Tuesday, May 22, 2018

5 Things Patients With RA Want Their Doctors to Know

In my newest article for Rheumatology Network, I used my own experience and interviews of other patients living with RA to create a "wish list" of things patients with RA which their doctor's knew! 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Healthline's Best Rheumatoid Arthritis Blogs of 2018

I am very honored to have been selected as one of Healthline's Best Rheumatoid Arthritis Blogs for 2018, alongside some of the bloggers that I most love and respect. I'm especially excited that I can now claim this honor for seven years in a row!! 

You can check out the other amazing honorees here:

(It's also fun for me to see RheumatoidArthritis.net make the list - as I've been a contributor there since the site launched. So I feel twice honored!) 

Monday, May 7, 2018

UnbuckleMe! Product Review and Giveaway!

I was given this product as a gift to review, but all opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. As stated in my product review policy, my reviews will always be honest. 

It's been three years since I launched Mamas Facing Forward, my private Facebook support group for moms living with chronic illnesses. In that time, one of the most frequently discussed topics has been car seats. More specifically, I often see mamas discussing how on earth we are supposed to be able to unbuckle car seats - especially those of us who are living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or have other issues with our hands! 

When it comes to parenting, there are some types of gear that are difficult to use and so you can skip using that item all together - but car seats aren't exactly optional! So I was pretty excited when UnbuckleMe contacted me right before my third baby was born to ask if I wanted to review their product. From discussion in Mamas Facing Forward I had heard of similar products, but I had never tried one myself. I figured it would be a great item to have on hand in case I experienced a post birth flare!

I have to say that I wasn't disappointed. Designed by an occupational therapist, the UnbuckleMe is extremely simple to use. You just slide it around that big red button - you know, the one that's so difficult to push when you're having trouble with your hands - then you exert just a tiny amount of pressure and the button pops open. Super simple. There's also a little loop so you can hook it to your key chain or diaper bag so it doesn't get lost.

Luckily for me my hands have been doing pretty well lately (knock on wood!) So since I don't need the UnbuckleMe regularly myself, I decided to see if my oldest kiddo would be able to use it. He has been able to buckle his car seat all by himself for a while now, but he simply wasn't able to exert enough pressure with his thumbs to unbuckle himself, and since I've got three car seats now it isn't that easy for me to reach to unbuckle him. He's thrilled that the UnbuckleMe makes it possible to unbuckle his own car seat - it makes him feel like a big kid - and I'm equally thrilled to have some help getting three kids in and out of car seats every time we go someplace! He can now unbuckle himself and sometimes even his brother when I ask him to, which is particularly useful if we're running late or the weather is yucky. Here's a quick video of my oldest kiddo demonstrating how easy the UnbuckleMe is to use!

(Please note: if you plan to let your kiddo use this you do need to have a system in place so they don't unbuckle themselves while you're driving down the road, either by setting rules with a responsible child or by only handing them the tool once the car is parked.)

I'm also thrilled to be able to give away an UnbuckleMe to one lucky follower! Here's how to enter the giveaway - I'll randomly select a winner on Friday, May 11th!

If you don't win the giveaway but you'd still like to give this product a try, UnbuckleMe is offering a 20% discount this week in honor of Mother's Day! Just visit their website and use code: mama20