Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Stuff That Doesn’t Mean We’re Okay

October 29, 2021

Posted on February 28, 2017 by MyFibroTeam

Life as a “normal” person is turned upside down when suffering from & living with chronic illnesses. Often these conditions are invisible. This can cause many to not understand and not believe that you’re as sick as you claim. They have to realize the despite the image we may project, we are in pain Every Single Day.

Then there’s the Catch-22.. Should I put forth an effort into my appearance when I miraculously do go out to look ‘normal’? Should I show up looking as bad as I feel? Or should I even bother going out? It’s a tricky thing — trying to live normally when your life no longer is. People tend to be surprised when we post a well-articulated paragraph on Facebook, have a good laugh, talk about things other than sickness (apparently lately ive been talking non-stop about Cub Scouts), write a highly researched, factually correct well written blog post, or bigger things like going on vacation even if it is just to go up to the cottage.

It is sad that we need to point out these things. It has hit many of us more than once that appearance, timed-just-right clarity of thought or momentary positive mood seem to adjust the perception of those around us creating more doubt in the truth that we each are really very, very sick.

So to that end, Take into account that while we may do things one day, these activities are not necessarily our norm, or it is something we have planned for well in advance. Review this non-exhaustive round up of things that do not mean we’re lying and actually okay:

1 – Articulation/Ability to Communicate Well

Admittedly this is currently one of my prominent disabilities, impaired cognitive function. However, many others can found themselves in the middle of a conversation in a rare moment of a clarity & articulation. And even myself even more rarely. These are the times where we have clarity of mind, excellent though process and the ability to communicate well. . In these moments, we are not communication like someone who is ill. It impairs the idea that Fibromyalgia and many other chronic disease do have cognative impairments.

i have actually spoken with several others with fibro who are highly cognizant in the change of their levels.. Personally I’m pretty sure my IQ has dropped at least 20 points by now, if not more.. In my mid-20s, I had an IQ of 180, thats hitting genius level. I haven’t had access to retesting, so I dont know 100% sure, but its pretty obvious to me.

2 – Laughing and Smiling

Apparently, those of us who are sick are not allowed to be happy, be joyful and positive. Yes, we are in pain & have memory/cognative issues, are drained & exhausted, have issues with sleep and deal with mental health issues, so some think it would get us down and we would not want laughter. In actuality, we need it the most because it feels good.. Smiling and laughing have little to do with someone’s health or pain levels. Those with chronic conditions have become strong from all the suffering they experience, they can still laugh and smile while in pain, which says not that the pain is low but that the need for relief is high.. Additionally laughing with others releases endorphins in the brain and it activates the release of the serotonin, both of which are homegrown feel-good chemicals which can only make us feel better.

3 – Getting Out

Being social is something we need to do. We can get both depressed and anti-social due to our chronic conditions. Some go “all out” as far as appearance: hair fixed, makeup, jewelry, and a dress. But I’ve never been one for being ‘dressy’ so when I go out I tend to be in jeans & a nice top. I’m not going out to impress, I am going out to have fun & enjoy myself.. But, I do tend to dress a little more sexy & with make-up when going to a club..

Some go out frequently. Personally, for purely social purposes, I go out once a week, maybe twice (without covid) . But, I also go out for Cub Scouts weekly which is different than social but is still getting out. I also get exercise – I walk weekly with my sister & our pups. We end up talking the whole time. I have also recently joined an exercise group that meets weekly which is also both social, but also exercise. Unfortunately, with my bff living out of town, & her also having fibro, we dont get to actually see each other that often even tho I have a key to her place.. I’d probably go out more if she was closer & she wasnt so busy with work..

So while we can & do get out, its not always a reflection on our health level. Sometimes we need to make accommodations. I’ve gone out to a bar, medicated on narcotics, to be with friends. (No, I wont drink) I’ve gone to Cub Scouts Day Camp the day after an unsuccessful ER visit, looped up on muscle relaxers & anti-inflammatories or MMJ. I had to go – I had half the equipment *&* the itinerary. Dont worry, there are other leaders because if I’m medicated, I don’t count for ratio. I’ve also usually had either a hot shower or preferably, a hot tub, when available, after almost any type of workout to minimize and even help prevent any residual issues I might have the next day or two. Unfortunately, there are still many times that I still need to cancel plans with scouting, friends, family & intimate relationships.

4 – Technological Activity

Technological socialization is all a lot of us have, especially with COVID. We tend to find typing on a keyboard or on text to be almost always easier. With the hermit life many of us live, we might also avoid telephone conversations because in & of themselves they can be stressful & exhausting. So when my whole body feels like death warmed over, but I’m usually more able to move fingers either on the laptop of cellphone. While a “activity” in no way suggests any other type of activity whatsoever, many people assume that because you are participating online that you are fully functional. Sometimes we express ourselves via social media just to stay sane.

If I post something non-health related or — shocker — something happy on social media or my blog, I wonder if others see it as me being “well,” which is never the case. Our illnesses are always, always there, even if we’re not talking about them at the moment. No matter how much we wish to ignore them, we would still prefer to make them go away.

5 – Announcements that Imply Activity

Many of us are creative people in some format even if is just colouring.. Due to COVID, many people have added extra creative outlets over the last 2 years.. But every new pursuit that is public in any form makes others wonder if, as mentioned above, people see those pursuits or accomplishments and think, “Oh see, she’s doing well.”

But you need to understand: I am on disability and I have no “real” job. My life revolves around creative outlets, medical appointments, cub scouts, health & wellness, Lilly, family, friendships and my social media & Blog. With my very messed up sleep schedule, I do dishes and laundry when I can, and attempting to keep both my pup Lilly and myself fed. Seriously. All of that is my every day. And as little as that seems to be, to my body, that is a whole freakin’ lot. And it gets overwhelming, and some days I can’t even do half of that.

But some days — or nights in my case — are better than others. And that healthy girl who lives buried in me somewhere is begging to come out and create, and sometimes I just have to listen. So when I post about the awesome stuff my Pack is doing, share images of my latest painting project, talk about my love of soccer, add to my Varage Sale store, or am chilling up at the cottage for a few days, all this is done either on a good day, or only take a portion of my day, but is the only activity.. What you see are ‘snips’, brief moments it time, a small glimpse into the parts of my life I want to share. And even then, some of those can be done while still laying in best, resting my body, but still having an active mind.

We are never fine. Whatever assumptions you make based on how we look, how we move, what we do, or even what people “think” we can do, the only thing safe to assume: we are always worse than you think we are


The original post was first published here, While I have kept some of the content, I have also made multiple changes with my own feedback, comments & experiences.

The original author Kacie Fleming has learned about health and treatment options into the nearly six years since being labeled with fibromyalgia. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and spends her time working on her handmade jewelry.

Socializing While In Pain

September 3, 2021

Do I socialize when I’m in pain?

Yup, I socialize, otherwise I’d be a hermit!

Yup! Otherwise I’d be a hermit. Plus, very few friends can identify how much I’m in pain. My bff & my sister can tell by looking at me.. I have other friends & family who have learned the signs.

Mom can tell usually just by looking at me.. not always, but usually.. My sister is pretty good.. Her kids & hubby not so much – ironically I think the kid of hers that would recognize the best is her youngest, because he has seen me the most over the last few years.

My guy friend T has, over the last 3½ years learned quite a bit about how to read the non-verbal clues.

My BFF also has fibro & is sometimes a little too focused on her own fibro to catch my issues. Only reason I can gauge her easily is that she has an emotional response to her issues that I don’t even think she’s aware of.

My second BFF also has his own issues, and usually only sees me on better days.. I don’t think he’s even seen me at mediocre or worse in a long time..

Them there’s some of the Scouters I work with.. Raksha 13th & I have become good friends through Scouting & Rainbow I’ve known since grade 8 or 9, but through guiding & scouting as well. They are pretty good a picking things up.

There are other friends who are less prevalent in my life but even they can recognize some signs if I’m having issues

What I Can Do.

So, there is the basics of who I tend to see most, then the next thing is *what I can do*. Mind you the days when I’m seriously f****d up due to symptoms, I don’t talk to anyone unless I haveta Haveta HAVETA.

Now pain & other symptoms varyy from week to week, day to day, even hour to hour.. Fortunately in the last few years the hour to hour option seems to happen less and less frequently, but for a long time that is how I had to play it.

When my pain levels are super high, any communication is digital.. To everyone. If you’re lucky..

Digital Communication Only on my Worst Days, At Best

Next level down:

  • Mild exercise like walking my dog around the court
  • Have company over for low maintenance visits
  • Socialize for dinner with Mom & Dad
Exercise by walking the Dog Around the Court Is All I Can Handle Some Days.

As my pain levels drop, I can be more sociable in activities that require less interaction such as:

  • Hanging out with selects friends in a quiet environment, such as a campfire, living room, patio, poolside, dock.. This would be BFF’s, & T, for the most part
  • Walking around the neighbourhood
  • Watching the kids’ soccer games
  • Visiting the family cottage for a few days
  • Visiting the gym for a hot tub!
Hanging out with Friends, in Front of the Campfire, or Otherwise, Though we use Chairs – LOL

As the pain levels drop a moderate to low level I can usually do the following:

  • Karaoke
  • General.Cub Scout Activities
  • Marksmanship
  • Hangout with friends in a noisier, bigger, busier location like a restaurant or bar
  • Moderate exercise like the walks with my sister & the pups
  • cub Scout meetings!
  • Glamping at my BFF’s cottage
  • Concerts (depending on who, I may go on a worse day & accept the consequences)
  • Professional sporting events like the Leafs, TFC or The Rock.. & to a lesser extent, Argos, Jays or Raptors..
Concerts with Friends Are Always Fun!!

So assuming my pain level is low, there is a lot I can do. I can:

  • More strenuous exercise such as cycling
  • Visit the gym for Aquafit, yoga, weights, or the track. I had gotten in a few slow Zumba classes in before COVID..
  • I can Camp – not the glamping like at the cottage, but camping with friends, and even my Cub Scouts . In fact we were going to Camp Impressa for a year end camp earlier this month with my senior Cubs & the Scouts (See more in this post).. & I just went camping 2 weekends ago with T
  • Sporting activities like soccer with the girls or golfing with T
  • Some of the more physical activities in Cub Scouts.. Such as teaching how to put up tents, waterproofing the bedroll, setting up grey water, basic orienteering, limited kayaking/canoeing, etc..
  • The Pheonix. – Dancing at the club!
  • Hiking (like fairly flat, fairly short, nothing overnight – Second Marsh near me is a good example)
  • Roadtrip!
Easy Hiking with Friends

What I can not do.

There are so many things now that I would like to do that I just not in the cards. These are activities the I’ve either done or were at one point on the bucket list. This includes activities such as:

  • White water rafting. T wants to go – I can do the camping part, but not the rafting part
  • Backpacking/ Hiking. This includes longer hikes, more challenging hikes, or overnight hikes. I can not lug an air mattress through the wilderness 😄
  • Winter outdoor camping
  • Amusements parks – can’t do most of the rides, and way too much walking.
  • Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Zip-lining (not sure I’d do that anyways)
Canada’s Wonderland, the Prominent Amusement Park in the Toronto Ontario Area.

What would you like to do that you know you will never do again?

RLS then Exercise.. Uh oh!!!

June 29, 2021

On Friday last week, I posted about issues with my RLS, but that wasn’t the end of it.

As I said, on Wednesday night I was having problems getting to sleep, big problems due to restless leg syndrome in all four limbs – very rare. So I went on the treadmill for 20 minutes then snuggled nicely into bed.

Walking on a treadmill can help burn off the restless feeling when my RLS flares.

Thursday morning, I woke up & my legs had felt like I’d run before full marathon with zero prep the day before, instead of just 20 minutes.

So I started with the pain meds, the anti-inflammatories and the muscle relaxers that I do every day when I get up. The unexpected pain did eventually start to lessen more.

But Thursday nights are one of my cub nights with my third years, howlers from both packs. We’re helping them work on their Seeonee Award.

Fortunately, when this meeting was planned we weren’t aware if we were going to be in person or not so we planned a virtual meeting. The kids wanted to play Drawsaurus which is an online version of Pictionary. Lots of fun!

Drawsaurus is an online version of Pictionary! The boys love it!

So I didn’t have to do anything. I did not have to prep much, other than just set up the game which took about 30 seconds. We played 4-5 rounds I believe. We could do this because it was a smaller group, just the four of them tonight.

So as we started we are having fun and I’m relaxing. Silly me, I text my sister and ask her if she wants to go walking tonight after my meeting, which we normally do on Thursdays.. Of course she responded in the affirmative.

I was actually starting to feel better at the end of the meeting – Yay!!

I make it to my sister’s for 9:00pm and we leave shortly thereafter walking the dogs. Our pups were both very well behaved tonight, strangely enough – they usually do not start calm & maintain that for most of the walk.

So our walk was uneventful and we walked the neighborhood just south west of us. There was nothing extraordinary about our walk in the way of physical exertion.

There was a coyote but that’s a different story altogether.

One thing about that walk however was the length. It was almost 11:00pm by the time we got back to her house. In steps that is over 10,000 and about 5½ miles (no clue why my Fitbit is still in miles)

God Help Me! Five miles & 11,000 steps for one casual walk.

So take a guess how I felt afterwards. Horrible! My leggs were very painful. I’m thinking a 6 or 7 out of 10 on my pain scale..

I had a shower and the hot water was lovely- everything seemed to relax under the hot spray. Unfortunately it would return when the heat got moved to another spot. I think I need to go snorkeling in a hot tub! LOL..

So I medicated again, including my MMJ…

Guess how I felt the next day…


I was actually expecting to be in a flare the next morning… Surprisingly, my Leggs were sore.. pain at a 3, 3½.. was expecting 7 or so.

So, Yay! Not as bad as anticipated!

Could You Handle it? Constant Pain?

June 22, 2021

Yes, I live in pain every minute of every single day. It is the Nature of the Beast..

If someone tells you they have fibromyalgia or CFS/ME & are pain free, they are wrong. Pain free days do not happen. If someone is pain free they are either lying to you, lying to themselves or they were misdiagnosed.

Like all Fibromites, I have pain every single day. Some days is really great at 1-2/10, but it has been as bad as 8/10 for my kidney stones. Lately, I’m typically at 3 or 4.

The best I’ve been is a 1.. but a zero? No I have zero pain or painfree days.

I have Fibromyalgia. I live in sin every day. Yes, Every Single Day

So, do I wake up in pain? Yes.

Do I walk my dog in pain? Yes.

Do I do groceries in pain? Yes.

Do I write my blog posts in pain? Of course.

Do I exercise while in pain? Ha – tricky one. Yes, if I can do so without triggering a flare.Do I snuggle up & watch TV or movies in pain? Yes.

Do I socialize in pain? Yup, otherwise I’d be a hermit.

Do I participate in personal adult extra curricular activities while in pain? Unfortunately, yes. There is 2 posts about this topic in the works.

Do do my Scouting in Pain? Yes, I do. Only one person in each group has any clue about how I’m doing Raksha 13 & I have become good friends through Scouting & Rainbow I’ve known grade 8 or 9, but through guiding & scouting.

Don’t I take meds to help with the pain? Yes, but he important word there is *help*.

Now think about this.

Would you be able to handle never-ending pain? Knowing that it will never, ever end? That it could flare-up & knock you out with, if you’re lucky, only a moment’s notice??

Could you handle the negative prospects, knowing that most Fibromites do deteriorate? It means you will likely get worse, not better.

How could you handle additional fibro symptoms like debilitating fatigue matched with bouts of insomnia? What about a loss of cognitive function where you can’t remember silly stuff like the phrase “tug-of-war’ during a game of Pictionary with the kids. How about feeling useless cuz you are unable to help your kid with his math homework because you don’t remember how it works – all you can say is the answer is wrong, but unable to explain why, made worse cuz you had a partial scholarship in Mathematics.

What about the other “smaller” symptoms? IBS? Thyroid issues? Sjorgens Syndrome? Sleep impairment? TMJ? Reynauds Syndrome? Muscle spasms or reoccurring ‘Charlie Horses’? Costochondritis? Muscle weakness? Myofascial Pain Syndrome? Migraines? Allodynia (touch sensitivity)? Chemical sensitivities? Light, noise or smell sensitivities? Restless Legg Syndrome? Paraesthesia?

Admittedly, you won’t have all of these all the time, but they can spontaneously come & go without warning. But is that something you can handle, with the never ending pain & fatigue?

Very few friends can identify how much I’m in pain. My bff can usually spot it a mile off. My sister & occasionally my Mom can tell by looking at me.. I have other friends & family who have learned some of the more obvious signs of higher pain levels.

So yeah, I’m in pain, even as I’m snuggled up in bed, relaxing & medicated. I am still in pain. Always.

Could you handle it?

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!!

30 Facts!!

May 24, 2021

Originally written for the 25th Anniversary with 25 facts,, this is a list of things you should know, from someone with Fibromyalgia. From someone who experiences it, not just studies it. I have taken the original, modified it and added to it from *my* perspective as my experiences with fibro are not the same as hers. OP info available at the bottom.

  1. Every morning is a tough morning.
  2. I can sleep all day and still feel like I just ran a marathon.
  3. If I went out last night, I need a day or two or three to recover — its okay, it was worth it.
  4. When i’m tired, let me sleep.
  5. Certain foods make me flare up, For me that’s items like Ice cream breaded food products (like fish sticks or chicken fingers), mayo & salad dressing, KD, etc.. Some I know why, others no clue.
  6. When I’m in a flare, leave me alone in a dark room but please check in, even if I don’t answer. It makes me feel cared for & loved .If I am flaring and I am responding, I’m likely asking for a ride to the ER.
  7. Yes, diet matters, but in flare mode, all bets are off.
  8. Yes, my face is swollen. No, I didn’t gain 5 pounds overnight… Well I could have gained, but not on my face.. So, Yes, that is a tell that I am in a flare.
  9. I have many different sizes of clothes in my closet to accommodate flare vs. non-flare days. I currently have clothing from a medium ( very generous medium) to 3x.. I’ve lost weight, so likely only a few items & eventually they will go too.
  10. Fibro Fog sucks. Ya know when you get absent-minded every once in a while? Misplaced your keys? Misread something? Forgot to water the plants? That’s Brain or Fibro Fog. While it happens to everyone at some point, it not the norm. For people with Fibromyalgia this is the norm. Every day. I have even lost my train of thought, mid-sentance. It happens enough that those close to me don’t bat an eyelash when it happens. Some even see it happening & will remind me of what I was saying. The worst, is fogging out when I drive & I love to drive, but have to be super careful to make sure I am clear minded.
  11. Ask before you touch. Some days, I can barely tolerate the feel of clothing or even my hair on my skin. When I’m ok, give gentle hugs please — my skin & muscles may still be tender. But if I give you a bear hug, you can give me one back!
  12. Bright lights, loud noise and too many smells can overload the senses and can cause nauseous (or worse) or kick in a migraine.
  13. Allergies play havoc on my body. Scented products like perfumes & body products are typical culprits Sometimes I don’t even know I’m allergic until I experience it, So it’s a bit of Russian Roulette when I go into public because I can’t control what scents other people wear. Food allergies/sensitivities do not make life any easier either, especially when eating out.
  14. I am a human barometer ( there’s a post around about that.. I can typically tell it’s gonna be too cold, too wet, too hot.
  15. Yes, i am on medications, sometimes even alot of them. I have a decent relationship with the pharmacy staff, and I know exactly what all my medications are, the dosage, and why I’m on it & how it helps.
  16. To me, car rides are joy rides cuz I really love to drive. I need to stop every hour or two to keep my legs from going numb or seizing up. It, for me, is so worth it! But so many with fibro feel differently than I do & equate it to a highly painful roller coaster ride.
  17. Some days it’s OK to let my Fibro win. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  18. I can get moody. You would be too if you were in pain all the time, be patient with me.
  19. Don’t be surprised if I can tell your mood as soon you walk in the room. My Fibro/spidey-senses are tingling.
  20. My day, week and month are carefully planned to accommodate my Fibro. Only important events & people like you are scheduled.
  21. If I cancel my plans with you, don’t be mad.. Remember, I made plans with you, because you are important to me. I am trying and obviously want to hang out with you, so please keep any nasty commentator yourself as I already feel guilty.
  22. Your friend with Fibro that says they have no pain doesn’t make me feel any better. Plus if they have no pain, they may not have fibro cuz *all* Fibromites have *some* level of pain at *all* times Alternatively they could simply lying either about having fibro or about being totally pain-free. Also, just cuz someone says they are “Good” that’s does not mean pain-free
  23. “You should exercise.” ROTFLMAO. Have you considered going to the gym while you are in the middle of the flu with body-wide aches & pain, fatigue? Didn’t think so, so how can you expect me to when I have body-wide aches & pain and fatigue? Yes, I do exercise, but I’m not a hypocrite. Do you know how long it took from me to go from bobbing in the water during aquafit to get to my current level of exercise? Years!! It helps, that I have lost weight. Before you use me as an example of of someone with fibro who is ‘fit’, remember that I started my journey to become healthier & to increase my fitness level in the winter of 2012, almost 9 years ago. And I would not consider myself ‘fit’
  24. Going to the doctor makes me sad & sometimes overwhelmed— it’s a reminder of my condition. And it doesn’t help that I have at minimum a half dozen medical appointments each month – GP, Pain Doc, RMT, Physio/Osteo therapy, Gyn, Neuro, Dental, Psych, mental health support groups, and one offs for tests like bloodwork, ultrasound, x-ray, MRI or CT.
  25. There are zero no-pain days, but my low-pain days are my happy days. So if I’m looking good and acting good and I’m social, I’m better, right? No, just a good *low* pain day. Fibromyalgia is chronic & will not go away
  26. Because of Fibro, the mandated downtime gives me the opportunity to write this blog, and I’m grateful. Unfortunately, some of that downtime does not even permit blog writing because the pain or fatigue is*too* intense, so I have missed posts.
  27. Because of Fibro, some Fibromites get to spend more time with their families than if they were healthy.
  28. if i am being a dick about my health, you will not change my mind. I have to figure it out myself. For those in my life who put up with that for years, I am sorry.
  29. Because of Fibro, I’ve become part of a strong, supportive community that reminds me I’m never alone.
  30. Yes, I have depression. No, it’s not because of my fibro. My depression started at age 16, but fibro, we believe, started from Mono when I was 19-20. So, obvs they started at different times plus I do know the triggering event that started my depression.

Original published by Puja Rios on May 11, 2007 at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/25-facts-for-fibromyalgia-awareness-day_b_59148663e4b01ad573dac1c2

Take Care! Self Care..

April 5, 2021

Self care at this time is especially important, particularly with the limitations & 1 month lockdown here where I am.

Take care of yourself. You can’t help your kids, spouse, friends, other family if you are not functional. Like they say on flights, put your mask on first before you help others. It’s not selfish, it’s taking care of yourself you are able to help others..

Seriously!! Go drink some water or make yourself some tea. Put on your favorite sweater or take a really long shower. Talk with someone or just scream to vent your negative feelings. Light some candles or spray your favorite perfume. Get up – shower, dress, makeup will give you a sense of accomplishment even if you go nowhere. Watch a favourite television show or movie. Make yourself your favourite meal, or order in for yourself. Check online resources – support groups, information,links. Be aware of who you are & how you feel. Take a walk or find an online yoga class . Learn something or try something new. Wash your face or have long relaxing shower/bath. Give yourself a facial or paint your nails. Stop for a moment and do something that makes you happy.

Most importantly, Breathe.

This life you live is a blessing and it’s way too short to be stressed over all the time.Take time for yourself.Even if it’s just two slow deep breath’s and recognize what you can do for you.

Post-Christmas Crash 2020

January 1, 2021

Every year the inevitable happens. I manage decently enough getting ready for Christmas, pacing myself trying not to overdo it. Every year I end up failing miserably before the holidays end.

Some years I’ve managed to get through Christmas Day with a nap and crash afterwards. . Some years I’ve actually had to postpone Christmas from the morning to the afternoon and eventually this became consistent as I really get up any day before noon. I’ve even had two years where I didn’t do Christmas with my family or anyone just because my crash hit before the holiday.

The most common reaction is to hit my wall on Christmas Day in the evening… After I get back from wherever I’ve been.. Fortunately, with the improvement of my Fibro over the last almost 5 years, that is shifting.. Crashes are less severe and don’t typically last for week or more on end..

This year, I did well! Before you say that’s it cuz of covid & no one did anything, it’s not true. Christmas this year is not *that* different.

As per the norm, I baked cookies. I give these his gifts to friends, family & my pain physician. It’s not uncommon for me to purchase premade dough however this year I made two different types of cookies from scratch. I have one of those cookies I ended up making up 4 batches. I don’t know how many cookies I made in total but in the end I had enough for two’s cookie swaps with my Cub packs, 3 small baggies, of a half dozen, 8 larger bags of a baker dozen, & 5large bags for almost 2 dozen cookies. I also did up one package of two dozen Brier Rabbit cookies (that’s the recipe I made for of) for a friend of mine who specifically likes that type of cookie.. After all that, I still had some left over.. That’s almost 400 cookies this year.

Cookies From My Cubs

As I usually do, I also did my Christmas shopping in person. I don’t like doing a lot of shopping online unless I know exactly what it is like books. So I do gifts for my sister and her family and my parents every year as well as select friends including my best friend and her family This year I also got a few things for my brother’s family beyond cookies.. Plus stocking stuffers for my Mom and Dad.. So gifts for about 20 people this year.

Because of COVID my deliveries have been different this year.. but I have made them and have had short safe visits with friends. I stopped at my 2nd bff’s on Christmas Eve Day and we had a short safe visit. . Christmas Day was spent with my parents followed by a social distanced gift exchange with my Sister’s family. Afterwards, I stopped by another friend’s later on also for a short safe visit to exchange small gifts. Come Boxing Day, I had a longer, yet still safe visit with my BFF & her family. Finally, I saw another friend that evening and gave him his cookies & gifts..

So Boxing Day evening I hit my wall (My Wile E Coyote IG post shows it well). When I got home about 8:30, I crawled into bed & slept. I ended up overheating in my sleep but you can read more about that here.. Otherwise for the next 24 hours, I slept, only getting up so myself & Lilly could use the facilities and to feed her.

Since then my pain levels have been up and so has my fatigue.. I’ve done very little over this last week. I had a Cub Scout planning meeting on the 27th via Zoom. I’ve had a visit or 2 with Mom & Dad as they only live upstairs.. I fixed a mask, having to replace the elastic & add a third layer. I have watched TV, I have player video games on my phone & I’ve slept.

Do I consider myself bedridden? No.. I’m able to function.. I can get up & take the dog out & Ake myself some food and do liw energy activities. So why am I not doing more? Cuz if I do things will go downhill.. Right now I’m just keeping the course steady so that my body can rest, relax, recuperate and heal..

Christmas with Chronic Health Issues

December 23, 2020

The holiday season is supposed to be the hap-happiest time, the most wonderful time of the year!
Unfortunately, it comes with a lot of stress and expectations. Many healthy or ‘normal’ people can find it difficult. Those dealing with chronic illnesses like fibro, CFS/ME, lupus, etc have it worse.. Unfortunately, for someit is the worst time of the year.

Here are some strategies that can help when things get hectic:

• Pace yourself. Conserve your energy and taking it slow.
• Say “No”: You can only do so much. If you overextend yourself, that can & usually does instigate a flare in symptoms.
• Ask for help. Again, you can only do so much. Ask someone else to help out with what you can’t do like stringing up the lights
• Stop the crash by stopping before it happens. . If you go until you’re too tired or too sore or too stressed to do more then you most definitely will crash. “Just do one or two more things, or visit one or two more shops, or go down one or two more aisles'” – this thought process only leads to decreased health..
• Keep it simple. —Decorate but not as much, celebrate—but not as much, cook if you can—but not as much.”
• Put some extra thought in any travel plans (well, not a an issue this year, but in the future) traveling during the holidays. A busy travel schedule can be hell. Give yourself the time you need .. To recover from a travel day.. To rest between flights& have sufficient layover.. & Bring what you need to travel. Be it snacks, water, ear plugs, eye mask, medications . Plan ahead and pace yourself.
• Prep food ahead of time. Get the veggies ready to throw in the pot, make the potatoes the day before, roll & fill the pies a week or two before & freeze.. If you do breakfast, mix up your eggs, or pancake mix or French toast egg dip prior.. the night before so it ready on Christmas morning.
• Organuze. Set the dinning room table the week before, or the kitchen the night or two prior to whatever extent you can.
• Leave guilt behind! Take a reality check. You have a chronic pain illness which limits what and how much you can do. Do not blaming yourself because you can’t provide the same elaborate holiday festivities you once did. Don’t even try to do everything you think your family expects from you. Don’t put those expectations on yourself – they are not realistic aspirations.
• Set priorities. You can no longer do every single holiday traditions you used to. You now have to determine what means the most to you & consider the energy levels required. Some can be modified like I stead of going walking to check out Christmas, you take a drive to check out the lights. So, again, be realistic.
• Avoid overnight visitors if you can.. If you can’t, set the expectations like ‘I’m not making you breakfast, but help yourself’ or ‘I don’t get up until 10am so they know not to knock off n my door unless it’s an emergency.’ or ‘Can you please strip the bed before you go – just toss them into a pile on the floor for me to wash.’
• If you are hosting, you can (again, not this year) ask each one to bring one or two dishes, So my sister brings the turkey, my be CES do the stuffing & gravy, my brother brings the vegetables, Mom brings the desserts.. This leaves yourself only one or two simple items to prepare. In this case bun’s & potatoes. OR just go somewhere for dinner or even a family vacation together over Christmas .
• Organize your gift giving. Keep a list of who is getting gifts & what, so you won’t have the foggy moment of ‘Did I get this for Uncle John, Cousin Sue, or my brother?’ I even make note on where to get things so I’m not heading the same time 3 times. Plus My cookie list: I make 3 different sized bundles of cookies every year. A small ½dozen to the little guys or extended family, 2 doz to the nieces, nephews, godchildren (no, Kaden, my Godson and my nephew does not get two no matter how much he’d like that), & 3 doz to bff’s, my pain doc, & the bf’s…
• While it may be more expensive, the extra cost may be worth it to shop online. You avoid the stress and exhaustion of holiday shopping in crowds of people & lots on scencury impact. Gifts can sometimes be sent directly to the recipients, saving you the hassle of finding a box, packaging the gifts and waiting in line at the post office.
• Use gift bags instead of traditional wrapping or there are decorative boxes that you can just drop something in, tape it, add ribbon & done. It is physically stressful on the body to wrap gift after gift.. My back always gives out.
• What your diet!.. Do not over eat. Take home leftovers for later instead. If you eat too much, especially too fast, you just know your body will retaliate in some manner. And avoid all the extra sugar available at this time of year, cookies, cakes, candies, pastries…
• Change your schedule as little as possible. The changes on Christmas Holiday & especially Christmas day frequently send our bodies out of whack,. Try & keep your normal activities going.. Keep up with an exercise regime. Stick, to a relative amount, with your regular diet. Keep your sleep schedule as close to normal, if you have your book club meeting stops for 2 weeks, schedule a chat with on of your friends at the same time so that you are still doing something in lieu..
• While I keep seeing the recommendation of avoiding Eggnog, I can’t agree with this, but you do need to be careful. Egg Nog has both milk/cream & eggs in it so those sensitivities need to be confirmed. If you are buying your eggnog, be aware there a ton of preservatings, thickeners & other chemicals in it. If you make it from scratch – eggs, milk, sugar & vanilla, and while it tastes better, you can not keep it around forever, even in the fridge.
• Take time for yourself.Even if it’s just two slow deep breath’s, or an hour meditation, or ordering dinner in or doing your nails.. Self care at this time if year is just as important, especially with the limitations & upcoming 1 month lockdown here where I am.

With everything going on at Christmas time, it’s inevitable that while you may not X ash, you’re not going to feel great on Boxing Day. . If possible, just stay home and rest. The more time you can take, the better.

It’s also pertainent that these tips you need not only be aware of during the holidays, be the rest of the year throughb as well.

Merry Christmas

COVID Christmas

December 19, 2020

As of writing this entry, the area in Ontario which I live is at level red. This may change before Christmas as it is currently being revisited. But what this means is that while we are not on lockdown, broader, more stringent measures & limitations are in effect..

Our health department recommends that families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes. Everyone should avoid social gatherings.

Avoid in-person gatherings.

Celebrate only with members of your household.

Connect virtually with loved-ones and friends outside of your household.

Avoid travelling.

Follow all public health guidelines.

Stay home if you’re sick or have symptoms.

What does that mean for me? It means our initial plans for Christmas with my sister’s family is now out. We had planned out a safe socially distanced day, but it no.longer is considered a ‘safe’ plan. So it looks like we will be doing virtual Christimas.

Once I know what we finally decide on – I’ll let you know.