Not to be redundant, but I need to give some thanks today, Friday as I finish out the week with my first Fitbit Workweek Hustle Challenge with Bridgette from Bridgette’s Digits and not only did she rock her steps this week, but she made me step up on mine as well.  No pun intended.

Screenshot_2015-11-27-14-53-48This is where I am today at 3pm – the day after T-giving, with a total over 60K for the past 7 days and it’s because of her motivation, and the challenge.  I’ve already been out and walked the dog for 2 and a half miles, run a couple errands and still have 9 hours left in the day.  Bridgette and I have been neck and neck this week in our friendly competition and we confessed that it was both fun and motivating.

So Thanks Bridgette.  You’ve come a long way this year.  Last year I know you couldn’t imagine yourself taking 5,000 steps a day, never mind 10K or even 20K.  I know that you have shaped up big time this year and I’m very proud of you.  I’m happy that I had you to kick my butt around this week – not sure I would have done half this week without you breathing down my neck.

If you want to increase your steps – an activity tracker is a great way to challenge you to move more!  Which I needed today after a day of eating.  This was our contribution to the Thanksgiving spread:


Mr. Phat’s Antipasti

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend Everyone.  Hope you had the chance to Opt Outdoors today like I did and that you’ll participate in Small Business Saturday tomorrow.  What great concepts!

Happy Veteran’s Day

A big thanks to all the Veteran’s celebrating their special day.  We would not be where we are without you.  And a thanks to the future Veteran’s serving today, including my nephew in the army and Mr. Phat’s cousin in the marines.  We appreciate what you do for us because Freedom is definitely not Free.

Today, Veteran’s day was a great excuse to stay in bed and rest my weary body.  I’m still recovering from my Upper Respiratory Infection, and I need to pack because I’m going with Mr. Phat to San Diego tomorrow.  He has a convention to attend and I thought I would tag along and visit a place I’ve never been.  Maybe get some added Vitamin D in my system.

Also, today, for Veteran’s day, I wanted to shout out to several of my online RA Veteran’s bloggers who help me in more ways than they know.  Their kind words, regaling their lives with RA offer so much support.  Check out

Beating Rheumatoid Arthritis  or The Old Lady in My Bones  or  The Person Next to You

These women enlighten and comfort me each week.  There are plenty of other bloggers out there and I will mention others in another post.  But today as I slowly get myself moving, I wanted to shout out to these people.

Lastly, Healthline asked me to share a post of theirs which is 13 life hacks for those with Arthritis.   Life Hacks for those with Arthritis  Many of them don’t apply to me, but I definitely subscribe to not eating junk.  Eat wholesome foods, and take Vitamin D.  My favorite hack for daily use is this:  My OXO Jar Opener.  Couldn’t live without it!

OXO Good Grips Jar Opener

What’s Up Doc?


 As mentioned in my previous post, while it doesn’t happen often, phat50chick falls.  I’m still down, sitting here in my bathrobe watching Netflix.  Again.  This is all I’ve done since Saturday, other than an outing to see my doctor on Tuesday.  He diagnosed me with an upper respiratory infection, gave me the anti biotic Ciproflaxacin and told me to take them with ProBiotics.  This is pretty standard for me when I get ill.  I just checked the side effects of Enbrel and note the second one.

Common side effects of ENBREL

  • Injection site reactions such as redness, swelling, itching, or pain. These symptoms usually go away within 3 to 5 days. If you have pain, redness, or swelling around the injection site that doesn’t go away or gets worse, call your doctor
  • Upper respiratory infections (sinus infections)

Prior to being diagnosed with RA, I was susceptible to sinus infections because of my allergies.   Years ago, my ENT (ears, nose, throat doctor) told me I had chronic sinusitis. In addition to that I have a bone tumor, called an osteoma, in my right ethmoid sinus which prevents my sinuses from draining.  Basically I live my life one step away from a sinus infection.  All it takes is one little thing to throw off the balance and I’m down with another respiratory infection.

This time I’m surprised as to how much this has kicked my butt.  My doctor insisted on giving me a note for work, stating I was out all week.  In my brain I was thinking that by Thursday I would certainly feel good enough to go to the office.  Who cares what the note says.  My doctor always is ultra conservative with me in this regard.

I guess for good reason.  He knew that I would most likely feel like a truck hit me through the end of the week.

Maybe Tomorrow?


Fall.  Leaves fall.  Temps fall.  Daylight falls.  Phat50chick falls.  I usually get sick this time of year.  I push through summer and try to pack in all the summer fun we didn’t get to in September and then crash and burn in  late October.  I skipped last year – the first fall in years I managed to stay healthy.  Last week I felt punk early on and thought it was medication related, and I finally felt better on Thursday.  So I got my flu shot.  Probably not the best move.  The first time I got a flu shot it knocked me down, but I’ve escaped that until this year.  Luckily there were no plans beyond Friday noon that I had to abide by, so I spent yesterday prone on the sofa and expect to do the same today.  It’s a good time for reflection, enjoying the autumn leaves out the window, the warmth of the wood stove, and the smell of the soup in the crockpot.

It was a good fall.  We accomplished alot.  IMG_0547  20151018_094454

Once again we participated in Providence’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.  Mr. Phat has done this walk each year since 1993 and this year our grandson walked most of it with his Papa.

sailing1  IMG_0619

We also had the great fortune of a late September sail with friends.  Curiously enough, the photo on the left is of me and my friend Debbie.  She’s the closest person to me with RA.  We are on practically the exact same medication regimen.  She’s had it for 5 or 7 years and reached out to me when diagnosed.  She was in such pain.  I remember telling her it would get better and happily it has for her.  She is an active grandmother and she and her husband sail most summer weekends.

20151020_175352  20151029_175400  I’ve done a lot of walking on the East Coast Greenway this fall as well.  You can see the fall progression from left to right in the pictures above.

So now it time for a little rest before my second favorite season behind Summer.

DSC02405Yup.  That would be winter.

Walk Across America

As part of a work wellness program, Blue Cross/Blue Shield had a challenge called Walk Across America.  It was a 9 week event and the idea was to get 10,000 steps each day for a total of 630,000 over the entire Challenge.  Participants formed teams and we had weekly updates.  My results are below:


Not only did I hit the goal, but I exceeded it.  And walking that much for 9 weeks, after doing a 4 week challenge in the spring has made my legs tight and strong.

Here are some of the ways I got my steps recently:

bSailing along Narragansett Bay.  I know it seems that I wouldn’t get that many steps sailing, but getting to and from the boat and to and from a restaurant and loading and unloading gave me alot of steps.

IMG_9087  IMG_4857

We had a beautiful day.  The couple that own the boat are old friends and she has RA.  She’s one of my only really close friends with RA and we are on the same meds and I think probably have about the same level of disease activity – which is that we lead busy, active lives and try not to let the RA keep us down.

IMG_1270   IMG_1276

One last Trip to Fenway Park for the last home game of the season.  This involves a lot of walking through the city.  The Red Sox have not had a very good season.  Better luck next year.

With all this walking, I should have lost some weight.  I definitely slimmed up a bit, but all this activity can’t be done without some eating.  And we’ve had some good eating, including a trip Friday night to Frank Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven, CT.  20150925_182318 That was the summer sensation pizza.  Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Garlic and Basil and Mozzarella.  They’ve been making pizza since 1925 and it’s the very best I’ve eaten.  I wish I could say that was all I had……but it wasn’t!

My favorite way to get steps through the entire summer was like this:

abbieOn the bikepath next door with Abbie the Jack Russell.  Those walks should be able to continue until the snow flies!!  Gotta keep my legs in shape for Ski Season?!?

DSC02405It’s coming quickly!!!

What Have I Been Doing?

This Phat54chick has been very busy.  Which is why you haven’t seen any posts from her until this morning.  Today is one of the first days with NOTHING on the agenda in a long time.  And by NOTHING I mean babysitting the grandkids later this afternoon while their parents celebrate their 6th anniversary.

After our visit to Cape Cod earlier this summer, Mr. Phat and I decided to install an outdoor shower.  We thought it would be an easy, inexpensive house upgrade.  It was neither, but worth every penny and sweat equity.  20150907_113222

20150907_113239We had help from a plumber friend who did the plumbing work.  We had help from a carpenter friend with the fencing, but Mr. and I hauled 3 yards of stone – that was bull work over a couple of weekends.  I spent most of a morning staining the fence.  All in all, it’s been a great home improvement and it was fabulous last night to take a shower under the stars.

Image  20150919_095027I needed a shower last night because I’ve been up to my eyeballs in tomatoes.  We got 2 large bushels that I peeled and put in jars and today which I have to put in a water bath for 45 minutes.  Will take all day into tomorrow as I can only do 6 at a time, but I always feel accomplished when done and the freshness of the tomatoes in February is something that can’t be duplicated.   Mr. makes Sunday Gravy on a regular basis for family dinner and these tomatoes are the keystone.

Several weeks ago we celebrated our granddaughter’s first birthday IMG_1111We call her the button, because we say she’s cute as a button.   That weekend we also went to a concert fundraiser at Sergio Franchi’s Estate in Stonington CT.  It’s something we might not have done, but were given tickets.  What an afternoon at the estate listening to his music and viewing his classic car collection.  20150829_152324 20150829_152411

Mr. and I  also had our annual anniversary trip to Fenway Park to celebrate our first date 9 years ago.  I tweeted out a picture of us with #myfenway and Fenway Park obliged by putting us on the jumbotron which made us laugh for the rest of the night.

Image1  We also ventured nearby to the TPC Boston one day with friends and we got to watch the golf pros.  Beautiful day weather wise and my girlfriend and I got to watch our boy crushes.  db Image2

OK, that’s not my girlfriend, that’s Mr.  We had a great day and lot of walking.  Which is what this blog is about  – me, health, RA and staying active.  I’ve had a good number of days with results like this.  Screenshot_2015-09-09-20-29-35I’m still involved with a work challenge for 8 weeks which is 10,000 steps per day.  I’ve managed to keep up and average over 10K steps per day.  That is over in a week, but I will keep up that pace until the snow flies.

I’m going to leave you with some of my favorite end of summer New England images.  I love September because we finally get the chance to be locals and partake of the bounty that is New England – be it seafood or the landscape.

20150916_174055  20150916_180138

Looking forward to Fall!!!

Lyme Disease

This is a totally unscientific blogpost about Lyme Disease.  I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.  Over the years I’ve known a lot of people who have had Lyme Disease.  I live out in the woods and always wondered if I would know that I might have gotten Lyme Disease because the symptoms are similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  The one difference is that Lyme Disease’s onset typically coincides with a bull’s eye looking mark where the tick bite occurred.

So this spring I woke one morning and found this on my shin.  There was a large black tick inbedded in my leg which I attempted to remove with Tweezers.


The next day it looked like this and I realized that perhaps part of the tick was still inbedded so I had to perform more surgery to remove the tick.


You can see that there was a lot of red around the initial bite, but it sure didn’t like look the bull’s eye photos I’d viewed online.  In addition, everyone says that the Deer Tick is almost invisible to the human eye and this tick was pretty large.

The following day it looked like this:


Which was a tick bite, the scar and perhaps some poison ivy.  I had been doing a lot of yard work and there is a lot of PI out there and I had a lot of it on my.  However, I still decided I should call my primary care doctor to pay a visit.  You can’t be too sure, can you?

He looked at it and agreed that it was not classic symptoms, but he thought based on my RA, it would be a good precaution to start me on the standard anti biotic doxycycline. First line for lyme disease.  He sent me for a blood test and then gave me a slip to go in 2 months for a follow up Western Bloc blood test.  I think it was 21 days for the doxycycline and then I went about 6 weeks later for the follow up test.  The doctor’s office called and wanted to see me.  The Western Bloc had shown that I indeed had Lyme disease.  I think I’m scheduled for a follow up blood test later this fall.

So the moral is that not all Lyme Disease follows the classic patterns.  With RA, you have to be more cautious in dealing with changes to your body. You have to pay attention and be your best advocate.  Incidentally, I saw my Rheumatologist in between the 2 blood tests and he said that my Primary Care Doc did exactly as he would have and he was happy that I have pro active doctors.