Bleeping Snow!!!

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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?

The Snowy Day

My mom was a children’s librarian when I was young.  She would host story hours and this is one of the books that I vividly remember her reading.  It was a staple at Story Hour and at home where we read about Peter exploring his neighborhood after a snowstorm.

Today was a snowy day for us since the Blizzard of 2015 came to town.    Haven’t had a snow day in a long time, but this one came along at the right time.  I’ve been feeling punk since the weekend and today when I woke up I really had no energy and felt lethargic.  I moved from my bed to the comfort of the couch next to the wood stove.  Binged watched Orange Is The New Black, watched a movie and spent a little time in the kitchen making comfort foods.  I didn’t open my work laptop, although I had planned on being productive on my snowy day.

I felt guilty at first, but then realized how fortunate I was to have my RA flare up on a day when I really didn’t have to do anything.  What a great way to spent The Snowy Day.

2015. Another Do over

Another new year gives us another opportunity to break promises we make to ourselves.  Ok, let’s be real.  It’s another opportunity for Me to break the commitments I make to myself.  Better fitness, more Me time, less stress and better eating. Since I started this blog that’s what I keep telling myself I need to do.  And each year I fail to maintain my commitments. I KNOW my body would respond better if I lost weight, ate better and kept moving.  I know that RA is kept at bay when there is less stress.  I know my immune system acts better when I don’t let the job stress get to me.

I’m a control freak of sorts.  Except when it comes to my own self.  I can always rationalize overeating and over drinking and skiping activity.  As a matter of fact it’s my trademark.

So let’s see what 2015 brings for me. To be truthful, my primary goal this year is to figure out my career.  I need to grow my business a bit.  Not a lot.  Just a little.  Five to eight percent.  That might reduce some of the stressful feelings I have about my job.  I’ve realized I need to work smarter.  RA zaps my energy and gets in the way of peak performance.

I hope you readers will point out my rationalizations and excuses.

Happy 2015New Years Eve Eve

‘Talk About Your Medicines’ Month

So I was recently approached by a woman that is the Community Awareness Coordinator with the American Recall Center.   She helps to educate individuals on recall updates but also is an advocate for medicine safety.  October is Talk About Your Medicines Month and she asked me if I would do a post for her about my medications.  She gave me a guide with some talking points in the event that I needed assistance with a topic(s).  After giving it a little thought I knew that I had a great blog post regarding medicine safety.

As someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease, aka RA or RD, I do take several medications to calm my immune system, reduce inflammation and help with pain.  One of those medications is Methotrexate (MTX).  I’ve taken it since August, 2001.  Initially I started taking it once a week in pill form.  Several years ago – probably around 2011, I discovered that it came in an injectible form.  I’d been having some issues with being sick from the pills and I asked my rheumatologist about it.  He thought injecting MTX was a great option for me since we’d been splitting the 5 weekly pills of methotrexate into 2 doses during the week instead of one dose as a way of making it more tolerant for my system.  What I discovered was that instead of feeling sick one day per week, I was sick two days per week.

I started on the injectible form during the summer and immediately noticed how much better I felt!  No more sickness.  And because I wasn’t being sick and purging the medication, I started feeling much better because I was absorbing more MTX.  The RA definitely retreated and I needed less pain meds and less anti inflammatories.  Everything was fine until earlier this summer when  I started getting sick again.  So much so that I actually left work at noon one day and went home sick.  I don’t do that often.  A couple weeks later the same thing happened and I was very sick again.  The most ill I’d been since started the injectible Methotrexate.

I went into my medicine supply to look at the little bottles that I’d been given.  I had a number of different sizes that the pharmacy had given to me for several months.  I compares all the bottles – from the old supply and newer doses and I noticed a difference in the small print on some of the bottles.  Over the years I’d always had MTX that had preservatives in it.  I could reuse the same bottle a number of times and store it in the cabinet in between doses.  I noticed that some of the bottles said “preservative free” on the label.  I had never been given this type of med before but I suspected that if I was re-using a bottle of preservative free meds, I could be getting sick.

I stopped at the pharmacy the next day and the pharmacist confirmed that I had been receiving MTX with preservatives in it since starting to take it in 2001, but for some reason the form had changed recently and while the lettering on the bottle noted the change, nothing in the notes on the script explained the change to the meds or that I wasn’t supposed to reuse the bottles.

Problem solved.  Lesson learned:  Be very observant about everything as it pertains to your prescriptions.  Ask questions.  Trust your instincts and most of all, remember that it’s your body and you will definitely know if something is wrong.

Phat Chick is Back!

Yes, I’m BACK! How many times have I said that?  I guess more than once.  Life gets in the way, no matter how hard you try not to let it.  This winter has been a long cold one in New England, and that got in the way of outdoor exercising somewhat but the dog and I still got outside regularly for walks in the woods.  I took several  pilates classes and will continue doing that, but I had stopped the private training with Sargeant Cathy early this year.  I had wanted to get to a couple of her classes and made it to like one and logistics and life got in the way.

I’ve been down with the flu for almost 2 weeks – as you know, with the Rheumatoid Arthritis medications, getting sick can be grueling and this was no different.  But I spoke to my girlfriend this morning and told her that I was going to class at Sargeant Cathy’s after work today.  My friend said she wanted to come and we hung up.  Five minutes later she sends me a text to say that Cathy would do a joint training for the two of us later this afternoon before the class instead.  That’s what I thought – INSTEAD.  No, after doing an hour of ropes, kettle bells, elastic bands around our ankles and the bosu, we stayed and did Strength Training class as well.  So I did an hour and 45 minutes before I totally lost it and quit.  It’s been 3 months since I took a class and I’m still recovering from the flu.

But I did it  and we’ve set up a regular time each week for a joint training session and I’m sore already, but it’s a good sore.

So stay tuned and keep your eye on this blog.  I told Cathy that having a friend beside me made me work harder, and my friend JG thought so too.  Here’s to beginnings.  Again.

Lastly, because I live in New England and listen to sports radio, today was devoted to commemorating the 1 year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Boston truly is BostonStrong.  So proud of this city!!

New Year, New Post


Phat50chick is still alive and thriving!!  I’m still Phat, but I’m happy and feeling really good.  Haven’t felt this good in a long time.  RA still makes me ache a bit, but for the most part I’m in a good place physically.  For Christmas I got a fitbit.  I have wanted one for a long time, and I’m loving it even more than I thought I would!

It’s tracks steps, stairs, activity and calories burned.  It syncs with the laptop and my mobile phone so I can keep track throughout the day.  I can add my food to the log to know the calories that I’m consuming.  Best of all, it will log my sleep and tells me how long I was asleep, how many minutes was I restless and how many minutes was I awake.  I have a long history of poor sleep, so this has been eye opening to me!!  No more blaming my fatigue on RA, the meds or getting older.  I truly am a restless sleeper and I do wake up very often during the night.  Not sure what to do with this information about my sleep, but I’m going to watch the patterns and chat with my primary care physician when I see him next.

I visited my rheumatologist this week.  He was so impressed with my progress.  We talked mostly about skiing as he is a skier.  And yes, I’ve done some skiing this year and most of the days I’ve skied, I haven’t had to take any pain meds.  The only day I did was the day AFTER I went bowling for the first time in 10 years.

So while there are days that I want to cash it in and step off the treadmill, I believe that I’m thriving right now and I need to keep doing what I’m doing.  RA be damned!!

New Month, New Post


I have to give myself credit.  I’m still at it.  If I have one thing, it’s stick-tuit-ive-ness.

IMG952620I’m still going once a week for a private session with Cathy the training nazi, and this fall I committed to trying to hit one additional class each week.  I managed last week, but last night there was no class, and tonite?  Well I was tired, forgot to take my meds and was achy, so I came home and walked thru the woods instead.

Any results?  I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for 6 weeks and I’m down 5 pounds.  Not much, but all my clothes are loose and I feel good.  It’s never been easy for me to lose weight – I tend to lose every other week.  And I’m not making excuses, but The Red Sox just won the world series which meant a lot of nervous baseball watching and after all, it is a game of consumption, right? It was hard to sit home watching without munching occassionally.

Weight watchers at least makes me aware of everything I put in my mouth.  I understand the ramifications and try to make trade offs.  But the fact is that it’s just hard.  Especially as you get older.  I can’t work out like I used to.  I don’t have the time every day to devote to activity.  Some days I don’t want to do it.

But I’m still making the attempts.  Slow and steady it’s going to come off.

And the Red Sox did just win the World Series!  Hot dogs and beers all around!!