Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm A Real Person, With Real Illnesses And I Extend A Challenge To You

As I opened my eyes this morning, I could tell that it was going to be an "off" day.  The feeling that I was awakening after being hit by a Mack truck wouldn't shake.  Last night, everything hurt from my head down to my big toe.  You're probably asking yourself "her big TOE hurt?!".  Yep, even my big toe hurt as silly as that sounds.  

Today, my head hurts and my nose is stuffy.  Ultimately, since I get sick if I even pass someone in a grocery store that sneezes or coughs, I'm sure I'm coming down with a cold.  I feel sad and depressed today.  I just get so tired or never feeling good.  I'm sick and tired, of being sick and tired.  

Feelings of guilt keep me from posting a lot of the time when I don't feel good.  My oldest daughter who's 23 and a graduate student in both developmental and international economics at the University of Denver, gently reminds me every now and then, that I need to conduct myself as a professional.  She knows my hopes and dreams of presenting my seminar and being a speaker at conventions.  She knows that I'm passionate about activism and research to find a treatment plan or a cure.  If I want to be booked as a professional, then I need to act professional right?  Professionals don't go online and complain about their every day mundane aches and pains.

Nikki is one of the toughest people I've ever known.  I'm not just saying that because she's my daughter.  If you met her now, you'd never have a clue what she's been through to get to where she's at.  The amount of tenacity that this young lady possesses is unreal.  Coming from an extremely modest background, ok I'll be completely honest: a poor background, she got a job at 16 years old and has never been without one since.  Sometimes more then one job, all while going to school.  Both high school and college.  She's paid her own way all through college while carrying an insane amount of full-time college credits and still making all A's.  I haven't paid for so much as one single book, let alone anything else she's needed.  Not because I didn't want to, but because I haven't been able to afford to. Researching and finding the best college for what she wanted to do with her life, she switched from living at home and attending our local college of Bowling Green State University, to packing up and jumping on a plane to start a new life in Denver, CO.  She switched after her sophomore year.  She made new friends, found new jobs, and met new people.  Nikki has met some of the most influential people that we have in the U.S.  She's been to grand benefits where she's met and spoke with people such as the founder of AOL, among many others.  She doesn't complain about anything.  She knows what she needs to do, and she gets it done.  Sometimes putting in 14-16 hour days or more, without complaint.

You're probably asking yourself right about now, why I just told you all of this about my daughter.  What does it have to do with me feeling like total poo today?  Well, it has a lot to do with it.  If Nichole says that I need to conduct myself in a professional manner, then I tend to believe her.  I feel guilty complaining because for one, it isn't professional.  For two, how can I complain when she works so very hard, supports herself while attending an expensive college, and she never complains?  Sick or not, she goes to classes and completes her jobs. 

A very old friend that I think a lot of, sent me a facebook message this morning.  He simply said "I feel that sometimes you're too hard on yourself.  Give yourself a break".  You know what?  He's right.  I am too hard on myself sometimes.  Thoughts about these two sentences, have plagued me all day.  Sure, no one wants to hear someone gripe and complain constantly, but if I really feel terrible, then it's ok to admit that.  As much as I want to be a professional, I'm not at this time.  Even if I achieve my dreams and have seminars scheduled every weekend of every month it still will come down to this: A public speaker or not, I'm a human being first.  A real person.  Unfortunately, a real person who has real illnesses.  Illnesses in which there isn't a cure, and not even solid treatment plans that will help.  Illnesses that cause depression. Illnesses like some of you, deal with every day too.

If you're reading this blog entry and you don't suffer from a neuro-immune disorder, or you don't suffer from an auto-immune disorder like I do, then you're probably not going to be able to fully comprehend what it's like to be stuck in a body that's always sick or to have a mind where you'll be right in the middle of speaking, and forget what you were trying to say or even what you were thinking about.  

One of the best analogies I've read, is in a pamphlet put out by the American Rheumatology Association.  It compares Fibromyalgia to having the flu.  Think back to the last time you had the flu.  Do you remember how tired and physically drained you were?  Do you remember how sore your skin was?  How about the sore, aching muscles?  Sometimes when you'd move, you'd get sharp pains.  Your head hurt, even your hair sometimes felt like it was hurting.  Take all of that and add in joints that swell and hurt to the point that you have trouble standing up from a seated position and hurts enough that you audibly say "ow" most every time you go to rise. Although my illnesses doesn't make you run a high fever like you do with the flu, you do run frequent low-grade fevers.  Now, I seriously want you to think about everything in this paragraph.  Then, I'd like to you think about the fact that you're going to have to live every day of your life feeling like this.   Do you know what the leading cause of death among fibromyalgia patients is?  It's suicide.  Women with fibromyalgia have a ten times higher rate of suicide then the general public.  These are people who didn't have any kind of mental health problems before contracting fibromyalgia.  Women with fibromyalgia also have a higher death rate from liver disease and stroke, then women without fibromyalgia.  There hasn't been enough concentrated research though, to find out why women with fibromyalgia have a higher death rate from liver disease and stroke so the correlation to fibromyalgia hasn't been figured out yet. Just one of the many reasons more research is needed.  If you're interested in reading about the study that was conducted to bring about these statements, you can click HERE.

If you'd like to hear a speaker that suffers every day like you do, and "get's it" then contact me and we'll talk.  I'm not a doctor, nor a researcher; I don't have any fancy initials of any kind behind my name.  What I do have though, is first hand experience and knowledge about what people like me, people like us, go through on a daily basis, just to survive.  This seminar will help those who suffer, to see they aren't alone.  It gives some survival tips and lists resources.  It also gives the person suffering the ability to help those around them, to understand what it's like to be sick like this and help them understand.  For those who attend that doesn't suffer, they'll be offered the proof to help dispel untrue myths about these illnesses.  It will provide information on recent studies.  It'll help them to be aware and hopefully instill some compassion in them, for those who suffer.  It also talks about how little research there is, and how important future research is, and why it's so important. Whether a sufferer or a community member; a lawmaker or in the medical field, this seminar will help you to understand the truth of these illnesses that cause fatigue and chronic pain. 

If you think about the paragraph previously stated, giving the analogy of having the flu every day for the rest of your life, hopefully you'll understand how important this seminar is.  How important future research is, for those of us who suffer.  If you have the understanding and compassion, I'm extending a challenge to you this holiday season.  I challenge you to give up a specialty coffee or two each week, and instead donate that money to my fundraiser.  Help me to help not only myself, but all of the others that also are living their lives one day at a time to make it through.  You can make a secure donation, on my GoFundMe page.  The link to it is on the right hand sidebar of my blog, but I'll also list a link to it as well: Donation Page.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Win A Frozen Drink Station With Our New Year's Bash Giveaway

Welcome to the New Years Drink Station Giveaway!

Hosted by Jenn's Blah Blah Blog & Pink Ninja Media Co-Hosts Simply Shawn & Jenn, Pink Ninja Blogger, Moms Vacation Spots, and Happy Home and Family. This giveaway will have you bartending like a pro at your parties! Good luck to all of you!

Giveaway Details:

One Lucky person will win a Nostalgia Frozen Beverage Station!

This all-in-one frozen drink machine will make perfect slush drinks, margaritas, daiquiris, smoothies and more every time! Perfect for your New Years Eve Bash! The two ice shaving options allow you to choose a fine or coarse shaved ice texture. Making one or multiple servings is easy, with the serving sizes indicated right on the pitcher. Use the included recipes to make delicious drinks, or create your own. With the Frozen Beverage Station, making refreshing icy drinks is fun and easy! Giveaway will begin on November 25, 2012 12:01am EST and run until December 23, 2012 11:59pm EST. Giveaway is open to US residents only and you must be 18 years or older to enter. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This blog is not responsible for shipping prize to winner, nor did I accept any form of compensation for this promoting this giveaway. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning email, so please look for these emails.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hidden Treasure Candle Giveaway

Welcome to the Hidden Treasure Giveaway!

Hosted by,

Jenn's Blah Blah Blog & Pink Ninja Media.

Co-Hosts, Giveaway Bandit, Pink Ninja Blogger, Simply Shawn & Jenn, and Moms Vacation Spots

Add you own wording, say something about Hidden Treasure Candles!

About the Giveaway

  • Five Winners will received TWO Hidden Treasure Candles Each! Like always, winner chooses their candles, so head on over to Hidden Treasure Candles and check out their fabulous scents.
  • Event runs from 11/20/2012 at 12:01am EST until 12/20/2012 at 11:59pm EST
  • To enter use the Rafflecopter form below, must be 18 years of age.
  • Giveaway is open to US
Candles are one of my favorite things! I love anything that smells good and puts a nice scent in the air. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another Year Older

Today is my birthday.  I'm 42 years old today, yet I feel like I'm at least 72 years old.  I awoke to sharp stabbing pains in my lower stomach, thanks to IBS.   I thought I may pass out from the sharp pain.  I have a few times in the past.  Waking with the pain today has left me feeling exhausted and sad, and I guess I'd have to say kind of hopeless.  I don't know how else to describe it.  I'm weak and I'm shaky.  I just feel kind of completely defeated today.

I so badly had hoped for enough money by now to present a seminar.  The lack of funding help just proves to me how much these seminars are truly needed.  If every day people had even an inkling of how much real, physical pain people like me live with, they'd give up a large coffee from a specialty shop to make even a $5 donation.  People that aren't suffering though, just don't get it.  I can't be mad at people for not understanding how important these seminars are, and how important it is to bring awareness for more research, because if I wasn't afflicted myself, I wouldn't get it either.

I sit around, and chide myself about the fact that I'm not just independently wealthy.  If I was, then I'd never ask for a drop of help.  I'd fly across the country presenting one seminar after another, and making donations to research myself.  Again, I have no one to blame except for myself that I'm not independently wealthy.  I come from a middle class family, and grew up with my parents always telling me that I could be and do anything in life that I wanted to.  I could have gone to college and made something of myself.  Instead, I chose to graduate a year early from high school, so that I could get married.  I was still 17 when I married.  Five months later, I found myself pregnant with my first child, Nichole.

Nichole is making the life for herself, that I wish I'd have been smart enough to make for myself.  She's now in the graduate program at DU, and is going to continue on her education to get her PhD.  She'd posted a status on facebook today, that she'd received a copy of a final report that she helped to complete the research on.  She said seeing her name as a research contributor to this report, alongside two top PhD economists, reminded her why she's put in so much work.  She also has landed a job while she's in grad school as a portfolio manager for GSA, starting out at $50,000 a year.  -Not too shabby for still being in school.  This doesn't even touch on the fact that she's also a teachers assistant in the economics department at DU and even has her own office and office hours on campus.

It's too late for me to look back and see what I should have done in my life when I was young enough to grab the world by the horns.  That won't help me a bit here in today.  At this point, all I can do is take a deep breath, look forward, and keep taking baby steps until I get to where I want to go.  Nichole is my inspiration in all of this.  Like I'd said, I was raised in a middle class family, but where I didn't get a college education, and neither did Nikki's father, she was raised in poverty.  The fact that she hasn't let that stop her, she's worked and put herself through college and now grad school, is a huge inspiration to me.  If my own daughter can beat the odds, and obtain exactly what she wants out of life, then how in the world can I just lay down and quit?  I can't.  I may never, ever, reach my goal.  I may not be a big activist and advocate, that people recognize my name.  I may never be able to make a living as an advocate and motivational speaker.  What I will promise you though, is that I won't ever stop trying.  Sure, I have days where I feel like giving up.  I have days where I tell myself that I was dumb to even try and think I could do this.  I allow myself to feel sad for a time, then I pull myself up again by the boot straps, and I send out another email.  I make another awareness photo and share it.  I come make a post on this blog.

Even if I never, ever reach my goal, I will die knowing that I did the best I could and that I never gave up.  It's embarrassing to me, to ask for donations.  That's one of the reasons I made one of my photos/sayings into a key chain and am holding a fundraiser selling the key chains.  It makes me feel a tad bit better knowing that someone is going to get something tangible out of their donation to my cause.  Embarrassed or not though, I know that I'm not asking and doing this just for myself.  I'm also doing it for the approximate 116 million of us that suffer from some sort of chronic pain condition here in the U.S.  With that said, my key chain fundraiser is going on through November 24th.  If you'd share about it through your social media networks, I'd be forever grateful.  I'm trying so hard to get at least 50 of them ordered.  With an order of 50, I get the back side of the key chains printed for free.  The link to the fundraiser is here: Key Chain Fundraiser.  If you'd rather make a straight up donation, the link to my GoFundMe account is here: GoFundMe Account.

Here's a photo of my inspiration to succeed.  My beautiful, successful daughter, Nikki.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Greed Trap

Pretty snazzy little car, isn't it?  My parents just bought one of these, a 2013 Hyundai Veloster, a couple of weeks ago.  Their's is even white in color, as this one is.  When I saw it, I thought "Oh my gosh!  It's so cute!".  It is cute!  It isn't a 2-door car, nor is it a 4-door car.  It's a three door car.  Of course when they first got it they wanted to take me for a ride in it.  I eagerly opened the 3rd door for the back seat, and proceeded to crawl in.  Yes, crawl.  There was no way to just open the door and get in, like a person would do in a "regular" car.  I though to myself  "Hmm ...this car is really cute, and the inside, dashboard, built in message screen, etc is completely awesome.  But it's sure rough to get in and out of!".  Riding upfront it's a comfy, sporty little ride.  The backseat though, is a whole 'nother story!

The day before yesterday, my phone rang around 9:30am and woke me up. With my eyes blurry I came charging into the dining room to answer the phone and have it be a solicitor calling.  "Congrats!  This is your captain speaking.  You've won a free cruise!"  As a fog horn was blowing in the background.  Disgusted, I hung up.  I let out a big sigh and went to start a pot of coffee.  I usually can't fall asleep until around 4 or 5am so I was quite tired, but once my feet hit the floor, I can't go back to sleep. 

Around 11:30am my phone rang again.  This time it was my dad.  All loud and cheery sounding he said "Hello Amy!  How are you today?"  I visibly winced at the cheery-ness of his voice.  He said that he was going to go about 40-45 minutes away to look at a car.  -They buy new cars, but then they always have what they call "an older beater to bum around in".  He said that my mom didn't want to go but she didn't have any choice because if he bought the car, he'd need to drive it home and mom would need to drive the Veloster home.  Dad asked me if I'd go with them to ride back home with my mom, because she gets nervous driving by herself on the highway.  Then, he completely bribed me without even trying to disguise the fact it was a bribe.  He said "If you come with us we'll stop and eat out for lunch, and I'll buy.".  Hmmm ....well, I was really tired, and was having a pain day that could potentially escalate given the opportunity, but... he was going to buy me lunch out.  I don't have the money to do that often these days, and I sat there thinking about that.  Finally, the greediness in me won out and I quickly told him "Ok, I'll go.  I'll go get dressed while I wait on you two to get here.".  

I stood outside talking to my neighbor, waiting on my parents.  They came pulling up, and I eagerly walked up to the car and opened that tiny crack that's called a "third door".  I wiggled and squeezed, and huffed and puffed, and got my head stuck ...yes, stuck trying to get in the back seat.  My head was shoved completely forward with my chin on my chest, my rear-end and legs was in the car, but the top/back part of my head was smashed into the ceiling of the car.  I started saying "ouch" and wriggling around and finally I was able to get my head popped back to behind the ceiling.  See, in the Veloster, the ceiling is lower and then back by the rear window, it gets taller.  After clearing the ceiling and finally having my head straight up again I thought "Wow, do I really want to go with them in this tiny little car?"  I quickly remembered the bribe.  The chance to eat out for free.  My mouth started watering and I quickly put the thought of abandoning ship behind me.  I thought to myself, "Well, it's not like I'll have to get in and out many times anyway.".  Little did I know the in-out fate that gladly awaited me.

We'd been driving about 15 minutes when my mom said to me "You should've brought one of your travel mugs with coffee in it".  She knows of my love of coffee.  That prompted my dad to ask my mom if she'd like a cup of coffee because if so, he'd stop and buy her and I one at a gas station.  She said sure, that she'd like that.  So, about 5 minutes later we were parked at a gas station and I was trying to push and pull and pry my big butt out of the back seat of the car, to go in and get coffee.  At this point I made a comment in a laughing, nice way about "boy is this car hard to get in and out of, but it's sure a cute, sporty little thing if you're not abolished to the back seat".  After getting the coffee, we walk back out to the car.  I told my mom that she'd have to hold my cup of coffee for me to get in, because without anything in my hands, it's near impossible, not to mention painful, to get into that car.  I proceeded to try to climb in, muttering a few "Ouch!" and "gosh" comments.

We get to where we're going.  Mom and I wait in the car while my dad talks to the guy who has the vehicle for sale.  We sit there waiting for him to test drive it and decide if he's going to buy it or not.  We watched him shake hands with the young guy and head back to our car.  No sale.  Dad starts heading back towards home, only he went the wrong direction.  After getting turned around the right direction, he decides he has to use the restroom.  When he stops, he basically demands that my mom and I get out of the car too, because we should "try" to use the bathroom too.  Ummm ...dad, I'm not 5 anymore.  I told him I didn't have to go and would wait in the car.  He told me I "really should" at least go try.  *sigh* Arguing with him about it wasn't worth it.  I again heaved my fat butt out of the car.  Now, don't get me wrong, getting OUT of the car is MUCH easier then getting IN the car, but even getting out was hard, hurt my arms with me pushing and prying to get out, and hurt my leg muscle.  

Back to the car we all went.  I'll spare you all the "ouch" words I again muttered, while even worse words ran through my head.  About 15 minutes down the road he whips into a restaurant.  Finally.  My reward for the struggling and the pain.  Eating lunch out for free.  I eagerly hoisted myself out this time, smelling the food, and having my mouth start watering again. The food was good and I kept thinking "Well, I guess this wasn't *too* bad.  It was worth the in and out of the horrible back seat I guess".  Going back out and trying to get in again, was even harder with a full stomach.  This time, my head really DID get stuck.  I started to panic a little bit telling my mom "Oh my gosh, my head is completely stuck I don't know what to do!".  Every time that I'd get in and it would smash my head forward until my chin was on my chest, it'd just kill my neck. I'm having two surgical procedures on my neck real soon, so it's not like it hurt or gave me problems in the first place.  <----Yes, insert sarcasm here.  Finally, after pushing, twisting, and now angrily not caring if I hurt their feelings or not by exclaiming "I HATE your new car!", my head finally popped backwards so that I could sit straight again.  

About 20 minutes before we got home, dad saw a vehicle sitting by the road for sale.  He stopped to look at this one.  The guy he talked with said that the vehicle wasn't his, it belonged to his friend.  The guy who owned the vehicle was an older gentleman who lived in a small town about 10 minutes away from where the vehicle was sitting.  Waiting on dad to come back to the car, I told my mom with a huge sigh "I have to use the bathroom now, but I'm going to try to hold it until we get home".  My dad came back to the car and told us we had to go to the other town to find the guy that owned the Explorer.  Dad had his name, but not an address or phone number.  Mom told him that I had to use the restroom, so he said "Ok.  There's a little IGA type grocery store there, so I'll stop and see if I can look in their phone book for the guy, and Amy can use the restroom".  I said "Well, can you go in and make sure they have a restroom before I pry myself out of this car again?".  He told me "Oh don't worry.  They even have a Subway inside there so they'll have a bathroom".  WRONG!  I hauled myself out of the car, went inside, walked to the Subway part, asked where the bathroom was and the girl looked at me and said "Oh I'm sorry.  We don't have a public bathroom here.".  I was disgusted, wondering how in the world they could get around laws to have a place to eat inside, without having a public bathroom.  I thought it was state law that if food was served, they had to have public access to a restroom.  Show's how little I know.

My dad found where the guy that owned the Explorer lived and had called to let him know we were coming.  We came up to a gas station and dad pulled in for me.  Out of the car again.  Walked inside and asked where the restroom was.  Guess what?!  It was OUT OF ORDER!  You have to be kidding me, right?  Nope, no joke.  Their toilet was broke.  Back to the "cute, little, sporting-looking car" that I now envisioned as a huge monster, trying eat my entire head!  By now, I'm thinking about this car, the entire trip, even the free lunch out, using nothing but some very vulgar words in my head.  Had I said them out loud, my parents would've been convinced that I had morphed into a sailor or trucker!

We get to the guy's house and dad goes in and talks to him.  Of course, nothing with my dad is ever quick.  I kept sitting there in horrible pain in my neck, back, arms, and right leg all while having to pee "like a racehorse" as the old saying goes.  The guy walks dad out and he's finally heading back to the car.  Dad goes "Oh, could my daughter use your bathroom?" the guy said sure.  I quickly hollered to my dad that it was ok, that I'd wait.  I don't know what my problem is, but all my life using a bathroom other then my own, or my parents, almost kills me.  I really, really have a thing against public bathrooms and there was no way in he!! that I was going to go into some strange guys house and use his toilet.  Dad got in and I told him that there was no way I would've ever done that and he should've known I wouldn't in the first place.  He said "well I have to go back to where the Explorere is to test drive it".  Really?! You have to be kidding me.  My parents picked me up at 11:50am and my dad had promised we wouldn't be gone any longer then 2.5 hours.  It was already going on 5pm because of the way my dad piddles around and talks non-stop to people.  I again reiterate that I really just need to get home because I really need to use the bathroom.  So he looked at me and said "There's a bar here in town.  Do you want me to stop there for you to use the bathroom?".  Oh my gosh.  I felt like throttling him!  "Well dad, you stop and buy me about a 5th of whiskey to take away my pain I'm in from this evil little monster of a car that you're so proud of, but no way in he!! that I'll use a bathroom in a bar. Come on, I'm 41 years old and an only child.  You HAVE to know me better then that".  His response?  "Well, yeah I know that a lot of people who could have std's or something use bar bathrooms, but if you have to go you have to go".  

Completely disgusted, I sat in silence on the ride back 10 minutes in the opposite direction of my house.  Dad drives the Explorer.  Tells us he's going to buy it so back to the owners house we had to go yet again.  By now, I'm thinking that this older guys toilet would be just perfect for me to use.  I really didn't care any more that it's a strangers bathroom.  We get there and I get out to go in with my dad while he pays, so that I can use the bathroom.  I'm standing there and dad's getting ready to tell the guy that I needed to use his toilet, when his wife started hollering from some far off place in the house.  "Oh! Oh! Oh!  Jim, help!".  Jim makes a quick turn and sprints away.  Come to find out, his wife had plugged up their toilet and it was over flowing everywhere.  I couldn't even believe it.  I had struggled to get out of that blessed car again, with a bladder that is about to explode, all for nothing yet again.  Un-freaking-real!  By this time, it was starting to get dark out thanks to the time change and dad and Jim had decided that dad would come pay him the balance in the morning because then a bank would be open to get the title notarized and all of that fun, legal stuff. 

As dad started the car, he kindly offered that he could pull off down a side country road, and I could go squat in the trees.  At that, I was so disgusted that I just started laughing.  Uncontrollable, made-me-sound-like-a-complete-mental-case-laughing.  He said "Well, where to next, Amy?".  Are you serious?!  Where to next?!  TO MY HOUSE!  PLEASE!".  I only lived about 13-15 minutes from the town Jim lived in.  Please, please, just get me home.  As I was scurrying to try to quickly get out of the car when we pulled up to my house, I told my parents "Well, I enjoyed the company.  I enjoyed the eating out.  I did NOT enjoy your car though, and I will never, EVER, EVER go anywhere with the both of you again if you take this damn car of yours!  If I can ride upfront with only one of you in the car, fine, but I don't have enough pain meds to get rid of the type of pain this has caused me today.  Never again".  For some reason, this amused the both of them.  As I was running towards my front door, mentally chiding myself for being so damn greedy for a free lunch out, that I'd go and put myself through torture like that.  

I learned a couple things though, greed is a terrible thing, ...and so is the back seat of a 2013 Veloster!! Neither one of them is worth a free lunch out. I promise you, every detail of this pathetic story is true. I couldn't even make this up lol.

Christmas In Branson Giveaway

Christmas in Branson Getaway Giveaway
Brought to you by Saving In Branson and Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog
Christmas is just around the corner and we want to give you a chance to relax. Branson, Missouri is a wonderful place to visit, full of entertainment. In Branson Christmas is the 4th season. The sights, the sounds, and the lights are breath taking. The view is certain to relieve some of the stress I am sure you are feeling with Christmas coming up so soon.
Being from the area I know how expensive it can be to visit and keep entertained in Branson. To help out and get you that vacation you need, Saving In Branson and Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog have put together an awesome getaway package.
We would also like to thank our Co-hosts A little bit of Everything At Home Take 2 & Plum Crazy About Coupons!!! Without them, this giveaway might not have been possible.
Who wouldn't want to win an amazing vacation like this?! I was really excited to be included with this great group of bloggers, to bring this giveaway to my readers! I hope you all enjoy this, and wish you all the best of luck in this awesome giveaway!
1 lucky winner will receive:
2 day stay from December 14th – 15th
2 Tickets to Dixie Stampede
1 Gift Certificate for a Manicure and Pedicure
1 Gift basket full of all the goodies you need to stay fresh during your stay
The 2 day stay is provided by Best Western Branson Inn & Conference Center. Best Western is a well known hotel chain dedicated to quality and comfort. This one is even more special as it sets within sight/sound of Silver Dollar City and the customer service is phenomenal. When staying at Best Western Branson Inn & Conference, visitors have the ability to take a free shuttle to Silver Dollar City and purchase discounted tickets at the Inn. Best Western Branson Inn & Conference features an indoor pool with hot tub and an arcade room. The lucky winner of this giveaway will be receiving 2 free days in one of the most popular rooms at the Inn, a Double Queen Non-smoking Room. This giveaway is tailored to 2 people, but you can always bring more and have plenty of room (at no extra charge)! 
The 2 tickets to Dixie Stampede have been generously purchased by participating bloggers. Dixie Stampede is a wonderful dinner and show here in Branson. The show is filled with live entertainment that even the wait staff gets into. The meal is sure to fill you up and features ‘hand’ foods so silverware is not necessary. I have not been this year, but I can tell you last year’s show was awesome and everyone says it just keeps getting better every year.
My favorite part of the giveaway, the gift certificate for a free manicure and pedicure, is brought to you by En Vogue Nail & Spa. En Vogue is the BEST nail salon in Branson and I am not just saying that because they are participating in the giveaway, I use them exclusively for my nails & feet.  The prices are low & you will walk away feeling pretty and relaxed! Even their manicures come with massages, you will love this place guaranteed!
The Gift Basket will contain:
1)    Full size Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner
2)   Full size Man’s Body Wash
3)   Full size Woman’s Body Wash 4) Woman and Man's Razors
5)  And a few extra surprises (Think Coupons) :)
6)   Show tickets & salon gift certificate will also be in the basket
Now for the Rules:
1)    This given away will run from 11/15 – 12/01
2)   Winner must be a resident of the USA
3)   All dates are set and final, changes are not possible
4)  Winning entry will be confirmed before email is sent
5)   Winner has 24 hours to respond to email notification or an alternate winner will be chosen (add savinginbranson@gmail.com to your contact list to make sure you get your email)
Now enter in the Rafflecopter below! Good luck to everyone!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 12, 2012

Support Those With Chronic Pain Illnesses

Don't forget that I have a fundraising event going on through November 24th.  The sell of the key chains will help fund my seminar Living With Chronic Pain - A Patients View.  Let's help out our fellow chronic pain sufferers by ordering a key chain and sharing the event through your social media sites.  The seminar isn't just for people with fibromyalgia, it's for anyone who suffers from any sort of chronic pain illness.  It gives the sufferer tips and advice, along with ideas on how to make their family and friends, and community, understand what it's truly like to live their lives in pain every day.  It dispels myths, gives statistics, lists resources, and addresses family and community that doesn't understand what we go through.  This seminar is really geared towards not only the sufferer, but also to people who do not suffer.  It's an overall well-rounded seminar that's beneficial for anyone, whoever they may be.  Also, a person doesn't have to be a chronic pain sufferer to order a key chain.  By ordering one, you're showing support for those of us who do, and helping to bring about awareness by using your key chain.  You'll find the fundraiser on facebook as a public event.  Please check it out, and share it!  To access the fundraiser, click HERE.  Thanks for your support, there's approximately 116 MILLION people who suffer from some sort of chronic pain illness in the U.S. that thank you!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hidden Treasures Candle Giveaway Opp For Bloggers

Jenn's Blah Blah Blog and Pink Ninja Media bring you another FREE Blogger Opportunity!


Grow your readership, join a fabulous giveaway and offer your reader the chance to win a fabulous Prize.

FIVE WINNERS, will win TWO Hidden Treasure Candles!

Hidden Treasure Candles are always a HUGE hit! Don't miss the chance to offer your readers the chance to win this awesome prize! This fabulous giveaway will begin on November 20th!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Key Chain Fundraising Event

Hi everyone!  I've designed a key chain using my own photo and words, to use as a fundraiser.  The key chain will have the above photo on it.  I'm trying to raise the money needed for me to present and advertise my living with chronic pain seminar.  I'm extremely grateful for each and every order, and would really appreciate it if you all would also share this event through your social media sites to help me spread the word!  I have a great group of supporters here on The Fibro Frog, and I appreciate each of you!  Thanks for your help with this event!  You will find the event by clicking: HERE.  Thanks again!  =)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Definition Of Insanity

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I, on the other hand, called doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, hope.  I kept posting and emailing companies, looking for either help fundraising to pay for chronic pain seminars, or looking for a church, business, place, etc. to at least donate space to me to use for a chronic pain seminar.  It was so very hard for me to even make a fundraising page.  I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn't just do it on my own.  I've never had much through my adult years, so it makes me feel funny to accept a "gift" (donation) from someone.  I was grateful for each and every one, but it still made me feel funny ...and bad, to accept it. I've also been a very strong-willed person all of my life, so to accept that I "do" need help, was hard for me. Regardless of how it made me feel, I went ahead and bit it, and made the page.  Even though I kept getting "no's", I still kept emailing.  Even though I'd ask for others to please share the fundraising link throughout their media sites and only a small handful would, I kept asking.  Although I knew the definition of sanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, I still plugged along.  I kept telling myself that phrase didn't apply in this situation.  If I asked enough people to either donate or share the page, that eventually it'd pay off.  See, I'd always been raised believing that a person could achieve anything in life that they want to achieve, as long as they worked hard enough at it.  I've also raised my own kids to believe the same thing.  

I can't begin to tell you how embarrassed I've been, practically begging people to help me.  For a long time, I was able to ignore it, tell myself that I knew this wouldn't be easy from the start, and I could keep swallowing my embarrassment and moving forward.  I just can't do it anymore.  I've finally broke, and realized that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results really is the definition of insanity.  All along I'd maintained that I wasn't just trying to do this for me, I was trying to do it for the approximately 116 million other people in the U.S. who suffers from chronic pain, as well as for myself.  Late last night, it hit me that where I'm not getting anywhere with this, that maybe educating people so that they'll understand what we go through, and advocating for more research to find a potential cure or treatment plan that allows us to have a half-way normal life, may not be important to very many people besides myself.  If it was, I'd think that I would've gotten some help along the way.  Now, I completely understand that the economy isn't good right now, and that people have tight budgets and may not be able to make cash donations at this time.  Believe me, I truly do get that because that's where I'm at myself right now.  But it's free; it doesn't cost a single penny, for people to share my mission on their facebook page, on their blogs, on their twitter accounts pinterest, etc.  My thoughts were along the lines that even if the people I reached out to couldn't make a cash donation, that if they shared the message themselves too, that it'd reach enough people that some may be in the position to make a donation.  

There are quite a few things I'm trying to work through right now.  I'm not embarrassed to admit that I have the co-morbidity of depression secondary to my Fibromyalgia.  When my marriage first ended, I finally had to go on medication for my depression.  It really helped me a lot.  I think that I may need a med change, or my dosage upped, because I'm again finding myself feeling sad and hopeless more days then not.  I think a lot of it has to do with the upcoming holidays.  Being as sick as I am (today I can't hardly type due to the stiffness and swelling in my fingers, for instance), not being able to work a real job due to my pain, stiffness, and depression, not receiving any child support or alimony, has me absolutely dreading Christmas.  Christmas has always been my favorite holiday of the year.  The absolute joy and pleasure I'd see on my families faces when they'd open their gifts, brought me pure joy.  Even though presents may be few throughout the year, I'd completely spoil my kids at Christmas time.  I absolutely loved seeing mountains of pretty, wrapped gifts under our tree.  For myself, the only gifts I'd usually get was from my parents.  -Again, that was fine with me because I feel awkward when people give me things anyway.  My joy, was in picking out, wrapping, and watching my family open what I'd bought for them.  Long story short, I've lost my joy at this time.  I've lost my hope.  Not only was the seminar important for me personally due to my health, but it also was important for me, to do as a career.  To be able to bring in money that's desperately needed for my bills, for my family, and for the holidays. 

Right now, I feel ashamed of myself that I can't work a "real" job.  I feel ashamed that I'm not able to provide the things for my daughter that she deserves in her senior year of high school.  I feel ashamed that I struggle so much to pay my bills.  I feel sad and ashamed that I actually pretty much was begging people to to help me get the seminar going.  I can't keep feeling like this.  I have to concede to the fact that maybe chronic pain seminars, and advocacy and research, may not be as important to others as it is for me.  -And that's ok, because however someone with a chronic pain and fatigue illness feels, is valid.  There is a lady that's not only a bloggy friend, but she's also a fibro sister.  This woman has gone above and beyond, trying to help me build this page and my facebook page, along with trying her very best to help me get the seminar going.  She's posted and posted asking for help, and she's made several donations to the fundraising page.  Every time I post asking for people to share about me and my mission, she does.  It's to the point that I even feel guilty for that, because she's put so much work, time, and money into helping me.  I'm going to leave my fundraising page up and if someone runs across it and wants to make a donation or wants to share it that's great and would be very much appreciated, but I'll no longer beg for help with it.  Begging and still not getting anywhere is completely demoralizing to me, and I just can't do it anymore.  It makes me feel ashamed of myself that I can't just do it on my own.  Therefore, I will wait until I can do it myself.  Hopefully that time will be soon, but if it isn't, then it isn't.  I'm not going to keep worrying about it.  

The quote above, is how I was looking at things.  I thought that if all of us sufferers banned together, that together we could bring about a change.  A change in the way other people look at us.  A change in the way that even those in the medical field look at us and treat us.  I am so tired of DHAC's (people who doesn't have a clue) looking at me and telling me that I'm just too lazy to work.  That it's my fault that my daughter is going without stuff that she should have.  It's my fault that I'm so poor at this particular time.  I thought with so many of us, that we could demand change and research.  To be completely honest, I still feel this way.  I'm just not strong enough right now to keep trying.  I just can't take more rejection right now.  Hopefully once the holidays pass, I won't have so much on my mind and I'll jump right back in again asking for you all to help me start advocating again.  Maybe I'll get lucky in the mean time and the opportunity to hold a seminar will drop into my lap. Regardless, I want to thank everyone who reads my blog and facebook page, for sticking things out with me.  I'll do anything I possibly can to be there for you guys.  I'm just praying for a much better year in 2013.  For all of us.