RA Blog Week 2017 – Hobbies

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I must say that I have enjoyed #RABlog week.  Not only has it made me consistently write, but I have also consistently read other blogs.  Some that I read regularly and also some new ones that I will definitely read going forward.  Day 4 is about Hobbies.  This year that’s a tough one for me to talk about.

My number one hobby for a long time has been Skiing.  Snow Skiing.  In fact, my parents live down the street from my home ski area and Mom refers to me as “Ski Daughter” to her neighbors and friends.  I have a season pass every year at that mountain where I ski most weekends and some weekdays.  We also have a group that regularly goes to Switzerland for a 10 day trip.  I had planned to go in March, 2017 but had to back out because of my Knee Replacements.  I also had to turn in my season pass for a refund.  This coming winter I’m reluctant to do much skiing, and any I do will be done late in the season, on a mid week day where the sun in shining.  Just enough to take a few steps to know that I can do it again.  To this end, I’ve returned to regular workout with my personal trainer.  We are working on my legs.

Probably my number 2 hobby is gardening.  Sadly, that has been neglected this year as well.  I wasn’t well enough to garden until the middle of August so the weeds took over.  Hopefully next year I will be up to doing some gardening because I think of it as soul work.  When you’re hands are in the dirt and you’re making your world a little more beautiful, you are definitely feeding your soul.

I wouldn’t say that golf is a hobby.  As a sports junkie, I’ve watched it for years and started playing about 10 years ago.  Sadly, I’ve not been able to golf last season or this season although I’m feeling ready to go out and swing a club.  But I like to do it with Mr. Phat because he’s a patient teacher, and his health has not allowed him to golf this summer.  Perhaps next year we can go back to a weekly “nine & dine” round.

The only hobbies that I’ve participated in this year would be the watching of sports on TV and a little bit of reading.  So that’s not saying much.

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Here’s hoping for a better Hobby year in 2018!!!

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Saturday 8:20 am

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Damn.  I missed first tram.  Again.  It leaves the station on weekends at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, NH at 8:15 am and for the past decade I’ve been on it.  This morning there’s a little layer of new snow.  “Freshies” we call it.  I love skiing freshies from first tram – there’s no real sound but the skis moving through the snow, pushing it out of your path.  The cold crisp air feels great on your smiling face.  These are my favorite ski mornings.

Since I can’t rush to first tram this morning, I can sit here and enjoy the Freshies out my window.  The flakes are still falling down and the quiet pierces the air.  I’m trying to find the silver lining in the cloud that is my season of not skiing.  Knowing I’ll be stronger and pain free next year.

2 1/2 weeks until Total Knee replacement surgery.  I won’t lie – it hurts.  Rolling over in bed hurts, getting in and out of the car hurts.  Walking hurts.  Finally it seems that the RA flare that has been with me for 6+ months has moderated a bit.  I can open jars again, and cut food without wincing.  Of course starting in 5 days I have to start weaning myself off my meds prior to surgery.  That will be challenging as well.  But I’m  willing to take it if it means “freshies” next ski season.

Snow Day

Traditionally the first weekend after New Years has always been my favorite weekend to ski.  The hard core regulars are there but the casual skiers are home.  It’s not so crowded, and always an enjoyable weekend to ski.

Alas, this year that’s not to be as I wait for my surgery on a total knee replacement.  But there’s a silver lining to my cloud.  It’s a snowday and I am happier than anything to be snowbound with Mr. Phat with our brand new kitchen a little post holiday organizing and football later this afternoon.  We made breakfast together and the whole house smelled wonderful.  Later we will roast a chicken with some vegetables for dinner.  Yum.  What more could a gal want on a snowy Saturday?  Oh right, a nice cozy great room with a roaring wood stove. Life is truly good my friends, no matter what the circumstances are.  My silver lining is being in my comfy home surrounding by warmth, good smells, the man I love and our dog.

My other silver lining this week?  My eating.  This is a diet blog, right?  I did a lot of reading last week about food and the immune system.  My immune system has definitely been out of whack since summer.  Changing RA meds hasn’t helped my immune system.  Being sick and stopping my RA meds intermittently most likely has contributed to this yoyo effect.

So this week I eliminated all the inflammatory foods from my diet – dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol and legumes.  The latter is no biggie as Legumes aren’t my favorite food.  I also fasted during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday and had coffee, tea, water and bouillon during the day and salad or eggs with protein for dinner those nights.

I have already been able to cut my prednisone does in half and my goal is to be off of it shortly.  At some point in the near future for several weeks prior to my February 15 surgery date I’m going to need to be off all RA meds.  I’d like to have the inflammation as minimal as possible prior to that date.  I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you’re in a snow zone, relax and enjoy.

In Like a Lamb

March definitely came in like a lamb, compared to the last few months.  Since November I had gotten sick in 4 consecutive months.  I think it was actually the same infection that kept rearing it’s head.  Finally, the 4th course of antibiotics, coupled with a new allergy medication seems to have done the trick.  I’ve been healthy for about 5 weeks.

I did stop the injectible RA meds for 6 weeks.  Over the past few years I’ve wondered how well they really work.  I found out.  By the long weekend in February my wrists hurt enough to need ice, my knees hurt like days of years ago, pain meds barely touched it and exhaustion ruled.  I started back on the President’s holiday with an injection of Enbrel.  The following Monday I did an injection of Methotrexate and this morning was Enbrel.  I thought I’d try alternating weeks rather than taking both each week.  Perhaps too much immune suppression lowered my defenses too much.  So far so good.

Finally I got a chance this past weekend to try out the gear I purchased:

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And it was a beautiful weekend to do so!!  This is Mount Lafayette, across from Cannon Mt20160306_083551 [141181]

This Picture is from the Mittersill Chair looking over to Mt. Lafayette. 20160306_100725 [134286]

And here’s a selfie – not a great picture, but I was having a ball!!!

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The season isn’t going to last too long in New England this year, so I gotta ski while the skiing’s good.  Thankfully my joints feel good enough to be out there.

 

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.

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?