Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Tale Of Tips For Surviving A Chronic Illness

Hi, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here with our first blog post of 2014.  We are
going to start off by sharing some tips and tricks for you.  Living with a chronic
illness can be a lot to juggle with at best, and Brenda has shared some great things
with me, that I want to share with our readers. 

This blog post was actually inspired by a couple of books that Brenda had a chance
to read over the holidays.  So Young:  A Life Lived With Rheumatoid Arthritis by
Daniel P. Malito, which she actually has been quoted on the back of this book.  What
an honor that was for Brenda. 

The second book was Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis:  Tools for Managing
Treatments, Side Effects and Pain, by Lene Andersen.  You can purchase both of
these books at Amazon. com.

We will also just mention, that both of these writers, are featured bloggers for the
CreakyJoints newsletter.  Here is the link.

Well, on with my tale.  Brenda has lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for over
twenty-two years.  She has had a lot of experience, when it comes to having tests,
procedures and surgeries.  She has had pretty close to 20 surgeries.  The odd thing
is that very few, had anything to do with her RA. 

Brenda pretty much lives with pain 24/7.  I don't know if it is, something you just get
used to, but you have to try to adjust to it somewhat.  Brenda always says that her
RA is a life sentence and she may as well serve it well.  That is where trying to cope
with it comes in. 

Now for my secret that Brenda shared with me the other day.  She wants all of you to know,
that the best friend or person that you can lean on every day with living with a chronic illness,
is, this may surprise or even shock you, but it is actually *YOU*  Yes, you alone, can be the
best friend you will ever have or need.  You want to know why?  Okay, I will tell you what
she told me. 

Brenda's RA moves around a lot, so she never knows where it will be bothering her most on
any given day.  When it does hit a certain area, Brenda immediately starts to tell herself, that
it will get better with time and then you start to do things that will help.  These are the things
that have helped Brenda.  It doesn't mean it will work for you, as you will have to try to find
things that actually do work for you.  Each person or dog is different.  Yes, even dogs get
arthritis and I wanted to bring that out for my furry friends.  BOL 

Brenda does full range of motion, twice a day.  What this consists of, is trying to move as
easily and gently as possible.  You don't have to do hours of exercise at a time.  Remember,
it is cumulative, so you can do three ten minute sessions throughout your day, instead of
doing the whole thirty minutes at one time.  Start out slow and give yourself time to gradually
increase your time. 

Brenda's exercise consists of walking, which lately has been a problem, because of so much
ice out there.  When she can walk, it ends up being about 30 minutes, 15 minutes each
way.  Her range of motion exercises are right when she gets up in the morning and when
she gets home from work, after her walk.  It is a great way to stretch.  She is stretched
out on her bed, while doing these.  She starts out with bringing her knees to her chest.
Again, if you are unable to do this, find something that does work.  Don't beat yourself
up.  You can sit in chair and do exercises as well.  You can swing your legs back and
forth and also move your wrists in a circular motion, if that works for you.  You can
also swing your arms back and forth.  Sometimes standing, while doing these exercises,
doesn't work that well for Brenda, so she sits in a chair. 

Brenda is a big believer in drinking lots of water.  At least 64 ounces a day.  That may
sound like a lot, but it is actually 8 glasses of water.  She likes to add lemon to give it
a bit more flavor. 

The reason she drinks water, is that is helps to lubricate your joints.  Since we don't have
an oil can handy, this is the next best thing.  I crack myself up sometimes, with the things
I come up with.  BOL

Also if you keep any type of a journal, writing your thoughts down is an excellent way, to
keep track of how you are doing with exercise, or even tracking your pain on any given

There were so many great tips in those 2 books that I mentioned, that you just need to
check those out for yourself. 

Remember above all, that *YOU* have the power to survive living with a chronic illness.
It is not always easy.  Many of the medications that we have to take, can sometimes
seem worse, than the disease itself. 

Brenda knows many people out there, that continue to inspire her.  We also realize that
there are those who will choose to be victims, when it comes to living with a chronic
illness.  Brenda likes to take the positive approach and make the best, out of a bad
situation.  Look at all the people you know, who live with a chronic illness.  How
have they made a difference in how they look at life?  She knows many personally
that have done wonderful things and are continuing to strive to make life better for
all of us.

We hope you have enjoyed this tale.  Until next time, this is Trevor reminding you, that
surviving a chronic illness begins and ends with *YOU*