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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why I am giving

Believe it or not, Christmas decor is now available in retail stores! What happened to waiting after Thanksgiving? Now I know stores need business but, really? But this is not why I am blogging today.

I am giving, giving of myself and my money. I did something similar but I was really influenced by a post over at Christian Personal Finance. He is writing about a "Ten Day Give". You can view this at It is a great read.

Yes, I am finding ways to give, even though I am physically limited by my arthritis and fibromyalgia. I am concentrating on encouraging my husband, my kids and others. I can write e-mails and make phone calls. I am also utilizing money as a blessing and that brings me back to my opening statement on Christmas. You see, my husband and I will be exchanging one gift at Christmas. The money we would have used will be going to two of our charities, Gospel for Asia and the Salvation Army (local). Gospel for Asia equips native missionaries in the 10/40 window in Asia (India for example). We will be purchasing items from the Christmas brochure such as items for the poor (blankets, chickens, solar lights, tools, bibles, etc) and items for the missionaries (clothing, literature, bibles, bicycles etc.). The Salvation Army in my town helps the poor, conducts services, has a food pantry and conducts meetings for AA). I will be writing down what we are doing and put it in an envelope we can open on Christmas day. I believe we will enjoy reading that list much more than any gifts we may have received.

Accept this challenge to make a difference. What can you do?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Surgery

It has been awhile since I have posted but I was very preoccupied by healing from my 5-17-2011 knee replacement. It is about this that I am posting today.

I had a knee replacement due to extreme osteoarthritis and ligament damage. There was no other choice but surgery. Now I did have some experience with this as, before I was disabled, I was an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I knew the surgery would be rough but little did I know ......

The therapists and nurses were fine but had no knowledge of fibromyalgia. The surgeon was only interested in my knee and not my overall additional pain. Even though I was promised pain relief I never found any in the hospital. Oh, the first day was great, Mr. Morphine Pump and I were just fine, thank you! However, after that initial 24 hours.....

Here is what I learned:

1. Really prepare yourself for being out of commission for awhile. I mean cook ahead, have someone lined up to help with the house, all scripts filled, all bills paid, etc. You will NOT be up for any of these tasks.

2. Have a heart-to-heart with the surgeon. Agree ahead of time on a plan for pain control. Believe me it is much harder to do when you are in pain already.

3. Make sure you are comfortable at the hospital. DO NOT worry about bothering the nurses or aides. They are there for you. If you need something ask. Cold? Ask for a warm blanket. Pain, get that pain pill scheduled. Hungry, get something or have someone bring it in for you. I know from experience that if you cannot get comfortable, you will not be able to control that pain.

4. Do not expect to have everything go perfectly because it will not. People drop the ball and you need to be on your toes. Be sure to have someone who can advocate for you.

5. At home, have all the equipment you need. I rented a hospital bed because all our bedrooms are upstairs and I was not sure I wanted to try the stairs at first. This proved to be a godsend.

6. Consider renting an icemaker or have access to ice at all times. You can use gel packs but I found ice to work much better.

7. Follow all instructions as written. Do not mix pills or take extra.

8. If your pain spirals and you have tried everything, call the doctor! You may have to get to the ER to get it under control again.

9. Be honest in therapy on what you can and cannot do. I had to educate the therapists on fibro in order to not bring on a flare.

10. In spite of your best efforts you may still go into a flare. Surgery is hard on someone without fibro, much less with it. Have your bag of tricks ready to go at home.

In the end, I am doing pretty good now that it is months later. However, with what I have learned I hope to have a better beginning with my right knee.

Do you have any other suggestions? I would love to hear them!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Supplement Update

I am posting this update to my previous post on supplements that I am currently taking. Here goes:

Non-odorous garlic: still taking
Royal Jelly: ran out but I think it was an energy booster
Cherry juice: too acidic, had to stop
CoEnzymeQ10: too acidic, had to stop
Vitamin D: still taking
Olive Leaf: still taking but not noticing any effects

I am planning on replenishing my supply of Royal Jelly Bee Pollen.

Now, a little more on this subject of supplements, especially vitamin D. I have been reading some comments on facebook that the user states pain relief from taking vitamin D. I have been taking this for years and have never noticed any amount of relief from my pain or muscle cramping. I fear we in the fibro community are in danger of falling for claims on supplements as we are vulnerable to Big Pharma for new drugs. I wish it were as simple as swallowing a handful of meds and vitamins/herbs but it is not. Fibromyalgia is so complicated, so insidious that what works for one does not work for another or stops working altogether. I am becoming more and more convinced that we are just beginning to understand fibro and it will take a commitment from those of us who suffer to guard ourselves from chasing "cures". There are many snake oil salesmen out there plying their claims of cures, relief and pain-free promises. We must not fall for this anymore. We must insist on real studies and real research. Only our community can band together and ignore these con artists and push the medical field to what we all want, a real understanding of the mechanism behind fibromyalgia. Yes, I will continue to try a supplement here and there but only after researching the product for myself. Continue the fight fellow fibromites!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Supplements that I am trying.

I have been on a quest to try some new supplements. I have added the following:

Olive Leaf
Vitamin D
Cherry juice
Non-odorous garlic
Royal Jelly Bee Pollen

Quite the list so far, lol. Of the group the cherry juice was the most expensive. Here is where I am with the results:

Olive leaf: started 2 weeks ago
CoEnzymeQ10: this is in orange extract and is a bit acidic
Vitamin D: this I have been taking for awhile
Cherry juice: I have to cut this with water and it is VERY sour.
Non-odorous garlic: it really is
Royal Jelly Bee Pollen: capsule form

I have decided to keep taking the Olive Leaf, CoEnzymeQ10 since I just started them.
The vitamin D is for low D blood level. I am not going to keep the cherry juice. I have noticed no results and it is pricey. I am keeping the garlic.

The best of the group is the Royal Jelly Bee Pollen. It really has increased my energy level a bit and that is wonderful! I highly recommend this product. If anyone needs specifics, leave a comment and I will post a follow-up to this entry.

I am posting to try and help others in the quest to restore their health. Some of the claims are hype but some do seem to help. I would appreciate comments on what you have tried and how it worked for you. Until next time!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Some Friends Just Don't Get It!

It was a lunch to remember, that is for sure. Not a good memory at all but one that has left it's mark on me.

I was really excited at the prospect of lunch last Thursday with my prior co-workers at my last job. It was a monthly birthday celebration/presentation by a physical therapy student.

It started with all the usual pleasantries, hugs and catching up. We all ate too much of the potluck's fare as usual. The presentation was simple and concise. After the student wrapped up the attention turned to my recent knee replacement (8 weeks old now). One of the PT's asked to see my new knee in action. I did so, flexing and bending as instructed. Then it happened, out of the blue like a lightening strike on a cloudless day. I was ambushed without a way out! The remarks were cutting and hurtful. The group (especially one) told me, in so many words, that I was not working hard enough, was a big baby in regards to pain and was not doing the exercises properly. I was stunned, speechless and wounded.

I left quickly, nodding a good bye and headed for my car. The tears started as soon as I put the car in drive. I called my husband who expressed outrage as I had expected. I blubbered on and on until I was done shaking.

I have decided that I do not need to do this to myself. The relationship I had with these people is no more. It is done, over and out. No more lunches. I am sad as this was one of my few outlets left but I cannot make sense of the attack. I really had tried to explain to them how fibro affects healing but it was to no avail. The tightness in my hamstrings has been there for years, the swelling in my legs the same. I have been through PT before with mixed results. I currently have a great PT who gets fibro and is very encouraging.

I guess my take on this is that no matter how much you educate and teach about this illness, few really get the scope of the ramifications on healing from trauma and/or surgery. I am sad about the disconnect with them and it breaks my heart to cut the relationships, but I have to protect myself. What would you do?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fibro and Supplements

There appears to be a great deal of chatter on fibro sites right now on various supplements. I am not going to address specific ones but just some guidelines, especially to the recently diagnosed.

A few things to consider when choosing supplements:

1. Has this particular product had a recent review by the National Fibromyalgia Association or like-minded publication?

2. What do you really know about the product?

3. Have you researched the product? Do you know the safe dosage range?

4. Did you talk with your doctor or pharmacist about possible drug interactions?

5. Do you have a condition that may make taking the product hazardous to your health?

6. How did you find out about the product? Did you see it on the internet?

7. Have you been to a support group (local or facebook) and talked with others about their possible experience with the product?

8. Have you compared prices and brands?

9. Can you honestly afford the supplement?

Lastly, do not expect a cure. Supplements can be a real help but fibromyalgia is not "cured". We can manage the symptoms and improve our situation but beware of any product that claims to have the cure.

Whenever there is chronic pain and fatigue we search for relief. In that search consider supplements but do so with common sense.

Until next time, stay well.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Scar

June 12, 2011. On this date, Beverly Jean Rogers left this earth to the open loving arms of Jesus. She was my supporter, mentor, hero and, most of all my mom. Oh Lord, how I miss her.

She believed in me. She believed in my diagnosis of fibromyalgia. She always called to see how I was, if I needed anything or if she could help me in someway. All of this from an 80ish woman!

On any given day my mom could outwork me. She was an "energizer bunny" if you will. She raised 5 children on a salary my father earned as full time factory worker and part time farmer.

This has had a profound impact on me and is the big reason I have not blogged in so long. I just could not formulate a sentence. There was energy only for the necessities of life. In the midst of her later weeks I had to have a total knee replacement. The pain was terrible and the pain in my heart even worse. I sat by her bedside in a recliner with an ice pack on my knee and just watched her breathe. I never wanted to forget the sound of her gentle breath.

My knee is now healing but my heart is still breaking. All of this is not kind to my fibro at all. I am taking the summer of from playing clarinet in an outdoor band and I have declined many invitations. I have survived with the help of family and facebook friends. My husband has been so supportive.

What can I take away from this? That loss is part of life but it nonetheless sucks. The increased stress has caused me increased symptoms. I expect to slowly heal but not without a scar, somewhat like my knee. My knee scar is proof that I had surgery. I am living proof my mother existed but there will be an internal scar on my heart.

I will be dealing with this again. For now, let the healing continue . . . . .

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Far Above Rubies: Domestically Divine Homemaking Link-Up and Giveawa...

Far Above Rubies: Domestically Divine Homemaking Link-Up and Giveawa...: "I want to change things up a bit this week. I'd like to give 10 select ladies 1 free download of Sarah Mae's new ebook, 31 Days to Clean; Ha..."

Monday, April 25, 2011

My fibro is not like yours.

It seems that even the fibro community does it. Of course, society does it. Our families do it. We question fibro. Statements I have heard (from fellow sufferers):

1. If you do not have x symptom, then it isn't really fibro.
2. If you really had fibro you could/could not work.
3. What do you mean you do not work? I do.
4. That is crazy. If you had fibro you would not be able to do (insert anything)
5. That med does not work for fibro. You must not really have fibro.
6. If you really had fibro you would love/hate massages.
7. Chiropractic is helpful/hell.
8. Pain killers work/do not work.
9. I was cured by x. You don't want to get well or you would try it.

and at #10: I had fibro once. Once.

Other bloggers have stated similar encounters and are as frustrated as I am at times. What makes this so hard is we cannot seem to cohesively rally together. Can you imagine what would happen if we could get the momentum that the Susan Komen for Breast Cancer movement has? It would be astounding.

Now, I am not trying to bash anyone. I am just making an observation. However, I believe that we as a group must, and I mean MUST, band together or we will never be truly heard. We will be slaves to the newest fad treatment and worse, out and out dangerous scams.

Let's try and bridge the gap this May 12 and truly make a difference. I am sending a press release to my local paper and trying to develop a local support group. What can you do?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I am back!

After what seems like a year, I am able to blog again. I am sorry for the silence but I had some things to do and take care of, most of all the sale of the family farm.

I was out there today taking pictures. Pictures of the family farm, in the family since 1888. My father was born there and died there. I grew up there but never really appreciated it, until now.

As I was taking the shots, the wind blew harder and harder. The swirls of motion seemed to whisper "remember". The tears started as I went down memory lane. Back to the first time I rode my new horse, my new puppy, my first date, my now to be nearly last walk around the property. Crows cawed in the background, turkeys gobbled in the distance and the spring peepers sang away. It is definitely a magical property with rolling hills, a spring fed pond and numerous creeks. I remember my grandmother's feather bed and the soda she saved especially for me. Thoughts of her Avon Bird of Paradise cologne drift through my brain so strong that I swear that I can smell it. I can hear my brother's laughing and my dad yelling at us to stop torturing each other! Yeah, like that ever happened. I see rows of golden wheat, corn and soybeans. Stacks of hay bales fill the barn and the sweat rolls down the nape of my farmer tanned dad's neck. Peaches are held to overflowing in baskets well worn by years of use. The memories keep drifting in and out of my mind's eye.

Suddenly I am aware of my husband coming up behind me. He notices the tears and puts his arms around me. We stand in the warmth of the sun, silently holding each other. Suddenly I hear a horn beep and my mom's voice yelling at us to come in for supper. I turn but no one is there. I turn to Jon and we walk quietly to our car and drive away.

I may have left the farm, but the memories came with me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sorry for the silence!

I am sorry I have not posted for so long. There have been so many things going on in my life right now.

That being said, I saw my doctor on Monday for a followup to the ER visit. He listened and stated he felt that I am having migraines. I researched migraines on the internet and they can make you faint (syncope). Lucky me.

Migraines are more complicated than I had ever thought. There are different kinds of migraines depending on the presence of an aura or lack thereof. Also, some migraines are located in different areas of the head. One distinguishing characteristic appears to be the level of pain. A migraine is described as having such a level of pain as the person is unable to continue with activities. There appeared to be a number of medications that are available. Some are preventative type meds while others are taken after the migraine has started. Attacks can last from 4-72 hours. Symptoms can include the following: sensitivity to noise and light, pain that restricts movement and activity, nausea and/or vomiting. There are other symptoms. Triggers can include: food (chocolate and nuts) temperature, change of weather, stress etc.

It was recommended to me that I see a neurologist (who cannot get me in until next month!). It was explained to me that with so many different types of medications it is important to determine the class of migraine.

That is my story for now, the quest for headache relief. Please!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hospital Stay :o(

I suppose the title is a dead giveaway to say the least. I did land in the hospital on Thursday night, my husband's birthday. It all started like this . . .

I fainted. Four times. Out like a light. I could hear my husband's voice but could not respond. After the fourth floor hit my husband insisted on taking me to the local emergency room . . .

We arrived after 20 minutes of driving in near zero visibility snow. I was ushered into a room quickly and hooked up to an IV. Now the IV was a problem for both nurses and to say I nearly had a blackout from the needle being put in and out, yikes!

In the next room was our own personal episode of COPS. Four policemen were guarding a drunk young man who was being very abusive. I tried to relax between yells of "I didn't do nothin'" and "Get off me pigs". Lovely . . .

I was admitted. I was taken to a cold, uninviting room. I was introduced to a few people then told to try and sleep. That would have been okay except across from my room was a patient that was having a definite problem. Groaning and yelling came wafting through the air reminding me of Sloth from the Goonies. . .

After a few hours of bad sleep I was wisked off to testing. CT scan, Echocardiogram, chest xray and ultrasound of my heart and carotid arteries. I was still very cold . . .

The food was terrible. I had to ring to go to the bathroom (I did understand this as a safety measure). After all that the tests came back negative (yay). . .

With all of this I asked myself, why couldn't I go home and do any other tests on an outpatient basis? I asked for the nurse and he paged the doctor who came to see me. I convinced him, as a medical professional (retired, medically) myself that I could monitor my status, my husband would be home and I could do anything else outpatient. He was initially reluctant but finally said yes. . .

I came home and felt fine. This is Saturday and I still feel fine. I have reasoned that since all my tests were negative something else must have happened. Here are the facts: I had not eaten in a long time, it was 1:30am, I had not consumed adequate liquids that day, there was an adrenaline rush from seeing the opening of the musical (my husband was the pit conductor) and I tend to be lightheaded easily due to medications. I believe it was this combination of factors that lead to my fainting. . . .

I am going to follow up with the doctor, I did buy a blood pressure cuff and I have consciously tried to drink more water today. . .

I did come away from all of this with one thought: I am going to take a little bit more time for myself. I do not want to go back to that room again, ever!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why I Isolate . . .

It has been hinted at by family that I may be spending too much time alone. "It isn't healthy" they say "you will just dwell on yourself" or "it will make the pain seem worse". I listen, trying not to react, roll my eyes or say something that will be misconstrued or offend anyone. So I pondered. Am I isolating? Why, yes I am.

Why I isolate is partly self preservation, partly sanity driven and mostly comforting. What I mean by all this is I want to isolate. Few people understand what I am dealing with, the constant pain, fatigue, and aches plus other varying maladies. Add to that questions regarding why I can go to the grocery store but I cannot work (are you kidding), do I really need the cane (only if I don't want to fall over) and is CFS/fibromyalgia real cause someone told me it isn't (well if it isn't someone should come and tell my body).

I isolate to keep my sanity by surrounding myself with familiarity, warmth, smells and noise levels that I can tolerate plus no one with questioning looks when I use my handicapped placard. People do not understand that odors, noises and other environmental factors can increase my discomfort. Large gatherings of people can stress me out. Sometimes just the thought of certain events makes me ill.

I suppose it is possible that some will think I am developing a phobia and that I am scared to leave my home. Nonsense. I can leave but on my terms if possible. If I am allowed to plan it increases the odds that the outing will be successful or at least tolerable.

I am trying to get better. That is always my goal but I also have to live in this body so some level of acceptance is important as well. Maybe I will not have to isolate as much someday but, for now, it is necessary. Necessary for my sanity. Necessary for my body. Necessary for me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stressful times

This is a particularly stressful time for me. Ignore my husband's crazy job as a college band director, my worries as a mom and the financial issues of being disabled. To increase my pain and fatigue is my mother's health.

Mom has been declining for awhile. Her heart is slowly giving out. She is losing weight and needs oxygen 24 hours a day. She is not eating very well. Mom now lives with my sister who is an RN. I am facing the fact that I will soon be losing my mom, my biggest cheerleader and my role model. It hurts in more ways than one. The pain in my heart is accompanied by pain in my body and increasing fatigue.

How do you deal with this impending loss? I have a few suggestions that are working for me:

1. Make sure I take my daily vitamin supplement, watch my diet and get adequate sleep.

2. Try and do some form of exercise daily even if it is only a few chair moves or a couple of bicep curls.

3. Read from my Bible daily. Nothing calms like God's inspired Word.

4. Spend time with my mom. I have asked so many questions about relatives, her life and my deceased father's life. Things I have always wanted to know.

5. Take my sister out to lunch to give her some down time and a chance to talk.

6. Don't forget to take time to spend with my husband.

7. Turn off the tv and sit in silence. Let the emotions wash over me and give them the forefront.

8. Try and keep the basics of the house in order. Cook simple meals. Don't let the laundry get too deep.

9. Eat chocolate.

10. Listen to my IPOD.

In addition, make sure my prescriptions are filled and any other items I regularly use are available in case of a flare.

This is my personal list I am sharing with you. This list may and probably will not work for your personal situation and stress. During times of stress we need to try and keep some normalcy and also some time to honestly deal with the grieving that has already started.

The reality is I am soon going to lose mom. It hurts, it stinks and it is normal. I am going to embrace the moments as they come. That works for me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Facebook Craziness!

I am stressed! My fibro is flaring, flaring, flaring!!!!!! My mother's health is declining and other family issues are driving me crazy. In addition, lately facebook has not been the safe haven it has been for me.Facebook friend turns on facebook friend. One bans the other and this resulted in outright yelling back and forth. It was pathetic and hurtful to witness.

Why do people turn on each other so easily? Is it because it does not involve real person to person contact? I do not understand the anger that can rear it's ugly head so quickly. It is almost frightening to watch, like a pack of wolves tearing prey to pieces. Maybe some will say that I am being overly dramatic but I do not think so. This seems to be especially true for the support sites. Fibromyalgia is such a devastating condition that stressors can trigger many negative emotions. These emotions and resulting anger can erupt easily, especially if the person feels threatened. We all need a support system whether it is physical family or an on-line family. Any perceived betrayal can have swift consequences. In the end, who does it hurt? The entire fibromyalgia community! Unless those of us with fibro stick together we will never have the clout we need to for effective change.

I pray we can learn from these instances of anger and outbursts. If not, we will stay mired in a sea of doctors and others who doubt our illness. Sad.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fibroland, a tour!

I am still in Fibroland, that wonderful place where all fibromites go when they are flaring. It is a journey that is never planned, never anticipated and never welcomed. I thought you might like a tour.

The entrance is surrounded with a fog that varies from just a mist to pea soup consistency. This makes it very difficult to navigate at times, not that it is easy to navigate in a flair anyway! The price of the ticket is very high. It is not mere currency. The cost is the sapping of your energy, the blurring of your mind, the pain surging throughout the body and the isolation that comes only with a chronic illness that is in an exacerbation phase.

Now you are through the gate and ready to see the layout of Fibroland. It is a bleak and desolate looking place. Oh, there are rides, but they have long lines and when you finally get to the ride itself it is often slow, fatiguing and exhausting.

When all that specialness is over with it is time to grab some refreshment. The menu consists of the following array of delightful items to choose from including: dizziness, IBS, migraines, spasms, muscle twitches and spastic bladder. For dessert you can sample from: headaches, morning stiffness, sleep disorders and vision disturbances.

On to the souvenir booths we find so many things to take home with us like: widespread all-over pain, fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivity, pelvic pain and depression.

The main problem is that by the time you have gotten over all of Fibroland, you are exhausted. You are ready to leave, but you can't. You can't until you find a way to get yourself to the first aid station. There you will find stress relief, massage, medications, and understanding. When you can find the station, then you will be able to leave Fibroland and never a moment too soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sorry for no new posts.

Hey everyone, I have been sick for two days and unable to post. Thought I would just quickly get on here and let you all know where I have been. Look for a post tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Whine, whine, whine. Part II

Well I guess this is going to be part II today. I did not sleep soundly at all. I was slow to wake so I had to take a QUICK shower and fly out the door to my podiatrist's office. I spent 1 1/2 hours in that office, up on an elevated chair, constantly shifting to stay comfortable. If it wasn't my knee it was my back, neck, shoulders or that darn left foot. After consulting with the doctor and describing recent symptoms, he diagnosed me with tarsal-tunnel syndrome. Great, I thought to myself, another diagnosis to add to the ever growing list. Sigh. When does the list stop growing? The doctor and I went over my recent MRI and talked about options. Together we decided on physical therapy and a cortisone shot to a pocket of swelling on the lateral side of the foot near the nerve.

Next, I hobbled to my car and proceeded back to home where I would just make it in time for my hair appointment. I was only having it cut. I stopped having it colored months ago secondary to cost and fatigue from sitting in the chair so long. I also have cut it shorter due to the fatigue in my arms/shoulders when trying to use a blow dryer. On the positive side the chair used to wash my hair is ergonomic. Possibly due to the fact that my hair stylist has fibro? I made it through the appointment. Then . . .

Off to the chiropractor. Dr. Tim is my life line and a shoulder to lean on at times. He does e-stim, heat and a gentle adjustment. It helps. Now . . .

I am back home, ate a late dinner (a can of Slimfast, lol) and have been trying to catch up on some paperwork but my shoulders are killing me again.

I hate having fibro. I HATE it. It limits my life, isolates me at times and causes no small amount of pain. If pain were a food it would be the most disgusting thing ever. It would smell horrible and taste worse. Fibro is like that. It can be horrible and get even worse. I am so angry at times with people who say they think those of us with fibro are faking or lazy. I would love to have a day pain-free.

I want out of Fibroland. I do not like the rides, there are not enough bathrooms (for those of us with IBS), it is either too hot or too cold, too bright or too loud, always too something! The food is gluten free, fat free, low carb, lactose free, and taste free (at least to me). The cost, now the cost is way to high. You have heard of an arm and a leg? Well fibro costs you your life! I so want out.

Well, that is my rant for tonight. I have to be up early tomorrow to see yet another doctor. This doctor will go over my recent left knee MCL repair and discuss a timetable for my need for double knee replacements. Joy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stormy and me

When I was about 10 I told my parents that all I wanted for Christmas was a horse. Just a horse mom and dad. We have a farm I pleaded, we have all kinds of grass! Impatiently I waited but December 25 came and went without the treasured equine. Another Christmas, birthday, Christmas came and went with no filly in sight. On my twelfth birthday my parents finally gave in and I was taken to a nearby farm to look at a few horses that were for sale. Finally, my dream was coming true . . .

We arrived at the farm, parked the car and met with a man in cowboy boots and hat. He sauntered up to us with a big bright grin. He gave us a tour that included his two handsome stallions, a few ponies and some brood mares. Finally we came to the enclosure where my future best friend was housed. Inside the pen were three horses. The large dapple and muscular gray gelding was named Joe. He strode around the corral, confident and sure-footed. Next was a blood bay gelding by the name of Chips. Chips was a 16 1/2 hand leggy horse with a big white stripe down his face. Unlike Joe, Chips was anything but graceful. His stumbling and clumsy gait almost made him comical in appearance. I watched the two geldings as they moved around the enclosure until my eye fell on the third horse. The little mare was standing in the corner of the corral, near the lean to watching the geldings. Her brown coat shown in the summer sun. Large eyes flashed with curiosity and intelligence. I was mesmerized. Shyly I asked Mr. Cowboy Boots what her name could be. Stormy he replied. He continued to explain to us that Stormy got her name because she was born on a dark, rainy night. I could not take my eyes off of Stormy, the geldings ceased to exist in my mind. Mr. Cowboy Boots talked and talked with my parents. Then came decision time. Stormy, I declared and $150 passed from my father's hand to the owner.

It was a few weeks before I could have Stormy due to the fact that she was only halter broken and needed to learn to tolerate a rider. After training I was allowed to come to the farm and learned all I needed to know to ride and care for Stormy. I could hardly wait for the big day! The day was approaching but I would be at school during the scheduled arrival time. Oh the day seemed to last forever.

I came running to the barn and stopped dead in my tracks. Here was my beautiful little mare lying on the grass with a fresh cut on her head. I could hardly stand to hear the story from Mr. Cowboy Boots on how Stormy had fought being loaded into the horse trailer. She fought then reared, her head slamming into the roof of the trailer. Finally, while dazed, she loaded and made the trip to our farm. My mother had called the vet who had come and gone. Nothing serious he told my mom but the vet cautioned us to keep an eye on her.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I opened the gate and gingerly approached my motionless little horse. Stormy lifted her head and looked in my direction then slowly dropped her head again to the soft green grass. The warmth of the sun enveloped me as I knelt down beside Stormy. I rolled over, put my head on her side and Stormy and I napped in the early September afternoon sun.

What seemed like a dream was broken by the sound of my mother calling me to dinner. I sat up and wiped the sleep from my eyes. Suddenly I was aware that a soft muzzle was on my shoulder. I looked over into Stormy's eyes and she gave a soft, low whinny and nudged me again with her nose. As I rose to go up to the house, Stormy rose to her feet and began to nibble on the lush grasses. I had a feeling then that all would be okay. From then on it would be Stormy and me, always.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I didn't shop!

I wanted to, that's for sure. I could just about feel the excitement, you know, the rush of buying. You hold the item, almost caress it as you pass the plastic. Just pass the plastic. Just give the nice cashier the plastic. Just do it . . .

I did not shop. I did not use the 15% off Kohl's coupon nor the Old Navy one either. I put away the $10 off $30 to Bath and Body Works as well as the $10 off $50 at J.C. Penny's. I threw the coupons away, as well as the fliers. I stopped at Walmart and came out with the item I went in for but nothing else. I shopped at the grocery store and bought exactly what was on my list. I just could not shop.

Why? I want to do more this year. I want to bless someone in 2011. In my previous post I outlined my goals according to my reading of the book "Radical". In a fibromyalgia fog I had almost forgotten my goals. It could have been that easy. Even without the fog I probably would have mindlessly just shopped as I always have done. Oh I always used coupons and didn't overdo (I would like to think) but I have always had more stuff than I truly NEED. So, I did not shop.

I want to reach my goals. I want to bless others. I want to help fund a Jesus well (water) for the poorest in Asia. I want to supply blankets, bibles, food and shelter for someone who has nothing. I desire to live sacrificially this year to accomplish these goals.

I have so much. I have a modest but large old home, a closet with too many clothes, weeks of food stored in the kitchen, access to modern medicine and four bibles. I have too much. I plan to pare down to give to a local charity that has a thrift store.

Am I doing this to impress others? No. I am doing what I believe is the least I can do for others with the riches granted to me by God. I am doing what I think Jesus would want of me and I want to please my Lord. Have you ever wondered if there is another reason to save money? There is, it is to give to others. Whatever your budget or walk in life, never forget that there are others who simply want bread, a blanket or a cup of non-polluted water. What could you do to meet their needs?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Managing money for Christ

Today I finally felt pretty good. I cleaned the bathroom (gross), my knee felt okay and I threw in a load of laundry. After that was accomplished I sat down to get back to my Bible study I am doing with some ladies from my church. After finishing the study, I picked up a notebook I had with me while on vacation in New Jersey. As I thumbed through it I was caught off guard. In the pages were notes I took from a book called "Radical". It is new out in paperback and it is very convicting, that is for sure. I scanned each page and looked over the promises I had made:

1. Read "Operation World" and pray for a different country every day.

2. Place the Bible in a superior position in my life.

3. Not give - sacrifice! This step is not meant to be easy.

a. cap my lifestyle
b. pare down belongings
c. sacrifice belongings for others if called to do so.
d. postpone purchases
e. give beyond my ability
f. spend money on things that are gospel centered
g. give in a way that is church focused
h. give to a specific tangible need
i. give to someone or something you can trust
j. sacrifice every possible dollar

4. Radical in my going!

a. vacation bible school
b. reading to nursing home residents
c. pray and wait for other opportunities

5. Join my church and tithe

I am so sad to say I have done none of these things, however, I am going to start now. I will be writing on my progress in the future.

For more information go to I was not compensated for this endorsement of the book or its contents. Just lead by God's Spirit.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cures or Hype?

I have watched videos and read testimonials on different blogs and sites for the past couple of days. I watched the trailer for a documentary that is to be released soon dealing with food and chronic diseases. Everyone, it seems, is jumping on the bandwagon of "curing" diabetes, fibromyalgia, hypertension and a myriad of other diseases so common in our society today. I have to wonder, what exactly is the motivation? Is it money, fame, or a sincere desire to help?

A few sites tout their system or treatment as revolutionary and the cure for fibromyalgia and CFS. One that I viewed tonight dealt with electrical impulses. The doctor in the video stated that you would have to be screened and then it would be decided if you were a candidate for treatment.

A new documentary "Forks over Knives", the trailer I spoke of previously, looked at the western diet as the cause of all our chronic illnesses. This appeared to advocate a vegan diet and called for the exclusion of all animal products in the layman's diet.

Another website called attention to vitamin D and the miracle of adding "their" particular supplements to the diet. I have personally tried this approach with no reduction in symptoms noted over a 3 month period. I did have the bloodwork done and was diagnosed with a low level of the vitamin and took the doctor recommended dosage.

Of course, there is the virus factor that has been bandied about too. This one remains interesting to me but does not appear to be attracting the interest of a majority of researchers.

The most plausible research to date seems to be the CNS link to trauma and the onset of CFS/fibromyalgia. No cure has been suggested but I believe more will be said about this topic in the future.

Okay, that all being said, what do all these sites claim? Cures: supplemental vitamin D, certain herbal supplements, vegan diet, electrical stimulation of the brain, chiropractic, magnets and so forth. I have tried a few of these and with little noted results. My chiropractor has been of the most benefit with heat packs, manipulation and electric stimulation directly to the muscles, however, this is symptom management, not a cure.

I believe that as chronic pain sufferers, we want to believe these claims. We want to believe the hype. We want to try the products or services in the hope that, just maybe, our pain will be gone. That we can rejoin the normal world. A day, week, month or lifetime of no more unrelenting pain. I fear that we are often throwing our money, faith and even health down a rabbit hole. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is not a good idea. I am not against new ideas but I hate the idea of someone capitalizing on my pain, as if my suffering was something to be played with, to be trampled into the dirt for a profit. I am confident that the research currently being done will shed light on this condition, but until that happens let common sense be your guide. Find a good doctor and stay with him. Find something that works, even if it is as old school as my trusty heating pad. In addition, don't ignore the role of faith and prayer in dealing with the daily pain and fatigue.

Until a cure is found, buyer beware my friends! God bless.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Whine, whine, whine

Tonight I just have to whine. Whine! I am so tired of fibro pain today. The unrelenting pain in my shoulders, the knee pain, the electrical shock like pains in my left foot, this just plain bites! How will I deal with this? Well, after a little while, I will down some muscle relaxer, a vicodin or two and take a hot shower to hopefully allow for some relaxation and tension relief. I will try and lose myself in TV, maybe get my IPOD out for some relaxing Christian music or pray. But . . .

It is Friday night. I long to do something different. A change to the routine, the routine that my body in it's state of pain craves. Not so long ago my husband and I always went out with friends, to dinner and sometimes for a drink. I can not remember the last time we did something like this. Right now, my hubby is at work, getting some paperwork done, knowing that I am in pain and trying to rest. He is a wonderful man, so considerate and loving. He gets the fibro world that I am trapped in.

Fibro world is not like Disney World. There is no fun involved, however it feels like I have been standing for hours in line waiting for my turn on a ride. Fibro world means pain, pain, pain with fatigue and some sprinkling of other conditions and variations of types of pain. What would I name a ride if I could? The twist and pull. That pretty much sums up my neck and shoulders tonight.

I want to leave fibro world. For 15 years I have been a resident, living with a myriad of symptoms, visiting a plethora of doctors and downing hundreds of pills. Not only is fibro world not a fun place to visit, it is very expensive! You take people with you at the start but it is quite common to lose friends and family along the way. That hurts the most.

I am going now to take the meds, stand in the shower under the hot spray and pray for relief. How are you feeling tonight? I pray you are not a visitor to fibro world.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Not tonight

Fibro and knee pain win again. No post tonight. :o(

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Prayer Meeting

Last night I attended a prayer meeting without moving from my chair. It was a live remote broadcast from Gospel for Asia headquarters in Texas. There was singing, a message and about 5 presentations on different areas of specific prayer requests. I noticed a diverse mix of people; male and female, children and teens, seniors and 30 somethings.

I did not know exactly what to expect going into the broadcast. I did expect prayer, a message and singing. What I did not expect were the presentations. Ah the presentations. That is where everything changed.

A teenager shared about her mission trip to the streets of a metro area in India. She told of a small street boy, about age 5, who followed her group from place to place. As the presentation continued the young lady became increasingly tearful and had to stop at times to compose herself. She had a picture of the boy and shared it with the audience. What I saw was a beautiful little lad with jet black hair and haunting eyes. Closing her presentation she said she would never forget that little boy and would forever wonder what would become of him. I fear for this little one.

Another presenter was a 20 something young woman. She was modestly dressed with a lace head cover. This presenter shared details regarding dowry killings in India. Apparently there are in-laws and/or groom becomes dissatisfied with the amount of the dowry paid by the bride's family. If the demands for the extra money and/or other compensations are not met the bride's new family may express their displeasure in a horrible way. The new bride is led into the kitchen, doused with kerosene and a lit match is flicked toward her. She burns to death as her new groom watches. The police are told it was a cooking accident. Whew. I could hardly breathe as I listened to the tearful words from such a young person. She went on to tell the story of a poor widow whose 4 daughters committed suicide together rather than burden their mother with the problem of 4 dowries. Wow. I tried to put myself into that world but I could not. In my most horrid dream I could not imagine this scenario. The presentation wound up by telling the audience that yes there are laws against this practice of dowry killings. I still could not get my brain around the stories I had heard.

After the prayer meeting I had the feeling that I had been to another world, another age, another time. The unfortunate thing was that I had not. These things were happening. These things are happening. Horrid things, sad things. Our world is a fallen one, ruled by the devil himself. There are beautiful things too but they can be outweighed by stories like this. I did not feel helpless however. I felt at peace, a peace only my connection with God through prayer could bring. Do you believe in God? Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? If not, and you would like more info and my personal testimony, you can email me at I would love to talk with you and answer any questions you may have. God bless.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shredding, sorting and green thoughts.

Today I am knee deep in shredding. Some of the shredding is mine, some I inherited from my mother. My mom moved in with my sister in August and is on hospice. My job is to shred her unneeded personal papers and be the keeper of family photos. But, today it is all about the shredding, sorting, shredding, resting (because of the fibromyalgia) sorting and shredding.

I do the shredding and sorting because I care about the earth and all the people living in it. It would be so easy to just stuff all the papers in a trash bag and dump it all in my trash can, but I plug along with my task. Hopefully I will not overheat my shredder like I did the last time I had a mega session of shredding.

Yesterday I did more recycling. I had a rare burst of energy and got all my cardboard together along with my plastics. Into the designated yellow bag went the plastics. Luckily my company allows me to mix everything together which is heaven and so convenient.

My husband is even more rabid than me. Both of us remember the first Earth Day. It was our belief at the time that our generation was going to do the right thing, to change federal and state energy policies and step up with more self-sustaining behaviors as a society. As I look around and read articles I can only wonder, what happened to those idealistic dreams? Where are all the people who carried signs and pledged to care for God's green earth? I am not sure. I think a few are still trying to change things but there are not enough. What can we do?

We can do a few things easily:
1. Do business with companies that follow green practices.
2. Recycle as much as possible.
3. Try and buy products that can be recycled and have the least packaging.
4. Use cloth bags for shopping. A product called Tote Buddy will help.
5. Plan your driving.
6. Turn down the thermostat.
7. Research clubs or groups in your area that encourage green ideas.

Anyone can do these few things, if desired. Hopefully someday we will wake up to the fact that we are selling our souls to other countries who will someday hold us hostage over the energy and we use and abuse. I fear that this may happen sooner than later. I can only do my small part, but one part combined with others becomes a movement and a movement becomes change. A change for the better. A change for our future. A change forever. That is my prayer for our nation and our environment.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I am so cold!

I am so cold. Colder than cold. I hate to leave the house in the winter. The cold makes my muscles cramp as I shiver. The cramping and tightening translate into pain. I run the car heat on full blast and put the seat heater on high. This relieves some of the pain, however, those of us with fibromyalgia know that once the pain sets in there will be a long haul to relief.

I was not always this way. As a child my mother could not get me in the house in the winter. I played with my brothers, built snow forts and followed animal tracks in the snow. I watched the squirrels and birds feed from the food and seeds we left for them. Watching the snow fall around me, I would stick out my tongue and try to catch a snowflake. We made snow ice cream. When time came to finally satisfy my mother and come into the house, she often had home-made hot chocolate. Yum! I can't remember my fingers turning blue . . . . .

As I grew older I would often ride my horse out into the snowy fields of our 80 acre farm. Stormy loved the snow and we would be out for hours trudging in the brush, crossing icy streams and trotting down the dirt road by the farm I did not have fancy fleece, just my denims, a sweatshirt with another jacket and plain old work gloves. Yet I was not cold . . . . .

Fast forward to adulthood. I am now a mom of multiple children. I always took them outside to build snowmen, forts and a few lobs of snowball that always drew giggles. My dog Buster, while not the smartest animal alive, loved the snow and ran around playfully anytime the children or I were outside. I don't remember shivering so hard. . . .

Move along to age 40. Coming down the stairs. Slipping and falling. Pain for days despite pain pills, rest and heat. Days and months go by with new symptoms, more pain and the addition of daily fatigue. Forward to the present day. Now I find I am cold. I dress in layers with fleece, scarves, hats, heavy socks and thick mittens. I can't stand outside or I shiver to the point of pain. Pain that racks my body. My finger and toenails turn blue. They burn with a pain that feels like fire. I do not go outside unless I have to. I am afraid of the pain. . . .

Today I am watching the snow. I am so tired that I had to cancel my physical therapy appointment. I can not get warm. I feel like I am trapped inside the house, held prisoner by the cold and frigid weather. I am watching the snow. It drifts down slowly to the ground. So beautiful yet so painful. I dream about the days when I was outside laughing and playing in the snow and thumbed my nose at old man winter. I smile as I think about it all but now it is only a distant memory. No more snowballs, snowmen or icicles on my nose. I just watch from the other side of the glass with a hot chocolate cupped in my cold fingers. I sip slowly from the steamy concoction and try to stay warm. That is what I will do until old man winter leaves and the green of spring allows me outside again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thoughts on sacrifice

Recently I have felt convicted about my lifestyle, not that I am driving a Lexus or dining on shrimp cocktails, but still convicted. I am disabled by my chronic health conditions. I receive disability and my husband has a job with above the national average pay. We have good insurance coverage and a retirement plan. I checked on the internet and we are considered in the top 25% of Americans in income. All I could think was, are you kidding me? This only convicted me more. To that end I started thinking about others, people without jobs, people living in poverty, in other countries and in slavery working in substandard factories in the Third World. Now, I was convicted even more. . . . .

Now, what to do about my feelings of conviction. The word sacrifice came to me. Sacrifice. Wikipedia states that sacrifice,used figuratively, is in the general meaning "to give up something valuable for a higher purpose". What can that mean to me in my life, with the weight of conviction that I was feeling?

After thought, I have decided to "sacrifice" in my life. Here are a few things I have come up with:

1. Increase my giving to the Salvation Army. This organization helps people in disasters all over the world and locally in my county.

2. Increase my giving to Gospel for Asia. This organization trains native missionaries to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Asia.

3. Make sure that I am meeting my giving for my local home church.

4. Purge much of my MANY extras to donate to a local thrift store run by a local church to benefit former drug users (women) to reunite with their families.

5. Buy less.

6. Put myself on a restricted budget for a specified amount of time to really learn to live with less (to be blogged on later).

7. Read up on life in the Third World countries.

8. Read more on simple living, making do with less, etc.

9. Read my Bible and really take to heart God's Word to us regarding the poor.

This is where I am going to start. I will be writing on this subject more as it is very dear to me. Please leave any thoughts on this subject as I begin my quest to be less of me and more of them. Be blessed.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Too tired

Too tired and hurting to post. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Right now my world is just a little stressed. It seems like things are piling up:

1. A life insurance policy due $600.
2. License renewals $189.
3. Youngest son's car in shop estimate is $1500-1800.
4. My car in the shop estimate is $400.
5. My mom's health is slowly deteriorating.
6. My knees are giving out.
7. Physical therapy is not helping my knees.
8. I may need a knee replacement sooner than I had hoped.
9. My foot still has not healed from surgery over a year ago.

I could probably come up with more to add to this list, it would not be too hard. The stress from this is causing my shoulders to tighten, my neck to cramp and my head to ache. It is then I remember a few things.

1. Women in many countries have no rights and are virtual slaves.
2. Children in some countries are sold as sex slaves.
3. Millions of people have no access to clean water.
4. Many have no access to medical care.
5. Millions will never hear of the love of Jesus Christ.
6. Dalit children in India are trapped in poverty.
7. Millions are dying in Africa of aids with many more orphaned.
8. Children are working in horrid factory conditions for pennies.
9. I have the right to blog.

Remembering all of this makes me pause and think. Am I still stressed? Of course, but now I have some perspective on my situation. Now I can look at the list objectively.

1. I have the money to pay the life insurance policy.
2. The license renewals are not due until late next month.
3. My son's car? Thank God for credit cards!
4. I have enough to pay the bill for my car.
5. I cannot fix my mom's health but I can spend time with her still.
6. My knees are still giving out.
7. PT is not making my knees worse.
8. I will need knee replacements anyway.
9. I can at least walk again.

Is the list the same? Pretty much. However, I just objectively paused to look a second time at the original list. Through the love of Jesus, I am able to remember those less fortunate and that my riches are not here on earth, but in heaven. I was never promised a worry free or stress free life, but I would not trade my life for anything.

What is your stress level right now? Try making a few lists and see if things can be worked out. If you do not know Jesus, would you consider trusting Him with your life? I promise you, your life will never be the same. It will only become really living.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Enemy of the budget part 2.

I blogged a few days ago about stocking up on items but not taking care of the inventory i.e. rotating stock, checking expiration dates etc. Now I want to carry that idea a bit further.

The medicine cabinet. Lurking inside are medicines, toothpastes,OTC items plus others. If we are not careful, this can be another area where we can loose a considerable amount of money by not checking dates. Prescription medicines have use by dates, OTC meds have expiration dates and other items have dates including contact lens cleaners and solutions, some toothpastes, make-up (not always on package but is considered 6 months from date of purchase) and other select products. It is important to check these items monthly to ensure that the products and medications you have on hand have full potency for when they are needed. Also, to avoid overbuying products you cannot use within the stated expiration date.

To avoid throwing away expensive drugstore and others products it may be a good idea to do the following:

1. A listing of products that carry expiration codes
2. An inventory of products to discourage overbuying of short dated products
3. Familiarize yourself with expiration dates and where they are on pkgs.

When going over that Walgreens, Riteaid, or CVS ad don't forget to check your list or personally look over the medicine cabinet/cupboard for what you already have on hand. Does anyone really need to have on hand 4 boxes of Tylenol, multiple containers of older medications and 5 canisters of 500 multiple vitamins?

What is in your medicine cabinet????

Monday, January 17, 2011

I want to but I can't.

That is the story of me, me with fibromyalgia. The title of this blog just says it all. It happens often, on the worst days imaginable in my mind. I miss church, outings with friends, concerts, dates with my husband, birthday parties and antique/flea markets. These are all things I used to do. I used to go out more. I used to not have pain. I used to have energy. I used to . . . . .

A prime example of missing out was yesterday. I awoke with the worst fatigue I have had for a long time. I was exhausted, in pain and ached all over. Fogginess griped my brain. I sat in front of the TV and zoned. I did not make it to church where I would have seen friends and praised the Lord. I ate lunch, not really interested, but ate anyway. About 2:30 p.m. my cell phone rang. I picked up the phone and looked at the caller ID. My sister was calling. I answered to hear my sister say "where are you?". I was confused. Where was I supposed to be? Then, in the foggy state my brain was in came the thought of my two nieces birthday party. Oh, again I am missing out. I could hear the laughter of my twin nephews on the other end of the phone. A wave of sadness came over me. I choked it back and explained to Dana that I was ill and had just forgotten to call. I felt terrible and, well, guilty. Guilty for being sick, for not taking better care of myself, for not trying hard enough. It was not a pleasant moment.

A few hours later I was pouring over notes I had taken from a book I am currently reading called "How to be Sick" by Toni Bernhard. In my notes I noticed an activity I could do. It is a turnaround of the statement I never do anything anymore because I am sick. I did the exercise as follows:

I can pace myself because my days are not scheduled
I can manage to take care of my house with some help from my husband.
I still cook for my husband most of the time.
I do get out of the house to do activities like shopping with my sister.
I have time to read, pray and think.
I can spend time in the Word of God.
I can visit on the phone with my daughter and sister.
I can visit my mother on good days.

This list is not exhaustive. The actual list is much longer than I could have imagined. I am going to rewrite it and frame it. I need the reminder on those bad days, which happen more than I would like, but that is what it is, it's fibromyalgia. I highly recommend Toni's book. No, it is not a cure, but it is a tool to use. Fibromyalgia has no cure but I refuse to give in to the depression of being part of the sick community.

What would be on your list?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

An enemy of the budget

I was reminded today about a way to save money I often forget. Waste is an enemy of the ardent budget-minded person. This enemy strikes in the pantry, in the refrigerator, or in the medicine cabinet. It lurks whenever we are not being diligent in our rotation of canned goods or checking use by dates. Now I know we are all busy, but taking a moment now and then to glance around when you open the frig does not take a big chunk out of the day. Here are a few tips:

1. Take the time to look into the frig and make sure that last container of yogurt is visible, the two bottles of ketsup are combined, and the leftovers are rotated.

2. Once a month, go through the medicine cabinet and note the expiration dates. Rotate stock. This is an area where we can be guilty of overbuying and not being able to use it up.

3. In the pantry, be very careful of stock, letting packages get out of sight, not rotating by dates, etc.

These are just a few points that I have shared. Stockpiling is great if we can use it all. We have so much in this country, it is the least we can do to use it wisely including blessing others with some of our surplus. Any thoughts?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Not tonight

Sorry my friends but the fibro monster wins this round. I am going to bed, headache is too much and I am aching everywhere. Will post tomorrow. :o(

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today I was reminded how vitally important humor is in life, especially when you are chronically ill and in pain. I spent part of the day with my sister, shopping and having lunch. This was the first excursion since my knee surgery on December 21. Now, my sister is an aggressive driver to say the least. Scary is a better word! Combine that with our usual banter of teasing, coffee at Barnes and Noble and me standing forever while she tried on ten pairs of jeans (!) it was a great afternoon. I laughed more this afternoon than I have in weeks. Then, this evening, on facebook began an exchange on a friend's post. The exchanges became funnier and funnier. At one point I was laughing with tears in my eyes. At that moment I noticed how relaxed and happy I felt. Was I out of pain? No. However, I still a sense of well-being. It was at that moment that I really appreciated my sister and my facebook friends. It is these connections that keep us sane, keep us human, and sometimes keep us from suicide. Now if that sounds extreme, well you have never known the loneliness and pain of chronic illness and pain. I speak the truth here, painfully, but the truth nevertheless. One thing I know, the next time I think about canceling time with my sister, friends, or sisters on facebook, well I will remember this feeling that I am experiencing right now. Will that always work? No. Sometimes the pain and fatigue are too great. But, sometimes it will work and that, well that, will be a little slice of heaven.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday & Tuesday

I love to save money. I enjoy the hunt, the adrenaline rush and the jingling sound of extra coins in my purse. To this end, I peruse the usual money saving venues such as: garage sales, thrift stores, angel food ministries, carry no balance on my credit cards, limited eating out etc. However, I have recently added a new twist to my crusade to payoff our mortgage,! I do not know what started me on this particular quest. Now that I think of it, it was my daughter. She was telling me about the great deal she had scored on diapers. A light came on. What if there were other things on there, things that I use everyday, maybe cheaper than I was currently paying? I jumped on the internet and began to enter different items that I used on a regular basis. What I found was about 1/3 of the things I use are available on Amazon cheaper than I was paying. Items including: green forest toilet paper, a brand of chips my husband adores, organic vitamins, slim fast snack bars and more. I am talking half price in some cases. Why don't you give it a try? Let me know how much money you saved!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A passion for green!

As a child of the late 60's and 70's, I have always been interested in all things green and recycled. This has often been hard to deal with as the area I live in has not, in the past, been up to date on recycling.

The county I live in was once know for having more pigs than people. Needless to say, resources are thin here as it is in most of Michigan right now. Imagine my delight and surprise when a local, family owned garbage service decided to go green! An offer came in the mail to have curbside (yea) pickup of all plastics (1-7), cardboard, newspaper, glass and waste paper. Well, I signed up immediately and saved money over the service I was currently using (bonus). That was the happy part.

Having fibromyalgia changes everything in your life. It affects daily living activities, housework, hobbies and more. My passion for saving the planet soon came face-to-face with the realities of my limitations. After the initial set-up of bins (all located in one place) it came clear that this was going to take some serious problem solving if I was going to be successful.

I started by putting a box at the top of the stairs. Any recycling from the upstairs went into this box. My husband brings the box down periodically to deposit into the proper bins. The same is true of the downstairs. A box located in a corner of the kitchen holds the downstairs items until I or my husband empty it. Some of the packaging is tough for me to deal with so that becomes my husband's job too. I also do some research on-line to try and find products that are the most recyclable and have the least packaging.

Luckily, this service allows all items to be dumped into one provided large bag to be put out at the curb. I help my husband with this every Tuesday.

Now I can hear people saying, well she has a husband to help and I have no one. Well that certainly is true but some problem solving can enable most people to either recycle or at least avoid products with excessive packaging.

I am still refining my "greenness" but this, I believe, is an on-going process of defining what is important to me. What is you "green" story?

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Just to let you all know, I do not post on Sundays. I will try and cover issues regarding fibromyalgia related to finances, green-living and other resources. I may also make references to blogs and/or websites I have visited. I will not be selling any e-books, supplements or fibro-related items. I cannot type that long or sit at the computer for hours. I started this blog as a way to share my experience with fibro, my interest in green living and saving money (especially when you do not have any). Look in the next few days for another post. I welcome comments.
Well, here I am writing for the first time. I plan on covering fibro issues and topics on green living, saving money and stories related to my past as they affect my health and fibro status. Here goes!

I have had fibro for at least 15 years that I know of for sure. Oh, there were weird signs prior to that, like the time I could only walk on my toes for 30 minutes after waking up in the morning, but my official dx was 15 years ago. The usual triggers were there for me, such as stress (3 marriages will do that to you) 4 babies (a good stress) little money and poor care of self. However, I believe I overworked to the point that I broke my own body down to the point it could not recover. To this I will elaborate.

When I was in my late 20's, I worked as a route driver with a vending machine company. This job involved lifting 8 pound gallon jugs of syrup in cases of 4, pushing 300 pounds of product up ramps at factories, and driving an old, stick-shift panel truck. In many of those factories, I breathed in countless fumes and often coughed for hours after leaving my job. I worked in a union job so I was not allowed any slack as a woman. The other drivers (all men) also gave me no slack. I was often hit on by fac!tory workers, union reps and my fellow drivers which was not, by the way, a complement. So stress was built into this job for me along with poor air quality, physical stress and caring for my then 3 children as a single parent. If I had known that I would be compromising my health so bad I may have done something different. But then, hindsight is everything, isn't it!

Fast forward a few years now and the wierd, random symptoms of the monster to come appeared. First, the toe walking, later extreme dizziness and vertigo followed by debilitating headaches and fatigue. Then, 15 years ago, after falling down the stairs at home, I could not stay awake. Muscles ached all over and I could barely move. Working became harder and harder. A string of jobs followed due to layoffs and facility closings. Then, 4 years ago, I landed a great gig in my field of Occupational Therapy working with acutely ill patients. At first, the stress was tolerable, but it quickly became tougher and tougher to drag myself in to work. When it became clear that I needed to lose some hours for my health, fate intervened. I fell in my yard, rolled my ankle completely over and fractured a bone in my foot. The fragments of this bone tore through my tendon, shredding it almost beyond repair. Only with the assist of a plastic graft can I walk without a brace. This put me on short term disability where my health continued to decline. Now I am on SSDI and looking at double knee replacements.

Well, this is my story of my fibro experience. What do you think? Did I work myself sick? Was it the environmental exposures? Personal issues?