Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sticking to a Plan is Key for Fibromyalgia and CFS

With Christmas just around the corner and keeping busy with my mosaic business I haven't been taking the time to do any routine exercise except walking and it has really made a difference in how I feel. I wake up earlier because of pain.  Everything I do from  light gardening to washing the car becomes a problem so I am once again reminded that sticking to a regular exercise plan is crucial for people who suffer from CFS or fibromyalgia.

Regular light and easy exercise is key to staying as fit as possible with fibromyalgia in my opinion.  All I do each day (when I'm on track) is a few neck and lower back exercises that take about 10 minutes.  If I am really on a role I add in some all over stretching and a bit of small weight lifting.  But believe me, I have learned the hard way that you must go slowly and add each of these in gradually or you will set yourself up for failure.

It is maddening and frustrating to be stuck in a body that feels 80 years old.  Heck, my mom was 84 and still out pruning her own trees; something I can barely do at my 50+ years.

I know that each person has to find their own exercise program that works for their individual needs but I know from experience that  it's very much worth the time.

Until next time. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Medication for Fibromyalgia Sufferers

I try to keep  on top of anything new in the studies of fibromyalgia because I was diagnosed with this illness over 2 years ago even though I am pretty certain I have suffered from this chronic disease for much longer.

There is a new drug being tested for fibromyalgia called Mirapex (Pramipexole). It is a treatment normally reserved for Parkinson's Disease Patients, but they are finding that there are some similarities between the two in regards to muscle control.

Here's the information on this drug from NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information:

Pramipexole is used alone or with other medications to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD; a disorder of the nervous system that causes difficulties with movement, muscle control, and balance), including shaking of parts of the body, stiffness, slowed movements, and problems with balance. Pramipexole is also used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS; a condition that causes discomfort in the legs and a strong urge to move the legs, especially at night and when sitting or lying down). Pramipexole is in a class of medications called dopamine agonists. It works by acting in place of dopamine, a natural substance in the brain that is needed to control movement.

Here is a story about a woman who suffers from fibromyalgia who has tried this treatment that I found on the internet from Channel 8 Eyewitness News:

Jean Fuller Has fibromyalgia.

"It was real hard to stoop over like this and weed."

A condition called fibromyalgia caused chronic pain in her muscles and joints.

Jean Fuller "So much pain in the muscles of my arms that I would have to quit."
But thanks to a new treatment, Jean has her life back.

Jean Fuller "If I couldn't take it, I think I'd cry."

For five years, Jean has taken the drug mirapex every night. Now, research confirms what she already knows -- it can significantly reduce pain and fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia.

Andrew Holman, M.D. Rheumatologist
Pacific Rheumatology Associates, Inc.
Seattle, WA

"It's completely transformed the treatment of fibromyalgia." A new study shows mirapex reduces fibromyalgia pain better than any other drug.

Andrew Holman, M.D. "The number of pages I get after hours, the misery the patients have has diminished dramatically."

Nearly half of patients who took mirapex reported 42-percent less pain compared to only 14-percent of those on placebo. Overall, 82 percent of patients on mirapex had some improvement in pain. 

Andrew Holman, M.D."This is the medicine that may provide a completely new way of approaching fibromyalgia."

Instead of inducing sleep like current drugs do, mirapex lets you sleep by stimulating dopamine receptors. That also decreases pain.

Side effects from mirapex are mild and include nausea and weight loss. Mirapex was designed to stimulate dopamine receptor production in Parkinson's patients. Researchers discovered it could help fibromyaliga patients by accident.

I am not promoting Mirapex whatsoever, but I am trying to keep you informed of any new research on fibromyalgia. 

Do your research and talk to your doctor to see if this is an avenue you might like to try.

I know there are many of you out there that have very little relief from the pain that this illness causes either because your body can't tolerate the medication or the side effects are too great to stay on a pain medication.

I will continue to keep on top of this and share what I learn.

Until next time :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm Mad Now!

I have been using Tramadol for over 2 years as my main pain reliever for fibromyalgia.  I use 4 a day on average, but occasionally require a fifth one if I do something out of the norm.

I can generally call in my prescription 3 days in advance and have no problem getting it refilled. Not so this time.  I called on the 27th to my doctor as my refill was out and I needed to make sure I wouldn't have any problems.  The nurse  called over to our pharmacy and ordered the prescription.  When my husband went to pick it up he was told that this was a "watched drug" and that it cannot be refilled until the exact day it was due and that I would have to wait the 4 days.

Of course I called back my doctor and was told by the nurse that the pharmacy was quite rude to her and even accused her of sounding like she was driving in a car while she was reordering my meds.  Apparently the pharmacy made it a point to call the doctor's office back to confirm that they were indeed the ones who called it in at all.

So now I wonder; is there a new mandate about certain controlled drugs or was this pharmacist on a power trip? Either way I am the one who suffers.  I had to go 3 days without any medication at all. I can't take Advil, aspirin or Tylenol as I break out in hives.  My doctor did call over for another pain reliever (Darvacet) for the interim time but it has never worked for me so the pain just escalated.

I couldn't sleep as my arms and hands were throbbing with pain. I would try to get comfortable in bed but found myself getting back up and trying to figure out what to do. This must have happened at least 5 times as I was so tired.

Have you ever been so exhausted you can barely function but cannot go to sleep due to pain?  I have experienced this before when my "restless legs" were at an all time high, but this was beyond anything I have ever endured.

Finally at around 4am I decided to take a very hot bath to see if it might calm down the throbbing and jerking of my arms.  It did seem to work so I was able to sleep.

It's a very scary thing to realize how dependent you are on drugs to get you through a normal day.  It is also quite sad to realize that your life as you once knew it is forever gone.  You will never be normal and function as others do.  You will forever be subjected to the doctors whim as to whether they will continue your medication.  Fortunately I have a great doctor who was the first one that realized I have fibromyalgia and works closely with me on medications.

I finally got a new prescription and am doing much better but I can guarantee you that I will never allow myself to get so low on my pills again. 

Until next time. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Painting? Not So Much

My husband and I bought a house last month because we know we want to downsize in a few years and the prices just couldn't be beat. We hope to rent it for a year or two and give the market a chance to balance out so we can get a decent price for the home we are currently living in.

The good news is that it will be perfect for us in that is has 3 bedrooms and one is outfitted with upper and lower cabinets on both sides of the room (see photos) for my mosaic studio. The bad news is that it was left very dirty and in need of paint so we have spent the last 14 days straight doing just that.

The first few days I was working over there I honestly didn't think I  could walk to the car I was so beat up feeling and my pain pills had long worn off.  I had been cleaning the cabinets, fridge and stove in the kitchen and it was a lot of scrubbing and an entire bottle of 409.

It really hit me the rest of the night and all the next day.  The muscles I used to get up and down were screaming and my pain pills only lasted about 4 hours instead of the usual 6-8 so I am now running low for the month.

Each day I was over there working for at least 4 hours and all that leaning down and squatting to cut in around the baseboard with paint nearly killed me.  It has been almost a week since we finished and I still wake up sore in spots.

To think just 3 short years ago I painted our entire Townhouse from top to bottom by myself and didn't have any problems.  The fibromyalgia hit me one day and my life is altogether different.  It just seemed to come upon me suddenly and never left.

We still have to paint the front of our house this fall before it gets too cold but I think I will leave most of it to my husband.  He is very understanding when it comes to my aches and pains and never expects me to do too much, but it's hard not too when I have been doing things like this nearly all my adult life.

Oh well, just glad I can still help out most of the time.

Until next time :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Some Days Are Better

Some days I get up and I think, "gosh, I feel so good today" that I don't even think about taking any pain pills for a few hours. Usually I head for them before the coffee even finishes brewing.

Lately I have been doing a great deal of cleaning and painting and I am surprised I can still function pretty well.
My husband and I bought a house last month. We knew we wanted to downsize from the place we are living in now and figured the market couldn't get much better for buying one. Unfortunately because the market is so sluggish and the price of houses are at an all time low we felt we had to continue living in our current home and rent out the one we just purchased.
The house we bought was in need of some serious TLC so we have been painting every room and scrubbing all the tile, doors, windows, and cabinets. It's taken an entire bottle of 409 already and we aren't even finished. Lots of work. But amazingly, I am still in fairly good condition.
I did take off from going over there today because it has started to catch up with me and I was tired and sore most of the day, but I plan to be back at it tomorrow.
I think having something different to do makes a bit of a difference in how you feel. If I was just doing all that cleaning in my own home I might not feel as chipper, but knowing this needs to get done so that we can get it up for rent puts a different spin on it. Besides, it was fun to think about what I might do with the rooms when we do move in.
All in all, things are pretty good these days. I think the longer nights help me to sleep in better as it stays dark until around 7:30 in the morning. If nothing else it helps with a better attitude in starting my day. Getting 8 hours of sleep compared to my usual 6 is a huge difference.
Until next time :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Allergies or Fibromyalgia?

I still get the rolling eyes (or so it seems ) when I go to a new doctor and tell them I suffer from fibromyalgia.  I recently visited an allergist for the first time in 15 years because my allergies are beginning to seriously tread on my lifestyle and I want to know once and for all if I am allergic to wheat or dairy, among other foods.

I explained to the doctor that it's difficult for me to tell whether it's allergies, the fibromyalgia or just the fact that I am tired when it feels like a cloud has come over me smack in the middle of the day and I am so sleepy that I can barely function.  One minute I seem fine and literally the next I am looking for a place to lie down.

When I first researched some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia I learned that sufferers often have foggy-headiness, sleepy or tired feelings, and sleep disorders, which are some of the same symptoms of serious allergies.

When my allergies are at an all time high it literally wakes me up in the middle of the night because my throat, nose and eyes are so dry that I can't sleep.  I get out of bed and immediately put Visine in my eyes, saline in my nose and grab a drink of water.  This is happening even with a humidifier in my room.  I am sure this interrupted sleep isn't helping me feel very alert the next day, but I don't have to have this kind of thing happen to still experience a the wave of sleepiness come over me from time to time.

So which is it that is causing these overwhelming feelings of sleepiness?  The fibromyalgia, the allergies or the fact that my night of sleep isn't as restful as I thought it was.

I have mentioned this numerous times in my posts that sufferers of fibromyalgia can have a difficult time getting a good rest because the pain lingers on through the night.  It may not be enough to actually wake you, but it's there nonetheless and can become quite a problem if it persists.

I will be tested for allergies on the 29th of this month so I am anxious to see what might be causing my "obvious" symptoms but I'm not sure that will help me much with the other problems I am having.

One thing at a time, I guess, is the best way to approach this.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Craft Show Bomb

In my last post I talked about getting ready for my very first craft show and was wondering how I would do it with my fibromyalgia.

Well, let me tell you, it wasn't easy.  First of all the show was a complete bust, not only for me, but all the crafters as there were few shoppers throughout the 2 days.  We were lucky if 1,000 people passed through.

 Second, I was so bored and so fidgety sitting for such long periods of time that I thought I might lose my mind.  I walked around and looked at all the crafts and talked with various people.  I took short walks around outside, but the temp was in the 90's and very humid so that didn't last long.  I even went so far as to go to the car and take a short nap to relieve the boredom as my husband manned the booth.

By the time the day was finally over I could barely walk I was so stiff from inactivity.  For me the worst is sitting or standing for long periods of time.  Ask me to walk anywhere and I'm good to go.  It's funny how this illness affects each of us.  My sister-in-law can sit for hours on end but can barely walk anywhere.

So, for me, the craft shows are not the thing to do.  If it weren't for my wonderful husband volunteering to work it on Sunday I honestly don't know what I would have done as I am sure it would have set me back physically to sit there another full day.

Maybe it was a good thing the show was such a bomb because now I don't feel the least bit concerned that I might be able to make some good money doing them.

I suppose the advertising (or lack of it) in addition to the poor economy had a lot to do with the turnout and maybe another show would be a completely different ball game, but I will never know because this will be my last.

As I mentioned in a post on my other blog, the good news is that my inventory is up for Christmas so I can't really complain.

Until next time :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My First Craft Show

I have a mosaic shop on a few places online and have always thought it would be fun to be in a craft show.  The problem is I don't know if I can sit or stand for 2 days and not be in a lot of pain.

My fibromyalgia seems to worsen when I sit for too long or on a hard surface.  I also have a bit of a problem with just standing around.  Now, ask me to walk a mile and I'm with you, but no sitting.

So, I wonder what it will be like for me to have 2 days of standing and sitting in a 10x10 space with nothing but a canvas chair for comfort.

My show starts at 10am on Saturday and goes until 5pm, then on Sunday from 10-4, so we'll see.  My husband will be with me and he is great about helping me with whatever I need so I know that I can take lots of strolls through the building and look at all the great crafts.

I sure hope all goes well, not only with my fibromyalgia but with the sales as it would be a nice alternative to just online selling.

Are there any artists or crafters out there that have any tips for me?

Until next time :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Daily Grind

I haven't posted in a while because, frankly, I have been too worn out.

I am wondering how much fibromyalgia affects other functions of your body such as allergies.

I have read that people who suffer from this illness also have a heightened sense of smell, which I can attest is true.

I smell everything from the sawdust in the air at the Home Depot to the more obvious odors coming from a candle shop.  It gets into your sinuses and lodges itself there until you become foggy-headed and so very tired that you just want to find somewhere (anywhere) to go to sleep.

This season with all the summer storms has truly been a difficult one for me. I don't know if it's something in the air or the pressure changing but  I find myself looking for a place to lie down at least a two, if not three, times a day.  I can barely function when I get like this and it is so darn frustrating.

I know it's allergies because I have that metallic taste in my mouth and sometimes it gets so bad that it  starts to affect my gums.  My sinus passages aren't necessarily clogged, but the sensitivity is there.

I have also mentioned in previous posts that I am certain the fibromyalgia is playing a large role in the healing of my foot that I fractured 6 months ago.  I wonder if someone who did not have this disease but had the same fracture would more than likely be completely healed and fully functioning at this point.

I, on the other hand, continue to have some odd pain that keeps changing locations depending on what shoes I wear or how much I have walked, etc. 

One day the pain is in my ankle and another day it's on the underside of my toes.  I am pretty sure that the shoes I wore to the grocery store may have had something to do with it.
They have a small heal and may have placed additional pressure on the front part of my foot whereas my regular walking shoes do not.  I hope this is a temporary issue as I have a closet full of shoes I would like to wear some day. :)

I would be curious to know if others have these same problems.
Until next time :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Good News and The Bad News

So, which one should I tell first...the good news or the bad?

The good news is that my foot is finally getting better and I am walking around the block again. Hurray!!!

The bad news is that it still bothers me and swells a bit and I can feel the pain and fatigue all the way up my leg.  I sure hope this goes away with time. I am convinced the only reason I still feel any pain at all is because of the fibromyalgia as the areas of pain fluctuate.

I was scheduled for an MRI a few weeks ago because I was certain there was something more going on as it appeared like I was never going to be able to walk for exercise again.
Since our insurance has changed so much and our out-of-pocket expense is greater I decided to cancel the MRI and just deal with it.

Actually the very next day my foot seemed to be much better and continues to mend as time goes by.

As we all know, fibromyalgia enhances pain and I do believe someone who does not have this illness would more than likely not feel anything in their foot like I do.  It comes and goes and changes from the top of my foot to my big toe so I believe it depends on what muscles and tendons get used more that day.  Just like swimming, you have to be careful how much you do at one time

Until next time :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

OOPs, a Bit Too Much!

I need to start following my own advice and pay attention to how much I am using my muscles in my pool.

I have been swimming in the evenings with my husband and spending about 15 to 20 minutes stroking through the water hoping to build back some strength in my legs after the fracture on my foot kept me from walking.  The first few times went very well and I thought I was on a roll. Wrong!

I woke up yesterday with aches and pains all over and my pain pills only lasted about 3 hours instead of the usual 6-7.

I won't say it isn't frustrating to have a body that won't cooperate with what I want to do, but at least I can still swim and soon I hope to be walking around my neighborhood again.

Without telling my real age, lets just say I am past 50 and am wondering what it must be like for some of you younger people to have to deal with this.  I can't even imagine trying to raise children and not having the full capabilities of my body.

I admire anyone dealing with chronic illness and pain that just keeps going and makes their life work.

Until next time :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

I was just talking on the phone to my sister and she was asking me exactly what are the symptoms of fibromyalgia, so I got online and found this article from Puristat Digestive Wellness Center that I thought detailed it the best. The article is an excellent read for anyone that wants further information on this.

From Puristat:

Formerly referred to as fibrositis, fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by muscle pain, fatigue, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints.

Rather than being caused by tissue inflammation, the pain of fibromyalgia seems to be brought on by an extremely low pain threshold. Patients have an increased sensitivity to numerous sensory stimuli that are not normally perceived as painful to others. Emotional stress, noise, and changes in the weather aggravate the condition.

Sufferers have what are known as tender points, specific places that hurt when pressure is applied to them. These points are normally found at the back of the head, front of the neck, sides of the breastbone, shoulders, around the elbows, hips, and knees.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Exercise and Fibromyalgia

O.K., so far so good on the positive outlook, however yesterday I was a bit on the restless side so I decided I needed to get into my pool and work some of it off.  Exercise can be beneficial to those of us with fibromyalgia if we are careful to go very slowly.

So, I have this pool "noodle" that I use when I am trying to exercise my legs as I am able to concentrate solely on working the muscles I want and not be concerned with over doing it on my arms.  With the fibromyalgia I have found it pays to be careful when swimming as you have no idea how much you are using your muscles until they hurt days later.

Anyway, it was great to get out a bit and use muscles that haven't been used much lately and try to use up some of this restless energy I have.  I know when I get this way my mind can't seem to focus on anything so nothing really gets accomplished that day.  I have had the same mosaic sitting in front of me for about 3 days now because I can't make up my mind what I want to do for the background.

On a good note, I am walking better each day and am hopeful to be back to my neighborhood walks very soon.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Working on the Positive Things in Life

When I got up this morning and was sitting outside by my pool and just enjoying the peace and quiet I decided that I was going to focus on the positive things in my life.

This recession has hit my husband and I very hard in the pocketbook and it's easy to start complaining about how unfair life is but really all that does for me is make me depressed and angry so focusing on what I "do" have rather than what I don't is what I plan to do.

It will be a one-day-at-a-time kind of thing, but I will strive to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  I have even decided to write down all the good things I have in my life because once it's on the page it becomes more real.

As many know, it's very easy to get lost in the unfairness of living with a disease or illness that changes your life so drastically, but the truth is-it isn't going to change a thing!

So maybe I am the one who needs to change.  Sounds so very simple doesn't it?

Until next time:)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Now?

Enough is enough! I felt great for one day then plummeted down again. Back with the fevers and so very tired.

I was on the Prednisone for 5 days then off for 3, now back on again so I am still hopeful it will kick whatever I have.

It is affecting my interest in making my mosaics as every time I go into my room I feel ill.
My husband went in there early this morning and checked for any mold or mildew(which I am allergic) and steam cleaned all the powdery substance on the carpets that creep in there from cutting dish tiles.  He also sprayed some Clorox and water solution along the baseboards to kill any molds.

I sure hope this helps because I don't know what I will do if I can't make mosaics.  I have a sinking feeling the powder is getting to me.  This is something that I remember learning about having fibromyalgia; a heightened sense of smell as well as higher sensitivities to airborne particles.  All the nasal sprays I have been using arent' helping at this point.

I am beginning to get a small picture of what Job must have felt. lol

However, my foot seems to finally be on the mend. I quit stretching it and just let it be the last several days and it seems so much better.

Until next time :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Have Joined the Living

OMG, I cannot believe how much better I am feeling now that I have my sinus infection under control.  I get up and actually have interest and energy to do something. Hurray!

I still can't walk.  I can get from point A to point B, but actually walking for exercise is not happening.  Honestly, who would think this foot thing would still be a problem all these months later.  Anyway, I am swimming now just to keep the body from getting too stiff, bringing on fibromyalgia problems.

I use one of those "noodles" to hang on to and kick my legs back and forth not only to keep the circulation going, but hopefully to loosen whatever it is that keeps my ankle stiff and making it hard to walk. 

I tried just swimming around the pool without any floaty but the days following were killer on my back and shoulders as it was just too much for me all at once. Gotta go slow which is a hard thing to do in the pool as you can't really feel what you are doing to yourself.

I hope each of you had a good 4th of July.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Are We Halfway There?

It is so hard to believe we are halfway through the year already. This has not been a good one for our country and not so hot for me either.

I am still battling this foot problem, but the doctor told me yesterday to try some new stretching exercises so we'll see. He did say that the elevated pain is more than likely caused from fibromyalgia but with a sprain or whatever I might have now it would depend on how bad it is and he doesn't really know without an MRI.

I am trying to get over a terrible sinus infection that must have started some time ago as I haven't really felt well for months.

I went to the Urgent Care Facility on Saturday and was given a Z-pack and a prescription for Prednisone. I have finished the Z-pack and still have headaches and fevers so I am now on the prednisone.

On top of that I seriously burned my wrist with my steamer. How you say? Well, it's really a clothes steamer that I use to put some steam into the air for my sinuses. I turned it on and added some scents and then went to reach for something just when it decided to steam and spew out boiling hot water. UGH, I shouldn't be let out alone anymore.LOL

I certainly hope the next 6 months are better as I don't think I could make it as I am worn out.

Until next time. :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

You Have to See This!

I don't know how many of you watch "America's Got Talent" but this video of these two sisters who have Cystic Fibrosis is so heartwarming that I just had to share it with you.

It is so wonderful to see people, especially children, that some how just move past all the pain and misery and find the silver lining in life.  Their song choice was moving and perfect for their situation.

Definition of Cystic Fibrosis from the Mayo Clinic:

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening disorder that causes severe lung damage and nutritional deficiencies.

An inherited condition, cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. Normally, these secretions are thin and slippery, but in cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes the secretions to become thick and sticky. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the pancreas and lungs.

Cystic fibrosis happens most often in white people of northern European ancestry, occurring in about 1 out of 3,000 live births. In the past, most people with cystic fibrosis died in their teens. Improved screening and treatments now allow many people with cystic fibrosis to live into their 50s or even longer

Until next time :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is Fibromyalgia Causing This?

Most of the time I can deal with the pain that I get from having fibromyalgia.  I don't like it.  It has certainly affected how I live my life, but I am beginning to get a handle on what will make it worse.  Or so I thought.

I have been dealing with the after affects of fracturing my foot for nearly 4 months now.  I still can't walk and beginning to wonder if I ever will again.

My doctor told me that the tendons may need to be stretched after wearing the boot for 3 weeks, but even he thought there was no way I could have that much of a problem in such a short amount of time.

Now I am wondering if the fibromyalgia is causing this horrific pain.  I don't say that lightly either as I have worked every day on stretching out the tendons on the top of my foot as well as the one running up the back of my knee.  I used to be able to sit on my legs and now I can't as the pain sears through me.

The pain is so intense that if I work on my foot for too long I actually get physically sick.  I have had lots of pain in my life, but nothing that compares to this and no matter how much I work at it I still can't walk.  It feels like the tendon is so tight that it's going to snap in half.

I went to my chiropractor the other day and he did adjust my ankle and told me the tendon was very rigid.  I felt instantly better for about 10 minutes then it tightened back up again.

I believe that there is a very good chance that the pain is increased considerably because of fibromyalgia.  There is no other explanation for it that I can see.  Who has this much pain from wearing a "boot" for 3 weeks?  I hope to find out when I see my doctor on Tuesday.

I don't know what I can do differently and the pain is still very real to me even if it might be magnified by my illness.  I would like to think I might walk again.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Would You Describe Yourself?

I am following a lovely blog called Seeking Equalibrium and Rosemary was posting a sort of game where you describe yourself (as of this moment) using 25 adjectives so I thought I would give it a try, just for fun.
It definitely opens you up to being honest with yourself and puts it all out there.





Dry Humored

Well, that's a little scary.  It is the truth, for today anyway,  so I shall leave it alone.
Anyone else want to give it a try? Let me know if you do.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Swimming Anyone?

I have decided to swim each night since walking around the neighborhood isn't working for me as my right foot still isn't 100%.

I used to swim everyday when we first moved here 7 years ago and loved it.  I still do love it, but my body screams the next few days.  It is amazing that a little paddling around can cause such a problem now for my body.  I used to do an entire workout routine and hardly feel anything.  I know, we all used to do so much more, huh?

Fibromyalgia is a tough illness because you can't feel what you are doing to yourself at the time.  It's only over the next few days that let you know you may have overdone it.

I suppose if you were to swim every single day and gradually build up to a routine that your muscles wouldn't complain as much.  It's kinda scary to think that something so minimal can cause such grief.  Even my pain pills can't eliminate all of it.

I am not giving in to it though.  I will continue to swim until I can walk again as I refuse to let this illness dictate to my life any more than it already has.

Exercise is recommended for fibromyalgia patients and I know in the long run it's better for the body.

Until next time :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

OK, This is Getting Scary

Is it me or can I blame it on the Tramadol?  I am sure I am losing it.

I have another blog called Chris' Comments that I post about my mosaic business as well as a variety of other topics.   Anyway, I had just completed a very long post about tips for people who are new to cruising and when I went to my blog this morning it wasn't there.  The reason it wasn't there was because it was on this blog instead.  How scary is that?

I accidentally published under the wrong blog.  For those of you who have more than one blog with Blogger, you know that they come up together on the dashboard so I obviously hit the wrong one.  Honestly sometimes I'm afraid to even go out of my house. LOL

I truly do see a significant change in my memory and I recognize that as we get older our memories fade, but good grief I'm only 53.  At this rate I will be mindless by the time I'm in my 70's, if the good Lord allows me to go that far.

I just placed a hold on a brain teaser book at the library hoping that using some of the exercises in that book will improve my memory.  I do know that once I started taking the Tramadol I could see right away that losing some memory was going to be one of the side affects, however the upside was just too good not to stay on it.

I was in my Dr's office the other day to do a follow-up on a dexascan and she told me that Tramadol is now noted for causing depression.  Just great.  Truthfully, I am not worried about that as I have been on it for nearly 3 years and do not see any connection at all.  Of course my body generally acts oppositely to drugs so maybe that's the reason.

By the way, have any of you had a dexascan?  I had one due to the fractures in my foot but was a little scared it was going to come back that my bones had turned into crackers and were falling apart rapidly as it seemed I kept getting more fractures.  Turns out I am borderline from normal to osteopenia which is the first stage of osteoporosis.   I am pretty sure the reason for that result is because I was vitamin D deficient at my last physical which means the calcium I was taking wasn't working either so I am hopeful that my bones will get stronger now that I have boosted the vitamins.

I will let you know if the brain teasers work, that is unless I forget where to post again. LOL

Until next time :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Where Do I Go to Complain?

 I am still dealing with the after affects of this darned fractured foot and have been more than a little frustrated lately so where can I go to complain?  I mean it.  I wish there was some place a person could go just to complain about life once in a while.

I was put in a "boot" several weeks back because the first fracture (from March) had caused a stress fracture in my little toe due to the unusual way I had been walking and now that the boot is finally off I thought I would finally be able to go out and walk the neighborhood again.  Not so.

I now have to stretch my tendons on the top of my feet back to normal as the few weeks of not using them has caused them to shrink.  Very weird, but OMG, the pain is worse than the the fracture.  I have to literally push my weight onto my right foot and just stretch it back out and it is excruciating, but I don't want to hobble anymore as I desperately need to get back to the business of walking again.  I have gained 8 lbs in the last 3 months from not walking so I really recognize how beneficial it is to maintaining my weight.  Nothing fits and I feel bloated and awful.   I do keep up the stretching exercises every other day though or I would completely lose my mind. 

This hasn't been a picnic with my fibromyalgia either.  I have been getting an adjustment at my chiropractors and a massage every week just to keep my body aligned.  The boot ads  inches to your height on one side and it's hell (sorry, no other word for it) on the body.  I am just grateful I can get a massage for 30 bucks, but even at that price I can't be going forever.

OK, I am finished complaining and feeling much better. Thanks.

Until next time :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What is Depression?

What is depression?
The actual definition of depression is:  a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity.

For some, it's a feeling of hopelessness and despair that can't be defined by a specific situation.  They know the normal activities that used to give them joy no longer holds any interest for them and much of the time they would rather just sleep. I would suppose this type of depression might be caused by ongoing problems or feelings that haven't been resolved.

Then there is the situational depression.  This one comes and goes with life's ups and downs.

I know for me much of my depression comes from not being in control of things and people that affect my life.  If my kids do something really foolish, there is really little I can do but stand on the sidelines as they are all adults and have to make their own way in the world.  You can offer advise or opinions but it's really up to them whether they choose to heed it.  It can be heartbreaking to watch and if it happens often enough you can spiral downward.  It feels like being trapped. 

For others it could be a relative that insinuates themselves in your life and makes you miserable.  Sometimes it has to do with how well things are going at work.  These are all factors that you may have little control over and it can get downright frustrating and lead to depression.

 Of course, financial worries can certainly make one depressed, but again, I think it's more about not having any way to change things that truly cause the depression and not the fact that money is tight or nonexistent.  If you can think of a way to change things or come up with some sort of a plan then you have a way out, but if it is out of your control then you can become depressed.

Many of us who have a chronic illness that affects our daily lives can find ourselves depressed from time to time.  It can be the illness itself that keeps us from doing what we would like to do or it could be the constant lack of understanding of family and friends, or a combination of both.  I know that there are times when I get down if I think about having fibromyalgia on a large scale.  You know, when you realize this is how it's going to be for the rest of your life and you have to learn to adjust constantly.

Each of us have our own way of dealing with our illness and each of us has limitations we must learn to live with.  I truly believe that if we can just keep our attitude as positive as we can and not allow circumstance to alter our day, then we have a winning chance of leading the best life we can.

I read. Lots.  This is my way of dealing with whatever comes my way.  Currently I am reading a book written by Max Lucado called "Fearless, What Your Life Would Be Like Without Fear" and it has helped me tremendously.  My faith is the most important part of my life and sometimes when I get down I forget their is someone greater than me that is always there.

I hope that you will seek help if you find you are experiencing abnormal depression.  Don't let it take one more day of your life from you.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Today is "Fibromyalgia Awareness Day"

Today is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, a day that we recognize fibromyalgia as an actual illness and help to make the public not only more aware of it but also to a better understanding of what sufferers experience. 

It is very difficult and many times lonely living with this disease because it isn't something that can be seen so others don't always understand.  Many sufferers won't complain about pain because they don't want to be labeled a whiner.  Believe me I do know how that feels but sometimes we just need to speak up and better educate those around us.

My sister, who lives in a different state than  I do, has often brought up the fact that I don't work outside the home.   She mentions that if I just had a job that I wouldn't have all this time to think about my problems.  I can't tell you how difficult it is at times not to get very defensive and angry with her because she has absolutely no idea what fibromyaligia is.

That is part of the problem; most people don't really know what in the heck fibromyalgia is because no two patients suffer the same degree of pain so it's hard to pin down exactly what it is.  Telling someone that you just have pain or ache doesn't seem to satisfy them so explaining how your brain neurotransmitters confuse the signals regarding pain may make them roll their eyes at you.  I can just here my sister saying "So, you mean you don't really have the pain, so what's the problem?" Ugh!

I think the key is having a supportive friend or group that you can go to that will understand exactly how you feel.  I have a sister-in-law who has fibro so we "get" each other and it really helps when we go out together.

My next post will be some tips to better sleeping, so stay tuned.

Until next time:)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Boot or No Boot?

Some of you know that I fractured my right foot about 8 weeks ago and finally got to a point where I could actually walk around my neighborhood again.

I have no idea how it happened but I managed to fracture the side of my little toe on the same foot and just had it x-rayed yesterday as confirmation.

Well, my doctor thought it looked like a stress fracture from the change in my walk from the original problem so he decided I needed a "boot". OMG, this thing looks like what you might wear if you were going to go skiing or something. It has 5 different Velcro straps to keep it tight on your foot and half way up your leg. All this for a fractured toe?

On top of this lovely little fashion boot is the price you pay for it. Now, I am not sure if my insurance is going to pick up the tab of $160.00 or not. They weren't sure either so they charged me 25% just in case. I can think of several pairs of shoes I could buy for that.

They strapped me in this thing before I left the office so I had to hobble on it to get to my car where I had to take it off anyway as there is no way that can be safe to drive with.

I get home and put it back on and within half an hour I can feel my neck and right shoulder giving me fits with the uneven posture and gait you get wearing this thing.

So, my choice is this: Do I wear the boot and hope it helps to heal my toe more quickly and just spend the extra money at the chiropractor's office to keep realigning my shoulder or do I just wear my slippers around the house like I've been doing and save the boot for long distance journeys?

Honestly, when you have fibromyalgia absolutely anything and everything out of the ordinary can upset the balance and cause you pain but most doctors don't recognize this or take it into consideration when prescribing. My doctor asked me all kinds of questions about what vitamins I take, whether I still had periods or not, what types of surgeries I have had, etc. He even prescribed a Dexa scan to check on bone loss, but never once addressed my fibromyalgia and how this change in posture wearing this boot may increase pain and create other problems.

We are still in the dark ages when it comes to this chronic illness. Very few believe it exists let alone recognize how it affects a person when prescribing treatments for unrelated ailments.

Even my chiropractor gave me a whole list of exercises to start doing to keep my sciatic nerve from acting up while I am waiting for this fracture to heal. If I did all of those exercises at once and every day I would be in constant pain that even the Tramadol couldn't help.
I decided to take on a few at a time and increase as I go along and it seems to work out fine.

I have said it before and I will continue to say it "We must play an active role in our health because we know our bodies better than anyone." What works for some may not work for you, so ask questions, research what you can and pay close attention to what your body is telling you.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Listening In

I was at my chiropractor's office and in one of his waiting rooms when I overheard a conversation about fibromyalgia.

Now, I don't eavesdrop as a general rule, but the layout of his rooms leaves an 18" or so gap at the top of the common walls so I may as well have been in the room with them.

His patient was asking him what he thought about being diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the tender age of 21 and his comments concerned me. He told her that he thought that fibromyalgia is overly diagnosed for just about anyone in pain and that it sets them up to fears that are unfounded. He said that it is proven not to be muscular-skeletal so it's hard to treat, which is true. What is confusing is that I have seen it lumped in with Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, Diabetes and the like as a very serious illness.

I guess I just don't choose to see it that way. To me it is just an obstacle in the way of what I want to do sometimes and I have to learn to pick and choose what I can and can't do or suffer the consequences.

If it really doesn't affect our muscles and it primarily a neurotransmitter that's gone haywire, why would it be in league with lupus and other diseases that actually do attack you physically.
Fibromyalgia certainly feels like physical pain but our muscles aren't really overused so it's a bit confusing.

The patient was talking about her 21 yr old nephew and she couldn't believe he could have fibromyalgia so she wanted an opinion. I am sure for some people this diagnosis could have serious repercussions especially if they have an attitude of giving up.

We just can't give up. What we have to do is find another avenue that works for us. There is always a silver lining on the other side if we journey long enough to find it.

Even in the depression I have been experiencing I look for life lessons because I believe there is a reason for everything. It doesn't necessarily make it any easier but at least I can tell myself that things will get better.

Until next time :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Savella Not For Me

I was supposed to keep a daily diary of being on Savella, a fairly new drug to the fibromyalgia world, but I really didn't like the side effects it had on me so I opted to quit taking it and start on some St. Johns Wart from my local drug store.

The Savella is a bit of a bugger to be on as you are to eat a full breakfast before taking it and I am just not a breakfast person. On top of that I take Tramadol for pain and the net sites I visited to research Savella led me to believe these 2 are not to be mixed. That was a bit alarming as my doctor prescribed both for me at my last appt.

The side effects were just a feeling of being unfocused and tired. I already deal with that anyway so the added problem wasn't for me. Usually once I take the Tramadol in the morning the first several hours of the day are pretty good so being tired by 11 am was not working.

I don't know if my doctor will like this choice, but I know my body and I would rather deal with the depression my way.

It's been tough and I don't feel like doing anything constructive. My mosaic has sat on my work table for over a week now and I can't seem to get into it so I don't push the issue or I will just make mistakes.

I have been reading my bible and doing a lot of soul searching and praying to find out what is in store for me and what direction I should go next. I even played a game of spider solitaire on the computer which is something I haven't done in over a year as my online business uses up all my time on the computer for the most part.

So much has changed in my life over the last year that I think the grieving and accepting will take some time.

I still plan to keep plugging away here on this blog and will post any news I hear regarding research on fibromyalgia as I always have my ear to the ground on that front.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Diary Continued

Yesterday was not a good day for me. I got up and immediately took my tramadol (for pain) and felt great. I was ready for the day and had started planning and designing a new mosaic.

About an hour after I took the tramadol I made sure to eat a bowl of cereal so that I could take the Savella and not get the nausea. I took it around 9:15 a.m. and by 11:30 I was unable to keep focused in on anything. I felt tired and directionless and in a fog. Normally when I get up and take the tramadol I get several good hours in before I start to drain, but not this time, so it was either the Savella or my allergies getting to me as to why I was suddenly so tired.

I have the weirdest allergies of anyone I know. I never have the normal symptoms of runny nose and eyes, or sore throat from too much drainage. No, I get a stuffed up head that comes on so gradual that I don't even know that I am affected until I have too many days where I feel like I can't get it together. I feel foggy headed and just want to lie down. I can't always sleep because the tramadol does keep me awake, but I can't seem to get up and do anything.

I can't even dust my house without it affecting how I feel. I wear a mask to dust and am so careful not to let it get airborne but invariably I will end up in bed within a few hours after dusting because I am so tired I can barely function. It feels like someone drugged me it comes on so quickly. Scary.

I plan to see an allergist as soon as I can get this depression under control, but I don't want to do too much at once.

If the Savella continues to make me feel tired I will stop taking it as I do not need any more days where I am out of commission. I suppose my doctor would tell me to keep taking it for several weeks to see how it goes, but I don't know that I am willing to do that. I can usually tell very quickly if something is going to work or not.

Until next time:)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 2 on "Savella"

Yesterday was my first day on the new drug for fibromyalgia, called "Savella", and I didn't have any problems at all.
Surprisingly, I actually took a long nap in the early afternoon even though I was told not to take this drug too late in the day as it could keep you awake. I will be taking it twice a day soon and will be sure to take my 2nd pill no later than 2 or 3 in the afternoon just to be on the safe side.
I have battled insomnia for more years than I could count so I definitely do not want anything to make that worse.

I am ever hopeful that the time will come that I can be pain free and still have energy and a clear mind. I can't tell you how many times over the last year I have had to ask my husband what the TV show we are watching is about because my mind wanders. I also have noticed a serious drop in memory so maybe Savella can change that.

Originally Savella was used for depression in Europe and went by the name "Dalcipran". Actually it is considered the most prescribed med for depression over there. And like any drug you research on the net, you will find someone who has had a bad experience with it so I am trying to keep a positive attitude.

I have been taking tramadol to relieve pain for nearly 3 years and have noticed a significant change in my memory. I also have to be very careful not to take this med too late in the day as it definitely will keep you awake. I love the boost it gives me when I take it, but it doesn't do a thing for the fibro fog, memory or depression.

I just took my 2nd dose of Savella at 9am this morning and will see what the day brings.

Until next time :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Daily Diary of the New Fibromyalgia Drug, "Savella"

O.K., I am going to be totally honest here and tell you what has been going on with me so that you can use this information to maybe help yourself or someone you know.

I have been battling a serious depression for several weeks now and have to push myself to even get on the computer. This particular bout of depression is not the first I have experienced but I haven't had it this bad in years. It is the debilitating kind that leaves you very fatigued, uninterested in anything and can wreak havoc on your mind. In addition to this I found out that I have fractured my right foot and the hobbling has thrown off my sciatic nerve on the left side to the point I couldn't sit for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time.
I had an appointment already scheduled for a physical so I talked to my doctor about putting me on an anti-depressant.

I was given a prescription for a fairly new drug called "Savella". Savella is prescribed primarily for fibromyalgia patients because it is supposed help relieve the pain, clear the fibro fog and memory as well as work on the depression.

I have been on several anti-depressants over the years (not in the last 10 or so) and had terrible side effects so I am rather hesitant to try Savella. In fact, it has been sitting in my kitchen cupboard for nearly 2 weeks now. I made the mistake of researching it on the web and didn't like what I saw. It supposedly causes nausea, headaches, possible dizziness and may lead to suicidal thoughts. Great, that's all I need. The upside of this is that 10 out of 12 people in a post I read about Savelle feel it has helped their pain and energy levels as well as the foggy head and are thrilled to have found it.

After much prayer and talking this out with my husband (bless his heart for putting up with me for all these year) I have decided I am going to give it a try and I am going to chronicle the effects it has on me in a diary form on this blog.

Today was my first doze of Savella. I took 12mg around 8am as I learned from the web that you should not mix tramadol (a pain pill I have been taking) and Savella so I had my tramadol at 6:30 when I woke up.

I was told to eat a full breakfast before I took this medication as it can cause nausea. It is now a little after 11am and I haven't felt any side effects.

I plan to stay on 12mg for the first 3 days then increase it to 25mg. for several more days.
I am hopeful that I can ween myself off the tramadol as you are not supposed to mix the two since they are both lift the serotonin levels in your brain. I did ask my doctor about this when she first prescribed it to me but she said I was fine and even gave me a new RX for more tramadol. Go figure. I always do my own research because no one knows my body better than me and we can't all be generalized.

I hope this drug works for me because I don't want to play the guinea pig trying to find one that will work.

I will keep you posted.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When the Realization Hits

I was just reading one of the blogs I follow, called Chronic Connection and I wanted so very much to comment and for whatever reason, I cannot seem to get Blogger to understand that I am the owner of this blog and one other as it will not let me through. So if you read this, please know that I may not be able to comment on some of your blogs.

Anyway, back to what I started this post about. I was reading about how scary it is to realize that this chronic pain and all the extras that go with it (fatigue, depression, insomnia, etc.) has "become" my life. It is what I will be looking at every single day for the rest of my life. Getting up and knowing within an hour whether this is going to be a good day or a bad day.

I have had a diagnosed case of fibromyalgia for 2 1/2 years now and I guess you could say I am forever hopeful that one day I will wake up and this nightmare will be gone.

I started getting this debilitating pain when I was caring for my terminally ill mother back in 2007, but I realize now that anything out of the ordinary daily routine for me will cause this pain to worsen. It might be too much use of my legs or arms or skipping a few weeks of my exercises and then going back to them, or it could be things out of my control that affect my emotions.

Right now it is a sprained foot that has pulled me down and wreaking havoc on my fibromyalgia pain. Sitting all day and doing very little walking is making the pain so much worse for me. So I guess you could say that consistent exercise really does make you feel better.

I woke up yesterday and felt like I was a new person. I had 8 full hours of sleep and was nearly pain free except for my foot, which doesn't count. I have no idea why all of a sudden I seem better, but I won't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Today I am alert, energetic and ready for the day and even plan to go to my grandson's class and deliver 24 Easter cupcakes that I made last night.

Having this chronic illness is like living the life of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You never know which one you are going to be until each new day arrives. But I will tell you this; I am taking full advantage of the "good" days as I have no idea how many I may have left.

Until next time :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fibromyalgia Charms

I would not have thought I would use this blog as a place to promote shops, but in this case I wanted to take a moment and introduce Debbee for backroomcreations, her shop on Etsy.

Debbee suffers from fibromyalgia and sells these cute charms in support of a cure. I wanted to share a few of them with you, then I plan to keep one on my blog as a permanent reminder that we will always be hopeful that someone finds a cure.

Thanks Debbee.

Until next time :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Is Fibromyalgia a Degenerative Disease?

I am still alive and kicking, well, not kicking as I am still dealing with this sprained foot. I have never sprained anything before and had no idea it takes so darn long to heal. I so miss my walking every night and it has taken a toll on my fibromyalgia.

Walking has been my only real form of exercise as using the pool has a tendency to make me very sore because it's hard to determine if you are over doing it. Now that I can't make my jaunt around the neighborhood I can feel the weight gaining up on me and I am much more creaky and cranky.

It has been difficult to sit here at my desk and work on the computer because I can't prop up the foot and it just throbs with all the blood going down to it, so I haven't been posting much or promoting my mosaic shop.

I did read an article the other day and so wish I had saved it as it lumped fibromyalgia in with other degenerative diseases such as lupus, diabetes, CFS and others that don't come to mind at the moment. But I was left thinking how odd that was as I never thought of fibro as being a degenerative illness. It supposedly never gets worse as time goes by like the other diseases, so why would it have been added to this list.

If fibromyalgia is the pain sensors malfunctioning telling us we are hurting and the muscles aren't really sore or stretched or whatever, how can it be degenerative? It isn't really happening physically, is it?? OK, time to do more research.

I know that if I do excessive vacuuming or pruning my trees or anything that uses parts of my body that I don't normally use on a daily basis my brain tells me I just ran a marathon, but my muscles aren't really overused, just that my brain thinks they are. Now, I do know that if the brain is telling you something that it does affect your body, but this is a bit confusing to me.

I will check this out and get back to you.

Until next time :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Benefits of White Tea

I love to read this magazine called "Natural Awakenings" whenever I go to my chiropractor's office. It is loaded with healthy tips, news, recipes and much more, but this week I was reading about the benefits of white tea.

OK, I am probably a bit out of the loop, as I'm still finishing my bags of green tea, but after reading some of the benefits of this one I thought I would pass it on.

Professor Declan Naughton of Kingston University, in London, one of UK's leading specialists on inflammation states that white tea may help reduce the risk of inflammation that is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers, as well as wrinkles. I am thinking that it could also be a good thing for fibromyalgia sufferers too.

According to this article, the properties of white tea go beyond high levels of antioxidants to also block the activities of enzymes that break down elastin and collagen. The doctor explains that elastin is what supports the body's natural elasticity, which helps the lungs, arteries, ligaments and skin to function. It also is said to help body tissues repair wounds and stops skin from sagging (I wish I found this years ago). Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues, which is also key to skin strength and resiliency.

I figure I may as well give it a try, as it doesn't appear that there is anything to lose and much to gain. I don't like to run out and get everything that comes down the pike, but I do like a cup of tea now and then so I will be giving this one a whirl.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tough Week

This has been a really tough week for me. I think my body is screaming because I sprained my foot and have been hobbling around for several days now. It throws the balance off and creates other malfunctions, for lack of a better word, throughout my right side.

The painful throb of my foot compiled with the fibromyalgia kicking up into high gear has been really difficult for me to be creative this past week. My mosaics have suffered and 2 pieces are still waiting to be finished so that I can list them.

I used to go in for a massage at least 2 times or more a month, but that can get very expensive and with money being on the tight side right now I don't feel I want to spend it on that.
I do get my husband to work out some of the kinks at night so that has been very helpful.

For me, when my body is this far out of whack the only thing I can do is go to the chiropractor and have him adjust me. Usually one time is enough these days, but I haven't had this long of a period of pain in some time.

I think of all of you who have this kind of pain on a daily basis with no way to ease it and it does make me grateful that mine can be remedied with time.

Just wanted to share with all of you what was going on as it's been a little quiet on this end.

I am working on a new post about some new information on fibromyalgia. Whether or not it is true remains to be seen.

Until next time. :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is Fibromyalgia Cause by Emotional Stress?

A while back I posted about my thoughts on the causes of Fibromyalgia. To date, there still isn't a bonafide reason or cause for this chronic illness and after thinking about this for some time I have decided to try and accumulate some information and I could use your help.

This is not something that will be published or renowned as "the cause", but I am just very curious to dig a little deeper.

To repeat my thoughts on this, I still believe that fibromyalgia is the breaking down of the body due to an overtaxed brain that can no longer keep it's signals in order. We all know that fibromyalgia is due to a mixed signal in the brain that is telling our minds and bodies that we are experiencing exaggerated pain in our muscles. It is a very real pain and has affected some people so severely that it has completely changed their lifestyle.

OK, so if a person who is a nurturer by nature, is a possible people pleasing personality, is a dweller on certain situations trying to remedy them, is highly stressed emotionally, has learned to stuff many of their emotions rather than face confrontation or reaction, etc, then they are a prime target for a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia even if they have changed their behavior.

It takes years of emotional stress to start coming out in a physical way because the body isn't designed to hold it all in. It may come out in other ways such a low immune system, rashes, hair loss, allergies, sensitivities and so on, but it will come out eventually. I am wondering if fibromyalgia is the direct result of living a life such as I mention above as everyone I know who has this chronic problem also exhibits this type of personality.

For the most part, fibromyalgia primarily affects women and we have always been considered the emotional hub of the family. We are geared differently than most men and strive to keep the peace and harmony in our relationships and family and adding a career to the mix only compounds the problem.

Here are my questions to you:

1. Can you relate to any of these characteristics I mentioned? (it could be a behavior you have overcome, but had most of your life)

2. When did your fibromyalgia symptoms start? And did you experience other physical problems before?

3 Do you find that your fibro flares up when an emotionally taxing situation occurs?

4. Do you feel guilt about having this illness? (partially because no one really knows why we have it and many believe it doesn't really exist; partially because we can't function like we used to and it affects what we can and can't do.)

I would love to know if you or someone you know who has fibromyalgia has any of these traits. I would also love to hear from a man who has this illness and see what his take on it is.

If you are uncomfortable answering any of this on my blog, please feel free to email me your answers. This is not about specific names, but more of a compilation of information for me to better understand the origins of fibromyalgia.

I hope that you will take the time to comment as I would like to get back to you with my results.

Until next time :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Just pucker up and deal with it.

I know, not a very nice thing to say, but this week has not been one of my better ones. My fibromyalgia seems to be in high gear so the sleeping is so, so, but I was doing some promoting on my computer and evidentally sat for too long as my foot fell asleep and when I got up I took one giant step and fell right onto the tiled floor. My foot went sideways under me and I banged my knee up pretty good so now I have a sprained foot.

I always sit with my feet tucked up underneath myself so that is why my foot went to sleep, but I have never had my entire leg give out from under me like that. Whew, scary.

It will get better so I will be back to posting on a regular basis again soon.
I miss my nightly walks around the neighborhood and am hopeful I will be able to get back to that soon. In the meantime I am still doing my exercises for the muscles as I just know that is what keeps me from getting really bad. Whenever I start to feel like my body is holding together with safety pins I know it's time to get back to regular exercising.

I don't know if you experience this or not, but to me, it feels like my tendons are loose and my body creaks in weird places and if I move too suddenly it's all going to be over. My best description for this is "being held together with safety pins".

Hope all of you are having a better week than me.

Until next time :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Are There Blood Test to Determine Fibromyalgia?

I am on the docket for having a physical in April so I am scheduling for my blood tests now so that I will have the results in plenty of time to show my doctor.

I was reading the different ones she put a check by and noticed there was one marked "Fibromyalgia". I thought that was odd as to my knowledge there is no blood test.
Sure enough, I was researching it on the web and did not see anything about an actual fibro blood test, only tests to rule out other illnesses. So why does my lab test sheet have a place for the doctor to check for fibroymyalgia. I do not know, but you can bet I will be asking both the lab tech and my doctor.

This is what I found about blood testing on the web. I have a tendency to gravitate to the Mayo Clinic site, but all the ones I read basically say the same thing.

"Blood tests: While there is no lab test to confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, your doctor may want to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms". Blood tests may include:
Complete blood count
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Thyroid function tests

Now, if you lived inside my brain your first thought would be: "What if fibromyalgia doesn't come up positive on the blood results? Does that mean she will take my meds away?"
I know that is my negative bent coming out, but when waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, it generally has so I have become somewhat cynical. I truly hate to even admit that as I am a Christian woman who believes all things are possible with God, but after many years of very stressful events it's been difficult to stay positive.

My appointment isn't until the latter half of March, but I will post what I find out. If any of you have had a Fibromyalgia blood test, please enlighten me.

On another note, I have been listening to Joel Osteen's newest cd, "It's Your Time", and it has really helped me to stay postive about so many parts of my life. This particular cd is geared to audiences who may be having difficult times in this recession, but he is such an encouraging person that it can work for any area of your life. I highly recommend it for anyone who has been seriously affected by our economic times and may be fearful of what's to come.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sugar Award

Thanks so much to Nancy of Chronic Connection for giving me the "Sugar Doll" Award.
I so enjoy reading your blog and appreciate your openess about your life and your struggles. I truly feel we have a "connection".

As a part of receiving this award I am to list 10 things about myself, so here we go:

1. I love Jane Austen Books and Films.

2. I don't have a favorite color.

3. I don't have a middle name.

4. I love romance movies because there is usually a happy ending.

5. I love history museums.

6. My husband was once my son's "Big Brother" from the Big Bros./Big Sisters Foundation.

7. I have 32 year old twins.

8. I collect "Gone With the Wind" memorabilia as well as the "Titanic".

9. I read 2-3 books a week.

10. I cry at sentimental movies; even a Hallmark Card commercial.

Now I am to pass this on to others, and I can think of many who are very deserving, but I have asked them to participate with other things through Chris' Comments and many just don't have the time anymore, so I would like to save it until I meet some new bloggers.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Causes Fibromyalgia

I have been researching the web again this morning looking for the very first diagnosed case of fibromyalgia. Of course, it leads you to website after website of non-related information so I thought I would throw this out there for you to see.

I came across one site that states several possible causes of this chronic illness. Everything from relationship troubles to consuming too many pesticides, hormones, and by-products of prescription drugs.

I have my own theory based on my own case and I would love to get your take on what you think brought about your fibromyalgia or CFS.

Here's my thoughts:

I think living a highly stressed life (especially one that you feel you can't control the outcome) combined with certain personality types (the nurturers, the people pleasers, the empathetic, the fearful, etc) along with the man made chemicals such as pesticides, hormones, food enhancers causes a breakdown in the body that comes on very gradually. Each crisis that comes along in your life sets you further back and eventually comes out in a physical way from overload.
I learned the hard way that each time something traumatic happened in my life that my neck and back got considerably worse. I never really related this because I was never stress free and it didn't always happen right away. I believe the body reacts to the mental stress and eventually you feel it physically.

Too much stress will deplete your adrenal glands which leaves you vulnerable to many other problems such as insomnia, fatigue, depression, cravings for sweets and low blood pressure or low blood sugar.

Our adrenal glands are essential to our lives as they secrete the hormones necessary to help the body deal with stress. The adrenal hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, activate the body's "fight or flight" response. If overused it can get stuck. Think of a pendulum that swings back and forth and suddenly gets stuck to one side. That is what happens when you experience panic attacks. Your body senses danger and is reacting, but your mind doesn't understand as there is no eminent danger and it can be scary and confusing. You hyperventilate and feel like you might die as you have no control over what is happening.

Excessive stress, an important cause of adrenal burnout, can be from many sources. Chemical toxicity(over the counter and prescription drugs, for one) and nutritional depletion are among the physical causes. Mental, emotional or spiritual stress may be a major factor. Financial, family or other stress may also contribute to burnout. Any excessive stress can deplete the adrenals, especially when weakened by poor nutrition. Working too much or emotional stress are two common causes. Excessive stimulation, especially for children, is another cause. Fast-paced, high-stress, fear-based lifestyles are a sure prescription for adrenal burnout.

I truly believe that it takes time and determination to put your mind and body back together. It takes eating the right foods, regular exercise, a deeper spiritual life, a forgiving attitude (this is a tough one and takes time) ridding your life of bad relationships, taking daily "time" for yourself,
adequate sleep, and a mindset that "you can do it".

This is not an easy task and could take a lifetime of working on it, but at least we will be heading in the right direction.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Phantom and Fibro

My husband bought tickets to see "The Phantom of the Opera" in Orlando for our 21st wedding anniversary and I was very excited to go, but knew that all that sitting (the drive to Orlando and the show itself) had to be done in doses. It's really the pits to have to always plan your life around your pain, but that is what it has come to for me and I am sure for many others.

We went up the morning of the show and planned to stay overnight, mostly because we didn't want to drive home at 11pm, not so much because of the sitting, however, it did help to have the hotel 10 minutes away.

Anyway, I planned in advance to take my pain meds with me so that I could take them at the intermission. I asked my husband to remind me to take them and then I put them in my pill box that I carry at all times in my purse (I have one in each of my two everyday purses).
Well, Ralph reminded me at the break and we worked our way through the crowd to find the drinking fountain and sure enough I forgot to transfer them to my evening bag.

That is what is so crazy. I took the pill box out of the regular purse and put my pills in it and had my evening bag right there on the hotel table and spaced it out or something and ended up putting them back in my regular bag.

So about 15 minutes into the second half of the show I started aching in my hips and had to keep readjusting my position in the chair. It always makes me feel like a fidgety little kid, but I honestly cannot sit still when my hips and legs start aching. I enjoyed seeing the play very much but it would have been better if I could have gotten through it without the distraction.

What is scary is how much of this is the fibro fog and how much of it is getting older??

Here's another story about getting older. Humorous, but a little scary.

I think I told everyone on Chris' Comments about the time my husband left the car running with the keys in the car and the doors unlocked while we and our friends had dinner in a restaurant nearby.
He was so distracted by the conversation with our neighbors that he literally spaced the fact that he didn't take the keys out of the ignition and on top of that he left the car running!!
It was announced in the restaurant that a blue car was left running in the parking lot and it NEVER occurred to us that it was our car. In fact we were all laughing about how could anyone do something like that.

Well, he did this again the other day when we stopped to go grocery shopping. We were talking about something as he parked and he wasn't paying attention.

Now, don't ask me how he could do this not once, but twice because I am having a hard time imaging ever doing that at all, but you never know.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Are You a Morning Person?

Most of my life I would say I was a morning person. Still am to some degree as I do most of my serious thinking and creating early in the day. It's just my husband and me now, but when I had all the kids home I got in the habit of getting up early.

Since fibromyalgia has come into my life I find that I am not much of a morning person until the drugs have started working (which is anywhere from 30-45 minutes). Most of the time it is some sort of ache or pain that wakes me up in the first place. All these years I thought I just couldn't sleep in like regular people. Now I know it's because I was hurting and uncomfortable and had gotten so used to it that I didn't even realize that the pain was waking me up.

I still have days where I can't sleep past 6am no matter what time I went to bed the night before. If I have overdone something or have additional stresses added to my life it will not only keep me up at night but wake me up in the morning. I guess sometimes you just can't win.

I have to tell you though, I do thank God every day that I am still upright and able to walk even with the pain because I certainly know it could be a lot worse..

I would love to know what your mornings are like. Do you wake up stiff and sore or do you feel rested and ready to go? I find it hard to believe anyone with fibromyalgia wakes up pain free, truthfully, but maybe I am wrong.

I honestly do not know what I would do if I had to get up and out to a full time job everyday. I really feel for those of you who do. Not just the getting up and moving right away, but the sitting or standing around that many jobs require would kill me. A trip to the coffee machine or copier is not enough for me if I have been sitting for several hours.

So, tell me what you are like in the mornings. Do you have a full time job? How do you handle it with this chronic illness?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Are Your PH Levels Normal?

PH Balance Chart

Acidic ( Healthy Range) Alkaline
5.8-6.0-6.2-6.4-6.6 (6.8-7.0-7.2-7.4) 7.67.8-8.0-8.2-8.4

Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline . Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. Acidic pH can occur from, an acid forming diet, emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals. If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate, a build up of acids in the cells will occur.
An acidic balance will: decrease the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease it's ability to repair damaged cells, decrease it's ability to detoxify heavy metals, make tumor cells thrive, and make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness.

Some signs of extended acidic ph levels are:

Weakening of the skin, hair, nails, teeth, bones
Deterioration of the digestive tract, leaky gut syndrome
Excitability of the nervous system, sciatica
Tendency to depressive illness, anxiety, panic disorders
Muscular spasms and cramps
Enhances susceptibility to infections (bacterial, viral, etc.)
Chronic fatigue
Blockage of certain minerals which become unavailable
Increased risk of cancerous cells proliferating

Fibromyalgia patients already have a weakened immunity and keeping track of your ph levels is just one way to stay on top of your diet and what's going on internally.

I am listing the most common foods that are acidic and alkaline. Knowing these may help you determine what you can change when planning your meals if you find you are acidic since most fibromyalgia sufferers are usually on the "more acidic" side of the scale.


Corn, Lentils, Olives, Winter Squash

Blueberries,Canned or Glazed Fruits,Cranberries,Currants,Plums**Prunes**

Amaranth, Barley, Bran, oat Bran, wheat Bread, Corn, Cornstarch, Crackers, soda Flour, wheat Flour, white Hemp, Seed Flour, Kamut, Macaroni, Noodles, Oatmeal, Oats (rolled)Quinoa, Rice (all)Rice Cakes, Rye, Spaghetti, Spelt Wheat, Germ Wheat

Almond Milk, Black Beans,Chick Peas,Green Peas, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Pinto Beans, Red Beans, Rice Milk, Soy Beans, Soy Milk,White Beans

Butter, Cheese, Processed Ice Cream, Ice Milk

Cashews,Legumes,Peanut Butter,Peanuts,Pecans,Tahini,Walnuts

Bacon,Beef,Carp,Clams,Cod,Corned Beef,Fish,Haddock,Lamb,Lobster,Mussels,Organ Meats,Oyster,Pike,Pork,Rabbit,Salmon,Sardines,Sausage,Scallops,Shellfish,Shrimp,Tuna,Turkey,Veal,Venison

Avocado Oil, Butter, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Flax Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Lard, Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil, Sunflower Oil

Carob Corn Syrup, Sugar

Beer, Hard Liquor, Spirits, Wine

Catsup,Cocoa,Coffee,Mustard,Pepper,Soft Drinks,Vinegar

Aspirin,Chemicals, Drugs, Medicinal Drugs, Herbicides,Pesticides,Tobacco

Beer: pH 2.5Coca-Cola: pH 2


Alfalfa, Barley Grass, Beet Greens, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery,Chard Greens, Chlorella, Collard Greens, Cucumber, Dandelions, Dulce, Edible Flowers, Eggplant, Fermented Veggies,Garlic,Green beans, Green Peas,Kale,Kohlrabi,Lettuce,Mushrooms,Mustard Greens,Nightshade Veggies,Onions,Parsnips (high glycemic)Peas,Peppers,Pumpkin,Radishes,Rutabaga,Sea Veggies, Spinach, green Spirulina,Sprouts,Sweet Potatoes,Tomatoes,Watercress,Wheat Grass,Wild Greens

Daikon,Dandelion Root, Maitake, Nori Reishi Shitake Umeboshi, Wakame


Apple, Apricot,Avocado,Banana (high glycemic)Berries,Blackberries,Cantaloupe,Cherries, fresh Currants, Dates, dried Figs, dried Grapes, Grapefruit,Honeydew Melon, Lemon, Lime, Muskmelons, Nectarine, Orange, Peach Pear, Pineapple, Raisins, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tangerine, Tomato, Tropical Fruits, Umeboshi , Plums, Watermelon

ALKALIZING DAIRY-soured milk such as yogurt, buttermilk, whey

Almonds,Chestnuts,Millet, Tempeh (fermented)Tofu (fermented)Whey Protein Powder


Chili Pepper, Cinnamon, Curry,Ginger, Herbs (all)Miso, Mustard, Sea Salt, Tamari

Alkaline, Antioxidant, Water,Apple Cider,Vinegar,Bee Pollen,Fresh Fruit, Juice,Green Juices,Lecithin Granules, Mineral Water,Molasses, veggie Juices

Calcium: pH 12,Cesium: pH 14,Magnesium: pH 9,Potassium: pH 14,Sodium: pH 14

Wonderful Alkaline Apple Salad

1 large delicious apple
1 stalk celery
1 small box raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 80z. container vanilla yogurt

Wash and cut apple into small chunks. Wash and dice celery.
Place in a small bowl and add raisins, walnuts and yogurt. Toss to coat with yogurt and chill. Makes 2 servings.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Received the "Happy Award"

I have been given the "Happy Award" from Michele of Do Beautiful Things. I first met Michele when she started to follow my blog. She frequently leaves very nice comments and I want her to know how much I appreciate that. It keeps me going.

The Happy comes with a few conditions, which I repeat for you here:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. List who gave the award to you and link to his/her blog.
3. List 10 things that make you happy.
4.Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blogs to let them know!

The 10 things that make me the happiest would be...

1. The early morning time before anyone else is up. It's when I think.
2. Hugs from my grandchildren.
3. Time alone with my thoughts and God.
4. Knowing that I may have helped make someone's life better.
5. Listening to the waves of the ocean.
6. The passion that stirs when I get a great idea for a mosaic.
7. Taking long walks with my husband because we have time to talk uninterupted.
8. Walking through history museums. I just love to read about people from other periods and how they lived.
9. Listening to Enya
10.Long, meaningful conversations with my daughter.

I would like to give the "Happy"award to:
Natalie of Tins and Treasures as she is one of the nicest people I have met online and her blog is heartwarming and always a delight to read.
Felicia of Another Bright Idea as she always has fun things going on with her blog that make me smile.