Saturday, July 26, 2008

Recovery- post massage

I blew some real money on a good massage, and now I ache less, and feel more energetic. A throat infection had thrown things off balance, leaving me totally drained and in pain.

Weekend is my recovery time. There is lots of work to catch up with, I brought home my work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sardine curry: Very simple and cheap curry recipe

This is what I cooked for lunch. It is a perfect flare day food.

Curry and sardine is a delicious combination and provide two great ingredients for RA patients like me. It is particularly useful when I have a flare, and too tired to cook.

Here is another recipe of cheat's curry - sardine curry

Here is what you need:
1 table spoon of tom yam/ Thai curry paste (see my chicken curry page for photo)
1 can of sardine (or mackerel). It is alright to use whether in brine, sunflower oil or tomato sauce. Personally I prefer in brine/sunflower oil.
Milk - about 50 ml- 100 ml, depending on whether you want it dry or hot
1 small onion-sliced into rings, or diced (optional)

  1. Heat a small non-stick pan, turn to medium heat.
  2. Add a few drops of oil- i normally use the sunflower oil from the canned fish
  3. Brown onion, until it is soft.
  4. Scoop in 1 tsp of curry paste, fry it for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant
  5. Add fish. Fry for less than a minute. Mash it with fork/spatula.
  6. Add milk.
  7. Bring it to boil.
How to eat
  • With BREAD: If dry, (use less milk), this will be a good consistency as a sandwich filler. Add a few slices of cucumber if you like.
  • with rice or pasta: If more wet, it will be perfect as a pasta sauce. Can also scoop this over a plate of rice and serve with a few pieced of cucumber. Perfect.
Time taken: Less than 5 minutes if no onions are used.
Cost: REALLY really cheap!!! A can of supermarket brand sardine is probably the cheapest item in the kitchen cupboard.
Nutrition: High in omega-3 (anti-inflammatory), and contains lots of turmeric. Perfect food for those RA flares.
Challenge:Cutting and peeling the onion. Opening the can of sardine.

RA/fibro tips: I like to use it as a sandwich filler, with sliced bread. I cook more and eat this over two or three meals. Keep in fridge and reheat before eating. 1 can of sardine fills about 3 sandwiches nicely.

What to do when you have a fibromyalgia/rheumatoid arthritis flare?

A flare is not fun. No, there is nothing much you could do. You are sore and painful in many places, fatigue, and perhaps even having some brain fogs. Typing, like what I am doing now, may be quite limited too.

For me, a flare days means I move from bed- sleep or trying to sleep, to getting up to make myself some food (important - hunger creates more fatigue and fog, in my experience), doing something to kill the boredom - read, watch television etc and most importantly, my self-healing rituals. I call them rituals, as there are no scientific basis to most of these. This is the list of things I do

  1. Take my medications - NSAIDS. This helps to lessen the pain and swelling.
  2. Rest a lot - sleep.
  3. Keep comfortably warm/cool. Sometimes I feel very hot during flares, and I will try to keep cool.
  4. Take a hot bath/shower. The hot water relieve the stiffness.
  5. Use hot towels - put it at places where there are taut bands/points. See my earlier post for details.
  6. Acupressure and massage. I usually DIY, if my fingers are alright. I also use other objects to help. I find that the acupressure points are remarkably similar to trigger points. Acupressure is Eastern, while trigger point therapy was developed by Western trained doctor. I found this book by Clair and Amber Davies helpful: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment for Pain Relief (Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief). It is less than £10 from Amazon UK, a very good investment.
7. Stretch. This keeps you supple and relieve the stiffness. I normally only do this late morning, after the hot bath, and start with simple moves.
8. Eat well. This can be difficult sometimes- loss of appetite or no energy to prepare food. I eat lots of fruits (get it delivered, or get someone to buy it), or at least drink a lot of fresh fruit juices. I know how difficult this is, especially when the flare is prolonged. Fruits are really heavy and expensive if it is delivered. I also try to make sure I maintain my omega-3 intake- through pills or those tinned mackerels!

( takes a long time to put this post together. In between, I slept, ate, stretched, and soaked my fingers in hot water. I hope it is of use to others.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Down time

After more than 1 month of this continuous low level flare, my body finally can't take it anymore. I woke up this morning, felling much more stiff, sore and tired than in the past few weeks. I am also coming down with some throat infection. I know this is my body telling me - you to rest.

The warning signs are all there. I won't want to trigger a big one!

So today, i rest at home. Slept. Totally bored. Uncomfortable. I don't have real rest when I am sore all over. Sigh.

I hope I am well soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fog, fog stay away

Just half an hour ago, I found myself analysing a scientific paper, and developing a structured argument and commentary about it.

It is so late at night, I am awfully tired after a long day, but still, my brain worked! I am a scientist. Yes, I am a scientist. This should be normal??

Yes, and No!

I had this sudden sense of "Hallelujah", "thank God", "Amitaba" "Insya Allah". Awww.. I just wished to say thank goodness/Thank God in all the manners available to the major religions on earth. That is how grateful I am.

I suddenly realised that although I have not been that well these few weeks, and fatigue is affecting my concentration, my brains are still still working! My fingers are swollen (enough to get my physiotherapist who saw me today really concerned and strongly suggested I get a proper occupational evaluation and told me my legal entitlements).

Compare my life now to the days when I faught fibro fogs daily- this is still heaven despite the pain and fatigue. Fibro fogs is the most difficult part of fibromyalgia! That is true, at least for me!

If you are some foggy brain stumbling onto my blog, do not ever give up. There is hope at the end of the tunnel. Or should I say, the sun will shine and drive the fogs away one day?

.. and ahem.. can it say it again? "I am amazing"!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Are you well?

This question goes to other fibro and RA bloggers, whose blogs I regularly read, whenever they stop blogging for a while.

I would wonder, are they well? What kept them away from blogging?

Felt better? Discovered more energy and therefore enjoying life?
Felt worse? And therefore desperate for energy, and sanity to blog?

I hope you all are well. I regularly read some of your blogs, and let me let you know that I think of you. Sarakastic mentioned that perhaps not many people read. Well, honestly, I don't expect many people read my blog. I only find time and energy to check others' perhaps once or twice a month? That is already "as much as I can". It all really depends on my energy level.

If you happen to be down.. rest a while my friend. But remember, get well soon and come back!

Yes, I am not feeling well. My RA have been flaring for a while, making me permanently tired. Now my fibro is in town too - keeping me in pain and awake.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bruises - is it the RA or fibromyalgia?

Before I my swelling starts, I would notice bruises on my arms and legs. Sometimes they even appear on the thighs.

What cause the bruising? Is it linked to my fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis? 

Any other patients/doctors noticed the same signs ?

Will someone please do the research?