When Polly met Carla (the sequel)

August 13, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 5 Comments

So, what was that rare treat you had Polly Penguin, I hear you all crying? Well, no, I don’t actually because the title kind of gives it away … YES! For the second time ever, two years after the original When Polly Met Carla, Carla and I managed to meet up, during a brief drop in to the UK for Carla and Hubby. I’m very flattered that they arrived in Heathrow one day and then had six hours of train rides the next day to come and see me! It was so good to meet up with Carla (and hubby) again and catch up on all the news … and luckily the pub/bar/restaurant we’d picked had sticky toffee pudding to die for. (Carla would have been very disappointed if that hadn’t been the case … apparently you don’t get right over in the US! <grin>)

Among other things I got to here more about all these great patient advocacy meet-ups you guys have over there  … and that brings me to a BIG THANK YOU, to Carla for organising it, Wren for the amazing drawing (as ever) and all you folk that kindly signed it at one of the meetings and sent lovely messages! What is it? I (once again don’t really) hear you cry. It’s this fantastic Wren original card:

Wren Carla Card

inside card

Isn’t that great? Wren said she started the card when it was raining buckets on this side of the pond and she thought she’d provide some inner sunshine with a nice summery, flowery picture – but when it arrived we were in full heatwave mode. Still, a nice, summery card was entirely appropriate for a heatwave and definitely is doing its inner-sunshine providing job now, when it’s been raining consistently for a couple of days!

So thank you again all who signed it, thank you so much Wren for the lovely card and Carla for organising it and of course hand-delivering it! 🙂

Maybe one day I’ll get to meet some more of you in person – that would be great!

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Phew, what a scorcher!

August 3, 2018 at 8:40 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments

We’re having a bit of a heatwave here in the UK, and indeed across Europe. It’s getting very unpleasant indeed in parts of Europe, as in life threateningly bad, but here it’s really quite pleasant most of the time. If the heat stays dry I can cope with it, although there have been some mornings where it’s just two darned hot to go for a walk, which isn’t so good.

Now this might just be coincidence because having taken part in a six-month study about pain and weather where my results were totally inconclusive I appreciate it’s easy to see patterns where they don’t exist, but … during the first part of the heatwave before we had a massive and rather delightful storm on Friday night, my RA … wasn’t. I was pretty much symptom free. I’m never too bad, I only have the mildest of mild RA, but I normally have aches and pains at various points during the day. During most of that hot and sunny period – nada! Then the storm broke and within a few hours I was back to the usual aches and pains. We had a few days of clouds and rain, which was lovely after all that melting in the heat, but my aches and pains came back. Now we’ve had a couple more days of serious heat and … well, I’d love to say the pains have all gone again but the truth is my hands are killing me and I’m not sure how I’m going to get through the day. Glad I finish work early today to go to Pilates but may have to tell the teacher I can’t hold onto anything for very long!

So … inconclusive once again!

On the bright side, I had a real (and very rare) treat yesterday … but I’ll save that for another post. 🙂 Since the treat involved a meal out, I might have eaten something that made my RA tingle a bit … that’s the trouble with all these epidemiological studies. They look at one aspect (or a number of aspects) but can’t control for all the others. Not a criticism – just the way it is!

So, signing off now to … carry on typing! This is one of those days where my job is not the ideal one for someone with RA! Bye for now and wishing you all a pain-free day.

My personal sleep study results

July 3, 2018 at 11:25 am | Posted in arthrits, arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, Me, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 2 Comments
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So … how long have I been saying, ‘I really must post about that sleep study I took part in?’ Well, for over a month, since I got my results back from Katie, who’s running the ‘QUASAR’ study at the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology in Manchester. Oops – bad Penguin!

Why QUASAR? A slightly convoluted acronym for ‘Quality of Life and Sleep in Rheumatoid Arthritis’. (Also a large celestial body, characters in the Marvel comic universe and another study, in cancer – but those are not relevant here!)

I’ve talked about the study in a few places before, here,  and here  and in passing here  … the latter just proving how woefully slow I am at getting around to blogging. But now I’m finally going to talk about the initial, personal results that Katie has sent me.

First of all, here is a week’s worth of data showing correlation (or lack of it) between amount of sleep and symptoms.

Continue Reading My personal sleep study results…

Post-flare milestones!

June 15, 2018 at 10:15 am | Posted in arthrits, arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 6 Comments
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I’m feeling pretty pleased at the moment. I think the flare has finally, well and truly gone. I finished the steroids yesterday – or rather I should have done. Mysteriously there’s three left so I obviously took 6 or 7 on a couple of days instead of the correct 8. OOPS!

  1. Anyway, that’s number one, steroids finished!
  2. Yesterday, for the first time since the flare started about two weeks ago, I took only paracetamol (Tylenol) and no Ibruprofen. (Obviously when I say only paracetamol, I also took all my usual arthritis meds, but no extra pain killers except paracetamol.)

Continue Reading Post-flare milestones!…

Please stop stealing my blog posts

June 13, 2018 at 10:03 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 3 Comments

This is a blog about sites that steal other people’s content to earn them a profit through rather dodgy advertising – you know the sort of thing – ‘Get a million dollars of free goods on Amazon: click here’ or ‘Lose 36lb in 3 days just by clicking this link’. They feed on the gullibility of naive people, and oddly enough, that’s not what motivates me to write and not what I want my writing used for, thank you very much. It’s not that I think many people are actually reading my content on these sites but that’s not the point!

One such example appears to be Health and Fitness Recipes .com* – I’m not writing it out as a proper web address because the last thing I want is a link to the site! However, I’m publishing these here to see if they automatically scrape this one too. Then if anyone reads it there they will know what’s going on!

I’m not sure what triggers the site to be scraped – perhaps some keywords like medical, doctor, health, fitness, RA, rheumatoid arthritis, surgery, GP … who knows. There’s a tasty little smorgasbord of keywords for you though, if you want to steal this one, guys.  Continue Reading Please stop stealing my blog posts…

Quick update

June 12, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 6 Comments

On the bright, Pollyanna side, I managed to have an enjoyable, if sedentary, weekend! I did pretty much nothing but rest – rest and read books, rest on a chaise longue in the sunshine, rest and chat to my mum, rest and watch telly, rest and do some drawing and painting, rest and do some embroidery … SLEEEEEEEEEEP! Hubby was marvelous and did … well, everything else really!! And yes, my knee is very much better! The steroids (and rest) definitely helped.

Continue Reading Quick update…

‘That went better than I expected!’

June 8, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 6 Comments

The above is one of hubby’s favourite phrases, and one of the first things that alerted me to the fact that he’s not a natural optimist, but today I found myself saying the same thing.

I realised this morning that there was no putting it off – I’ve been flaring for the last three or four days and I had to see the GP. If you read this blog much you’ll know how much fun that can be and why I was putting it off! After a few days of resting as much as possible, alternating painkillers, putting on compresses, rubbing in gel, bathing and, ultimately, realising I’d been overdosing slightly on the ibruprofen by mistake, the time had come!

Continue Reading ‘That went better than I expected!’…

Thank you Healthline!

June 5, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 7 Comments

I’m chuffed to bits to once again have been listed as one of Healthline’s RA blogs of the year, even though as ever I haven’t posted very much. I’m actually having another knee flare today (with various other painful bits but that’s the worst bit as usual) so it’s nice to have something to celebrate a little bit too! Continue Reading Thank you Healthline!…

Sleep and sleep study update

April 4, 2018 at 9:30 am | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 8 Comments

Well I’m at day 22 (I think) of the 30-day sleep study. It’s been interesting for me to monitor my sleep and I do hope I get to see a week’s worth of data from the fit-bit equivalent thingy I’m wearing, as the study coordinator mentioned this should be possible. At the moment I’m monitoring how I THINK I slept each night and also how I feel each morning and evening. What I’m intrigued to know is if I did sleep how I think I slept. Continue Reading Sleep and sleep study update…

Another flare and another study

March 6, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Posted in arthrits, arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, joint pai, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 6 Comments
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I’m just getting over yet another flare. I had a few days of feeling fine, and then bam, one of those horrible all-over body flares. No individual joint was so bad that I felt the need to visit the doctor or phone the helpline or beg on bended knee (impractical in my case of course) for MORE steroids, but with what felt like every joint in my body stiff and achy, it was a pretty miserable couple of weeks. (Yes, I’m well aware that ‘every joint in my body’ is hyperbole, but it gets you down and makes you feel like that’s what’s happening.’)

I have now started by higher dose (20mg) of methotrexate and taken it twice so far, second time last night. It’s pretty unlikely to have any immediate effect but I’m hoping that it will at least have an effect. We shall see …

Anyway, right now things are relatively good – pretty stiff in the mornings, with some aches and pains, and then it all fades and I’m pretty much OK for the rest of the day … until night-time, which is literally a pain! Continue Reading Another flare and another study…

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