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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My story continues...just differently

     I started writing this blog back in April 2011, just about 5 years ago.  I have posted 107 (counting today's post) blog entries and had nearly 118,000 "visitors" to my blog page. 
     A large part of why I started this blog was to allow me to share my story not only to help others who are dealing with chronic diseases, particularly RA, but also to give my experiences a voice and soul. 
     Blogging truly helped me to move outside of the traditional RA box and allow myself to heal my spirit.  I needed that after nearly 15 years of coping with RA.  

     What I did not fully understand when I started was how challenging it would be to bear my soul on so many topics and issues related to my story.  But oh how satisfying it became.  
     By taking the time to reflect and share it gave me such a feeling of hope and joy.  It truly nourished me in ways I did not dream of when I started.
     I found out just how much I had to share in terms of managing RA and I believe it touched other people and helped them as well.  In fact as I read through the blogs I can clearly see how I evolved from simply sharing my thoughts, experiences, etc., to offering tips and strategies for managing RA.  
     So once the wonderful experience of blogging evolved into the ultimate purpose of why I write about RA it became clear to me that it was time to step away from blogging and immerse myself in the new adventure that began for me last March with as a contributing writer.

     The online newsletter they publish and the FB page they host reach thousands and thousands of people with RA! What an amazing opportunity it has been for me to share my story with so many wonderful folks!  
     I can now open up on an even larger and deeper scale and it has given me satisfaction and joy beyond my wildest dreams!  
     But it all started with a little blog 5 years ago and I never imagined it would lead to 107 posts and a chance to reach more and more folks who are struggling day to day with RA.  I will be forever grateful to all of you who have read this and commented to me and shared your stories along the way. You inspired me, touched me and moved my spirit to continue to write and share my story.
     So I am going to pause my blogging for now.  I may start it up again down the road.  In fact, I think that is very likely. I would encourage folks to read them from the beginning if they so choose because this blog follows my journey from day one with RA and has what I believe to be some universal lessons for anyone with a chronic disease.
     And maybe you will take up your "pen" and tell your story at some point!  I hope you will consider it.  It was and continues to be one of the best decisions I ever made.  
     You can read my articles by going to this link:

     Hope to see you there.  Love to all, Nan

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The beauty of a mild winter

     So today just happens to be Groundhog day and for those that believe in it, he did not see his shadow which means an early spring.  Ironically this has been perhaps the mildest winter we have had in decades here in Vermont and so this is just icing on the cake!

      I know that for those who love winter sports and of course for our ski industry it is not such welcome news.  But for many of us, it is reason to rejoice.  Winter brings with it the much more frequent possibilities of falling and as I am getting older I find that more and more terrifying.  I really dread anytime I venture out after a storm or freezing rain. The prospect of having to go out and contend with frozen, snow covered and/or uneven steps and surfaces is very stressful.
     I have found that using detachable treads on my boots like Yaktrax and keeping a set in my car is very helpful and relieves some of the fear.  I also plan ahead so that if a storm is coming I like to get my errands done and then if need be I can hunker down at home.
     I also can work remotely when absolutely necessary so I often bring home work in the winter so I am prepared for the potential of not being able to get into the office.  It just makes no sense to endanger your life when work can be done from your desk at home!
     This mild winter has also meant that I can get to my pool for swimming more often than in past harsh winters.  I head up to a ski resort to use their indoor sports facility and pool and so clear roads is critical for me!
     I also find that I am much more likely to spend time outdoors, walking or enjoying some time in the sunshine if the temperature is not in the single digits.  And so far we have had lots of those opportunities this winter.  
     Of course despite the mild weather one of my favorite pastimes in the winter is to curl up by the fireplace with a good book.  No matter the weather outside this remains a wonderful way to spend a winter day.
     It is so nice to even see some signs of new life peeking through the winter ground.  Even if it only lasts a few days it brings a smile to my face and some color to our landscape.
     So I am going to relish this lovely winter and look forward to an early spring - at least according to Punxsutawney Phil.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Off and running (well not really)

     Even now that I am in my 60's I still find the beginning of each year to be exhilarating.  I think it is the notion that the new year is a like an open road before me offering all kinds of possibilities and adventures to explore. 
     Which road will I take? What will that next bend in the road have just beyond it?  I find these thoughts and questions exciting and invigorating.  And since having RA I also find that moving into the new year can be time to reflect on my own disease management and how the previous year turned out.  What I might adjust for this coming year or what worked great?  
     I discovered the wonders of Tai Chi and intend to keep practicing it forever!  So much so that I now teach it and that has added a depth and joy to the practice that I never imagined.  I feel so much better both mentally and physically since starting Tai Chi.  I highly recommend it.
     I found a medication that is working for me!  I have been through many medications over the 20+ years that I have had RA.  One worked great for 6 years while others worked minimally.  This past year I found the one that seems to be working for me - for now.  I temper this enthusiasm with the knowledge that it may not last but I will enjoy it while it does.
     I also embrace this thought when it comes to feeling good and flare free because as all of us with RA know, flares come and go, often with no rhyme or reason. Taking advantage of the good days to get my exercise and enjoy life is a large part of managing RA successfully.  That means my beloved swimming! 
     I was so happy to get back in the pool after my broken foot episode in October put me on the sidelines once again. Once I was given the go ahead, I "plunged" right into that pool and never looked back.  I look forward to this year being a great year of swimming.
     So I may not be a runner anymore but that does not mean that I am not off and "running" in my own way to make this a great 2016!  Keep up the effort. I wish you the best this year has to offer. Make it your best one yet.