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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Going On Vacation This Summer?

I have the opportunity to help you save some money this summer if you're planning on visiting Tennessee!  Read on!

Visit our 8 Gatlinburg Attractions! Experience eight unique attractions including Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium, our 85,000 sq ft Aquarium of the Smokies, a 5D Moving Theater, our bone-chilling Haunted Adventure, the mind-bending Marvelous Mirror Maze, and our two fully themed mini-golf courses!

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I absolutely love aquariums and I'm excited to visit Ripley's Aquarium along with all of the other attractions!

DISCLAIMER:

*For posting this discount offer I'm receiving free admission into all 8 Ripley's attractions*





Monday, May 18, 2015

My Interview About Having Fibro

**** Edited - I'm going to have to leave you with just Part II of the interview, as the file for Part I is too large and I don't know how to break it down into smaller segments.  If anyone would like to listen to Part I as well, contact me via the feedback form and I'll be happy to email it to you. ****



I was contacted by a very nice fellow named Harry Quinn Schone.  He's a PhD student at University College London.  His  thesis concerns philosophical conceptions and classifications of disease.  He's particulary interested in Fibromyalgia.  

Unfortunately it was a bad fibro fog day for me, as is evidenced in the interview.  
At first, I thought I sounded like a very niave person with all of my "umms", but then I decided it is what it is when one has fibro. There's two parts to the interview so when you leave off with the first recording, play the next one.


video



I feel that the questions and answers contained in this interview is very important to help spread awareness so please feel free to share this post across your social media sites.



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

So Much Excitement In The Air

Some of you may notice that a badge on the right hand side of the screen has been swapped out.  Yes, the badge naming this blog a "top fibromyalgia blog for 2014" has now been replaced a new one naming this blog one of the best fibromyalgia blogs of the year for 2015!  I can't begin to tell you how truly humbling it is to have made Healthline.com's top 15 this year.  This is 3 years in a row now.  It's absolutely mind-blowing to me that my little corner of the internet world gets noticed by someone as prestegious as Healthline.  Well, in all honesty, that it gets noticed by anyone for that matter.  


I don't know how in the world I distorted the screenshot when I cropped it down.  I tried playing with the crop to fix it but it just kept getting funkier so I just left it alone lol.  Every blog on Healthline's list, is of top quality so make sure you check them out.  There are some new ones on the list this year!  You can click the link HERE to access the slide show.

In all honesty, I have all of YOU to thank for this honor because without you I never would've had the courage or determination to keep writing this blog for the past 3 years.  

The other exciting news in the air, is that my fundraising event for National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2015 is this Saturday!  I can't believe how quickly the date snuck up on me!  I'm attaching a flyer I'd made up for the event, but since the design, I've had even more artists that have wanted to participate!  I still have a lot of work ahead of me before Saturday and I'm a nervous wreck about everything coming off as it should the day of the event.  -The weather forecast has me nervous all in it's own!  This is an outside event and it started off last Saturday with an 80% chance of storms for May 9th.  Then it dropped to a 50% chance.  Now, it's down to a 40% chance of storms.  I pray, pray, pray that it drops even more.  -Or if not, that we hit the 60% chance of it NOT storming.  I'm choosing to concentrate on the 60% of no storms, than the 40% of possible storms.


Monday, I will post an update to the event with a lot of pictures for you all to see!  Until then, love and butterfly hugs to all!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Gettin' Muddy To Make Fibro Visible

I'm excited to announce that I just submitted a request for approval to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association to host an awareness and fundraising event for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day!  As most reading this post already know, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is world-wide, and is May 12th.  Since that falls on a Tuesday this year, the event will take place on Saturday May 9th with the donation to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association taking place on May 12th.


Since our illness is an invisible illness, Backwoods Boggers has graciously agreed to allow me to host this event at their facility.  We're going to be "Gettin' Muddy To Make Fibro Visible"!  For those that enjoy mudding in their trucks, Jeeps, four-wheelers, etc. they'll enjoy a day playing in the mud with their toys.  For those of us (like me for instance lol) that can't physically tolerate that kind of activity, we'll bring a lawnchair and watch the fun!  There will be a special time for us watchers to all hold hands and walk through a mud pit, so that we too can get muddy to be "seen"!  

I'm hoping there will be a live band performing.  There will be 50/50 drawings, t-shirt sales, concessions, and I'm going to try to put together a silent auction.  I really hope that my local tv stations and newspapers will jump on board and cover the event.  Most importantly, we'll have awareness.

I really hope the event will be approved, because I'm super excited about this!  Anything I can do to raise awareness, and to raise funds for further research, I'm all about!  I'll keep you all updated on the progression of the event.  Let's stop being invisble, and make ourselves seen!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

At Least It's Just Fibromyalgia


This post probably isn't going to gain me any popularity, but that's ok.  Those of you who know me, know that this blog has never been about popularity.  It's about speaking my mind concerning Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain and fatigue illnesses, no matter the outcome.

The friend of a friend said to me recently that she heard I have some health issues.  I replied yes, that among a lot of other things I have Fibromyalgia.  She was silent for a minute and then she said "At least it's just Fibromyalgia.  It isn't like it's something that could kill you like cancer or something."  Without missing a beat I looked her directly in the eye and replied with "I'd rather have cancer."

Eyes wide and mouth gaping open she was stunned into silence for a few minutes.  When she regained her composure she asked if I was serious.  I told her that I was completely serious.  I explained to her that Fibromyalgia is a strange illness, in that it effects people in different ways.  It has varying degrees of implications on different people.  Some people have it enough to notice it and have it be annoying, while others are completely bed-ridden from it.  I've even known of a lady who in a flare couldn't stand up and walk, and had to crawl on her hands and knees to the restroom.

Don't get me wrong, cancer is a horrible monster that causes pain, agony, and destroys lives and families.  I wouldn't wish it on anyone. So does Fibromyalgia though.  With cancer, the pain and agony is going to end.  No if and's or but's about it.  The pain and sickness will come to an end.  Either a person is cured or else they die.  With Fibro, there isn't any end in sight.  It's an entire life stuck in an earthly hell of pain, fatigue, co-morbidities, and sickness. 

In my thought process, I'd rather have the chance of a cure and at least knowing if it doesn't work that my pain will end anyway.  Yes, I'm thankful to be alive but thinking about having to live for 40 or 50 more years trapped in this hell is daunting and to be completly honest, I'd rather not.  No, I'm not suicidal in the least, I just would rather not have to live this way knowing it could be decades upon decades.  

I'm a big quality vs quantity type of person.  If I can't have a good quality of life, than I'd rather not have it span out for decades.  The diminished quality of life that I lead, has much to be desired.  It has tore apart my family.  It's isolated me from friends and family.  It's left me depressed.  The level of pain that I feel with a flare of IBS; a co-morbidity of Fibro, is incomprehensible at times.  My latest episode a few weeks ago left me screaming and my daughter ran into the bathroom just in time to see me pass out from the pain and fall from the toilet to the bathroom floor.  -And I've had four children without any type of pain relief.  I'm not just some whimp!

A couple of nights ago, I sat at my desk with tears running down my face from the pain I was experiencing in my neck and shoulders.  I finally realized that I was sitting with my shoulders pulled up as far and tight as I could.  Although that was my bodies natural reaction to the pain I was experiencing, I knew that it was only making things worse.  It took every ounce of concentration I could muster, to keep relaxing those muscles and allowing my shoulders to go back down to a natural position.

My daughter kept begging for me to make a box of brownies.  Last night as tired and fatigued as I was, I decided to make them for her out of the guilt I was feeling.  I had to stop stirring the batter several times due to the pain and cramp in my hand.  Twice while trying to stir the batter I had to stop and grab the bar on the stove, and slowly bend over stretching my back due to the pain I was experiencing from standing for those few minutes.  

My symptoms are so severe and I have so many co-morbidities that I'm deemed disabled and I'm unable to work.  That further restricts my contact with other adults and the outside world.  It leaves me poor, as I live on less than $750 a month.  That means that not only can I never vacation - oh how I dream of a week long vacation on a beach somewhere lounging around in the sun, splashing in the water, and sitting in a hotel hot tub.  Eating out and not having to cook or do dishes - but I struggle to put clothes on my back and food in my house.  Eating out is a rare luxury.  I've decided to try to see a movie at the $3 afternoon rate once a month, so that I can have something to look forward to and to do.  Of course, it'll all depend on how I'm feeling that day.

Every single day, I have 12 or 13 meds that I have to take.  A couple are once a day, but most are two to three times a day.  I hate taking meds with a passion.  Even as a teenager I'd suffer through pain instead of taking a Tylenol.  

At times, I'm left feeling stupid or embarrassed due to Fibro Fog.  For those that don't know, Fibro Fog is the name given to the cognitive delays one can experience with Fibromyalgia.  I'll be in the middle of speaking (or writing) and forget what I was even talking about, let alone what I was going to say.  I'll walk into a room and forget why I went into the room.  Shortly after starting this post, I went into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.  I opened a bottle of water to dump into my Keurig, and found myself instead pouring it into my coffee cup.  It made me mad and disgusted with myself.

Insomnia (leading to sleep deprivation), another wonderful co-morbidity of Fibro.  It literally rules my life.  I've been awake for 36-48 hours at a time.  I've been so tired that I've literally cried.  Not getting the proper rest leads to more pain and depression.

Not every person with Fibromyalgia experiences it as severly as I do, so please don't read this and think this is definitely going to be your life.  On the other hand, some people with Fibro experiences symptoms more extreme as I do.  Such as the lady who had to crawl to the bathroom.  There's just no way to guage how it's going to effect a person.

All of this combined plus more that I didn't even delve into, leaves me saying yes, I honestly would rather have cancer than fibro.  Given the choice, I'd choose neither.  I'd choose to be illness-free.  I'd choose to be healthy and happy and a productive member of society.  That isn't the road that God chose for me though, so I'll awake every day.  I'll go through each and every day with as much optimisim as is possible.  I'll make the best of each day as is possible, and do the best I can.  I hope this post doesn't offend anyone and if it does I'm sorry ...but I won't apologize.  These feelings are mine.  They're real, and I own them.





Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Stigma?

Most of the time when I share or upload a picture on The Fibro Frog's facebook page, people share it.  Heck, a lot of times when I make a status saying I'm in pain, that even gets a share or two.  As I was scrolling the facebook page last night I found something interesting.  There was a picture I had shared with a ton of "likes", but not a single re share.  This is the photo:


This photo has 293 "likes" on it, but not one single share?  That really saddens me.  Most of us that have Fibro, also suffer with depression.  It's a very common comorbidity of Fibromyalgia.  I mean, who could remain happy and optimistic and NOT get depressed when their lives as they've always known them is ripped away and replaced by extreme fatigue, forgetfulness, all-over body pain, and a general feeling of malaise?  

Are we willing to talk about our Fibromyalgia, but not about our depression that accompanies it?  Why is that?  Mental illness has always carried a stigma, much like Fibromyalgia has.  Thanks to all of those that have been researching, educating, and advocating a lot of stigma surrounding Fibromyalgia has been alleviated.  Oh we still have a battle ahead of us on that front, but it has come a long way from the time that even most doctors thought it was a garbage can diagnosis.  If people aren't willing to spread the word and educate about mental illnesses too, including depression, then the stigma surrounding these issues will never go away.  

Are people afraid that if they share something like this, or talk about a mental health issue that they're going to be regarded as crazy?  Well allow me to share something with you all.  Everyone is just a little bit "crazy" in their own way.  Anyone is capable of a psychotic break under the right circumstances.  Mental illness of some sort, is a very real possibility in the lives of every human being.  Why is society so quick to judge each other?

I'm here to publicly say that I suffer from depression.  Sometimes severe depression even.  I've had days where no matter how hard I try, tears just slowly roll down my cheeks off and on the entire day and night and I feel like just giving up.  I'm lucky though, because I always seem to be able to muster a little bit of HOPE from deep down within to keep me going.  Some people with depression issues aren't that lucky and have a very sad ending.  

According to PsychCentral.com 50% of those that have chronic pain, also suffer from depression. (CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THIS)  The NIH estimates that Fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans aged 18 or older.  Look at all of the other chronic pain conditions out there besides Fibro.  That's a heck of a lot of people, that also suffer from depression.  So why the stigma concerning it?

I'm going to leave you all by saying this: No one should judge another without walking in their shoes.  The less something is talked about, the more it will be judged.  We all have our own problems, but in reality we're all the same.  We're all just trying to make it through life the best we can, and remain as happy and satisfied with our lives as possible.  Please don't be embarrassed if you suffer from depression or any other mental illness.  Talk about it like you would any other health condition you have.  Help end the stigma.  Be a #StigmaFighter!



Saturday, January 17, 2015

I've Been Bad .....



Here it is, the 17th of January 2015 already.  I've been really bad about blogging.  I've kept up with my facebook page daily ...or every other day, but I've been so bad about blogging.  I'd like to blame that on the depression I've been feeling, but if I've kept up with the facebook page than that means I've just been too lazy to blog.

The truth is, I haven't had anything positive to say, but then again this blog isn't about just being positive.  It's about the REAL day to day live of someone suffering from fibromyalgia along with other health conditions.  I've been drowning lately friends.  Literally, drowning.  The pain.  The fatigue.  Feeling like my life isn't worth living anymore.

Every day, I try my hardest to put on a fake smile, and go about my day.  The truth is, that I've been sad.  So sad, that tears well my eyes almost daily.  I feel like I'm facing life alone.  Well, in reality, I am.  My younget daughter lives with me, but she works.  A lot.  She works 12 hour days, and the days she doesn't work she's with her boyfriend.  See. he's getting ready to leave for the Army ...his dad was career Navy, and he's going career Army ...so she's making the most of the time she has left with him before he leaves.  I don't blame her, I'd do the same in her shoes.  But that leaves me 100% alone all the time.

My husband left me a few months after my diagnosis with Fibro.  Said he couldn't deal with me being sick the rest of my life without a cure.  Fibro left my friends wondering why I'd cancel out on them.  They drifted away.  Eventually, I was left with nothing but my internet friends.  Fibro has robbed me of friends.  It's robbed me of a LIFE.  It's left me cold and isolated.  It's left me alone.  It stole my husband.  It stole my LIFE.

No matter how much I hurt, I had supper on the table for my husband when he'd walk in the door from work each day.  I loved him, and I loved my life.  If you go back in my blog, you'll see a post about the divorce rate in marriages of one who had a chronic illness.  You'll read my astonishment to that statistic. Just a few short weeks later, ...without going back and researching, I believe it was almost 2 weeks to the day, my husband left me and I became one of those statstics.  I couldn't believe it.  It was so surreal.

The saying that you went to a buffet to instead be handed a crap sandwich?  Yeah, that's how I feel.  I hurt every single day.  I emotionally hurt every single day.  I'm so mentally & physically tired each & every single day.  I'm not going to lie.  I wonder a lot of the time what my purpose is here on earth.  My kids are all grown.  They each have their own life now.  I sit alone 99% of the time.  No one needs me anymore.  So why am I still here?  WHAT is the purpose?  WHY do I have to hurt all the time?  Why can't I have someone who loves me? Someone who needs me as much as I need them? Why do I have to be in pain all the time? -REAL pain  ...the type of pain that most people couldn't tolerate for a day  .....let alone the rest of their life.

I'm sorry that I've let you all down.  I'm sorry that I haven't kept up with the blog like I should.  I never, ever wanted this blog to be the type that sugar coated anything.  I wanted to show the world how HARD it is to live trapped in a broken body.  So why haven't I blogged even though I feel like shit?  I don't know.  All I can say, is that I'm sorry and I'll try to do better from here on out.

Deep down I know, that even if this blog reaches ONE person that feels the way I do  ....or ONE person that doesn't live with this freaking monster of a disease & I can give them a glimpse of what it's like to be trapped in a broken body  ...that I've done what I've set out to do.  Even so, sometimes when you're feeling so alone & isolated, it's HARD to make yourself sit down and write.  I hope you all know that my lack of blogging doesn't mean that I don't care about you.  I hope you know that doesn't mean that I've given up HOPE of a cure being found.  I will never give up HOPE ...because if I gave up HOPE, then I'd be left with nothing.

If you're having a bad day   .....or week, or month  ...read this, please know you're not alone.  We're all in this together.  I may not have a lot to offer you, but I'm here.  I understand.