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Showing posts from July, 2012

Busy Bee

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Followed a bumblebee around the other day. It was lost in gathering and I was lost in watching it



Nothing More than Feelings

(Sorry if that title gave you an earworm of this song)
I've been thinking some more. This time on vacation has had me connecting the dots from my own moments of high anxiety to the notion of catastrophizing and today, the subject is feelings. More specifically the dismissal of feelings that lies at the base of the concept of catastrophizing.
Let's check this scenario:
Patient: "this is the worst pain ever." Doctor: "you're catastrophizing. This is a sign of bad coping skills."
Fabulous. There you are, in the midst of extreme pain and your doctor says you're exaggerating and not coping well. That'll shut you up in hurry, won't it?
Let's try another scenario:
Patient: "this is the worst pain ever." Doctor: "I'm so sorry to hear that. That must be really hard."
See the difference? In scenario #2, the doctor listens, hears the message and uses empathy/sympathy. By doing so, they have made it safe for the patient to e…

Painless Meme for Rheum mates

Kelly over at RA Warrior came up with a meme about what defines us. Have you done it yet?
Here are my answers:
What is one thing that defines who you are, regardless of RA? My faith that change is possible.
What’s one food you know they must have in heaven? Ris a la mande. Danish Christmas dessert.
Name a song that takes you to a happy place?Ode to Joy.
What’s your favorite city and why? Toronto. Multicultural, considerate, has everything you want, including nature in the middle of the city.
Name 1 thing that you have learned by living with Rheumatoid disease? Resilience.
What medication has helped you the most with RA symptoms? The least? Most: Biologics - my personal miracle. Least - everything else.
What do you most wish health care professionals understood about RA? That it affects all of your life, not just your body.
What is something about you that would probably surprise most people? That I'm a sap.
What is something about you that would probably surprise most people about your RA…

Going to Gondwana

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This weekend, we went to see the Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum. Basic story: big dinosaurs from the southern hemisphere. Really big. We did a herd excursion - somewhat fitting, what with the herds of extinct creatures - piling friends and kids into one group and got set loose at the ROM. And much fun was had.
The biggest dinosaur is in the lobby because there isn't room for 110 feet of bones in the special exhibit hall. It was big

To get a better sense of just how big, let's use a six-year-old girl for scale

Liam was very excited

Cleverly, there was a movie of what Gondwana might have looked like as we waited to get in

And it was pretty great once you got there. The skeletons were arranged in a wonderfully lifelike way - this little guy was being chased, about to be dinner. Amazing sense of motion
This one was on its way somewhere. Thankfully, it paused until I could get past
and then mosied on

I'd like to see how they …

Catastrophizing and Good Doctoring

I've been thinking. And what with being on vacation, there's actually been mental room to move some ideas around, played connect the dots and whatnot. Settle in, this is a long one…
More specifically, I’ve been thinking about catastrophizing. This is a concept discussed in the field of rheumatology. The concept states that people who have RA pain tend to exaggerate reports and worries about pain and its impact, leading to poor coping styles and depression. One article says “disease severity (as measured by 'objective' indices such as those that employ radiography or serology) is only marginally related to patients' reports of pain severity.” Many others investigate catastrophizing in various contexts, emphasizing its relationship to depression, hopelessness, anxiety, passivity in coping with pain and on and on. In her discussion of catastrophizing, Kelly includes a couple of examples of what this may be. For instance, "this is the worst pain in the world"…

First Nations Procession

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I live in old town Toronto, the part of the city that holds the first city hall, just down the street from the first parliament site. And there's been a vbunch of celebrations and events related to the bicentennial of the War of 1812. That's the one where we kicked the Americans' butt and burned down the White House.
Sorry 'bout that!
Yesterday, there was an honour procession of First Nation Chiefs, Elders, veteran and youth to - as it says on the poster - "commemmorate the contribution of more than 10,000 First Nations who fought as British Allies in the War of 1812." Or as our City Councillor Pam McConnell said, "protect us against American invasion." Aka, they saved our collective bacon a bunch of times.
And this is one of the reasons I love living downtown, because the procession started right here in my neck of the woods. So naturally, I went to check it out.

Because nothing says respect for historical contribution (and exploitation) like mass…

Opening Up

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This is why I'm five days into a very necessary two weeks off.
Actually, it was worse than that. It was the eyes going *boing* the minute I turned off the light, but no actual ideas coming, because my brain was moving so fast with everything I had done that day and needed to do the next that there wasn't room for ideas to hop on the ride. On Monday, I reached the point where the thought of working made me tear up. After battling it for several hours, I finally faced facts and e-mailed my lovely Producer at HealthCentral telling her that I’d be gone until the 23rd.
Tuesday, I was still in the crying mood, overwhelmed by a feeling of depression deeper than I’ve had in ages. Could not yank myself out of it and didn’t quite understand why it was there. Sure, I was tired and sure, I’ve worked too hard for too long without a break, but this despondent? Whyever for?
The Boy came by that evening and helped me do a bit of an audit of how I spend my time and the conclusion was rather te…

At the Spa

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The Fibro Fairytale

Scene 1: I'll be going to a meeting where it's a good idea to look reasonably professional. I'm wearing my fancy new camisole under a sweater, looking as if I’ve actually planned what to wear (I work from home – looking put together is rare). I say goodbye to my attendant and start my breakfast routine. After about 5 minutes, I notice that the right shoulder strap is putting pressure on the edge of my shoulder blade. I fidget in my wheelchair, trying to find a slightly different position, but there's no real alternative to back resting against backrest. After 10 minutes my right shoulder is screaming in pain.
Scene 2: I just said goodbye to my attendant after a trip to the washroom and go back to my computer. It takes a little while to realize that something is wrong, but when I do, I dread what's coming. The left leg opening of my underpants is positioned slightly wonkily so the bone in my arse is resting right on the edge of the material. Within 10 minutes or so…

Peas in a Pod

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Real RA: Thinking Makes It So

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Some time ago, I saw an image on Facebook about RA. Thanks to my fibro fog, I no longer remember who shared it in which group, but even if I did, I wouldn't disclose it. Because I am about to vehemently disagree and there's no need to get flame-y.
This is the image

And I have issues.
So, because I have RA, apparently I have only two options about how I feel on any given day. I can feel either mildly weepy or lie prostrate on the divan drowning in my own tears. It seems that having RA eliminates the possibility of any form of happiness or even just feeling meh. Instead, the diagnosis dooms us to a life of suffering, depression and forever leaking salt water out of our eyes.
Huh. No one ever told me this. Is it a new requirement?
Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness is hard. There's no getting around the fact that there's going to be crying. It is a normal part of grieving the loss of health, the state of innocence in which most people live where they take their abi…

Happy Canada Day!

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