>Hi everyone. Happy first day of July (rabbit, rabbit). Hope you had a great week. Talk about an emotional week! Unfortunately, the week did not start out so good as you will see, but someone was sure looking out for me by the end of the week. So here it goes…

1. Cats. We had the follow up visit for my little black kitty that I told you about a few weeks ago. If you recall, she is 18 years old. At her last visit, she weighed just over 4 lbs and had thyroid issues. We’ve been giving her medication and while her thyroid numbers are back to normal, she is not doing well. She lost over ½ lb and is now suffering from kidney disease. The vet tells us she is not in pain, so at this point we are just trying to keep her comfortable and give her extra snuggles, until it is time to say goodbye.

Sorry to start the week with such a downer, but the week does get better:

2. First day of day camp. My 4 year old started his first day ever of day camp. Bad Mommy forgot to take a picture 😦 But I am happy to report that he mostly loves camp. I say mostly, because the pool is still in question, but we are working on it. I am determined to have him loving the water by the end of the summer. However, to make up for his dislike of the pool, the camp has supplied him with ice cream and chocolate milk, so it’s all good!

3. Overnight camp. On Wednesday, we packed up the car and headed up to the mountains to take my older two children to overnight camp. The trip was a complete success. I am happy to report that both children disappeared within minutes after finding their bunks. Yes – this is good. It means they are with having fun with their friends. I did manage to get a goodbye hug and kiss from each of them before they left. You can read more about our drop of adventure here.

4. Jingle bells. I know what you’re thinking – it’s only July… why are you talking about jingle bells? For those who do not know, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis four years ago. I have an amazing and supportive family, and I get through each day, one painful step at a time. A few years ago, my husband began participating in the Arthritis Foundation’s annual Jingle Bell 5K run/walk. Last year, I decided I wanted to give it a try. I joined a gym to train (yes – I had to train to walk 3 miles). Well, I did it! Okay, well maybe I finished in last place after everyone was already starting to pack up, but it’s not my fault! I was pushing a four year old in a stroller (bad mistake), and my daughter and her friend kept stopping to look at the horses along the route. Anyway – this year, I was asked to be the spokesperson/honoree for the race!! I’m super excited and humbled. More on the race to come…

5. Book news. I am officially published! I received a proof copy of my book earlier in the week. Oh my gosh – I can’t tell you how crazy it felt to actually hold it in my hands. I spent the next few days reading it over – making sure everything looked okay. After that, I gave the approval to the printer to go live. My hand was shaking as I pressed the ‘accept proof’ button on their website. So now what? Well, my book is officially for sale!! For the moment, it is available only on the printer’s site. Within the next week or two it will be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other on-line retailers. Also – I am preparing digital files for all you kindle/nook/ipad/sonyreader/etc – etc users. I will have all of the details in a separate blog post coming soon!! For now, I am so excited to announce that you can officially purchase Nate Rocks the World here:

Nate Rocks the World

I told you it was a crazy week!!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend – thanks for checking in. For those in the U.S., have a happy & safe Fourth of July weekend! See you next Friday… and hopefully sooner!

Karen

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>January and the Gym

January 11, 2011

>For the past three months, I have had my routine. At least two of the three mornings that my four year old has preschool, I stop at my neighborhood gym to walk on the treadmill for about 45 minutes. Then on Saturdays, while my daughter takes a dance class in the same shopping center, I try to squeeze in another walk while she is there.

To be honest, I had never been a fan of exercise, and had used every excuse in the book to avoid working out (much to the chagrin of my growing waistline). But, with the gym only two minutes from my house and directly on the way home from the preschool, I was out of excuses.

As an added bonus, I knew that walking, while difficult at first, would most likely help my arthritis. I was right. I went from a half mile at the beginning,

to two and a half miles in no time. Thanks to my routine, I was able to participate in and finish the Arthritis 5K walk last month (ok, so I came in last, but still!!)

Don’t tell anyone, but I actually started to enjoy the gym. It was a guaranteed hour of listening to music or watching television without the phone ringing or anyone yelling “Mom!” I even had my favorite treadmill – the one next to the air conditioner that had the best view of the television.

But then, 2010 ended and apparently everyone who lives within a five mile radius of the gym decided that their New Years resolution would involve exercise. I knew I was in trouble on January 4th, my first day back, when I had difficulty finding a parking spot. Once inside, I could forget about getting a locker, I was lucky to find an empty hook just to hang my coat up. When I approached the usual empty row of treadmills, I stopped in my tracks. Not only was someone using my treadmill. But, there were people using every treadmill.

Ugh – I knew the gym would be a little more crowded, but I did not expect that at 9:15am on a Tuesday, it would be packed. My first instinct was to go next door to Cosi and get a croissant and coffee while I waited. I guess that would sort of defeat the purpose, so I reluctantly got on a bike, ready to pounce the moment I saw someone finish with a treadmill. It took about fifteen minutes, but I was soon back in my comfort zone, walking my heart out and counting on the fact that in two weeks, my gym would most likely be back to normal.

>

5 years ago, I knew what it felt like to have enough energy to take my kids to the park. I knew what if felt like to be able to play with my kids on the floor. I knew what it felt like to be able to move freely. 5 years ago, I knew what it felt like to be pain-free.

When my doctor first told me I had arthritis, I thought she was mistaken. Arthritis was for old people. I was only in my thirties. My pain was from overdoing it at tennis. I just wanted a referral for some physical therapy so I could be on my way.

She explained to me that I had “rheumatoid arthritis” or RA, a disease that is blind to age. RA is an autoimmune disease. Essentially, your body’s immune system believes your joints are “bad” & tries to destroy them. In addition, like most auto-immune diseases, RA causes exhaustion. Not just, ‘I’m tired because I need to sleep better at night exhaustion’ – I’m talking about ‘unable to function at 1:00 in the afternoon exhaustion.’

Over the last 3 years, I have tried more drugs then I can remember. I’ve had allergic reactions,  hair loss, weight gain, headaches, nausea, bruises, broken bones, fevers, insomnia and multiple infections. I’ve had to give myself weekly injections, go through regular blood draws to make sure my liver is functioning and deal with monthly IVs.

The drugs unfortunately, work by suppressing my immune system. I have had to keep myself as isolated as possible from anyone who appears sick, so as not to get sick myself. Not an easy task with my little one in preschool! I’ve had to stop and restart treatment several times now due to illness. If I am not able to stay on the drugs, I will soon be out of treatment options.

For the second year now, my amazing husband John, is running the Arthritis Foundation’s 5K Jingle Bell Run this December; not just for me, but for the millions of adults and children who suffer from this debilitating disease every day.

Like many diseases, there have been great strides made in research, but no cure. Last year, thanks to the generosity of our family & friends we raised over $500. This year, we want to raise even more.

If you would like to help “Team Toz” this year either by running/walking with Team Toz, or with a donation, check out our team web page. We thank you so much for your support!!

Team Toz’s Home Page – Malvern – Dec 12
Team Toz’s Home Page – Newtown – Dec 11

Also – if you would like to understand the story behind the “spoons” & get a glimpse into ‘a day in the life of ‘ check out this article – a must read if you or someone you care about suffers from a chronic disease.

The Spoon Theory