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Showing posts from June, 2012

Closing the Mortality Gap: RA and Heart Disease

This week on HealthCentral, I'm looking at good news about Biologics and the systemic impact of RA:
"It’s called the mortality gap. And none of us like to think about it.
The average life expectancy of people with RA is 10 years less than the general population. RA is a systemic disease that affects not just our joints, but also our internal organs. The mortality gap exists because the systemic inflammation of RA leads to a higher incidence of heart attack and stroke.
But there's good news. A few weeks ago at the 2012 meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) in Berlin, researchers presented a paper showing a dramatic reduction in heart attacks in people taking anti-TNF medication, such as Enbrel, Humira and Remicade."
The rest of the post is here.

Purple & Green

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(someone please tell me what kind of flowers these are - lupins?)

The Sanest Thing I Ever Did

Sometimes, there’s nothing for it. Sometimes, you try and try and try and then you try some more, but you can’t get past where you are. Sometimes, the struggle takes on a life of its own, colouring everything else around you, making it impossible to have a moment that is free and pure of worry. Sometimes, it turns you into an modern-day Sisyphus, pushing the rock up the hill over and over, only to have it roll down again. Sometimes, you get so lost in the fight that you lose perspective, instead blindly moving through a morass of futility.
Sometimes, you have to surrender to reality.
Six months ago, I was one of the spokespeople for The Health Council of Canada’s report about people who live with chronic illness and their challenges within the healthcare system. My story focused on the cost of chronic illness – the money. Because having a chronic illness is expensive. Add a disability on top of that and it becomes major money.
We don't talk about the money. It's not polite to…

Building Bridges for Awareness: Contest Winners & Ideas

Remember the Amazing Awareness Contest held on HealthCentral's RA site during the month of May? Today I announce the winners. But not just that - I also collect all the great suggestions 7ut were submitted for raising awareness in one place. Your go-to list for ideas on how to change the world:
"You are all brilliant!
We asked you to enter your ideas about raising awareness of RA for our Amazing Awareness Contest in May. And we were overwhelmed by your creativity and passion. Thanks to you, our community will now have a blueprint for change to consult when looking for suggestions of what they can do to change the way others see our disease. More on those suggestions in a moment. First, I need to announce the winners of the contest."
You can see the winners and the ideas here.

Golem on Guard

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Book Review: The Newsflesh Trilogy

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I don’t like zombies. In terms of the traditional trifecta of transformative supernaturals, give me vampires or werewolves any day for an interesting story with plenty of potential for goosebumps. Zombies, on the other hand, aren't particularly scary. Primarily just gross. I mean, how truly frightening can it be to have somebody shambling after you, moaning quietly while leaving a trail of extraneous linbs? Creepy, yes. Hide-behind-your-pillows kind of scary? Not really. The only zombie movies I've ever watched and enjoyed are Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later. I tried watching The Walking Dead, that critically and popularly acclaimed series, but after two episodes decided that I had too many other options for entertainment that I might actually enjoy.
Which is to say that I don't exactly know how I ended up buying Feed, the first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant, which is supposedly zombie novel, but nonetheless, there I was. Very shortly thereafter, I bough…

Two Cats

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Everyday Life & RA: 10 Resources to Make It Easier

This week, I got super practical on HealthCentral:
"For some, it's the jar that might as well have a padlock. For others, it's the childproof cap on a prescription bottle standing between them and relief of pain. Then there is the keyboard that makes your wrists hurt, scissors that cause the base joint in your thumb to be unusable and the list is endless. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, interacting with objects in your home, garden and office can be frustrating and painful. This post will feature products and places that can make your life easier."
You can read the rest here.

Amongst the Woofs

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This weekend was spent immersed in the canine species. It was time for the annual dog festival, known as Woofstock and it is one of the happiest weekend of the year.
Very early on, we were greeted by this matched pair and what better way to set the tone for the festivities been a tough dude with a tiny dog?

On the other end of the continuum, we met this Bull Mastiff that was the undisputed king of slobber

As usual, there were quite a few bulldogs. In other years, I've been entranced by their faces and this was the first time I really noticed the other end. I had no idea they had symmetrical cow licks on their butts! Also? That tail is the cutest

We met a walking pom-pom

and so another small dog - Pekinese cross? - that managed to assume the perfect pose at all times

This one had perfect markings and colourings and I loved the expression

And speaking of perfect colouring, this may have been the most beautiful dog there

There was also a dog costume contest. I have yet to see a dog t…

Rust Bucket

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Not About RA

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Well, that was a bit more than a flurry, wasn’t it? I think the last few weeks qualified to officially be named a perfect storm o’ work. And the really quite amazing thing was that I got through words without giving myself an injury - well, not a work-related one, anyway. We shall not speak of the fan that fell on my leg on Saturday.
Although I have been in quite some degree of awe at just how much my body put up with in the past couple of weeks (and last week in particular), I will not speak of it today. Not just because after the Arthritis Awareness Month storm, I think we've all had our fill of anything related to arthritis, RA or awareness for a little while. This is very true, at least on my end, but today is also the first day of my vacation. Well, the first weekday, anyway.
For the next several days, I will not be working. Which isn't quite true, either, because there is that last rewrite to tackle, but I will not be working like a madwoman and that's pretty much t…

Patients' Access to Treatments Act/10 Grassroots Advocates

The last week of Arthritis Awareness Month had me writing about advocacy in two different spectrums (spectra??).
First, the Patients' Access to Treatments Act.This is an important bipartisan initiative to limit insurance companies from charging more in co-pays for Biologics than for other drugs:
"When you have rheumatoid arthritis, medication can be an essential part of controlling the disease and managing symptoms. This is the moment where those who are insured breathe a deep, relieved breath. At least they won't have to worry about medication cost. Or will they?"
The rest of that post is here.
Also this week, I had the privilege of profiling ten amazing people in the inflammatory arthritis community, talking about what they do to advocate and raise awareness:
"Many people who live with rheumatoid arthritis are engaged in advocacy and raising awareness in one way or another. Many more want to get involved, but have limited energy or don’t know what to do…