I follow a number of blogs by individuals with chronic health issues, most of them with Rheumatoid Disease like me.  Seems to be a common theme of late – we are all frustrated by our health, our doctor’s and their offices and the medical insurance community.

For me, the frustration is that I’ve been unable to fully get rid of this upper respiratory infection that I’ve had on and off since Halloween.  I would get well enough to think it was behind me and I would resume my normal activities and then WHAM, it would knock me on my butt again.  This happened 4 times, and this past week when the fatigue and sore throat returned I called my PCP and got in to see him that day.  I expressed my frustration and my fear of constant anti biotics, but unfortunately due to my anatomy the bacteria gets stuck in the sinuses and it seems strong anti biotics are the only way to rid my body of the gunk.

He prescriped a stronger anti biotic and for a longer period of time.  He also prescribed Singulair pills at night.  I need another script like I need a whole in the head, but he said that this helps the underlying allergy issue (which I have) and maybe it will help what ails me.

It gave me the chance to discuss my ENT and Rheum Doc visits that I had in the past week as well.  The ENT had gotten the Catscan results of my sinuses.  The passages looked clear, with one exception and therefore he didn’t think I needed sinus surgery.  However, there is still the large bone tumor that resides in my sinuses and that could be part of the trouble.  We decided that I should have a specialist look at it to see if there is a way to extract it.  I haven’t seen a specialist in 20 years and at that time, the surgery required wouldn’t be pretty.  The ENT also reiterated getting off the Enbrel.

My Rheum doc said my meds were fine, everything was fine on his end.  He doesn’t see a lot of patients that seem bothered by sinus infections who are on Enbrel.  He said he doesn’t think that the Enbrel is causing the infections.  However, he agreed that the less medication I take, the better it is and perhaps spread out the injections and see how I do.

So I’m stretching out the Enbrel, and going about 10 days in between methotrexate injections, taking Singulair and a steriod nasal spray while using the neti pot daily.  Hopefully I will be headed down a better road shortly because I love winter!!!


Sinus Infection – Again or Still?

I woke Monday morning with a sore throat, and presumed it was a sinus infection for 2 days, but Wednesday morning I knew that I had caught the grandkids germs because I had a full blown cold.  Cold meds kept me working Wednesday, but overnight I couldn’t breathe and therefore didn’t sleep.  I visited the doctor on Thursday and he gave me some antibiotics, told me to stay away from sick people (easier said than done) and sent me on my way.

This makes the third time since November 1 that I have taken strong antibiotics for 7 days in a row, which concerns me.  My ENT says I need to get off the biologic medication but my primary care says if it works, stay on it because he can treat the sinus infections.  Sure, but what’s the tipping point of developing resistance to anti biotics?

This morning I found an article on called 13 Sneaky Causes of Sinus Trouble.  I definitely have 7 issues and probably have 1 other problem.

  1.  Allergies – I have environmental allergies.  20 years ago I was tested and basically if it grows, I’m allergic to it.  Trees, grasses, mold, dust mites all affect me.
  2. Bacteria – this is principally my sinus infection issue because my sinuses can’t drain and bacteria grows
  3. Irritating Pollutants – who isn’t exposed to this in our world?  We heat with a wood stove so I would say that the smoke is an irritant.  Our world is full of pollutants
  4. Overuse of Nasal Products – am I too dependent on my neti pot?  And Afrin, which I really try to use sparingly?
  5. Lack of Moisture or Dry air?  See #3 about the wood stove.  Our house is dry, the air in winter is dry.  I try to drink a lot of fluids, but it’s not enough, I know.
  6. Unusual Anatomy – absolutely!!!  I have an Osteoma in my right ethmoid sinus.  It’s a bone tumor that blocks the opening of this sinus cavity and wreaks havoc with my head
  7. Chronic Medical Conditions – You think?  See numerous previous posts about RA and the biologics and sinus infections and my compromised immune system
  8. Polyps – these are small benign growths in your sinuses that can restrict airways and cause headaches.  I don’t know if this is a current problem, but it’s been a problem in the past and I have had surgery for nasal polyps twice in the past.


I had a catscan of my sinuses last week and get the results later this week, but reading the symptoms of nasal polyps tells me that this is most likely a culprit as well.  I’m not one for headaches, but I’ve been having them alot lately.  I also have had some episodes of blurry vision and I really believe that this sinus infection flared so quickly because I’ve not gotten rid of it the previous 2 sessions on antibiotics.

I’m not one that likes to be laid up for very long, or too often.  I’m missing some valuable ski days which annoys me, although I will say that I’ve had some quality time with my man and my dog while being snowbound this weekend in Rhode Island.  And I received this picture of the grandkids this morning which truly is what life is about:

the kids



Part of Me, Part of You

We can never know about tomorrow
But still we have to choose which way to go
You and I are standing at the crossroads
Darling, there is one thing you should know

You’re a part of me, I’m a part of you
Wherever we may travel, whatever we go through
Whatever time may take away
It cannot change the way we feel today
So hold me close and say you feel it too
You’re part of me, I am part of you, part of you

Read more: Glenn Frey – Part Of Me, Part Of You Lyrics | MetroLyrics

thelma & louise

Thelma & Louise

Remember Thelma & Louise?  It’s a  1991 movie that was near to my heart because it tells a story of women power and against all odds friendship. (It also introduced most of us to Brad Pitt, but I digress).   I have a picture on my bureau of my cousin and I sitting in my 1971 Oldsmobile convertible that I always referred to as my Thelma & Louise picture.  The song Part of Me, Part of You was my favorite song from the movie – I remember playing it in the car and singing along.  Loudly.  That song was written by Glenn Frey, a founding member of the Eagles, another band that wrote some of the soundtrack from my life.

Glenn died yesterday from “complications of rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.”  I didn’t know that Glenn had RA or UC.  Two autoimmune diseases.   But I found the following picture on a blog today here  Jia Mom.  She is angry that people are dying from a disease that most people dismiss as being due to old age.  She’s angry that we haven’t found a cure yet.   glenn frey

And I think she’s angry, as I am, that another icon of our youth has passed on.  We can’t stop that.  It’s going to happen, but when you’re a patient of RA, like I am, and you’ve been struggling with the cycle of upper respiratory infections that I’m prone to getting, and inject a medication that lists sinus infections as a primary symptom, it makes me pause.  I wonder what am I doing injecting these meds that suppress the immune system but also create other symptoms.  I haven’t been able to lick this since last fall – how many series of antibiotics can I safely take before I mess up my immune system even more.  And then what happens when I’m in a weakened state and I catch pneumonia?  Could that be a death sentence as well.  It’s a bit scary and I’m hoping to get off this sinus infection/antibiotic cycle soon.  I have some other complicatory factors so the answers aren’t easy for me.  I don’t think they were easy for Glenn Frey either.

Glenn – thanks for helping with the soundtrack of my youth and my life.  You gave me a lot to sing about.  RIP.

Winter Finally Arrived

It’s taken a few extra weeks, but winter made an appearance yesterday and today.  We had snow flurries all day yesterday, which amounted to about half an inch at home.  Today was bitterly cold.  Didn’t take me long to hit my slovenly winter stride.  I had a challenging work day yesterday and got home to the woodstove cranking, and asked Mr. if it was OK to sit in front of the TV and binge watch something.  Which is what we did and it seemed very theraputic.  Tonite I had my session with my trainer and she kicked my butt with kettlebells.  You can burn up to 1200 calories per hour with kettlebells.  I lasted about 20 minutes before I yelled Uncle and we started on other exercises.

I did ski for an hour over the New Year Holiday.  There is a dearth of snow in Northern New England, and not much opportunity to make snow with the warm temperatures recently.  But there were a couple trails open at our mountain and Mr. and I ventured out early and got 4 runs in before it got crazy busy and we were concerned about colliding with someone on our first day out.  There will be many more days this winter to ski.  But I will say that my legs felt very strong for the first day out.  I can thank my trainer for that.  We do a lot of quad work and while I’m still Phat, she says my legs are very strong.  And they feel strong and tight.  Not so much my core.  Sigh.  Someday.

I hope you all have a great start to 2016.  I am working on some health improvements and I will talk about them in a future post when I have more information  – the RA is fine, but I need to assess some of the meds and the side effects.  For now, I’m busy planning a busy upcoming weekend with my family celebrating my mom’s 80th birthday.  Hard to believe she has reached that milestone.  But also feel fortunate to have two parents that are healthy, mobile and with it.  I know that can change quickly so we appreciate it while we can.


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?