#EmpathyDay, Listening, and Honest Conversations

June 12th was Empathy Day, organized by Empathy Lab, a UK-based group that encourages people to read, share, and do in order to “put empathy into action and make a difference in your community.” In that spirit, today’s One-on-Won blog is a departure from the norm. Rather than Dr. Mary Ann being the interviewer, today she is the interviewee and will be speaking with her daughter Tori Wilmarth.

Have You Ever Lost Your Voice?

Every View Has It's Unique Beauty

Every View Has It’s Unique Beauty

Cure Arthritis Bracelet @CureArthritis has a Voice

as Each One Travels around the World. Here it is at

Capitol Reef National Park in Utah; Currently very dry

like those with Sjogren’s Syndrome can be too.


Have You Ever Lost Your Voice?


Do you remember growing up as a child and being anxious to find “your voice”? Or maybe taking time to make sure that it would be the right one or a voice that truly represents who you are both on the inside and the out. I do. I won’t state my age, but let’s just say that the phrase “children should be seen and not heard” was popular at the time. Add a dozen years of Catholic education before college and graduate school and you can imagine how distressed I was when I literally started to lose my voice several years ago. With more than 30 years of listening and talking with patients, teaching, working with clients and students, giving presentations, running businesses, raising 3 children, volunteering, and living, it was a shock to actually start losing my voice.


Being the busy, Type-A woman, self-starter and solver, detective, healthcare provider, Everything-to-Everyone (but often with myself as low priority)…I started to put solutions into place for what appeared to be significant dryness. Number 1 was to increase hydration all day and night, especially since it was so dry inside. In addition, due to necessity I modified my speaking almost immediately. I could get work done, but it did not feel that it was the same. Thus, now both my literal and figurative voices were both being affected. This was definitely more cause for concern.


In addition, I paid attention to the following 5 items:

  • Increased water intake
  • Ate more foods that were easier to swallow
  • Checked current medicines to see that they were not adding dehydration
  • Already avoided alcohol which is dehydrating (lack of sleep was enough of a hangover effect for me!)
  • *Drank and still drink coffee! *This is my vice, but I try to be more mindful with my consumption and with water intake around caffeine intake.

There was more to do, but this is what I initially started with when I barely had time to function. My biggest goal along with water was sleep.


At the time I knew that I was tired, overworked, stressed, sleep deprived, coming off another inflammatory illness and doing too much because I was not completely in charge of my schedule, and more.  I was familiar with Sjogren’s Syndrome from my education and clinical practice. More recently I became reintroduced to it through Venus Williams since I have been avidly involved with tennis. Venus struggled with Sjogren’s[1] for years before being diagnosed. This July she was in the Ladies Single Championships at Wimbledon. Like all with Sjogren’s it is a daily process and is unique to each person. There are similar symptoms, however, the progression and how you respond depends on many factors. And that is what determines your individual journey.


Back to The Voice, not The Voice, but the voice for me. Don’t mess with my ‘Voice as a Woman’ or my ‘Professional Voice’, yes, one in the same! I have worked long, hard and effectively, but more importantly, put my heart, soul and passion into my ‘Voice’.

I have spent my entire career dealing with Plans B-C-D… due to Osteoarthritis and other issues. Thus, for better or worse you could say that I am familiar with change management. I don’t think that anyone is completely comfortable at first with health illnesses that initially seem to do nothing but take away from our life. But there is always another side to it all.


I do have to say for me that it did get worse because I did not pay enough attention to me. I was still trying to care for others as well. You have to “fill your own cup first” before you can optimally assist others. And in this case, literally keeping my cup filled with water continues to be top priority. I guard it even more than my coffee because I cannot have a conversation without it. Next were my hands, I could no longer make hand splints, ironically, and simultaneously my feet became affected, as well as other systemic problems top to bottom.


As many of you know, when you are not working or doing your usual job, your voice will of course be different. Whether you loved your work or not, it is a major change for your mind, emotions, and body itself: some for the better maybe, others possibly not.

What about your voice as a patient? How is that for you? Many people have “white coat syndrome” where they get nervous, their blood pressure goes up, and they are afraid to talk to their healthcare providers. However, often they will then idolize their providers and take everything they say as gospel. This is more my parents’ generation (except for me – even with my white coat I’m still a child in their eyes J). Honestly, I like wearing the white coats for the pockets, but they tend to get hot: my personal opinion. This is one reason they are worn, among others.


If you have dry mouth do not ignore it. A lot goes on in that area of the body and you can develop infections and gums and teeth can deteriorate quickly. Plus, you do not want to possibly lose you voice, whether literal or figuratively, Do You? When you are losing your actual voice due to the dryness of Sjogren’s Syndrome, or for any other reason, it becomes more challenging to keep your figurative voice. And that is something we all hold near and dear to our heart and soul!


My final thoughts:

  • Sip some water –Like I do “All day, All night Mary Ann…Down by the seaside sifting sand.” (The Brothers Four – Calypso Music)
  • If you want a simple exercise to relax the jaw –Send an email to: or Complete the contact form on this website.



Love in Wellness,


Dr. Mary Ann




1 Sjögren’s (“SHOW-grins”) is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. Along with symptoms of extensive dryness, other serious complications include profound fatigue, chronic pain, major organ involvement, neuropathies and lymphomas. Although many patients experience dry eyesdry mouth, fatigue and joint pain, Sjögren’s also cause dysfunction of organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients also have a higher risk of developing lymphoma. With upwards of 4,000,000 Americans suffering from Sjögren’s, it is one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases. About half of the time Sjögren’s occurs alone, and the other half it occurs in the presence of another autoimmune connective tissue disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.


Sunset: The sun has finally set & so must I … for today

These gorgeous
other worldly
ever-changing, enigmatic, embracing,

sometimes spiritual,

always beautiful

whether in gentleness
or powerful storms…

Skies do not disappoint
Each evening for sunset
Or morning for sunrise
Giving strength and
Courage to those who need it.

Quiet contemplation for many
A brief respite

for those with insomnia or painsomnia.
A picture of beauty and joy

to hold in your head
During those more difficult times.
And the fabulous part is-
You can find a new one each day
Morning and evening
Should you choose.

Sincere thanks sunset
And sunrise
Such pleasure for my eyes
And all senses

MAWilmarth (c) 2017


Dr.Mary Ann Wilmarth

Twitter @Back2BackPT

Instagram @docmaw_co


I’m Late, I’m Late For a Very Important Date: Life…ChronicLife


I am Me.

Me I Am.

But who is that.

With my many illnesses worn like a hat.


I do not like that Me I Am.

Or do I? Should I?

Me I Am…

Who am I now?

Am I the same me?

With my diagnoses

And all that

Piled up on my head

Like The Cat in the Hat.


Oh, I used to have

So many different hats

to wear

All in a day’s time

With vigor and flare.


I think like I’m me

But I move like I’m not.

Just how do I function

In this world, in my spot?


I do hope that I am in

What’s called a flare.

Quite different from

The one mentioned up there!


With exercise routines

Nutrition and walks

Neverending meds


And the lots.


There is little time left in a day!


I do not like that I am late.

I do not like it here nor there.

I do not like it anywhere.


I don’t like being unreliable or tardy.

I don’t like that my type-A

Is now Zebra or Zardy.


The comments, the questions

The stares, the looks.

There is no way to know

Not from looking or books.


I am Me – Me I Am!

This is the best version of Me

You will find

On any given minute

day or time.


Make no mistake

I am quite aware –

Things they do change

And I work to keep up.

I do care.


ChronicLife is rough!

There’s more than meets the eye

However, I too am tough.


But each day

I wonder…

Is it enough?


I am Me – Me am I!

Chronic or not

This is what I’ve got.


I am Me – Me am I.

I can accept that❣

Can you?


MAWilmarth (c) 2017


Dr.Mary Ann Wilmarth

Twitter @Back2BackPT

Instagram @docmaw_co



So, the next time I am dragging myself to 1 of my many appointments, alone, or someone else is doing the same…

Please pause, take a moment, and think…That could be me, my mother, daughter, father, brother, or friend…

Think how would you want them to be treated? It’s as simple as that.

And called ‘The Golden Rule’**

My children & I, no matter what age, Do our best to follow it.

Be wise & Be sage!




Joint Replacement Roundtable
Thursday, Feb. 23

Looking forward to the Boston-area Joint Replacement Roundtable on February 23rd! Thanks to Creaky Joints, Arthritis Power, and Rand Corporation for hosting.

You can also contact Dr. Mary Ann Wilmarth to discuss further or if you have any questions. It’s a great opportunity to talk about your experiences. And it will help patients going forward—a win-win!

Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge – #HAWMC by DocMAW


WEGO Health


Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge



The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Starts November 1st – That woul be HAWMC. Yes, another acronym that I will learn. Thus far, I have said WOMAC more often than the correct acronym, #HAWMC. This may give you some insight into where I am coming from though. The WOMAC* is a self-administered instrument or questionnaire for patients regarding knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA). Since I have spent over 30 years as a physical therapist working with people who have such arthritis and have had this OA myself, it comes naturally to mind & off my lips. However, after a day or so HAWMC will be second nature for me, just as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, migraines, collagenous colitis, and all the other diagnoses are as well.


I spent my entire professional life with the chronic pain of OA & several other issues as well. My focus was always on my clients, my children, my family, my students, & if there was anything leftover, maybe me. I did not always take optimal care of myself first because I was too busy taking care of everyone else. You can only do that for so long. I had a plan to change gears once my youngest finished college, but life got in the way or rather, my health had other plans. A number of years ago, after feeling terrible for some time, my body had enough. That’s when the autoimmune diseases started for me. It has been a difficult road with more questions than answers much of the time.

**You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.


**The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. Plutarch



The "Not-so-Highs"
The “Not-so-Highs” during special Infusions. I think I was smiling… because I felt like a ‘fashionista’!!

Since I am a healthcare provider, I know what questions to ask & how to advocate for myself, although it is always difficult when you are not feeling well.

**Try to bring someone with you at your appointments

for support & reinforcement regarding what was communicated.


My plans had been to focus on my private practice Back2BackPT, treating clients, writing books, &doing presentations. However, because my hands, the tools of my trade, were significantly effected, I decided that my focus would be on advocating for all patients with arthritis, chronic illnesses, chronic pain, & those in need of an advocate.

**As both a healthcare provider & a patient with chronic illnesses,

I would be a perfect candidate as an advocate

who could segue the chasm that often exists between the two

with inadequate communication at best.


**You can read more about my condition at




I have always been very active in a variety of organizations and causes. When my children were growing up that meant their schools, sports clubs, especially tennis, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, homeless shelters, food & clothing drives, animal shelters, and more.


I have been & remain involved with the following:


American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

I am a member of their Media Corps.




Since my new chronic life I have been more specifically focused with the following:

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)


The most active 'high' literally & figuratively to date! Paying for it with extra ice etc, but worth it:-)
The most active ‘high’ literally & figuratively to date! Paying for it with extra ice etc, but worth it:-)

Arthritis Foundation


Creaky Joints


#Joint Decisions


Arthritis National Research Foundation

@Cure Arthritis

American College of Rheumatology






…& more

& counting…


I found out about HAWMC last minute, which seems to be the way for me these days.

Welcome to Day 1 of #HAWMC
Welcome to Day 1 of #HAWMC

However, I prefer to see it as

“How fortunate that I have the opportunity to participate!”


I am not one to pass up great opportunities, even when I am the hare of

The Tortoise & The Hare (one of my upcoming Blogs)

especially since being part of the chronic life & for me the chronically late.

Do you know what I mean?


I went from being pretty fast even with chronic OA (I knew how to work around it)

to beeeiiiinnnggg ooohhh ssoooo ssslllooowwww

It is frustrating at best for all involved – Right?!


I was planning to start new renewed writing & blogging on November 1st

& the Law of Attraction brought me to HAWMC. Thus, it is meant to be.

**I look forward to getting to know y’all


vice versa over the next month and longer.


I do have a significant amount of trouble with both hands right now. I was at the doctor’s on Halloween where I had injections in each thumb. In addition, I do need total joint replacements. However, for now I’ll just ‘put it on the list’! We start from the bottom up and my left knee has first dibsJ But what that means is that I will use:

Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram


To communicate for the 30 days since my hands are often in charge of what and when I can do things, even with dictating.

**Onward to a FABULOUS 30-days HAWMC


Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge



DocMAW / Mary Ann


Dr. Mary Ann Wilmarth



Optimizing function via body balance & exercise.




*WOMAC® 3.1 Index

Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis Index

Since its development in 1982, the WOMAC® Index has undergone several revisions and modifications. The Index is self-administered and assesses the three dimensions of pain, disability and joint stiffness in knee and hip osteoarthritis using a battery of 24 questions. The latest version of the instrument (WOMAC® 3.1) is available in over 100 alternate language forms, and in many languages is available in 5-point Likert, 100mm Visual Analogue and 11-box Numerical Rating Scale formats. The WOMAC® 3.1 has been linguistically validated and is widely used in the evaluation of knee and hip osteoarthritis. It is a valid, reliable and responsive measure of outcome, and has been used in diverse clinical and interventional environments. The index has been subject to numerous validation studies, which have addressed specific clinimetric issues.


MA and RA and her Multi-Colored Slippers in the Topsy Turvy Land of Awes

We’re Off to See the Wizard

Carrie St. Louis "Glinda", Mary Ann Wilmarth, Tori Wilmarth at Wicked, The Musical
Carrie St. Louis “Glinda”, Mary Ann Wilmarth, Tori Wilmarth at Wicked, The Musical

Follow the yellow brick road,
Follow the yellow brick road,
Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road.
Follow the rainbow over the stream,
Follow the fellow who follows a dream,
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the yellow brick road.
We’re off to see the Wizard,
The wonderful Wizard of Oz.
We hear he is a whiz of a Wiz if ever a Wiz there was.
If ever, oh ever a Wiz there was,
The Wizard of Oz is one becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz,
Becoz of the wonderful things he does.
We’re off to see the Wizard,
The wonderful Wizard of Oz.
We’re off to see the Wizard,
The wonderful Wizard of Oz.
We hear he is a whiz of a Wiz if ever a Wiz there was.
If ever, oh ever a Wiz there was,
The Wizard of Oz is one becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz,
Becoz of the wonderful things he does.
We’re off to see the Wizard,
The wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Songwriters: E Harburg / E.Y. Harburg / Harold Arlen
We’re Off to See the Wizard lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC (read more)

I’m off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of OZ
I’m off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Awes

My mind feels like the good witch Glinda
My body feels like the bad witch –
And the house fell. Was it on the bad witch?
Or was it on me? Was the sky falling on me?
But my feet look good 🙂 And that is key, of course!
However, likely no more heels…if I want to have any comfort…

But Tieks keep me going – wonderful spirit lifting colors, long-lasting, supportive (for flats) – a splurge, but when you spend a lot of time resting right now like I do…those feet have got to look “maavelous”!!

WICKED, The Musical on Broadway
WICKED, The Musical on Broadway

The whole extravaganza is just Wicked ________________

(Keep in mind that I live outside Boston as well, therefore there is a double meaning with wicked Wicked!)

Go ahead and fill in the blanks. It can and will be different every day.

Whatever it is, it may be similar for most people, but just as dissimilar for those same individuals at any given moment on any day.

Wicked stiff, sore, frustrating, Wicked fatigued, foggy…Wicked fine?…

My 1st big tornado/twister came when I was a freshman in college…hit by a car as a pedestrian. Follow with surgery after surgery on my right knee & only one surgery on my left knee.

But it was a twister that I got under control or at least figured out how to manage.

I thought that this was my primary cross to bear in life. Oh how wrong I was, this was merely a warm-up for the rest of my life.

Life if what happens when you are making other plans.

  1. None of my 9-10-11-12 knee surgeries were part of my life plan or goals of skiing, being active and outdoors; working in healthcare – well, I could certainly still do that. I had enough experience and empathy to go around, that was certain.
  2. Then came the endometriosis. Or had it been there all along and I had ignored it for the most part? Just suck it up and power through it. I mean all athletes do that – Why not? Procedure. Laparoscopy. Another. And another. Surgery. Damn, it was getting worse.
  3. Before you knew it I found myself in the middle of infertility struggles. They said it was not the endometriosis and for some of it, I know for certain it was not. I said that I would not put my body through any more medical procedures. I had been through enough already. No IVF. I would adopt. We actually had twins to adopt in process that eventually fell through. Alas. Such heartache – you do not know that exact feeling until you have been there.
  4. Meanwhile, I was progressing with my career. Managing my own office of physical therapy and sports medicine. It is very difficult to balance these personal issues and maintain professionalism at the same time.
    • PT Interrupts Daily Practice to Become a Patient Herself. PT Bulletin: Volume 4, Pages 6-7 and 34, February 8, 1989.
    • Working Mother Dec-Jan 2002
  5. After attending a wonderful conference in Northern California sponsored by RESOLVE I decided to try IVF just once. After going through all that IVF entails, and it is not easy for most, I was so very fortunate to be pregnant with twins. After my daughters were born we did IVF again because we were moving back to the East Coast and we wanted to remain with Dr. Francis Polansky in Palo Alto, CA. Again, fortune was with me and I was blessed with 1 son, making a total of 3 children under the age of 3, which was such a blessing and plenty to handle.
  6. Things went by in a blur until my twin girls were in kindergarten and that was when all my kidney issues started to be treated. The back pain that I had been experiencing and the fatigue apparently were not merely from having 3 young children. There were more issues and diagnoses with my kidneys, kidney stones, diverticulum, and more.
  7. I barely recovered from that and it seemed that I heard that I needed that dreaded hysterectomy we had been putting off. Gosh, I am getting tired writing this. I don’t know how I managed to live it and work as well as raise my children?! Fatigue is the first thing that comes to mind.
  8. Right on the heels of that would be my right total knee replacement due to all the surgeries secondary to the MVA my freshman year in college. I had been told 5 years earlier that I needed it. Absolutely not then I said. So I played tennis until I had to limp off the court mid match while playing number 1 A doubles. I let my teammate and team down, myself, my family. I went onto crutches for months until I could fit the TKR surgery into the schedule. I knew this day would come. I just never really, truly pictured it! I was only 40-something after all – young in TKR terms!

Before the most recent tornado came with the GI problems, I had the 7 above-mentioned mini-twisters, cyclones maybe? I am not from the land of this type of weather, though we have had a few tornadoes in New England in the recent years, nothing compared to the Midwest or South though. The house did land 4+ years ago …


I think of our OZ as navigating the diseases along with the healthcare system. If only it were a place to go… Becoz of the wonderful things he does.
We’re off to see the Wizard,
The wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Even as a knowledgeable healthcare professional it is quite difficult to get appropriate care at the proper time. I have to be the primary care coordinator and self-advocate for myself. I can do this if I have time and if I am feeling well and if… However, I have health insurance and I am the patient in this case and prefer to be able to relax a bit when I am not feeling well. This is not really possible because I have to be on my toes at all times to ensure that nothing is falling through the cracks, my medicines do not have contraindications, or overlapping treatments that are not necessary. I have more polypharmacy than I want and my goal is to wean off medications, yet each time I go to see one of my many healthcare providers, they are often quick to suggest another medication. I have to keep my doctors informed of what is happening with each of my systems since all are involved with my autoimmune diseases. Even though we have all these great electronic medical records (EMR) most are not accurate, are not corrected or amended even if you ask for them to be, and are not read by other providers for the most part – I am generalizing here.

There are some physicians who are fabulous!

I worry about all of my patients that I have had that cannot speak for themselves and who do not know the system, for those who cannot advocate for themselves and may not have a good advocate. This happens with the population merely as they age and cannot function as well as they did previously. It’s a jungle and we all need a Wizard of Oz to help us through it!

The other Land of Awes pertains to how I and others are perceived in general. Either we are often looked upon with disdain like the guards at the gate as if to say, “You do not belong here.” These are like the thoughts or comments we hear that we do not look ill, therefore we must not be sick at all: invisible illness. Or, you can get the other extreme where people give you the “Awes”, that kind of pathetic, sympathetic look where suddenly your IQ just dropped 100 points because you are ill. One can apparently not think if you are ill. Granted, there is the brain fog at times, and pain can certainly make concentrating difficult. But do not immediately judge me or us that we are not as intelligent as we were previously. I would argue that because we are now have the privilege of having a chronic illness, we are forced, in a way to think on a deeper level and feel that way too – more often. And because we are often forced to arrange our lives and are not able to do our first choice passions, activities or sports necessarily, then we may read more, think more, get into deeper conversations and so on. Therefore, look at us and if anything, add 50 points to our IQs!

Really everyone in OZ is looking for the same thing –

self-acceptance, health, happiness, and peace.

MA and those with RA and all of the other 100+

rheumatologic diseases and chronic illnesses are no different! 

The guards in the castle with the fuzzy hats represent the insurance company gatekeepers perhaps? What do you think? That could be up for grabs depending on the individual. For some it could be their primary care physician unfortunately and sadly for even others it could be their rheumatologist (if they do not have MDs that meet their needs). Bottom line – get away from the guards! You need the freedom to have adequate individual evidence-based care for your specific needs on any given day or week or month or year.

The monkeys in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz always scared the crap out of me as a child! I had to leave the room – every time. These I equate to all the symptoms and side effects, pulling on me and you, dragging us down, making each and every breath and step and grip more difficult. Make them go away. Now, they do not necessarily scare me (although I still am not fond of them), although there are moments on bad days… And you have no choice to leave the room – there is no running or escaping. They are there with you; the monkeys are on your back, so-to-speak, day and night, night and day, 24-7/365.

I was fortunate to go to see “Wicked, The Musical” on Broadway this summer with my daughter Tori. We were bringing her twin sister Lauren her belongings as she had moved from couches to her apartment with her work at Animal Medical Center in NYC for a year long post-DVM internship. “Wicked” is one of my all-time favorite broadway shows and this was my 4th viewing between Boston and NYC. And we were particularly excited to see Carrie St. Louis as Glinda. She had gone to school with both Tori and Lauren and had been fabulous in all the productions prior to college –  no surprise there! Carrie was superb as Glinda!!

When it came time for the monkeys I looked up and there they were, above my head! Not all of them, but some. I was living out my worst nightmare as a child. But curiously, it was now part of my favorite musical – 180 degree difference. How things can change if you do not let your fears rule you. Face them, or in this case, have them hang above you at the Gershwin Theatre:-) Or be so focused on your goals and life that they melt away, just like the wicked witch…melting…

And the crystal ball: now don’t we all wish we had one of those, or do we? Do you want to know what is going to happen or do you want to live the very best that you can every day regardless of what is going to happen tomorrow? Great things are happening with research and medications every day. I am personally taking it one day at a time now and trying my best to be mindful of everything in the moment. Now that’s a tall order for a long time reforming Type A person, but I am a work in progress (as we all are) and it is possible to be productive and mindful and take most things a day at a time. I did say most things! I made some reservations (literally with plane flights) with that “one day at a time” rationale and that does not help the bank account at all! Trust me! Thus, you need to know where to apply it.

My home looks like a gym and spa now, plus office and doggie day care, along with the normal home items fit in between, & the fact that I am moving. My life revolves around MD appointments, exercises, therapy, and self-help techniques necessary to even function. And if it does not, then I do not function. Y’all know the routine, right?! People often say, “You are so lucky to have all this or to be able to spend all the time on exercise…” “It’s like your own gym and spa!” The part they leave off is that if I don’t do those things, then I cannot walk, write, use my arms, talk, eat, see, and more. I cannot even get out of bed without performing my exercises and having my medications. Oh what I would give to just jump out of bed again…

For years I thought, I cannot wait to have more time at home when it’s empty nest time. I obviously did not qualify that thought enough…I should have mentioned, “and be healthy.” It’s the details that make all the difference! Do NOT neglect the details – The Devil is in the Details!

I was at the opthamologist’s office today because the dryness in my eyes is getting significantly worse even with all the drops and warm compresses and rests from use and the computer, etc, etc. When I had the green and yellow drops in my eyes it looked like I was in the Land of OZ. I felt like Dorothy for those few moments. If only I could click my heels together and make my wishes come true. I would be very careful because my Achilles are very sore, but then I would gently tap 3 times and make my wish.

I would wish that all of us with RA and any of the rheumatological diseases and chronic illnesses could return to our own Land of Awes with the daily mantra being

“Awe, I feel great again today!”

Because I am “Defying Gravity!”

Defying Gravity...when I swim! Even when I walk. One step at a time...One day at a time :-) <3
Defying Gravity…when I swim! Even when I walk. One step at a time…One day at a time 🙂 <3



The MultiColored Slippers in the Land of Awes
The Multi-Colored Slippers in the Land of Awes



ADDENDUM: Dr. Lauren Wilmarth DVM had an amazing day off today & capped it off by seeing WICKED The Musical with Carrie St. Louis, the BEST Glinda!! Wish I were there, but am in spirit 🙂


Tips for Managing AS: Ankylosing Spondylitis

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-8-23-17-pmAnkylosing spondylitis, or AS, is a form of arthritis that affects the spine, although other joints can also be involved. Because AS causes inflammation of the vertebrae in the spine, people with AS can experience severe, chronic pain. AS can also cause inflammation and pain in other areas of the body including shoulders, hips, ribs, hands, and feet.

I recently compiled several tips for managing AS, which appeared in Everyday Health. I suggested that those with AS should work with a physical therapist to learn exercises aimed to strengthen the back and neck. Many AS sufferers also benefit from maintaining good ergonomics and posture. Check out the Everyday Health article to see the complete list of tips for managing AS.


You can also check out the following websites:


Ankylosing Spondylitis:







Building a Better Knee – My Comments in Men’s Journal

Exercise should keep us healthy, but sometimes overuse and repetition can actually cause injury. For instance, climbing stairs is a great way to build your core muscle strength, but it can also put stress on your knees. Making sure to progress gradually and ensuring that your gluteals and hip muscles are strong enough, can help avoid injury to your knees.

I recently discussed knee overuse and injury for this Men’s Journal article, “How to Build a Better Knee.” While the article points out that evolution may not have provided us with the best knee design, the article offers some tips for strengthening to hopefully “get another couple of decades from your knees.”

Bending knee exercise