Apple Picking

 

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The thing to do in New England this time of year is to go apple picking. The only thing I can compare it to is my traditional family trip up to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to see the changing aspen leaves. Well, now that I’m a New England-er, we HAD to go and I’m so glad we did. I absolutely loved picking a fresh apple off the tree, rubbing it clean on my jeans and taking a large bite. And when I was done, I had Mr. P kick the core like he does with our dogs’ Kong. Our favorite apples were the Red Rome. Sweet, crisp and when you bite into them they turn red.

And now, I have too many apples! Don’t get me wrong…they make a great snack because they are full of fiber, but they will rot if I don’t use them in other ways! I need to figure out how to make apple crisp, apple sauce, caramel apples, and I’d like to make some apple pies. OOOO! Maybe I could make some caramel apple cupcakes. Any excuse for cupcakes! Don’t mind me…I’ll just be in the kitchen for the next few weeks!

If you haven’t been apple picking this season Carlson Orchards in Harvard, MA still had plenty of apples. I mean, just look at that last photo! They also have a pumpkin patch and some tasty donuts, too. Not only is this a great idea to go with some great friends (which we did!) but also a great date idea. Just be sure to bring your wellies; the ground was squishy last Saturday and I think it will only get worse with all the rain we’re expecting this week.

Do you go apple picking? Or if you’re in Colorado, do you go see the aspen leaves? OR, could you help a girl out with some apple recipes? :)

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what to expect BEFORE your first Remicade Infusion

On Wednesday night, I was tweeting with a new Twitter follower and now new iFriend – KatyKate about Remicade. She’d been on Enbrel and Humira before and was completely comfortable with administering her own injections, but was recently switched to Remicade. I could tell immediately she was scared about it. I mean, I was. (I was scared out of my mind because insurance companies classify the drug as “chemotherapy”. Oh boy!) As the chat went on, she included one of her other friends into the mix who is about to start on Remicade too. By this time, sparks were flying for a blog post (and if I’m truly honest, a “duh moment”).

PeachyPains.com | what to expect BEFORE your first Remicade InfusionKeep in mind, I’m not an expert. Not in any shape or form, but I’ve been on Remicade for 14 years and have had over 100 infusions! To put THAT into perspective, I received Remicade before it was FDA approved for ankylosing spondylitis and at the time only had TWO biologic medications available. The other? Enbrel which didn’t work for me. Friends, we’ve come a long, long way!  But for the purposes of THIS post, I think 14 years of experience of going to the “Infusion Room” qualifies me to answer just a few questions. So, let’s get started!

“Can you drive home after?”

You can. And I do now. However, for your first infusion or until you get a good sense of how you are going to react, I would ask someone to either sit with you or drop-off/pick you up. You just never know how you’re going to react to this powerful medication.

“Do you feel ill after?”

Yes and no. When I first started Remicade, I would drive an hour and half to my Infusion Room on a Friday afternoon after my college courses. Once complete, I would go straight to Winter Guard practice. I would practice sometimes up to 6 hours with non-stop dancing and spinning large objects (flags, rifles, and sabers). I’d maybe get 6 hours of sleep, get up early, go back to practice for about 6 hours before our first competition that afternoon with the potential of another that evening. To top it off, I’d then go out afterwards to celebrate. The next morning I’d travel the 1.5 hours back to college. I did this for TWO years because I loved the sport. OK, and I was 18, 19, and 20. Dumb, young, and proud of it.

Now at the age of thirty, flirty, and thriving (I had too!) I go straight home afterwards because I almost always feel queasy. Once home, I work for a few more hours and then completely crash usually binge watching a TV program until I fall asleep. And I usually fall asleep early.

“What should I wear?”

Comfy clothes. Image you are stuck in a movie theater in shorts and a tank top and they blast the A/C! But you can’t leave because the movie is SO good. Like Harry Potter good.  Well, that’s kind of how it feels when you’re getting your infusion. You are freezing internally because the Remicade medication is administered COLD. Oh and you can’t move for a minimum of two hours. Okay, you can get up and walk around, but you have an IV following you everywhere you go. For me, I wear layers. I suggest reading some of my “Infusion Outfit Inspiration” posts or even my Campfire Layers featuring ModCloth. I’m not ashamed to wear winter clothing in the middle of summer during my “Remicade Day”.

“Will I be bored?”

Two hours is an extremely long time to just sit there. You could take a nap but why not be prepared! Find out ahead of time either from your doctor or by calling the Infusion Room to ask what they have available. Here are a few items to ask:

  1. Do you have WiFi?
  2. Do you have a private sitting areas?
  3. Do you have snacks? Or do you provide lunch?
  4. Do you have heated blankets and pillows? At the very least do you have heated seats?
  5. Do you have private TV viewing?
  6. Do I have to pay for parking?

Keep in mind you and/or your insurance company are paying high amounts for this medication so don’t feel guilty for asking for “free things”. Everything listed above is available and free at my clinic. Actually, it’s been available at every clinic I’ve gone too (3 so far!), so always ask if this is something they could add to make your experience more enjoyable.

“Does it work?”

I would like to think so. :) I’ve been on it for 14 years without any fusion, major side effects, and started to reverse the trend of how much medication I require. I’ve also maintained very active and healthy lifestyle to compliment the drug. Especially as at the time, I was on my last hope of any relief. I took it in my own hands to make it last as long as possible.

I also like to think it works because most people who don’t know me, and therefore don’t know I have arthritis, think I’m a healthy young woman. For me, I mostly consider myself lucky.

 

To end this post, I think it would be awesome if everyone sent my iFriends: @KatyKate and @Kenzie a little tweet wishing them a happy and successful first Remicade treatment!

What would you add to the list?

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