Summer 2015

I just said to Mr. Phat that all things considered, it’s been a great summer.  We are truly blessed living in New England because we have Ocean, Lakes, Mountains and forests and we’ve partaken of all of them this summer.

20150711_105117This picture was from earlier this summer in Franconia, New Hampshire – we walked around Echo Lake and those are the Peabody Slopes at Cannon Mountain.  This is our home away from home.

20150724_13232620150724_173923Then we spent some time during July at Cape Cod.  We had the awesome experience of 4 wheeling on Nauset Beach with our friends and we even stayed and cooked out for dinner.  It was such a fabulous experience.  The water was cold but clean and refreshing.

20150728_142842While we were at the Cape we also spent an afternoon at The Belmont in W. Harwich with my brother and Sister inlaw so we got another Cape Cod Beach perspective.  And another fabulous day.

20150802_105229This is a picture I took 2 weeks ago at East Beach in Charlestown RI.  The very best beach in the world, in my opinion.  90 parking spots and 3.5 miles of beach.  Views to Block Island and Long Island Sound.  This is our “home” beach, and when we go, it’s either 7am or 3pm otherwise you can’t get a parking spot.

20150809_173615Last weekend we had the chance to visit friends in Lake Winnepesaukee, New Hampshire.  They have a house on an island in Meredith and we have an annual night with them at the lake.  It was a gorgeous day and we always have a sunset boat cruise with 4 couples – we’ve been doing this for 20 years.

The Sunset that night was gorgeous.

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As it was last night on Narragansett Bay in RI.

20150814_192755We are truly fortunate to have all these natural resources and beautiful places in nature within our grasp.  I’ve been fortunate to be feeling very good this summer.  I have hit 10,000 steps walking almost every single day. Perhaps that has something to do with it as well.  I’ve been involved in 2 walking challenges at work and I’m holding my own.  Blessed indeed.

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.