Definitions (so we know what we’re talking about)

I thought it would be a good idea to add a short note about definitions. Types of arthritis can be confusing sometimes. This next section is from the Arthritis Foundation at I thought when it came to definitions I would pluck it right from THE professionals! I encourage a visit there for information of all kinds. There are many types of arthritis, over a hundred I think, but for simplicity, I’ll just stick with the big ones here… okay, okay… the ones that I have. Though, as we get older we all get a little or a lot of Osteoarthritis.


(RA) Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints (the synovium) to thicken, resulting in swelling and pain in and around the joints. The synovium makes a fluid that lubricates joints and helps them move smoothly.

Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. The joint effect is usually symmetrical. That means if one knee or hand if affected, usually the other one is, too. Because RA also can affect body systems, such as the cardiovascular or respiratory systems, it is called a systemic disease. Systemic means “entire body.

(OA) Sometimes called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints, affecting approximately 27 million Americans. OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe.

In normal joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. As OA worsens over time, bones may break down and develop growths called spurs. Bits of bone or cartilage may chip off and float around in the joint. In the body, an inflammatory process occurs and cytokines (proteins) and enzymes develop that further damage the cartilage. In the final stages of OA, the cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone leading to joint damage and more pain.

Inflammatory arthritis is a group of diseases characterized by inflammation of the joints and often other tissues. These include rheumatoid arthritispsoriatic arthritisankylosing spondylitisjuvenile idiopathic arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) among others.


(Not Arthritis but…)

Fibromyalgia is a condition associated with widespread chronic pain, fatigue, memory problems and mood changes. Fibromyalgia is not a single disease, but a constellation of symptoms that can be managed. It is not life-threatening and does not lead to muscle or joint damage. 

Fibromyalgia affects more than 3.7 million Americans, the majority of whom are women between the ages of 40 and 75, but it also affects men, young women, and children. People with other rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, are at greater risk for fibromyalgia. For example, about 20 to 30 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis also develop fibromyalgia, although no one knows why.” 

Crying Through The Bacon


Sunday was a very hard day. From the moment I awoke, I knew it would be so. My backache of a couple of days had bloomed to fruition. Not the usual lumbar issue but thoracic. So my breath would catch and I found myself grunting… a lot.

I have a very specific schedule in the morning, take the thyroid pill, wait a half hour, take the stomach pill with coffee and about an hour later have breakfast and this all happens before 0730. Simple, huh? Na uh. When I’m in significant pain, I don’t want to move. Moving means enduring more pain. So there I am, still sitting on the couch with no breakfast at 10am. I tell David that if he will make the bacon (he considers himself a professional bacon chef) I’ll make eggs. We do, we eat and I take my meds and just as I’m about to finish my bacon those tears well up and start squirting out of my eyes.

Overwhelmed with pain, but more than that… I have a Peggy Lee moment. I’ve had a lot of Peggy Lee moments, the longest was 2 months – January and February. “Really? Is this all there is? Is this the rest of my life?” Sometimes it’s hard to see past what’s happening right now and I was there. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life this way. What do I do? First, I remember the Peanut comic-


I send into the cosmic consciousness – “please give me a new perspective.”  Then I do the superman stance-

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Seriously, I do. The/my answers are in Innerspace, on my vision board, in a friend, in blogging, in all the things I do to push through this successfully, every time!

“In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article regarding research about human thoughts per day. The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80%  are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before and about 80% are negative.” ~from The Miracle Zone

What???! It’s true, look it up.

I have my moments, and when I do I go with it… but I try to keep it short (whoa, that’s a conscious decision), and I try to do things that will bring positivity into my life, help me see the light at the end of the tunnel. I read my vision board and say aloud all of the affirmations, I grow flowers and plants, I have little mantras I say to myself, I make my Facebook page full of living things-flowers, animals, birds… I make it pretty and light. It’s a very conscious choice. I slow down, try to make mundane daily tasks Zen/meditation moments. I Feng Shui’d my house, I make my living space pretty!

Just before Christmas last year I was in another bad space, I did a 30-day Law of Attraction blackout with social media, news, as much as I could with my phone. I can’t tell you how great this was to unplug! I flipped my dining/living room. Got out the paint and added a dash of whimsy… why? That’s me. It makes me happy. It also changed the dynamic of the house and steps to living room and kitchen. I’m going to cover this in another blog in the future. The point is when you have fairly advanced arthritis, and you’re getting older, you have to look at doing things that make life easier on your body and joints.

I cannot express enough how important positively feeding your brain is. You see it everywhere, and it’s true! It works! Pay attention to what’s happening in your mind, is your thinking negative? Quick! Stop! Switch to kittens!


Most of all, I knew the back pain was going to pass. Maybe that meant I needed to cry at the doctor, change something, or see it for what it might be… just a hiccup along the way. I’m thinking that’s what happened here because I’m already feeling better. Hiccups happen all the time, cause havoc and they are just… gone! One of the upsides is, they leave us with good self-care reminders.

Fibromyalgia 2.0 -aka- Central Pain Amplification disorder



I am completely stoked to share this! 

First, I had a dramatically uplifting RA appointment yesterday, we will be doing my Rituxan injections closer together a bit, every 4 months as opposed to 6- they just don’t hold me at 6. I also got another cortisone shot in the knee, so grateful for that! That cortisone shot along with a Prednisone taper I’m on for a flare-up and I’m feeling probably as well as I possibly can at this point.

That said, and RA business out of the way, I ventured forth with a discussion about Fibromyalgia. Back in 1993 after being referred to Rheumatology I saw a doc there who did an exam and said you have Fibromyalgia. Okay. Said he couldn’t help me, come back when I have an RA flare-up (because blood tests were negative), which I did and everything was groovy after that. For the 7 years that I was with them, they did a quarterly review of my Fibromyalgia symptoms as well as the RA symptoms. 

This is the part where he tells me he’s gone to all the Fibromyalgia conferences, shaken hands with and spoken to leaders in this field. He became a waterfall of information.

First, he told me he worked with this other doctor from 1993 and told me he did come to change his views on Fibromyalgia and he learned a lot from him on the subject. He told me the earliest record of the Fibromyalgia syndrome could be found as early as the 1800’s. Right from the beginning, it was known as a woman’s disease. Up until the last 10 years or so, it has been an invalidated, sexist, and dismissed disease by those in the healthcare field (I personally know this to be true). There were a number of years after research started rolling in Neurology and Rheumatology lobbied the ball back and forth as to whose court this was in. Neurology thought it was beneath them. 

But, I digress…

He went on to talk about “Central Sensitization” and as he explained it I had to stop him and tell him (you’ve seen this in another blog) since as far back as I can remember, way back into childhood, I shed many tears not understanding why kids poked you. Were they mean? They were laughing because I was crying? I didn’t understand when they knew how painful it was why they would do that. Well, duh. It wasn’t painful to them. Just me. I’m going to come back to Central Sensitization in a minute. First, I’m going to share some Fibromyalgia facts with you- this is taken from The American College of Rheumatology, and slightly edited by me:

“Fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune, inflammation, joint, or muscle disorder, but research suggests the nervous system is involved.

Fibromyalgia affects two-four percent of people, women more often than men.

Doctors diagnose Fibromyalgia based on all the patient’s relevant symptoms (what you feel), no longer just on the number of tender places during an examination.

There is no test to detect this disease, but you may need lab tests or X-rays to rule out other health problems.

Though there is no cure, medication can reduce symptoms in some patients.

Patients also may feel better with proper self-care, such as exercise and getting enough sleep.

Fibromyalgia is a common neurologic health problem that causes widespread pain and tenderness (sensitivity to touch). The pain and tenderness tend to come and go and move about the body. Most often, people with this chronic illness are fatigued and have sleep problems.

Causes: Current research suggests the involvement of the nervous system, particularly the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It may run in families, there are likely certain genes that can make people more prone to getting Fibromyalgia. Genes alone, though, do not cause Fibromyalgia.

There is most often some triggering factor that sets it off. It may be spine problems, arthritis, injury, or other types of physical stress. Emotional stress can trigger it, the result is a change in the way the body “talks” with the spinal cord and brain. Levels of brain chemicals and proteins may change. More recently, Fibromyalgia has been described as Central Pain Amplification disorder, meaning the volume of pain sensation in the brain is turned up too high.

Although Fibromyalgia can affect quality of life, it is still considered medically benign. It does not cause any heart attacks, stroke, cancer, physical deformities, or loss of life.”

Those pokes? There is usually a count to 2 or 3 to start the pain, and it doesn’t fade, and can last as long as 20 minutes to an hour. So don’t poke people!

From the Institute For Chronic Pain:

Snapshot of the article, and there is more to the article here:

“Central sensitization is a condition of the nervous system that is associated with the development and maintenance of chronic pain. When central sensitization occurs, the nervous system goes through a process called wind-up and gets regulated in a persistent state of high reactivity. This persistent, or regulated, state of reactivity lowers the threshold for what causes pain and subsequently comes to maintain pain even after the initial injury might have healed.

Nervous System

Central sensitization has two main characteristics. Both involve a heightened sensitivity to pain and the sensation of touch. They are called allodynia and hyperalgesia. Allodynia occurs when a person experiences pain with things that are normally not painful. For example, chronic pain patients often experience pain even with things as simple as touch or massage. In such cases, nerves in the area that was touched sends signals through the nervous system to the brain. Because the nervous system is in a persistent state of heightened reactivity, the brain doesn’t produce a mild sensation of touch as it should, given that the stimulus that initiated it was a simple touch or massage. Rather, the brain produces a sensation of pain and discomfort. Hyperalgesia occurs when a stimulus that is typically painful is perceived as more painful than it should. An example might be when a simple bump, which ordinarily might be mildly painful, sends the chronic pain patient through the roof with pain. Again, when the nervous system is in a persistent state of high reactivity, it produces pain that is amplified.”

It took a long time to get some science behind this one because of the eyeball rollers! Regardless, there it is. We talked about non-drug therapies, and exactly how to get exercise in which is a very slow process, you know, brain trickery is not a little thing, and should not be taken lightly.

I walked away feeling HOPEFUL!!!   Yeah!!!

For My Arthritic Brethren and Sistren


Most of my generation are now faced with changing bodies and problems as our age advances. C’est la vie! Acceptance and new way of looking at things is what’s in order… oh, and creating a new path. I’ve been a little bit forced because of the last couple of years, but somewhat proud to say I have a long history of self-examination and self-reinvention. I have no fear of pressing onward. That said…

Like most my age, I have arthritis. Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in the early 90’s, had six horrible years and then I went into remission in 2000. YAY! Then it crept back up a couple of years later but was well managed by NSAIDs. Post breast cancer treatment in 2016 it is back with a vengeance.

Many of you (even friends) do not realize I have been on a walker or cane the last… I’m not sure… a year now? Yeah, pretty bad.

That’s not what this post is about though…

This post is about what can be done.

I started a gluten-free diet about 2 years ago, a plant-based whole food diet the past year, and did pretty well on it. One of my visits to the Rheumatologist during this time I was doing pretty well I thought! The weekend arrived, I was feeling well and optimistic… made some french bread, made a pound cake. Right. You know what happened don’t you… by Monday I was in so much pain I could hardly move or walk. 

Suddenly I was awakened by facts! Ones I’ve already learned, by the way. 

You see… I freakin’ love food! LOVE IT! Love bread and other flour-based goodies, and… and… oh, you get the drift. For me, that G-word (gluten) is so bad for my arthritis. I can have a simple sandwich and feel it within an hour. My eyes will swell with inflammation. I am an inflammation machine! Honestly, I can get really pissed that I have to make changes with food I love! Why me? Wah! 

So. The realization (again) out of the way that I have to change things if I’m to avoid pain, well, it’s back on the diet, and watch that gluten! I can trace elbow and mild joint pain back to my 30’s and even 20’s. Yes, my 20’s… and directly linked to bread products. How could I know back then the discomfort I had were portends of the future?

Not all humans are created equal, and therefore, I add that I’m just relating what helps me. You really need to read up on diets for folks with arthritis. There are a lot of books out there, and sites on the web. Or, just listen to your body.

How true this quote is! An example: I cannot eat highly acidic food/fruits. I cannot eat grapefruit at all, or tart oranges, I will be in pain inside 30 minutes. Wine and beer effect me the same way. True! It causes a buildup of Uric Acid which in turn causes inflammation, which in turn inflames joints! It all equals PAIN!

Which brings me to diets again, and the one that serves me now. In the past, I’ve used the Ayurvedic diet, which is the healing food of Yogi’s. This is a wonderful diet, and I love this type of food and mild spices. One needs a little more variety though, at least I do!

In general, you cannot go wrong with Dr. Andrew Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Here is his food pyramid:

For me, and we women in general, we need to be careful of those whole and cracked grains. Because of arthritis, I need to stay away from those containing gluten. Also, as women get older, our bodies are less tolerant of grains in general. You can Google “gluten-free grains” and get more info. Again, listen to your body, it really tells you everything you need to know!

Here is Dr. Weil’s website:

Because of stomach issues, I have to be careful of spices, and beans and legumes. The point is, there are maps of diets to health out there, it’s okay to take from the information that you can use and tweak them to help meet your needs.

My diet is something like: Skinny Oatmeal for breakfast, or eggs and polenta. I make a big container full of polenta on the weekend and have it available for whatever. I happen to love it with eggs.

For lunch I have a whey protein drink, I use something bodybuilders use which is “Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein” by Optimum Nutrition. I choose to use this one because the point is to diet without losing any muscle mass, and the protein and amino acids in this product help with that, notice I said help, you have to do your part too. I also make a smoothie on occasion with berries and water- loads of antioxidants! If I get hungry I eat nuts or hard-boiled eggs. Also, I have a bit of a grazing garden right now which helps too!

Dinner is just a normal dinner, excluding gluten. Last night I made that flourless chocolate cake, so there are some desserts I can have! I also have several books/cookbooks on gluten-free diets. Some are very smart like-

So go forth and educate yourself, I promise you if you have arthritis of any kind, a change in diet will make all the difference in the world.

I mean it!

Keeping it real…

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


I made the decision to move to another blog site because I needed to upgrade a little. In my personal life, I found I had this need to share the struggles I have, that many have, and offer up some things I’ve learned (and continually learn) along the way.

I’m going to be sharing the ups and downs of living with arthritis and talking about things that help push through those difficult times- and there are many. I think I will be sharing some food recipes as well. More about that later on…

Medically, my record states:

  • Inflammatory Arthritis
  • Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis of Multiple Sites
  • Generalized Osteoarthrosis Involving Multiple Sites
  • Primary Osteoarthritis of Right Knee
  • Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease, Advanced
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myalgia and Myositis

It says a lot of other things as well, but I’m sharing this info for this site so you understand my level of expertise in living with this level of pain and discomfort.

My goal, my hope is that somewhere in the blogs that I write, you can find something you can identify with and more than that, find something that helps you as well.

Doing this blog helps me stay on track, keeps me inspired.

Keeping it real…

If you would be so kind, and you are interested in this subject, please scroll to the bottom of the page, Note the “FOLLOW” button, “Click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.” Thank you! You can “Like” it as well!