Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Common Cold

The phrase "The common cold" actually makes me chuckle right now.  Common?  Not with me.  I never have anything common wrong with me.  Even something as simple as a "common cold" is not so simple.  My daughter had a cold and yeah, she complained a little about her nose being stuffy/runny and a sore throat, but that was it.  She had it a couple days, it ran it's course, and now she's all better.  I, on the other hand, am now sick.  Not just stuffy or runny.  Down right time-to-consider-going-to-the-ER-to-get-a-breathing-treatment-sick.  My nose IS stuffy and runny, my head hurts, but the most frustrating is the constant 100% of the time wheezing.  Then the coughing that the wheezing causes.  Then the dizziness that coughing brings on.  Then, I start back at the beginning to make the circle again.  On a positive note though, I do not have a sore throat like my daughter did. Lucky me!  =)

Just about every day I feel like I have the flu on some level.  The muscle aches, the fatigue, the joint pain.  Tonight, if I didn't know better, I'd swear I have the flu.  My front thigh muscles are absolutely pulsing and screaming in pain.  My arms feel like they're both weighted down. I've had the flu shot though, and I don't think I'm running a fever.  I just seem to get everything 100 times worse then everyone else I know.  If someone gets a cold, I get bronchitis.  If someone gets bronchitis, I get pneumonia.  

I feel like all I do any more is complain and whine.  That makes me feel bad.  I know that I have to be incredibly annoying to those around me and to my friends online.  This isn't who or what I want to be.  I want to be happy, and laughing, and having fun.  Sometimes I don't think that I even remember what fun was for me.  Then, the memories come back, and I remember having fun.  I remember laughing and being with my friends.  I remember dancing, and doing silly things all in the name of fun.  I feel like I'm this fun-loving person, stuck inside the body of an old person.  I know that I'm not a "spring chicken".  -Oh how I'd love to go back to my 20's and relive my life.  There's so many things I'd do differently.  I'm also not a "old person" yet either though.  I'll be 42 next month.  There should be plenty of time left in my life for me to have fun.  To hang out with friends.  To fall in love and be loved by someone.  None of that will happen though, when I'm always in pain and complaining.   

Have you ever been in such constant annoying pain that you could seriously just scream at the top of your lungs?  Not from the pain being so sharp ...or not so horrible like labor pains, ..but pain so constant that after a week of it you're ready to just scream and lose your mind?  This is where I'm at tonight.  I can always handle pain like this for about a week straight, then I start losing it.  That's when the depression kicks in and I start questioning "why" I'm even still here on earth, if I'm going to have to live every day (or most days) in this kind of pain, and feeling alone, desperate, and isolated. If you "know" me at all through this blog, you know that I don't sugar coat anything.  The reason I don't sugar coat anything, is because I feel it's important for others reading this to know exactly and honestly, how I feel.  It's important to me, so that when someone else is feeling this way, they don't feel alone.  I know what kind of stigma depression carries in the communities.  I know that people who do suffer depression, sometimes feel embarrassed because of it.  If you are reading this and know what I mean, please don't ever feel like that again.  Your feelings are real, and they're valid.  You're not alone.  If people who "look down" upon those with depression had to live a day in our lives, they'd think much differently.  

As most of you know, I'm trying to break out into the public speaking and advocacy world.  Because of this, I've had some people tell me that maybe I shouldn't be so honest, ...that it may hurt me in my new career.  I still stand by what I've said to those people.  What I've said is this; those who read about me, or those who may come to a public speaking engagement that I may have, deserve no less then the truth.  Maybe I "am" going to be looked at in a different light because of my education and advocacy efforts, but if I can't be the real me, then I don't want to be anything at all.  The people who are going to listen to me speak, or read what I write, deserve no less then the truth.  If by being honest I help even one person to not feel alone, or I help one person who isn't sick realize what it's like to be trapped inside a sick body, then my being honest is worth it no matter what some others may think or say about me.

I don't have much to offer anyone, but what I do have plenty of is compassion, empathy, caring, concern, and a willingness to do anything I can, to help whoever I can.  This illness may have stolen my fun and my laughter, but it will never steal my heart.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Everything Hurts

Last night was rough pain wise and it's continued through the entire day and night tonight.  I can't hardly move.  When the pain is this bad, it starts to really get me down and make me feel depressed.  Even my head, upper legs, and the back of my arms hurt tonight, in addition to my every day pain of neck, shoulders, knees, lower back, and mid-back.  I'm so sick of hurting all the time.  I just wish that I could look and feel good for one single day ...and when that day arrived have the money to take advantage of it by going shopping, out to eat, then out to a movie or live performance or something.  I want to walk around, and laugh and have fun.  I want to go out and walk through parks, taking nature photos as I go.  I used to do this.  It would hurt me, but it was doable.  Now?  No way.  I used to take my camera pretty much anywhere I went.  Now, not only can't I stop along the side of a road to walk out in the middle of a field to take a photo I may want to take, but I can't even hold the camera up long enough to walk anywhere with it.  Well, I can hold it up, it just causes me extreme pain in my arms, neck and shoulders.  So therefore, I can't still do it.  Not enjoyably anyway.

I can't convey the excitement I'd feel when I would take photos.  The excitement of getting home and downloading them all, to see what natural beauty I had captured at that particular second in the universe.  That nano-second in time that could never, ever be reproduced.  The photo above is one of those nano-seconds that I captured.  The top of the cloud looks as if it's lined with silver.  Rays of golden light opening up out of the cloud and reaching towards the sky.  As if it's a tunnel of light to heaven.  All of the rays of gold to the right side of the photo.  Like rays of golden hope.  Hope, that if I keep talking; that if I keep writing; if I keep advocating for more research, that maybe, just maybe a cure or at least a concrete universal treatment plan may be found.  If not found in time for me to utilize it, then at least in time for my daughter or others younger then me, to take advantage of it.  

It really hurts my heart, that so many people (most people) just doesn't have a clue how bad this pain can be.  I call these people DHAC's, which stands for "doesn't have a clue".  Most DHAC's are well-meaning people and aren't trying to hurt us, or make us mad, they just honestly really DHAC.  I have a DHAC in my life.  She is the sweetest woman in her early 50's and she really cares about me.  She's pretty much the only adult IRL (in real life) friend that I have anymore, and I'm pretty sure I won't even have her for much longer.  At least once every week or two she'll call me up telling me that I need to get myself out of my house.  She'll tell me how I should be going to the gym to do cardio and weight lifting with her.  The best thing that she regurgitates at me at least once a week?  "Well, you know my BFF K. that I've had for 30 years.  She has fibro and she gets around so much better then you do.  You just need to snap out of it.".  OR....she tells me over and over how there's a 60 year old woman who works out at her gym who has Fibromyalgia so if she can do it, then I certainly should be able to do it too.

See, that's the funny thing about Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, arthritis, even auto-immune diseases such as Lupus, RA, etc.  You can line 20 people (or 50, or a 100) up beside each other and you may not hit two people who have the exact same symptoms.  You may not hit two people who are affected the same way.  They'll all have varying degrees of pain.  Some people only have a few of the symptoms of fibro and others may be affected worse by their symptoms and pain levels.  Just as when what people call "the flu" (that is actually an intestinal virus) some people have a bad case of it and some people have a less severe case of it.  Unfortunately, I have a "bad case" of Fibromyalgia.  I have all the symptoms and co-conditions.  I have the acid reflux, I have the IBS, the Fibro Fog & memory loss, the insomnia, and on and on and on.  Does this well-meaning friend honestly think that I like not going out and doing things?  No, I don't.  I despise it.  You can't even begin to understand how bored and lonely and stir crazy I go.  Days like the last few though, I don't really have much of a choice.  I always have to use the chair arms to "push" myself out of my chair and yell "ow".  The last few days it's a double "ow" because the back of my arms hurt so badly too.  

My pain has been so bad for the last two days that I'm really not dealing with it well by tonight.  Not at all.  I'm starting to feel whiny, and I keep blinking back tears.  Just typing these words made me start feeling emotional again and I had to shove the tears away.  I seriously feel as if I'm losing my mind and going mad from the pain.  It isn't like I have a little pain.  I have pain.  -I had four children natural without pain meds.  I know what pain is, and I have real, debilitating, pain.  When I was first trying to come to grips with my illnesses, I kept asking "why me?".  "Why me God?  What have I done to deserve a life filled with pain every single day?".  I always felt that God wanted me to use my sicknesses to help others who are also sick.  I thought he wanted me to educate and advocate to fight for the rights of those of us afflicted.  I felt that he wanted me to bring awareness to the table, to advocate for more research for a cure.  Now?  I'm not so sure.  I feel that if I had been right, that God would've opened the doors for my chronic pain seminars.  Maybe it just isn't the right time yet?  I don't know.  All I do know is that's where my passion lays.  I also know that presenting chronic pain seminars is the only type of work I could possibly do at this point in my life.  Due to the fact that it isn't something I'd be doing every day, along with the fact that they only take a couple of hours, hours that I could alternate standing and sitting as needed while doing it, it's the only way I can fathom to do to support my daughter and myself.  I've always heard the saying "God helps those who help themselves".  I've tried every thing I can think of to try and help myself on opening the doors to public speaking and advocacy and it still hasn't panned out.  My birthday is November 18th, and I've posted everywhere that the only thing I want for my birthday this year, is to have enough money to present at least one chronic pain seminar.  God bless those who've donated to my chronic pain seminar fund on GoFundMe, but I've only raised $75 in the four months that I've been advocating and asking for donations.  -And you guys can't imagine how hard it was for me to make the page and ask in the first place.  I really don't think there's any way for me to hit my birthday goal of having the $75 raised up enough to hold at least one seminar.  I've said before that I'm not looking for a free handout.  I'm looking for people and/or businesses that believe in me and in what I'm trying to do.  I'm looking for the help of getting started.  After the first couple, then the seminars will start paying for themselves.

The grief wheel is a funny thing.  I'm not sure that you ever get out of it.  I'm beginning to think that it's something you just keep going around and around and around on until you die.  Every time I think I've finally come full circle with it, I find myself in the questioning and angry stage again.  Then we start all over.  I'm dizzy and sick of spinning around on this silly wheel.  Enough is enough.  Unfortunately though, since doctors and scientists doesn't have a cure, or even any single medicine that will take away my pain and my fatigue, I'm just stuck here going around and around and around.  No matter how hard I have to fight to believe and have hope, I will.  Hope that a cure will be found.  Hope that research will provide answers so that medicine that works will come to light.  Hope that a door will be opened for me, and my career in advocacy will take off.  I can't lose faith of my hope, because if I do then what will I have left?  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Appointments and Doctors and Tests! Oh My!

Image Obtained Through Google Images

I feel like Dorothy from the Wizard Of Oz.  I feel as if I've been in a whirlwind that has displaced me in a  scary and unknown land.  All of the appointments are the Lions, Doctors are the Tigers, and dealing with insurance pre-approvals for tests are the BEARS!  I feel like I'm walking along a path, straight towards the unknown.  Being propelled forward by heart, soul, and positive thinking though, that I'll eventually come to the end and my wish will be granted.  My wish of returning  back to my home.  Back to my land.  

To think, that this long journey began all because of a simple little blood draw.  Having a doctors office call me up and ask me if I had a preferred rheumatologist, without even telling me why I needed to see one in the first place.  I was stunned, and stammered out that I don't know any rheumatologists so any would be fine.  I then said " ...but why do I need to see a rheumatologist?".  The doctor had been giving me shots of Tordol for my neck, shoulder, and back pain and had told me at my last visit that she was going to run some blood work on me to check a few things.  That's all I knew, and was in the dark.  The nurse said "Oh, because you had a +ANA in a speckled pattern on  your blood work and it also shows you have a lot of inflammation in your body.  The doctor thinks you probably have Lupus.  I'll give you a call back with your appointment date and time when I get one set.".  Then, she hurried off the phone before I could ask any more questions.  

Lupus?  What in the h&!! is Lupus, I thought to myself.  As I was still kind of dazed, I went straight to Dr. Google to learn what Lupus was.  I was disgusted in the way the doctors office handled it and that I wasn't even provided the opportunity to ask any questions about it.  I didn't like what I read on Dr. Google.  I was just completely dazed & confused.  

Long story short, the rheumatologist re-ran blood work on me.  That time my ANA was negative, but I still had the high CRP and SED rate showing inflammation in my body.  After waiting 2 or 3 months for my first appointment with him, he came in and gave me a brief examination then told me to meet him in his office after I got redressed.  When I walked into his office, he opened his desk drawer and handed me a brochure from The American Society of Rheumatology entitled Fibromyalgia.  He told me to read the pamphlet and he's sure I'd see similarities of myself in the writings.  He asked if I had any questions, then dismissed me.  He had to have the WORST bedside manner of any doctor I've ever seen.  His entire demeanor and attitude was just incredibly rude and condescending.  

Here I am a year later.  I'm still "sick".  My symptoms have become worse.  I live with constant pain and fatigue every day.  I switched from the rude rheumatologist that acted like I was taking up too much of his time, after the second appointment with him.  I still felt there was more wrong with me then having Fibromyalgia by itself.  I didn't trust the guy or his diagnosis.  I went for a second opinion appointment at The Cleveland Clinic.  I'd done my research and the rheumatology department was ranked first in the state of Ohio, and second in the entire country.  I felt that I could trust a doctor from there.  I really liked the lady when I met her.  She gave me a complete exam, and she also agreed with the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.  

The Fibromyalgia diagnosis has always bugged me.  Not because I don't want to believe I have it, I'm sure I do.  But because too many other symptoms and test results also point to something auto-immune also going on within my body.  Fibromyalgia commonly co-exists along with auto-immune diseases.   Normally, people with Fibromyalgia have completely normal lab tests.  I haven't had one single SED rate or CRP come back normal.  As a matter of fact, when I had some new blood work ran in July, my CRP was a little over double, what the highest normal cutoff value is.  The doctor at The Cleveland Clinic hasn't ever ran another ANA on me.  She chose to accept the one that came back negative, rather then looking into the one that came back positive.  She did run another RF test on me though, with the results of that being normal.  She said that completely irradicated the idea of me having RA.  That isn't true though.  At least according to what I'd found online.  According to information I'd found, I could have what they call sero-negative RA.  Still, this woman is practically a God in the rheumatology field so how could I ever question her?  I couldn't bring myself to do it.

The hand x-ray above is not mine.  I found this x-ray of a right hand on Google Images.  But anyway, let's just forward to last Wednesday.  I'd have a large bump sticking up on top of my hand for quite a few months.  It never hurt, so I never thought to mention it to any of the doctors I'd seen.  Slowly over the last few weeks, it had started hurting at times.  Last Wednesday when I woke up it hurt like nothing I'd ever felt besides child birth.  It completely felt like I'd broke it somehow during the night.  I couldn't lift anything with it.  I couldn't open or close a car door with it.  I couldn't type without excruciating pain.  It was horrible.  My dad was going to be here soon, to take my daughter and I to the dentist.  My daughter was having a wisdom tooth pulled.  When I called my family physican, they couldn't get me in until the 25th of this month and suggested the E.R.  I finally broke down early that evening and went.  At first, the doctor thought I might have severed tendons and ligaments.  -How when I hadn't injured it, I don't know.  He told me to call my family physicians office in the morning and tell them that they need to schedule an MRI for me due to possible severed tendons and ligaments. He said just to be safe though, he was going to take a regular x-ray of my hand just to make sure nothing else was going on in there.

It seemed like hours after the x-ray waiting on the doctor to come back in again, but in reality he was actually pretty quick lol.  He flopped down in the chair, and asked me when and how I'd previously broke my hand.  I told him I never have broke my hand.  He asked me the same question again.  Again, I gave him the same answer.  He said "X-Ray's dont lie.  You've broke your hand in an old injury in two different places.  I know, because you have calcified spots on both of the bones.  That proves that you'd broke it before, and it healed.".  This guy was starting to make me feel guilty, as if I really was lying to him or something.  I absolutely wasn't lying though!  Finally, he told me not to bother calling my family physician for an MRI.  He instead referred me straight to an orthopedic surgeon.  

My ortho appointment was to be on Monday afternoon.  All through the weekend, my mom and I kept talking on the phone, racking our brain about when/how I could've broke my hand through the years.  We both came to the same agreement.  There is no way that I could've broke my hand in two spots and never had any pain, swelling, or bruising.  I've seriously never had any type of injury to either of my hands.  When the Ortho heard this, she looked through my chart and saw that I have Fibromyalgia.  She started asking me questions.  Then, she came and felt my wrist and top of my hand.  Next, she started feeling the side joint of my thumb and moving it around.  While she was doing this, she asked if anyone has ever diagnosed me with RA.  I told her no, that I've been tested 3 times and all three times my rheumatoid factor came back negative.  She immediately said "That doesn't mean you don't have it.  It can take years before your RF actually turns positive.".  While she was talking, it dawned on me that I also was diagnosed as having a calcified granuloma in my right lung about four years ago.  I told her about it.  She then asked me if I happen to know if I've ever had a positive ANA or not, and if I knew if my SED rate and CRP was normal or not.  I told her about the SED rate and CRP both always being high, and how high the CRP was at my last draw in July.  When I told her that I've had one positive, and one negative ANA she said "See.  I almost guarantee you that you have some sort of auto-immune disease that keeps popping up to show us it's ugly face, without fully manifesting itself yet.".  She did not like the idea that my rheumatologist is so hard core about not even speaking about anything besides Fibromyalgia when I've tried to bring it up.  In July, I started trying to and she cut me right off and wouldn't even allow me to finish what I was going to ask.  She also doesn't like that my rheumatologist won't give anyone with Fibro anything besides Amitriptyline and Tramadol, and then Prozac if you're dealing with the depression aspect of Fibro.  The med combo isn't helping me at all, and therefore I should be tried on something else she said.  She said that she almost thinks the lump in my hand was a rheumatoid nodule.  She wanted me to switch rheumatologists and said they're referring to Toledo.  I explained to her that I'd started in Toledo and that I can't stand the doctor.  She asked for his name and when I gave it to her, she said that she doesn't think he's there anymore.  Then, we kind of dropped it.  She sent an order in for a pre-approval to do an MRI of my hand so that she can better see what's going on with the two bones that look like they've been broken in the past, and so she could try to tell if the lump is a ganglion cyst, rheumatoid nodule, tumor, etc.  Well, I got the call yesterday afternoon that my insurance denied the MRI and wants the doctor to try more convential methods first.  I was told to keep my appointment a week from this upcoming Monday and she'd also leave a note for the doctor letting her know it'd been denied.

So, over a year later, I'm still just as clueless and in the dark about what's wrong with me as I was then.  My health is in worse shape.  Still, I sit here wondering & worrying if I'm going to get to a point sometime that I won't be able to get out of bed one day.  I still don't have any definite answers as what is definitely wrong with me. I've lost my husband (and therefore my income since I've been a SAHM for years due to my health) because he my illnesses "stressed him out".  I'm frustrated, worried, scared, etc.  IF something else is wrong with me, I want to know what it is. It probably won't have any cure either, but at least I'd KNOW what's wrong with me.  The Ortho kept telling me that if I have an auto-immune disease that I need to start treatment sooner rather then later.  -Which is why she wanted me to switch rheumatologists.  *sigh* I wish I could close my eyes, click my heels together, spin around, and wake up safe and sound back in my home, with my husband still here, and my body not hurting.  I wish my body would still allow me to go work three part-time jobs at a time along with carrying 18credit hours a semester in nursing school like I have in the past.  I feel like my illness (or illnesses) has robbed me of the things most important to me.  My family, my friends, my ability to support myself and my child (since child support STILL hasn't caught up to all of his job changes).  I'll never ever again, take one single day that I feel good for granted.  Last week I was crying and depressed and I had a friend say to me "Amy, this is rock bottom.  You've hit the bottom so now there's nowhere to go except for up.".  Oh how I pray that she was right and this is my rock bottom.  Every time I've allowed myself to think that, the bottom has fell out from under me and I've dropped even further down the dark hole.

The Giani Granite Giveaway Winner Is ..........

Stephanie K. T. via the easy entry for all LoveMy2Dogs fans!  Congrats Stephanie!!  I've sent you an email. Please respond to me within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected.  =)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Don't Let Your Illness Define You" ...Really?

This is a picture of my grand daughter Leah when she was 9 months old.  Why am I placing a photo of her on a post about illness defining someone?  Because it's a picture of her crying, and that's what I feel like doing every time someone tells me "Don't let your illness define you.  You have fibromyalgia-arthritis-lupus-RA-CFS-COPD-Fill in the blank with "whatever" you may have, but it doesn't define who you are.

Now, that sounds good, doesn't it?  To think of ourselves and others cheering us on.  Like the old half-time pep talk in the locker room when the football team is down by 20 on their home turf.  Cheering ourselves on.  I can hear the cheer of the crowd, as the theme song to Rocky starts blaring in my ear every time someone says this to me.

I used to be afraid to even think that I might be "allowing" my illnesses to define who I am.  I thought it would show weakness on my part. Well, as good as that phrase sounds, and as well-meaning as everyone is who says this to me and people like me, it's a bunch of hog wash.  I'm sorry, but it really is.  Stop and think about it for a minute.  Seriously.  How can an illness (or illnesses) that wrack every single part of our lives, not define us?  

I'm not even the same person mentally that I was before my illnesses.  In high school I had the nickname of "Little Miss Sunshine" by the "mean" girls, because I always walked around with a smile on my face and I tried to be nice to everyone.  I was a cheerleader.  Have you watched The Secret Life Of An American Teenager?  Remember back in the very first season how Grace was?  Take away the talking about religion all over the high school campus and leave the rest of her the way she was.  Always bouncy, happy, smiling, cheerful, trying to be nice to everyone, naive ...you get the idea.  That was me.  Now?  Not so much.  I sit around sad and depressed.  I feel worthless.  I hardly ever laugh or smile.  It's really hard to smile when you're in constant pain every day of your life.

Exercise.  I never really loved exercise, but I still did it.  I've even had a membership to a couple of gyms over the years.  The one thing I always prided myself on, was my legs.  I had so much strength in my upper legs.  They were always well toned without an ounce of "cottage cheese" on them.  They were my one asset that I was always proud of.  I was never stick-skinny, but I wasn't overweight either.  I've always been curvy.  Now?  I'd love to be able to exercise.  The medicine packs the pounds on me.  Not only do I have cottage cheese on my legs, but I'm obese.  I avoid having my picture taken like the plague.  I'm embarrassed at how I look, and to be completely honest (which I always am on this blog) I'm ashamed to be seen in public.  The fibromyalgia and arthritis keeps me from exercise.  When I can't stand up without audibly saying "Ow!" from the pain in my knees ...and I kind of waddle for the first few steps ...and walk hunched over a little bit due to the stiff back that sitting has caused (Oh yeah, that's one of the reasons social security just denied me, btw.  They said I could sit without it causing me any problems LOL. I wish!) how in the world am I going to exercise?  Besides the fibro and arthritis, when my heart rate rises or I do pretty much any kind of physical exertion, I get short of breath and can't breath. Heck, I woke in so much pain today (well, considering it's 3:12am I guess yesterday) that I couldn't get out of bed until my daughter came in and put BioFreeze on my lower back, mid-back, neck, and shoulders.  I was so stiff and hurt so bad.

Even up in my early to mid 30's I was told how much fun I was to hang out with.  I had friends.  Lot's of them.  -And not just internet friends like I have now, but real friends that would stop over unannounced.  Friends that would call me up and say "hey, let's go do something".  Friends that I listened to loud music with and danced with.  Friends that would exercise with me and then we'd end up doing more laughing and making fun of each other then we would exercising.  Friends that would spend hours on the phone with me.  Now?  I don't have IRL (in real life) friends.  I have one.  She's 56 years old, but young at heart.  Instead of enjoying going out, I'm always too tired or in too much pain.  Or else I'll know how going out of my house will make me hurt 100X worse for the next few days to a week.  When I do go out to the grocery store or someplace, I've had people look at me like I'm a lazy piece of trash for being fat.  I've heard people whisper about me.  I've had little kids come up to me and ask why I'm fat, until their mother looks mortified and quickly rushes them away while they're still turning their head to look at me.  Starting Sunday 10/14/2012, I'm going to start forcing myself to eat breakfast.  I'm going to start forcing myself to eat lunch.  -I usually never eat until supper because I'm just not hungry until then.  My problem with my weight isn't that I eat too much.  I eat way too little.  Therefore my body hoards any food I put into it, thinking that I'm starving to death.  That, combined with the meds, and with the fact that I don't exercise due to my pain is what my weight problem is from.  I found several yoga for beginners full workouts on YouTube so starting Sunday I'm going to try to do that at least three days a week too.  I don't know how much of it I'll be able to do, but anything I do accomplish is certainly better then nothing.  

This is me.  I have fibromyalgia.  I have arthritis.  I have COPD.  If I don't "let my illnesses define" me, then I'm denying a huge part of my existence.  I'm denying a huge part of who I am.  So after carefully thinking about this for quite awhile now, I'm going to say that my illnesses do define me ...and I'm not ashamed to admit that anymore.  People will still always say "Don't let your illness define who you are" ...I know that a lot of my fellow fibromites even say this.  That's fine too.  For me though, it just doesn't make sense to say that I won't let my illness "define" me.  It's a huge part of my life and has made me who I am today.   

Friday, October 12, 2012

Playing Dr. Google

People always say "Don't go trying to look up your symptoms on Google.  That's a bad idea.".  I know that nothing frustrates doctors more then when a patient tries to self-diagnose themselves by searching the internet.  Yet, I sit here and search, even when I know better.  I can't help it, I just get sucked in.

Those of you who are on The Fibro Frog facebook page know that my right hand started hurting out of the blue, without any injury to it.  The pain was so bad Wednesday that I broke down and went to the ER.  After taking an x-ray the doctor was asking me how I'd previously broke my hand.  I was stunned.  I've never broke my hand.  I've never even had any pain or swelling in my hand to indicate a possible break.  He kind of was making me feel guilty as if I was lying to him or something, because he kept insisting that I had and in two different spots because I have calcification of the bone there, and the calcification is pointy I guess.  

This has really bugged me and I've sat and thought long & hard about any time I could've possibly broke my hand and there really is not any explaination at all.  Then, I started thinking about the fact that they found a calcified granuloma in my right lung just about 4yrs ago.  I started wondering if this calcification might be linked to the one in my lung.  That is when I became bad, and started playing Doctor Google.  I searched for diseases that cause calcification within the body.  I came across Sclermoderma.  The calcifications, the shortness of breath, the high SED rate that I always have, the hurting joints and muscles.  It all sounds like me.  Which is why doctors detest people playing Dr. Google.  I'm embarrassed to go to the doctor and tell them I've searched, and ask them if I have this lol.  I do have 1 patch of thickened skin, right above and encompassing the ankle bone on my left leg.  I don't belive I have thickened skin anywhere else though, so I don't know.  

This post was just a warning to you all, not to play Dr. Google with yourself because if you do, then you'll be sitting here wondering like I am, if you have some nasty hardly-ever-heard-of disease in which you're embarrassed to even broach with your doctor but yet you're convinced you may have it.  =/   Uhhh....and yeah, I kind of feel like a  hypochondriac about right now.  =) 

$1 Challenge

Ok everyone, I'm pushing a $1 Challenge until my birthday, November 18th, in hopes that I have enough in donations by then to rent at least ONE conference room and pay for the advertising to hold at least one chronic pain seminar! That's all I want for my birthday ...to be able to educate and advocate for those of us who live with chronic pain and/or invisible illness. Even if you yourself can't donate $1, would you please share the link on your social media sites for others to see? If you're a blogger, would you extend this challenge to your readers? It isn't about the amount of the donation, it's about the volume of donations. If enough people see it and donate even $1, then it will add up quickly! Here's the link: 
GoFundMe Donation Page Please help me to help all of us!  Clicking the butterfly will also take you to the donation page!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Announcing The Mediflow Waterbase Pillow Winner!

I'd like to give a huge congrats to Jessica S. who's winning entry was signing up for email updates from Deals, Teens and MMA! I've sent you an email and you have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. You've won an awesome prize Jessica!

$100 Gift Card Giveaway

I woke up to an email from a blogger friend, Lenore from Crazed Mind.  As a surprise and to kick off her 2012 Christmas Gift Guide, she put together a Friends Paying It Forward $100 Giveaway!  She's so graciously trying to help a few bloggers out that are new to the bloggy world, by helping them to gain new followers and giving us newbies some exposure!  What a wonderful gift this is!  So thanks to Crazed Mind, you all have a chance to win a $100 gift card to also help you out this holiday season!  Please make sure you guys click one of Lenore's links to show her some love and Christmas spirit as well! I'm honored to be included in her Paying It Forward giveaway!

To kick off Crazed Mind's 2012 Christmas Gift Guide I wanted to share.  Share with you and share my friends.  And I am doing this by hosting a $100 Gift Card giveaway!  I mean what gift is better than friends helping out friends.  And gosh, who can not use an extra $100 to help out with the Christmas budget?

You see when I first started this blog I had the help of a very good friend, Nessa of Texas Housewife.  She spent so much time with me sharing the ins and outs of blogging and social media.  Little by little I grew.  Then I shared with some of my friends and they did with theirs too.  That is how this whole community grows so.  We meet others while hopping from blog to blog and before you know it we have been sharing our lives for 3 years now.

Well when I first started out every single new follower was the most exciting thing.  IT was like Christmas every day.  So I wanted to do just that....make Christmas every day for others.  So with the help of my friends and then add in the friends they want to support we came up with Friends Paying It Forward.

It is really easy.  Just meet the following bloggers.  Then enter via the Rafflecopter below.  We ask that you leave a blog comment here.  That you follow the friends via GFC (that is the Christmas part!).  Then you can follow also on facebook or twitter if you wish.  It will give you extra entries.  Oh and of course you can tweet!  That is an extra daily entry!  On November 1st a winner will be randomly chosen.  They will be notified and when they respond within 24 hours they will win $100 gift card via pay pal or through the mail with a Visa or Master Card gift card of their choice.  The physical gift cards may be broken down into two $50 cards.

So meet my friends!

and of course you know me, Crazed Mind.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Mr. RN Quinton,

So many things to say.  Where do I even start. Hmmm .....first, I'd like to say that I'm not sure how you made it through nursing school when you either obviously can't read, or can't comprehend.  Maybe both even?  This became a "fact" to me because in every single room of the ER where you work, they have great big posters hanging that has the mission and values listed.  The number one thing is that patients will be treated with respect and dignity and compassion from all medical staff.  I'm not sure Mr. RN Quinton, but I really think that would include YOU! I'm sorry to say that you completely fail in this area.

When you ask a person if they have any chronic illnesses, it might be construed as disrespectful when they tell you one of their chronic illnesses is fibromyalgia and you reply with a long drawn out "oookkkkaaayy.  Well, do you have any real chronic illnesses?"

Your second fail followed just moments later.  After you pointing out how swollen the entire top of my hand was, and telling me to take my rings off before they "get stuck", you go to take my pulse and you grab my affected wrist.  As you grab it and start squeezing it, the first indication that you just messed up would have been my body immediately tensing up while I loudly yell "Ouch!  Your thumb is really hurting me!".  You'd think that at that point, you might have immediately let go and took the ONE step to the side that you'd need to take my pulse on the wrist that isn't in any pain or trauma.  I'd think an "Oh gosh! I'm sorry I hurt you" would have quickly followed.  I honestly couldn't believe that instead you said "Well that was your wrist.  I thought you said your hand hurt.  Which is it? Your hand or your wrist?". Are you kidding me?!  I told you that origin of the pain was on my hand about 1/4-1/2 of an inch above my wrist.  You can clearly see that my   hand is swollen from my wrist to my fingers.  After all, you pointed out that I needed to have my rings off because my fingers were swelling.  Therefore I'd think you'd have the common sense to realize that part of your LARGE thumb was also pushing on the spot of origin on my hand, 1/4-1/2" above my wrist and that my wrist itself also has pain and is also swollen along with the hand, and the fingers.

Now, I thought I was going to a hospital to be diagnosed and treated.  I didn't realize that I was going to have to play "baseball" but unfortunately you, Mr. RN, forced me to play.  Your third strike with me?  Yeah, that would be when you were wrapping my hand and kept disgustingly telling me to hold my hand out straight and to keep my fingers spread apart while you were wrapping.  As I was saying "ouch" and gasping from pain taking my breath away as I attempted to hold my fingers apart, I'd think that you'd find a different way for me to position my hand/fingers that wasn't as painful.  I'd already told you that moving my fingers in any way caused me excruciating pain. You wanna know something else?  I was only 4 classes away from sitting for MY nursing state boards and there was no reason in the world for you to even want me to spread my fingers completely apart while you wrapped my hand.  Not my fingers, my hand.  Do you see any reason for him to freak out, unwrap, yell at me to keep my fingers spread, and re-wrap my hand?? Because I sure don't!

You, Mr. RN Quinton, made it crystal clear that you don't believe in fibromyalgia and that you had decided that because of my fibromyalgia that you don't believe in, that you were going to be a complete jerk to me and not care about my current pain that I was there to be seen for.  I would've thought, after you knowing the doctor was freaking out because my x-ray showed two bones in my hand with pointy calcification spots from an old injury, and many bone fragments floating around in my hand, along with the doctor believing that by hitting the palm of my hand falling into the bath tub that it pushed a pointy bone up and severed tendons and ligaments and him calling to refer me to an ortho right away and telling me that I need surgery, would be a clue to you that I honestly was in pain and this wasn't just some "faker fibromyalgia patient" and that maybe you should've cared whether or not you were hurting me wrapping my hand.  (Whew, HUGE run-on sentence but I'm kind of mad and snarky right now and I don't care enough to want to go correct my bad grammer.)  Anyway Mr. RN Quinton, that was your third strike and you were out!

You, Mr. RN Quinton, are a total DHAC (doesn't have a clue).  You, Mr. RN Quinton, are one of the reasons why I put together my Living With Chronic Pain seminar in the first place.  You, Mr. RN Quinton, are why I'm going to call the hospital and attempt to book my seminar in their facility, to present to their staff. Also, you're lucky Mr. RN Quinton, that I absolutely can't stand even the thought of confrontation.  Had that not been the case, I would have completely unloaded on you tonight and it wouldn't have been pleasant.  One more rude, disrespectful move by you tonight would have pushed me over the edge and I wouldn't have been very polite, friendly, or professional.  I had a complete arsenal of words circulating in my head that wasn't very nice!

Who Wants To Win A Kindle Fire?!

I'd absolutely love to win a new Kindle Fire! My only problem would be deciding to keep it for myself, or giving it to my mom. In all honesty I'd probably give it to my mom where I know she wants one pretty bad too but it'd sure be hard for me to let it go! As I just mentioned, now would be a perfect time to win one with the holidays quickly approaching. What an awesome gift you could give to someone without it costing you a penny! This Kindle Fire Giveaway is sponsored by SavingStar and brought to you by Madame Deals Media. **Powered by Mommy Needs Her Coffee and Madame Deals**

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Prize will be awarded in the form of an Amazon gift card so you can purchase your Kindle Fire. Giveaway open to US Residents only.

How to Enter

The Giveaway will open up on 10/10 at 12:01 am EST and Close on 10/24 at 11:59 pm EST.

Complete the 3 mandatory entries below.

1. Follow Our Sponsor

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Comment below with which deal is your favorite.

3. Easy Entry - Mystery Word

Click on this link and find the easy entry word(s). Copy/Paste it in the sign up doc below.

The rest of these options are not mandatory but we'd love it if you would...


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Follow Our Blogger Team

Click on the link here and follow our Blogger Team. If you choose to complete this optional BONUS GIVEAWAY, you'll be entered to WIN $25 CASH via PayPal! Entries will be verified.

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You Did It!

That's it! You have successfully entered this awesome giveaway! Winner will be chosen via Random.org and emailed no later than 48 hours after giveaway closes. The winner will have 48 hours to confirm or a new winner will be chosen. We'd like to recognize the following bloggers for this event: Joys Of Life, Chant3llo's Blog, Mail4Rosey, Sweeping The USA You can find official Terms and Conditions on the Madame Deals Media page. To inquire about becoming a sponsor for a giveaway like this one, please contact Amee or Dawn at madamedealsmedia@yahoo.com for details. Take a look Madame Deals Media to see what we have to offer. Are you a blogger that would like to be on the MDMedia Team? Find out how you can join us.  

Camera Bag Giveaway

Mommy and Baby Reviews, Mom Does Reviews, Emptynester Reviews and It's Free At Last brings you the Ultimate Camera and All Purpose bag giveaway. Enter for your chance to win the bag of your choice.

Thank you to Portare for sponsoring this amazing giveaway! Want to know more about the prize read Mommy and Baby Reviews recent Portare Bag Review.

Want to buy a Portare Bag for yourself or as a gift for someone special in your life? Use COUPON CODE: MBR60 to save $60.00 on the bag of your choice! But hurry this code is only good through October 31,2012.

Starting October 10, 2012 enter for your chance to win your choice of a Portare Bag. Don't forget to come back daily for your daily entries. You can get your daily entries everyday until October 26, 2012. Enter on the easy rafflecopter below.

Open to US Residents 18 years of age and older.

(Portare is responsible for shipping prize to winner. Winner will be chosen on October 27, 2012, notified by email and have 48 hours to claim prize or another winner will be chosen.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 8, 2012

If You'd Only -------- You Could Cure Yourself

I've heard that phrase SO many times lately that I'm ready to scream, cry, and pull my hair out!  I have a friend who means well, but calls me every few days telling about some cactus-juice-wheat-germ-iodine-swim-in-warm-water-while-blowing-through-a-hose-while-pouring-holy-water-on-my-head cure that works "..and I really mean it because my best-friend's-cousin-who-is-friends-with-my-grandma-who-lives-in-Belgium-with-the-brother-of-a-priest-who-had-a-prophecy-that-this-will-work" was cured of her Fibromyalgia and she had a really bad case of it! Hmmm ....really?  That's so not interesting.

Does this woman honestly believe that if there was a proven "cure" for Fibromyalgia that I wouldn't already have jumped on it?!  Nooo, I wouldn't do that because I like living virtually every day of my life in pain.  I like the fact that I can't go work and make money that I desperately need.  I like feeling as if I have Alzheimers at the age of 41.  I absolutely love trying to talk to someone and then sitting there saying "ummm... ummmm.... shoot!  I forgot what I was going to say.".  I also really love the fact that my concentrate is just so great.  You know, I've only spent close to an hour and a half now to write these two paragraphs.  -Not time consuming what-so-ever.  I absolutely love the insomnia that I deal with on a daily basis.  You know, because life is just so much brighter when you look at it with 2-4 hours of sleep!  I just jump up and down with excitement over the depression that the pain and insomnia cause.

No matter how well meaning people are when they say this stuff to you, it gets really old, really fast.  Seriously, I go to the 2nd rated Rheumatology clinic in the entire U.S.  If there was a cure, they'd know about it.  They'd have me on it.  I wouldn't be desperately advocating for research to find a cure.  I wouldn't be trying so desperately hard to educate people about the myths and truths of living with a chronic pain and fatigue illness.

Every time Sara says something like this, I try to carefully let her know that I appreciate the fact that she cares about me, but that there is NO cure for Fibromyalgia.  She just adamantly keeps arguing with me that isn't true.  This is just another reason why holding my chronic pain seminar is so very important to me.  There's just so many myths out there that need to be dispelled.  If they aren't, then I'm seriously going to lose my mind one of these days and end up completely unloading on one of these well-meaning people in my life. Please remember that I'm doing a $1 challenge, and share it with your family and friends.  My prayer is that I have enough in donations by my birthday, November 18th, to hold at least one seminar.  To pay for the conference room and to pay for advertising.  I challenge everyone who reads this post, to donate $1 to my GoFundMe.org page.  You will find the donate button on the right hand side of this blog.  Once you're on my donation page, I ask that you please share the link on your social media sites.  You all can't imagine how grateful I am for every single $1 donation that's made towards my cause.  If you can't accept the $1 challenge, then I ask that you'd please at least share my donation page via your social media sites.  I appreciate each and every one of you out there!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Giani Granite Review and Giveaway

The Fibro Frog is excited to bring you this review and giveaway compliments of Giani Granite!  I was not paid to provide you with this review and giveaway, but I did receive a free granite paint kit in my own color choice to use and base my review off of.  I chose the Chocolate Brown kit.  Let me tell you, when I received my kit I was sooo super excited to try it, but then I was also sooo scared that I'd mess it up LOL.  I kept procrastinating using it, for fear I'd have a really messed up bathroom sink!  Finally, I forced myself to set a date for the review and giveaway to go live, so that I'd have to use the paint and stop procrastinating LOL.  See, I'm not a "crafty" person, nor am I a "handy" person around the house.  All of my anxiety though, was for nothing!  This kit was so easy and fun to use!  My daughter, Courtney, helped me to sponge on the minerals and even she said "Wow, this is actually fun to do"!

Looking at the kit, I thought that there wasn't any way in the world that I'd be able to make my plain ole white bathroom vanity top look like the granite looking countertops in the photos.  I'm actually really impressed though!  Here's a photo of what My bathroom sink looked like before the Giana Granite Paint.  

My daughter and I walked into the bathroom and looked at my clean, nice whit vanity top, then looked at each other and kind of giggled.  We had the can that said Step 1 Primer and shook it up.  When we opened it, we both peered into the can, then looked at each other.  Courtney said "It's black?"  Yep, it was black.  As we were applying it, we kept giggling and saying how we better not mess it up or we were going to be in big trouble!  Here's a photo of it after we'd applied the primer:

We had to let that dry for 8 hours.  After the 8 hours it was time to apply the 3 cans of minerals with the sponge.  We had the option of doing all one color and letting it dry, then doing another color and letting it dry, then finally applying the last color or we could just do small areas and apply one color right over top of the other color.  We chose to do the latter.  Courtney hit on one side of the sink, and I grabbed the other.  Here's what it looked like before we applied the final top coat:

We had to allow this to dry for at least 4 hours before applying the top coat.  Two coats of the topcoat is pretty standard to use, and you can't do over 3 layers.  We chose to do 2 coats.  I absolutely can't believe it, but it looks GREAT, it looks like GRANITE, and I did it myself!  If you love the look of granite countertops but you don't love the price, then the Giani Granite Paint is most definately the way to go!  Here's a photo of the finished product.  -And I want to apologize to you all that I can't get a full shot of the sink as in the very first photo.  I sold my backup camera and had to let the kit lens go with it.  Therefore, all I have a big zoom lens to use and my bathroom is pretty tiny.  I couldn't get a full shot.
On the far corner, I believe you can easily see how shiny the top coat made it.  It truly does look like granite!    Like I'd previously stated, I chose the Chocolate Brown kit to base my review off of.  What is so great about any of these kits though, is that you can totally customize how much of each color you want to show through.  You can even go back and add some more of the black primer to have it show through more.  So someone else may purchase the same Chocolate Brown kit that I have, but there's may look lighter or darker then mine.  It's totally up to you how heavy you apply the colors!  I highly recommend the GIANIgranite Kits!  Now, if you'd like to enter to win a FREE kit of your own, enter on the RaffleCopter form below!  This contest is open to U.S. residents and the prize will be shipped directly to the winner from Giani Granite, once I provide them with the winner's name, address, phone number, and the color of the kit they'd like to receive!

All entries will be verified so please make sure that you do what's asked of you, if you hit the "enter" button!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

HURRY! HOT Deal On Mediflow Waterbase Pillow!

My contact from Mediflow just sent me an email, asking me to let you all know that they're doing something for the very first time!  Right now, if you go to the Mediflow facebook page you can click to claim a $10 mail-in rebate on the purchase of a Mediflow Waterbase Pillow!  Mediflow told me that you'll never get a Mediflow Waterbase Pillow any cheaper then this offer!  I currently have a review & giveaway going on this pillow, that's open for another 6 days.  You can read what I have to say about the pillow by clicking HERE.  Don't wait to see if you win or not though, because I guarantee you that you'll want more then one ...everyone in your house will want one after trying it out.  They're only giving out 100 of these $10 mail in rebates, so secure yours while they're still available!!  Again, go HERE to grab your coupon while it's still available!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

All The Small Things

You hear people say this, and tend to roll your eyes.  I know, I've done it myself in the past.  I've seen people do it too many times to count.  The little things in life, are all too commonly taken for granted.  People don't realize this though.  Even when it's told to them, they kind of nonchalantly stare past you while nodding their head up and down and grunting something that's barely audible as a "yeah".  

I'm here to tell you though, that the little things really do mean a lot.  Living my life with chronic pain and fatigue illnesses shoves just how true this saying is, right down my throat on almost a daily basis.  I said, and have written many times, that I'd give anything to have just one week, or even one day, where I could do the little things in life without paying for it with unrelenting pain and fatigue for days after.  I got my wish.  This past Thursday I had more energy then I've felt in a long time.  My pain level was low.  I honestly couldn't believe it, seeing as how I've been stuck in a pain and insomnia flare since my husband left me on April 8th.  My energy and low pain level lasted all day Thursday, Thursday night, and Friday.  Friday night though, I went to stand up and had to push & pry myself out of my chair while loudly exclaiming "Ouch!".  My knees were so stiff and hurt so badly.  Usually once I'm up and take a few steps, the pain diminishes until I go to sit down again, then the bending motion of sitting makes me say "Ouch!" one more time.  Not this time though.  My knees stayed stiff all the way to the kitchen and all the way back to my chair.  Each step caused excruciating pain.  I sat down and mentally cussed to myself that the pain & fatigue couldn't have held out for another 24 hours.  See, my youngest daughter turned 17 this past Saturday.  She was having a bonfire birthday party Saturday night to celebrate.  I held on to hope though, that I'd wake up Saturday pretty well pain free again.

I went to bed, mumbling the prayer to please allow me to wake up Saturday with energy and low levels of pain. Every year on their birthday, I allow my children to pick what they'd like me to make for supper that night.  My daughter had requested my home made broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole.  It certainly is good, but a ton of standing to chop the onion and celery, and a ton of standing and stirring until the cheese is melted.  I also had to make her birthday cake on Saturday.  Saturday rolled around, and as I got out of bed I knew I was once again doomed.  My body hurt. I was so tired that I felt like I was in a fog.  I felt as if I hadn't ever gone to sleep the night before, and like I was outside of my body watching it move around.  Regardless, I had these things to do and just had to do them regardless of how I felt.  

I've always loved baking.  I've always loved celebrating my children's birthdays.  The fact that I couldn't do things that I always enjoyed, was like a kick in the gut.  Fibromyalgia and arthritis once again had stolen my joy.  I really had to push myself to get the things done that I needed to do.  I kept angrily thinking to myself "Yeah, of course!  Of course the break in pain and fatigue couldn't have held out for one more day.".  In the middle of my self-pity episode though, I stopped myself and thought "What are you doing?  You've wrote, prayed, begged for just one day without the horrible pain and fatigue.  You got more then one day. You got a day and half reprieve from it.  Don't be greedy Amy.  Be thankful.".  That stopped me from the stomping around and feeling sorry for myself.  I even felt kind of guilty for being angry that the reprieve didn't hold out.

After pushing myself Saturday and Saturday night, I'm still paying for it today.  I'm so stinking tired.  I didn't get out of bed until 1:38pm today, and yet I feel like I'm walking around in a fog.  I can't concentrate on anything.  I've been trying to write this blog post for over an hour and a half now, and this is all I've wrote.  People take things like writing something they want to say for granted.  Things as simple as baking a cake are taken for granted.  People sometimes say "I don't feel like cooking tonight, let's just go out to eat".  The fact that they can cook if they so choose, is taken for granted.  For me and people like me, we'd give anything to be able to go stand in the kitchen and cook a meal.  To prepare the meal without it causing such pain that we are literally in tears.  People always complain about hating to do their dishes or their laundry.  At least they can do their dishes and their laundry.  

Today is Tuesday, and just from making a casserole, baking a cake, and cleaning up the mess and dishes from the casserole and cake on Saturday, I'm still paying for it today.  I hurt.  I'm beyond fatigued.  I can't concentrate.  I can't accomplish any major task today without it being extremely mentally and physically hard for me.  I'd give anything to be able to do simple, everyday things again.  Things that others look at as a chore, I'd be tickled pink to be able to do.  Until you live your life trapped within pain and fatigue, you really don't understand how little things mean a lot.  The next time you have to fold and put away your laundry, stop and think about this post.  Instead of huffing and puffing and thinking how much you "hate" doing this chore, stop and realize how lucky you are that you are able to do the chore without paying for doing it, for the next few days to few weeks.  Start thinking about your life, and appreciating all the little things that you're able to do.  They may not be "fun" tasks, they you can do them.  

Days like today, remind me why I push so hard to try and book chronic pain seminars.  Days like today, remind me why I'm so desperate to educate family members, friends, the communities and health care workers.  Lawyers, lawmakers, pharmaceutical companies, and legislature, about life with a chronic pain and fatigue illness.  As I always say, if we can't make others understand then we won't even have a prayer of finding a cure for these illnesses.  We won't have a prayer of finding a concrete treatment plan that relieves us of the symptoms that plague us.  Education is key.  As my photo below says, "Education is key.  Without education there won't be change.  Without change, there won't be research.  Without research, there won't be a cure.".   I'm not a pushy type of person at all.  In fact, there's no way I could make a living in sales.  No way.  I'm just not the type of person that could approach someone and try to push them to make them "buy" something.  I also hate confrontation.  I despise asking for help or accepting help.  Accepting help really hurts my pride and makes me feel inadequate that I needed help in the first place.  After telling you all of this, I hope you see how far out of my comfort zone I've gone, to ask for donations to help me get going in presenting my chronic pain seminar.  I hate asking for donations, and it honestly really does hurt me.  Still, I've sucked my own feelings up and I've asked for help.  I'm still asking for help.  This seminar, and the hope of finding a cure for my illnesses outweighs my own "pride".  I'm not doing this just for me though.  I'm doing it for the 1,000's of people like me, who suffer and struggle to make it through a day.  It's no wonder why depression runs with these illnesses.  Wouldn't you too be depressed, if you had to live every day in pain?  If you had to live every day being more tired then when you went to bed the night before?  If you couldn't even stop and appreciate the "little things" that life has to offer.  Once again, please share this blog and my mission with every friend, relative, business, organization, etc that you can.  If everyone would donate even $1 to the chronic pain seminar fund, it would add up quickly and I'd be able to start presenting this seminar and advocating for more research.  I challenge every person that reads this post, to donate $1 to the fund and to challenge all of your friends and family to also accept this challenge.  The link to the seminar donation page is on the right hand side of the home page or on the right hand side of the "Chronic Pain Seminar" page.  It's the Go Fund Me link.  Please feel free to download this photo and share it within your networks.  I took this photo myself (another small thing that I struggle now to do - photography) and the words are my own so there isn't any copyright infringement to worry about.

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