how to cope without your medication

During this time of year, colds, flu’s and all sort of nasty bugs are roaming around. So, what are you to do to when you’re recovering from one but can’t take your medication? Well, I’m here to share my wonderful tips!





Move more every day. Lack of activity makes my joints more stiff and painful. Therefore my flares can become more intense. However, you don’t need to go out and start running in order to “move”. Stretching in front of the TV or walking to the mailbox are examples of easy exercises you can do. The most important thing to keep in mind when exercising with a chronic illness: Listen to your body!




Learn how to manage your stress. This is something I’m constantly working on. Last Saturday, I wanted to have the house 100 percent clean which included all of the dusting, vacuuming, dusting, laundry, and dishes. I did it, but paid the price for my accomplishment because I was 10 days behind my Remicade Infusion. Mr. P immediately drew a bubble bath and played playlist called “a relaxing night” from while I relaxed.

Here are some additional ideas on how to manage your stress:

  • do yoga, including meditation and deep breathing. is FREE and has some great videos which you can customize to your “flare” level.
  • schedule a gentle massage. For me, I called Massage Envy immediately after canceling my infusion appointment so I could reap the benefits.
  • Take a long, warm bath.
  • Read. There’s nothing like escaping from your reality through a good book!




Know what food triggers your flare-ups or increase in pain. If you’re not tracking your food through a food diary like MyFitnessPal, I highly suggest you do. You’ll become more aware of what you’re eating and start to see patterns. Keeping “minimalism” in mind, stay away from processed foods like those frozen dinners, ice cream, chips, and cookies. Although they’re very easy to grab and go, check the nutrition label to see how many ingredients are included, as well as, if there are any ingredients you can’t pronounce. If there are usually more than 7 ingredients and/or include ingredients I can’t pronounce, I don’t buy it or eat it.




With that in mind, know what foods help you fight flare-ups. I know a ton of chronically ill patients who strongly believe in the Paleo Diet or going Gluten-Free. For me, I know that lean proteins, whole grains, foods that contain Vitamin D like fresh milk from the dairy, and consuming a ton of fruits and veggies help ease my arthritis flares and help keep them far, far away. Which is why I’m such a strong advocate for green smoothies. Here’s a great website to help get you started. Find out what works for you and stick with it strictly during a flare-up.




Rest and Sleep. This is sometimes easier said than done and can feel like you’re stuck in a catch-22. You can’t sleep because you’re in so much pain, but you can’t get over your pain unless you sleep. I think if you can’t sleep, definitely try to rest. This can include meditation, reading that good book, playing board games (something like scrabble or checkers), or even a TV binge session. A few of my favorite TV binge shows are: Downton Abbey, Orange is the New Black, Scorpion (brand new, just finished the first half of the season and LOVE IT), Scandal, The Good Wife, and Once Upon a Time. I sometimes like to schedule a day like this once a month to force myself to rest, especially if there been a consecutive amount of activities in the weeks prior.


How do you cope without your medication? Next time, I’ll talk about what products I use.

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As I reflect back on the last year with my arthritis, I am reminded quite clearly how far I’ve come and what a battle it truly was. A year ago, I was battling a sore hip, a sore knee, and a sore attitude. It took great personal reflection to find out how my arthritis was affecting me, what I was going to put up with, and what distance I could go to recover from it. New Year’s resolutions were broken and my dog, Mizar, ended up in a pretty serious accident which resulted in the removal of his hip joint. This is something I took personally since I was going through hip issues myself at the time. My Dr. Rheumy of 9 years, who was my trusted advisor, part of the family, and friend, retired. At the time it felt like he left me and my disease. I was left with a new doctor, new infusion center, and new pain.

However, a few short months later, I prospered!! I’m happy to report my new Dr. Rheumy is understanding, caring, and truly a new friend. My new Infusion Center respects my opinions, is involved with the Walk, and asked me to participate in a photo shoot for their new brochure. However, above all of that, they actually care for my well-being and inform me how dangerous biologic drugs really are!!

I think the best part of my news is I’ve been able to control my new arthritis pain. After months of trial and error with increase in medication, x-rays, and doctor visits, the best thing that has been able to decrease my pain is EXERCISE AND MOVEMENT!! I walked into my first ZUMBA class in October 2010 and FELL IN LOVE! ZUMBA is my new ‘drug’ and is something I’m not willing to skip out on, if at all possible! THE PAIN JUST ISN’T WORTH IT!! I get mad when I don’t make a class and I talk about it consistently. The passion for dance has returned! The pain in my hip, knee, and attitude has depleted!

With such success of with exercise and movement with my type of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, my challenge is to make a difference in our community by participating in the Denver Arthritis Walk as part of “Let’s Move Together”, the Arthritis Foundation’s nationwide movement. The best part – I’m not moving alone. By joining the Arthritis Walk I became a part of nationwide movement of like-minded people who want to get a healthier lifestyle and change lives at the same time. The Let’s Move Together Movement encourages people to move to prevent or treat arthritis. HOW COOL IS THAT???

Please consider SPONSORING me or someone you LOVE with arthritis at our local Denver Arthritis Walk. Please support me by making a donation to help fund arthritis research, education, and community programs. I NEED YOUR EFFORT AND HELP IN ORDER TO ENSURE A LONG AND FULFILLING LIFE FOR MYSELF AND FELLOW SURVIVORS. And don’t stop there! Think about getting more involved by joining my team or starting one of your own. I’d love to have you ‘move’ with me.

I appreciate your support and on behalf of the people who live with arthritis pain, THANK YOU!


Click on this link to SPONSOR me ——>