Friday, November 3, 2017

Overstepping My Limits

I'm writing from the midst of one of the worst flares I have had in a long time. This one was not caused by travel adventures, but by trying to take better care of myself.

A flare is more than tiredness. For many RA sufferers, joints swell and turn red. My flares, like other parts of my disease, are invisible, but my hands and feet get hot. I feel feverish in general. Every joint throbs.  My head aches like it does during sinus infections, only a little deeper. I'm tired but not sleepy, just depleted, agitated, and angry.
Flare pain for me is a pacing, fidgeting, tossing, turning sort of pain. The itching, which I had greatly reduced through lots of lotion and patience is back at full strength. I want to pull my skin off and stomp on it, but really don't have that kind of energy. It's hard to focus on knitting, reading, or even TV. Meds help a little, but the only cure is rest and time.
And like most of my flares, it is entirely self-inflicted.

My husband has lost 10 pounds since spring. Part of the credit goes to orthodontic work that has curtailed snacking, but a lot is dedication to walking. My sweetheart walks about two miles every day at work and around a mile in the evening with me.

He's found the Pedometer cell phone app to be a great motivational tool. It allows you to set your own daily goal and charts how many days you complete it. As you reach the goal each day (and also if you double it) confetti appears on the screen. For those of us who grew up with video games, that is a great reward (even better than the bouncing cards after a successful round of Solitaire).

I've had a cell phone for a couple months now and have gradually formed the habit of carrying it with me when I leave the house. A week ago I started step counting. My goal is modest. Doctors recommend 10000 steps a day. My goal is 5000. Here are my totals for the last week:


Looking at these numbers and at the bar graph on my cell phone, it would be easy to see Wednesday as a problem. Actually getting 4000 steps the way I  felt Wednesday was a miracle and an accomplishment.
The location of one of two walks on Monday
Monday and Tuesday were the problem. I got enthusiastic, pushed too hard, and hurt myself.
Apparently I've walked 19.9 miles in the last week, which is cool, but I need to find a saner balance.

The step counter can help me with this. Just as it tells me if I have enough steps, it tells me if I have too many. For now, I shouldn't go much over 8,000 and certainly not two days in a row. I will gradually increase what I can do, eventually 10,000 steps a day may be realistic for me, but I need to be patient with myself.
View from our usual walk, but from about a month and a half ago. All fall colors are long gone now.

This finished project is a Christmas present of the genre I call "computer chair blanket." It is made entirely of washable acrylic, which makes it very practical and usable.

From the leftovers, I created another very practical item. To count my steps, I have to carry my cell phone at all times. I rarely wear pockets and don't wear a bra, so there is no useful place to put the thing. Oldest works at Best Buy and sells all kinds of accessories, but as I also don't wear a belt, he couldn't find a commercial solution. Knitting to the rescue. This is a cell phone holster that I will usually wear under my clothes. the phone will be close to my waist so answering it won't require disrobing--not elegant, but a solution.

I'm burning through Christmas money fast, but have almost finished my shopping. How is yours going? I have lots of cool hats in my shop that may be exactly what your loved one needs.


  1. I found the graphic of the gun at the toe is funny. I am sorry you are feeling rough. Sending healing energy and my prayers your way.

  2. Thank you. I think they are starting to work.

  3. Well I pray for you that you get to better health soon. It always demands great courage and strength to fight such pain and moreover overcoming the pain.

  4. Thank you for your prayers and sympathy.

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