As each day that goes by and I find my more days in my journal where I’m flare-up free I wonder if this is my new normal.  I have gone 245 days and it wasn’t too long ago that I was striving just to hit 90 days without a flare-up. This morning as I was writing in my journal that I have completed 245 days without a flare-up I felt so accomplished.  Not that I can control everything about my flare-ups so feeling accomplished might not necessarily be the correct emotion but it was there.  I have been doing more travel for work and that can always increase my fatigue which can cause a flare-up. I did feel a twinge of a flare as well as a cold coming on but my super immune system took over the cold and the twinge of flare went away with.

I don’t know if the sore throat I was thinking was a twinge of a flare was really part of the cold but either way within a few hours it was gone and I was back to feeling good again.  My base line is always changing in terms of fatigue, fluid increase or decrease, stiffness, sleeping or not sleeping, weight gain or loss, or even strength.  As it stands now my base line for feeling good and managing my MCTD is at a record high. The swelling in my hands and feet is also at a record high which means my baseline of normal has changed.  As it was presented to me, it is not only fluid but build of tissue that is part of the arthritic symptoms of MCTD.  Although my doctor doesn’t believe there is much I can do about it I continue to research to see what I can find out.

Having swollen hands and feet is uncomfortable, makes daily tasks difficult but it is something that I have to work through.  My strength has increased so much in my body with much stronger legs, arms, and core so as I’m lifting weight I find that the weight doesn’t feel heavy but my hands are not strong enough to hold the new weight I’m lifting.

For instance, yesterday was my training session and I had to grip a large weight with my finger tips for the exercise.  The weight itself was not heavy but my hands and fingers were slipping and I could not grip it the way I need to.  We adjusted and grabbed weights that had the same weightiness but that I could grip with my whole hand to help support it.

I’m thankful that the trainer I have now understands my situation and gets me as a person all at the same time.  He will notice that I want to push through something but at the same time can tell that I’m just not ready and asks me to back off where I just might push through. He also notices when I’m energy is a little low and tries to help me get it a bit higher.  There is so much I want to do and so much I can do but there have been times in my life that I didn’t know if I should. I trust that he will be honest with me about whether or not I should and then I can take it from there. Everything in moderation unless you are the type of person that needs more and then moderation just doesn’t work.  When I first started seeing him he kept saying I need to see a down day. Now he realizes that Sunday is my down day.  It is the day I go to Bikram, take golf lessons, spend time having fun with my husband or family and that to me is all about taking it easy but still staying active in life.  We now work with this activity as part of my life and not part of my exercise routine.

I can use Insanity, weight training sessions, spinning, running and striking as my exercise but keep Bikram, golf and general playing as life relaxers.  That to me means balance and that is what I’m striving for.


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