Monday, February 28, 2011

Psoriatic Arthritis

I suppose it's time.

I've been putting off writing about my latest autoimmune acquisition - psoriatic arthrits. I really don't like to even acknowledge that I have another AD in my collection, but it appears that this one will be around for awhile, so here goes.

Allrighty, then. Let's get started. So I went to my rheumatologist because my fingers looked like this:

Yep, the pictures are of poor quality, but it's pretty hard to take a picture of your right hand when the button for the shutter is on the right side of a bulky camera.

Stupid camera.

So you may be able to tell that the very end joints of my fingers, the distal interphalangeal joints, or DIP joints, are swollen, red, hot and hurt like heck.

Stupid DIP joints.

It turns out that different types of arthritis typically have an affinity for certain joints, and psoriatic arthritis often begins in the DIPs.

Image found here.

After re-checking some of my labs, doing x-rays, and examining my joints, Dr. K. gave me a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. I hadn't heard of it before, so I asked him for a thorough explanation. He basically told me that PA has some characteristic symptoms: it usually occurs in a patient that has a negative RA factor, (I am negative), which is commonly positive in rheumatoid arthritis; it occurs frequently in the DIP joints; and may or may not occur with  psoriasis. I have had splotch and blob and rash issues for years, but Dr. K. thinks that they could have been caused by a number of causes.

The x-rays - mine included - show a specific pattern of joint erosion in psoriatic arthritis:
Image found here.

Stupid bone erosions.

Other fun facts about PA: It can occur in any joint. It's cause is unknown - similar to most autoimmune diseases. However, heredity plays a major factor in most instances. Other suspected causes include abnormal immune response to infections or injuries. PA also can cause tendons and ligaments to become inflamed where they attach to bones. This is called enthesitis and is especially common in the heels, which is also a problem for me.

Stupid enthesitis.

You can read more about stupid psoriatic arthritis on the Mayo Clinic site, here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Sunday, And You Know What That Means...

.......don't you?

It means that Julia has been up very late on Saturday night and therefore has a very short post (found here) for Sunday.

Here it is. Reflect. Discuss. See you Monday.

A short history of medicine

"Doctor, I have an ear ache." 
2000 BC - "Here, eat this root." 
1000 BC - "That root is heathen, say this prayer." 
1850 AD - "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion." 
1940 AD - "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill." 
1985 AD - "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic." 
2000 AD - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!"

Poor Maggie and Lulu won't go to bed until I do...they're tired today too.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

OK, Already...Y'all Are Right

OK. I have to concede that this latest snowfall, while very cold and unexpected, and potentially could freeze off my little baby pear blossoms, is beautiful. Especially today as the sun came out.

Maggie and Lulu are loving it.

Schnauzer fur snowballs. I had to wrap Lulu up in a towel and let her melt in front of the fireplace before nappy time on my bed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Can We Talk, Mother Nature?

Um, Mother Nature? Can we talk? It's me, your lowly creature Julia.

Julia. Julia. The one that routinely tries to defy your laws of nature and gravity by wearing underwire bras and plus sized body-shaping underwear?

Right-o. I see that you recognize me now.

Well.....we all know that you, that is - Mother Nature - don't like to be fooled or otherwise messed around with:

To be perfectly clear, I'm not criticizing you or anything. I'd never ever knowingly make you cranky, you know that.

But I'd just like to point out that it appears you've mixed up a couple seasons around here. Just yesterday, I was strolling around our garden and noticed that my - er - YOUR pear trees are close to blooming, and your clematis vine has sprouted a few leaves. It was lovely. Your work here is superb.


Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to this:

What? You'll put the seasons back in order if I ditch the underwires?

Girl. You've got a deal. Consider it done.

Now bring back the sunshine.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

WEGO Survey

The WEGO Health Activist site is recruiting participants to complete their health technology survey.

If you complete the survey before midnight, March 11th 2011, you will be entered in a drawing to win one of the following prizes:

PRIZES: One (1) winner will receive the following prize: (1) Apple iPad (Wi-Fi 16GB). Three (3) winners will receive the following prize: (1) Apple iPod Touch (Wi-Fi 8GB).  Two hundred (200) winners will received the following prize: (1) iTunes Gift Card (email delivery, $10). Approximate retail value of the total prize package is $1400.
The survey is online and takes less than ten minutes to complete. You can find it here.

I Kind of Like This....

Are y'all ready for a shock?

After putting in my time on my exercise bike at the community center, and on my doctor's very strong suggestion that I exercise in water for my joints, I headed down to the locker room, put on a swimming suit and got INTO THE POOL.

Yes. That is indeed what I did. After spending almost all summer explaining why I really couldn't go swimming - the hassle of struggling into a spandex suit, showering before and after, changing back into my clothes and drying my hair, the energy drain of all that maneuvering....wah wah wah wah. Remember? Ah, geez.

So why the change of heart? And motivation?

It turns out that I am very easily shamed. Last week, I watched several people with far greater disabilities than mine get into the water. They didn't pitch a fit, they didn't appear to feel sorry for themselves, they were even smiling. They just got into the water. One woman in particular entered the pool area in her wheelchair and needed help in transferring, but she just got into the water.

I decided that I should quit whining and just get into the water. So I did. It was wonderful. The water temperature was just perfect - cool enough to feel refreshing yet not cold. I paddled around and then spent time just floating around on my back, relaxing.

I took some advice from some arthritis sites that I have been visiting, one in particular was the suggestion to wear a two-piece swimming suit, the idea being that it's easier to put two separate pieces on rather than one snug one. Whaddya know? It worked. I picked up a pair of swimming shorts and a blouson-style top. I put aside any illusions that I would look good - there isn't a suit out there that would do that - but it was comfortable and easy to put on.

I got out feeling soggy but refreshed, and took my time getting through the shower and dressed. As I drove home, I realized that the experience was something that I actually look forward to doing again, and soon.

Aside from having a pleasant swim, I also enjoyed observing my favorite group of pool enthusiasts - the senior water aerobics members. Mostly ladies in their '70s, I have mentioned them before for their antics in the locker room and their complete disregard for modesty as they parade around cracking jokes in their birthday suits.

Well, I got an opportunity to watch these girls wearing swimming suits and in action while in the pool, and I have to say......they are an impressive gang. I really, really want to be just like them when I grow up. They finished their class and then all piled into the generously sized hot tub, where they began haranguing the very attractive male life guards.

The poor guys were trying with absolutely no success to tell the girls that the pool needed to close for maintenance.

"Oh, honey. I am not going anywhere! You're going to have to come in and get me....hehe!"

After much good-natured cajoling, the girls headed out of the hot tub and squished their way to the locker room. I really hope that those nice young men were on a hazard pay scale, bless their hearts.

Here's another woman that I want to be like when I get to be her age. I believe she would fit in nicely with my local ladies pool gang:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Sjoggie's Dishwasher

Seems as though the top rack of my dishwasher gets way more use than the bottom. I counted the glasses last night as I was loading it up.

Twenty three glasses/cups/mugs. Two dinner plates. Coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sweeter Dreams

It was a busy weekend. Well, for John and our friends, that is.

We decided to invest in a new mattress and box spring set since the last set has been with us for awhile.....actually twenty four years. After spending forever looking at way too many mattresses, bouncing and laying on and scrutinizing the display models, we finally chose a king sized set. Which meant that the old set had to be shifted to one of the other bedrooms, and then THAT even older set shifted to a friend who wanted it, and then hauling home the NEW set and then going out and buying king sized sheets and blankets. Yikes. Since we bought the mattress from one of those big warehouse discount places, delivery and set-up was um.....well, we had to scrounge up our own burly delivery men.

Note that I'm showing pics of my bedroom floor all clean and shiny. Trust me, it didn't look this way when we moved the old bed out. Ew. Our dust bunnies were more like dust elephants.

Thank goodness for Greg's big pickup truck. Goodbye, old mattress.

Hello, new mattress! Thank goodness also for willing neighbors to help schlep this big heavy thing upstairs. That corner on the stairway is a real bear. What were we thinking when we built it that way?!

It was worth all of the finagling and hoo-rah. Ahhh.....comfy. It might be even harder to get up in the mornings with a bed as snuggly and comfortable as this one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Grandma Would Have Understood

Image found here. 

I was talking to my mom yesterday. I asked her if anyone else in our family had psoriatic arthritis since it appears that it can be hereditary. After Mom thought for awhile and I explained to her what the symptoms of PA were, she told me that both she and my grandmother had similar symptoms.

"I remember watching your grandmother kneading bread dough and crying because her hands hurt so much......but it was the years of the great depression and she had no other choice but to make our own bread," Mom recalled.

"So many years later, when my own hands began to swell and become painful, I knew what it was. I didn't ask my doctor about it because I thought there was nothing to do but put up with the pain...but I was lucky. I only had a few joints involved and after two or three years, my joints became all knobby, but the pain went away."

My goodness. I didn't know. Poor Mom - poor Grandma Ella.

I have very few memories of my grandmother Ella, since she died when I was a little girl. How I wish that I could very gently hold her hands now. And knead her bread for her.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's Therapeutic

Image found here. 

I believe that I have discovered the best medicine EVER for whatever has been causing me to be cranky. 

Found in a pub in the trendy West hills area of Portland, it's a delightful concoction of vanilla and cherry - infused brandy mixed with freshly squeezed orange and lemon juices and served in a sugar-rimmed martini glass. 


Arthritis? Sjogren's? Pshaw. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'll Spare You The Ugly Details....

(Deep breath)

OK. I'm back. Y'all are very very lucky that I had my hissy fit somewhere else other than Reasonably Well. It wasn't pretty, but for the most part, I think it's over.

Here's what happened: My fatigue levels have been creeping up over the past few weeks. I had attributed that and a strange feverish-like feeling to my exercise routine, but then several joints on my fingers began to swell and became hot and red. I just felt lousy in general, so hoofed it on over to my rheumatologist.

The gist of my situation is this: I have another autoimmune disease. It's psoriatic arthritis. I have discontinued my plaquenil and begun taking Azulfidine - or sulfasalazine - another DMARD - instead. I'm up to my eyeballs in Google Scholar search results and trying to learn as much and as fast as I can.

I'll post more about the specifics about this type of arthritis another time since right now my fingers are still really sore. And I'm still preoccupied with keeping Bratty Inner Child Julia on a leash right now....she's so, so close to being totally out of control as so often happens during a hissy fit of this proportion.

Back! Back, BICJ! Put down the cupcakes!!

Ah, geez. Too late...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taking A Moment

Guys - I'm going to take a day or two away from my computer.

I've just got another autoimmune diagnosis: Psoriatic Arthritis. In the midst of med changes and attitude adjustments.

I think I need to tantrum off-line. See you in a day or two.

Villanova Project Update

Head over to Jennifer Pettit's blog UII - Understanding Invisible Illness. Super sjoggie Jen has been working in conjunction with Villanova on a display entitled Invisible Illnesses Made Visible. I had posted a link to Jen's initial request for pictures and stories for the event, so who knows - some of you that responded may be included in the display! Jen says:

We heard from people who had stopped hoping, fallen into depressions, and could no longer believe the world could ever be a better place for you so long as you have an invisible illness.  It was as if this project gave you something to cling to; a reason to dare to hope that society could learn about the way you live and discover all you have to offer...or maybe that you could discover it yourself. 
We want you to know we hold ourselves responsible to you.  So long as we have voices to raise and minds to dream and family to help make it happen, you will be heard.  You obviously don't need us - look at how powerful you are on your own - but just like the Who's in Whoville needed every last Who to scream and shout and save their dustspeck (it's Dr. Seuss, go read it), sometimes we need to speak up for each other.  And so, this puffed-up Prednisone popper would like to remind you "I meant what I said and I said what I meant; an elephant is loyal one hundred percent"! 
Look for photos of the WHOLE display coming soon to a blog near you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Need A Therapy Horse!

Oh. My. Gosh.

Some of you may recall a post in which I talked about my pony King Boy from my childhood:

Dad said, "Well, got him in (a bitty town about 45 miles from Dad's farm). I had my eye on that little stallion for awhile and stopped at the owner's place while I was on my way through town. We dickered on the price for awhile and finally the guy said I could have him for a pretty low price, but only if I took him home that day. I was driving our car, that old Ford. I didn't want to drive all the way back home and get the truck, so I just put that pony in the back seat of the car."
In. The. Back. Seat. Of. The. CAR.
After I quit laughing hysterically, I asked, "So Dad - How did you get him INTO the car?"
"Aw, hell, wasn't anything to it. I just opened the door and he poked his nose in. I gave him a little kick in the ass and he was in there. He seemed to like it just fine. We talked all the way home. Took about an hour."

I really loved that pony. He and I were best friends for years and years and years....So I was all misty-eyed as I came across a National Geographic story about a miniature horse named Tater Tot. He's a dead ringer for King Boy - although quite a bit chubbier.

Tater Tot rides in a car too. And I'll bet the owner doesn't even have to kick him in the butt to get him to go in. Like his little non-skid hoof sockies?

He makes visits to nursing homes and hospitals. What a horse! I think that I need one, don't you? Can anyone think of a reason why a Sjoggie would benefit from a cuuuuuttttteeee little pony like this one?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lovey-Dovey Day

Happy Valentine's day, everyone. I love you all. *sniff..sniff* Group hug, people....

OK. Now that we have the mushy stuff over with, here's pics of this year's holiday at my house.

Love roses. Just love 'em. Can't wait till our rosebushes are in bloom.

My favorite card from John EVER. He gave it to me a few years ago, but I kept it. The bride's hair originally was blonde, so he COLORED IT BRUNETTE. All by himself. Awwww....

About the candy - it's actually a small box. Only about six pieces of a very, very good chocolate. And I shared it. Mmmmmm.....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Read This

Today I'd like to send readers to My Odd Sock, written - extremely well - by a gentleman dealing with multiple sclerosis and chronic illness with intelligence and humor. Here's how he describes himself and his blog:

THIS is the best you could do?
You have before you the vast, unbounded expanse of the Internet to discover answers to things like “Why do dogs sniff each other’s butts?”  But no, you choose to learn more about My Odd Sock?
Your mother & I hang our heads in shame.
Obviously, you ended up here because you mistyped…Or, you have too much time on your hands.  Either way, you have stumbled upon the home to my humor, my thoughts and my complete waste of Internet technology.
My Odd Sock is my glimmer of inspiration, a creative dream of a lifetime!  (Sad isn’t it?)
Actually, no inspiration needed.  I am a former advertising copywriter just looking to keep my writing chops sharp.
 My life began as an embryo after my father flashed a sly smile at my mother.  (His gold tooth would get her every time!)
Upon graduation from The Ohio State University with a scholarly 2.3 GPA, I pursued a brief career as a stand-up comedian, followed by 22 years of work in the media.
Currently, I share a modest abode in Northeast Ohio with my lovely bride and two teenage sons. And my ever-present cane you ask?  I walk with it not because I am a fan of tap dancing, but because in 1997 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Hence, the revelation of My Odd Sock.
Hey, you clicked here.  Not me.
Enjoy the ride.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Conversation Between Julia and Sjogren's Syndrome

Image found here.

One of the great blog post subject suggestions made this month by the WEGO site was this: To write an imaginary letter to your disease, or to imagine a conversation with your disease. Here's my version:

The talk show director clapped his hands for attention.

"Alright, everyone. Choose a seat! Settle down, please! Thanks for being here for another episode of Meet Your Diagnosis! brought to you today by the Never-Empty-Water-Bottle company, and the QWIKEE Bathroom Locator app now available for all smart phones. I'd just like to clarify the audience rules, so listen up.

As you know, our host Julia can be um....a bit temperamental. You may recall the disastrous results last week when one of our audience members brought in a box of TastyKakes, so if anyone has any kind of baked goods - this includes brownies and cookies, people - please keep them completely out of sight and DO NOT CRACKLE THE PLASTIC WRAPPERS. If you choose to ignore this request and draw her attention it is in your best interests to simply surrender the pastry. The producers of Meet Your Diagnosis will not accept any responsibility for injuries incurred if these instructions are ignored and our host vaults over any audience members in pursuit of your dessert item.

OK. Let's see...what else....oh, yes. Please observe the APPLAUSE sign when lit, and let's have quiet now as we go live in" the director silently pointed to the brightly lit talk-show set.

The plush curtains parted to reveal a smiling Julia. "Welcome everyone to this week's edition of MEET YOUR DIAGNOSIS!"

The audience dutifully cheered and whistled. Julia squinted as she hopefully scanned the audience members, then appeared slightly disappointed as she took her seat behind her desk on the colorfully decorated set. She took a sip from the water bottle placed prominently in front of her.

"Well, now. Our last episode was quite exciting, wasn't it?" she commented brightly. "I'd just like to update everyone that last week's audience member suffered only minor injuries - two broken legs, a concussion, and a dislocated shoulder - and is expected to make a full recovery!"

The audience clapped wildly, as prompted.

"The TastyKakes, while slightly squished, were still quite delicious!" Julia smacked her lips as she took another quick examination of the audience, who suddenly became very quiet. The front row members shrank back slightly in their seats and exchanged nervous glances.

Julia sighed and shuffled the papers on her desk. "Today's episode should be quite interesting. Let's all give our guest diagnosis Sjogren's Syndrome a welcome round of applause, shall we?" She stood up and courteously smiled as Sjogren's syndrome made it's way onto the stage, waved at the audience, and settled into the cushy guest chair.

"Comfy?" Julia asked sweetly.

"Very!" It answered confidently.

"Well, I'm glad that you are comfortable. BECAUSE YOU HAVE MADE MY LIFE A LIVING HELL!" she snarled.

The audience collectively gasped with surprise, then began hooting and applauding their approval. The floor director rolled his eyes and sighed. "Here we go again.." he whispered to the nearest clipboard-carrying assistant. "Better call catering and make sure that we have her dressing room stocked with mango margaritas. Mango. Got it?" The assistant nodded, then mumbled quietly into his walkie talkie as he scurried away.

Sjogren's syndrome sat stiffly up in it's chair. "Well, now. I wasn't prepared for a bout of attack journalism!" it sniffed in indignation.

"Really? I wasn't expecting to have my body attacked by autoimmune disease, either!" Julia snapped.

They glared at each other across the desk.

"If you're going to conduct yourself in such a undignified manner, I may as well leave!" said Sjogren's syndrome, as it began to rise from the chair.

Julia smiled smugly. "That would be wonderful."

"Wait a minute!" it exclaimed. "You can't get rid of me that easily!" It sat back down in the chair with a decisive thud.

Julia sighed. "Drat. I really was hoping that would work. Well, if you insist on hanging around, you are going to have to explain a few things."


"Because I don't know why you chose to bother me, I don't understand what you're doing to my body, and I want you to leave me alone," she said. "What do you say to THAT, buster?"

"Ah." Sjogren's syndrome settled deeper into the chair. "Those are excellent questions but I simply have no intention of answering any of them."

Julia's jaw dropped, speechless at it's audacity.

"Why should I? Your best scientists and researchers can't say why I made my appearance. Oh, sure, they talk about genetics and infections and exposure to various compounds, but to be honest, they don't have a clue. My dear woman, isn't it abundantly obvious what has happened to your body? The dryness, the fatigue, the joint and lung and skin issues?" It coughed delicately. "Perhaps you don't understand because of brain fog. A delightful manifestation, if I do say so myself."

Julia crossed her arms in front of her in a decidedly confrontational pose. She leaned forward and narrowed her eyes. "Oh, really."

"Yes, really. AND, your best scientists and researchers don't have a clue how to treat me, either. They throw drugs at me, and I really don't want to brag here," it smirked, "but pffffft. So what if they slow me down a bit? Or make some of the symptoms less severe?"

It held up it's hands as if to block Julia's next comment. "Yes, yes. You're going to say something about prednisone and DMARDs and biologics. Bah. Those puny pharmaceuticals can't stop my progression. Actually, I find it tremendously amusing when I see all the side effects that these drugs have." It chuckled.

It leaned back and smiled expansively. "Ah. I think that my favorite by far is the carbohydrate cravings that accompany prednisone. Familiar with that one, by any chance?"

Julia scowled. "No. Not in the least."

It suddenly reached under it's seat and coyly held up a white take-out box plastered with Rose's Deli stickers.

"Ooooooooooooo," the audience murmured apprehensively. Several members seated in the back row began to furtively move toward the exit.

"I couldn't care less," Julia said between gritted teeth.

"I'm so glad to hear that, darling. Because I adore Rose's Deli carrot cake, how about you? Oh, right-o. You don't have problems with carbohydrate cravings, do you? Mmmmm.....just look at all that lovely cream cheese frosting....and I think that little orange frosting carrot is so charming..." It waved the now-open box enticingly under Julia's nose. "I can't get enough of the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg and.....GAAA!"

"Quick - cut to commercial!" shouted the floor manager into his headset.

"Wow. I didn't know the old girl was so agile!" commented the sound tech as Julia made a sudden wild leap over her desk. "Think she's been getting a little exercise lately?"

"Nah," replied the lighting supervisor. "I think she actually got a bit more air when she body-slammed last week's guest. Hey - better cue up at least three more commercials. It's a real zoo down there."

"Hahahaha! You can squash me but you can't ever be rid of me!" chortled Sjogren's syndrome from under the plush guest chair as the audience thundered toward the exits.

"I'll get you someday, I will!" shrieked Julia as she crouched on all fours, trying unsuccessfully to drag her tormentor out from his hiding place.

"Um. Julia..." the floor manager timidly spoke into his headset. " may want to change Not your most flattering profile..."

"Wha-?! Ah, geez." Julia shook her head and sat back in disgust. "I am SO done for the day!" She stood up, smoothed her hair and skirt, and attempted to compose herself as she stalked toward her dressing room. After a few steps, she whirled around to snatch the Rose's box as muffled guffaws could be heard from under the cushy chair.

She shook her fork in the direction of the snickering Sjogren's syndrome. "You think you've won? Dream on, you monster. You can hide, but I'll get you somehow. Somewhere. Sometime. Our people have not even begun this fight!" and marched off the set.

"Margaritas, people. Mango margaritas. NOW."

The staff sighed as they surveyed the trashed set. "Where did Sjogren's syndrome go?" one of them asked another as they began to sort through the rubble.

"It's lurking around somewhere, the creep," the floor director commented with resignation. He rubbed his chin reflectively. "But it won't be here forever. I'd put my money on Julia and the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation in this fight. Sjogren's days are numbered. Definitely."

Friday, February 11, 2011

February, Family, and Friends

The health activist site WEGO health recently asked me to write a guest post. It went up on their site yesterday:
The month of February brings with it several interesting events; one being Groundhog day, when it’s so gratifying to anticipate the end of winter. Another is Super Bowl Sunday and the best excuse ever to gather in large boisterous crowds in front of huge televisions while consuming large quantities of really-bad-for-you snacks.
But my favorite day by far in February is Valentine’s Day. Why? Well, gifts of chocolate in heart shaped boxes from a wonderful hubby for many years are very, very good things. But aside from chowing down on a serious amount of high quality candy, Valentine’s day also is a great time to for me to take time to appreciate not only my marriage, but all the relationships with others around me.
When I think about my relationships, mostly I think about how fortunate I am to have these special folks around me, especially since autoimmune disease entered my life. My ties with my family and friends were certainly tested during the early days of my diagnosis. I am incredibly thankful that these vital bonds survived, and eventually flourished. But it wasn’t an easy process....
Continue reading on the WEGO site here

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Still Hard To Do

I'm still showing up with some regularity at my community center to dutifully walk the track and pedal away on the exercise bikes. I have mixed feelings about my body's response to easing into an exercise routine..

There were times that I let myself do too much, and too soon. I crashed and burned - but for the most part, I understood why, and was able to dial back my routine while paying careful attention to my fatigue levels. As a result, lately I can complete a certain amount of exercise without finding myself completely fatigued, which is a very good thing, but the day after isn't without some uncomfortable after effects.

It goes something like this: I leave the center sweaty, but not dripping. My legs don't feel wobbly or aching. I congratulate myself enthusiastically. Sometimes I stop off to do a few minor errands on the way home. But that evening, and the following day, I feel as though I am running a temperature. I feel chilled, then hot. I shiver and have overall body-aches. I feel as though I'm just on the verge of some kind of flu or other infection.

I often feel this way, to a much lesser extent, on a day to day basis. It's the effects of an over-active immune system. But this feels different somehow. It's more intense and much more uncomfortable.

I wonder if this reaction will go away as I continue to exercise? Have any of you had the same weird experience?

My plan so far is to just carry on and observe. I'll keep y'all posted.

P.S. - Looks like I need to add some housekeeping to my exercise plan. Check out what I found when I took the pic of my shoes. You see the darndest things in photographs....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's Almost Chocolate Time....

You can buy this lovely delectable delicious delightful tasty scrumptious box of Godiva chocolates here. know. Valentine's day. Ever since our kids were little, John has always presented me and the kids each with a heart-shaped box of chocolates on the morning of every February 14th. Awww. What a guy.

This year, I'm not going to feel guilty when I bite into those yummy little morsels, because here is yet another study that proves that chocolate is actually good for us. I've attached the first paragraph, but go read the entire article, and check out all their great links to other chocolate loving studies.

From Medical News Today: New Explanation for Heart-Healthy Benefits of Chocolate
In time for the chocolate-giving and chocolate-noshing fest on Valentine's Day, scientists are reporting discovery of how this treat boosts the body's production of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) - the "good" form of cholesterol that protects against heart disease. Just as those boxes of chocolates get hearts throbbing and mouths watering, polyphenols in chocolate rev up the activity of certain proteins, including proteins that attach to the genetic material DNA in ways that boost HDL levels. Their report appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, one of 39 peer-reviewed scientific journals published by the American Chemical Society. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Packer Pictures

What. A. GAME! 

I had faith in you, my Green Bay Packers. Everyone at our Super Bowl party did, too.