Arthritis Act Gets Floor Vote on Thursday, Sept. 25

American FlagHello loyal readers and new friends! I greet you with great news from the Arthritis Foundation:

The unbelievable and miraculous has occurred – we have just gotten word that the US House of Representatives has scheduled a vote expected tomorrow, Thursday on the House floor on HR 1283, the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act. Thanks to all of you for your hard work these past 5 years, but your work is not yet done. We need to make sure that if a recorded vote is requested and taken on this bill that 2/3 of the Members of the US House of Representatives vote YES. Being a co-sponsor of the arthritis bill does not guarantee a Member of Congress will vote YES when it reaches the floor, nor does a non-co-sponsor indicate he or she will vote against it. For those of you with Members of Congress who have not co-sponsored but have indicated they would vote yes when it reaches the House floor, now is their chance to support the bill.

PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ON THURSDAY MORNING OR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND ASK THEM TO VOTE YES ON HR 1283, the Arthritis Act. Offices will be open from 8:30 am- 6:00 PM EST. We need all of you to please call the Capitol switchboard at (202-225-3121) or call your Member directly and ask him/her to VOTE YES tomorrow on the Arthritis bill, HR 1283.

This is truly exciting news and we will keep you informed as the day progresses.

This link will prompt you for your zip code so you can easily determine who your representative is. You’ll also receive contact info for your rep. I’ll be calling first thing in the morning! Who’s with me?! Let’s DO this!

For more information on the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act, click here.

Great Gadgets: Can Opener That’s Easy On The Joints

Can OpenerThis re-imagined can opener is touted as being gentle on the hands. Another neat feature is that it cuts the outside rim of a can, instead of the top. No sharp edges and no messy fishing expeditions for the lid.

At $20, it is a little pricey for a can opener, but if it saves me from more arthritis pain and hassle, I’m willing to plunk down a little more cash. Check it out! Anyone already own it? Leave your review in the comments.

Ratchet Safety LidLifter [via CNET Appliances & Kitchen Gadgets Blog]

Anti-inflammatory Effects of Turmeric Are Unproven

I am not one who has tried a lot of alternative food or supplement therapies to ease my rheumatoid arthritis pain or symptoms. I enjoy hearing about what works for some and what doesn’t work for others, but rarely do I feel motivated to investigate anything beyond that. I think this is partially due to the fact that it seems like an overwhelming task to determine which foods or supplements have a a positive impact on my disease. Plus, the prescription meds that I take do a pretty good job of keeping my disease in check.

Outside of my medication, I manage my disease by trying to stay active, eating healthy, and getting proper rest. I don’t always do any or all of those things well, but I feel like I can easily control those factors. Besides, those three things, plus taking my medication is enough for me to worry about. 😉

From time to time I hear about foods/supplements or foods that “do an arthritic-body good.” Turmeric is one that often gets a lot of attention. The LA Times has an interesting article about how there really isn’t enough hard evidence at this time to make the claim that Turmeric is useful in helping fight various diseases.

For the most part, the tantalizing possibilities are still unproven, says Greg Cole, a UCLA professor-in-residence of neurology and associate director of the university’s Alzheimer Disease Center who has been studying curcumin for several years. “It does a whole lot of things in a test tube,” he says. “For people, the data are pretty weak.”

Cole agrees that there’s little downside to trying curcumin. Because the compound is so poorly absorbed, he sees little potential for harm. Studies have found that people can take 7 grams a day without side effects, although it’s possible that larger doses, or use over longer periods of time, can upset the stomach and perhaps increase the risk of bleeding.

Have you tried Turmeric or other supplements? Have you notice an improvement in your disease? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Read the full article here.

The Art Of Making An Illness Visible

Joshua's Tattoo Over the weekend, I stumbled across a great story about a young man named Joshua Sandoval who had been diagnosed with an invisible disease in grade school and while he was vigilant about managing his illness, he did not want to talk about it with anyone. Around the 10-year anniversary of his diagnosis, he decided to mark it by getting a tattoo that signified two important aspects of who he is: a writer and a diabetic.

As someone who suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis, there are a few noteworthy items in his story that I absolutely related to.

Keeping the illness private for a period of time. Check. Having to get used to stabbing myself with a needle. Check. Feeling abnormal. Check.

Joshua’s tattoo is a really amazing way of expressing something that for many years, went unspoken. It’s bold, artistic, and will likely prompt questions from friends and curious onlookers. He is basically inviting strangers to ask him about his diabetes, which is a great way to raise awareness.

For now, this blog is sort of my version of Joshua’s symbolic tattoo. The blog gets me thinking and talking about my arthritis on a more frequent basis. And every time I sit down to write a post, I make progress towards acceptance.

Have you used creative methods to inform your friends and family of your chronic disease? Tells us about it in the comments.

Read Joshua Sandoval’s story here

FDA Urges Stronger Warnings For TNF Blockers

Don’t mean to scare anyone, but we all know the TNF inhibitors do come with some potentially worrisome side effects. Just wanted to put the news out there so you are informed.

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration ordered stronger warnings Thursday on four medications widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other serious illnesses, saying they can raise the risk of possibly fatal fungal infections.

The drugs — Enbrel, Remicade , Humira and Cimzia — work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking the body. For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment provides relief from swollen and painful joints, but it is “a double-edged sword,” said Dr. Jeffrey Siegel of the drug agency. That is because the drugs also lower the body’s defenses to infections.

Dr. Siegel, who heads the office that oversees arthritis drugs, said the agency became concerned after discovering that doctors seemed to be overlooking a kind of fungal infection called histoplasmosis . Of 240 cases reported to the agency in which patients taking one of the four drugs developed this infection, 45 died. That is about 20 percent.

Read the Full Story

Cool Tool For Those Who Try “To-Do” Too Much

To-Do List ManagerI have trouble sitting down to relax because my endless to-do list is always tugging on my sleeve. I think this is partially due to my genes. I also believe that the Fatigue Factor contributes greatly to my obsession with getting stuff done. See, I have a hard time accepting fatigue as part of my Rheumatoid Arthritis [this will likely be dissected in an upcoming post]. Accept it or not, I experience fatigue on a fairly regular basis. Instead of coping like someone who has had arthritis for 11 years, I am often stubborn and pretend like the word “fatigue” does not exist. This is not a good idea. 🙂

One of the keys to getting things done is locating that delicate balance between figuring out what must get done today and what can be done tomorrow. It’s best for an arthritis warrior to asses their to-do list on a regular basis so that it remains manageable.

A simple little web app called Now Do This makes creating and executing a to-do list a whole lot easier. Here’s what I like about it:

  • You can’t look ahead at other tasks, thus preventing an opportunity to be overwhelmed by your list.
  • This tool is not meant to hold your entire to-do list for the year. But it is a lovely place to house a few important tasks that must get done in a relatively short amount of time.
  • Multi-tasking is not an option. Focus on one task at a time, then move to the next item. Besides, multi-tasking never works as well as I’d like it to.

When you complete the list, the words “all done” appear.

Guaranteed to make you feel accomplished whether you walked a 5K or remembered to buy kitty litter.

How do you manage your to-do list? Share your stories and tips in the comments!

Now Do This [via Zen Habits]

New T-Shirts: Check Them Out!

I created these chronic disease slogan T-shirts because I wanted to have something fun to wear at Arthritis Foundation events, like the Arthritis Walks or next year’s Juvenile Arthritis Conference. Plus, I always find that laughter Enbrel is the best medicine. Laughter is a veryclose second!

Humorous Arthritis T-shirts

Browse, comment, buy and enjoy! Tell your friends. I’m often adding new slogans, so check back frequently.

My favorite slogan of the moment: “My immune system attacks itself. What does yours do?”

Check out all the tees here.

A Supplement That Could Have You Craving Your Calcium

Adora Calcium SupplementIt is important for arthritis warriors like us to maintain good bone health, and taking a calcium supplement is one way to stay on track.

FitSugar calls to our attention an alternative calcium supplement that also doubles as a sweet, all-natural treat: Adora. This is a great solution if you often forget to take your vitamins, and also love a sweet, healthy snack.

One of these fantastic things about these new supplements (besides the fact that they come in dark or milk chocolate) is that they don’t contain any gluten or artificial sweeteners.

Here’s an ingredient comparison:

Viactiv Calcium, Milk Chocolate
Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Calcium Carbonate, Sugar, Chocolate, Nonfat Milk, Cocoa Butter, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Glyceryl Monostearate, Artificial Flavor, Carrageenan, Sodium Phosphate, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K1.

Adora Milk Chocolate
Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Calcium Carbonate, Chocolate Liquor, Milk, Soy Lecithin (an emulsifier), Vanilla, Vitamin K1 (Phytonadione), Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol).

Take a 30-piece bag to work and pop one in the morning and one in the afternoon when your sweet tooth is nagging you.

Don’t forget: the National Institute of Health website recommends 1000 milligrams a day (500mg in the morning, 500mg in the evening) for women 19-50.

Has anyone tried the Adora wafers? How do they taste? Let us know in the comments.

Adora Calcium [via FitSugar]