Thursday, July 31, 2008

My doctor's appointment

I saw my doctor today. Can I just say that I love my doctor? He is so wonderful. He's an older man; he could have retired by now, but I'm so glad he hasn't. In my opinion, he can truly be called a "healer." He always seems to be current with research on a wide variety of health issues, and he takes a very pro-active stance in health care.

Anyway, he asked me so many questions (and actually listened to my answers). He agreed to run all the blood tests I requested, plus several more that he thought were appropriate (the nurse took 8 vials of blood!) and he explained what he thinks might be some of the problems I'm facing.

He didn't sugar-coat anything....just told me what he thinks we're looking at, which is exactly what I want. I should get test results in maybe a week, so we may know more then.

He gave me a few prescriptions and told me to come back in a month for a follow-up visit, so that we can evaluate how those are working and if we need to change anything. So, unless the blood tests show something that he's not expecting, I'll see him again in a month.

I'll blog more about this when I know more, but this is today's update.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I am not tolerating the heat very well these days. The temp today was 101 and the humidity was incredible. Why in the world do we live here?'s food was:

1 cup of Hood milk - chocolate and white, mixed

2 cups of coffee with sugar free Coffee Mate and Sweetzfree

3 deviled eggs halves

2 Hebrew National all-beef hotdogs (no bread) with mustard and 1-carb ketchup

Spinach salad with ranch dressing

3 celery sticks (3 inches long) with Sun Butter

Chicken-veggie stir fry with 2 tomato slices and 2 small pieces of cantaloupe

And that's it. Pretty good day today, food-wise.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Counting my blessings

Today, Steve and I spent some time with an old friend. He and Steve knew each other for years before we met, and since the time Steve and I started dating, he has become my friend as well. He's a very intelligent and interesting guy with a professional career. He's kind, funny, witty, and just a very special man.

He also has cancer.

He's been fighting it now for some time, and his attitude remains really, really good. His faith is strong and he's not discouraged. At least, not that I can tell. One thing that struck me is how many times he talked about being thankful for this or that. Thankful...

There's an old song I remember singing at church when I was growing up, called "Count Your Blessings." Part of it says,

Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your many blessings, see what God has done

I have to confess, too many times I don't count my blessings. Too many times I find myself worrying over one thing or another. I hear my voice complaining about something (many times it's something I have no control over and can't change the hot weather!) I find myself looking at what we don't have instead of all we do have.

Gratitude is a funny thing. It is contagious. I like being around positive, grateful people because it rubs off on me. I want to be a positive, grateful person that "rubs off" on others.

So tonight I'm counting my blessings. And there's a whole lot to count.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Progress, not perfection

I read a cute saying today. Don't know who said it, so I can't credit the originator:

"The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends."

I love that. It is, unfortunately, all too true. At the low carb forum where I hang out, there's been a discussion today about losing weight for a second (or more) time, and losing weight as an older person as opposed to a younger person. I have to say, this weightloss journey I have been on for the past year has been a slower, rockier trip than I enjoyed in my younger days...

However, it has also been a calmer, more focused, less frenetic journey. I feel very blessed to have found the low carb way of life and to have made the decision to live the rest of my life this way. That just makes things so much easier. I don't have to wonder how I'm going to eat tomorrow or next week or next year. I don't have to obsessively read the newest magazine article that promises I'll lose 20 pounds in 30 days. Best of all, I don't have to live with regret that food controls me. That is such a feeling of freedom and peace.

Even on days when I "veer from the road" (okay, am I taking the "journey" metaphor too far?), I don't panic. It doesn't mean I've failed; it doesn't mean I can't continue eating low carb; it just means I allowed myself to indulge in a food that is out of the ordinary. What a great feeling! I am not perfect, never will be, but as I always say, the goal is progress, not perfection.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Favorite songs...

Okay, I'm going to date myself, probably, but can I just say that my favorite song in the whole world is "Love Shack" by the B-52s? That song just makes me happy. I've got it as a ringtone on my phone. I also have "Isn't She Lovely?" by Stevie Wonder and "Sweet Home Alabama" by Leonard Skynard as ringtones. Good songs, all of them.

Some other of my all-time favorites are:

Ob-la-de Ob-la-da (Beatles)
Up on the Roof (James Taylor) -- really, practically every JT song could be on this list
From a Distance (Bette Midler) -- I adore her voice
Ride Like the Wind (Christopher Cross) -- this takes me back to college days
Morning Train (Sheena Easton)
Rainy Day People (Gordon Lightfoot)
Get Here (Oleta Adams)
Sweet Love (Anita Baker) -- okay, pretty much anything Anita Baker sings
This is Me You're Talking To (Trisha Yearwood) -- I LOVE her voice
Peaceful Easy Feelin' (Eagles) -- I flash back to high school days
If This is It (Huey Lewis and the News) -- okay, I admit it...I went through this period of time where I was absolutely obsessed with Huey Lewis.

And so many more. It's funny how a song can absolutely transport you back to a time and place. For example, you know the Glen Campbell song "Wichita Lineman"? When I hear it, I am taken back to my childhood, actually to a Saturday morning at the local laundromat, with my mom doing laundry, and that song coming over the radio. I can close my eyes and smell the dryers venting out clean warm air and hear the clothes thump-thumping as they rolled around and around.

Then, the song "Roller Coaster" by Ohio Players (not that I ever hear that anymore) -- it takes me back to spending the night with my best girlfriend in high school ... sitting on her bed and listening to music and giggling and talking for hours and hours at a stretch.

I love how emotional music is for me. A song can make me cry. Or laugh. Or wax nostalgic in a blog!

Have a good evening. And listen to a favorite old song...just for the fun of it!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My day

So, today was a pretty good day in most respects. First of all, I wore a pair of walking shorts today that I bought several months ago as an incentive to lose more weight. When I bought them, I could get them up and over my hips, but could barely button and zip them. Today, they fit well! So that was a huge lift.

Steve and I went out for dinner tonight to Cracker Barrel -- good food and good company, so it was great.

Physically, I've still got a lot of different things going on. I have a very painful boil under my arm that first came up the week of July 4th. It got really bad on the long weekend, and I finally had Steve help me squeeze out some of the gook inside it. Talk about painful........ Anyway, after that, it went down and pretty much stopped hurting. Until a couple days ago, when it came back with a vengeance. UGH and OUCH! Went to the doctor yesterday and got an antibiotic for it, so I hope it will go away for still hurts really bad for now, though.

My finger joint has been pretty painful today. I had such high hopes from the steroid dose pack. It worked really well for the week that I took it and for several days after, but I think the effect is pretty much gone. My finger looks just as swollen now as it ever did, and the pain is back, big time... I hate that.

The energy issues seem to be better, I think due to the cod liver oil. I can really tell a difference when I take it. So I've ordered a couple more bottles and will continue with it. It's so funny, a girl I work with saw the brown bottle on my desk and said, "What's in your 'Little House on the Prairie' bottle?" It does sort of look like an old-timey tonic...

Speaking of "old-timey," I just ordered some "black drawing salve" from this website. It's such a great website for vitamins, cod liver oil, supplements -- and at great prices. Anyway, a lady at work told me about the old fashioned black drawing salve that her mom used when she was a child and how effectively it worked on boils - to draw out the infection and help it to heal. I looked for it locally but couldn't find any. But of course, it is on the internet...isn't the world wide web a wonderful thing?

Oh, I almost forgot, I made some soup this morning. (I know, I's July in the Delta...and nearly 100 degrees out there...what can I say? I'm crazy.) It just sounded good. I always shred and freeze the leftovers when I cook a roast in the crockpot (along with the juices) - they make the best base for a beef/vegetable soup. Anyway, I chopped up some garlic and onion, added some shredded carrots and chopped celery -- cooked that awhile in a little EVOO, then added my shredded roast and juices. Added a can of diced tomatoes and 1/2 head of cabbage sliced thin. Oh and my leftover sauteed yellow squash from the other night. Let it simmer for a little while, and ... soup! So, that will be lunch several days next week along with a side salad.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just a quick note...

I'm not feeling very well tonight, so I'm not going to post much. But I had to share one victory that happened today.

I dropped off my wedding ring at the jeweler's this afternoon on the way home from work. It has gotten so big it falls off my left hand, so I've been wearing it on my right hand or my middle finger on the left hand for a few weeks. Anyway...finally got to my local jeweler's today.

It was a size 6 3/4 but it's being resized to a 5 1/2. Wahoo! Tangible evidence of the weight loss. It's silly, I know, but it made me feel really good. The lady wanted to do a 5 1/4 but I said no, because sometimes my hands swell in the summertime. She said, "Okay, but you'll probably be back!" Which is fine, if I need to, but I don't want it tight...

More soon...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Today's food

I've been taking a prednisone 7-day dose pack for my joint pain, and while it has definitely helped my joints, it has also ramped up my appetite something fierce. I've made a very concerted effort to keep my eating low carb in the past few days, and it has not been as easy as it normally is. Here's today's food:

2 cups coffee with Sweetzfree and Sugar Free Coffee Mate

Small apple with 2 tbsp. sugar free peanut butter (this is higher in carbs than I normally go on a single food, but it sounded good and it definitely beat some of the alternatives I had facing me)

Hamburger patty with lettuce, tomato slice, onion, pickles, mayo, and mustard

Yellow squash sauteed with yellow onion

Small spinach salad with blue cheese dressing

Unsweetened tea / water

And that's it. If I have something later, it will probably be celery w/sf peanut butter.

A scary day...

I had a really big scare today. I got a call at work this morning from my sweet husband's boss. He said Steve was having severe abdominal pains and that he thought he should take him to the closest emergency room. After running in and telling my boss, I flew out the door and drove as quickly as I could to get to Steve. He was on the other side of town, so it seemed to take a really long time.

When I got to the ER, they had already taken Steve back to Triage, and I found him there, in terrible pain. They got him into a room within 20 minutes, and it didn't take long for them to put in an I.V., take a boatload of blood, give him something for pain and nausea, and get him sent up for a CT scan.

After several hours, the result was that we found out Steve has a very large hiatal hernia. I was so relieved that it was not worse. My mind had spun all sorts of scenarios best not even voiced, and mainly, I just feel grateful. He's home and resting this evening, armed with pain meds, nausea meds, and anti-acid meds. We will be avoiding large meals and spicy foods, and he'll follow up with his regular doctor in a couple days.

I feel like I can breathe again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday evening, relaxing at home

Today's been a good day. We went to church this morning and have relaxed at home the rest of the day. Got some laundry done; made chicken stir fry for dinner. I've been experimenting with an almond cookie in the microwave, but it's not quite there yet...I'll post the recipe when I get it right.

Took a cute picture of Chance with his toy. Think his toy is big enough?? He loves to find the "squeaker" and chew on that part. If you're not paying enough attention to him, he'll throw it up in the air and it will land on your lap or at your feet. He's so funny.

But, I guess I need to give equal time to both of my "babies," so here's one of Boots from several months ago. I had taken down a wreath of fall leaves that was on my back door, and he decided he wanted to lay there.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I read a quote yesterday that really spoke to me.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you
never know how soon it will be too late.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

I think the reason it struck such a chord with me is because it took me back to an occurrence several years ago. We had an elderly couple living next door to us - Carl and Dorothy. The sweetest people ... and so loving with each other. I loved seeing them interact with each other and hearing one talk about the other (when they were apart). They fussed over each other and worried about each other, and it was so sweet to watch.

They kept the house and yard neat as a pin and were wonderful neighbors. They both had health problems - Carl had breathing difficulties - some sort of lung issue, and Dorothy had cancer and diabetes. Much of the time that I knew her, she had no hair. However, she said the chemo was working, and she always had the best attitude and outlook. I enjoyed her company a lot.

They were on a fixed income (Social Security), without a lot of extra money. One evening, Dorothy asked me to take her to our neighborhood grocery store. It's only a couple miles from our house, and I was happy to do so. I picked up a couple things and Dorothy got what she needed, and as we were standing in the checkout line, she said, "I love the frozen biscuits they sell here so much. When we get our check I'm coming back and get some."

I had a fleeting thought to go and grab some of those biscuits and buy them for her. After all, they were only a few dollars. But ... I didn't want to offend her; I didn't want to embarrass her (or myself); and what's probably most true is ... I just wanted to get home.

I remember telling Steve later that night about that offhanded remark she had made and how I wish I had just gone and gotten the biscuits and not thought twice about it. In the days that followed though, life continued at its normal pace, and I forgot about it.

It wasn't more than a few weeks after that, and Dorothy was gone. She lost the battle with cancer, and it was a shock. I totally expected her to beat it. Within days, Carl had moved away - to his grown daughter's house in one of the suburbs of Memphis. Within a year, I attended his funeral as well.

Such a loss... I mourned the loss of our friends ... I hated losing such good neighbors ... but the overriding emotion I remember feeling was remorse. More than anything else, I wanted to go back to that night at the store. I wanted to be able to buy those biscuits for my sweet friend, Dorothy. I wanted to do that for her. Before her "next check" came, she was gone and her wish was unfulfilled.

And so, that's my story. That's why Emerson's quote made such an impression on me. Even though I have subconsciously tried to live by that philosophy, it was good to see it enunciated like that. And so my goal continues to be to live every day applying those words to my life.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Today's food

So, here's the line-up for today, thus far:

2 cups of coffee with SF Coffee Mate and Sweetzfree

1 apple with 2 T. peanut butter

large chef salad with spinach, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, 2 baby carrots sliced thinly, 1/4 of a tomato, chopped, a couple tablespoons of chopped onion, turkey, ham, and bacon bits - with ranch dressing

handful of sunflower seeds

a piece of cold roasted chicken (leg/thigh)
1 oz. colby-jack cheese, sliced thinly

water and iced tea with Sweetzfree

Oh, and let's not forget the two big swigs of cod liver oil...ugh!

And that's it. I feel like someone pulled the plug on my energy, so I'm not going to post much today. Had to work overtime yesterday - about three hours. I was fine getting through it, but today I feel just totally wiped out...

More later...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Another sleepy, dusty Delta day...

Okay, first of all, can I just say that the heat is back, full-force? We have enjoyed a few days of surprisingly lower temps (highs in the mid-to-upper-80s) with lower-than-normal humidity levels, and it was wonderful while it lasted. I took advantage by roasting a chicken in the oven and doing some other "hot" cooking. As long as the temperature is at or over the 90 degree mark, I just refuse to turn on the oven... And today, it's ba-ack -- high humidity and muggy, hot temperatures -- ugh!

I made a pot of pinto beans in the slow cooker yesterday morning, with some salt pork thrown in. I just sprinkled in some seasonings -- garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, dried parsley -- and they turned out really good. Nutritionally speaking, dried beans are a much better "bang for the buck" than canned. These particular beans have 22 g/carbs per 1/4 cup, but 15 g/fiber, so it's 7 net carbs. Then, when you add in the whole "resistant starch" factor, I believe they the actual carb impact is quite a bit lower than 7 grams for a quarter cup. I had 1/2 cup yesterday, and I'll probably have 1/2 cup later today, and some through the week, too. They turned out really tasty in the slow cooker. In the past I have always made my beans on the stovetop, but I think I'm a slow cooker "convert" and won't go back!

And, before I end this post, I have to say I love the song that today's post title refers you know it?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

This was an e-mail I received recently and thought it well worth sharing...enjoy! I checked it out on and it's true as written. This was written in October 2000 by Wisconsin resident Michael T. Powers.

Six Boys And Thirteen Hands...

Each year I am hired to go to Washington , DC , with the eighth grade class from Clinton , WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima Memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II. Over 100 students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, "Where are you guys from?"

I told him that we were from Wisconsin "Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around, cheese heads, and I will tell you a story."

James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, DC., to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C., but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night. When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

"My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin . My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called Flags of Our Fathers which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller List right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called 'War' But it didn't turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old -- and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph .. a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima -- boys, not old men. The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the 'old man' because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let's go kill some Japanese' or 'Let's die for our country.' He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'

The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona . Ira Hayes was one who walked off Iwo Jima . He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, 'You're a hero.' He told reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?' So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).

The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky . A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.' Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin , where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say 'No, I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back' My dad never fished or even went to Canada . Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press.

You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over
200 boys as they died. And when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.

When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.'

So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima , and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time."

Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice. Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism, and all the wars in-between, that sacrifice was made for our freedom.

This fourth of July, remember to pray for those still in murderous unrest around the world. Take the time to thank God for being alive and being free at someone else's sacrifice.

One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of 'hands' raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Health update

I have been having issues of late with my energy (lack of), joint pain (especially in my fingers and knees), and general fatigue. I went to the doctor about a month ago - actually, it was my nurse practitioner - and she ran a plethora of blood tests. Practically everything came back within normal ranges, although several things (B12 and hematocrit, in particular) were barely at the bottom of "normal."

Those low scores are not new to me. I have pernicious anemia and must take monthly B12 shots and daily OTC iron, so those two numbers are never very high.

The NP said she thinks I have fibromyalgia, which upsets me. Not so much that I might have this disorder (well, okay, yes, I would be upset to have it), but more so that I feel like this was a rush to judgment on her part. I've always heard that a fibromyalgia diagnosis is reached sort of as a "last resort" type of diagnosis. You run tests and more tests, rule out this and that, and ultimately decide,'s not this disease or that disorder, so it must be fibromyalgia.

I don't feel like she did that with me. I feel ... well ... slighted, I guess. After I got my blood test results, I shared them on the low-carb forum I frequent. A person on the forum that I trust suggested that I need to take a closer look at the anemia-related test scores (B12 and hct), because they could well be a part of the fatigue and low energy. She also suggested that I get a ferritin test done, which would shows the current iron level in my blood.

So I faxed my NP's office and asked if we could up the amount of B12 or the frequency of the shots, and if we could do a ferritin (iron level) test. Her response (after 4 days) was to give me a prescription for 4 weekly B12 shots and a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. What??

Anyway, to update ... I will take my 3rd weekly B12 shot tomorrow. I have made a follow-up appointment, not with my NP (whom I've always been very happy with), but with the MD at that office, who is truly a wonderful doctor. He told Steve a couple years ago to eat a low-carb diet to help with weight loss and hypoglycemia. Plus, he is that rare breed of doctor who actually listens to his patients and takes time with them. Trouble is, he's nearing retirement age and I think he's lessened his patient load. I always say getting an appointment to see him is like getting an appointment to see the Queen of England.

Regardless, I do have an appointment to see him at the end of this month. I want to talk to him about my joint pain and the fatigue, and see what he recommends. I would like to get a cortisol test and more in-depth thyroid tests. I want to find out what kind of specialist I might need to see, if I do need to see one... And I want to know that he's not just blowing me off and that there is hope for me to really feel better.

In the meantime, I am taking 2-4 tablespoons of cod liver oil daily, and a bunch of other vitamins and supplements. I do feel a little better energy-wise, but certainly not anywhere near 100%

Also, my joints are still very messed up. The pain that started in my right index finger now seems to have progressed into most of my fingers. My hands feel very "tight" at the middle joint when I try to make a fist. My right index finger is now ever so slightly bent at the middle joint towards my middle finger. I am frequently unable to open jars or bottles. And lifting things, grocery bags, for example (where the weight is on my fingers) can be very painful. All of these are recent developments, and I am very concerned. I'm worried about rheumatoid arthritis, but the tests for rheumatoid factor and SED rate (which apparently is used as a marker for RA) came back within the normal limits. So I don't know what is going on ... but I need to find out. In doing some research on it, I found out that some people don't have elevated numbers in their blood test, but they still have RA ... I hope and pray I do not have RA. And while I'm at it, I'd rather not have fibromyalgia either ...

However, I do want to know, whatever it is. I'm much better when I know what I need to deal with. Then, I will get on with the business of dealing with it ... whatever it turns out to be.
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