Friday, January 23, 2015

Before and after chronic illness

Before chronic illness...                                                             After chronic illness...

Out partying and having fun every night
Passed out on the floor from exhaustion, not drink, dang it

Before chronic illness...                                                      After chronic illness...

Rock Climber Extraordinaire 
Winner of the bed Olympics

Before chronic illness...                                                        After chronic illness...                              

A hard working citizen supporting myself

A lazy mooch leeching off society

Before chronic illness...                                                               After chronic illness...                  

Full of boundless energy! 

Before chronic illness...                                                                               After chronic illness...
An intelligent person

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What does if feel like to be in pain all the time?

It feels like someone is hitting you with a hammer repeatedly and they never let up.

You can feel every single part of your body, even the parts you normally aren't aware of. When you hurt from your eyeballs down to your pinkie toe it's hard to even keep up brain function.

Your body is in so much pain you can't think or focus on anything else. You forget words you've known for years. Suddenly you can't remember even your friend's name and you can barely get out a simple sentence.

You are aware of every single movement you make. It hurts to hurts to move your eyes, your finger, or even your mouth not to mention your neck, legs, or arms. It hurts so much to move that you try to stay absolutely still and avoid any unnecessary movement.

You feel like your whole body is on fire, only it's a fire that will never go out.

You feel like there is never going to be an end to your suffering.

It feels like no one understands you and that you're totally alone.

And yet you have to keep going on and on and on.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Product Review- Warming CBD muscle from the Fay Farm

I was provided with a free sample Warming CBD Muscle Rub from the Fay Farm to see if it helped with fibromyalgia pain. I admit I was skeptical at first as I am always skeptical of so called "natural" ways to help fibro patients. I tested it for two weeks applying it 2 or 3 times a day and I have to admit, I'm a huge fan. The part of me that hurts the most is my hands and it's really hard to find a muscle rub that works for them. I've never really found a product I liked until this one. I can rub just a small amount of my hands and it eases the pain instantly. It also worked great on my knees where my joints tend to ache. There is a slight smell the the rub but it isn't anything unpleasant. Like many muscle rubs it is a bit greasy but that is to be expected. The only drawback is that is comes in a small container so when I hurt everywhere it isn't a huge help and it is a bit pricey. Considering the natural ingredients and how well it worked for me I think it would be worth the investment.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fibromyalgia and weather changes

It's freaking cold outside. My grumpy cat mug is my new best friend. Despite the fact that I was born and raised practically in the frozen tundra, living in the south has really made me a wimp.  It's 35 degrees out and I'm freeeeezing. Still, I'm really enjoying not wearing shorts, not having to shave my legs every day, no bugs, not sweating when I blow dry my hair, wearing cute boots, and getting to drink hot chocolate.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will actually stay cold for a while because during the months of November and December the temperature kept changing back and forth. In the morning it would start out around 75 degrees with 1000 % humidity so I had to have the air conditioning on. By nighttime it would be 45 degrees and I'd have to switch on the heat. The weather kept doing this for months! It's a little sad how long it took me to realize the reason I was in so much pain was because of the crazy weather.

I always thought weather effecting pain was mostly a myth (and there are plenty of studies out there saying that), but apparently some scientists believe it's related to barometric pressure. The barometric pressure drops when bad weather sets in. The lower air pressure pushes less against the body, which allows tissues to expand putting pressure on the joint. Also people in chronic pain have nerves that can become more sensitized because of inflammation. The problem with fibromyalgia patients is that we react so variably to weather. Some people are more effected by cold, some by heat, and some by humidity, which has led some studies to erroneously conclude weather doesn't effect fibromites at all. What is comes down to is the weather conditions may not be important, but the weather changes that effect us the most. Ding Ding we have a winner! That's my experience exactly. However, there has not been a lot of research done on this issue and I hope to see some done in the future.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I believe you

Recently an acquaintance of mine who has suffered for years from unexplained illness was finally diagnosed.  It's hard to explain to someone who has never suffered from an unexplained illness, but the diagnosis was actually a happy occasion and yet he chose to keep silent. He did not tell most of his other acquaintances or people he interacts with a regular basis, he only chose to tell close friends.

When I heard that this person chose not to broadcast the news I thought it was a little odd, but after some thought I came to understand. When you have an unexplained illness you will be told you are crazy more times then you can count.

Your doctors will call you crazy
The nurses will whisper about you as you walk out of the doctors office
Your pharmacist will challenge the validity of your prescriptions
The news will mock people like you
Your acquaintances will think you're nuts
You will lose friends who think you're just trying to get attention
Even your loved ones will question you and think you're just being lazy

The longer this goes on the more you start to believe that just maybe you are crazy. You begin to doubt even yourself. Maybe there is something wrong with you? Maybe you are mentally imbalanced and you just don't know it? Everyone you know is convinced that you are certifiable, so maybe you actually are?

And then after years of losing friends and loved ones and thinking that you might actually deserve to be called all the things they are calling you, it turns out you aren't crazy. You have a diagnosis, so now what to you do? Do you wave your diagnosis in the air showing to all the world that they are imbeciles? Do you wait for the long line of apologetic acquaintances to make their way back into your good graces? Or do you hold tight to the people who stuck by you no matter what and believed you through thick and thin? There are no easy answers, but I chose to hold tight to the people who believed from the very beginning.

The worst thing you can do to someone with chronic illness is make them prove to you that they are sick. For me the most important people in my life are those who have believed me from the beginning. Those who know me and who I am and have stuck by me in thick and thin. The most significant, powerful, essential words I have ever heard were and are, "I believe you."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

5 Realistic Goals For Chronic Illness

I dislike New Years goals because I feel a lot of my goals are things I can't actually achieve. I'd love to lose weight (just like everyone else) for example but it's impossible to do since I can't do high impact exercise. I'd love to set a goal to get a full time job this year, but that won't happen either.  So I've set 5 realistic goals for chronic illness for the upcoming year.  Just because my goals are smaller doesn't make them less important are lesson their impact.

1. Spend less time feeling angry

I go through cycles of anger. I'll think I have accepted my limitations and then a random chain of events will over time increase my anger and frustration. Eventually something will trip my real anger and I'll come to my blog to vent about how unfair life is and how much people suck. My goal for the next year is the break the cycle. Anger can be a useful emotion but it doesn't do me any good to be angry all the time. I need to focus on controlling myself instead of trying to control others.

2. Forgive more

Sometimes people are real jerks. I get lots of negative comments by insensitive people about my health. The truth is that some people just don't know any better. Maybe they will change maybe they won't but there is no point in me holding it against them forever.

3. Make small changes

I hate changes. I find them so overwhelming that I quit before I even start. This year I want to take change step by step. I'm not going to overhaul my entire diet, but I'm going to eliminate soda. I'm not going to stop taking prescriptions medication, but I'm going to work on using other strategies to deal with my pain.

4. Accept limitations

I am stubborn and I am a fighter. I don't want to give up my active life. I don't want to give up spending time with my friends and family. I don't want to stop playing sports with my kids, I want to do everything that everyone else can do. This year I'm going to focus on accepting my limitations. I need to stop pushing myself to do things my body is not capable of doing even if my brain is telling me to just push through it. My body is sending my signals for a reason, it's time to listen to it.

5. Try again tomorrow

I often get discouraged by how hard it is living with an illness.  Sometimes I get depressed by the mistakes I make. Sometimes I want to scream and cry and shout "this sucks, it's not fair!" When I get frustrated I'm going to let myself rage about the unfairness, and then I'm going to remember that I can try again tomorrow.  Things probably won't get better physically, but they can get better emotionally and physically as my soul becomes stronger.

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