Archive for January, 2021

Bell Let’s Talk 2021, Final Tally

January 29, 2021

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Canadians and people around the world joined in to help create positive change for people living with mental health issues. Thanks to your actions, Bell will donate more to Canadian mental health initiatives.

With 159,173,435 interactions, Bell Canada with donate $7,958,671.75 to Mental Health initiatives across Canada!!

#BellLetsTalk, #BellCause

January 28, 2021
#BellLetsTalk – #BellCause

Today, with your support, Bell will donate towards mental health initiatives in Canada .You do NOT have to be Canadian or in Canada to participate.

For Bell customers, 5¢ is donated for every phone call & text message (but not iMessages) of the Bell network.

For every tweet and retweet using #BellLetsTalk or #BellCause Bell will donate 5¢.

For every video view on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat & TikTok, Bell will donate 5¢.

For every video uploaded to TikTok using #BellLetsTalk or #BellCause, Bell will donate 5¢.

Every time you use the Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter Bell will donate 5¢ 

Each time you use the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame Bell will donate 5¢ 

Bell Let’s Talk – Tomorrow!

January 27, 2021

This Year Bell Let’s Talk Day is Thursday January 28

Now more than ever, every action counts. On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, social media video view and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat filter.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s make every one of these actions count.


Each time you tweet and retweet using #BellLetsTalk or watch our official video, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives.


Each time you use the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or watch our official video, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives.


Each time you watch our official video on Instagram, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives.


Each time you use the Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter or watch our official video, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives.


Each time you watch our official video on YouTube, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives.


Each time you upload a video using #BellLetsTalk or watch our official video, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives.


Each time you watch our official video on Pinterest, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives.

Text Messages!

For every text message sent by a Bell wireless customer, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives.*

*This event excludes iMessages. Regular charges apply.

Phone Calls!

For every call made by Bell wireless and home phone customers*, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.

*By a Bell, Bell MTS or Bell Aliant mobile or home phone customer. Regular service charges apply.

The ER during COVID

January 21, 2021

The weekend before my recent injections my pain was skyrocketed. My post Christmas flair is getting worse and worse. Normally when I hit a 7/10 or just probably a 10/10 for ‘normal’ people, I consider going to the ER.

I hit 7 on the Friday but because of COVID, I did not even give the ER a thought. On Saturday, it jumped to an 8.. I was caving.. I went upstairs to ask for a ride.. Before I could say anything, my mom says I’m not looking great and if I had tried the Toradol she had leftover.

Before people freak about me using something I don’t have a prescription for, I actually do I just can’t afford to fill it.

Also, typically when I go to the ER I will get a 30mg shot, possibly 60mg and a stronger muscle relaxer..

So, given that that was the actual standard treatment I would get at the hospital I deferred going to the ER.. so I ended up taking 30 mg followed by another 30 mg a few hours later. I woke up the next morning with my pain level at a five. That’s way better than an eight.

Michael Garrow Hospital, Toronto East Health Network. I believe this used to be East York Gen.

SO,WOULD I go to the ER? Maybe.

In the event that my pain levels were consistently high for several days, like a seven I would start considering it, At an eight if the toradol had not helped I would have gone . It’s been some time since I have been up at that high of a pain level, so my tolerance for it is a little bit lower than I used to be. To me, at that point, it’s absolutely emergent… So.. YES..

However, I was having chest pain the other day I do get bouts of costochondritis, but it could be a heart attack. Pre-COVID, I probably would have gone to the ER.. but now given the extra covid risk, I took some Aspirin and monitored for any other cardiac symptoms. So the aspirin took away the pain in my chest and I had zero other symptoms so I didn’t go cuz it was probably the costochondritis. So.. NO..

Broke a bone? Only if I was in extreme pain in the middle of the night.. I would prefer to go to an urgent care than the ER because in an urgent care I would be considered more emergent than most. So…NO..

Kidney Stones? Absolutely. When those flare up , once they start to block something, it’s excruciating! Easily 8/10. Plus I get an immediate referral back to the appropriate specialist. So.. YES..

Epidural? For Fibro?

January 18, 2021

Actually, no, not for fibromyalgia.. Well it does help some of the fibromyalgia pain, but that is not how it helps the most.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts about the injections that I get. I mostly talk about the trigger point injections & less about the epidurals..

The epidural medication, Triamcinolone, is a corticosteroid which is an anti-inflammatory. It works by activating natural substances in the skin to reduce swelling, redness, and itching. I have osteoarthritis in my lower back from S1 to L1, if I recall correctly & it’s probably progressed since the original diagnosis about 7-8 years ago. Osteoarthriti is the degradation of the spinal cartilage making the bone change resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling..

The process is done by anesthesiologist. He gives me a local anesthetic, and then a second deeper anesthetic before finally injecting the corticalsteroid into my back through the notch in my coccyx aka the tailbone. He then also does the regular trigger point injections.

A visual representation of where the needle is injected to.

After the injection I am monitored for 30 to 45 minutes before I am permitted to leave to ensure I’m not reacting badly..

The initial results are awesome, always. Later in the day when the local anesthetics were off the area of the injection is sore. Fortunately at that point it’s later in the day and I’m slowing down anyways.

I typically get two to three epidurals per year starting in November or December & ending in March or April. For whatever reason my osteoarthritis tends to be worse during the winter. I usually get them every 7 and 9 weeks. I would say my initial pain level drops to ½-1 /10.. Considering I’m anywhere between a 5 and an 8 when I go in to get these shots, that’s amazing!! The effect does tend to wear off and is pretty much worn off in 7-9 weeks. The shortest time I’ve gone between shots was 5 weeks.

They help me. & For a short while, I almost feel pain-free!

Is Fibromyalgia Progressive?

January 15, 2021

In a word, No.

It is not a progressive disease in the technical medical sense.. However it does wax and wane as things change in your life.. For many people this does appear to be progressive as their body fails more as they get older.. but as you find better strategies and medications to cope you can also swing the other way and improve.

If Fibromyalgia was progressive, how could people have symptoms improve, partially, like me or full remission that does, only rarely mind you, happen..

I was, at one point almost completely bedridden, but am now able to live a relatively ‘normal’ life. Lots of slow prolonged changes have happened over the years with strong support for this to eventually lead me to my current improved health.

Before you tell me I don’t have fibromyalgia because my symptoms got better, there is zero chance I have something else. Dr Alison Bested, who at the time was the absolute top of world in the field of Fibromyalgia & CFS/ME, confirmed my diagnosis. When I was referred to her I had already had several blood tests taken, seen her in the environmental health clinic and had a diagnosis of “symptoms consistent with fibromyalgia” by rheumatologist. And her private practice, she sent me for additional blood work. This blood work required two trips, two separate trips, a minimum a week apart to get enough blood needed to run all the tests she requested to ensure that there was absolutely nothing else. Everything came back negative or normal. I have Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Believe you- me.. I am aware and grateful that I am doing well. I know my body will again swing the other way.. Until then I am enjoying this upswing in my issues.

So, fibro, while not progressive, it does give that impression as there does tend to be more downhill than uphill.

What Do Pain Docs Do For Me?

January 11, 2021

As mentioned in my previous post, I see two different pain physicians. Yes they do both know about each other. Actually, one referred me to the other. But why two? Because they do different things that help differently and for different durations.

I know these doctors know what each other’s are doing because I see them both in the same clinic but different offices. And while there are different offices in different cities, my electronic file is available to them both.

Shots with Dr S

My regular appointment is with Dr S.. I actually started seeing her 10 or more years ago, once a week but now generally only see her every four weeks now. From her I get nerve and trigger point injections.

I get them in my shoulder for the nerve going down my arms, 2 injections on each side of the back, the top of my back at the sides of spine in the trapezius muscle, down my back in painful trigger points primarily in the shoulder blade & the latissimus Dorso muscle, 8 shots in my lower back beside the Sacral & lumbar vertebrae, and on in the back of each hip for the sciatica. So a minimum of a about 20, to up to close to 50. Typically I get 30 shots in my back & neck.

Bupivacaine – for nerve & trigger point injections

Bupivacaine injection is used to numb an area of your body during procedures. It is a local anesthetic. It causes a loss of feeling and prevents pain by blocking signals at the nerve endings.

Epi with Dr J

I also, only in the winter, see Dr J.. He is an anesthesiologist and performs epidurals in my lower spine, specifically my tailbone every two to two and a half months. This is in lieu of the injection shots in my lower back as the pain in my lower back goes up during the winter probably due to the cold & the OsteoArthritis in my lower spine. The epidural covers a lot more space on the lower back and does a better job with the pain has it lasts about 2 months, not just one.

Traimcinolone – For coccyx Epidural

Triamcinolone is in a class of medications called corticosteroids. It works by activating natural substances in the skin to reduce swelling, redness, and itching.

Compare: How Do They Work?

The monthly injections with Dr S are done with a medication that is a local anesthetic, While it does help break up the knots of the Myofascial Pain Syndrome, it is primarily a numbing agent forthe pain. Over the years the blockage of pain has lasted longer and longer. Initially it was less than a week whereas now I am almost back to my pre-COVID pain treatment level at almost four weeks.

The epidurals with Dr J are with both the bupicavacine in the lower back and the corticosteroids which is a type of anti-inflammatory. So in addition to the initial numbing, I am also getting inflammation reduction as this medication reduces the signs and symptoms of inflammatory conditions & rheumatologic diseases such as arthritis including RA & OA.

So given that on the weekend, my pain hovered to an 8 out of 10, I am grateful that I was able to book in quickly with Dr J today & glad I’m seeing DrS for the upper back injections tomorrow.

Ongoing Holiday Crash

January 9, 2021

Most of the time when I have a crash in the holidays I end up in the hospital because of how bad the pain can get.. I usually manage for a few days at a level 7 or 8 out of 10 and after that, I’m in the ER.

This year, while the pain has been up, it hasn’t spiked to that level yet. And I hope it doesn’t. But unfortunately I have been in less higher level since the 26th of December – so, 17 days days now, which is unusual, for me… A severely sucks..

But I called my pain physician in Scarborough for an appointment on Monday & see my other pain doctor Tuesday. . With pain levels at a 5 or 6, I can deal, but only to a point.. after more than 2 weeks, I’ve hit that point..

Wish me luck!

The Spoon Theory

January 8, 2021

The Spoon Theory is a document written by Christine Miserandino. It is based on a conversation with a friend of hers who was trying to understand her chronic invisible illness. In Christine’s case, she has Lupus.

So, Christine tried to explain how her health limits her, but was having problems. She was at a diner eating some french fries, so she came up with equating a spoon to a unit of energy. For example 1 spoon for brushing your teeth, 2 spoons for taking out the trash, 3 spoons for a shower, 4 spoons to make dinner, etc.. We, with chronic health issues have a limited number of “spoons” or energy and when it’s gone it’s gone.

Check out this document because it is a very relatable way of explaining to most about chronic illness.. I’m not just talking Lupus, but other invisible medical conditions including Fibromyalgia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, ME/CFS,

If the attachment is unavailable, please try the original at

Exercise Snacks? Huh?

January 4, 2021

Exercise Snacks? Yeah.. & no, not cookies shaped like bodybuilders! Lol!

Weightlifting Gingerbread Men

Many of you know about my loss in weight and my improved health.. Part of that is due to exercisr…But because of covid, my gym closed & since it reopened, I haven’t felt comfortable going back yet..

Some of you know that I’ve taken up “running” to continue weight loss or at least maintain what I have lost. I still needed to exercise so I’ve been doing a short circuit around the block every couple days.. Some of it’s simply walking, some jogging, and when I’m feeling up to it, I’ve gotten into a dead run (I’m faster than my dog!).. With the changing of the seasons, weather’s gotten cooler & with regular snow just around the corner, touring my neighborhood is not going to be an option.

I saw this research article from UBC about Exercise Snacks & it’s an interesting concept.. Do short bouts, like 1 minute short, of exercise a couple of times a day and it gives you the same benefits as doing it all in all be shot.

This Is How Short One Minute Is

So, I’m thinking that hopping on Mom’s treadmill a couple times a day for a few minutes could very well be a better option for me than running around the neighborhood in snow boots!

Now, I didn’t always have this much functionality because of my fibromyalgia. I also realize that there are many fellow Fibromites or others who cannot go running, jogging, or even walking a distance.. This might still be an option because you don’t have to walk. Your exercise does not necessarily have to be intense. You can do stretches – one or two simple yoga poses.. Or lift weights and when I say weights, I’m talking anything heavier than just your hand. This could give you the same benefits..

It’s something to consider..

** If this link does not work, please advise. I do have a local copy. **