Even Supergirl needs to pace herself

Sometimes I forget about Arthur.

I don’t mean I ignore him or pretend he’s not there, because I do that most of the time, anyway.

I mean I actually forget I have rheumatoid arthritis.

Sometimes I’m enjoying myself so much or I’m so motivated to get stuff done that I forget my strength and stamina aren’t that of an Arthur-less person.

I throw caution to the winds.

I’m like Supergirl: able to lift a bus with one finger while leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

Take last Saturday, for example, I was up at 7.30am after a late night socialising and by the time I got to my PT session at 9.30am had done two loads of washing, stripped the bed, tidied up and written the grocery list.

After some strenuous PT, I traipsed around two shopping centres for three hours searching for cushions to zhoozh up my lounge suite and for food for the week.

Back home, I had lunch while unpacking the groceries, and doing another two loads of washing and hanging it out to dry.

Then I spent two hours weeding, re-potting some herbs and watering the garden.

Did I do the sensible thing and use my padded kneeboard to kneel down instead of bending over while re-potting, or the digging tool to prise free the pesky nut grass roots instead of straining my poor fingers?

No.

Did I go to bed early to rest my weary bones after all this frenetic activity?

No.

Instead, after making dinner and my bed, I sat on my new lounge cushions watching telly until late.

So yesterday I felt like a beach ball that’d been run over by a dune buggy – flat and no bounce.

But that’s OK.

Every now and again I need to be reminded that even Supergirl hits the wall when exposed to kryptonite.

So while my kryptonite, a.k.a. Arthur, shouldn’t stop me living life, I need to remember not to overdo it, listen to my body, pace myself and rest if I must.

Food for thought

I’ve spent many a lunch break sitting on a shady bench in the city gardens, gobbling my sandwich and, at the same time, frantically flapping my arms, shooing predatory wildlife.

Ibis, ducks and water dragons may look harmless and non-threatening but are quite intimidating when on a mission for picnic food.

I admit to jumping in fright when the water dragon I was ignoring at my feet growled like a petulant Chihuahua seeking attention.

I don’t think my scurrying to another picnic bench to finish my ham and salad sanger was quite what the dragon had in mind but I had its best interests at heart.

I’m pretty sure processed bread, cheese and meat, and salad vegies are not the best diet for critters that usually eat small insects.

Just like I probably shouldn’t eat a packet of Tim Tams or a sticky date pudding for dinner when I should make sure my diet is nutritious and balanced.

Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it’s doubly important to maintain a healthy weight because being overweight puts excess strain on dodgy joints.

But I figure if I stick to the program on weekdays and eat low-fat, high-fibre food, including green vegetables and fish, and do some exercise, I’m allowed a blow out occasionally.

People often ask if Arthur and I are on a special diet.

Many people have heard that avoiding eating acidic foods such as tomatoes and oranges prevents aches and pains.

Luckily for me, because tomatoes and citrus fruit are staples of my diet, this is an old wives’ tale.

While there’s no proof that any particular diet reduces the pain or symptoms of RA, everyone is different and a food that doesn’t affect me may make someone else feel blah.

So it’s important to do some research – check our Resources section for links to useful websites, ask Mr Google or consult a dietician – and use trial and error to determine what works for you.

I find eating in moderation, aiming for a nutritious diet, exercising and trying not to feel guilty about an occasional blow out helps keep my weight and outlook in the healthy range.