Archive for the ‘Awareness’ Category

May 12th

May 12, 2022

Today is May 12th..

Awareness Ribbons

On this day we try to spread awareness of three debilitating and chronic medical conditions. I have all three of these conditions & I have to say, they all suck.

FMS – Fibromyalgia Syndrome

CFS/ME – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

May 12th is Coming

May 10, 2022

Each year on May 12th, we observe International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Globally, we also acknowledge Awareness for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND), typically considered Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). This does include other conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Addison’s Disease, Lupus, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS), & Irritable Bowel Syndrome to name a few.

Awareness Ribbons

Fibromyalgia affects 2-4% of the population. For context that’s up to 13 million of the US population & 1.5 million of the Canadian population  It is a musculoskeletal syndrome and causes a variety of symptoms. Common to all Fibromites is chronic widespread pain and debilitating fatigue. Additional symptoms can include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • migraines/chronic headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • irritable bladder
  • insomnia
  • hypersensitivity to cold/hot
  • swelling
  • fibro fog (inability to concentrate/focus)
  • difficulty remembering
  • numbness
  • stiffness
  • decreased energy
  • noise, light and odor sensitivity
  • skin sensitivity
  • See a more extensive list here

Symptoms may come and go, lasting a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of treatments and therapies focus on reducing the amount and frequency of pain. They also aim to improve sleep. Therapies such as exercise, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care aim to manage symptoms without pharmacological interventions. Prescriptions manage pain, improve sleep, and combat depression, too.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)
affects ¼-¾ of 1% of the population For context that is up to 2.5 million of the US population & up to 300,000 of the Canadian population. It is a serious, long-term illness that affects multiple body systems. Symptoms of CFSME are severe fatigue, and sleep issues. Additional symptoms commonly include: post-exertional malaise (PEM), problems with thinking and concentrating, pain, and dizziness. Like fibromyalgia, symptoms may come and go, lasting a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year. There is no cure and no real recommended treatment plans . Individual symptoms may be treated or managed and like Fibromyalgia, they may provide relief for some but not others. Coping strategies, like learning new ways to manage activity, may also be helpful in some.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) is a syndrome resulting from a reaction to environmental factors such as tobacco smoke, auto exhaust, perfume, insecticide, new carpet, chlorine, food chemicals an preservatives. Symptoms can vary extensively and can include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Congestion
  • Itching / Rash or hives
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Chest Pain
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Breathing problems
  • Muscle pain and/ot stiffness
  • Diarrhea / constipation
  • Bloating & gas
  • Confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory problem
  • Mood changes

Treatment typically is to avoid the irritant

AWARENESS DAY HISTORY

Fibromyalgia, CFSME, MCS Awareness Day was first observed in North America in 1992 in honour of the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Why Florence Nightingale?

During in the Crimean War on the 1850’s with the English army, she established the training of women, organizing them to help care for the wounded soldiers, establishing the basis of modern nursing.

During the war while working on the front lines, Florence suffered a traumatic collapse which resulted in most of her life to be in debilitating chronic pain, often unable to walk or leave her bed. Documentation suggests her symptoms to be similar to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. 

SPREAD AWARENESS

To help spread Awareness of Fibromyalgia and these other conditions please use the following hashtags in your social media:

  • #May12th
  • #FibromyalgiaAwarenessDay
  • #CFSMEAwarenessDay
  • #MCSAwarenessDay

As the month of May is also dedicated to Fibromyalgia Awareness you can use these additional hashtags

  • #FibromyalgiaAwareness
  • #FibromyalgiaAwarenessMonth

 

Fibromyalgia Awareness Images

May 6, 2022

Some of these image are ones I’ve created, and they are marked. Some are not please give credit & refer to this blog at http://www.KelliAEllis.com

I created this image based on other images. if you use this image, please give credit & refer to http://www.KelliAEllis.com TY
May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month
I created this image based on other images. if you use this image, please give credit & refer to http://www.KelliAEllis.com TY
This was made by a friend for me. If you use this, please give credit & refer to http://www.KelliAEllis.com. TY

Spread Awareness

May 1, 2022

May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month

Tired? Me Too.

April 29, 2022

Don’t you also hate it when, despite knowing how badly you struggle with fatigue, someone who doesn’t is always delighted to tell you, “Yeah, I’m tired too?”

Me too, and I’ll explain why. I fully understand that everyone is entitled to feel tired, it’s a way of life. I also understand that everyone has different levels when it comes to how much tiredness their body can take. However, if you’re a person who is tired because they went to bed two hours before their alarm, or a person who is tired because they were binge-watching “Grey’s Anatomy” for two days solid without going to bed (I salute your dedication by the way, just saying!), then your tiredness level and my tiredness level aren’t really the same now, are they? In my opinion, people who sit there claiming that their tiredness from burning the candle at both ends is the same as tiredness from illness are pretty much insulting every single chronically ill person out there. Obviously with strangers, it’s slightly different as we can’t expect them to carry their crystal balls with them everywhere they go. But, when it comes to our loved ones who know our situations and who know how fatigue affects our minds and bodies, that’s when, personally, it makes it seem that my feelings are less worthy.

So, how is chronic illness tiredness different than “regular tiredness?” Well, seeing as everyone responds differently to fatigue, I will answer that question based on my own personal experience. Tiredness due to my multiple chronic illnesses is a level of fatigue which involves me sitting on the toilet crying my eyes out because I am so tired. It’s when I have hardly been able to move around my house due to lack of energy, yet I’m still sitting on the sofa yawning my head off, and an extreme bout of nausea because I am just so tired. It’s being unable to have a conversation because exhaustion has sucked all of the energy out of my body; therefore opening my mouth would use up a lot of the limited supply of energy I currently have to work with because, you guessed it, I am just so tired.

What are we so tired?.There’s several reasons. We can’t get to sleep cuz insomnia is common. We can’t stay asleep. And because our body is constantly fight with itself trying to deal with daily varying levels of pain and other symptoms of our illnesses.

Unlike healthy people, getting an early night doesn’t fix my problem. Doing less activity doesn’t fix my problem.Getting more sleep at nighttime doesn’t fix my problem (and that’s if I can even get to sleep!).Despite being absolutely mentally and physically exhausted, I can’t sleep, even though I would love to (and nearly do) fall asleep wherever my head lands.It’s debilitating. It’s exhausting. It comes with the territory of multiple chronic illnesses (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.)

So if someone you know with chronic pain, especially moderate to severe chronic pain, and the say that they are tired. They are likely exhausted on, or more more likely off their feet unable to do much We don’t like to complain but when we do, it’s gotta be big.. So please don’t respond with a flippant “Me too!” What you are dealing with is quite possibly very different from what someone with chronic pain is dealing with.

Endometriosis Awareness 2022

March 18, 2022

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

What is Endometriosis? In layman’s terms, it’s when the cells the are supposed to live in the uterus also live outside the uterus.

What does that mean? Well, it means those misplaced cells act like they would it they were in the right place. They have the menstrual cycle, but it’s on the bowel, on the outside of the fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries, etc, on the rectum, on the bladder, on the kidneys, basically any of the organs in the abdomen. But not only that, these cell can migrate anywhere within the body. This includes more serious, but rate places like the heart, lungs, the spine, and the brain.

What does it feel like? It hurts!! Most women have a regular menstrual cycle. Some women have bad cramps and heavy bleeding..Us with Endo have horrible cramping, debilitating pain that last the duration of the cycle & for up to a week prior & after, and those cycles are irregular & erratic – some times lasting up to 2 weeks, sometimes with only a week, or days, in between. And remember, this happens in those cells that have meandered into the rest of the body, so not all the pain is necessarily in the lower abdomen

What else can happen? In addition to those fun issues already discussed there can be issued with infertility.. With tissues not being where they are supposed to be, the women’s reproductive system is turned into a war zone. And it can really f*”kin hurt to engage in sexual activity. Cuz the tissues are not where they are supposed to be, internal and things very easily get rubbed the wrong way. Add to that the common co-morbidity with Irritable bowel syndrome which in and of itself sucks.

Fibro Friends, IRL

November 2, 2021

It’s interesting to note exactly how many friends I have, real, in-person, face-to-face local friends that I have with Fibromyalgia.

When I first started having symptoms in the mid-90s, I’d not heard of Fibromyalgia let alone know someone with this condition.

I only found out about fibromyalgia through, unfortunately, Dr Google. Few doctors had even heard of it then. Many did not believe it existed. Few had any idea how to treat it..

Jump ahead a few years..

  1. First person who was a friend of mine is Billy Jo. Her and I met in a mental health workshop in my local hospital. We met because of mental health & connected over of common physical health. We have been friend for.. 8-9 years now…
  2. My BFF was also diagnosed with fibro about 7 years ago. Due to an abusive relationship I was estranged from her while she went through her diagnosis. However, because she knew of my struggles and issues I’ve had getting diagnosed & treated, she had a good idea of what the process was & how to get it sped up.. my diagnosis took 13 years.. Hers only took 3-4 years.
  3. I had left the aforementioned relationship approximately 5½ years ago. This was just in time for my high school reunion.. One of the people I reconnected with another girl named Jo.. While we were not friends in high school we did know each other and we have to come friends in the here and now. I think part of the reason why we connected so well was because I understood and she did not have many other friends let alone ones who got & understood the issues with Fibromyalgia.
  4. Shortly after that reunion I connected with a lady in Newcastle who is my twin. No, we look nothing alike however there are so many other similarities. We were born within two weeks of each other, we both went to the same high school, we have almost the exact same list of medical conditions including Fibro, we react well to the same medications as well as an overlap in personal interests beyond our health. So we met about 2 years ago, shortly before covid and we’ve connected over these similarities, but also over our differences.
  5. Growing up, the neighborhood kids down at the end of the street were friends.. The oldest had a big gap between herself and her younger siblings so she hung out more with my older brother, his friends and some of my friends as she was a few years older than me but many years older than her siblings. After I moved back to Oshawa we eventually started connecting again a few years back. She also has Fibromyalgia.

Its interesting how many people have fibro that you may not even know about..

Fibro Sucks! But My Friends Don’t!

May 31, 2021

so we have finally reached the 31st of May, the final day of fibromyalgia Awareness Month. I know I’ve been posting a little extra and almost exclusively about fibromyalgia this month but but else would I do? LOL

what I would like to thank all the people in my life who support me. I made masks for those closest to me as well as myself. I would like to thank each and every one who wore these masks & I hope will continue to wear them until we no longer need them.

This lad is on of my guy friends whom I am fairly close to, but I was surprised when he said he wanted a mask. Apparently he knows others (including 2 mutual friends) with Fibromyalgia.

Tony.

The only one I made a mask for who I do behave an image of is my nephew cuz he couldn’t find his (not surprising, cuz his mom’s wearing it!) But my sister, her 2 daughters, and my Mom & Dad. I thank my family for their support

Cassie & Kyah, Wendy, Dad and Mom

My best friends and their partners.. I’ve known both Catherine & Gerry since high school. I’m lucky to have maintained their friendships after 30 years. I thank them & their partners. Cath’s masks read “I wear purple for my BFF” & “I wear purple for ME”.

Catherine & Brett and Sara & Gerry

As many of you know, I’m involved in Scouting & I had some of my fellows outer request masks as they know how much it impacts my daily life.. I worked with Rainbow 13th directly for 2 years in Beavers & she is our outgoing group chair for one group. Raksha 13th has worked with me at Cub level for 3 years now& is out incoming Ng chair. She has seen how it impacts me and the improvements I have made over the last few years. Rainbow 1sy, well.. I’ve only been working in tandem with her since Covid hit & we initially amalgamated the groups, but like the bffs, I’ve known her since highschool and we did Venture Scouts together as youth.

Rainbow 13th (Charlene), Raksha 13th (Jen) & Rainbow 1st.(Jenn)

& I support me. Some days I have to remember that.

i have 4 masks.. 2 that say Fibromyalgia Awareness, but different patterns.. one that states “I wear purple for my BFF” (cuz my bff has fibro too) & “I wear purple for ME”. Mine, I will have in regular rotation – good thing purple is my favourite colour..

4 different days 4different masks.. & Yes, each has been worn several times over the last few weeks. Very rarely was I not in a fibro mask. & If not, I had purple butterflies!

So everyone who supports someone with Fibromyalgia, on their behalf, I thank you. Whether it’s doing our groceries wearing a mask for Fibromyalgia Awareness or just checking in to make sure we’re ok,, we do appreciate you & your support.

Thank You!!

Am I Better Yet?

May 27, 2021

Better than what?

Am I better than yesterday? Or Last Week? Last Month? Last year? Maybe, but that is not what you are asking, is it?

You are wondering if I still have Fibromyalgia or CFS/ME, or one of the many other invisible illnesses like Lupus, or Crohn’s disease. The short answer is No.

There is currently no cure for these debilitation yet chronic medical conditions. While there are treatments that *can* improve one’s quality of life, they do not work the same with everyone.

Now some people who are familiar with these conditions will ask that but mean something different. They are asking how one is, wondering if today is a good day compared to the bad day from last week.

Are you Better?? The connotations of the word better are eliminated by using a word like improved.

My answer to the later question uses the word “improved” not “better”. It clears things up because of the lack of clarity & assumptions made when using the word “better”.

May 12th, Awareness Day

May 12, 2021
International Awareness Day for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Today, May 12 is International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.. also known a Fibro, FM & FMS, the rigging for today is Purple.

Today, May 12 is International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day. Also known at CFS, CFS/ME, ME/CFS & ME, the ribbon for today is Blue.

Today, May 12 is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Day. Also known as MCS, the ribbon for today is Green..

CFS/ME, Fibromyalgia & MCS Awareness Ribbons for May 12th