago. I made the choice and sacrifice to wear some really cute heels to a club to see a celeb DJ. The walk there was fine. The dancing the night away was fine, but when I stopped I knew I was in trouble. The walk back was TORTUROUS. I can’t begin to describe to you the pain I felt. I knew I was going to have more than one drink so I skipped my meds. I had to rely on other methods and time to relieve my incredible pain.

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You are not suppose to walk through the hotel or casino with your shoes off. By the time my cousin and I got close to our rooms, we took off our shoes and sighed the biggest relief! Trust me! The picture below is how we felt after those “contraptions” called heels came off!

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But it did not stop there for me. I was swollen from the feet up to the knees. My feet were as red as fire and the neuropathy felt like shocks and this set off the fibromyalgia. I thought to myself, “WTH! I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS BAD!” But like I mentioned to you before, this disease is very unpredictable. I did not feel my bones hurting, but I figure they would be tomorrow. I could hardly walk on my feet and I had my plush house shoes with me. They only helped a little this time because the reaction was UNPREDICTABLE! I applied the pain cream and NOTHING! NO RELIEF!

 

 

I was like OMG and then I was like Dear God, please let this ease up. I tried to sleep and I could not. Below is a picture of the next evening (note I did well all the next day with my sneakers on), when we were going out again but decided on a fancy dinner instead. This is the results with flat shoes which is what they looked liked the night I took off my heels. I was in so much pain and discomfort that night I wasn’t thinking about anymore photos lol! But no lol! The only difference is the pain was minimum but the swelling was MAX. And the crazy thing is, I wasn’t in these shoes but a couple of hours. My feet were like, “No ma’am! Not again!”

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So, what did I do the night I had on heels and the pain was off the charts. I GOOGLED what to naturally do to ease neuropathy, fibromyalgia, RA. I read until I found something I could do. And here is what I will always want in a hotel from here on out. A good CLEAN (I am so OCD about bathrooms and what they look like) tub I can soak in AND once I get to my destination buy some Epsom Salt! This is my new thing to do or find a small pack if I am flying, to bring with me. Add that to the list. Thank GOD the Luxor Hotel in Vegas had a soakers tub! I filled it up with hot water, grabbed my phone and started a guided meditation session on chronic pain with my Inside Timer App, and soaked for about 20 minutes. I felt 50% better. If I would have had some Epsom Salt, I would probably have been at 75%. I was able to feel the difference and fall asleep.

The meditation app helped because I was in BIG pain and feeling so anxious, defeated, a bit jilted, and was slipping into a “Wish I never had this stupid disease rant” and I miss my old self. The meditation helped bring my emotions down and helped clear my mind and bring focus. Here I was finding the best solution to my problem at the moment.

I wish I could tell you that I won’t do that again. But, I don’t want to lie to you. Vegas is my YOLO ZEN place and it’s only once a year. I don’t how long I will be able to travel because of RA and it’s complications. I can tell you that I will bring a purse big enough for my foldable flats!!! I didn’t think I would need them because where we were going was close to the hotel. I did not factor in how much dancing I would be doing. Oh well, you live, you learn , you survive another day.

I had other pain in Vegas because of the walking. It’s like I said, this is not something I do every day and it’s expected when I travel. In the RA group many had to stop traveling or keep it to a minimum. I think I am midway at 43 with traveling. I have a few places I would like to see and hope I don’t ever have to give traveling up completely.

~Nikki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RA BLOG: Winterizing Rheumatoid Arthritis

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year alright! But, tell that to Rheumatoid Arthritis! For many of us the cold weather causes our pain to increase and our activities to decrease. I don’t know about you, but my pain also increases over in the night when temperatures are dropping. It took me a few years to realize preparation makes things smoother even when your RA is unpredictable. We winterize our homes and I said to myself “Self, what about winterizing RA? Share what works for you and ask others to share what works for them!” So, here is my list of things that work for me. Please feel free to share yours.

  1. Clean your gutters-Clean your nightstand…and keep cleaning it! As soon as I clean my nightstand and it’s picture perfect, I blink and it’s cluttered again. In the middle of the night who has time to fumble around and knock over the water bottle. Which takes everything else along with it as you search for the lamp. (Do purchase a cheap lamp for your nightstand. Bright light in the middle of the night makes harder for you to get back to sleep).
  2. Get a container from the dollar store. Place your water bottle, pain medication, fuzzy socks, compression gloves, etc in it. Everything you think you will need at night. I have a fashionable pill box in for my purse. I find that if I take it out at night I forget to put it back in or if I put it back, now a pain pill is missing if I need it when I am out. So, I have a pill box (or get a ziploc bag) with about 5 pain pills in it and toss it in the bucket. Everything I need is in that container for the night. The good thing about he bucket/container you can take it with you to the family room!
  3. Reverse your ceiling fans! It helps circulate the heat in the room.
  4. How many times have I forgotten my gloves? I can’t keep count. So I keep an extra pair of gloves in the glove compartment.
  5. Get some winter boots with a good treading for snowy days. We really don’t need a fall! Our gait can be a bit “wobbly” at times.
  6. Blankets are our friends. A blanket in the room where you watch TV or an extra blanket or quilt across your bed comes in handy.
  7. Exercise. You may not can walk in the cold and well, there goes your exercising routine. However, marching in place during commercials or doing some for of exercises indoors will keep your joints from getting stiff. My fibromyalgia seems tightening my muscles more in cold weather. So I do much more stretching via yoga. I love yoga.
  8. Open the curtains and blinds. A dark home can be a bit depressing and when things are not going well for us, pain and etc., a lighten mood is welcomed. Especially, by our loved ones who live with us! No bah humbugs here.
  9. More pain equals less cooking. If you can, when you are feeling well or have help, cook in batches and have a plan. Soups, chilis, casseroles all make cooking less of a task in the long run. Also, a few frozen dinners never hurt anyone.
  10. Breathe. Meditate. Grab a good book. Tell winter how much you love it and you are glad you are here to see it. Don’t let RA make you “hate winter” or the holidays. Think on the things you still love about winter. I love the cozy feeling. I like the fireplace going or all of the different chilis you can save on Pinterests that you never make! LOL

~Nikki

If you have any tips please share!

Champion Your Thoughts

 

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Muhammad Ali was a champion in many ways but, what made him a champion in those ways was his ability to champion his thoughts.

As I reflect on my life I look at the ways I use self defeating thoughts verses champion thoughts. Many of us have been preprogrammed with thoughts or conditioned to think certain thoughts through experiences. Either good or negative, we think. If I’m to be honest, my thought process didn’t begin to change until I was 30 (however, I woke up so to speak at 26)  and here we have it 11 years later, finally taking root and blooming.

Champion thoughts requires hard, grueling, relentless and challenging work. Long hours at the spiritual gym within and a spiritual diet fit for a champion. You can’t eat (listen to, digest) anything that’s put on your plate. You will suffer some defeats, barely make rounds, but you will begin to win more than you lose when you learn to never change your champion mentality. But, you need only to adjust your approach, strategy, study your opposition and hit the spiritual gym more. Reflect.

A champion doesn’t become a champion by building the body only. Many men have lost relying on brute force alone. Many have lost the fight in this life with brute force alone. Champion thoughts help you get through the toughest times in your life. I look at Muhammad Ali and even though his body was attacked by Parkinson’s and  it silenced him physically, HE WAS STILL SEEN AS THE CHAMP. Champion thoughts  have no need be verbalized all the time. Champion thoughts don’t care about your pain, wins, losses or draw.  Champion have a need to be lived. May we live out our lives from here on out with champion thoughts. May we not see the world as we have in our twenties but, as the champions we are. Are you not still standing? Raise your arms up high, fist to the sky, Champion.

~Nikki

Monday Morning Week POW WOW

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Monday Morning WEEK POW WOW
It’s a productive week and the atmosphere is conducive for miracles & favor
I stand firm in my beliefs without stooping to low level energies
I choose peace to keep my creative ideas flowing
I feed my body good food and exercise
I operate in possibilities
I give my time and energy to worthy recipients
Money & Promotion is attracted to me like a magnet

Managing Pain? Where they do “that” at?

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Pain management? Like, what do you do? Give your pain a schedule? Tell it to stop? I’d like to see that happen!

The truth is I have never been to pain management classes and the truth is there are those of us who suffer from chronic pain that could benefit from it because another truth is…not everyone is good at managing pain.

In the beginning diagnoses of your illness you are learning and sometimes it takes a few years to match a method to the madness. There will never be a perfect method but, it can help tremendously to be armed with the knowledge and tools. Imagine being stranded…wouldn’t it be better to at least have the blanket, the extra water, the cellphone and to have watched a couple of episodes of Survivor (or know some MacGyver tricks…old old old show) or maybe a bottle of Frank’s Hot sauce since they “Put that — on everything!”

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(Yeah that’ll fix your lupus!)

I learned through trial and error, research, listening to my body, intuition and knowledge of my illnesses/dis-ease how to manage it to the best of my ability. It’s about what works for you.

  • It’s about knowing and understanding as much as you can about your illness or dis-ease. I had a difficult time reading about Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis because I am very sensitive and after 5 years I am still accepting it. You need to know what you are dealing with.
  • Be prepared for EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE because most of our symptoms are UNPREDICTABLE and PREDICTABLE based on your body and schedule. I know if I am going to drive to a few places I have my gloves, I do hand exercises to keep my joints loose. I know if I am going to be the passenger to get out and stretch every chance I get! Take your hot/cold water thingy. I take mines everywhere. Especially if I am going to be at family functions, long rides and trips. (Beats dragging a heating pad and these are cute)
  • Have your meds with you. Have extra pain meds until you can get back home. I have to take a Benadryl in my med pack because I never know if I will have a itching flare and that would be so embarrassing to me!  (I’m a fashion diva and you can purchase cute pill boxes. I was never comfortable whipping out bottles or a big strip that may as well came with a neon sign reading SHE’S TAKING HER MEDS!!!!)

 

  • Know your triggers. Is it a certain food? Is it after you exercise? Is it a certain person?Is it after a meeting at work you know is going to be stressful and drama filled? Is is the Wednesday soccer practice, football practice, dinner, get everyone to bed on time?
  • I hear my body saying “Wow! You have how many things to do today?” or “I am tired. Can we go home now? Can we stop now?” and if you must push through be prepared. Get your hot soak ready, your cold pack, your hot pack, your pillows, is everything withing arms reach by your bedside?
  • And say NO! No I can’t do that. No that is too much. No I will not push myself today. No it can wait.

I hope this helps you! ❤ < 3 Much love and less pain

~Nikki