Hot Flashes – An RA Story

When RA flare-ups hit, I feel sick. My brain, muscles, bones – even my skin falls ill. These days are hardest to get through. I push my body to the limit which doesn’t take long at all, then I rest. I used to lament, now I surrender. This morning, I am off to my see my Internal Medicine physician – my Coach for all other doctors. He has a line of sight for all my health needs.

Our discussions today will be – when I feel sick, when my brain doesn’t respond well, or when my muscles give out – what do I do? Do I exercise? Do I rest? Do I fast (my least favorite choice)? I will follow his instructions and let him know how I fare. This is the back and forth relationship as patient and doctor. I tell him how I feel, he advises, I choose the path, then let him know if it’s working. I will let you know how it goes in a future post.


Last August, I suffered from severe hot flashes – yes, I am in that season at age 51. I had about 20 to 25 per day. And at night – oh boy – night time my skin started pumping enough water to swim in. After two months of this nonsense, I made an appointment to see Dr. A.

We sat in the exam room and I described my hot flashes, “It starts it in my scalp, then it moves to my face and creeps down my body until I feel like I am in a sauna.”

“Hmmm,” he said, “That sounds like a hot flash to me. Let me see what we can do about that.” Then came the questions,

Dr. A.: “How many times do these occur per day?”
Me: “About 20 to 25.”
Dr. A.: “How are your emotions?”
Me: “I burst into tears sometimes, but isn’t that normal?” laughing
Dr. A.”No, that is not normal.” seriously
Me: “I am not so much worried about my emotions as the hot flashes keeping me up at night and distressing me during the day.” Regaining composer
Dr. A.: “Here are your choices. You could try to take Vitamin E and see how that does. Or I could prescribe an anti-depressant.”
Me: “I would rather take the holistic route, but I will think about it on the way home.”
Dr. A.: “Ok, I will call in a prescription just in case. If you choose not to take it, no worries. Just let me know what you decide and how you are doing. If you go with Vitamin E, it will not touch your emotional symptoms. If you take the anti-depressant, you will have to watch for side effects (& he listed all of them).”

On the way home, I knew my choice was Vitamin E and I sent him a message via the patient portal once I was back on my home computer. “I will try the Vitamin E for now and see how I do. If it doesn’t work, I will go pick up the prescription,” I messaged. He responded with, “Great. Let me know how it works.”

Vitamin E supplements may not work for every woman suffering from hot flashes, but boy did it work for me. Within 5 days of adding Vitamin E to my morning and night supplement/medicine routine, the hot flashes were GONE – not just diminished – completely and totally GONE. Miracle? I like to think so.

I was very pleased the supplements provided my body with what it needed to regulate the menopausal symptoms. With my RA medication, I don’t want to add anything else that may interfere or diminish the effects of how the Plaquenil and Xeljanz are working. Don’t mess with a good thing, right now.

So this is my relationship with Dr. A. – I tell him how I feel, he advises, and I make the final choice. It is a collaboration in managing my disease and whatever else my body decides it wants to do. I hope everyone finds a Dr. A. to collaborate, give advise, and help you make an informed decision on your health.

 

What I Write Daily – A Writer’s Story

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I get paid to write. That is the writer’s dream, isn’t it? To get paid to do what you love to do! Yes, I write five days a week for a healthcare analytics company out of Boston, MA. I love what I do, love the people I work with, and love what this fast growing company stands for – integrity, innovation, fairness, and customer-focus.

It’s brainy, scrappy kind of company, a think tank of brilliant people working towards one goal – offer the customer the best product and customer service that will transform their business life – a product they cannot see themselves living without. And the company does it very well.

My job -manage and focus the News Team. We write about healthcare, hospitals, doctors, legal issues, labor, who is buying who, what hospitals are closing and on. We go out, look for news and transform it into brevity articles for the customers to access precise, concise news.

Brevity writing is a skill I had to hone to do my job well. Taking three to five pages (sometimes 20+ paragraphs) and hyperfocus the content into one paragraph – we do this 35-40 times daily. This practice changed how I write, but I love the outcome – it spills over into my personal writing – although you can’t tell from this blog post. I’m already into paragraph four.

Concise thinking, writing, and editing are such skills I never thought I could master. And I wouldn’t say I have mastered it, but I am better. Translating the conciseness into workbooks and books have a purpose. I want each word to have meaning, no fluff, and few descriptive avenues (ha, threw that one in). I don’t want to waste time anymore, mine or the reader’s – it’s valuable and precious.

Say or write expressively yet precisely – meaningful and powerful – those are my goals now with brevity writing. I want the reader to be encouraged, to find hope and focus. I encourage all writers to edit with brevity as the filter. What is most meaningful will rise to the top. Leave your concise, brevity comments below! Let’s see how brief and meaningful we can get.

Leaving It All on the Table: A Believer’s Story

Honestly – this is me on the mornings after our monthly Women of Faith and Friendship dinners. My friend Sherry and I cook and bake up a storm of food to feed about 15-20 ladies. We make enough for them to pack leftovers for spouse, lunch, or next evening’s meal. We throw ourselves fully into this event and leave nothing on the table – literally!

The ladies spend an hour and a half sharing a meal and developing friendships. Sherry reads a devotional before and prays over the meal and our time. It is a simple act of loving another human being – listening, hearing their hopes and sorrows, offering testimony to give hope when days are dark, and showing God’s unfailing Love through Jesus.

And the food, mostly homemade, created with Love and care. It shows in how much they enjoy the dinner and how fast leftovers are packed for home. This picture of me first thing in the morning represents leaving it “all on the table”! I am spent, lovingly, passionately, drained of every ounce of energy. Joining God in His work may require everything I’ve got! I am good with this – it is what Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 NIV.  I know He sustains me and provides rest on the other side, especially when I give all that I am to join Him.

Prayer: Lord, let me join in Your work wherever You are and sustain me through it all. In Jesus’ Name Amen. 

Tending The Beloved – Out Now!

OUT NOW!!! Are you looking for curriculum for your small group in 2019? Or searching for a tool to help you through deep wounding to achieve sufficient healing? This workbook is for you.

The workbook is a labor of love and learning to help those struggling with wounds – some realized and others in need of uncovering. God is ready to guide you to His unique plan for your healing. I wish you courage and resolve to walk the path and discover what it means to be God’s Beloved Child.

Tending The Beloved: Healing Wounds Into Scars is a comprehensive workbook designed to discover the deep wounds we carry and create a plan for sufficient healing through open, intimate communication with God. The workbook can be used individually, in small groups, or in a retreat setting for self-discovery and God-discovery. The sessions start with contemplative prayer, or meditation, to promote the intimacy we so desire with our Creator. Each chapter consists of stories from Jesus, lessons from God, skill building, and questions to help develop a path to sufficient healing. Journal prompts are included at the end of the chapters to dig deeper into topics. A journal section is enclosed. God has an exclusive plan for our healing to match our unique situations. The course aims to help us realize God’s plan for healing our wounds into scars. Jesus’ stories from the Gospels help reveal new revelations and deeper meaning to our wounding. Through the teachings of Christ, God reveals a new way of looking at our habits, our hurts, and our hearts. Join the journey of discovering God’s plan to heal your deepest wounds into sufficiently healed scars and lay down the burdens at the foot of Cross once and for all.

I pray you have courage and resolve on your journey of healing wounds into scars.

Michelle Andrea Williams

Steady Progress: An RA Story

I forgot what it feels like to live a normal life and I may never experience it again. I have hope, however, with new developments in pharmaceuticals and biotech devices. I keep up with the latest trials and breakthroughs on the horizon.

In the meantime, I do my best with the medicines I am currently taking. No, its not the injectables anymore. I gave up on those in May. Now, I take Plaquenil and Xeljanz. It has taken 3 years to discover these two drugs worked the best in my body – for now.

I know there will come a time when the meds will decrease in their effectiveness. I will work with my Rhematologist once again to find what works.

I am about 60 percent of my normal self. Grateful for the life I have at the moment. It’s good and sufficient for what God has me doing for now. I know if He invites me to join in new adventures, He will match my wellness for the energy needed.

I look forward to 2019 and all it will bring – good days, low days, restful days and days of exuberant activities. I am ready for what will come.

Can I decorate this year? Yes, No, Maybe. — STILL SARAH (message from my Father-in-law)

Sarah and I loved to decorate for Christmas. Our first Christmas together we had one Christmas tree as most sane people do. Over the years we kept adding trees throughout our home. Eventually, we had a tree in every room including the bathrooms and laundry room. Each tree had a unique theme and Sarah’s artistry […]

via Can I decorate this year? Yes, No, Maybe. — STILL SARAH

The Latest Research on Bioelectric Treatment for RA

Image: Setpoint Medical

Read the lastest on biomedical treatment for RA.

www.rdmag.com/article/2018/09/biotech-device-could-treat-rheumatoid-arthritis-without-side-effects

New Workbook – Out Now!

PRESS RELEASE from PR.com: https://www.pr.com/press-release/758263

Michelle Andrea Williams Offers New Tools in “Wound-Proofing Our Writing Practice”

Boiling Springs, PA, July 03, 2018 –(PR.com)– The workbook introduces the S.C.A.R.s. Method developed by the author to assist in healing wounds into scars for writers struggling to put their pain on paper.

Today, Michelle Andrea Williams announced the immediate availability of her latest workbook, Wound-Proofing Our Writing Practice, a workbook allowing writers of all genres the tools to attain sufficient healing prior to publishing memoirs or fictional stories of traumatic events.

“The workbook is designed to give writers insight into whether they or their story is ready for publication,” said Michelle Andrea Williams, Author of the memoir and study guide, Finding My Damascus. “It also offers writing exercises to promote sufficient healing and capture the fullness their story deserves.”

Positive Customer Impact
Karli Rush, the author of The Bound Series, recently previewed the workbook. It prompted Karli to refocus on her writing practice and she is well into completing her latest novel.

“It can be perplexing to find the right tools, books or other material to help with the journey of healing from painful events,” said Karli, “The book not only explains how to write from wounds but coaches you through step-by-step positive methods to find healing.”

Wound-Proofing Our Writing Practice Availability
Wound-Proofing Our Writing Practice workbook is the latest offered by Michelle Andrea Williams. The workbook is available in paperback and Kindle on www.Amazon.com.

For more information, press only:
Michelle Andrea Williams
Email: michelleawilliamspa@gmail.com
For more information on the workbook:
Website: www.michelleandreawilliams.com/books

Buckets & Levels: An RA Story

Photo: barbara baldocchi

Each morning I wake up, stretch, and evaluate how my body feels. What pain level do I have this morning? Is it a five or is it a three, or did I toss and turn all night because my pain registered a seven? Then energy evaluation – how much is in my bucket today? Like a bucket to gather water at a pump with a small hole in the bottom, that’s the bucket I imagine energy fills each day. When I exert a lot of energy on gardening, it sloshes over the sides. I sit and work, drips start leaking out of the bottom. During the course of the day, my bucket is empty.

Some days offer a bucket half full, others 3/4 full, but rarely is it overflowing anymore. I can predict the level fairly well and plan important events, chores and work in the morning. Other days, by noon I have a little left. The outlier is the amount of pain – this depletes the bucket of energy faster like pulling a plug. Buckets and levels – this is how I measure and plan my life with rheumatoid arthritis.

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The understanding and planning have been an adjustment and a lesson God has shown me to deal with this chronic illness. I set limitations based on how much energy I feel is left in my bucket (or will be) and what level of pain have I experienced lately. Travel is challenging but doable with careful planning. How long will I be riding in a car? Will I drive or my husband? How long is the flight? What type of vacation is best suited for me and my husband to enjoy? What is the best way to spend time without overdoing it? All of these factor into my travel plans.

Then there is everyday life. I work a full-time job – yes, from home and yes, sitting at a desk writing brevity news for the healthcare industry. Sounds tough? It can be – especially when my pain level is high and energy bucket low – both fight my productivity. (P.S. Sitting is the new smoking – read more by the Mayo Clinic)

When I use more energy than my body supplies, it’s as if I walk neck-deep in a swimming pool while running a marathon – my descriptive definition of fatigue. My body will not cooperate and making the bed is the biggest thing I accomplish some days. My bucket empties quickly and I rest to replenish the bucket and bring the pain level down. All while trying not to wallow or feel sorry for myself.

Yesterday my feet were so painful I didn’t even want my fluffy slippers to touch them. I did exercises the physical therapist taught me two years ago and it helped. By the afternoon, my bucket was empty, my pain level was a six, and I rested the remainder of the day. But I worked a full work week, taught a class at church, helped my husband cook dinner (once), did a few chores, and went to the store several times. I called that success.

Tomorrow may be better bucket/level day. To have pain at a one or zero and 100% full bucket, my goodness, what a marvelous day that would be. I would spend it wisely, thoughtfully, and deliberately. Realistically, I would clean the house from top to bottom, work in my garden, tinker in the garage, and move until my legs gave out. I pray I have one of those days soon. (Just sayin’, Lord, Amen).

CoryLebovitz.com

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