Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sharing Correct Information About Fibromyalgia

I just saw this going around facebook:

"Fibromyalgia (= a muscle disease)
I am asking everyone to post for 1 hour as your status. I'm pretty sure I know which of my friends want to do this.
If you know someone who has fibromyalgia.. my hope is that in 2017 a cure will be found. Do you want this message posts for (at least) 1 hours? For those who have fought or are fighting with fibromyalgia. ðŸ™ðŸŽ—Copy and paste do not share! Xoxo"

While I'm happy that the word about Fibromyalgia is trying to be spread to create awareness, it makes me sad when misinformation is being shared.  Fibromyalgia is not a muscle disease. In fact, it isn't a "disease" of ANY sort.  It's a actually a "syndrome", and it's neuroimmune rather than autoimmune although many people feed into the misconception that it's an autoimmune disease. Click the previous link to read more about neuroimmune syndromes.  

Misconceptions as the one above, are what we need to dispell as a community of sufferers.  Misinformation is why the awareness of fibromyalgia is so important.  We need to share, share, share to make others aware of what we go through, but we need to be diligent in making sure that what we share is the correct information.    ðŸ€"

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Taking My Life Back

I know it's been awhile since I've posted, and I haven't forgotten about you all.  It's just taken every ounce of physical and mental strength I've had, to accomplish what I've been doing.  I had gotten to a point, where I just could not take it anymore.  I was so lonely from not really being out among the living.  I was sad and depressed from living so poor because I couldn't work.  I was sick of not having a way to meet new people and talk face to face with other adults.  Finally, I knew enough was enough and I had to take control of my life back again.  I couldn't live another 30-40 years letting fibro steal all of my joy and happiness.

I thought long and hard about what type of job I thought my body had the best chance of succeeding at.  Then I thought about my likes and passions.  That one was easy for me.  My future job had to be something in the health care field.  Even as a small child, I always wanted to be a doctor or a nurse.  The human body and how it works has always been fascinating to me.  At 45 years of age, I was almost 46 when I decided to take back control of my life, becoming a doctor and the long hours to become one was obviously out lol!  I wasn't sure about becoming a nurse.  Around 12 years ago I was only 4 months away from sitting for state nursing boards when I dropped out to move to another state for my then-husbands job.  

Drawing Blood For The First Time

After researching for a few months, I decided I wanted to become a Certified Medical Assistant.  I would still get to do vitals, injections, draw blood, and read and perform EKG's.  The best part?  I could alternating sitting/standing!  I'd stand to call a patient back to an exam room, then sit while I charted their chief complaint, vitals, history, etc.  It was perfect!  Even more perfect?  I found a program through Ohio Means Jobs, that would pay for my schooling, give me gas cards to get to school, and even pay for my scrubs, nursing shoes, and all equipment I'd need to get started once I finished my schooling!

Knowing that I'm a fast learner, and an attentive student, I enrolled in an extremelly accelerated program.  I really lucked out on the program instructor I got.  She also suffers from chronic pain, and works her butt off at several jobs.  I really look up to her and on the bad days, she motivates me that I can do anything I want to, if I just keep moving!  She also is an extremely intelligent individual, that knows just how to break things down to make it understandable and unforgetable.  I truly don't know if I could have done this without her!  The photo below is the beautiful (inside and out) Keri Materni.  I seriously owe my entire future to this woman!

Each step of the way, my self-confidence grew.  I felt more in control of my life and my future.  I felt that I was worth something to society and to myself again.  Not saying it wasn't hard, but I was beating down fibro like a ninja, each step of the way!

Not only was I proud of myself, but my parents and adult children were also proud of me.  That meant a lot to me, and also helped my self-confidence.  I only missed a few quesitons on my final exam and passed my course with an "A".  My parents wanted to have a celebration dinner for me.  They were so proud!  I wouldn't allow them to though.  Not yet.  I still had to sit for my national certification test, before I was a real, certified medical assistant.  I'd been warned that the test was hard and that a lot of people don't pass it on the first attempt.

Exam day came, and I was a ball of nerves.  I had set up a study session with a few classmates at a restaurant across from the school.  We all met, stuffed our faces, studied, and obsessed on whether or not we were going to pass.  Those nachos I ordered looked (and tasted) divine but I was so nervous that I just picked at them.  -I wish they were infront of me right now, because I'd have no problem devouring them lol!

After the exam, I did the usual of second guessing myself.  I went from thinking I passed, to thinking I failed.  I finally settled on thinking "I probably passed but if I didn't I was real close" haha.  The results could possibly take up to three weeks to be posted online, on the site of the certifying agency.  I handled the not knowing pretty well for the first three days.  After that, each day of not knowing increased my stress and anxiety.  Finally, 10 days after taking the exam, the results were posted.  I logged on expecting it to say "results not finalized" as it had been, but instead was surprised with reading "Passed".  I started shaking and teared up!  I hollered upstairs to my daughter, screaming "I passed!  I passed my exam!"  She came running downstairs and asked what my score was, hugging me.  I told her I didn't even know that I hadn't even clicked to review my detailed results yet lol.  To pass, you had to score at least a 390.  The highest score possible was a 500.  I scored a 477!!  

Then, I called my parents and told my mom she could now plan my celebration dinner lol.  

"She Belived She Could So She Did" -R.S. Grey

I believed I could, and I DID!  I kicked fibro to the curb and took back my life!  It wasn't easy and I'm sure it never will be.  But I'm back in control of my life and my future now.  Fibro isn't controlling me anymore.

If you want something in life, go for it.  With enough will and determination you can achieve anything.  On bad pain and fatigue days, it may be a tough mental battle, but you can do it!  Remember my favorite word?  Hope.  Never give up HOPE!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mo's Dream Cream Review

**Disclaimer:  I've been given this product as part of a product review through Chronic Illness Bloggers network.  Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.**

I'm in so much pain every day, that I'm always excited to hear about and/or try something new that may help to alleviate my pain even if just a bit!  When I was extended the invitation to try Mo's Dream Cream and No Mo Pain Stick, I was completely stoked!  

I anxiously waited on the mail to come, and was so happy when I recieved the little padded envelope!  I didn't even wait until I got home to open it, I tore right into it as soon as I got back into my Jeep.  The first thing I noticed as I was opening it, was the smell.  I'm very sensitive to scents, and I won't lie, I was a little offput by the odor.  I wasn't going to let that stop me though.  I rushed home and put it on my aching legs.  Once on for a few minutes, you don't notice the smell much.  It just takes a little getting used to!

The creator of Mo's Dream Cream is a lady named Keri.  Keri suffered with pain, and didn't like the current options to relieve her pain.  So, she gathered up some all natural ingredients and created this wonderful lotion!

Putting the lotion on my legs, I noticed that it's a little runny so be careful when pouring it out.  I've found that it doesn't take very much at all.  The old saying "a little goes a long way" holds true with this.  The letter from Keri that accompanied the lotion and the No Mo Pain Stick, said that it can start working in as little as 5 minutes after applying.  I looked at the time on my computer, and was going to keep track and see how quickly it worked for me.  I have to admit that I was having a fibro fog day though, and all of a sudden I looked back at the clock and saw it'd been 10 minutes.  My legs didn't hurt anymore  ....now "when" in that 10 minute time frame they stopped hurting I couldn't tell ya lol!  I actually had to laugh out loud at myself, because when I looked at the time I thought "Hey!  My legs don't hurt anymore!  When did that happen?" lol.  

This cream (lotion as I like to call it) works for anywhere from 6-10 hours, depending on what type of pain it's being used for.  I can say that my relief lasted for about 8.5 hours.  It's main ingredient is Capsaicin Paste, and I can say it really does work!  Keri markets it for several different types of pain, such as:  Fibromyalgia, Neuropathy, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Planter Fisciitis, and Restless Leg Syndrome.  Adding a couple more of my own health issues of CRPS, DDD, and bulging discs, I can say it's helped me with the pain of everything I have!  

I love the No Mo Pain Stick, because it's easy to throw in your purse and take with you on the go.  I also found that the scent of the stick isn't quite as strong as the lotion.  Personally, I don't think the stick works *quite* as good as the lotion, but it does still work and works well enough that I definitely carry it with me everywhere I go!

If you're looking for a homemade, all natural product to relieve your pain I definitely recommed these two products!  You can check them out and order, from the link I posted in the first paragraph!  -I don't think you'll be sorry!  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Dangers Of Prescription Pain Killers: A Tribute To Brenda Jones

This is by far, the hardest post I've ever wrote.  I've tried to start it off and on, over the past few hours and each time my eyes would fill with tears to where everything just looked like a blurry mess.  Finally, I took a deep breathe, audibly exhaled, and I've started writing.  Dear Lord, please help me get through this post, and give me the correct words to properly convey my thoughts and message.  This is a subject I've briefly touched on a few times over the past four years.  Now, I need to write indepth about it.

Meet Brenda Jones.  Brenda was a fellow chronic pain sufferer, and a cancer warrior.  She was one of us. More than that, Brenda was my friend.  A true friend.  She honestly worried and cared not only about me, but about any one she knew that may be suffering along with her.  I can't tell you how many times Brenda would comment on a facebook post of mine, making sure I was ok and praying that a current pain flare would quickly end for me.  She'd send me messages off and on, checking in on me, as I did her.  I've never known a person to just ....love ....more than Brenda did.  

What mattered the most to Brenda?  Her family.  I cannot begin to tell you how much her son Jordan, her daughter-in-law Natalie, and the apple of her eye, her granddaughter Koralee meant to her.  I just thought that I'm a proud grandma.  I've honestly never seen anyone more proud of a grandchild, than Brenda was of Koralee.  Just look at the pride beaming from her eyes, the very first time she held this little beauty:

Brenda had one secret from me though.  She was addicted to prescription pain killers.  Brenda passed away, 2 days ago from an accidental overdose.  Her son Jordan, walked into her bedroom and found her. Brenda absolutely would not have wanted her son, to have to find her like that.  She didn't want to die.  She wanted the very same thing that you and I want.  She just wanted to be pain-free.  

This whole incident has taken my breath away.  It's left me crying off and on.  It's made me angry.  Most of all, it's scared me.  It scares me, because it just as easily could have been you, or me.  I read of Brenda's passing, sitting in the lobby of my pain management clinic, waiting to be taken to the operating room to have neves burned in my neck under sedation.  -Anything to try and relieve the pain in at least one area of my body.  Anything, right?!  Most of us would give anything to try and live a half-way pain free life.  To have a half-way normal life again.  That's why many of us take prescription drugs.

Brenda's son Jordan, and beautiful daughter-in-law Natalie

No one who truly suffers from a chronic pain condition, sets out to be a drug seeker.  No one who truly suffers from a chronic pain condition thinks that they'll become addicted to prescription meds.  To be honest, most that are addicted, probably don't even realize that they have developed a problem.  This blogs facebook page, has over 17,000 followers and I have had people say to me on the page, "I'll never become addicted to narcotics, because I'm not a druggy.  I just need something to help me function without so much pain."  I've had people get angry at me, when I've responded to a question on whether someone should try to get pain meds or not, that in my opinion a person should hold off as long as possible.  

Over the years, I've had doctors ask me if I wanted narcotics.  I always told each and every doctor that I wanted to wait for as long as possible, before starting narcotics.  Would my life have been easier and more normal if I had accepted them?  It sure would have been.  I didn't though, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I've hated medicine all my life.  Even as a teenager my mom would fight me to get me to even take a Tylenol.  Secondly, the thought of addiction scared me.  Thirdly, I knew that if I took a certain pain pill for so long, it would lose it's effectiveness and I'd have to be upped on the dosage.  Eventually, I'd top out on the dosage and have to move up the tier to a stronger narcotic.  Again, it'd lose it's effectiveness.  This would be a cycle that would continue and eventually I'd be out of any pain killer that would work.  -There's only so many out there.  The illnesses I have, I will have for the rest of my life.  I didn't want to be in my 50's, and already have run the gammit of drugs available to help me.  They say that Fibro isn't progressive, but I beg to differ.  My symptoms have worsened in severity over the years.  My doctor even told me last year, "Amy, your health is declining.  I can not only see it physically, but also the toll it's taking on you mentally."

Grandma's Pride & Joy

According to DrugAbuse.gov, around 116 million people suffer from Chronic Pain, in the United States.  (you can read the full article by clicking HERE)  PainMed.org says "Prescription drugs are the second-most abused category of drugs in the United States, following marijuana."  

They also say "From 1998 to 2008, the proportion of all substance abuse treatment admissions age 12 or older who reported any pain reliever abuse increased more than fourfold."

Along with this sobering statistic: "Prescription painkillers are considered a major contributor to the total number of drug deaths. In 2007, for example, nearly 28,000 Americans died from unintentional drug poisoning, and of these, nearly 12,000 involved prescription pain relievers."

A new report came out today, stating that singer Prince's death was confirmed to be an accidental overdose of Fentanyl.  Article About Prince

This past February, after carefully considering everything for years, I went ahead and started on narcotics.  I take one 5-325mg of Norco a day.  It truly does help my pain, but every single day I have the "what if I get addicted" thought in the back of my head.  I have the "what happens when these stop working" question lingering in the background.  My beautiful Brenda's tragedy has me scared.  It hurts me beyond belief.  Never, ever think that you're above this.  Never think that this can't happen to you, because it can.  

I want you to read part of Jordan's announcement of his sweet mother's passing:  "Addiction is powerful, no matter what you are addicted to. I hope that if anything positive can come from the passing of my mother, it is that prescription medication addiction is no different than any other drug. If you are unable to accept you have a problem and do not receive help, the end result is the same. Death is unavoidable,and comes in many different ways. However prescription drug addiction may seem not as bad as meth or cocaine, but as a direct reflection on my mother's life I have watched her die slowly, a little more everyday. So if you know someone suffering from this, try to get them help. I ask you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not be an enabler! No matter what you have to do, regardless of the friendship you may lose or how mad the person may be when told no, DO NOT ENABLE THEM! "

How eloquently, yet truthful and heartbreaking is that plea?  That could be your son or daughter making that post.  Please, please if you even think you may have developed an addiction to your prescription meds, seek help.  Please don't be embarrassed.  Doctors know that those who start taking meds for chronic pain aren't out to try and become addicted.  It just happens sometimes.  Please, don't EVER take more than what's prescribed to you.  If you're in so much pain that you just can't handle it, make a trip to the E.R. or your doctor's office and let a physician try to get it under control for you.  Don't take a chance.  Your life is more valuable than you realize.  If you think you may have a problem, here's a national toll-free hotline number that you can call for help:  National Toll-free number: 1-800-821-4357

Koralee, BB may not be able to hold you in her arms or smooch your precious cheeks anymore, but she'll always be with you and looking out for you.  You were her whole world, precious girl.  Everytime you see a butterfly, know that BB is there with you.  

To my sweet, sweet Brenda ....you are finally free from the pain.  I know you're with us and know the sadness we feel.  My life is truly better from knowing you, Sweetheart.  I'll never forget you.  Fly-high being pain free, Angel.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Daily Little Accomplishments

This is a sponsored post for Self Care Catalysts.  I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network.  All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

Do you ever have those days where every little thing you try to do seems almost impossible?  Those days when it's hard just to even crawl out of bed?  I know that with Fibromyalgia, I sure do!  Sometimes, it seems as if it's an effort even to eat.

When a person is in a fibro flare, even the smallest ordinary daily task can feel as if it's almost impossible to accomplish.  What many don't realize though, is that all of those little, ordinary tasks that we do, are in fact accomplishments that deserve to be celebrated.  

For some reason, it seems to be human nature to be hard on ourselves.  Those of us suffering from Fibromyalgia and other like illnesses, tend to be even harder on ourselves than healthy people are.  We feel guilty about those things that we don't accomplish in a day, when in all honesty, we should be celebrating those tasks that we do accomplish.

Most people these days, have a dishwasher.  I'm not lucky enough to have that privilege.  I can tell you that standing to do dishes, is one of the hardest tasks for me to do.  It causes an enormous amount of pain in my back, shoulders, and arms.  The only way I can accomplish doing them, is to do them in sections.  I'm usually able to manage washing the silverware and cups, then I have to sit and rest for 15-20 minutes.  I then head back to the kitchen, and wash as much as I can before the pain becomes too much, then I sit and rest again for another 15-20 minutes.  I repeat this process, until all of the dishes are done.  I used to beat myself up that it'd take me a couple of hours to complete a task, that would take a normal person 10 or 15 minutes total to do.  I've learned though, that instead of beating myself up over the amount of time it takes me to do the dishes, to instead congratulate myself and celebrate the fact that at least I did get the dishes done!  

I joke around with my friends and family all of the time, asking them if I should do my hair and make up for the day, or if I should just go around looking homeless.  Let me tell ya, folks ...most a lot of days, I go around looking homeless lol.  Between the muscular pain of fibro on top of osteoarthritis throughout my body, doing my hair is one heck of a chore!  The struggle is real. The arthritis is so bad in the joints where my arms hook onto my shoulders, that I really have a limited range of motion.  On the rare days that I actually muster up the energy to straighten or curl my hair, I definitely look at that as an accomplishment.  I feel proud of myself when I look into the mirror.  At first, I'd just be all grumpy and say to myself "Why are you proud that you did your hair?" I mean, most people do their hair every single day whether they're leaving their house or not.  Well, I had to stop and realize that I'm not like most people.  I have several debilitating illnesses.  The fact that I did my hair, truly is something that I should be proud of.  I shouldn't cheat myself out of the joy of my accomplishment.  Instead, I should be celebrating it because it truly is an accomplishment!

The next time that you're completely exhausted, and/or in pain, and you manage to even get out of the bed that day, recognize the amount of effort it took.  If you actually get out of your pj's and into real clothes, celebrate your accomplishment!  The little things that you do, truly are accomplishments and deserve a medal.  Absolutely nothing that you do, is too little to be proud of and celebrate.  If you're having a bad day and being too hard on yourself, go to Self Care Catalysts and read their website or design your own self-care program!  Embrace who you are, make the most of it, and celebrate every accomplishment you do no matter how small it may seem to someone else! Know that I am proud of you, and I'm handing you a blue ribbon because in my book, you're a first place winner!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Another Quick Easy Recipe - Pork Fried Rice

So for the past two Tuesdays, I've been in a pain and fatigue flare and have gone to a couple of my quick, easy recipes.  I shared last Tuesday's with you, so figured I'd share tonight's as well!  Tonight, I made pork fried rice.

Pork Fried Rice

3 cups uncooked instant rice
1 bag of frozen peas/carrots mix, thawed
1 package pork stew meat (or about 4 large pork chops that you cut up)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbls sesame oil
2 eggs

Cook the rice and set aside.  Put your oil (recipe calls for sesame oil but I usually use olive oil instead as a personal preferance) in a large wok-type skillet and heat it up.  Add your meat and season it however you like.  I use garlic, Morton's Season-All, and black pepper.  Stir fry the meat over medium-high heat until done.  Push the meat to the side.  Bust the eggs into the skillet and quickly scramble them, then push aside. Add your vegetables, and stir fry until hot, then push them to the side.  Add your rice, and fry it.  Mix everything together, then add the soy sauce and mix it up well, frying until everything is good & hot.

That's it!  it's super quick & easy  ....and most of all, it's delicious!!  It makes a LOT and there's always left overs that reheat very well.  My family eats off of this for a few days!  Also if you prefer chicken, just substitue the pork with cut up chicken breast.  Sometimes I do pork, and sometimes I do chicken.  

If you try this recipe out, please come back and leave me a comment letting me know what you think of it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pasta Salad

Living with a chronic illness, we all have those days where we just don't feel like cooking.  I'm sure all of you can say that you've had days where you've skipped eating, due to pain and fatigue.  I can remember many times in the past, where I've sat here hungry, but would rather just starve to death & die than to get up and go cook food to eat haha.  If you're anything like me, you're always looking for new recipes that are quick & easy!  Here's a recipe of mine that's quick, easy, and will last you a couple of days.  -I just made it again today!

Pasta Salad

Cook one box of Rainbow pasta, el dente and place it in a large bowl.  Dump in one bag of mini-pepperoni, or if you can't find them cut about 1/2 of a large package of regular sized pepperoni into 1/4's and add them to the bowl.  Chop up a little fresh broccoli and cauliflower and add it. Add around 1/4 bag of thin carrot sticks. Put in about 1/2 jar of sliced green olives.  Add a small container of grape tomatoes.  Dump in a bag of co-jack cheese cubes.  Add 1 bottle of Italian Dressing, and mix it all up then refrigerate it for a few hours until it's good and cold, then serve!  

Tonight, mine is missing the carrots because I had a fibro-fog moment at the grocery store and forgot to get them.  It's also missing the tomatoes because my daughter doesn't like them and asked me to leave them out.  Sometimes if I have them on hand, I'll also add some mild banana pepper rings to it.

Minus the cooking time for the pasta, the rest only takes about 10 minutes to put together so it makes a quick, easy dish that you can eat on for a few days!  Not only is it easy for me to make, but it's a family favorite in my house!  

I hope that this is helpful to some of you, and that you enjoy it as much as we do!