A Fitbit For Someone With RA & Fibromyalgia:Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha!



It seems that everyone and their grandmother has a Fitbit or something comparable to track their steps, calories in, calories out, exercise, weight gained, weight lost and even sleep. I am frankly surprised it does not include tracking your bowel movements or the color of your urine since I hear you are supposed to drink at least 950 ounces of water per day.  Maybe they are working on that feature (can the Apple Watch do that?)

So when Mr. B mentioned to me that they were giving them out at his work to their employees and asked me if I wanted one, I laughed.  Seriously?


I then pictured myself wearing one of the fancy ones I have seen online and figured, why not.  Except that Mr. B could only get us the plain black flex bracelets and I’m not paying for some fancy cover.

He has since programmed his Fitbit to track his easy-peasy  10,000 steps per day (which he exceeds daily, even though he sits in an office all day.)  Apparently, the Fitbit vibrates when you have reached your goal (dammit, mine will never vibrate) and from what I can see,  he is enjoying this feature.  I am actually happy for him except that I will flush that thing down the toilet if I see that he starts weighing less than me.  

I decided to put mine on and sync it to my online account I had created, even though I honestly saw no point.   After all, I am horizontal for at least 50% of my day, I am fatigued 98% of the time, my feet hurt even when I am not on them, my wrists don’t like to bend and even my hair hurts.

So, what the hell am I supposed to be tracking?  I know I can break the record for hours slept per day, but really.

I imagine the tracking of a typical day in the life of brickhousechick,  looking something like this:

1.  Get my body out of bed (at noon), go to the bathroom and return to bed:


Sleep tracked: 15 hours

Steps Taken: 10

Calories out: 5 (it’s hard work to fall)


2.  Once back in bed, I try to reach the remote so that I can watch TV:



Activity tracked: reaching

More activity tracked: lifting my head

Pain to my neck, fingers and wrists:  100

Sleep needed after exertion:  6 hours


3.  Get myself something to eat:



Activity tracked: opening the fridge

Activity tracked: pushing the start button on microwave

Steps Taken: 12

Tears shed: 26

Calories in:  2500

Calories out: 2

cooperativeindependentliving.  com


Activity tracked:  operating grabber

Calories out: -5


4.  At some point in the day I should shower:



Activity tracked:  step into shower

Activity tracked:  turn on shower

Activity tracked:  apply shampoo & conditioner

Steps taken: 4

Calories out: 2

Gallons of water used:  50 gallons x 30 days = 1500 gallons, 25 gallons x 30 days =750 gallons, which is a 750 gallons of water per month x 65 gallons per rinse per hour….


5.  When I have to, I go shopping:



 On bad days, I use a mobility cart.



Unknown children like to hang on



Sometimes, I flirt with meet others

Activity tracked:  turning ignition on scooter

Activity tracked:  putting the scooter on reverse and hearing loud beeps

Activity tracked: placing items in too small of a basket

Calories out:  7

Calories in:  500 (from free samples)

Humiliation: SUPER HIGH

Hearing Loss from Beeps:  Mucho


6.  My final and favorite activity of the day:





Activity tracked: lifting glass

Activity tracked: swallowing 

Antioxidants consumed: a ton

Hearts helped: 1

Happiness felt: limitless

Pain relieved: ALL


PS.   “There is some evidence that orgasms can relieve all kinds of pain — including pain from arthritis, The Huffington Post.  

FYI: The Fitbit tracks all activity.

How is your Fitbit treating you?

I’ve Been Robbed: Living With A Chronic Illness



I’ve been robbed.

Multiple times.

And the suspects are at it again.

Missing, are my hours, my days, my being, my joy…and my life.  Each time, they strip away another piece of me, chipping away at my existence until all that is left is a broken, dark and useless me.

They break in and penetrate right through my brick exterior.  Nothing can shield me, nothing can stop them.  Some measures slow them down and put up a good fight but usually prove to be no match to their destruction.

I know their names.  I’ve stared them right in the face.  I have even punched a few of them right in the gut.  They just laugh and shake their heads at me.  They are truly in control.

They belong to a very active gang worldwide.  There is a branch of the gang right in my very  neighborhood.  It’s a family, bound by a common desire to destroy.  Attached to one another and knowing full well what they are capable of, collectively.

The leader of the gang is, Mr. Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA, as they call him in the streets.  He is the mastermind behind this brilliant force.  Ruthless.  What he says – goes.  Barking orders to the worker bees in the gang and mapping out the details of each attack on the intended targets.  He has personally marred my body.  Attacked my joints and left some disfigured.  His latest focus is my neck.

Second in command is, Fatigue.  A repulsive fellow who won’t leave my side.  Every once in a while he sneaks out to get some fresh air or to attend the gang’s ‘strategy’ meetings, but he’s on me the rest of the time.  He is responsible for my uselessness.  Only allowing me to perform a few activities in a day.  Robbing me of a chance at a job, participating in my kid’s activities, enjoying the outdoors with my husband and making me unavailable to attend to my family’s needs.

Fatigue oftentimes prevents my kids from coming to me when they need help with homework, projects, a trip to the mall or just to talk.  He barricades me in my bed and makes me sleep for hours at a time.  Like a rag doll, I am lifelessly wasting away to nothing.

He has invaded my brain, making it difficult to rely on my memory, recall words, make decisions and react sharply to situations.  He holds the remote control responsible for my functioning and oftentimes, sets it on MUTE.

Depression, though not as powerful as his peers, is not far behind.  I don’t let his deadly silence fool me.  He creeps in slowly and soon becomes my strongest voice.  He reminds me of my misery that exists.  He forces me to compare my life to others’ and points out the unfairness of it all.  He uses his full force to pull me down, to see the hopelessness around me and to prevent me from fighting the battle.   In fact, he is with me now.  Made himself right at home and is showing no signs of venturing out in this cold (and who can blame him.)

This is my life.

Oh sure, there are many things I am grateful for and wouldn’t change for the world, but underneath that smile and positivity lies, reality.

Now, please don’t feel a need to call the police, alert the authorities or come to my rescue.  Though I appreciate your efforts greatly, I will somehow, survive.

 I have to.  

I always do.  

It’s daunting and exhausting, but survival is possible.

I will continue to fight my hardest, so I can one day be in full control of my own remote.  One in which the settings are permanently set at, POWER, PLAY and HIGH DEFINITION and one that will never be robbed from me.


“Blogging Idol” Contest Entry/My Eulogy, Written by My Killer

The funny and talented, Don from 


who has by the way, won many contests – no fair – encouraged his followers to enter this “Blogger Idol” contest of the week, just for the heck of it.  This week’s challenge is, “Write your own eulogy” on, http://blogger-idol.com/category/writing-prompts-2/.

I thought to myself, why the heck not enter? Contestants are to post the entry on their own blogs and then on the blogger idol site. 

I decided to write my eulogy from the words of my killer:  

My Eulogy

morguefile photo

morguefile photo

As her killer, I would like to talk about Maria and her short time on this earth.  I did not have the privilege of attacking her when she was a child, but based on what she was like when I met her, she must have been an inquisitive, brave, kind and stubborn little girl.

 She did not see me coming, but boy was she a fighter from day one.  She boldly rejected the moves I was making on her.  I of course, like a challenge, so her indifference and disdain for me made me want her more.  She was angry with me; they all are.  But you see, Maria’s loved ones, that is what I do best.  I assault innocent, often young and healthy people and destroy their bodies and their lives.  I am unstoppable and have no predator to fear.  There are some attempts at slowing me down, but there is no cure for what I am and what I do. 

I have fond memories of the first time I attacked Maria.  She was in her mid 20s, full of life and working downtown Boston, at the time.  My M.O is always to start slow so as to confuse my victims and make them believe something else is responsible for their pain.  She was engaged to be married to her now grieving husband, whom I would like to take a minute to address.

 “Maria’s husband, I am not sorry for your terrible loss.  You tried to help her fight me but neither of you were even close to being a match for my ruthless, destructive, damaging and crippling qualities.”

 Going back to the first time I attacked her.  I started off by making her feel intense fatigue.  The type of fatigue that is debilitating.  She was having difficulty working and living her active life.  Then, I moved on to her platelets.  I destroyed those babies pretty badly.  It was great!   She ended up needing a splenectomy (for those of you who do not know what that is, it is the surgical removal of your spleen which then makes you more compromised and susceptible to illnesses and a couple of steps closer to death.)

 Things only got worse from there, as you know.  You were all there for her.  Bringing her meals, taking her to doctor’s appointments, giving her chemotherapy in hopes that I would just die.  But I did not.  She did. 

At the tender age of 50, her body could no longer fight me.  Her joints were all damaged and I was deeply embedded in her internal organs.  I was creating deadly inflammation and compromising her immune system ‘till the very end.

 I know you are all saddened by her absence and you wish this was only a dream, but my dear friends, you must face the facts.  Maria is gone and is not coming back.

 God Bless.

By the way, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Rheumatoid Arthritis.

A Devil Named ED



Many men and women in this world know who ED is.  He is present is so many people’s lives.  He is relentless and evil.  He wants to take full control of your life.  He alienates you from your loved ones and friends.  He wants you to be lonely so that you are loyal to him and only him.

He wants you to stay home.  To eat the same things (if anything) and to maintain the routine that he sets for you.  He talks to you throughout the day to make sure you are obeying.  He wants you to leave your friends, school and work.  He is secretive about it and very condescending.  

He tells you that you are worthless.  Fat.  Ugly.  That you have no power over your life.  He then takes control and convinces you that he is the key to your happiness.  The one to listen to and the one to worship.  You become a victim of his lies and manipulation and can’t get him out of your life.  You are helpless, miserable and scared.  And it now becomes a matter of life or death.

  • It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder (ED) – seven million women and one million men
  • One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
  • Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
  • Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)
  • An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males


  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
  • A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems


  • Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment
  • About 80% of the girls/women who have accessed care for their eating disorders do not get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery – they are often sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay
  • Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from $500 per day to $2,000 per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment is $30,000. It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders
  • The cost of outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can extend to $100,000 or more


  • Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
  • 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
  • 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight
  • 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight


  • Rates of minorities with eating disorders are similar to those of white women
  • 74% of American Indian girls reported dieting and purging with diet pills
  • Essence magazine, in 1994, reported that 53.5% of their respondents, African-American females were at risk of an eating disorder
  • Eating disorders are one of the most common psychological problems facing young women in Japan.


Paula Abdul
Justine Batemen
Karen Carpenter
Nadia Comaneci
Susan Dey
Jane Fonda
Tracey Gold
Elton John
If you know someone suffering from an eating disorder, please do everything possible and urge them to get help.  Getting help will make a difference.
I know of too many loved ones who are suffering everyday and I pray for them and their families that they can be helped and able to live successful healthy lives.
You will beat this. 

The Swim to My 50s – My Husband’s Other Woman


Courtesy of glamour.com

I am not jealous, really, I’m not.  It may sound like I am by my actions and words but I am not one bit worried, threatened or envious of… her.

I have never met her.  I have a picture in my head of what she looks like based on his description of her.  She is apparently very fit, has strong muscly legs, has short brown hair, brown eyes (hmm..he’s always loved my eyes…), and is between 25 and 30 years of age, he thinks.

He insists that she is not a natural beauty but when asked if traffic would come to a halt if she were crossing the road, he said…probably.

Probably?  But honey, you have nothing to worry about, trust me. 

I trust you, but must she rule our lives?

He has been seeing her for about a month now.  It feels more like years.  Her name is….Marit.  It is very difficult for me to say her name and even harder to hear him say it, over and over again.

Him – Honey, don’t serve me any legumes for dinner, Marit said to stay   away from legumes.

Me –  What’s so bad about legumes?  They are a great source of protein and besides, you don’t need to lose any more weight because if you keep losing, you will weigh less than me and that = divorce, remember?

Him – Marit says I should avoid them for now.

MeI guess if Marit says to avoid them, we should obey Marit…


Courtesy of belgraviacentre.com

Next Day:

Him – Marit says I am in pretty good shape for someone who has not worked out in a long time.  She has me doing push ups and stretches.  She really knows her stuff.

Me – That’s great honey, I am glad that you are feeling good and motivated to get in shape.  By the way, can you pass me the cookies in the cabinet?

Him – Speaking of sugar, Marit said that the greek yogurt I bought last week has way too much sugar.  You can have them all.  Marit said I should eat avocados, can you pick some up tomorrow?  Hey, before you eat your cookies, come take a look at my “guns”.  I’m getting stronger by the day.  Marit said we are going to work on building muscle. 

Me – Good, hon.  Wow, yes, look at those guns!  Good for you.


It’s not that I do not want him to look good and to feel good about himself, of course I do.  He turned 50 last year and is at a whopping 165 pounds (same weight as he was in high school, mind you).  It’s just that I like my man a little… meatier.  

He is quite handsome and gets my juices flowing, but…how will he carry me out in the event of a fire?  How will he protect me from any black bears that appear in our path when hiking (even though I don’t ever go hiking with him)?

Him – Marit is down on cereal so don’t buy any more.  She wants me to have eggs instead.  Marit is down on carbs altogether.  Do you know how quickly they convert to fat?  She is suggesting I have fish 3 times a week and all the vegetables I want.  You can forget about pizza.  Marit says it’s not worth interrupting the program for.  And, nuts.  I can have lot’s of nuts.  I’m going to have to cut down on the beer and the diet soda also.

Me – But, you barely eat now!  If you cut all carbs from your diet you will lose even more weight, not to mention how cranky you will be and how not fun you will be when we go out to dinner! I am sure you can get away with eating carbs in moderation, right?

Him – Marit says I don’t need them.  Protein, fruit and veggies are it!  Oh, and butter.  For some reason she says I can have real butter, not the fake stuff.  I think she also wants me to have whole milk.  Marit says you get used to the whole milk after a while.

Me – Honey, I am really worried that you are going to wither away.  People will be asking me how many months you have left to live.  Honestly, I am all for this and am happy for you but you don’t need to lose any more weight.  Can’t you just work on bulking up (pretty please?).

HimI have not felt this good in years.  I am very excited about working with Marit and besides, I’ve got these love handles I have to get rid of.  Marit wants me to keep a journal of everything I eat and I have to show it to her.  Do you think you could buy the items off this list Marit gave me?  I appreciate it hon.  I Love you.

$323.00 later, our fridge and cabinets are filled with lot’s of protein, real butter, whole milk, veggies, fruit, nuts, avocados, fish and NO bread in sight.  I did buy some dark chocolate almonds and a box of cookies for me him, in case he comes to his senses one night and has to have sugar.

Him Thanks so much for this delicious wild salmon you made tonight.  And the salad was loaded with protein and veggies.  I really appreciate you doing this even though I know you get too tired to cook and your wrists hurt from cutting and slicing.   What are you handing me?

Me – It’s just the grocery bill.  I thought you could give it to Marit the next time you see her so she can pay it. 


The Swim to My 50s – Take THAT, Bully!


I hate bullies.  They can be so cruel and evil and make your life hell. The sad truth is that even at almost 50 years of age, I am bullied almost every day.  Wether I step out of my house or not, the Bully is present.  He lives with me and will not leave me alone!  I have complained to the authorities but there is nothing anyone can do to make him leave me, once and for all!

I am not alone, though.  Many people (too many), live with an autoimmune disease where your own body attacks itself!  Imagine that?  You are going happily along living your life, relying on your presumed healthy immune system to attack any foreign and damaging intruders, when suddenly and often without warning, the rules of the game change!    Somewhere along the way, your body gets very confused (WTF?) and decides that you are the enemy.  It even goes into overdrive and attacks you with a vengeance!  Such betrayal… 

I have introduced my own personal Bully (Rheumatoid Arthritis), to readers of this blog in earlier posts.   I don’t let him intrude or influence my outlook on life very often except when he reminds me that he is in control!  Grrrrr!

The good news is that some days, he does not bother me as much as other days. Don’t know if he’s distracted or maybe hung over from previous attacks, but you can imagine the happiness I feel on those occasions!  Sometimes, it’s more of a tease because I falsely believe that I am cured and that my diagnosis is just one big mistake. But soon enough, he wakes up, shakes his head at me and resumes his attacks.

Yesterday began as a tough day.  My wrists, hands, fingers and knuckles were complaining.  Maybe, I’ve been writing on my blog too often and my joints are not very happy about it.  Or, maybe my Bully prefers I stay in bed and do nothing, as he often does. But, I did not let him win.

I decided to take a walk with my 17-year-old daughter who stayed home from school.  It was my suggestion.  The day was too gorgeous and warm not to enjoy.  I figured, my hands were hurting, but not my feet!  

It was a wonderful walk.  Every single step I took (and there were many) meant the world to me.  I never take walking for granted, but instead, see it as an incredible gift.  And, to be able to do it with my daughter, even more precious!  Take THAT, Bully!

I know that during the next couple of days, I will be hurting.  I know that I overdid it yesterday.  But, do I regret it?  NO WAY!!  I will deal with my aching body as I always do, but my mind and spirit feel only joy.