Fibro Sunday

One of the things that I think is a challenge for those of us that deal with fibro pain, is trying to figure out when that pain is from the fibro, or something a little more serious.

For a year I complained to my Rheumatologist about my right shoulder pain. She kept blowing it off as fibro, even though over the months it was increasingly getting much worse. It took almost a year before she actually believed me and then in a matter of months I had rotator cuff surgery.

Another concern I have had is that I continue to get arthritis in many more places on my body, so I questioned something more severe, perhaps rheumatoid arthritis. And she shrugs it off.

So, sometimes we have to take matters into our own hands because we do know our bodies better than anybody. Rheumatologists are a rarity around my area so I will be driving to a nearby town. He may tell me the same things too but I feel that I need a second opinion.

I strongly encouraged anyone with a health concern that is not completely confident in your current doctor to seek out a second opinion, and a third if need be.

Another thing that makes me seek out a second opinion is that everytime I read an article about a theory on fibro, she “pooh-pooh’s” it, tells me the theory is old or that there is no truth to it.

I have read several articles over the last 6 months about a possible link to a virus. I would love to talk with her about it, but I already know what she will say.

I hope you are all well and enjoying the spring!

Live well!

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Fibro Sunday

Yesterday I spent part of the day with one of my dearest and most cherished friends. She is recovering from knee surgery, so we had a lot in common sharing our stories of pain medication, therapy, and overall physical pain.

And it made me realize that to those that do not have daily pain, chronic pain, you cannot understand how our lives have changed because of it. Or what we have to deal with.

For example, shopping. I love shopping! Especially in the spring when I get to plan and shop for my flowers, planters and garden. But it’s exhausting and painful. Getting in and out of the car can be tiresome but it can also hurt. All the walking hurts me, but I push on as much as I can. I usually have to ask for help with large bags of potting soil, fertilizer, etc. There have been days where I had to break the shopping up in two parts, coming home for a break and going back either later in the day or the next day.  Don’t even get me started on shopping for clothes, OMG!  What female doesn’t like shopping for clothes but I tell ya, getting undressed and dressed again can be a little hurtful.

Cleaning can be a challenge as well. When I hear someone say that they can get their house cleaned in a short amount of time, I kinda want to smack them! But I am also envious. I do a little cleaning and then have to sit for a short period of time. Possibly use the heating pad. But I can tell you this, having a spotless house isn’t as important as it used to be!!

Yard work, I always loved being in my yard and gardens but I have to pace myself and be careful how I move and how much work I allow myself to do at one time.  Pain meds are always involved.

Waking to an alarm and going to work, I know we all struggle with that! But seriously, when you hurt as bad as we do, getting up and moving first thing in the morning is not that easy. I have to work to support myself, so I do my best to work through the pain, or the stiffness, or the exhaustion as best I can just so I am out the door in time. And when I sit in my chair at my desk… WOW the pain sets in my back or hips like crazy. And I have to wonder, is it really worth it?

Taking a shower. Yes you read that correctly. Sometimes the water hitting our skin hurts. It can also be exhausting trying to get a shower done in a reasonable amount of time, all that moving. There have been times where I am using a back brush, it is like rubbing nails across my skin. There have been times when just shampooing my hair not only hurt but used all my energy. Most of the time the water cascading over me is very refreshing and comforting but there are times when it is not.

Weather. I know there are a lot of folks that can feel the weather changes coming with their arthritis pain. This is a little bit more! In fact, I can tell you that some days, I have sat at my desk with my head in my hands crying from the pain, willing it away, waiting for the pain med to kick in and just trying to breathe and not stress too much but the crying is a dead giveaway that I AM stressing!! I sometimes calm myself with a cup of chai while the med does its job. 🙂

Exercise. I once went to the gym, and often; at least 3-5 times a week. I am lucky if I can get myself to our fitness center and swim just once a week, I do try, and I do feel good while in the water. But trying to convince myself while I am IN pain, that I should be in the pool, well lets just say the conversation in my head is not pretty!! I try to walk too, but the pain in my feet is terrible, I have orthotics which does help but if you have never had pain in your feet you cannot understand walking like that! I am lucky to get a 30 minute casual walk in, my good walks of doing a hearty fast paced sweaty walk is over! I feel like I am giving myself heart disease by not moving, which is what both my parents passed from. I feel doomed.

Our weight, ugh. Because of everything I just told you, we then put on weight because we can’t move much and it is very depressing. And just makes us feel even more horrible about ourselves.

So when someone says they are hurting but they look fine, believe me, we do hurt and the struggle is real for us. Don’t judge us, just try to understand.

The sun is shining and it is just a tad warmer today so I am going for a walk. Then I need to run an errand and head for food for the week. You all have a great day!

Fibro Sunday

Today was absolutely gorgeous!  So hard to believe that just a little over a week ago we had snow!

But today, the temp reached 72, and I was able to get outside and plant pansies, pull weeds and sweep the walks.  And play endless ball with the pup.

Of course, yard work equals pain, even though I took several breaks.  So by late afternoon I was on the sofa trying to work my way through the pain.

I love being outside doing yard work, I just need to pace myself so that I don’t thoroughly over do it but regardless I will hurt.

I have a lot of flower beds I want to plant this spring, and typically that’s so exciting but now the back end of that excitement is knowing I will also suffer later.

Hope you all have a great weekend!  I will try to get to some new recipes soon!

Fibro Sunday

So, it’s been a rough 2 weeks for me. The weather usually has a hand in my pain so with some of the rain that was been passing through, and now the big winter storm coming our way… I’ve been hurting.

I didn’t even want to go swimming the last 2 weeks! And being in the warm water pool always makes me feel better….

I cannot do anything to change the weather but I can do my best to not let the pain win! I have shed a few tears too.

The struggle is real!

Anyway, my Christmas Cactus is blooming!!! Go figure! It’s gorgeous!!

          

Fibro Sunday, What Works For Me!

Hi there! Welcome back to my Sunday Fibro post! Today I am going to write about how I try to deal with the pain and what I try to do to survive the rough days.

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  1. One of the things that I have learned is not to fight a flare or the everyday pain. Sometimes I forget that important piece of advice and when I do, I seem to get knocked down!! So I just acknowledge that I have pain, trying to fight it takes too much energy. Trying to ignore it and hope it just goes away, is ridiculous. I try to stay relaxed and breathe, and basically just give myself a break.
  2. Try it, just take a few deep cleansing and relaxing breaths, and acknowledge the pain. If you can stay home and recover, do it. If you have a family to care for or must go to work, give yourself the time and patience to get through your day until you can rest. Slow down, and be gentle with your body.
  3. Another thing to remember is that stress can aggravate your pain. It is next to impossible to avoid stress in our busy lives but if you can learn to walk away from drama, or learn how to deal with difficult situations in your life by asking for help it can really help alleviate the stress.
  4. You know that saying “Not my monkeys, not my circus”? Keep that in mind! But if they are your monkeys, ask for help. Acknowledge that at this very moment you are having difficulty with the pain and need a little help.
  5. That being said, my next topic is to change my attitude. If I am not able to get the house cleaned or the laundry done like I had planned, I just try to realize that my body needs some rest and needs to recover before I try to do anything.
  6. Be prepared for bad days, take it easy and take care of YOU!
  7. Praying helps. If you pray and believe in a higher power, then pray. Be thankful for the good days you have, be thankful for the good days yet to come, and be thankful for your support system. If you don’t believe in prayer, then journal about your fibro journey. It will help you vent and you can also look back on the good days you’ve had and give thanks.
  8. Drink plenty of water, eat well, take a hot bath with Epsom salts, use a heating pad – just a few things to remember on days with pain. Cuddle up with a book and a pet, watch movies. Just breathe and relax and know that tomorrow is another day. I always remind myself there are others that have a much worse health condition. I might have pain that makes me curl up and cry but it could be soooo much worse!
  9. Exercise. It is so darn hard some days, heck even most days! I once went to the gym several times a week. I used the treadmill, weight machines, and some of the lighter free weights. But it became very difficult. Then I stopped. Even walking a few blocks was exhausting. But I am back to my yoga, meditation, trying to swim at least twice a week, and walking as often as I can. I don’t always want to but if all I can do is a few blocks on my walk, or a few yoga stretches and poses, I figure it’s better than doing nothing. Just be gentle with yourself and don’t push yourself beyond what you are capable of handling for the moment.

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These are just a few things that work for me. Hopefully, they will work for you. Feel free to post what works for you!

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Less Stress for the Holiday Season

I love the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Thanksgiving might be my favorite but only because we gather to share our love, our memories, and eat a delicious meal together. So for me, there is definitely less stress, and less to prepare for. The only expectation is the meal which I love cooking!

It is also the beginning of the Christmas season. The weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday, for me, are so very beautiful with all the decorations and lights. I love listening to the Christmas music; many songs awaken lovely memories from my childhood. I also love giving gifts, whether they are made by my own hands with love, or a carefully chosen store bought gift.

But then there are all those folks that I hear complaining about how commercialized Christmas has become. Or they are complaining about all the parties to go to and the food they must prepare to take to these parties. There are also complaints about buying gifts for people that they probably don’t want and they can’t afford to buy. And it breaks my heart to hear them say they can’t wait for Christmas to be over.

Christmas is no different than any other situation in life, YOU GET OUT OF IT EXACTLY WHAT YOU PUT IN IT! So if you go into it with disgust, dislike, and grumpiness…. That is exactly what you are going to get out of it!!

I totally understand how the holidays can also be difficult to get through because we may have lost a loved one, or we might be alone and have no one to celebrate with. Been in both of those situations, I know it is not pleasant and can be heartbreaking and depressing.

So hopefully I have come up with some ideas that might be able to help you get through the upcoming holidays with a little less stress. Maybe this will help you have a little more love in your heart. And maybe you will actually learn to at least like the holidays.

  1. Eat & drink smart and healthy! This is so hard to do with all the baked goodies and homemade candies BUT try to resist making a meal out of unhealthy treats!  Go ahead and have that small slice of pumpkin pie or cake, have one cookie, indulge in that one piece of fudge.  But only allow yourself one treat so choose wisely!  Snack on healthy things like veggies and fruit, nuts, a piece of cheese or some peanut butter for protein.  Drink lots of water, add lemon for a little taste and detox.  Do allow yourself a holiday cocktail, or two, but alternate with water.  Waking up tomorrow with a headache or being hungover will just add to your stress level.
  2. Meal plan! As mentioned above you want to eat healthy but still allow some treats, so plan your day’s menu/diet so that you are continually eating healthy.  Especially before you go to parties!!  Make sure you are planning your family meals according to your schedule, use a crock pot or casserole recipes for busy days and nights.  Make some casseroles, lasagna, anything that you can throw in your freezer.  Later in the week you will be thankful that all you need to do is pull out a casserole to thaw in the fridge while you are at work, and then pop it in the oven when you get home.
  3. Parties! I have heard a lot of people complain and basically whine about all the parties they need to go to!  Really?  Please be thankful that you have friends and family that want to share the holiday with you, no one is promised a tomorrow.  You do not always need to say yes to every party, it is okay to say no so that you can stay home and take care of you and your family or just to rest.  If you really don’t want to go, then don’t.  We all need some alone time, but we also need our friends and families too.  Think of the memories and fun times you might have, think of some friends and families that you can reconnect with.  Visit for as long as you want, eat healthy and drink healthy, be thankful for the friendships and have some fun!!
  4. Can you bring a covered dish? Yes, you can!  You do not need to go overboard and try to be a gourmet chef!  If you like to cook and prepare something fancy, great!  If you don’t, then just take something simple like cheese and crackers, veggies, or check out the appetizers in the frozen section of your grocery store.  There are some pretty good selections to choose from!  I love to cook but there are times when I just do not have the time to prepare something, so this works out well and they are delicious.
  5. Shopping and gift giving. This IS enough to stress everyone out!  You really need to be smart here, don’t just buy a gift for the sake of buying a gift.  If that is your reason for gift giving, just stop!  First, make a list of people that you want to give a gift, then think about them and what they like, jot down some ideas before you shop.  Also, set a dollar amount that you are willing to spend on each gift and stick with your budget.  Keep receipts, jot down names on the receipt/tags just in case you need to return something, and keep them all in an envelope.  I usually suggest not giving clothes but if you are confident in that choice, then go for it!  Also, keep an eye out for sales, use coupons.  If you do not like wrapping your gifts, then bag’em!  That is the easiest and the least stressful way to go.  Keep in mind that a simple gift from the heart is all you really need to give.
  6. Teach your kids about giving and receiving.  This is a challenge for most parents.  We don’t want our kids growing up to be materialistic and greedy; and we want to teach them about giving too.  Set boundaries for what they are asking for, have them organize and clean out what they already have, show them how fortunate they already are for what they have now.  Give your family members limits on what they can spend on your kids. If you have older kids and your budget allows, have your kids donate gifts to the needy, a shelter, or sponsor a family for Christmas. Have them volunteer at a food bank or as a family take a few bags to the food bank. Living in today’s world that is so materialist, I think this is something we all need to do.  Also, teach you kids the value of saying thank you as well as how to gracefully be thankful for a gift that they just unwrapped but don’t like!
  7. Stress-less kids? This is a time that kids are super excited!  Remember when you were a kid at Christmas?  They have a lot of stimuli from all the toy ads on TV, so it might be a good idea to limit their time in front of the TV.  Sit down and chat with them about their wants, desires, expectations and then chat about giving to the less fortunate.  Talk to them about your childhood memories and realize that you are creating and shaping theirs.  Involve them in decisions about new traditions.  Make sure they are eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, limit their treats and make sure they are getting enough rest and sleep.  This can also be a busy time in school with reports and projects needing to be completed before their holiday break so make sure they are getting enough time to complete their school work.  Get them outside for exercise and fresh air!  This is also a time for the little germ carriers to be sick, not fun for the holiday.
  8. Traditions! I love family traditions!  And I love creating new traditions!  Think back to when you were a child and the things that you used to do as a family, create those wonderful warm memories with your kids!! Slow down and enjoy the holiday season, celebrate it lovingly, and involve the kids!  Look online or on Pinterest for some new ideas.  Have fun!
  9. Physical and emotional health.  Make sure you are getting your exercise too!  Get those kids outside and play, walk, hike, whatever you can find to do.  Don’t forget about your gym membership, even if you only have 30 minutes to use the treadmill or lift a few weights, or if you’re lucky enough to have a pool to swim a few laps.  Every little bit helps.  Don’t forget about your mental and emotional health.  For as much enjoyment and beauty as some find in the holiday, there is also disappointment, sadness and loneliness.  Meditate, pray, go to church, talk to friends, talk to a professional if you need to.  There is no shame in that!  Try yoga, sit and read or just sit and look at the tree and drink in the beauty and silence of the room.
  10. Keep your life and the holiday in focus.  Easier said than done, I get it.  But try.  It’s so easy to compare your holiday life to others and be sad that you don’t have what someone else has.  Life isn’t fair, but this is your life and you only have one shot at it so stay focused.  You don’t have to have a lot of friends or a big bank account to enjoy the very beautiful and simple holiday.  Celebrate with the love of the family and friends that you are still blessed to have.  Don’t get caught up in the commercialism, that’s not what the holidays are about.  Remember, what you put into this holiday gig is what you are going to get out of it.

Live and love well my friends!

I Found a Treasure Chest!

Many years ago, I completely decorated my home in antiques.  Some were family heirlooms with sentimental value and many were purchased at local antique shops.  Since then my taste has changed and I guess I’m more modern now although I love to see  mix of modern and antique.

So, I am still working on settling in and fixing up my new home.  I very badly wanted a chest of drawers in my living room to use as storage for photo albums and other living room items.  I am also very stingy with my money.  Okay honestly…I’m cheap.

After browsing online and hitting all the local stores, I was frustrated.  New furniture is built cheap, yes I know I am cheap but…the cheap furniture is also expensive.  You know what I mean!!!

After deciding to hit some of the local antique shops, I cautiously ventured through a store just around the corner of my house.  And I certainly was not expecting to find something my first time out, but I did!

  
It was very rustic, VERY rustic!!!  I usually don’t care for things THAT rustic, but it caught my eye for some reason.  Oh, and the fact that is was CHEAP may have had something to do with it!!!  Listed at $65, and as stingy as I am and some encouragement from a friend, I asked for a lower price and got it!!

  
The chest is oak, has had some repair over the years and has what I think are hand cut nails.  And I LOVE the unfinished look!  

  
I think that is glue residue, not sure how to remove that yet.

The drawer pulls are comical though! They are not the original pulls, and they don’t match AND some of them are attached upside down!!!  

  
I think it adds character LOL!

  
The drawers do not slide well but my Uncle who is a carpenter, will be stopping by to give me some advice.

  
The lamp on the chest belonged to my parents, I added a more updated shade (instead of the retro shade it had!!).  But I’m thinking I might want something like a mercury glass lamp on the chest, yanno…that mix of old and new?! Family photo’s adorn the top and YES I am ready for fall, I just brought all my autumn decor up from the basement!

Now I’m searching for a hutch of some sort, glass doors, where I can display all my family dishes that I have collected over the years!

Live well friends!