Why Did I Come in Here and What Am I Doing?


I’ve had to refocus my wandering attention lately by asking myself those two questions.  Almost anyone can relate to this difficulty caused by many, many distractions and demands on our time.  Those of us with chronic illness can relate on a different level.

With so many tasks left unfinished, my mind moves at a dangerously fast pace. And I can’t keep up with it.  In midstride I forget where I’m headed and what I wanted to accomplish. Faulty memory sometimes accompanies the aging process, but it bursts to the surface with a flare of my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). And I’m not that old. Really, I’m not.

The wanderings of my imagination take me to thoughts I don’t yet need to think.  The tyranny of the “what if”. What if I have a flare up of symptoms on a very demanding day at work? What if the next round of medical tests show that my RA is advancing? What if an additional medical problem is discovered?  It turns out that my intuition must also be in high gear because many of the things I’ve been worrying about have recently appeared.

Wondering if I will have enough energy and focus to move through the next series of events.  Enough wondering.  Time for action.  Recently, I tried some audio files that were titled as relaxation sounds and found them stressful.  It’s snowing and very cold outside.  The babbling brook and spring bird calls created a dissonance with my current environment.

In the past, yoga and meditation has been a successful way to bring back my focus and proactive attitude. Pardon me while I lay out my yoga mat.

yoga mat



Gimme Some Sugar

sugar piles

That’s what I’m thinking right now.  Gimme some sugar. After learning that sugar may have an adverse effect on all autoimmune diseases, I came very close to eliminating sugar from my diet.  It might be a coincidence, but my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) improved. My weekly dose of methotrexate and monthly Orencia infusions have also improved my stiffness, joint pain, swelling, and energy level.  But the sugar – well, it seemed to be the icing on the cake. (Sorry, I really am craving sugar right now.)

Eliminating sugar from my morning coffee and avoiding all packaged foods with too much sugar made sense for me. Banishing the evil white substance was challenging. I replaced it sparingly with pure honey in a very few instances (like my coffee). If I craved something sweet, I had fresh fruit.  All things in moderation, except sugar.  Sugar was no longer welcome in my kitchen.

And then….  the Christmas holidays.  This was the Christmas that my daughters were both coming for a visit.  I wanted to provide holiday cookies, as I did regularly when they were young. So I baked. And I baked again. And again.  We enjoyed the same cookies we devoured when they were young.  We noshed, we gobbled, we scarfed up cookies. When they left, cookies still remained. And I was hooked on sugar again. My body was craving sugar.

Since then, I’ve made a few feeble attempts to eliminate sugar again.  For me, the cold Northeast winter presents a big challenge.  It’s cold, dreary, snowy. Today we are covered in freezing rain.  This is not the type of weather that encourages me to eat vegetables.  I crave carbohydrates. I want sugar.

Because I recognize that spring will arrive as it does every year – at least on the calendar – I am again determined to dismiss sugar from my life.  And my RA will be pleased. If I begin to notice a bit of relief from RA symptoms again, it will be a smoother transition to a sugar free life.