All posts related to "lifestyle"

AS it Goes – A Magical Fish

Armand the betta fish

Armand, the betta fish. Photo courtesy of Fran Halter.

My hubbie and I recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and our children searched for the perfect gift to give the couple that already has two of everything. They finally settled on a “little” something related to the traditional stone—coral—that marks 35 years of married life.

Coral is said to grant wisdom, promote a healthy emotional foundation, and protect passage through tempests. However, instead of giving us a piece of ornamental coral (where to display that?) or a decorative photo of colourful coral (no wall space available either), they decided to expand on the coral theme and integrate it into their gift.

Apparently a family vacay to see a coral reef was their first idea, but practicality and financial reality intervened. Instead, we were introduced to “Armand”, a bright blue betta fish whose new home features coloured coral-type rocks on the bottom of his fish bowl. These fish tend to be aggressive, so they are often sold individually as they can easily live up to their common name: Siamese Fighting Fish. Two male bettas in the same tank will fight each other to death to exert their dominance (I’m sure the kids did not know about this aspect when they decided on their gift ).

However, Armand seems friendly enough and he interacts with us: he follows your finger along the outside of his tank and every day at the feeding hour, he nearly jumps out of the water with excitement when his food arrives. Lately, he’s been making bubble nests, floating bundles of bubbles, which apparently indicates that he is healthy and comfortable in his environment on the island in our kitchen.

We were a little hesitant about owning a fish because our previous attempts to care for goldfish were most unsuccessful. But there’s no doubt that owning a pet has a positive psychological effect. Armand’s lazy swim around his bowl does impart a certain calmness with his hypnotic movements. It’s a fact that your body goes through a physical change when your mood is altered; the level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is actually lowered. And the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased.

Fran HalterCoupled with the purported “magical” properties imparted by the coral stones on the bottom of his bowl, Armand has made a positive contribution to our state of health. Anyone who suffers from a chronic condition or disease, such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), welcomes any small positive measure that brings even a modicum of comfort or relief. Seems like Armand has done just that. ~ Fran

 

Do you have a pet that has a magical effect on your health? Send us pictures!

AS it Goes – Massage is Not Therapy

Woman enjoying massage

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many people with arthritis use massage therapy to help alleviate their aches and pains. Massage soothes sore joints and muscles and over the long term, it may improve your range of motion, reduce stiffness and lessen the anxiety associated with living with chronic pain.

When you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), it’s important to know—in advance—what kind of massage would suit you the best. If you are in remission, for instance, the massage can be a little more aggressive with more pressure applied to muscles. In general, it is advised that AS’ers should ask for a soft tissue massage with light kneading, vibration, and some stretching and long soothing strokes. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Sleep, Gentle Sleep

Clock that says "Time for bed!"

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net

”To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub”
Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Act 111, Scene 1)

This line is part of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be” and illustrates how Hamlet’s sleep was fraught with tortured dreams over the murder of his father and other heinous deeds. It appears that the universal preoccupation with getting a peaceful sleep was as much a common concern over 400 years ago as it is for people today. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Laser Therapy for Two, Please

Agatha

Agatha sleeping in her favourite bed.

Fran’s dog, Agatha, also has arthritis. Just as she would for herself, Fran is always on the lookout for treatments for her pet companion. Recently, she found one that, so far, seems to be working: laser therapy.

I’ve written about my nearly 11-year old dog, Agatha, and her arthritic hips and spinal issues on several occasions. As owners, we do everything possible to support Agatha’s aching joints, including frequent long walks and monthly Cartrophen Vet injections (a disease modifying osteoarthritis drug – DMOAD) to keep her relatively pain-free. Plus, at every meal she is fed a “super cookie” loaded with glucosamine HCL, chondroitin, shark cartilage and yucca. All these supplements are reputed to have a beneficial effect on lubricating joints. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Medical Advice in the Produce Department

grocery store produceShopping list: milk, eggs, lettuce, and… medical advice? Recently, while in the produce department of her local grocery store, Fran went in expecting to buy lettuce, but left with far more.

Much to the dismay of my children, I talk to strangers and I admit that I listen in on conversations, especially when people publicly discuss health issues. I mean, if it is a private matter, then talk quietly so I can’t hear!

An exchange that I overheard in the produce section of the grocery store was particularly interesting and I thought I would share it. The produce clerk and a woman, whom I presume know each other (but maybe, like me, they also talk to strangers), were sharing information about their heel pain commonly known as plantar fasciitis. I have blogged on this “curse” – another obstacle, compliments of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) – so I was particularly drawn to the conversation. I have been outfitted with expensive custom orthotics to a) decrease my chances of a recurrence and b) correct a mechanical problem with my feet and c) help me as I routinely walk on uneven ground surfaces.

As a lingered for a few minutes examining multiple boxes of lettuce, here’s the gist of their convo: Continue reading

AS it Goes – Jackpot! Winner of the Rheumy Lottery

Jackpot!

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

Reflecting on how few rheumatologists there are in Canada and how many people live with arthritis, Fran counts herself among the select few—a jackpot winner, in a way—for having a rheumy.

I am one of the fortunate ones. There have been many days of late when I didn’t feel so lucky with an inflammatory disease that likes to highjack my life. But apparently I should count myself among the select few because I have a rheumatologist I am able to see for regular checkups or call on in crisis (depending what’s brewing with my ankylosing spondylitis). Continue reading

AS it Goes – The Power of a Smile

Cartoon of smiling sun wearing sunglasses.

Photo courtesy of Digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Canada’s reputation as a reserved populace is largely founded on our gentle demeanor, sense of courtesy and tolerance in the face of adversity. We are recognized throughout the world as a respectful and “peaceable” nation. This contrasts with our U.S. neighbours, who have a reputation as a brash, extroverted and forceful people—and not necessarily in a good way.

Despite the particular traits ascribed to each country, it is a generally held belief that Americans are friendlier than Canadians. Perhaps it’s because Canadians are more aloof? Or, maybe it’s because Americans are more relaxed and informal than their Canadians counterparts? Then again, perhaps Canadians’ accepted standards of decorum are less important to Americans. Continue reading

Intervention non pharmacologique efficace selon les lignes directrices du panel d’Ottawa

Arthritis Broadcast Network’s “CRA Interview Series 2014″ – Dr. Lucie Brosseau:Intervention non pharmacologique efficace selon les lignes directrices du panel d’Ottawa

Consumer “reporters” interviewed more than 30 leading professionals at the Arthritis Broadcast Network Booth (ABN) during last month’s Canadian Rheumatology Association and Arthritis Health Professions annual meetings (CRA). Starting March 14, feature interviews will be posted daily on the ABN YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/ABNYouTube. We invite everyone to share the interviews with their networks to strengthen the public profile of arthritis leaders in Canada.

CRA Interview Series 2014 – Dr. Lucie Brosseau: Effective non-pharmacological interventions for arthritis

Arthritis Broadcast Network’s “CRA Interview Series 2014” – Dr. Lucie Brosseau: Effective non-pharmacological interventions for arthritis

Today’s second interview features Dr. Lucie Brosseau, a professor at the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa. She shares with us some effective non-pharmacological interventions for arthritis. To learn more about the Ottawa Panel Guidelines, please follow click here.

Consumer “reporters” interviewed more than 30 leading professionals at the Arthritis Broadcast Network Booth (ABN) during last month’s Canadian Rheumatology Association and Arthritis Health Professions annual meetings (CRA). Starting March 14, feature interviews will be posted daily on the ABN YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/ABNYouTube. We invite everyone to share the interviews with their networks to strengthen the public profile of arthritis leaders in Canada.