My Foggy Brain… Awarded Healthline’s Best Fibromyalgia Blog of the Year Award!!

It’s an amazing honor. I checked my blog over the week-end and I noticed my stats were off the charts… My initial thought was that the spam was completely out of control. As I took a closer look at the referrals,  I realized that http://www.healthline.com awarded my blog one of the best of 2014… for the 3RD YEAR IN A ROW!!!! WOOHOO!!!! It’s awesome. It’s amazing. It’s super cool. It’s so many things to me, I can’t believe it. I’m honored.

Please take a moment to visit all the blogs awarded this year: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-fibromyalgia-blogs#1

Thank you for supporting me all these years.

15 Best Fibromyalgia Blogs of the Year

15 Best Fibromyalgia Blogs of the Year

“Frozen” in Time… A Day to Remember…

This past week-end, I did something unbelievable… I went to see a movie with my mom and my daughter. I never imagined this was a possibility. I can’t remember the last time I went to see a movie with my mom. Her vision has declined over the years and she has never been a “go to the movie” type of person (unless we go WAY back to the drive-in days). So I’m sitting at dinner with my family last week and I hear my mom and Kiyomi talking… my mother is telling Kiyomi she’d go see this movie with her… I thought I was hearing things. No WAY did she just tell Kiyomi she’d go INSIDE a movie theatre and watch a movie. What? I stopped asking to see a movie with her because she was always worried about not being able to see. This was an opportunity I was not going to miss out on.

frozen

So … on Sunday, my girlfriend, my mom, my daughter and I all went to see Frozen. I honestly had no idea what I had signed up for. I hadn’t really seen previews and had no clue what the movie was about. I was really nervous about getting my mom inside the theatre and seated so we went early (or we attempted to go early but the theatre box office and doors were very late opening). The theatre near my parent’s house was perfect. In fact everything worked out perfect! The handicap parking was literally yards from the entrance… the handicap seating was perfect… the popcorn was awesomely delicious… I was sitting behind her and Kiyomi during the movie and I would keep looking to make sure she was okay… it was a little emotional, if I’m being honest (which I always am when I blog!). Seeing my mom and Kiyomi sitting next to each other watching the movie was a beautiful thing. Just seeing my mom enjoying herself as she watched the movie… well, like I said, I was a little emotional. I wanted to bottle it up so I could remember the moment… the feeling… forever. AND let me tell you what made that day so… welllll… the only word that describes it is… PERFECT! My mom said it was the best movie she had ever seen (it was a very good movie). There’s nothing more satisfying (or emotional) than seeing my mom happy.

its-not-happy-people

That day made me start to think… My life has been crazy. There’s no doubt I need to get back to a healthier/ happier me. It’s so easy to get caught up in the wrong priorities… to forget what’s important in life. And, not just what’s important, but what is a privilege and a blessing. Being able to spend time with my parents is definitely that. Having my children spend time with their extended family is a blessing. The fact my brother and my father rarely miss any soccer games and they make our kids a priority… we are blessed.

2014 has just begun… one of my goals for this year is to take 30 seconds out of each hour to just stop and remember what I am thankful for in that moment. It’s not easy to remember to do, but I have the rest of this year to be successful!

I hope that you all have many blessings in your life and that you are making positive changes to make you a healthier and happier person. One day at a time, right? Or for those of us that are dealing with chronic pain… one minute, one hour at a time. Don’t let stuff get you down, look for the good and let go of the bad.

Big hugz!

Tamiko

Wellness Workbook – Journaling your way to a healthier life!

It’s finally ready!!! I have been working on this Wellness Workbook for a while now. To be honest, I created it over a year ago and I am just now finalizing the document and sharing with all of you. Like many of you, I have tried many different medications, diets and I’ll call them “gimmicks” to alleviate my pain. At the end of the day, what works is what most of us already know… diet, exercise and most important (in my mind)… the ability to relax and manage our stress.

I originally created the templates in this workbook for myself as a way to document my goals for better health and, as important, hold myself accountable to working towards achieving those goals. I pulled it together from all the various books and materials I have read over the course of the years, various classes I have taken, and my personal experiences.

wellnessworkbookIncluded in the workbook:

  1. Wellness Wheel: tool used to help you discover opportunities for an improved quality of life and create goals based on those areas.
  2. Wellness Plan: worksheet for documenting your short and long-­‐term health goals and listing up to four key goals in the areas that you want to work on that will help you achieve your overall short and long-­‐ term goals.
  3. Flare Plan: worksheet for documenting the tools that help you, both physically and mentally, when you are in a flare. It helps to document these so you can just flip to this page and use the tools that you know will help you.
  4. Exercise Quick Reference Sheet: there are countless exercises you can do to help with your pain, these are just some of the stretches and strengthening exercises I use on a daily basis.
  5. Reference Information: information to help you better understand how to use the daily worksheets.
  6. Daily Wellness Journal: worksheet for you to document each day; your exercise, food, pain level and how you addressed your pain, gratefulness and memorable moments.
  7. My Priorities for Today…: worksheet to document your personal and work priorities on a daily basis.
  8. Automatic Thoughts Worksheet: template to help you manage your stress and negative thoughts.

I hope that it helps you as much as it has me. Please feel free to share with whoever you feel might benefit from this type of resource, I would just appreciate if you would send them to my blog to pull down the latest version. You can either click on the image above or go to my Tools & Resources page to download the workbook.

I would also love to get your feedback so I can continue to make improvements. You all know best what it takes to manage your health and I love to hear new and creative ways to have better days.

Stay cool and keep on smiling!

Hugz.

Tamiko

Do you know the definition of insanity? I’m ready for calm…

Do you know the definition of insanity? If you agree with Enstein (which I do), insanity is… “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” These days, I feel like I am in a constant state of insanity… of my own doing, which, in and of itself, is INSANE! I am talking about a level of unacceptability (is that even a word) that is, well, it’s unacceptable. [Is it me or does it feel like this posting is in a different language? Even I am having a hard time following myself today...] So, what was my point? Oh yeah… insanity. I am making choices these days which has put me on a path of mass destruction (cue dramatic music). Oh man, I apologize. Although in my sometimes overly dramatic world, the term “mass destruction” may be appropriate, I think we all know it’s just not true. My life is never that bad. Dramatic much? Lord have mercy. Okay, how about “I am making choices these days which are leading me down an unhealthy path”. Better? I think that sounds a little more truthful (okay a LOT more truthful, give me a break here).

rottenecard_45937984_p8rdhw6pn5We have all been there. Okay, it’s true, I am saying that because I don’t want to be the only one who feels that way… but, we have all been there, right? I realize as each day passes, the choices I am making are not very smart. I said it. I am accepting it. I’m not proud, but it hasn’t always been like this. On the roller coaster that I feel my life tends to be, right now I’d say I’m going down… almost hitting the bottom. It’s time for me to get my shit together and ride this to the straight away so I can get the strength to climb back where I should be.

I am a little too embarrassed to tell you all the stupid shit I have been doing. Seriously? You really want to know? Hmmmm, let me think on that a moment. And during this time of deep thought, I’ll digress a moment to share something with you.

My dad reads my blog each time I publish a new post. My mom has a difficult time seeing these days so my dad reads them all out loud to her. Now, the thought of my dad (or anyone for that matter) reading my thoughts OUT LOUD makes my stomach twist up a little bit. BUT! After he finishes reading my latest post, he never forgets to send me a note to let me know he read it and sharing his thoughts with me (which I always appreciate). Have I told you how amazing my parents are? A-MA-ZING! From my last post, he sent me an email and said, “Just a thought, your readers would be interested in how you went from being in an episode and being able go on a significant walk (a miracle?).  What are the signs that you are able to make a change?” He always makes me think. I admit, at first I revert back to a teenager and my habitual response to commentary from my dad kicks in… which doesn’t deserve to be said OUT LOUD (which I know he’ll do when he reads this to my mom). After a few minutes of processing, I always realize how blessed I am that my mom and dad are actually paying attention to what I am writing. So, today’s the day that I respond to his feedback. Smile dad! I bet you are laughing just a little bit right now.

My dad’s question and my response to his question play into this whole insanity phase I’m going through. It makes me think WHY did I stop all that walking? WHY did I start? Well… I started walking one rainy day when I was really upset. I needed to get some air so I put the leash on Tani (ummmmmm reminder to the readers out there that Tani is my dog and not my child so don’t call child services just yet…), anyway I put the leash on Tani and we walked out the door and I kept walking… and walking… in the rain… That day somehow motivated me to walk the next day… and the next… and I continued to walk until I was averaging three to four mile walks on a regular basis. Sometimes I would walk TWICE in one day… what? TWICE? Damn, typing that both impresses and depresses me, given the state I am in right now. There was no miracle involved in this change, it was purely out of my need one day for some fresh air… and to be honest, nothing beats walking in a little bit of rain to get some clarity.

quoteNow… why did I stop? Life. I let life get in the way, and more specifically me… I have been allowing ME to get in my own damn way for months now. It’s bullshit… and INSANE. I allowed all the shit going on in our lives to affect me to the point I am making all these stupid unhealthy decisions. So what stupid decisions you say? The kind that take awhile to turn around… let’s see… unhealthy eating (I just seem to think I deserve some kind of desserty thing before I go to bed every night, and yes I did mean to say “desserty”) and don’t get me started on chips and movie popcorn (how many movies can a girl see in a month? we are going broke from the cost of all the movies and buying up all this popcorn)… very little to no exercising… OBSESSED with Facebook games (if it’s a match 3 game, I’m playin’ it!)… tv, tv, tv…

The worst part of all this is that the smallest things seem to bring me to my mental knees (is that a saying or did I just make that up… mental knees…) My anxiety is so bad, handling even the most normal or non-stressful things are making me crazy. If something doesn’t go the right way (translation=my way), my brain shuts off and I can no longer function. ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!

I have wasteRoller_Coaster_Tracksd enough time in this land of insanity. I’m ready to go back home. I’m ready for calm and I’d like a huge side order of CONTENT to go with that calm.

So, what are the signs I am able to make a change? Well… in almost every case, it’s when I hit the bottom of the coaster ride and I realize the state I’m in. It’s today. The signs are there. I’m spiraling out of control. My pain levels are intolerable and my mental health is… well, let’s just say it’s not healthy. Today’s the day… okay tonight’s the night (it’s still just before midnight). I am going to start making good choices.

moviepopcornTomorrow is a new day and it’s going to be a good one. I will be positive. I will eat better. I will exercise. I will turn off the damn computer and stop playing these damn games… and well tv? I can’t give that up, but maybe I’ll watch it when it’s on and turn it off when I’m not (instead of just having it play in the background all the time). The tv thing… that’s going to take some work. Oh yeah, and I’m not giving up movie popcorn, but maybe I can work on the obsession.

I am kind of all over the place today. I appreciate you sticking with me through this posting. I hope you are having a good day/ night and you are making healthy choices. Sometimes that word “choice” really sucks! Makes accountability (another favorite word) so hard to deny. Those youngsters really don’t understand how good they have it… once they have to start making their own decisions, life becomes so much more challenging. My ADD is at its best in this post… that was a slight distraction from my normal closing… although it’s true… having choices is a very good thing… making choices? Well… not so easy. And on that note!!! Time to say g’night.

Thanks for stopping by today! Stay cool, calm and relaxed.

Gentle hugz.

Tamiko

It’s Monday… What Kind of Week Do You Want to Have?? You have the Power to Make it a Good One!!

It’s a Monday night… almost 10:30 and I’m sitting here thinking to myself… “What kind of week do you want, Tamiko?”. I have the control to determine my week. I have to keep remembering this. I can complain and end up discouraged and having a negative vibe or I can praise and feel encouraged with a positive vibe. Hmmmmmmm, seems an easy decision… an obvious decision – but habits are hard to break. I choose to take one minute at a time. I have decided to start tomorrow and only say positive things, not gossip and not complain. I’ll forgive myself if I make mistakes, but at least I know I’m going into it with the right attitude. I just have to wake up and start the day right… right?

A couple momentous events have occurred, even since the last time I posted… First, THANK YOU! My blog reached 20,000 hits. I can’t even say that and begin to believe it. 20,000 hits! That’s awesome!! My second, and I should say equally as momentous event is… and I’m going to write this in bold…. I walked 15 miles last week. Let me say that again… I walked 15 miles last week. I have never done this before. I don’t think I have ever walked 5 miles in a week. I walked 1.5 miles at a time in the beginning, sometimes twice a day and at the end of the week I was walking 3 miles straight through. I still can’t believe it.

Let me tell you what I did differently than before:

photo

Views while walking in the rain…

  • I purchased some new shoes. I had the same shoes for years… I decided to get some good shoes (Sports Authority, $40 Nikes).
  • The first time I walked, I went out by myself. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a deliberate decision to go alone. I put a podcast on and I walked at my own pace. Which let me tell you… was pretty slow. I walked up the hills with very, very short strides and with my back straight so I wouldn’t put a strain on my shins or back. I took my time. I took in my surroundings and didn’t walk to hurry and get to the end, but I walked to learn how to enjoy being outside and breathing in fresh air.
  • Each time after, I kept the same, slow pace being very cognizant to not go overboard with my pace or stride. Learning from my past… Every time I have started walking like this, I ended up getting shin splints and having to stop for weeks… which then resulted in me stopping all together.
  • I tracked my walks in an app on my phone… duration, pace, distance (uses GPS). I have a couple of friends that see my activity and we encourage each other. Seeing my accomplishment in this app is very motivational for me.
  • I didn’t let the weather stop me… and I was happy that I went out in the rain/ sprinkles… it’s just water!

If I can accomplish these things… YOU CAN TOO!

So, what kind of week do you want to have? I want a good one and it’s in my power to make it happen!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week!

Gentle hugz.

Tamiko

P.S. Let me tell you… after I finished writing the content for this posting, I went to insert the picture that you see. I have been tested. It has taken me almost 20… TWENTY minutes to get the picture into this post. I am not complaining, I am saying I have been tested. So… I just practiced my breathing and reminding myself the point of my post. LOL!! :)

Day 17: Learned the Hard Way…

What’s a lesson I learned the hard way? Hmmmmmm, which lesson do I choose? There are so many possibilities.

A lesson I keep learning… the hard way… is that exercise makes a difference. Another lesson? That my diet makes a difference. It’s like I know what I am supposed to do, but my brain says otherwise. Take my meds everyday at the same time, manage my stress, manage my time… there are so many things I know I should do. So I guess I haven’t really learned my lesson(s)… yet.

I would have to say the biggest lesson I have learned is the “overdoing it” one. I am much better about stopping when I should, not over committing, holding back when I want to get something done. I realize the consequences of my decision mean I will be out of commission for days on end if I don’t restrain myself.

My perfect day on Sunday, we went to the zoo. Normally I would take my cane, but I knew there was no way I could make it from the car to the entrance without my pain making it so uncomfortable it would start the day off badly. I used a wheelchair. This is letting go of my pride to the infinite degree. I really just had to accept this was the only way I was going to get through the day and have fun. I can tell you, I was simply exhausted at the end of the day. The wheelchair saved me, but it didn’t alleviate the pain or exhaustion. I thought I’d experience less pain, but I didn’t allow it to ruin my day. I also didn’t overdo it. I had my perfect day.

It’s so easy for all of us to overdo it. Overdoing it can mean vacuuming the house or washing the clothes or making dinner. It could mean working a normal 8 hour day. Living within our boundaries is not easy. Trading one activity for another could mean working and not participating at our child’s sporting event. It’s not fair, but these are the decisions we are faced with. We need to feel okay about it or we tear ourselves up for it. I am not a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad employee… I’m not a bad person. I am someone living with a health issue and I’m doing the best I can.

The lesson I learned (and continue to learn everyday…)? Balance. I can say I’m sitting about even, feet dangling off the see-saw. I definitely have my up days … and my down days. I have learned, but the actual daily practice of this balancing act is crazy hard.

What about you?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tamiko

Day 7: TUI… Talking Under the Influence

Do you TUI? I was thinking in the car today about the effect pain has on my communication. I realized I TUI, “Talk Under the Influence” and that’s not really a good thing. I’m talking about under the influence of PAIN. Sometimes it’s mental pain, but most of the time it’s physical. I get that there are not a lot of moments when I am not in some kind of pain. I try to manage my way through and be the best person I can, but being my “best” does not always result in … well… even a “decent” conversation by any standard.

So what happens? Most the time I fake my way through conversations, I have talked about that before. That works in most situations. Where it doesn’t work is in my relationship with my family. I generally muddle through and after think to myself, “Why did I say that?” or better still, “What did I just say?”. These moments are not fun for anyone. Reacting in a negative way to a simple question or blowing up over nothing… a better word to use would be – OVER reacting. In this situation everyone is frustrated. My kids look at me like I’m an alien from another planet, while I’m wondering (in the moment) “What the HELL is going on??”. I know I’m under the influence when the conversation goes:

Me: Please go XYZ

Child: ok

Me (5 minutes, okay maybe 2 minutes later): Why haven’t you XYZ?

Child: Chillax mom

Me: WHAT? What did you say to me? Why are you talking to me like that? Why haven’t you done what I told you to? When are you going to do it? Screw it. You’re grounded!

Child: Why do you always get so mad at me? I didn’t even do anything!

Me: … well words can’t really explain how I feel at that moment, mostly I think my heads going to pop off my neck at that point… until about 10 minutes later when I’m sitting there, alone. Wondering… wondering what the hell just happened.

Talking Under the Influence can really hit at anytime. I don’t usually know I’m doing it. The most telling factor is when I’m mid-sentence or mid-thought and I forget what I’m saying or even what the conversation is about. I can’t figure out the next word. Foggy brain in the purest form.

I get that relationships are challenging under normal circumstances. Add in a chronic illness, both pain and depression, and it’s not really a recipe for success. It takes patience and hard work. Work requires energy, which most of the time is non-existent (I’m talking about never having energy… work? That’s always there!). A pretty dismal picture when you think about it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to give up at times. You have to really play the entire movie out at this point… so…. you throw in the towel, what do you have left? In my case, I’d lose my support system… but most importantly I’d lose the love of my life. Is it possible to start over or maybe even… refresh a relationship? To give up, to me, means that I have let this shit win. I won’t allow that. I realize most relationships end over issues with communication. I know this is always going to be a challenge, given our circumstances… the bottom line is I have a choice. I have a choice whether or not to give up and walk away (albeit slowly walking with a cane) or to fight for what is important and totally and completely worth saving. Don’t give in to those bad moments, step away and start over and try again. I have to keep the faith and fight (crazy expression… fight, that’s what got me into this situation to begin with, isn’t it? :).

It’s challenging to live life within the rules, dreams and goals I have for myself, when this outside shit keeps wanting to take over. I can have a great day, get out and about and have a fun joy-filled day… almost always, the following few days are filled with pain reminding me what I have… as if I’d forget. It’s most difficult to keep my head up during those days. I get angry and frustrated and it certainly doesn’t motivate me to keep going. I can spiral down that slide to the bottom of the well, far easier than I can climb myself out of it. It’s non-nonsensical. It’s important to keep perspective. What do I have in my life? I have family and friends who love me, I have the best kids in the world (I really do) and a wonderful husband. Things are tough and will be tough, once again it’s how you get through this shit that makes the difference.

I may TUI, but if the people around me realize what I’m working with, I just keep praying they’ll continue to love and support me. Keep in mind, if you can look back and realize the moments when you TUI, it may help you understand where things may have gone wrong in a conversation. Admitting that out loud to the people who you have had those conversations with… well, that’s another story! :)

Best of luck. Thanks for reading!

Gentle hugz.

Tamiko