Friday, December 27, 2013

A Chance To Win A $500 Amazon Gift Card

DontPayFull.com is running a giveaway for a $500 Amazon GC!  Enter until 12/31/2013.  Click HERE to enter!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Copy-Kids Giveaway

I have received the below products for free for review on "Pickles and Peppers". I only recommend products/services I use personally & believe my readers will enjoy and/or benefit from. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Copy-Kids: Eat Fruits & Vegetables is a very unique DVD and one that kids will find entertaining.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A New Approach To Treating Fibromyalgia

Most everyone with fibromyalgia has a common desire that's always burning in the back of their mind.  Everyone is always hoping for a cure, or at the very least, a universal treatment method that actually works!  Dr. Michael Arata is on track to making that a reality!  He's pioneered a new approach to treating fibro.  

I first read about the approach of treating fibromyalgia by using TVAM (Transvascular Autonomic Modulation) in an article on the Synergy Health blog.  You can find that article by clicking HERE.  The article talked about how closely the symptoms of fibro mimic those of autonomic dysfunction,which is a malfunctioning of the nervous system.  Dr. Arata now believes that many of those who have fibromyalgia, also have small fiber neuropathy.  Reading this article left me intrigued, and I was craving more information.  I contacted Dr. Arata, and he was generous enough to answer a few questions I had and allow me to post them here for all of you.   Below you'll find our questions and answers:

TFF: Do you have any theories on what causes Fibromyalgia?

Dr. Arata: "At least for a portion of patients it appears to be an inflammatory autonomic neuropathy. As to what sets that off it is helpful to step back and think in general terms. Most chronic illness, particularly inflammatory ones, can be traced back to antecedents and triggers. Antecedents include things like genetics and exposures. Triggers are stressful events that occur just before disease onset. These can be emotional, trauma, infection etc. Intestinal permeability and SIBO are likely culprits for what sets off Fibro."

TFF: What led to the conclusion that many with Fibro also have SFN?

Dr. Arata: "I am not sure what lead the researchers to study the nerve fibers. It likely was similar to my experience working with MS patients. The overwhelming number of patients with autonomic symptoms was to hard to ignore. I didn’t have a neurology background which helped. I think in many cases it contributes to an elephant in the room phenomenon as the autonomic piece is often neglected."

TFF: How is the TVAM procedure performed?

Dr. Arata: "It is an endovascular procedure. That means “within the vessel”. In this case it is inside the central veins. A balloon is inflated to stimulate the nerves associated with the vein."

TFF: Are there any risks or possible side-effects to the TVAM procedure?

Dr. Arata: "I have submitted a manuscript looking at the safety of the technique. In 145 patients there were no procedural complications. At 30 days two skin infection developed and one blood clot occurred."

TFF: Will TVAM also help the muscle pain and joint stiffness that a Fibro sufferer deals with?

Dr. Arata: "Improved autonomic tone can decrease the intensity of pain felt. Stiffness also may improve. Treatment is not just limited to the TVAM procedure. For example magnesium helps some patients with those symptoms. Targeted use of supplements play a big role in my practice."

TFF: How long have you been performing the TVAM procedure?

Dr. Arata: "I have treated approximately 200 patients with TVAM over the last year."

TFF: How many Fibro patients have you done this procedure on, and what is your success rate thus far?

Dr. Arata: "All treated patients have autonomic dysfunction. Associated conditions are quite diverse. There have been about a dozen with Fibro. Response is seen in most but can vary in intensity. The patient with Fibro last week responded quite well."

TFF: Do the affects of the procedure last a lifetime, or is it something that needs to be done every so often?

Dr. Arata: "With such a new procedure it is very difficult to say much about durability. Treatment improved fatigue and cognition best. These two symptoms make lifestyle changes very difficult. I firmly believe the best treatment for any chronic disease is lifestyle. You have to be able to transform yourself and thats a tall order when you are seriously fatigued."

TFF: I had read that you are the only doctor currently performing the TVAM procedure. Are there any plans to educate other physicians on the procedure, to where this becomes a widely offered treatment?

Dr. Arata: "I will be speaking to physicians in Sicily in March. There is a group of Italian physicians who have been involved with CCSVI and similarly were troubled by the theory. They also concluded that the treatment response had to be something other than relief of vessel obstruction. I am very excited to share ideas with them."

TFF: Approximately how much is the procedure? Are insurance companies covering the cost, or is it all out of pocket?

Dr. Arata: "Most insurance companies are covering treatment so in many cases the out of pocket expense is very little. It really depends upon an individuals plan."

TFF: If someone travels out of state to come to you for the procedure, how long would they need to plan to be there?

Dr. Arata: "Consultation, treatment and follow up occur over three days. A day of travel on each end may be required depending on local."

TFF: If you have any research data supporting your work and would be willing to link it, I'd be happy to include that.

Dr. Arata: "I have one publication in print so far. Several others are currently under editorial review. This article describes the treatment effect on blood pressure. BP serves as a marker of sympathetic tone. It was the first objective evidence of treatment response. Click HERE to see the publication in print.

 Dr. Arata is the primary care physician and co-founder of Synergy Health, a medical center located in Newport Beach, CA. Dr. Arata has been at the forefront of research efforts focused on establishing the link between neurodegenerative disease and autonomic dysfunction. I'd like to thank Dr. Arata again, for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Photo Books Make Awesome Gifts! Here's Some Promo Codes From Picaboo!

  • 50% Off Holiday Cards and free shipping with code CARDS4YOU!
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Disney On Ice: Passport To Adventure Review

Last night, my family was lucky enough to see the opening performance of Disney On Ice: Passport To Adventure, at the Huntington Center in Toledo, OH.  We were all so excited to go to this, and we certainly were not disappointed!  We all had the most family fun that we've had in a very long time!

Here's a picture of my 2yr 4.5 month old granddaughter waiting on the show to start:

She wasn't sure what to think, while waiting.  Once the show got started though, that all changed in an instant!  She kept saying "It's my bithday!" lol.  I'm not sure why, but we couldn't convince her otherwise.  When the show started, she insisted on standing for almost the entire performance.  She'd holler "Oooh!" and point all excited to the characters.  Everytime she'd see Donald and Daisy duck she'd holler "A duck!" lol.  

Shortly after opening, a group of monkeys started creeping across the top of the stage, to make their way down the staircase and onto the ice.  Little Miss Leah noticed this before any of us and sharply drew in her breath while pointing and saying "Wook!  Wook Grandma!".  She was just completely mesmerized by the entire show!

The skaters were friendly, waving and touching the hands of children whenever they could.  Of course, Leah thought that they were waving to her personally each time lol.  Every character out there quickly became her "best friend"!  

The entire show was just complete magic!  From the skaters graceful performaces, to the costumes, props, and special effects, it was all perfect!  With The Little Mermaid, the use of bubbles falling from the sky made you feel as if you really were in an under-the-sea adventure.  Tink's fairy wand sprinkled real magic fairy dust, and Peter Pan really flew!  Even my daughter had a wonderful time, and thanked me three or four times for taking her.

Every time Leah see's a commercial on tv for Disney parks, she says "I want that".  Disney On Ice: Passport to adventure was a wonderful alternative!  I can't say enough good things about the show.  Thank you Disney On Ice for helping us to create some awesome memories that will last a lifetime!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Blogger Giveaway Opportunity! HP 2000-2d62NR 15.6" Laptop Computer - Black Licorice $529 + 1 year insurance (total prize value $588)

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Blogger Giveaway Opportunity - Samsung Galaxy 3 10.1 16GB White + 1yr Insurance

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Samsung - Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 - 16GB - White Value $399 plus one year insurance (total prize value $458)


-FREE Link with announcement (Twitter or Pinterest)

-Giveaway date:   Feb. 28 - March 21, 2014  (Closing Feb 19, 2014)

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10 Links  (no google links)
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Calling All Bloggers! Keuring Giveaway Signup!


Keurig Vue V700 Brewing System Value $149

Bonus variety box includes:
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  • 1 CafĂ© Escapes Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa
  • 1 Celestial Seasonings® Sleepytime Herbal Tea
  • 1 Celestial Seasonings® Southern Sweet Iced Tea
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Riiviva Microderm Kit Giveaway

This is a short, quick little giveaway.  Just in time for the holidays, as this would make an awesome gift!  Heck, maybe you'd like to keep it for yourself even.

Sposored by:

Hosted by:

One Lucky winner will win 

The first and only FDA-registered handheld rechargeable microdermabrasion tool available for home-use. Riiviva Face, via a gentle diamond tipped abrasion, resurfaces the outermost layer of skin. Then, using a small vortex vacuum, it cleans away unwanted dead skin cells. I wish everyone the best of luck! Please share this awesome giveaway with your family and friends!

Riiviva will have a  4-day sale event, ofering 30% off our entire store, free shipping

Novermber 23 to 29

US and Canada resident

All entries are optional

We appreciate the support of our sponsor, please show your support by following them on their social medias pages.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The Fibro Frog is not responsible for the awarding of the prize.  Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.  If you have any questions about this giveaway, please email the host at nysavingspecials@gmail.com

Friday, November 22, 2013

Stress + Fibro = Disaster

As you can see from the photo above, a ton of the symptoms of stress overlap symptoms of Fibromyalgia.  Therefore, when one gets overly stressed, a person is hit doubly hard with these symptoms.  Let me just tell you how true this rings!

I'm an only child, and I'm extremely close to my parents.  My mom turned 70 years old March 25th of this year, although you'd never know it by looking at her, talking to her, or watching her walk around.  This woman puts me to shame in how fast and effortlessly she walks, and how she works!  Her biggest complaint had been back pain.  She'd tried various treatments and none helped so elected to have surgery.

I'm not going to lie, surgery scares the beejeezus out of me.  When it came to my 70yr old mom, it really scared me!  Yes, she had been in fairly good health, but she was 70!  Factor in that the surgery was supposed to take around 4 hours and I really didn't like the idea.  

They were going to remove her L2-5 and put fake ones in, or something.  I really don't remember how/what they were doing once they took those out.  They were going to give her a lovely dose of Propofol, then position her on her side.  They were making two incisions and going in first through the bottom of her ribs.  Once done, they were going to flip her over to her stomach, and make an incision in her back to finish up.  They said she'd be inpatient for a couple of days, then come home.

I had such a bad feeling about this surgery.  No, make that a horrible feeling of dread concerning this surgery.  I normally don't say anything about other people's choice of health care, but I actually begged her on a couple different occassions to not have it done.  I told her at her age, just to eat pain pills every 6 hours if she had to, but to please cancel the surgery.

When it became clear that the surgery was going to be a go despite my best efforts, I just kept telling myself that I was being silly.  That I was being irrational and allowing my own fears to cloud my better judgement.  I kept telling myself she'd be fine.   She kept telling me that she'd be fine.

Here's a picture of her taken at my house on Oct. 22nd, exactly one week before she was to have the surgery.  *Please ignore my back wall that needs the drywall replaced - but feel free to oogle over my beautiful granddaughter that my mom was snuggling!*

I was insistant that I be at the hospital during her surgery.  She had to be there by 6am, so I spent the night before with them at their house.  I was so nervous and worried about the surgery that I couldn't sleep that night.  Not with taking a Zanaflex and an Ambien.  It just wasn't happening.  I tossed, and I turned, and I tossed some more.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 3:45am.  Sometime right after that I must have just dozed off, because the next thing I knew my mom was saying "Amy, it's time to get up".  I looked at the clock and it was 4:05am.  

My dad and I was sitting with my mom in pre-op, waiting on her to go to surgery.  When her surgeon came in, he changed the length of time the surgery would take and now said it should only take around 3.5 hours, that 4 hours would be the very longest.  I really liked her surgeon.  The first impression was a good one.  I guessed him to be around 35-40, and he just immediately instilled a trust into me.

They took mom to surgery, and dad and I headed for the surgery waiting room.  We checked in and got our little buzzer (it looked and worked like the ones they hand out at Outback and other similiar restaurants).  We were told that when it went off, we were to come to the desk and they'd tell us where to meet the doctor for a post-op conference.  Then, we were to go back to the waiting room and when it buzzed again it would mean that she was out of recovery and in her room. We'd turn it in to the desk and they'd give us moms room number.  

I had a some-what sense of peace.  I finally felt like this all would be ok.  As the time reached nearer the 3.5 hour mark, I started getting antsier.  At 4 hours, I was really starting to feel nervous and stressed.  At 4.5 hours, dad and I were commenting wondering why it was taking so long.  About that time, the buzzer wen toff and I felt so relieved!  We hustled up to the desk, and the volunteer said "you have a phone call".  My heart sank!  I looked at my dad, and he said "You talk.  I don't understand medical stuff the way you do", so I took the phone.  It was a nurse who said she was in the OR with my mom and that it was taking longer than expected but they were just finishing up then had to close.  She said mom was doing great though! Once again, I literally felt the tension whoosh out of me.  

When we finally had our post-op conference with the doctor, he said that she had done great!  He said the extra time was because he had a really hard time getting in through her ribs and that she was really going to be in a lot of pain from it.  He said she'd be in recovery for about an hour, then taken to a room.  My dad and him joked a little, then we went back to the waiting room.

Two hours later, we finally got the buzz that she was in her room.  I was SO happy as we made our way upstairs.  We walked into her room, and I felt so sorry for her.  Her face was so completely swollen and red.  I was relieved though, that she'd made it through the surgery with strong vitals.  She was pretty out of it, but had a tray of clear liquids.  I fed her and she actually ate pretty good.  The next day, she walked the hall twice, and sat up in a chair for about an hour or so, visiting with a lady from her church, and her pastor.  She was supposed to come home the next afternoon.  Thursday.  

My dad wanted me to spend Wednesday night at his house, so I'd there to help him get mom up the steps and into the house when she came home the next day.  Then, I was going to stay a few days to help take care of her and the house.  He got up around 8am Thursday morning, and showered.  He was sitting at the kitchen table getting ready to take his insulin shot, and I was sitting in the living room drinking a cup of coffee.  The phone rang.  It was 8:40am.  It was the hospital.  They said that my mom "had taken a turn for the worse, and was just moved to ICU".  What?!  Are you kidding me?!  She was supposed to be coming home ...why in the he!! was she in ICU?  As dad quickly got his shot, I called all of my kids and told them I didn't know what happened, but that Grandma was in ICU.  

When dad and I walked into the ICU room, a nurse was in there.  She explained that my moms bowels had stopped working, which was common after surgery due to the pain meds, but that it had made her vomit and she'd aspirated the vomit.  My mom couldn't hardly breathe.  They had her on a bi-pap machine.  She had a temp of 103.something ...I was in such shock that I don't remember what the *point* something was.  Another nurse came in with two ice packs, which they packed under each of her arms.  If you stood by her and said her name, she'd open her eyes but for the most part, she was just asleep.  

Within an hour of dad and I arriving, my youngest daughter, her boyfriend, and my oldest son had arrived.  When I got the call that they were almost to the hospital, I went downstairs to wait on them, to take them to her room.  I wanted to talk to them, and warn them that she had an NG tube down her nose, and that she was on the bi-pap machine.  I tried to carefully explain exactly what bi-pap was, and told them that even though the machine was kind of loud, not to let it scare them.  I was a mess myself, but I knew I had to be strong for them and not let them know that I was actually petrified.  Even when my daughter welled up with tears, I held it together!

My oldest son is a combat engineer in the Army Reserves, a team leader for urban breeching and demolition, has one semester of college then the academy and then he'll have his degree in criminal justice and be a cop, and he's an MMA cage fighter.  I wasn't worried about him.  I was worried about my daughter.  When we walked in that room, he stood there looking at my mom from the doorway for about 5 minutes, then I saw the tears well up in his eyes and he left the room.  I knew he went to the bathroom to try and pull himself together.  He was back in a few minutes.  About 10 minutes later, he left the room again.  This time I followed him out.  He was doing all he could to keep from crying.  All he said to me is "I hate that machine!".  I told him I was sorry, and that I met them downstairs and explained it to them beforehand, because I didn't want them to be scared.  I said "I did my best to prepare you for the machine".  He said "Yeah, well it didn't work".  

Just a bit later, my son got a call.  He walked out of the room then a few minutes later he motioned for me.  It was my oldest daughter who lives 1200 miles away.  She said "Mom, do I need to buy a plane ticket and come home?"  I said "Aww, Nikki, I don't know.  Why don't you hold off on that for now?".  She said  no, I'm on the airline site right now, and I just booked my flight.  I'll be in at 7:30pm tonight.  Now the only one not there was my youngest son.  He was working in NY.  He was able to get home Thursday night late.  

Here's a picture of my mom on the bi-pap machine:

So she went into ICU on Thursday.  Sunday morning around 8:30am my phone rang.  It was my dad.  His voice was soft and kind of defeated sounding, when he said "Hey Amy, your mom has taken a turn for the worse.  They're going to put her on life support.  I don't know, it doesn't look very good.  They're getting ready to put her on life support right now".  I said "Ok dad, we'll be right there".  I had just talked to my oldest daughter about 10 minutes prior and she was going to go to church with her Aunt, Uncle and cousins, then she was going to pick me up to go to the hospital with her.  I quickly called her, hoping she hadn't arrived at the church yet.  She was riding with her Uncle.  They were in the parking lot and he handed her his keys and said "GO!".  I told her not to back track and pick me up that we were heading out the door.  

We live about 45 minutes from the hospital, and we drove so, so fast to get there.  Thankfully we didn't wreck or get pulled over!  We stepped off the elevator into the ICU waiting room, and my dad and daughter were sitting there.  We walked up to them and hadn't been talking to them for more than a few minutes, when the doctor came out and asked us to come with him.  He took us to the nurses station and told us "The vent is in place.  We have your wife sedated.  She's in a medically induced coma. Don't ask me what happens next, because I honestly don't know.  Your wife is in very critical condition.  We'll do all we can for her, but ultimatel we're not God".  I don't know why I took offense to that last statement he made, because it's true.  It was all in God's hands.  But I did take offense to it at the time and it angered me.  I don't know for sure, but I imagine that it was due to the fact that an ICU doc had pretty much just told us that my mom could die.  He didn't leave much hope in his statements or his voice.  I was more scared than I've ever been in my entire life.  Still, I didn't show it.  I kept it together.  I still hadn't even allowed myself to cry since this all happened.  

I knew, from my limited medical background that a lot of times when someone my moms age, who has aspirate pneumonia, is put on a vent they never come off.  That they die.  I also knew that the longer someone is on a vent, the harder it is to get them off.  I was so scared.  So emotionless.  I felt so damn helpless, that I just didn't know what to do.  

The nurses kept telling me that even though my mom couldn't respond or open her eyes, that she could still hear us.  I kept telling her that I loved her and I needed her and not to give up.  I said "You FIGHT!" and she cracked her eyes open and nodded her head "yes" at me.  Then, she started fighting through her sedation.  They kept giving her more and more and she still wouldn't calm down.  They tried different combinations.  She still was so restless.  Her arms were restrained so that she wouldn't accidentaly pull the vent out (they had been from the moment the vent was placed).  Even with her eyes shut, she'd jerk her arms trying to get them free.  She'd thrash her head around, side to side and jerk her legs.  I hated it.  

Tuesday was the worst.  When she'd have her eyes open, she'd try to mouth stuff to me.  I couldn't begin to make it out with a vent in her mouth.  The nurses had cautioned us to try to keep her from trying to talk, because it could damage her vocal chords.  At one point I said "Mom, don't try to talk.  It'll hurt your vocal chords and we can't have that because when you get better and get out of here we have to go to church so you can sing with your pretty voice".  She looked at me and shook her head "no".  It was the first time she'd done that.  I said "YES.  You're going to get better and get out of here.".  She shook her head no at me again.  I said "Yes mom, you keep fighting" and she shook her head no then finally closed her eyes again.

I can't begin to tell you how hard that day was.  I was beat mentally.  My daughter took two photos of mom that day.  When I got home that night, I finally felt defeated.  I had finally lost my hope.  I pulled those two pics up on my computer and sat here looking at them.  For the first time, I allowed a couple of tears to run down my face.  I still didn't break down and cry, but I did shed a couple of tears. I was just completely mentally done.  The more I looked at those photos, the more I was convinced that she was going to die. Especially since it seemed as if she'd lost her will to live too that day.  She'd lost her fight.

Here's the two photos of her on the vent:

Looking at this pic still really bothers me. I feel like I could cry right now.

Wednesday morning I awoke early to get around for the hospital.  My oldest daughter picked me up, and I suppose she had started to lose hope too from the day before, because on the way to the hosptial she gently made a remark to me about "You know, as much as I don't want to say this, grandma may not get better".  I agreed with her and it was a quiet, somber ride to the hospital.  We walked down the ICU hall and turned to go into my moms room, and there she was laying on her side ...her arms were not restrained ...and she flipping waved to us!!  I couldn't believe my eyes!  My dad looked at us and in a cheery voice said "Your mom is a lot better!  They might take the vent out!".  

The vent came out around noon that day.  It was amazing!!  Just over 24 hours later, she was sitting up in a chair, with a food tray eating!  Here's a picture of her.  I still can not believe the difference in her from the picture above, to the picture below in just over a 24 hour time frame!!

That Friday afternoon, after 8 days in ICU and a little over 3 of those days on life support, my mom was moved to a regular floor.  That Sunday morning, after a 12 day hospital stay that was supposed to be a 2 day hospital stay, she was released and came home!!  I was at her house waiting on her to get home, and stayed last week to help her.  She's still weak.  She doesn't have good control of her right leg.  She came home on 2 liters of O2 24 hours a day, and she still coughs a bit.  She fell around 2am this morning, loosing her balance when she tried to flush the toilet.  But she's alive.  She's home.   I'm lucky enough to still have my mom in my life.  

I held everything together from October 29th to current, and yesterday my flight or fight reflex finally kicked off.  Which, has left me in one of the worst flares I've ever had in my entire life.  My neck, back, and shoulders hurt so bad that I can't even describe it.  I'm in so much pain, that I'm about to cry.  Seriously.  I'm absolutely exhausted with fatigue.  I have huge knots in my muscles and my head hurts non-stop.  Fibro fog is bad.  It's taken me literally hours to write this post.  I feel like I'm spiraling down a black hole.  

Don't ever let anyone tell you that stress does not excaburate Fibro symptoms or bring on flares.  My body will challange them!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Save On Tickets To Disney On Ice Presents Passport To Adventure In Toledo, OH

Embark on the ultimate sightseeing holiday with all your favorite Disney characters in Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure. Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Daisy on a journey to the magical worlds of Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Lilo & Stitch. You’ll explore the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyage under the sea with Ariel and all her aquatic friends; tour London with Peter Pan and Wendy, before flying to Never Land; and travel to Hawaii to visit Lilo and Stitch. Upbeat music, loveable characters and exciting destinations make Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure a holiday you’ll never forget. Disney on Ice presents Passport to Adventure is coming to Toledo, OH on Decemeber 4th to Decemebr 8th at the Huntington Center. My Readers can Save $4 off per ticket. Use offer code: MOUSE Get Your Tickets Today

Valid on Friday 7 PM, Saturday 1 PM & 5 PM and Sunday 1 PM & 5 PM.  Not valid on Front Row or VIP tickets. No double discounts. Service charges, handling and facility fees may apply.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Eardoc Giveaway

Eardoc Giveaway Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Sponsored by Eardoc

Eardoc The Eardoc is a natural way to relieve ear pain in both adults and children. It works by using vibration which opens Eustachian Tube and helps drains trapped fluids and ease the pressure.
Emilee from Pea of Sweetness shares a short review in this video:

You can also head over to Pea of Sweetness to check out her full Eardoc review.

About the prize: One lucky winner will receive an Eardoc! Ear pain is the worst! If you or someone you know suffers with ear pain, then enter to win! Good luck to everyone.

About the giveaway: This giveaway begins on 10/3 and ends on 10/17 at 11:00pm (times are Central) and is open to US residents ages 18+. All entries are optional. Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

  Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may be different than yours. The Fibro Frog is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Lugz Shoes Giveaway

Sponsored by 

Hosted by:

One lucky winner will win

October 4 12:01am to October 23 11:59pm

US residents only

All entries are optional

We appreciate the support of our sponsor, please show your support by following them on their social medias 

Lugz shoes are amazing, this is a great giveaway!  They'd even make an awesome gift for you to put back as a Christmas present!  Good luck to all.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

My Weight Loss Journey

I can do that with my pants now, but too bad my body doesn't look like the one in the picture!  *sigh* It will come, in time, I guess.  It's been slow-going, but that's ok ...because it is going.  I continually keep reminding myself that I didn't put all that weight on over night.  Or in a month.  Or even in a year.  Therefore, I can't expect it to just be gone in a month or two.

Losing weight for me, has been different for me then it is for a lot of people.  Therefore I'm not sure if anything I say will help anyone else.  The journey hasn't been one of a lot of exercise.  Nor has it been one of a strict diet.  No pills or magic juices.  No herbs or "hunger-controlling" shakes.  Just some simple changes in my life.

Even as a small kid, I couldn't stand to eat breakfast.  I don't think there's ever been a day in my life where I'd wake up hungry.  Quite the contrary, when I'd first get up in the morning, the thought of food would literally make my stomach convulse.  It made me nauseous.  

In all honesty, I don't think I really get hungery in the sense most people would think about it, at all.  Nothing about my body is ever simple.  The way I would feel hunger, is that all of a sudden I'd get really sick to my stomach, and I'd feel like I was going to pass out.  I'd immediately think "Oh my gosh!  I need to eat something, I'm getting SICK!".  I'd look at the clock and  then think to myself "jeez, it's 4pm and I haven't eaten anything yet today.  No wonder I'm getting sick!  -Or it may be 2pm, or 5pm, or even 7pm.  

When my kids were little it wouldn't be a problem, because although I'd still personally skip breakfast, I'd eat lunch and supper with them when I made it for them.  I would always remember to feed my kids, I just have some sort of problem remembering to feed myself! lol  Once the kids hit school age, I stopped eating lunch too, because I wasn't making a lunch for myself.  My youngest child just turned 18, and for the past few years she was so busy with afer-school activities that I didn't really have a set time for our supper. 

The weight just started slowly creeping up on me from my poor eating habits.  My body was in starvation mode, so when I would eat something, my body would hoard it not knowing when it was going to get food the next time.  Bad, bad, bad eating (or more like non-eating) habit!

Meds have attributed to some of the weight gain too.  The weight gain I had on Amitriptyline is just ridiculous.  The med didn't even help my symptoms.  At all.  I felt like all I was doing was taking my fat pill.  Regardless, I stayed on it forever because my rheumatologist at The Cleveland Clinic swore by it and it's pretty much the only med that they prescribe there for Fibromyalgia patients.  -At least at the time I was going there, anyway.  I finally said the heck with it and stopped taking it.  I seriously didn't feel one ounce different taking it, than I did not taking it.  Stopping the Amitriptyline has definitely helped me with my weight loss.

In April of this year, I'd finally just decided that I'd had enough.  I'm sick of being lonely, and knew that my chances of ever having a guy be interested in my again were slim to none with the way I looked.  I was up to 271 pounds.  Besides wanting to find my soul mate, I just detested the way I looked.  I wouldn't take pictures with my kids or my grandkids, because I was too ashamed of how I looked.  I was embarrassed when I'd go to the store or anywhere in public.  

My best friends mom had been on an extended vacation to her home state, helping to take care of her elderly mother with dementia.  She'd been there a few months, and was nearing the time she was going to come back home.  This lady has been kind of like a 2nd mom to me.  I'd known her for 20 years.  My dad knew their family before I was even born!  She called me and wanted me to fly to MD and stay with her for 10 days, then ride home with her.  I'd never flown before in my life and I've had an ungodly fear of heights my since I was little.  I agred anyway though, thinking it would be good for me to get away for a bit.  Imagine my embarrassment and horror when I went to fasten my seatbelt on the plane, and it wouldn't even come close.  I was so embarrassed when the flight attendent handed me a belt extender.  Just humiliated.

This would be a good time to say that I had zero self-esteem, from all of the nasty, vile comments my ex-husband would make before he left me.  -He left me 2 months after my diagnosis was confirmed at The Cleveland Clinic, siting my health issues as being "too stressful" for him.  There's a whole blog post on here from last year about chronic illness ending in divorce for me.  The airplane seatbelt ordeal?  Yeah, it tanked me to about -100 on the self-esteem scale.  

After I'd been at the house for about a day, Sara said to me "Amy, we're going on a diet.  I have a lot of weight to lose, and so do you.  I'm worried about you being so heavy with the health conditions you already have.  I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm saying it because I love you."  I knew she was right.  I didn't want to be fat anymore.  Well, she was pretty strict on the diet thing.  Now don't get me wrong, I was stuffed.  I never ever went hungry.  But she forced me to eat.  She'd allow me 30-45 minutes to get woke up, then no matter how much I protested, she forced me to eat breakfast.  She hates carbs, and was a strict carb natzy, but I had all of the protein, veggies, and fruits that I could ever want.  

Sara started me off on this weight loss adventure.  She was so afraid that I'd go back to my old habits once I returned home.  I didn't though.  I admit that I'm not nearly as strict on carbs as she was, but I do eat a higher protein - lower carb diet.  I do (most days anyway) eat at least 3 meals a day and try to eat a snack or two.  I've been really bad the past few days though, and haven't been eating enough.  I haven't been eating breakfast.  I'm so incrediably proud though, of every pound that I've lost, that I will start forcing enough food (including breakfast) down my throat.  The weight loss kicked off with Sara on April 25th of this year.  I've noticed that every so often I start to fall back into the non-eating trap, but once I realize it I pull myself back up and start making sure I eat again.

I didn't exercise at all before.  I still don't exercise very much, because between my low lung function with the COPD, the pain my arthritis causes me, and the every day pain and fatigue of fibro, I just can't do much.  I do, do some now though.  I can only make it on my exercise bike for 2-3 minutes at a time.  If I possibly can that day, I ride it though.  On a really good day, I'll do it twice a day.  Some days instead of riding the bike, I walk around the block.  Again, on a good day, I'll do it twice a day.  Just recently, I started doing Zumba.  I do it here at home, using YouTube. I searched "beginning Zumba routines" and I have a few saved to a favorites list.  Right now, I can only make it through 2 songs in a row.  It's just a little over 7 minutes to complete them.  If I can, I do it twice a day.  Some days, I can't do it at all.  I figure that when you're as obese as I was (and still am), that any movement or exercise is better than no movement or exercise.  I'm not going to let it discourage me, because soon those 7 minutes will turn into 10 minutes.  Then 15 minutes. Then 30 minutes.  Then before I know it, I'll be able to do the whole 60 minute work out.  

I researched a lot about this food thing, since it's my biggest problem.  I learned that I don't have to gag down a big breakfast.  As long as I eat something as soon as I physically can after getting up, that it's ok.  The dietician I went to, told me even if it's a handful of dry cereal that's still enough to start my metabolism for the day.  I've also learned about all of the anti-oxidents in strawberries and blueberries.  After my breakfast, whatever it may be that day, I try within an hour or two, to go make a big huge glass of homemade fruit smoothie.  I use a handful of whatever frozen fruit I have on hand.  I make sure that I use either strawberries or blueberries in it, mixed with at least one other type of frozen fruit that I've picked up.  I add about 1/2 cup of plain yogurt to it, along with some honey to sweeten it, and either some juice or skim milk.  I pour it into a quart sized glass and I sip on it for a few hours.  -I've never been able to drink things very fast.  Within an hour or two after making the smoothie (usually I still have some left in my glass) I try to eat something for lunch.  Sometimes a low-fat turkey or ham sandwich, sometimes a salad, sometimes a couple eggs scrambled with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese and some red & green bell peppers added in.  I keep my smoothie sitting there and usually "snack" on it between lunch & supper until it's gone.  

I don't add sugar to anything anymore except for one cup of coffee in the mornings.  I have to have it sweetened, and I refuse to use any type of artificial sweetner.  My rheumatologist at The Cleveland Clinic told me that artifical sweetner had been proven to cause more pain in fibro patients so to avoid it at all costs.  After that cup of coffee in the mornings, all I drink the rest of the day and night is ice water.  I've found in my research that the ice in the water helps you to burn more calories.  They say that your body uses more calories because it has to heat the water back up to normal body temperature, so the colder the better.  I've also learned that fresh lemon juice also helps to burn fat, as does cayenne pepper.  So, I try to always have fresh lemons in the refridgerator, and I cut & squeeze a couple of wedges into every glass of water.  I try to add cayenne pepper sauce to a lot of my food.  

Really, this is about all I've done to lose my weight.  I don't count carbs ...I just try to be conscience and not eat a lot of them.  I don't weight or measure my food.  When I found out that a lot of my weight problem was because I don't eat enough food, I was kind of mind-blown.  I'll be honest, I still don't usually eat as much in a day as I truly should.  I tried keeping track of everything I ate in a day for a couple weeks, and it was pure torture to try and hit the numbers that I was supposed to hit for a day.  -The calories, the protein, the carbs, the sodium, etc.  I kept track of all of it.  I was so full and it was honestly tiring trying to take in as much as I was truly supposed to.  It's just mind-blowing!

So, I've lost 39 pounds now since April 25th.  It's slow going, but it's going.  Every pound shed gives me back just a tiny bit of self-esteem.  Every pound shows me that I'm in control of this thing. Not the other way around.  Every pound, makes me a little more proud of myself.  I ran across a few photos of me earlier this month, that had been taken in January of this year.  I truly didn't realize what 30-some pounds lost looked like until I saw myself in January.  I seriously almost bawled at what I had looked like.  I made a college to show myself then, and show myself now.  That's the picture that's below.  I'm sure when I lose another 30-some pounds and college that pic with my current pic, I'll be just as blown away.  I will not ever give up.  One day, maybe a year or so from now even, I'll be back down to a healthy weight.  I'm not in a rush, I look at every single pound as a victory!  Thanks for getting me started on this Sara.  I'll always be grateful, and I'll always love you!