Sunday, May 31, 2009

DIY bath time for rheumatiod arthritis pain relief

Since my diagnosis I have been looking for way to relieve the pain that don't involve taking another pill. One of the most common pieces of advice I've gotten is to take a warm bath or shower. Being a DIY Girl I looked around to find ways of making my bath (or shower) more of a relaxing experience. Here are some great tutorials that I came across:

How to make a head wrap to keep your hair out of the bath water

5 Homemade bath soaks

Homemade bath tea - in this article they call for pre-made muslin tea bags but making your own is super simple! Here is a tutorial for making two different kinds (one is no-sew) -muslin tea bags

If you have trouble getting into a tub then try using sugar scrub made with cinnamon. It will leave your skin soft and warm!

When my hands are hurting I'll rub my own mixture of almond oil (1/2 cup), cinnamon (1/2 tea spoon), and orange zest (one large orange) on to my hands then put on a pair of cotton gloves to keep the heat in.

Pressing buttons

Since my hands hurt and typing will only make things worse I decided that I should update the blog with new links to blogs I've been reading and links to tutorials I love! To do this I really only had to press a few buttons. Just scroll down to see the changes on the side bar.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another long hiatus!

O.K. I'm back! I hope. I know, I know, I say that every time I go away for a while. But that is just part of who I am. I may go away, but rest assured I always come back around.

The short version of what has been happening in my life over the past few months is that I have been diagnosed and living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's an autoimmune disease where your body starts attacking, in this case, the sinovial joints of the body. What are sinovial joint? Shoulders, wrists, fingerg, hips, knees, ankles, etc. I've been given all sorts of medication that has helped. Unfortunately the disease, and the pain that its causes, is still progressing. The pain has been putting a big cramp (pun intended!) in my style. I've been trying to keep up with spinning, weaving, and all manner of craftyness but its been hard. In fact for the last two weeks I've been pretty much done nothing but nurse my swollen hands along hoping that the pain will decrease so I can start to do stuff again! I have been dealing with some depression, including withdrawing from people (aka, the hiatus). from all the reading I've done about RA depression is a very big part of the disease process. Pain, lack of sleep, feelings of being out of control of what's happening to one's body, yeah it's all part of the process.

On the Bright side, yes there is a bright side to all this, I've been using what I'd learned in my psychology courses, art therapy courses, and in writing my thesis to help me get thru this. I know that if I had had to deal with RA before I went back to school I would be a whole lot worse off than I am. Practicing Buddhism has also helped me get thru.

My strategy has been this: when the pain is bad, I'm feeling to fatigued to think straight, or just feel depressed and sorry for myself, I gently remind myself that I haven't always felt as bad as I do and I'm not going to feel this badly for ever. The pain and fatigue will come and go the way all things in life come and go. If I need a nap I take a nap. If I need to take pain killers I take pain killers. The time that I do feel good has been filled with sewing, spending time with a few of my close friends, spinning, weaving, doing the creative things that nurture my soul. I take some of that good time to feel grateful that the good has come around again. I also remind myself that I have a lot to be grateful for! A husband who loves and supports me in every way, two wonderful cats who help me get out of bed every day, friends who come and visit me when I'm not up to going to see them. Even if I can't get my craft-mojo on I can read and re-read my books to help pass the time and inspire me so that when I am ready to get back to it I have the mojo at hand.

I'm also very grateful that my husbands job offers such great health coverage and that even with all the crap that's going on in the financial world it hasn't been a hardship for me to not be working. My gaol right now is to get my RA under control, no matter how long that take, and then to get on with either getting a job in my field and/or going back to school to get my Masters degree.

Yes, my life has been put on hold by the disease, but I have everything that I need to get me thru it until I can get back to working on moving forward with everything. I'm planning on posting more often, since it's one of the things I can do while sitting on my 'tocks, if my hands are up to typing.

So, this is it, the short version of where I've been and where I'm going.