March Update… The nutritional naturopath appointment

I am trying to get a post up at least once a month… but time is a tricky one!! All day, every day, I think about food! In amongst looking after and playing with the ever growing Seb. (This blog has been half written for over two weeks now!!)
I’m still getting to grips with making food in advance or in bulk – to be honest I’m getting pretty good at it, but it’s the fitting it in, with Seb… my worry is when I go to work, how much time will I have for shopping, and cooking… therefore I’m getting the practice in now!! I think I’ll have it to a ‘T’ by the time I’m back at work, as Seb will be older and I will be able to send him out with his dad for the day and crack on! I’m starting to get a few ‘favourites’ together, and they are SCRUMPTIOUS!! Still missing tomatoes, and spices… but what can you do?! Eat them and suffer, or avoid them and feel capable!! I have also, this week, begun fermenting my own drinks!! Last weekend, I went to watch a friend compete in a duathalon (run, cycle, run), and at the café nearby they sold kombucha (£2.30)… it was DELISCIOUS! So… I hunted down a SCOBY, and got onto it… my first brew is ready to start tasting on Thursday (19th March)!! I also dug out my water kefir grains, and have finally started to rehydrate them today… so another week, plus three brewing days and I should be ready to start drinking kefir too!! Can’t wait!!

First brew of kombucha!!

First brew of kombucha!!

I had planned to blog a couple of weeks ago before a nutritional naturopath appointment that I had… but time has got away with me, so instead of a precursor to the appointment, I will give you the summary instead!
The appointment was with a student from the College of Naturopathic Medicine, I had gone to an open day back in October with the hope of one day studying nutrition, and at the open day I got talking to one of the lecturers; she mentioned I should attend one of their student clinics – which costs £25 for an initial and £15 a follow up (which is considerably more affordable than the cost of going to a qualified naturopath!)
Prior to the appointment I got my GP to do some blood tests… I asked for Vit D, Mag RBC and inflammatory markers such as CRP, ESR… my GP was pretty receptive, however, they did my Mag serum, and my Vit D wasn’t back in time for the appointment!! So… not really hugely useful! Although it did throw up that I was significantly iron deficient.
I also had to fill in a history sheet and food diary for one week, that aspect was easy because I still keep a detailed diary, and send it on to her. Along with these, I also sent her some questions of my own regarding supplements (magnesium, probiotics, and multi-vits) and testing (stool testing, mineral balance).
Following the consultation these were her recommendations:
1) Chew, chew, chew
2) Ensure water is filtered, and not drunk around meal times
3) Increase beetroots, and leafy greens – methyl donors
4) Eat watercress, rocket, Endive, Chicory, or Artichoke before a meal to help the liver
5) Eat papaya/pineapple with food to help digestion
6) Ensure calcium rich foods – Bone stock, kale, cabbage, broccoli, brussle sprouts, figs and small boned fish
7) Avoid eating raw cabbage and cruciferous veg due to goitrogens
8) Add ginger and turmeric to foods to help with inflammation and gut mobility
9) Drink Cherry active or Tart cherry juice before bed for melatonin and mobilising uric acid
10) Add onions, mushrooms, pumpkin, squash, carrot, asparagus, avocado… not really sure why as I eat all of these in abundance!! Perhaps in the week that I sent my diary I didn’t have many?
11) Eat iron rich foods – liver, dark leafy greens, red meat, dried fruit (again, I already eat these)
12) Add 1g of wakame daily soaked in water
13) Add 1 Tbsp. ground in water in am and pm to help bulk stool
14) Increase exercise – walk x30 mins 2xday, Tai chi, yoga
15) Take Magnesium Glycinate 2 tablets 3xday
16) Take 1g of Bifibacterium Bifidus daily
17) Take 1 tsp of fish oil a day
18) Take Pregnancy Complex 2 tablets once a day
19) Take Hemagenics Iron 2 tablets once a day for 4 weeks, 1 tablet once a day for 4 weeks, then get iron levels re-checked

Well, it’s nearly a month since I went, and I haven’t yet got onto all the supplements, she did suggest a couple more, but said to hold off until we had my vit D levels back, and to hold off on bromelain until I see how the effects of papaya or pineapple work…
The reason I haven’t got started on all the supplements is that I didn’t want to start them all in one go then feel rubbish, or Seb have a reaction to something and me not know what it was. So I first started with the Iron, and typically, we both got struck down with diarrhoea… I don’t think it was anything to do with the iron, but as it started the same day as the iron, we stopped them until things cleared up… that took a couple of weeks. So then we went back on the iron, all good, then after a few days I added in the magnesium, a few days of that, then I added the probiotics (Or it may have been the other way around), few days, then I added the fish oil, few days of that… and as of tomorrow, I will add in the pregnancy multi-vit…

I have a few thoughts on the brands that they have recommended, and I may swap some stuff – for example the fish oil has rapeseed oil, and soya lecithin in it, amongst other things, so think I’ll change brand, probably for a cold pressed cod liver oil, when I’ve run out of this as I am working hard to eliminate those additives in my usual food.
I haven’t added the flax seed yet… dubious about that due to the problems AI conditions can have with seeds, again, I may try it as an introduction at a later date, however, it is to add bulk to my stools, and since adjusting a few other things (eating pineapple, rocket, chicory etc. before a meal, avoiding drinking at meals, wakame, filtering water, supplements) my bowel movements have been much better, so why rock the boat.

The advice regarding the food wasn’t hugely revolutionary. I was already doing most things, but it was a useful reminder on a few things, such as not drinking water with food, and to chew properly. Plus the information about rocket, chicory, etc. and pineapple/papaya was interesting, and does seem to have helped, plus the addition of wakame has helped get things moving too!

So how do I feel?
Pretty good. I had a bit of a fall off the wagon 2 weeks ago, I just became ravenous, hungry all the time, so I started snacking… and it got ridiculous, I was snacking (only on fruit) constantly… eating our families weeks’ worth of fruit in 2 or 3 days… and ohhhh how I paid for it!! Pain EVERYWHERE!! So I have got strict with myself again, and I am (almost) only eating at meal times, and if I eat any fruit (maybe less than a cup full) it is with a meal. And hey presto, I feel so much better again. Less fatigued, less swollen, stronger!! I have also ensured I am eating lots of good fats at meal times.
My pain is currently located in my right hand (dorsal aspect of the wrist – limiting middle finger extension!!! And wrist extension if my fingers are straight!), and my left thumb.
I probably don’t have full knee flexion (and a little bit of swelling is felt in either knee from day to day), but it’s getting there… and during my yoga sessions, I certainly don’t have very good range of motion anywhere compared to a year or so ago… but I’m working on it!

Introductions planned… well, after my hunger surge, I spoke to a guy who is about 2 years ahead of me on this journey, and one of his first introductions that he managed to add was grass fed butter after a period of healing, and this would add some great nutrients and fats to my diet… and hopefully would make eating out a bit easier. So if this good period continues, and I keep off the fruit and snacking, then I’m going to give it a go!! Exciting!! I’m very aware that it might not work… but I feel I’m starting to feel ready for this. And if it fails, it fails, I won’t have lost much, and I’ll know more about the direction my journey is heading.

If it goes ok, then maybe I might try some coconut milk kefir (as the kefir grains would be from milk), to add some more probiotic food to my life!! In fact, I need to get some coconut to start making my own coconut milk!!! One thing at a time Nina, one thing at a time!! (I’m now busy making bone broth, cooking fat, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, face cream, magnesium oil, magnesium body butter, mag-a-hol… I’m becoming the ultimate queen of the home!! Don’t worry, I’m looking after Seb too!! And he is growing mighty well!!)

One other possible introduction that I might try (this will probably take me past the summer as I am so slow at my introductions) is black pepper…

So… I have my follow up with my nutritionist in April, and some plans to add butter. I’m hopefully going to have a couple of brews going of kombucha and kefir… and I will continue to be very busy with my beautiful baby!!

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Time flies when your a mum!

Hi there!! Just a quick update…

So, firstly… My how times flies!! I don’t know how mums do anything other than cuddle, feed and socialise with their yummy babies!! 🙂

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Update on my post partum flare… I got back to my clean eating and have stuck to it since getting back from hospital!! It has most definitely helped, the aches and pains have eased, but I am still managing a certain amount of pain.

It’s so difficult to be able to balance all the variables… Last weekend I did lots of dog walks with Seb and Andrew… And my knees blew up like balloons. Epsom salt baths sorted those in 2-3 days.
Over this week aches and stiffness have crept up on me in the neck and shoulders – from lots of lifting an ever increasingly heavy chunky monkey (Seb.. Not Andrew!!), and broken/disturbed sleep.
And this weekend I did some silly stretching of my right wrist to try to avoid it stiffening up at a Christmas party… But instead, just flared up my Oarsman’s Wrist!!! This I have managed with mag oil, avoiding aggravating it, and today my friend did some acupuncture… So fingers crossed… Although not, as that hurts!!

My new addition to my natural management of my RA is magnesium… In the Epsom salt baths and mag oil (homemade!)… I’ve only started this week, and there is SOOOOO much to learn about minerals and their balancing! I haven’t done any testing yet to see what my levels are, but since a huge proportion of the population is deficient in magnesium, it’s my first port if call!!

Next on my list to add are: fish oils, essential oils, kefir/kombucha, fermented veg… (Bought my mum a book on fermenting and going to set her the task of keeping me stocked up!!! I just don’t have the time or the wrist strength for all that veg prep yet…!!).

There’s lots to consider adding to my routine, it’s quite overwhelming… But I remember how overwhelmed I was before changing my diet… So as long as I take things one at a time, surely I’ll get there… I could just do with a good straight 10 hours of sleep…..!!!! Ha!! Never again I suspect!! (But I don’t mind, because my little boy is perfect!)

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Why I’m not a food blogger…!

Since starting my food exploration I have had to get a bit creative with ideas for dinner/lunch. It’s handy because Andrew really doesn’t mind from Monday to Friday if he just receives protein source and veg… it’s what he grew up with (however the protein sources are VERY different from his childhood… and so are the veg for that matter!! And it’s not now topped up with an enormous portion of potatoes and bisto gravy!! Much to his pleasure thankfully), but for me, my parents were always a little adventurous in their food endeavours, and variation was key… so I do get a bit bored… or if not bored, I just feel the need to create a variety of dinners and food…

Now, I feel that on the days when I try to get creative I have on the whole been quite successful (even if I do say so myself!!), and I have been really quite proud of the taste sensations!! But, before I can show off to anyone about how great meals on this restricted, but gradually increasing elimination diet can be… I’ve eaten it!! Mmmmmm!!

Plus, despite being totally in love with photography… food photography just has never inspired me! Can I really be bothered to get out my lovely camera, just to take a few photos of my dinner… nah!! The light in my kitchen is all wrong, plus it’s October, annd England… there is no natural light at tea time round here!!
So the few… well two things that I have managed to take photos of before they became an empty plate are: A cherry ‘cheese cake’ made for my birthday so that I could enjoy a little (modified) AIP treat:

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And last night’s Prawn and Squid coconut curry:

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As you can see… I’m no food blogger! Things I do wrong:
1) The cake was already half eaten
2) The crockery is OLD!! And chipped!!
3) The background isn’t clear
4) The lighting is all wrong
5) The angles are all wrong
6) The presentation of the food is not considered
7) The photos are taken by my iPhone or iPad.. Not even a compact camera!

To name just a few… but, mmm they didn’t half taste good 🙂

And at the end of a day, that is the main thing I care about! Cooking good healthy food that is helping my body heal itself…

So… what’s for tea tonight?

Elimination Diet… Where I’m up to – A Summary!

My last post Elimination Diet…. What have I been eating?! received so many positive comments from Facebook, and additional questions posted on Facbook groups, that I feel perhaps I ought to expand a little! I am by no means an expert in this… this is a little personal experiment. There are things that I haven’t done perfectly, and there are things that I know in time I will need to adapt and adjust, and also, what works for me won’t be the same for you… that is the point of an Elimination Diet, to find out what is your own personal triggers.

Elimination Diet

I stated in A New Start with the Diet what I had decided to eliminate, this included: gluten, dairy, Sugar, Additives, Legumes, Citrus Fruits, Seeds and Nuts, Nightshade vegetables, Meat (excluding fish and turkey/wild game), Eggs, Most drinks!, Spices and Condiments (due to the inclusion of seeds, sugars, gluten etc. – therefor Himalayan Rock Salt, fresh herbs and dried leaves of herbs allowed). I decided on these things from reading The Paleo Approach, and this website which I found in the files section of the Facebook group Rheumatoid Arthritis Managed Naturally.

Pretty restrictive, but well worth it!!

So what have I learnt so far? Well… Initially I don’t think I ate enough. Now to be honest, it wouldn’t have been a problem, as it probably was enough, just not for a pregnant woman in her third trimester!! But this didn’t last too long, as my midwife noticed a high proportion of ketones in my urine after a fortnight of starting the diet. So how did I rectify this?? I added more starchy vegetables – butternut squash, sweet potato, beetroot… plus exactly what I had been eating on the first week of my elimination diet. The next urine test was spot on.
Other possible reasons that my urine test was slightly off that first week… was my appointment was at 9am on Monday morning, and I probably hadn’t drunk all that much before the test, therefore dehydration can affect ketone levels in urine. And also, along the lines of not eating enough, that weekend I had eaten out on both Saturday and Sunday, and generally been quite active (totally unheard of before when I could hardly move!!!).
Eating out is a bit of a problem, and I don’t mind too much as I had, more recently begun to feel that eating out was becoming too frequent, it was taking away the special-ness of going out for a meal for a special occasion. Plus, not eating out saves money… which can go directly into ensuring that the food I’m buying in for our daily meals is as good as we can afford!!
However, eating is a really social event, and it is nice, when friends are visiting, or there’s a get together that you can go out and still eat within your restrictions. Unfortunately, so far I have found that I tend to get one choice of fish or meat with a plain salad, or a plain portion of vegetables. As I go along with my reintroductions, and my diet 90% of the time is balanced and managing my inflammation, I am sure that I will have to be slightly less restricted in a restaurant, but for now it just isn’t worth it!!
In the meantime, I am going to start a little review of each of the places that I eat out at, looking at their choice, service, and food in general, as it’ll serve as a little reminder for me when it comes to having to pick somewhere to go out for food if the need arises!
Reintroductions
My reintroductions have been slow, and I have intended that because I want to know exactly what I can and can’t eat!! I have also so far only really reintroduced some ‘safe’ foods, with a view to building up my diet to an Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) type diet, trying to follow The Paleo Approach as closely as I can, food sensitivities (if found) allowing. The reason I’m aiming for an AIP diet is because The Paleo Approach book made sense to me, and I do eat meat!! And I like eating meat! A lot of other diets move towards a less ‘meaty’ approach, and I felt, for me, I wanted to try this… if I found that I couldn’t tolerate meat through my Elimination Diet then, of course, I would have addressed this and looked towards getting my nutrients from other sources, but everyone has to have a Plan A!!
So far, meat (grass fed Lamb, and grass fed Beef (as of this weekend), free range chicken, and wild game/duck etc.) has been good… No reactions… YES!! So fingers crossed, I can look to follow an AIP diet fully in time.

Eggs and almonds aren’t really in the AIP remit, but I thought I’d give them a go because of their usefulness in baking, and other cooking… Almonds seem OK (I eat in proportion anyway), eggs however didn’t go so well… but because I was doing a detailed Food diary, I have been able to look at the possibility of other possible reasons for my flare – so I plan on trying again with eggs on a clean day, and if the same reactions occur, then I’ll know!

I had my 30th Birthday in the midst of all this, so I did cheat a little for a few days – keeping within an AIP diet – but I did a bit of baking, and eating out once which meant on that weekend I had lots of new foods, and yes, I did feel a bit rubbish following this weekend… I just don’t know exactly weather it was the flax seeds, or honey, maple syrup in the baking, the extra sugar from the baking and eating lots of fruits rather than keeping a balance, maybe the yeast in a bullion that made a gravy… or any of the other little things that sneaked in over that weekend.
But all in all, it was nice to relax for a couple of days with my family and by eating clean the following week my fatigue and pain ebbed away quickly. And I think this is important!! It is important to be dedicated to your elimination diet to work out what your triggers are, but it mustn’t take over your life so much that it makes food a misery or a chore! Food is delicious, and especially so when you know it is healing your body!!
I look at reintroductions as an exciting time of the week… it’s a day to find out if there is one more food I can eat!! And it’s like an adventure, a discovery!

Supplements

This is my weakness… I’m only just getting my head around the nutrients that I am trying to balance in my whole foods… let alone where I’m deficient, and what will benefit me in long or short term. This is my next goal… I am going to wait until little junior is out of me though first, because even though I’m sure most supplements would only benefit me and the health of my baby, everything says ‘if you are pregnant or breast feeding please consult with your doctor’… and unfortunately when you do this, they have no idea of any impact on me or my baby… so I’m going to wait. This gives me time to continue with my reintroductions and get to grips with that anyway.
I’m excited about the addition of supplements and how it will be another piece to the puzzle, I think I may need a little extra help however, and I plan to speak to a nutritional naturopath when the time is right for guidance.

Support
I have been really lucky that my other half has been supportive of this adventure of mine… but I guess why wouldn’t he be?! He doesn’t need to help me on and off the settee anymore, or get woken up in the night to help me turn over and sort out the covers! I can come out on the dog walks, and I’m 100% happier, which makes the household a happier healthier place! And I’m doing most of the cooking (I’m going to have to try to train him back up to AIP cooking sooner or later though!!). Plus… He is very into his sport and fitness… and although we ate pretty well before, always eating our 5 a day, minimal bread or pastries, rarely potatoes, with fish a regular part of our diet… we weren’t eating CLEAN! So now we are… he can’t stop looking at the results he is seeing in the mirror… which is a constant source of amusement to me!

On wards and upwards!

Things I can do…!

Here’s a little list of things I can do since changing my diet, that 2-3 weeks ago I couldn’t:

Sleep through (despite being 32 weeks pregnant!)

Roll over in bed without yelping/crying

Pull my own covers over me in the night

Get out of bed on my own without help

Sit onto the toilet without ‘dropping’ onto it or using the radiator and bath either side to lower myself

Squeeze toothpaste onto my brush

Stand for the whole time I brush my teeth

Put on my own socks – quickly!!

Do up buttons and zips

Pull up own trousers… Even maternity ones

Put up my own hair

Walk down stairs one foot In front of the other without using the banister

Make breakfast including lifting pans

Open some jars and bottles

Empty the dishwasher

Squeeze pegs enough to hang out the washing

Walk without a waddle or a limp (despite being 32weeks!!)

Walk dogs (2 big ones at that) about 3 miles most days

Get in/out of the car without help

Chop veg, even squash and swede

Spend the day in the Lake District without wanting to go to bed immediately on return home

Mow lawn

Swim 20 lengths plus without repercussions

Get on/off the settee without help, even at the end of the day

Get up stairs one foot in front of the other without the banister

I’m sure there are other little things that I manage and think ‘whoop!!’, but my memory fails me!! I am growing a baby! 🙂

On balance just to add…

I still don’t have any bounce!! So I can’t jog, run up stairs (tried yesterday in a moment of exuberance!), and I can’t squat/crouch, or get on off the floor…. But hey!! I’m working on it!! 😉

Acupuncture… Wish I’d had my tutor as a clinician!

In a previous blog I planned to do a blog about acupuncture and/or hydrotherapy, adding in some research, and I did start looking into the papers… but for some reason my heart just wasn’t in it! And if you have ever tried to read a research paper when your hearts not in it you will know that they are the perfect antidote to insomnia!!

 

So instead I will just give you a run down of my personal experience! I’ll try and give you a brief history of acupuncture first from my notes taken whilst training in acupuncture earlier this year, unfortunately I haven’t really had the opportunity to practice my acupuncture since the course… and you certainly can’t acupuncture yourself effectively!

 

There are two recognised types of acupuncture TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), and the western approach.

TCM is known to stretch back as far as 3000 years, it is a holistic concept of treatment and a recognition that the body has the ability to return to a balanced state of health/repair itself given the correct stimulus. TCM aims to balance ying and yang (two opposing energies), takes into account the 5 elements (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood), and along with assessing the pulse, and tongue (and a few other bits and bobs) TCM practitioners try to gain access to the energy that circulates in the body to restore balance and subsequently healing.

 

However, the NHS can’t really work to those guidelines!!! Western medicine needs evidence based practice, it needs proof that what it delivers is backed by clinical evidence and is cost effective. Practitioners have had a good idea that acupuncture works in certain situations, and therefore it has been dabbled in in western medical literature since the 17th Century, but only really has there been any western systemised clinical trials since 1950… so we are a touch behind the Chinese with this one! Sadly western medicine tends to ignore the wealth of evidence from China, to do it’s own. Evidence has been looking into the science behind how acupuncture works, the science behind pain, and how we can modulate pain, and has yet to look into how acupuncture can be used for asthma, gastric motility, mood, addiction, etc. etc. etc. in any great length.

 

What we do know is that acupuncture can have a strong analgesic effect… I’m not going into the science of pain and how acupuncture effects pain… that is was too much for my baby brain to take at the moment ***

 

Ok… back to my recent experience… As I said there are two approaches, I was trained by a western practicing physiotherapist who happened to be Chinese, and after learning the western way, has been to China to learn the TCM method also… He looks at papers from both sides of the globe for his evidence and teaching, and therefore stepped away from the rigid teachings of some western acupuncture societies to pass on his wealth of knowledge to hopefully produce good practitioners that get results, whilst still are able to backup their practice with evidence.

One of the main aspects of his teaching was that acupuncture needs at least 6 sessions (3 weeks getting treatment twice a week), plus there needs to be progression, so start with 6-10 needles (consider if this is unilateral or bilateral – so may need for example 6 needles per hand if treating hand pain) but increase number of or change points of needles as required, aim for 30 minutes treatment time, and make sure you stimulate the needles initially every 5 minutes until Deqi (energy – generally felt like a numbing heavy sensation – this is the sensation that enables people to undergo surgery with only acupuncture as analgesia!!) is achieved.

This is how both the western and TCM have shown that acupuncture gets results….

 

My acupuncture consisted of (despite my pain being widespread) once a week sessions of 30 minutes for 4 weeks, two needles in each wrist (this didn’t vary or change at all despite little help from the first couple of sessions), stimulated once per session, with no Deqi achieved, and a huge amount of discomfort 1) in the positioning of myself – have you ever tried to sit in one position for 30 minutes without moving an inch because you have needles sticking into your very sensitive skin, and 2) in the needle sites them selves as they were in so shallowly that they waved around in the breeze from an open window.

Acupuncture, although not a painless procedure – someone is sticking needles into you – is on the whole a very comfortable treatment. Most of your bodies pain receptors are in your skin, once the needle has passes through these into the tissues below there is very little to be felt. Acupuncture needles are sooooo much thinner than when you get an injection, and therefore are far less painful than any injection…. unless they are left in the superficial layers of the skin!!!

 

So all in all… I’m afraid despite how lovely my clinician was, my acupuncture was a huge failure, however this lady wasn’t used to treating ladies with RA, she’s used to treating pregnant ladies with low back pain and pelvic pain, and all the girls at hydro that I spoke to that were getting acupuncture for their pain were getting great relief, therefore I feel it was probably a lack of experience of treating other areas of the body!!!

I think probably my background knowledge also put me at a disadvantage as I was sitting there thinking… ‘this isn’t enough needles, there are better points around the hand and arm that could be used, the needles aren’t in enough, they haven’t been stimulated enough, I’m not getting that nice warm heavy numbing sensation’.

As they say, ‘if you believe something is going to work it probably will…. if you don’t believe in it it probably wont!’. I do believe in the benefit of acupuncture, wholeheartedly, just not my recent exposure to it!!

 

So, my advice to anyone who is considering acupuncture for RA… I’m sure it has it’s uses, but if your looking for a practitioner do your research!! Either TCM or Western I believe both have value, I think it is more important the level of experience that that practitioner has in treating YOUR condition or problem! Ask them how many people have they treated with these problems, what is their success rate, ideally get some recommendations from people who have been to them before, and check out their registration to professional bodies – anyone can do a couple of weeks course and pop a certificate up on their wall, but if they are registered with a professional body then they will be regulated!!

 

*** Pain is a really fascinating thing, and how the body and brain connect to signal pain or block pain is very interesting, so if you ever decide to look into it, there are thousands of books and websites and papers that go into it in varying amounts of detail!! Just be prepared to get your thinking cap on and give yourself plenty of time!

Calling all Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Sufferers (or anyone else thats interested!)

See the flyer below for the Shine On, Raynaud’s and Scleroderma, RSA’s 2014 Annual Conference being held at The Mercure, Abbots Well Hotel in Chester on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th September:

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And if you are interested, here’s the conference booking form:

Conf Booking 2014 FINAL-2

You have got until August 29th to book your place.

If anyone does go, let me know what you thought!!

Embracing Research

One of my aims when starting out on this blog was to provide information regarding research into Rheumatoid Arthritis, and other related topics, and to encourage more participation in research. Plus help broaden my own and others knowledge on the subject of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

My rheumatologist is based in Leeds, at Chapel Allerton Hospital. They do a huge amount of research, and my initial experience of Enbral (Etanercept) was through a research study they were conducting at the time (EMPIRE study). The research arm of the hospital is the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit (LMBRU), and they have Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) groups meetings every two months or so. Go and have a look at their page, and check out their Useful Links for Patients.

Their next ‘Ask The Researcher’ PPI meeting will be held on Tuesday 12th November at 1 pm on Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis  presented by Dr Sarah Mackie and ‘ An Update on Scleroderma’ presented by Dr Francesco Del Galdo.

I personally don’t live particularly near Leeds (about a 2 hour drive!), and whilst I’ve been at work I have been unable to attend any of the meetings, but this is something I hope to change now I have a little more time on my hands… unfortunately it’ll be unlikely that I’ll be able to attend the above meeting as my due date is the 8th November!! I know many of you will also not be physically able to get to Leeds, UK, for these types of meetings however, my aim is to bring attention to this sort of thing happening, and that it may be going on at your hospitals too, so keep an eye out!!

And in the meantime, I will do my best to bring you any useful snippets from any meetings/groups etc. I get to attend!!