On Vacation

Relaxing on the beach

Relaxing on the beach

July 25.  Cape Cod.  2 days before I become Phat54Chick.  I’m still phat.  But I am fitter.  I work out regularly, I walk alot!  I’m over 7,000 steps today even though I went to the beach today with Mr Phat, his daughter, son in law and the 2 grandkids.  Managed to get in some steps.  And had a couple beers.

54 means I’m comfortable with myself.  My doctors are happy with my tests and my health.  They are impressed with how active I am. I’m really enjoying this part of my life right now.  Life goes by very quickly.  Lightning speed.  You can’t spend all of it stressing over every little thing.

So I’m out here in Cape Cod, which is God’s country.  Chatham the very center of God’s universe.  Life is good my friends.

Walk The Rhode Ahead Status

I’m in week 4 of my 6 week challenge of 420,000 steps.  Quite honestly I thought it would be more challenging for me to average 10,000 steps per day than it has been.  The only time I fell behind was when we had 2 days of rain.  I don’t have a treadmill and didn’t get as many steps in during that time.  But I’ve managed to be a little bit ahead of my goal so far.  To be on pace, I would need to be at 238000 steps at the end of today and I’m already at 245000.  I’m planning on walking after work tomorrow, and Friday we’re going to golf which is a great way to get steps in.

I bought a set of Keen walking sandals last week – mine are similar to the picture above, but they’re just plain brown.  I’m not one that loves to wear socks and I love sandals, but wanted a good pair for walking.  I love these even more than I expected that I would!!  They’re functional, comfortable and cool for summer.  Great purchase and I will continue to wear them as often as possible after the Walk The Rhode Ahead Challenge is finished.  Not sure how good they would go over at the Insurance office where I work, but I’ve been tempted to test the dress code.

See you out on the Rhode!!!

footprint : receding footprints

Walk the Rhode Ahead

141,933 steps.  That’s what I’ve taken so far in my Walk the Rhode Ahead challenge from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  It’s a six week challenge to take 420,000 steps, averaging 10,000 steps each day and 70,000 per week.  I’m on pace, but I get all of today to take steps and gain some steps to put in “the bank.”  Working in the yard has helped, but no matter what, I have to walk for 2 – 3 miles each day to guarantee I hit 10,000.

Speaking of working in the yard, I splurged on a little rolling cart that I can sit on while I pull weeds.  It holds my tools and has a strap to pull it along.  Disregard the cup holders because that’s when I sit on it, there’s no room for drinks.  This is the best tool I’ve purchased for yard work in a long time.  The first time I used it, I was able to comfortably pull weeds for almost three hours!!  This is not an easy feat with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Since being diagnosed years ago with RA, I’ve always maintained that movement is the best medicine.  Sometimes it takes a while to get the legs moving, but once they do, I always feel better!!

Who Am I Kidding?

plastic bags1

See that?  That’s 3 of 4 bags that I’m donating.  Clothes I’ve had for a long time hoping I’d be able to one day fit into.  Every spring I bring about 8 large plastics buckets up from the basement, re arrange my drawers and closet and then do the same in the Fall. It’s a chore I hate and I finally realized that it was made more complicated by all of these extra clothes.

So this weekend I committed to stopping the madness and tossing out what doesn’t fit or what I haven’t worn in a season.  The result was 4 large garbage bags.  Hopefully someone else could put them to good use.  Some even still had the tags on them!

I know I’m kidding myself if I think I’m going to get back down a couple of sizes.  I’m realizing also that lots of clothing isn’t necessary. I need several nice pieces for work and several nice pieces for play.  Workout, yard work and lounging pieces.  That’s it.

I feel lighter already!!!

Spring?

Image result for tulip pictures

Spring has been really slow to come to New England this year.  I live in a bit of a snow belt and the snow finally disappeared 2 weeks ago, but it’s not really warmed up very much.  But I’ve been walking on the bikepath 4 or 5 days a week with the dog, so I’m hitting my 10,000 steps more frequently than I was over the winter.

I also started back with my personal trainer Nazi mid March and that’s been a great move for me.  I do feel so much better overall when I invest one hour per week with her.  I have always known that movement is the best healer for my RA, but sometimes I don’t listen to my own advise – particularly during this long winter.  I did a lot of hunkering down in front of the TV binging on Netflix when I should have been moving.

IMG952623Remember her?  Well she’s back!!

The RA is still there in the background, but it is not in command of my life right now.  I’m in command, spring is here and I’m looking forward to a good summer.

Celebrex and Generics

December 31, 1998 is when Celebrex first came to market.  It was one of the first medications that selectively inhibits COX-2, which helps relieve arthritis pain and inflammation as well as acute pain in adults.  COX-2 is an enzyme that is involved in causing inflammation and pain in parts of the body where there is arthritis or injury.  Pfizer was the firm that brought it to market.

I’m not a scientist and this is not meant at all to be a technical post.  I didn’t know a thing about COX-2 when I first became aware of Celebrex, or Vioxx, which was another COX-2 inhibitor that was pulled off the market in 2004.  All I knew in 1999 is that I was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and was in severe pain at all times.  I distinctly remember the first night I ceased taking 800 mg motrin pills in favor of Celebrex.  I recall getting up it the middle of the night and the pain was definitely less severe.  I knew it made a difference.  It has been the one constant medication I’ve taken since being diagnosed.  Initially I was taking 200 mg 2 times daily.  As I improved, it went to 200 mg once daily and now I take 100 mg once daily.

If I forget to take my Celebrex, about 11am my knees get painfully stiff and “crunchy.”  It’s the one medication that I can’t skip.  I can skip the methotrextate and the enbrel on occasion without adverse effects, but I need to take Celebrex every day.

I visited my Rheumatologist in January and he gave me a Celebrex co Pay card from Pfizer.  He mentioned that Celebrex was now available as a generic.  I had renewed my prescription the previous week through my mail order retailer that Blue Cross/Blue Shield insists I use.  So when my medication arrived, I saw that I had received the generic, but they had still charged the same $125 copay for 90 days.  I called Blue Cross and was told that’s the cost.

Yesterday Blue Cross/Blue Shield sent me a letter stating they would no longer be filling Celebrex prescriptions, but only offering the generic.  So I called Blue Cross again and asked about the co pay.  It appears that although Blue Cross is getting the benefits of a reduced cost with purchasing a generic, the savings aren’t passed on to me.

This morning I did some research.  Pfizer had about $3 Billion in sales in 2013 of Celebrex.  It was their 4th largest selling medication.  There was some patent litigation in 2014 which Celebrex lost, allowing it to become available in generic form.  It’s a big loss for Pfizer, following the patent expiration of some of their other block buster medications including Lipitor in 2011.  I also learned from Pharmacycheckerblog.com that the FDA grants marketing exclusivity for a generic to a single drug company for six months, so only two drug companies – the brand name manufacturer and the first generic manufacturer – are competing. As more drug companies enter the market the price will eventually cost a fraction of the brand name counterpart. But that first generic to market will usually only be about 20% cheaper than the brand.

Since the patent expired in June, 2014, there should be several companies that are now manufacturing the generic.  My Celebrex generic comes from Lupin Pharmaceuticals and is made in India.  And still costs me $125 for my 90 day supply.

Sigh.

Bleeping Snow!!!

Image result for snow clipart

I live in New England.  I love winter.  Usually.  However, this winter just won’t quit and it’s been a bear.  Or a roly poly penguin wearing a hat and scarf.  The snow blower broke.  Of course we don’t have a truck to transport it for repairs so we’re at the mercy of our friends that let us borrow theirs.  While it was in the shop we had another major snowstorm and had to find someone to plow our driveway. Snow is piled up on the walkways, decks and we only access half our driveway when there is this much snow.

Ice dam?  That’s the new buzz word in New England.  Ice dams occur when ice and snow collect on the edges of our roofs causing a big mess both inside and out.  I have 2 waste baskets and 3 banana bread pans on the window sills in our un heated sun room collecting the water that pours in from the roof line and the windows as a result of ice dams.  It’s ugly and there have been many insurance claims already in the office where I work.

I love skiing and we do it most winter weekends, but this year it’s even been too cold to ski many days.  Two Sundays ago it was -26 at the top of the mountain with 45 mph winds.  I went home.  In fact, I’ve spent most of the winter when I’ve not been working at home.  On the couch.  Watching Netflix.  My fitbit is quiet, the bike path is inaccessible, my body aches from not walking.  My mind misses it too.  Abbie the Jack Russell Terrier misses our walks.

Vacation.  Ours starts this weekend.  Most of you would be jetting to the Carribean, or Florida, right?  Not us.  Where are we going?

Wengen, Switzerland.  The Berghaus.   More snow!  However, it’s 33 degrees there right now, which is MUCH warmer than the -8 at my house this morning.  Sounds balmy.  When we return, daylight savings time will have begun, baseball will be ready to start and I’m going back to training with my girl Cathy at Better Bodies Functional Fitness.  Can spring be far behind?