Showing posts from September, 2013

Arthritis Acne

As a teenager, there is one topic that is extremely unavoidable: Acne. It was bound to come up sooner or later. I thought it might as well be now. I may be in my late teens, but I still have acne. I know it's fairly common to have it into your twenties or even older, but still. And it's no fault of my own that I can't get rid of it all: I've done my research and gave evey wash or medicine a fair chance of at least three months. I don't eat excessively greasy or sugary foods and when I do, I don't go overboard. And I'm one of the cleanest people you will ever meet. So why do I still have acne? Arthur. Yes, once again Arthur is responsible for yet another unpleasant thing. Whilst I'm unsure how rheumatoid arthritis affects acne, it has been said that psoriatic arthritis can cause acne break outs. It makes a lot of sense because I've gone without an acne wash for a month to see how my skin is, and there's little change. Well, that's a lie. D


I've always had arthritis. Okay, since I was about two years old I have had it. The odd thing about not having a proper diagnosis until a few years ago is still puzzling. Especially because of what my mum went through for years trying to get someone to take her child's medical condition seriously. You see, there were quite a few things that weren't exactly 'right' in my medical life for a number of years. Being diagnosed with tendinitis is one of them. I've had the privilege of being able to have access to some great hospitals. One in particular was called the 'best paediatric hospital ever' or some rubbish like that. I'd been there with disappointing results in the past, but we hoped I would be different this time. I was about ten years old, with no diagnosis and a flare that required hospitalisation for a week just two years prior. All signs pointed to juvenile arthritis. Tendinitis. The world class doctor walked in, sat down, scanned my cha

Rheumatologist Dating

Your hearts racing, palms sweating. They'll be here any minute, and you're very nervous: After all, They could be the one. It's the first time you two will meet, and you hope sparks fly. This could be the perfect match, or the worst. It's remarkable how choosing a rheumatologist is like dating. No two are alike, you get to know each other after time, you'll always remember your first, there might be lots of break ups, and somewhere out there is "the one." Seeing a new rheumatologist is almost always overwhelming, especially if it's the first time you're seeing them. Unlike your GP (primary doctor), you will (probably) see them more often than once a year and ocasionally when you're sick and need help. You will get to know your doctor, just give it some time and don't be discouraged. What matters at the very start is that they get on the right track of diagnosis or treatment if you already have a diagnosis. The first visit will probably

"What's a Flare?"

I've only really considered myself to have one flare in my life. I was eight years old and hospitalised for severe hip pain, high fever and dehydration. You literally couldn't touch me I was in so much pain. I know how bad my arthritis can get- that bad- and thankfully it's never happened again. I've always thought that it was only when my pain got to that point that I'd be in a flare up. Otherwise, its been bad days, bad weeks, horrible nights and fighting tears back when in public. But reading stories and following fellow arthritis warriors who have flares occasionally or often  got me thinking 'what defines a flare up anyway?' A flare up is simply defined as an increase in symptoms from a patients usual symptoms. It may sound straight forward, but I don't feel like it is. Things with arthritis tend to be vague. The definition of flare is very vague. "How much pain do I have to have to be in a flare?" "Do I have to have extreme swellin

Autumn Arthritis Help

Autumn is here! It's that lovely time of year full of beautiful foliage, warm drinks and for some cosy fashions. It's also when it begins to get quite chilly, which can be a real problem for a person with joint problems. Those with autoimmune arthritis definitely can feel the effects of the changing weather more than others. Whether it's stiffness from the cold or trouble keeping warm, I know I can relate. So, I've put together a bit of help for the fall. 1. It may be very cold at night, and our human reaction is to curl up our body whilst we sleep to keep warm. This position may cause a lot of pain in the morning (I would know from experience). Try to layer your bed so you won't be tempted to sleep curled up: it's better to sleep as of standing up, or legs bent loosely. You'll stay warm and mornings may not be as stiff and painful. 2. Drink plenty of warm fluids! It will help your body keep warm, will soothe you and the hot cup might help sore hands. Tr

"Courage is Not the Absence of Fear"

  "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." -Nelson Mandela I know so many people who are chronically ill: Through this blog and in person. It is through them that I've seen more courage than some will see in a lifetime. Most people think a child wouldn't need courage through illness and in hospitals because treatment isn't optional when your parents consent and hold you down. But it's true, especially when your disease is ongoing. Children, teenagers and adults show a lot of gumption in times of illness. Often times we develop many fears because of the uncertain nature of these illnesses. They battle this fear because living scared is no way to live at all. They face the fear of pain and scars and go through procedures because it might be better later. They face the fear of needles and side effects and take strong medication and immunosuppress

Exercise to Help Manage Juvenile Arthritis

This is part two of two connecting posts for a reader. The first section was all about diet changes to manage inflammation ( Diet to Manage Juvenile Arthritis ). This part is about exercise. When you have arthritis, it's easy to fall into the trap of not exercising. It's not purposeful, it just hurts to move around sometimes. Though pushing your limits is not recommended at all, it's important to try and keep active. Keeping active will help you keep your joints from becoming too stiff and keeping them strong. You may be sent to physiotherapy (physical therapy) to assist, and this is the person who should help you the most in your work out planning. Your doctor would be another good person to consult with. And most importantly, listen to your body. Stretching is good. Some people have found good results in yoga. Yoga can be very good for a person with arthritis but it can be hard to tell what our bodies can handle. As a person who couldn't handle yoga, I recommend t

Diet to Manage Juvenile Arthritis

Very recently, I received an email from a reader. She told me how she's trying to find information on how to manage juvenile arthritis through diet and exercise, but hasn't found a lot. She asked me to write about helping treat arthritis with exercise and diet, and I did so right away. Today will be able diet, and my next post will talk about exercise. This was written with E in mind, but with the hopes others would benefit. Diet There are several ways to help arthritis. Unfortunately, there is no 'one size fits all' diet because different things affect us differently. Some people are affected by things like dairy, red meats, white flour and various other things. The best thing for us  all (chronically ill or otherwise healthy) is to stay away from processed, fatty and greasy foods as much as you can: Eat as freshly as you possibly can, whenever you can. That doesn't mean (necessarily) to buy organically, it means that it's best to eat your vegetables with

Embrace the Imperfect

Originally I had another post planned, but last night a friend shared this video from YouTube and I had to share it. I feel that it's very important to not only those who are chronically ill, but everyone. I know some of you won't take the time to stop and watch- I don't blame you, I have tons of things to work on too and don't always have the time or ability (ex. Whilst using a mobile device) to watch. Thus, I'll tell you. A man named Phil Hansen wanted to become an artist and went to art school. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to draw a straight line. Phil's hands would constantly shake. He kept trying though, and would clutch the pen tighter and tighter to attempt to steady his hand. It didn't work, and caused him a lot of pain. Phil would drop out of art school and gave up on his dream of being an artist. Later, he would see a neurologist and was diagnosed with nerve problems, making it obvious why he could only draw bendy lines. When he told

One of My Heroes

Recently I was asked who one of my heroes is. That got me thinking about the true meaning of a hero. I'd like to share my thoughts on heroes, as well as one of mine. For lots of people, a hero is a firefighter carrying a small child out of a burning building. Others choose to recognise politicians, athletes and scientists as heros. For me, it's not always the actions that define a hero:  It's  their admirable qualities, that often lead to these brave and moving actions. As a teenager, it can be difficult to find people- heros- to look up to and who are relatable. Which is why Hank Green is a hero to me.  Hank is a famous YouTube Star, most notably known for collaborating with his brother John for the  Vlogbrothers . Hank also has his own line of channels and series celebrating his love of science and Jane Austen novels. My hero is a self proclaimed nerd. I admire that he is simply says what he means and doesn't care what others will say about him. His confiden

Walking From Depression

Lately I've been trying to cover the topic of depression. This week I posted  Medication Depression , and much earlier I talked about  My Arthritis Depression  discussing the hard time around my diagnosis and early treatment. Today, I decided to talk about what helped me get through it. These things may help you. If you are depressed, please reach out for help: We can only help if you want it. These tips will not get you through it completely; they're merely small tricks to make it easier at times. Everyday, Have Look Forward to Something . Having something to look forward to helps keep you positive. Long term goals are excellent- Promotions, awards, holidays, birthdays and such are great. Short term goals and little things work wonderfully as well. I'm looking forward to the release of the last book in my favourite series in a few weeks, I'm looking forward to seeing some friends tomorrow, I'm looking forward to wearing my favourite winter clothes, and all sort

Medication Depression

When I was going through early treatment for arthritis, I was very depressed. Part of it was due to medication. Very few people realise it, but medicine can affect our mental health more than we think. It makes sense when you think about antidepressants affecting one's mood. What we put into our bodies has a great affect on what comes out, whether it's a good result or a bad attitude. Many medications warn they can cause mood changes or depression. Medicine for autoimmune disease is no different: several of these can cause mood changes. I can't talk from personal experience about many of the medicines, however I can talk about two: Methotrexate and Enbrel. If you're a frequent reader, you may already know that methotrexate did not work well for me whilst Enbrel has. I've taken Methotrexate for two years; one year at a time with a year between. I took it both through subcutaneous injection and orally. Both times I experienced mood changes. The first year I mostly

School Pain

I'm going back to school really soon. In a way, I can't wait. I really love learning and I can't wait to see my friends. I'm looking forward to making more friends and my classes. But what I'm not looking forward to is Arthur's reaction. You see, Arthur hates school a lot. After a break with good weather, comfortable chairs and being able to get up and stretch as needed, I already know the first few weeks are going to be torture. Every year Arthur makes adjusting back to school difficult for lots of teenagers, young adults and children. On top of having new responsibilities, getting used to new routines and meeting new people, we also deal with more pain than usual. It tends to get colder when school is back in session, and that can easily bring more pain. Sitting for long periods of time doesn't help, especially when few  practice proper posture in school. Writing more often may also be painful. And of course, everyone is different: Walking around a large