Archive for July, 2020

My Long Weekend

July 30, 2020

Here in Ontario Canada,The first long weekend in August is the Civic Holiday, or Simcoe Day, depending on who you talk to.

My plans? Cottage hoping. I’m hoping to head out early & stop in at my BFF’s place for a few hours.. She’s already up there on vacation & I’m usually up there camping this weekend anyways. So COVID is limiting our visits..

View of the Lake from the deck

From there, I’ll be headed to the family cottage for a few quiet days.. gonna take some books, and bathing suits & Lilly’s life jacket. Have a quiet enjoyable weekend..

Not a huge fan of swimming but she can & does do it.. I think she’s getting used to it & even starting to enjoy it..

I’ve also recently reconnected with a former friend & we’re supposed to go out for coffee. I think he’s nearthe cottage & if so, I might be able to schedule a social distance coffee..

As usual, I will take my Chromebook with me, but not sure if I’ll actually use it. I rarely do.

What plans do you have for the long weekend?

Chronic Illness Bingo leads to Acceptance

July 27, 2020

This is kinda like the get to know style of bingo, but it’s just for you. Check off what applies to you.

I originally just posted this on my regular social media, but choose to write about here.. The reason I do is the reaction of a friend of mine, Susan.

Late last year she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Now, she has been struggling with acceptance that her life he’s been permanently altered through no fault of her own. Recently she say the post on my social media of my bingo card (see below) & noticed that she checked the few spaces I had empty. She then got curious & looked at the rest of the card noticing that she actually checked a majority of the boxes aswell.

This was her “Ah-ha” type moment. And realized “I have a chronic illness.” I think this realization, and acceptance of the hard truth has actually be a relief for her. She’s realized that there are limits and she has to learn where her limits are. But she’s no longer stuck and is able to move forward.

While I’m not happy that my post gobsmacked her in the face with the truth, I am glad she’s got the acceptance and is moving forward.


See where my 3 bingo lines are. How full isUis your card? I know someone who actually checks each box. 😦

How Do You Sleep

July 26, 2020

What position do you sleep in? Do prefer to sleep on your back? Or are you a side sleeper? Or do you just drop face first? Or are you sprawled ou, taking up the whole bed?

How you sleep, the position you are in does reflect on how well you sleep and on your overall health.

Side Sleeper: Arguably the most comfortable and most common, this position is beneficial for those with back pain, acid reflex & sleep apnea. Your airway is open, your head is aligned, and your esophagus is elevated, preventing the reflux. However side sleepers can theoretically get extra wrinkles cuz the skin sags in one direction consistently and for long periods of time. And if you sleep in s tight fetal position you can impair your breathing and even worsen conditions including.arthritis, back pain & joint pain. Finally, if you have to choose between the right & left, choose left as sleeping on your right can cause organs to shift slightly as you sleep putting pressure on each other & specifically the stomach aggravating acid reflex.

The word is that side sleepers are an easy-going people, who welcomes everyone with an open heart. Those who prefer sleeping on the left may be more creative while those in favour of the right side are more likely to have an addictive personality, at least according to one survey.

Personally, this is how I prefer to sleep, fairly consistently on my left.. Moreso for comfort than the reasons above. I can sleep on my right, but it seems to aggravate my bursitis most days.

Back Sleeper: If you value your beauty sleep, this is the position for you as your weight in your face is evenly distributed preventing sagging & this wrinkles. Additionally, lifting your head slightly while sleeping on your back prevents acid reflux. However for those with sleep apnea, the position of the head results in worsened sleep apnea and snoring. Additionally, pregnant women who sleep on their backs apparently have s higher rate of still births.

The word is that back Sleepers are the most likely to wake up recharged and good-to-go for the day. It may also signify having really unrealistic and high expectations of both yourself & others.

I can not sleep in this position, myself.. Well, technically, yes I *can* but sleep is erratic, sporadic and not refreshing. Sleeping on my back tends to leave my body in a bad place. Typically when I get up after having slept, even only part of the night on my back, my body will retaliate, increasing my pain levels a good solid notch or two.

Tummy Sleeper: I don’t know anyone who prefers this as their go- to sleep position. The only plus with this position is your airway is open preventing both snoring and sleep apnea. However, sleeping this way really does a number on your back. The physical position on your tummy caused you tummy to relax into the bed. This causes problems with the spinal alignment of your back and neck. As the front of your body sinks more into the mattress, there is more pressure on your muscles, joints and organs resulting in pain.

The word is Tummy sleepers tend to be a social butterfly and a very amicable person. However, they may come across a little brash at times. They do not like being criticized, as they are insecure on the inside.

Personally, while I will lay on my stomach the odd time when I’m having a restless night, I don’t think I have even truly slept right on my stomach. When I was young, I remember being a tripod with my weight on the one arm, the same hip & opposite knee as I’m cocked over but not flat on my tummy. But I can’t even do that anymore.

Tips on improving your sleep.

Side Sleepers need to ensure the pillows adequately supports the neck but does not extend it the other direction (I’ve done that – gets a nasty crick). Put pillow between the knees or thighs to help align the hips.

Back Sleepers need to place a pillow between the knees to relieve strain on the back and sure the other pillow aligns the neck and spine in a natural, neutral position.

Stomach Sleepers need to prop the head up enough with a pillow to allows easy breathing but the pillow should also keep your face straight & facing straight down preventing snoring, back pain, and neck pain. (So a donut pillow?) Additionally, you can place a pillow beneath the hips to prevent your abdomen from sinking, putting your spine out of alignment.

More Non-Scale Victories

July 25, 2020

I can dive into the damn pool. Any attempts in the last 25-20 years resulted in a belly flop not a stream lined dive. πŸ™‚

I had to get a new brace. I had gotten a knee brace in 2017? I had to go down a size cuz of the amount of weight I’ve lost. Do you know how much weight you have to loose to go down s size in a medical knee brace?

I still shop in plus stores.. an X or all 1X. But I can also shop in regular stores.. Most of my newer clothes are size L/XL..

Self-Care

July 24, 2020

I figure today is the perfect day to discuss this topic, as today July 24 is Self-Care Day,!

What is Self-Care?

Self-care, as defined by the World Health Organization, as what a person does for one’s self to establish and maintain health and to prevent and deal with illness. This includes hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle & activities, environmental factotrs, sociao-ecpnomic factors and self-medication.  This includes physical as well as mental & emotional health.

So, basically, taking care of one’s self.  & showing yourself some love.

But this is something us with chronic illnesses have a problems doing.  We tend not to prioritize ourselves in the grand scheme of things.  It is something we need to do to help ourselve help get us better. Not healed, but better.. I guess a more appropriate word would be improved (that is another blog post in & of itself)

So what to do to help ones self? There are a ton of things you could do. Here is a by no means exhaustive list of thngs to help improve your personal health, or self-care.  A search on Google will give you additional ideas as well as suggestions for 30 days of self-care, a cheat sheet or a self-care checklist. I’m sure the list below includes information from these sources.

Self-Care Ideas

  • Take a walk
  • Meditate
  • Call a friend
  • Go out for a coffee/drink with a friend
  • Read
  • Warm bath, or hot tub
  • Yoga
  • Tale a nap
  • Dance or just listen to music
  • Sing
  • Keep hydrated
  • Sexual Acrivity
  • Compliment someone else (You’d be surprised at how well this can make you feel)
  • Plan kindness activities
  • Colour.. or Paint.. Do something creative
  • Knit, sew, crochet, macrame, needlepoint. Make something
  • Mani/pedi
  • Get a massage
  • Hug your kids, furbabies, nieces, nephews, grandkids
  • Stretch
  • Watch something funny – Tv show, movie, theatre
  • Plan a dream vaction
  • Plan what you would do if you won $25million
  • Take a trip to the salon to get your hair done
  • Get dressed up just to get dressed up.. If you look good, you feel good
  • Journal
  • Declutter a space on your home
  • Say or find posotive affeirmations. My mirror says “You’re Beautiful”. Who am I to argue wiht the mirror mirror on the wall?? πŸ˜‰
  • Volunteer
  • Try something new
  • Ask for help!
  • Unplug. (This one is difficult for me)
  • Plan & eat a nutrional, healthy and delicious meal, bonus if its a new recipie
  • Hang with a friend
  • Watch funny videos.. I like Jeff Dunhan & Fliffy
  • Exercise
  • Eat dessert, but not every day!
  • Start a new, good habit
  • Create a bucket list.. A fanaticl one or a realisitic one, your choice
  • Pop Bubble Wrap!
  • Watch cute videos online – I love puppy videos, and the kitten ar cute too.. πŸ™‚
  • Go for a drive
  • Deep slow breathing
  • Play with or cuddle with your pet
  • Learn a new skill
  • Practice positive selft-talk
  • Walk outside, feel the grass under your feet. (watch for glass if not in your backyard)
  • Forgive. Not for them, for you. it help you heal
  • Talk with someone, even a therapist or councillor
  • Remove negative people or groups from your social media
  • Family activity day
  • Make a list of what you are grateful for. Start with being alive, having shelter, and a full belly.. Go from there.
  • Sit in front of the campfire – Make smores, spider dogs, or mountain pies
  • Learn something new
  • Play a sport you enjoy, or watch it professionally

So..  Lots of choices as I said, There are alot of other options out there.  Remember this activitiy, or lack threeof, is to make you feel better.

My Go To’s:

  • Meditate
  • Slow, deep, easy breathing – helps me sleep
  • Read
  • Drive – I love to drive.
  • Muisc – Listen, sing or dance to.
  • Volunteer (I’ve been a Scouter with Scouts Canada in some form or another for almost 20 years. – COVID’s made it a challenge)
  • Mani/Pedi – by myself or at a salon
  • Hair Salon – Love the head massage when she washes my hair
  • Sitting by the campfire, preferably with friends or the Cubs with approapriate libations & snacks
  • Massage therapy
  • Exercise, when viable.. Walks, jogs, Yoga Aqua-fit, arriba dance, etc..  dependng on pain & energy levels
  • Hot Tub. I prefer bewtween 99-102.. Can’t do hotter. 😦
  • Huggs πŸ™‚ From wherever safely possible
  • Sex, with or without a partner
  • Go for a drive
  • Compliment somone – their hair, nails, clothing, shoes, etc..
  • Forgive
  • Colour and/or paint
  • Knots. Not a typical activity, but i like the challenge, plus im a Scouter, go figure.
  • Socialization with friends & family
  • Play or Cuddle with Lilly, my dog. ( See: “She Saved Me” post for more info on her.)
  • Call someone or at least check in for only that purpose, to see how they are.
  • Think or plan how i\I’d spend lottery winnings
  • & the obvious – Journalling. My blog, my instagram & facebook pages help me express myself.

What to Avoid:

  • Excessive or inaprropriate drinking or drug use
  • Maintaining toxic relationships
  • Argue excessively
  • Ovedoing an exercise routine
  • Stressful situations
  • Gambling
  • High-risk behaviours
  • Voilence to one’s self or others
  • Other self-destructive behaviours
  • Self-isolation (except as needed for COVID, but even then you can zoom or call or text) aka Social suicide
  • Becoming abusive
  • Self-defeating Mindsets
  • Narcissism
  • Self-harm
  • Personal neglect – Physical or mental
  • Refusing help

What self-care activities do you do?

What new activity would yuo like to try?

What is setting you back?

Returning to the Gym

July 23, 2020

Here in on the east side of the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario Canada, we are moving into stage 3 of reopening tomorrow. What this means “Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities (e.g., gyms, fitness studios)” are allowed to open. This includes my local gym, the Durham YMCA.

The following stipulations are in place by the provincial government:

  • Physical distancing must be maintained, except if playing a team sport or as needed for personal training.
  • The total number of people permitted in areas containing weights or exercise machines is limited to the number of people that can maintain physical distancing of at least two metres, which cannot exceed the indoor gathering limit of 50 people.
  • The total number people permitted in classes or organized activities at any one time is limited to the number of people that can maintain physical distancing of at least two metres, and cannot exceed the indoor gathering limit of 50 people or the outdoor limit of 100.
  • Assigned spaces are strongly recommended for organized fitness classes (e.g., by marking circles on the floor to designate where each person should exercise).
  • Gathering limits do not apply in all other areas (e.g., pools, tennis courts and rinks).
  • Equipment must be cleaned and disinfected between user sets or at the end of a game.
  • Any washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers or similar amenities made available to the public must be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • Steam rooms and saunas are not yet permitted to open.

I have some concerns about this. Our “Plus” change room is fairly small to accommodate the extra features we pay for. There is going to be very little room to social distance.

Our additional features include the steam room and the hot tub. I’m figuring since the steam room is unavailable then so is the hot tub. But what about the pool? I guess since there are no aqua-fit classes they just allow free swim? How is that safe? Since I walk my laps in the pool instead of swimming, should I be wearing a mask?

How are they planning on running an Arriba class? The Wednesday & Thursday classes where in a half gym & there was usually 50 people in that space. Triple that in the full gym on Saturday mornings. There is no way to social distance that many people. And given the distance we move during class, we’d likely only have room for maybe 25 people so as to stay out of everyone else’s breathing space. I don’t want to be dancing in the residual saliva in the air from when the person beside me is breathing hard from exercise.

I also noticed no yoga classes. I understand not being able to run a yoga class using one of the studios due to size, but why not a class in the gymnasium. Yes, a little louder & a little brighter, but an evening class would help that.

Social distancing in the showers? There only 5-6 showers total in the Plus section.

Now, almost all the features of a plus membership restricted which includes Steam Room, Hot Tub, Private Showers, Peace and Quiet-no kids, Lounging Area, Personal Hygiene Products & Towel Service. Without most of this, do you think we’d get a price break until it opens back up? Good God no. In fact, they cancelled the pilot program I was in so my membership is going to go up by about $20

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure I am comfortable going back to the gym quite yet. Being at higher risk makes me hesitate, especially when new cases reported are climbing back up towards 200.

What are your thoughts on going back to the gym?

Susceptibility

July 20, 2020

Despite what some people think, we DO NOT have a compromised immune system.

People taking immuno-suppressant medications, transplant recipients or with cancer / HIV have had their immune systems destroyed and can not fight off any new invading bug. They have compromised immune systems cuz essentially that system does not currently have much function in their bodies.

Our systems are impaired. So many variables impact each person’s impairment, but we are definitely impaired. Even the lady with only Fibromyalgia & is in long term remission has an impairment, as low as it might be. But she is not as much as the girl next door that has has uncontrolled Lupus and uncontrolled Fibromyalgia. We each have our unique set of variables that makes our own levels of impairment & thus susceptibility different.

IMO, persons with autoimmune conditions are definitely impaired. With these diseases their bodies are constantly fighting with themselves making it difficult to the immune system to fight the real infection as well as the phantom from the disease. So they’re taking a bit more of a hit than those without an auto-immune disease.

& No. Fibromyalgia is NOT an autoimmune disorder. I believe they are now thinking it’s neurological, which makes sense.

IMO, Fibromites, because of our declined health and it’s harder for us to fight off bugs, we also have impaired immune system. Our immune systems are fully intact but because of the impact fibro has on other system, we are definitely at a higher risk than the general public.

At this point I had actually made a list of various medical condition & where I thought they fit on the susceptibility scale. But there are too many other factors, the biggest two being additional medical conditions and the amount of control of one’s conditions.

So, I am only going to rate my own susceptibility cuz I know all my factors. My factors: I have fibromyalgia & about a dozen other issues are, for the most part, controlled. I do not have an autoimmune disorders (or determined to be, at this time). I am, otherwise, in good health.. So cuz I’ve got fibro, I’m at risk, but it’s controlled so that lowers the risk, but I’ve got a whole bunch of other non-autoimmune issues which increases my risk, but I’m healthy, which lowers the risk. So, I’d say on a scale of 1-10, my risk level is at about 6/10.

Remember, I am not a medical doctor and have no medical training. This is just my opinion based on the research I’ve done.

She Saved Me!

July 17, 2020

In November of 2011, a little puppy was born. In February of 2012, she became mine.

Prior to us getting her, I’d had alot of issues. My relationship was severely toxic & abusive. I was no longer was in contact with close friends & family. My health was rapidly deteriorating & my disability made me almost house bound. My depression started going into overdrive & I did not deal well.

As a result, I have lost track of the number of suicide attempts I had over the first 5-6 years of our relationship. It was so bad that I wrote on my meds list “In the event of a Suicide Attempt Do NOT Let me go home”. I was on 5 different antidepressants & they were not mixing well either.

But my life Changed when in February 2012 when I was given a life to take care of. Lilly.

I now had a “reason to live.”

She became my world. She was 100% mine. My partner did close to nothing with her on his own. He didn’t feed her, groomer her, take her out. He did occasionally play with her, but I don’t think he ever loved her. But I did.

So despite the increasing toxicity, I was able to survive because I had her. I had to be around to take care of her. I honestly believe, she would have suffered if I was gone & left with him.

She was my world. She was the reason I got up in the morning – literally. I had to take her out for a walk in the morning to do her business.

My relationship came to a sudden end when his son overheard his Dad threatening Lilly’s life. Now I don’t know if the boy knew his Dad was talking about Lil, or if he thought the treat was towards me. Either way he called 911. My ex was arrested and charged with Uttering Death Threats I believe the charge was.

I took Lilly & moved back home to my parents despite their misgivings. I got counselling, months and months of counselling. I was able to focus on my health. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. I managed to maintain friendships from the time I was with him despite him. I am so lucky to have both of my best friend’s back as two of the closest people to me. I’ve rebuilt my relationships with family, my parents, my sister & her family, my brother & his family.

I am happy, reasonably healthy, and alive. Thanks to her.

Wearing A Mask Whilst Singing

July 14, 2020

Why wear a mask while singing?

There are lots of reasons for wearing a mask, but the biggest one is to not spread COVID-19. When you speak, you spew water droplet into the air.

It’s worse when you sing. When you sing the amount of moisture & water droplets increases significantly. I don’t have the numbers, but I can talk forever without my mouth going dry, no so much when I’m singing.

If you are talking in the car, you are spreading droplets & need to wipe down anyways.. so you might as well sing your heart out cuz anyone in your car in likely in your bubble. Just remember, singing water droplets go further, faster. You will have to wipe down more than your steering wheel. Make sure you sanitize the shell, but also the steering column, the dashboard & the panel above the dashboard. Even if you have not touched those spaces, they will be contaminated by your saliva.

At an average viral load of 7 Γ— 106 per milliliter, we estimate that 1 min of loud speaking or singing generates at least 1,000 virion-containing droplet nuclei that remain airborne for more than 8 min. So this is not a good idea to be singing when people are around.

The other night, I broke that rule. I am used to driving in the car, but Dad was driving us in the van. On the way home from my brother’s we were listening to Dad’s country music – Not my typical choice. The last CD my Mom put in was Kenny Rogers – everyone knows Kenny So I’m singing “The Gambler” to myself.. and I sing the first verse & am shocked to no end when my Dad (who does *not* sing) starts to sing the chorus. Well we both sang the chorus, then I again sang the verse & the bridge & Dad joins in at each chorus. We are singing within 6 feet, let along the singing distance required of a minimum of 8 feet. He was less than 3 feet away.

Normally with COVID 19, you’d get in eternal trouble for that, but for 2 things, 1.I was in the car, no way to contaminate those outside the car. 2. My Mom and Dad are in my household so they are in my bubble. If my Dad had COVID, I would have gotten it anyways.

So, keep safe. Wash your hands. Wear a mask, cuz it’s legally required her in the Greater Toronto Area, especially when singing!!

COVID19 and Me

July 13, 2020

I’ve spoken to many people in the fibro community about this & it seems I’m not the only one deteriorating.. With over 3 months since many of our non-western medical treatments.. So, for most of us it’s only medications that we have access to, and if we are lucky, pain injections..

We are finding out how much our treatments help us.. Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Osteopathy, Chiropractic Care.. For some it’s the ability to exercise when all pools and gyms have closed including even private facilities. I’m sure there are other possible treatments that I haven’t mentioned – remind me of what they are!!

Personally, I’ve lost physiotherapy & osteopathy, massage therapy, aquafit with other exercise at the gym, and the hot tub – God, I miss the hot tub.

But what I am missing most? Socialization..I’m still in contact with friends, and doing my scouting thing, but it’s not the same. I’ve only seen my best friend once through the glass door & subsequently only on Zoom. I haven’t heard from some of my Cub Scouts in months since we went virtual. There are three that despite attempts for contact, that we have not heard hide nor hair of.


Note: the above was originally written in mid-June before we started to re-open in my area. In the last week I have finally had social distance visits with my 2 best friends. I was glad to see them both.

I’ve also seen my RMT, I see my Osteopath next week. And even have my hair appointment with my Mom on Friday.

Now, some pools have opened and the splash pads. Unfortunately, some community & all private gyms like mine are not open.