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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!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I'm Proud To Be A Spoonie

I'm Proud To Be A Spoonie.
I'm Strong, Independent, & 
Fearless.  I Wake Up
& Put One Foot InFront Of The Other.
I Stare Pain &
Fatigue In The Eye.
I'm A Warrior.  I
Fight Every Day
Because That's
The Only Choice I 
Have.  This Isn't The 
Life I Asked For, But
I Face It With Grace.  I
Never Give Up HOPE
Because I Am A Spoonie.

This shirt is available in a women's t-shirt, a men's t-shirt, or a unisex tank top with multiple color choices available!  The wording is printed on the back of the shirt and front is plain.  Proudly let the world know that you're a Spoonie!  Place your order, by clicking HERE!!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Adolescent Fibromyalgia Research Study Enrolling Today

Thank you for being a reader of The Fibro Frog. I am writing to share some information about a clinical research study that may be of interest to you. Research studies contribute greatly to the overall progress in understanding and treating diseases and The Fibro Frog supports that mission.


Adolescent Fibromyalgia Research Study Enrolling Today

Does your child suffer from widespread, unexplained body pain that impacts their daily routine?

If so, local research study doctors are studying an investigational medication to see if it can help manage symptoms associated with juvenile fibromyalgia in adolescents.

If your child is between 13 and 17 years of age, and has juvenile fibromyalgia or is experiencing unexplained aching, stiffness, fatigue, or trouble sleeping, he or she may be eligible to participate in a clinical research study.

  • No-cost investigational study drug
  • No-cost study-related care from a local physician

Visit www.FibroStudy.info anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
   




Sincerely,

Amy Mullholand


Founder of The Fibro Frog

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Catch 22


One of the most frustrating things about living with Fibromyalgia, is all of the catch-22's that come along with it.  My current dilemma is one that I know all of you with fibro, have faced as well.  When you're in a pain and fatigue flare, you seriously cannot do much of anything.  House work is out.  When housework is out, you end up with everything piling up into a whole ton of work.  Like, a pile of laundry:


and a sink full of dishes:


When we start coming out of a flare, we have so much work to do, to try and catch up.  But ....when we do that work, we end up pushing ourselves to get it all done, and then we find ourselves right back into flare mode again.  

It's such a never-ending process that is beyond frustrating.  This is where I've found myself for the past month.  My flare the past week has been horrible.  Fatigue like I haven't felt in some time.  Pain that even occurs while trying to sleep. Causing me to toss and turn the entire night as laying in one spot longer then about 20 minutes causes pressure point pain.  Hips scream in pain.  Arms, shoulders and neck screams in pain.

Once the flare ends, I'll be stuck picking up the slack that I can't control during this flare.  So I'm sure, I'll be right back in another flare within a day or two of this one ending.  I know every single one of you with fibro can relate.  I'm venting for all of us with this post!  I'm hoping to come up with some tips and ideas to make our lives easier and hopefully break this catch-22 cycle we're all stuck in!