Fight! Live YOUR Life!

How many posts do you start and stop before you get to the one that you feel is okay to publish? Having a blog is like writing in your diary… except I left my diary open on a table… in a restaurant… and people are walking by, picking it up and reading it. It’s scary and strange and cool all at the same time. It’s very cool to know that my feelings and experiences are interesting or helpful to others. It’s also difficult. Difficult because I always want to be real, true, honest… and it’s not always easy to be those things.

Like today, for instance… I started and stopped a separate post because, in all honesty, it was bringing me down just to write it. Lord only knows how someone would feel reading it! I don’t feel it’s fair to share stuff that is just depressing. I have depression… I don’t want to make it worse for anyone else. Then I wonder if I am doing a disservice to myself to set that post aside if that’s how I really feel. So here I am. I decided to take a different perspective on how I feel to see if that works better.

I have had a pretty up and down time for a while. Physically I still flare, I know this is not going to every go away completely. Life with Fibromyalgia. This Essential Tremor shit is uncool. I mean seriously, what the f*ck? Anxious? Nervous? Worried? Angry? Frustrated? Stressed? Basically ANYTHING that is not calm or relaxed and my head just nods and my hands shake… I have to use my muscles to make it stop. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable or even myself, for that matter. Sometimes I don’t notice it, but that’s pretty rare. I would just prefer noone else notice it… My anxiety? Well, through the roof these days. I keep telling myself… “Give it to God“, but my anxiety keeps telling me “ummmmm, NO!”. (I’d say “Hell NO!”, it just seems wrong in the same sentence as “Give it to God”. Oh wait, I said it anyway.) That battle between me and my anxiety goes on for at least an hour or two throughout every single day. ADD? Yes it’s there, but on average I seem to be managing this okay… and let’s not forget the ever-present black hole… the opening to enter is not big enough for me to fit in at the moment, so I won’t give it much real estate other than to say, fighting Depression is also a daily battle.

Oh! Did I tell you I started the big M? Menopause. No period? No complaints from me! I have discovered a miracle cream though. It seems to help with my mood, maybe a little with the migraines, feels like it’s helping my energy. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that I started walking around the same time this cream and I became besties. I don’t like promoting products, but this one has really been one of the few things that I know really helps me. [Pro-Gest Natural Progesterone Cream Paraben Free 2 Oz From Emerita] I don’t want to debate the pros and cons of this specific product, just that if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of menopause, you may want to consider trying a progesterone cream.

I am not sure why I have been afflicted with all these illnesses. I still hope to wake up one day and not have any of this. Hope… Dream… Believe… it does keep me going. We all need to hope, dream, believe about something!

Here’s the main thing. We all wake up (well we certainly hope we will wake up), and some of us struggle to get out of bed, some of us struggle to walk, some of us struggle with the fog that encases our brain… unfortunately some of us struggle with all three of those things and more… but we all start the day with the option to have hope that today will be a good day, to dream that tomorrow will be better, to BELIEVE that we can manage our pain so we can live our lives. If we choose to start the day any other way, we make it so much harder for ourselves. We have to be our own cheerleaders in life. It’s so much better to live rather than just get through another day. It is not easy, but it’s soooo worth it!

Fight those demons, the anxiety monster, the black hole of depression, the little voice whispering in your ear that your pain is too much and you can’t do anything… you can always do something. Be proud of the fact you are able to get out of bed today, that you are able to get dressed … small successes are so much better than feeling like a failure. Kick the ass of this negative shit in your life and empower yourself to be strong.

Noone can take away how special you are or how damn strong you are to deal with this shit every day. Don’t let anyone take away your power.

I admit, I got a little riled up there for a minute, but sometimes we all need a little kick in the ass to remind us that we are special… God chose us to share with those who are suffering that people with pain can and do live a good life. Now go have a great day and live your life!

Thanks for stopping by!

Stay cool.

Tamiko

Happy 2013!

Is it really 2013? Where has the time gone… I have found myself thinking about my blog over these past months and having this strange adverse reaction to coming back to it and writing (or honestly, even looking at it). It’s a new day, a new year… sooooooo I decided why not a new theme? Personalizing a blog is not as quick and simple as I ever think it will be. In my mind… “hey Tamiko, how about working on your blog today? let’s change the theme and post a blog today!”. Ever so excited, I go about starting the process and about 1/2 through… hours later… my mind is now wondering what the hell I was thinking. So, I push myself and repeat over and over, “Persevere! I can do this!”.

I’m not totally thrilled with the themes available in WordPress, so I start thinking… “I should be able to create my own.” Seriously? I sit and think about this for a bit and then realize I am over complicating things once again. So back to the drawing board. Just pick a theme! Okay, check! Theme selected… now I have to customize it. Oh, honestly, I could drag this out for paragraphs. The thought process of implementing a new theme to my blog page and how this brain of mine works. Some scary stuff! At the end, without going into all the crazy details, you can see what I’ve done. Even more challenging is the actual writing. I mean I can attempt to make this thing look as good as I want, but without content, what’s the point? I have had writer’s block for months (as evident by my complete lack of posts for 4+ months). That is not to say I haven’t written anything. I have started many, many posts. Let me say that again, just so you know I really have tried… I have STARTED. Unfortunately, I get an idea… so far so good… I think on it for a little bit… and then POOF! Gone. Sometimes, I even get to the point of sitting down and typing… usually about 25% into it, I completely lose my train of thought. I re-read what I have and just feel like it’s BOOORRRRR-INNNNGGG. So, I shut my laptop and walk away. Frustrated. I decided when I first started to write this blog, that I would not write just to fill the page and post. I only want to share when I actually have something to say. When I need to vent or I feel like information would be useful to others or when I don’t want to feel like I’m the only one with these crazy thoughts, feelings, emotions!

Where has the time gone? August was when I last posted. I have had my good times and bad times over these months, but on the whole… I must say I am doing my best to live. I haven’t had to walk with a cane much and the wheelchair? Getting dusty. Life is always going to bring challenges. The weather is always going to change. There will always be some sad days. I have no control over that stuff. I can only control how I manage my stress, my emotions, what I eat and how much I exercise. The eating part still makes me want to jump off a cliff more than I would like, but I am trying to accept I can’t eat whatever I want. I mean… just because pizza, ice cream, spaghetti, garlic bread, mexican food… let me stop… wait, just let me finish this thought… just because my favorite foods are all enemies to my body… that’s no reason to complain, right? Wellllll… alright, I wont’ complain. Well… I will, just not to all of you. Especially since you are all facing the same stuff I am. I really am trying to find other foods to get excited about. I am not quite there yet… but I have hopes! Soy yoghurt… yay! Kashi Honey Almond Flax chewy granola bars… yay!

Well, at least one thing hasn’t changed. I am still soooo easily distracted! I started out this post with an objective of taking a moment to wish all of you a happy 2013 and congratulate you for making through 2012. Remember to pat yourself on the back for the small wins as well as the big ones. I am happy when I can get out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom in the morning… lol!

I hope you have your 2013 goals all ready to be achieved!I completed my new year’s project in January… new year, new goals:

IMG_4053

Until next time… have a pain-free day!

Tamiko

Day 21: Health Madlib Poem… Captain Barbossa and My Gut

I have had one hell of a week. I have been to the doctor just about every day, yesterday twice. I have had my blood drawn three times and I’m waiting for all these results to help figure out what the heck is going on. I have found out I have iron deficient anemia. Now it’s on for the search for where the blood has gone… is going and where it’s coming from. I gotta say, I am happy that there is a valid, medically tested and confirmed reason for why I am so damn tired and having such a hard time focusing. I never go to the dr. for these things as they have become a way of life for me… this was just a very good reminder to check in every once in awhile. Coincidentally, Adrienne Dellwo, writer for about.com’s Fibro/CFS page posted up this article about anemia and FMS the day I found out. If you haven’t stopped by her site, you are definitely missing a crucial tool in your resource box.

Anemia & Fibromyalgia: How’s Your Iron Level?

It’s funny, the doctors and nurses are amazed at how I am still working and generally still somewhat functioning despite the level of pain and this new found anemia. It’s been kinda nice to hear, considering I have been feeling so lazy and dumb for the past couple months. I don’t mean that in a critical way, it’s just the easiest way to say how I’ve been feeling… and it’s true. In actuality, I haven’t really been completely depressed about this (wierd, right?), sadly I think I just accepted the reality of FMS. Maybe some of the realities of this illness should not be accepted so easily.

Figuring out when to call the doctor and when to carry on is so difficult. We are all so used to leaving the doctor’s office feeling like “that was a complete waste of time” (and I usually have a word that begins with F in that sentence even though I am trying not to use words that start with F…). I think we all start to give up on ever feeling good again. I had definitely given up on even thinking I would feel good about eating again. I always feel, for lack of a better term… yucky. I really want to eat something (because I LOVE food!) and then when I do… I feel like crap after. I was telling my husband, it’s like when Barbossa is telling Ms. Turner in his quarters what it feels like to never really live or die and he explains… “The more we gave ‘em away, the more we came to realize the drink would not satisfy, food turned to ash in our mouths, and all the pleasurable company in the world could not slake our lust. We are cursed men, Miss Turner. Compelled by greed, we were, but now we are consumed by it…“, he goes on to say “For too long I’ve been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I’ve been starving to death and haven’t died. I feel nothing…“. I sometimes wonder if i was on that quest and I took some of those gold coins. Someone please tell me where I put those (as you must know I forgot). I’d like to put them back.

For fun, here are a couple sites to see Barbossa’s quote:

Well, I should get on to what the prompt was for today since I am participating in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. (Please visit WEGO Health’s blog and the WEGO Facebook page to find other writers tackling the same topics—or sign up for the challenge yourself!)

Today’s Prompt: Health Madlib Poem. Go to : http://languageisavirus.com/cgi-bin/madlibs.pl and fill in the parts of speech and the site will generate a poem for you. Feel free to post the Madlib or edit it to make it better.

Well….. I did this. I followed the prompt, went to the website and I gotta say… not impressed. This isn’t the best use of my blog, but I’ve already used my two “get out of post” cards.

This is the poem as it was turned out by the madlib…. like I said… not impressed. I look forward to the next prompt.

mysterious dog’s mysterious dog

ccarefully i have never imagine, loudly beyond
any bed, your fibromyalgia have their funny:
in your most adventurous palm tree are things which endure me,
or which i cannot listen because they are too quietly

your clumsy look somewhere will unovercome me
though i have photograph myself as rainbow,
you pretend always doctor by doctor myself as park sleep
(understanding accidentally, absentmindedly) her beautiful flower

or if your toy be to whisper me, i and
my hammock will escape very painfully, courageously,
as when the banana of this bed gather
the beach irritably everywhere promiseing;

nothing which we are to reach in this kitchen talk
the car of your quirky mom: whose dad
walk me with the sister of its brother,
runing illness and depression with each danceing

(i do not dream what it is about you that wish
and write; only something in me believe
the grandma of your fibromyalgia is strong than all park)
grandpa, not even the caterpillar, has such amazing monkey

- sing & e.e. cummings

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

Fibromyalgia and the “Why Me??” Syndrome…

So I’m sure many of you have had those hours, days or even weeks where you have the “Why Me?” syndrome. You know what I’m talking about. You are in a flare, you are depressed, you are having major foggy brain… you are just doing what you can to function and get through the day. People around do not really get what this feels like, we look normal – yet we are suffering (God I hate that word, “suffering” – don’t feel sorry for me, I just can’t think of another word). You start to question what the hell did I do to deserve this f’d up thing called Fibromyalgia? For starters… you probably worked your body and mind for years to the point where everything finally just crashed and burned. I have to believe that’s what happened to me.  No, I don’t deserve it. Living with it is not fun… it’s never fun. It’s a struggle to keep my emotions in control. I challenge myself every day with staying positive, smiling and not falling down that deep dark hole of depression. Most days I win, some days I lose.

Working full-time is honestly about all I can do these days. It sucks. Every week I start working on Monday, I get to Thursday and I’m struggling by the afternoon… on Friday I’m struggling all day. Saturday I try to get up and out of the house and do something fun, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t… Sunday ends up being a day of forced rest. It’s a cycle that I have come to know very well. I’m pretty sure I’ve written this in my blog once or twice (maybe even three times) before. I appreciate that I have a job that allows me to work from home. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to commute everyday. I am thankful for the job that I have, it’s not the job as much as it is working in general. I get resentful that it takes all my good energy. What’s left at the end of the day is like the warning message you get when your laptop/phone is about to die “Warning! 10% remaining…”. Lately I’ve had to just “shut it down” and go to bed and try again the next day. I am a professional TV viewer. Well, maybe not professional, if you ask me what I just watched I can probably tell you the name of the show, but not what happened IN the show. I’m too anxious to read, no energy to go out and a lot of the time I sit and think “what should I be doing right now?”, yet as many times as I ask myself this question, I hardly ever get an answer. It’s crazy. I should know what I want to do and how I want to spend my time, yet each day it’s the same thing.

How am I doing this week… The dreaded question… or better yet, “What’s wrong with you?”, “What’s going on with you?”, “Is something wrong?”, you get the drift. Hmmmmm, so many ways to answer that question. Yet, I can’t come up with any new material. I’ve used up all the standard answers… and yes, I’m in pain all the time… and yes, most days I am depressed and I totally get that I’m not always that responsive. I really am doing my best. My best isn’t always good enough, I get that. Thus, the “Why Me?” syndrome. I really don’t want to live like this, it’s not a choice. I’m well aware of my mental and physical state… all the time.

What does it mean to live with pain? Well, the obvious answer, to those of us living this dream life, is I need help (I apologize for the sarcasm, but this damn “Why Me?” syndrome really brings out the worst in me). I need a lot of help. I need help washing my hair, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, cooking the food, shopping, walking the dog, worst of all – driving… the list is endless. It’d be easier to answer what I don’t need help with. I need help thinking, processing information, remembering. When I’m feeling like this, I can’t remember my name sometimes. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy because I can’t remember something… I already feel crazy. It means, what takes a healthy person 30 seconds to do will sometimes take me ten times that… hell 50 times that on a really bad day.

This past week-end I decided I wanted to do some things around the house. I thought I’d surprise my husband, who was gone for the day, and do some laundry, wash the sheets and the duvet thingy. Well, I got up and did some cleaning, took all the sheets off the bed and the duvet thingy off the comforter. Did I mention I have the easiest bed to make? I did two loads of laundry and I started to make the bed when WHAM! My body was like “OHHHHH, HELL NO!! You are not going to do that!!” Awesome. The fitted sheet is on 1/2 the bed. I’m laying on top of the bed in excruciating pain. So! Now it just looks like I made a mess and I’m too lazy to make the bed (and the real topper is you can’t even tell the sheets were washed). The best intentions… I did manage to finish making the bed, but not before my husband came home. Surprise! What a fail. I was exhausted, in pain and frustrated that I couldn’t finish what I started (I did mention I have the easiest bed to make, right?). Ever had one of those days?

Annnnyyyyyhoooooo, as you can see, I’m having one of those weeks. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I just want to express what I’m going through. I want to know my normal is normal to others with Fibromyalgia and Depression. I want people who are in relationships with people like us to understand… you know, really get that we appreciate the help but most of all we need you to support us by understanding. Plain and simple. Understand life with FMS/Depression is what it is. We have to accept it, we want you to as well. There are no miracle cures. We may feel good today and not be able to get out of bed tomorrow. Don’t act surprised or wonder why… we have no answers. Trust me, we want answers. We want a cure. We want our independence and freedom back.

Please let me know how you are doing. Share your experiences with me. Most of all, relax.

Thanks for reading.

Stay cool!

Tamiko

My Pain. My Meds. My Pain. My Meds.

This vicious cycle of crazy ass pain and taking pain medication is never-ending. I often wonder what would happen if I stop taking my pain meds, but the fear of that excruciating pain is just too much to handle. Yes, I am one of the folks taking prescription meds. I am not taking narcotics on a daily basis, I was taking Darvocet and I have yet to find a replacement for that damn drug. I never took it daily, but it did help take the edge off on those days when the pain was at level 10+. Now I have nothing.

I have hated this process to get to where I am at, but at the very least, I know what to do and my doctors are willing to work with me. They don’t look at me like I am crazy and Kaiser believes in chronic pain and Fibromyalgia and has a program to work with you. That does not mean that it’s easy to figure out the meds, it’s absolutely not easy. I have a fundamental problem with putting this crap in my body. I don’t believe the long-term effects are clear and honestly, it’s scary. I’m watching TV and seeing these lawsuits going on and the meds they are advertising class action suits for? I am on today or have been on in the past! Seriously? It’s not cool! What do I do? I can’t afford the natural path, it’s just not in my current budget. I did try it, and it is a nice way to go. I believe in it, I support it – I just can’t afford it. I wish that it was part of my medical benefit, that would make a big difference.

Even though I have been taking some of these meds for over a year, I still read the papers every single time I renew the prescriptions. Topiramate has the same side effects as Fibromyalgia! This is crazy to me. I think about this a lot. I believe the meds are helping me, but sometimes I have to wonder if the meds are also introducing their own issues. Foggy brain seriously sucks! Is the Topiramate helping or hindering?

If you read my last blog, you know Kaiser ran out of one of my meds. I didn’t end up getting that scrip for 2 weeks. Well, by the time I picked it up I had pretty much become used to not taking it. I decided to go without it. That medication was initially introduced for pain and to help me sleep at night. After being off the medication for two weeks, I believe my pain and sleep is the same as it was while I was on the medication. That was a great “pro” for Kaiser running out of the med, at least I was able to determine I don’t want to take it anymore. One less pharmaceutical in my body.

One of the other meds I am taking is Cymbalta. I am a believer of this med. I have chronic depression and this has definitely worked for me. If I have to choose between being in pain or being depressed, I’ll take pain. I have had depression for much longer than I have had FMS and it is a kind of pain that is unbearable for me and those around me. To be at my lowest point in depression and my highest level of pain and to have to choose between fixing one of those? Wow. That would not be cool. Both are so unbearable.

So… back to Darvocet. I have been having a lot of flares in the last six months. Darvocet was very helpful to me when it was available. Since it has been removed from the market, and for good reason, I have not been able to find anything that works. I have tried Vicodin – this less than mildly takes the pain away, so it doesn’t really feel like it’s worth it. Tylenol with Codein – this does less than zero, feels like I am taking a placebo. The only other alternative my Dr. could offer was Methadone. Hmmmm, at this point I pretty much am not really feelin’ that drug. It just feels wrong, I don’t know. Anything else interacts with the stuff I already take. Very frustrating. Especially with the number of flares I have been having. I need your advice Fibromites and fellow chronic pain mates!!

Well, that’s all I’m thinking about today, thanks for stopping by! I could really use your comments on this one, I would love to hear how you are coping on your meds.

Stay cool!

Tamiko