I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous...Now Read My HIPS!

Now Read My HIPS! is returning very soon. My blog is currently under construction. I am doing some minor renovating and will begin blogging for the New Year, possibly before. I can't wait to start up again. I have missed all of my followers! I love every single one of you! You have helped me to become who I am today! I could never have continued my blog without all of your support. Please be patient, and please continue to support this blog as well as my other blog Chronically Mommy. Pass this information on to anyone that you know may be interested in knowing...To be continued...

I had my shoulder and both hips replaced, and I am changing things up a bit on this blog! I began belly dancing in 2010! Yes you read that correctly!! I am going to be blogging about my experience as a woman with several joint diseases and conditions who had her shoulder and both hips replaced who now belly dances and performs! I still have pain, but I want to blog about how I have fun too! Now Read My HIPS! Please read Chronically Mommy (chronicallymommy.blogspot.com) for info on health/pain.

Hi, I have avascular necrosis in my shoulders, hips, and knees, psoriatic arthritis, sjogren's, fibromyalgia, and hypermobility. I found out that I have autoimmune arthritis in my cervical spine and a bulging disk in my lumbar spine. Seven years ago my spine orthopaedic surgeon told me I had a small amount of autoimmune arthritis in my SI joint. The question still remains: Is the spinal involvement due to Psoriatic Spondylitis, which is a more severe form of Psoriatic Arthritis or is it a new diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis? Whatever the diagnosis, the treatment will remain the same. I had my left hip replaced in 2003 & my right shoulder replaced in March of 2010. I literally gave my right arm to be ambidextrous! LOL! Lastly, I had my right hip replaced on May 10th, 2012.

I began belly dancing. Yes that's correct! I began belly dancing in 2010, so now it is time to "read my hips." Pain is still another part of my life. It is just a question of when, where and how much, but I would like to use this blog to write about my experience as a woman with several joint diseases and conditions who had both hips and a shoulder replaced and now spends her free time belly dancing and performing! I belong to a dance troupe since February of 2014, Seshambeh Dance Company. I am dancing weekly with my troupe in an advanced class and on Saturdays with another class which focuses on exercise and being a strong woman. I am performing a lot more often now, at least 4 or 5 times per year! Join me in my journey!

At times, I take 16 to 20 pills a day. I go every 4 weeks to the to get a 2 hour IV for my autoimmune arthritis diseases. Just when one thing seems to be doing better, something else goes downhill! My attitude, however, is always going uphill! I am 42 years old, have been married 16 years, and my husband and I adopted Mick in Dec. of 2010! I have a lot on my plate right now, but I take it one moment at a time. I believe that God will never give me more than I can handle. However, I do need to learn to ask for help sometimes instead of always doing it by myself!

(Formerly "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!")

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these daya are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh.

Now Read My HIPS!

Now Read My HIPS!
Asmara "Beautiful Butterfly"

Blog with Integrity


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh So Bad I Ache! Oh My God, I'm Still Awake!!!

OK, Now it's time for the Sleep topic for the MOWer's blog carnival. I hope you learn a lot from this topic. I think this is an important topic for others to read about those with chronic pain/illness. It is, sadly, something that affects all of us.

What I find so interesting is that when our son was born 8 months ago, the question that was asked the most was, "Are you getting any sleep?" I always had to laugh. No, I wasn't getting any sleep, but it wasn't because of my sweet baby boy. He was amazing! He slept through the night since the day he left the hospital. I couldn't believe it!

The reason it's so interesting to me is that this seems to be the only time anyone seems to care if you are sleeping through the night, if you have a new baby. No one asks you if you have a chronic illness, especially chronic pain, if you have been able to sleep (unless the other person is also experiencing chronic pain/illness and also not sleeping). Why don't people think to ask that question? Why is it that we would only not sleep if we have a baby? It was actually torture for me to have a baby that slept through the night from the beginning. I kept thinking, "How perfect; I'll have someone to stay up with me through the night, and we can keep each other company. I will take care of my baby, and the baby will help keep my mind off my pain." Well, that is what I get for trying to think ahead and plan...

I have tried it all...new mattress, flip/turn the mattress, only use the bedroom for 2 things (sex and sleep), meditate before bed, take a soothing bath before heading to sleep, Sleepytime tea, wind down and read just before bed, journaling before closing my eyes, using a TENS unit while sleeping, pain meds, sleeping meds, heat/cold on painful areas, different positions, prayer, and many more...

Lately it has been much, much worse. I stay on the couch, and stay online until the wee hours of the morning while my hubby and dog go to bed. My son also sleeps so soundly. He sometimes loses his pacifier, his fafie. He might whine a little. I smile, and as quickly as I can enter his room to soothe him with his favorite fafie I place it back into his soft little mouth. Thank goodness I was awake. 

My hubby gets so aggravated. He doesn't really like to be awakened from a deep sleep, and I always get into bed around two or three a.m. He always thinks that I have just been up watching t.v. and goofing around. It is so hard for him to understand that I just can't sleep. If I try to go to sleep when he does, I stare at nothingness. I watch the clock change from 11 to 12 to 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5.  By then, I do finally doze off.  Then, he is waking up and getting ready for work. Then, my son wakes up and is ready for breakfast. Everyone is well-rested and ready to face the day. I on the other hand am even more tired than the day before...

Each day I am even more and more tired...

Because I am more tired, I am more and more fatigued..

I need to be able to place my head on a soft pillow and sleep...

I need to be able to find a position to sleep in on a good firm mattress and drift away to dreamland...

I need to actually have a dream again...

I don't remember the last time I had a dream...

I do remember the last time I pulled an all-nighter...last night...

I forgot what it's like to know the difference between night and day...to wake up in the morning refreshed and go to bed at the end of the day...

I want to be able to say to all the people with chronic pain/illness, "How well did you sleep last night?" instead of "How did you sleep last night?"...because I want to ask a question expecting a positive outcome rather than to ask it expecting a negative outcome...

For those of you who don't have a problem with sleep, I have to tell you, it is the worst thing to experience. To just lay in bed and stare at a dark ceiling is miserable. The fact that the pain is keeping you up to begin with is bad, but that you are so fatigued and would give anything to just fall asleep is a different kind of pain. I lay there and want to sleep so badly that it actually hurts!!!! I pray to God to help me to drift off to sleep. I try teas, meditation, hot baths, music, medication, EVERYTHING!!!! Nothing works...And to know that if I could just get some sleep, I would feel a little better.

Sometimes if my hubby wakes in the night, and asks if I am still up, I answer yes, and keep on talking. I am just so happy that someone is up with me. It isn't long-lasting, however. He soon falls asleep as I'm still in the middle of a story. The next day, he doesn't even remember ever talking to me.  When I tell him about it, he gets mad that I interrupted his sleep. He doesn't even remember!!! He isn't tired, how did that interrupt HIS sleep?  Oh, well.

The biggest thing that I want to get across is what it feels like, why I can't sleep, why many of us can't sleep.  This is how it is for me:

On my belly, the pain is so bad.

Instead, I flip to my back.
On my back, my knees begin to ache,
Oh my God, I am still awake!
My feet, my feet, I can't feel my feet!
They start out numb but then I start to feel HEAT!
My feet hurt so bad,
I feel like I could actually go mad!!!
Please, God, when will it pass?
 I want to sleep!!!
The pain is beginning to make me weep.
Now crying hard.
I change positions, but I have to guard
my hip, my shoulder and elbow too.
Oh, God, what do I do?
The pain is now so intense,
and sleep just doesn't make any sense.
How do I sleep in a bed
that feels like rocks underneath my head?
Will I ever dream again
when my pain is so deep within?
It feels like my marrow is fighting back.
I feel like I could break if I hit the sack.
Burning, pounding, aching, stabbing,
Bruising, biting, pinching; all of it I'm having!!!
It's funny weird;
Each night, having the same things feared,
I want to be able to dream,
but need sleep, so it seems,
to be able to even have a dream again.
So when I think about where I've been,
I dream that I will someday have no pain,
so I can in fact dream again, all the same.
As for right now, when I lay in bed,
the pain is so bad, I often wish I was dead.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Patients for a Moment Wordless Wednesday

"Words tell part of our story as we blog, but pictures often complete that story.
So instead of words, I would like to include photographs of life with your chronic condition(s) to create a Patients for a Moment Wordless Wednesday on August 24."

Each day we do so many tasks. How many things do you do in one day that involve the use of your hands? Imagine being unable to move or grab things because of intense pain, stiffness and inflammation...

Before and after my hip collapsed and was replaced, I had to use a cane to walk with. Yes young people do use canes...
Shoulder replacement surgery is not for the faint of heart...

Atlanta's Arthritis Walk. You should be an activist for your cause...

With Psoriatic Arthritis, when my psoriasis flares, it isn't pleasant. It is red, flaky, itchy, painful, scaly, and often on my scalp, neck, ears, eyebrows, elbows, knees, hands, and face (which is not a common place to get psoriasis). It is hard to hide the psoriasis rash on the face, even with make-up because the skin is so dry and even peels. It can be embarrassing because people stare and think it's contagious...

Every 4 weeks, I get an I.V. for my Psoriatic Arthritis/Spondylitis...

Healing takes a while after surgery when you have an auto-immune disease...

My tendons tend to become inflamed and sore. It makes it especially hard to move...

The fatigue from all of these & fibro is overwhelming...

Thank God for my wonderful support...
from surgery. Even a black eye after surgical removal of a tear duct plug and draining of duct due to Sjogren's complications...

I take 16 to 20 pills per day...

and vitamin supplemts...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weathering My Chronic Body's Storms!!!

Time for yet another MOWer's blog carnival post.

It's interesting how people choose to use weather terminology for everyday occurrences.
Your room looks like a tornado hit it!
The bathtub overflowed, and now the bathroom is a flood!
The dog devoured everything; looks like a cyclone tour through here!
That child is as mean as a tsunami hitting land!
Those birds were like hail as they pecked at the roof.

OK, you get the idea. I hope. I could go on and on. So if we could talk about anything in our daily lives so descriptively like it was something to do with the weather, imagine how we could describe our bodies. I'm not just talking about any bodies. I'm talking about weathering the storms with chronically ill bodies.

Our bodies with chronic illness go though so much and weather many, many different storms. Today, as I sit in the infusion center getting my Remicade infusion, I can tell you that my body has been through storm after storm and so many other weather conditions: rain, hail, sleet, tornado, cyclone, tsunami, blizzard, flood, torrential down-pour, icy roads, slick sidewalks, clouds, excessive heat, thunderstorms, earthquakes, windstorms, breeze, sunshine, clear skies and rainbows.

It's interesting too because so many people with chronic illnesses, especially pain and joint conditions, put the blame on different weather patterns for how they feel day to day. Many say if the barometric pattern changes suddenly so does the pain, or if it drops or rises, so does the way they feel. For me, if the pressure drops below 30, I know it. I have pain and fatigue and general malaise. If it rises above 30, I feel out of it, and my sinus pressure tends to increase. But I also feel it in my bones if there is a sudden increase or decrease in the pressure. I like to consider myself a human barometer because my body will let me know just before the pressure is going to rise, fall or change dramatically. Many times that tells me when a storm is on its way, when the humidity is coming, etc. I also don't do well with increased humidity and precipitation, which many times happens when the pressure drops or rises. The body know!

So enough of the literal, actual weather correlation, let's talk about my body. How have I weathered my own storms?


When it rains, it pours! With my body, I can start with just a little cold or allergies, and it is never anything little. Just these last couple of weeks, my allergies have been fierce. I began to cough from the post nasal drip, the coughing got worse and worse, and the pain increased. How can coughing be painful? It's painful with a little thing that turns into a bigger thing called costochondritis. It is an inflammation of the connective tissue that attaches the ribs to the breastbone. In my case it involves more than just that but also the rest of the rib cage in the intercostal spacing. Every time I take a breath, it hurts. When I have a bad cough, it really hurts because the deep breathing is nearly impossible. I thought I was winded from my asthma, but it turns out I was feeling this way because I wasn't allowing myself to take a deep breath. It hurt too damn bad! Who knew that joint diseases could be such a pain! Ha, I made a funny! Of course they are a pain. I mean a pain in areas like breathing. Well, they are, and people need to know this because if you have costochondritis, and you get a cough with it, it not only rains, it pours. You are looking at torrential downpours, my friends!!!


Hail and sleet, to me, is when my body is bombarded in all areas at the same time. It happens a lot, unfortunately with chronic pain conditions. Just recently, I was driving down the road and realized I couldn't move my right pointer finger. It was stuck, swollen and red. The pain was unbearable. Now, I know what you are thinking, "Pain in your one finger? Big flipping deal." Well, the pain was cruel. My joint pain isn't just like when you stub your toe, people! It is always real, absolute, moderate to severe pain. I never complain though, I just use it to educate people about chronic pain. So I had to drive with my other fingers. Later that day, I realized the way I was holding the stuck finger, started making my wrist hurt. It began to swell and get painful and swollen. Then my wrist was stuck!  As the day progressed, my elbow stuck, was swollen and red! Then the other wrist and elbow were swollen. Then my knees were red and hot. Then my ankles were both swollen. Then the bottom of my feet began to hurt so badly I could hardly walk on them. I could hardly move. I was worried earlier that day about driving. It was hard to turn the steering wheel. Now I couldn't walk to the bathroom from the couch. It was my body weathering yet another storm. It was sleeting and hailing, and it was attacking my body alone in the middle of a hot July summer! I was driving my car on icy roads and walking on slippery sidewalks, and it was dry, sunny and super hot! Can you even imagine?


I woke up knowing that I was getting a migraine. I have aura's that tell me one is coming. When I have a migraine, my fibro flares. I don't really know why, but it happens with me. It never fails. With my fibro, it makes it so difficult to get up and go. The fatigue is overwhelming, and it is so hard to do anything that is just the everyday stuff~get up, get dressed, take a shower, and mommy stuff~so I find it impossible to muster up any energy to exercise, even just to take a short walk. So I will just stay on the couch all day and set my son up next to me. Not moving around will make me so stiff and sore, and one by one, my joints will flare up. The psoriatic arthritis will flare. On a particular occasion that this happened, I also wouldn't eat or drink enough, so the Sjogren's symptoms flared~my eyes, mouth and nose got extra dry. I then got sores in my nose, and mouth. I had to see my cornea doctor because my tear duct was infected from getting too dry, and I had to have the tear duct plug surgically removed and the tear duct drained. I had to go to the ENT, and had to have my nose cauterized because it wouldn't stop bleeding from being so dry. Then my psoriasis flared. The scalp psoriasis was the worst. I was even losing hair. My bowels were messed up and I had to see the GI doctor and have a colonoscopy scheduled...I had weathered my tornado, cyclone, hurricane and tsunami. Then there is the flood. There is so much to wait for after so much has happened at the same time to your body. It takes a while to recover. Imagine the clean up after these storms! It can take so long to feel better, and then to get back into normalcy again. The flood waters do go down, but it takes time.


One day my bones literally feel like they are so brittle that they are barely surviving a blizzard, and have frozen solid, that a windstorm could blow through and break every single one to pieces. Other days my body feels like it is in an oven on broil, and I am overheated. With many auto-immune diseases, we run fevers that are caused by unknown factors. Mine occur usually at night before bedtime or while I sleep. I sweat and get chills just as though I were sick, but it is all part of my auto-immune illness. How my body can burn up from such excessive heat like that; it's like when they talk about heat warnings and heat alerts in the summer time! It can happen any time for me, even in the middle of winter. What I find so crazy about this is that my body is burning up from excessive heat, yet my bones feel like they are stuck in a blizzard with windchill factors below zero. The bones are so sore and achy that it reminds me of being out in the cold, and shivering, but I'm hot! If a windstorm knocked me over, I would crumble! Are you picturing the imagery here? I hope you are.


An earthquake is such a great word to use when referring to my body. I have all these little fault lines throughout my different joints, well it was 6 in all but 2 were already replaced. My hips, knees and shoulders all have Avascular Necrosis. Because the blood supply doesn't reach the joint, the joint dies, then collapses, and then the only thing left to do is replace the joint. When you look at the affected joint on an X-ray or MRI, there is a crack or line that resembles the letter "C" that goes through the middle of the joint. That is my fault line. After a while, the weight-bearing joints especially, can't take the pressure on the joint anymore, and collapse and crumble. I had my left hip collapse in 2003 and my left shoulder collapse in 2009. It's actually strange that the shoulder collapsed before the the other hip and the knees since it isn't a weight-bearing joint. But basically, it's a similar idea. I couldn't carry anything around anymore on that joint, I couldn't lift or push with that arm anymore. Then one morning, I woke up and I could move it no longer! It had collapsed. These joints move at the fault line and collapse, their own version of an earthquake. So now I have to wait for each one of the remaining 4 joints affected with AVN to have their own earthquake, probably at separate times, and most likely unexpectedly. I have small quakes, where the joint moves just so slightly at the fault line, like if I go from a sitting position to a standing position, vice-versa, or if I sit for a long time, or if I exercise and move around an excessive amount.  I have endured 2 large earthquakes, and will endure 4 more, unless the AVN spreads to other joints, then possibly more, and I will endure small quakes daily for many, many years. Ah, a wonderful picture~sarcasm!!!

We all have bad pain days, and we all have better pain days. I can't say that with chronic pain we ever really have good pain days, but we can have good days.  I consider days that have less pain cloudy or partly cloudy, and sometimes during that day, the pain is even less, so I see that as a nice breeze that blows by. If the breeze blows hard enough, then there are clear skies. When there are clear skies, these are days that are definitely better days. I can do more stuff, like make dinner, and exercise, etc. Then when there is sunshine, well those are the even better days where I can do stuff that I like to do not just want I need to do, like dance and swim, and play more with my son. And then there are the rainbows! Yes, you don't see rainbow days too much. If I had to call a day a "good day" for a chronic, I'd call it a rainbow day. These are the very rare days when I can catch a movie, go shopping, take a drive somewhere. These are harder now that the psoriatic arthritis has started to involve the spine~spondylitis. I can't sit for a long time in the same position or stand for a long time. Exercise helps a bit, but if I am flaring, it's hard to start exercise. I mostly look forward to partly cloudy, breezy, clear sky days. Sunshine and rainbows I dream about!

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Walk Team





Belly Dance

Belly Dance
Before the Performance 5/6/12
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