Things Only Someone with RA Would Understand

Let’s be honest. Arthritis sucks. It just does. Anyone who tells you differently is lying to your face! Over the years, I’ve learned to find the humor in my disease. I mean really, how can you not laugh and be excited about hip replacements squeaking when they need to be revised? Personally, I cannot wait for this moment in my life. How hilarious is it going to be to squeak when I walk?!

But seriously, everyone has heard that ‘laughter is the best medicine’. I used to think that was such a ridiculous quote because for a while, it didn’t matter how much I laughed, my body still hurt! And I needed those meds! But, as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that maybe the quote should be, ‘humor is the best medicine’. The ability to find humor in situations really will make life with chronic pain a little more bearable.

During a recent trip into the black hole that is Pinterest, I came across an articled titled 29 Things Only Someone With Rheumatoid Arthritis Would Understand. I laughed through the whole thing. I applaud the author of the article for hitting the nail on the head. I’ve thought these things too many times to count. I wanted to share a few of my favorites because they are 100% completely true. Enjoy!

You know that MTX SubQ isn’t the name of a rapper.

RA Rapper

You’re a self-taught expert in “fighting with the insurance company” law.

Insurance RA

Doesn’t everyone keep injectable medications between the milk and the eggs?

fridge RA

Steep stairs with no railings are an invention of the devil.

RA Stairs

Confirmed plans aren’t really confirmed unless it’s a rheumatologist appointment. Those are set in concrete.

plans RA

You’re doctor asks what hurts and you sing “Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes” to answer.

head shoulders knees and toes

Leave me a comment about which was your favorite. Have a great rest of your week!






One Year Ends, Another Begins

Every year at Christmas, I can’t believe it’s the end of the year. Well, this year is no different. 2015 was a year of ups and downs for me but honestly, I’ve grown so much this year that I wouldn’t trade the bad moments for anything. Looking forward to the coming year, I’ve set some goals for myself.

Send birthday cards.

Sending cards is a dying art form. I’m very inconsistent with sending birthday cards to friends and family but want to get better about sending them. I always make sure to send a text or call but sending a card with a handwritten message is much more personal.

Write in journal 3-4 times a week.

Journaling is something that I did for years and really enjoyed it but somewhere along the way, I stopped. There’s something about documenting the good and the bad that is very cathartic and freeing. It’s also fun to look back and read my thoughts from years ago.

Blog consistently.

I started this blog but kind of fell off the band wagon towards the end of the year. My goal is to blog at least twice a week; Sunday and Wednesday. I’ve been planning over the past month some things that I want to do. I definitely want to make my blog a priority in the new year.


Prior to college I always had a savings account. Now, as an adult with ridiculous amounts of student loans, I’ve struggled to save money. However, it scares me to not have a safety net in case of a financial emergency. My goal is to save at least $50 each month. It’s not much but it’s a starting point.

Read more.

I love to read but it always seems to be the one thing that I stop doing as soon as I get busy. This year, I’d like to read more. At least 2 books a month.

Be positive.

While I try to find the humor in life, I can be a somewhat negative person. I’d like to work on not being such a ‘worst case scenario’ kind of person. I’d like to hope for the best and take a leap of faith that things will work out.

What are your goals for 2016? Leave me a comment. Happy New Year!


5 Secrets to Gym Motivation

Lately, it seems going to the gym is a fad or trend. It’s a great one but there is a lot of pressure socially to be seen at the gym. Annoying but true. However, social pressures and expectations aside, I’ve been trying to be more consistent with going to the gym or just being active. The more active I am, the better my joints work (see Dr. B, I was listening!).


Over the past few months, I’ve tried to be more consistent. My goal is to workout three times a week for at least 30 minutes. Sometimes, life gets in the way (or I just can’t be bothered) and some weeks I don’t go at all. However, there are a few things that I’ve found to keep me motivated to going to the gym or just being more active in general.

  1. Friends. I’ve found that there are few things I hate more than working out alone. My sister and I go together and it’s a lot more fun, even though we don’t do the same workouts. It’s also harder to back out when she is ready and waiting.
  2. Music. I love music anyway but working out to a good Hip-Hop/R&B song really gets me pumped for my workouts. I have an entire playlist on my phone of songs I like to workout too. Trust me, a good rhythm makes it easier to get pumped up. I use songs to determine my pace. One song, I increase my pace, the next, recover.
  3. Scheduling. I am a huge scheduler/planner and it took a little trial and error to find a time that worked best for my sister and I. We used to get up at 4:30 every morning because that’s the only time that worked for us. We’ve recently switched gyms and now go in the evenings which seems to be working out really well; plus I feel like I’m getting more sleep. If we can’t get to the gym, we take our dogs for a walk.
  4. Fashion. This sounds so cliché but if I have cute gym clothes, I feel more confident and want to show them off. I’m all about function over fashion but if I don’t like my yoga pants or my sports bra doesn’t fit well, I’m not going to put them on and go sweat it out of the elliptical for 30 minutes.
  5. Variety. How boring is it to go the gym and always do the same things? I love change so coming up with different workouts or ways to get more exercise is key for me. Some days I’ll skip the gym and take my dogs for a walk. Some times I’ll skip the elliptical and do the treadmill and some strength training. Keep it fun and you’ll be more inclined to follow through.

How do you stay motivated to go to the gym or workout?


Joint Replacements: My Advice & Things to Consider


I’ve been working on My Joint Replacement Story series for the past two weeks and it’s finally coming to an end. As a parting gift I wanted to leave you with some advice and things to consider when having joints replaced.

  1. Advocate.You know your body. Don’t let anyone, even a doctor, tell you that what you’re feeling is wrong. Don’t let them tell you what you feel. Make sure that you speak up and bring a list of questions or concerns to all appointments.
  2. Research. I did so much research before by first joint replacement. I would spend hours reading reviews of doctors, physical therapists, hospitals, surgery centers. I wanted to be complete sure that I was choosing the right things for me. If you’d like, research the procedure and know what to expect in recovery and in the months to come.
  3. Ask Questions. There are no stupid questions when it comes to joint replacements. You are letting someone cut you open and put in a fake joint. Ask questions. Talk to family members and friends; sometimes they have questions you never even thought of. Write them down and take them to your appointment so you don’t miss any information.
  4. Know the implant. Ask about what implant the doctor will be using and what the risks are. Then go home and do more research. I have ceramic and metal for my hip implant which is supposed to be the safest and longest lasting (at least in 2008). But from time to time there are recalls on the implants. If you are unsure of the implant brand/manufacturer, call the doctor.
  5. Follow Instructions. This sounds obvious but I remember going to physical therapy and hearing people talk about how they went weightlifting two months after having a shoulder replaced. Big mistake if that wasn’t common sense! You will be overwhelmed at times with exercises and stretches to do each day but make the time to do them. After all, do you really want to have that surgery more times than absolutely necessary?
  6. Get a second opinion. Yes this can cost more money but I wanted someone I could trust; not someone racing through the surgery to get as many done as possible. This surgery is about you and quality of life, don’t let a doctor push you into something if you aren’t comfortable with or ready to do.
  7. Stay positive. Surgery is emotional and hard and discouraging at times. Recovery is difficult, especially if you aren’t making progress as quickly as you’d like. But remember to stay positive and things will work out. Research has found that focusing on and thinking positively, makes people heal faster.
  8. Accept help. This was one of the hardest things for me. I’ve always been an independent person but with my arthritis, and especially surgeries, I’ve had to learn to accept help. I still struggle with this from time to time but I’m a work in progress and my family is patient with me.

If you have any questions, please ask. While I’m not an expert, I can give you my experience with joint replacements. Hope you all enjoyed this little mini-series.


My Joint Replacement Story: Part Two

Welcome back to my series! I’d like to congratulate everyone on making it through the novel of the my last post. I warned it might be long on unfortunately I was right. I’ll try to keep this one to a minimum but no promises.

So I have my first knee replacement done in July 2011. I had been having a lot of knee pain and had very little range of motion before I went to the surgeon again. Looking back, I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long but there’s no point in regret. Turns out once again, after x-rays and MRIs, my knee had no cartilage and was fusing which explained the lack of range of motion. I was lucky to be able to use the same surgeon that did my hip replacements, Dr. Michael Crovetti.

I scheduled the surgery was confident I knew what to expect. I had the same surgeon, same surgery team, same physical therapist set up for after and I’d had both hips replaced just a few years earlier. They couldn’t be that different right? WRONG! Everything went well and a few hours later, I was resting comfortably in my surgery suite. They got me up and walking the hall the later that night and while again I was freaked out about walking around so soon, but I was feeling good. I had a lot of difficult falling asleep, probably due to the nurse coming in every four hours to give me more pain medication. I did finally manage to get a few hours of sleep.

This is where things got a little crazy. For all of my hip and knee replacements, I had a spinal block, similar to an epidural, that lasted about 18-24 hours. This is the reason why taking the pain medication throughout the night was so important. Unfortunately, there was some confusion and I was only getting half the pain medication. I woke up the next morning in so much pain, I was shaking. I’ve never in my life felt such excruciating pain. It was horrible. The nurses called the doctor and he wrote orders for a shot of pain med that helped almost immediately.

Once they got my pain management under control and I stopped freaking out, I worked with physical therapy. I only stayed in the surgery center one more day before being discharged home. I again had home health and in-home physical therapy. I had about 15 staples and no restrictions to follow. YAY! After a few weeks of in-home physical therapy, I had out-patient therapy for another three months. I had the same team of providers for both hip and both knee replacements. I was really lucky to have the same people and feel comfortable enough to ask questions, regardless of how stupid they sounded.

The recovery for knee replacements if very different that hips. I had to have my knee immobile in a huge brace for a few months when sleeping. Seriously uncomfortable and very heavy! I also used a CPM to help with range of motion. A lot of people don’t like it, but I loved it! It moves your knee for you to gain range of motion without exerting a lot of energy.

Once again, 6 months later, I had my other knee replaced. This time, the surgery and recovery went perfectly. Since then, I’ve been doing well with the exception of the last six months. My right knee has been giving me some pain but that could be because I’m not working out as often as I was before. I have a doctor in town that I met with last year and will be seeing him again to check on things if working out doesn’t alleviate the pain.

Leave your questions below! Shoulder replacements are next so watch for that post early next week.


My Joint Replacement Story: Part One

Mendy from Feeling Swell! recently asked me about my joint replacements. She had some really good questions and suggested I write an entire blog post about it. I loved the idea but as soon as I started writing, I realized that I just had too much to say about each joint. I decided to make this a little series and write about each joint individually (three posts instead of one huge hour-long read). So grab a snack and a beverage because this could still get a little long.

I get a surprising number of questions from friends, relatives and even strangers about how and why I had not one but five, yes FIVE, joints replaced. Believe it or not, I made the decision quite easily to have my first hip replacement in May 2008, starting my journey to becoming a robot.

In 2007, I was in college but home for the summer working at the local Dairy Queen (who else’s misses easy summer jobs?). During the last semester of college, I started to have some hip pain and walked with a severe limp on bad days but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I also noticed that if I stood for too long, like a few hours of shopping or working, it would be incredibly painful to sit down. I’m talking crying because it hurt so badly.

During one of my DQ shifts, I fell off a stool but felt okay. No permanent damage done. Later that night, when I tried to get into my car, I was in tears because it hurt to sit. I made it home but after hobbling inside my parents house in tears, they decided I needed to go to the emergency room. After some x-rays, they scheduled me for an MRI for the next day and kept me overnight in the hospital. I was also given an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.

Luckily, nothing was fractured but the surgeon told me that I had been walking around with no cartridge in my hip for a while. Suddenly the pain in my hip that had been going on for a few months, resulting in a pretty amazing gansta lean walk made sense. But a hip replacement at 19 years old? Seriously?! In my immature mind, joint replacements were for “old people” not me!

But after talking with the surgeon and getting more information, my parents and I realized that it was the only option to make the pain go away. After all, arthritis can’t live in an artificial joint. BONUS! I was ready to schedule surgery until I asked my last question; how long does the procedure take? In my mind, this was a major surgery and would probably take a few hours. His response terrified me and I still remember it verbatim; “My fastest time is 45 minutes.”

What?! Fastest time!? Why in the world was he racing through a major surgery? I was completely freaked out by his response and decided there was no way this man was going to cut into me! Luckily, my parents agreed. They weren’t a big fan of him either.

I went back to college three states away and spent a good amount of time during my sophomore year researching doctors within driving distance. I found a new doctor in Nevada, Dr. Michael Crovetti, who had glowing reviews. My sister was attending school in Nevada so it was perfect! It was only a 3 hour drive from my university so I scheduled an appointment and sent my records. Little did I know I had scheduled an appointment with the innovator of a new hip resurfacing technique that not only was he using on patients but was teaching other surgeons about. I wasn’t a candidate for the new procedure but this doctor was amazing! Doctors, surgeons especially, are notoriously arrogant and have a terrible bedside manner but he really listened to my concerns and walked me through everything that would happen.

I scheduled surgery for the summer of 2008. I had decided to transfer universities because I had been attending a university that got a lot of snow and ice in the winter and in my head, ice and a brand new hip just didn’t seem like a good idea. Obviously, I was lucky that my sister was already attending university in that city so I was able to move in with her easily.

Saying I was nervous for the new life ahead of me was an understatement. I had never had any kind of surgery before (I’d never even broken a bone) and really didn’t know what to expect even though I had done tons of research. But, things went perfectly and I came through without issue. I was up and walking around the next day. That totally freaked me out! I had a new part of my leg and they wanted me to walk on it! Didn’t it need to settle or something?!

I stayed two nights in the hospital and since my mom came down to visit, I was discharged with Home Health including in home Physical Therapy and a nursing to check on my incision. I had about 18 staples in my knee and once they came out, I did about three months of out-patient physical therapy and I was better than new.

At the time, the hardest part of the hip replacement surgery was not breaking hip precautions. I wasn’t able to bend past 90 degrees, or cross my ankles to ensure the new hip didn’t become dislocated. Things have changed since then and most surgeons do the surgery differently so these aren’t even an issue. Due to balance issues, and being a fall risk, I walked with a walker and then a cane for about four to six weeks before I was steady enough on my feet to walk without assistance but even then I would get tired easily. I had my other hip done six months later by the same surgeon with the same amazing results.

Over the years, I’ve had no problems with my hips. When I moved from Nevada almost three years ago, I found a surgeon to touch base with just so I had a doctor close in case something came up. He did new x-rays and said everything looked great and if I was lucky I may never have to have them redone. Hip replacements can wear out and need revisions after about 15 years. My doctor told me I would know if/when I needed a revision because my hip would start to squeak! How awesome is that?!

Overall, I am extremely happy with my decision to have both of my hips replaced. I have no lasting pain and was able to retain quite a bit of motion which is great. It was definitely worth it because the pain is completely gone!

hip replacement humor

I love this cartoon! If you have any more question, please ask! Part two will be knee replacements. Watch for it later this week!