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

And the Acting Award Goes To…. YOU! Yes, You with the Chronic Pain!!

These days I feel like I should be going for some kind of acting award. I don’t compare myself to those true to the art, but I certainly feel like I am “on” most of my waking hours. You know what I mean. If you have a chronic illness, you know exactly what I mean. Let’s see… when someone says to you, “How are you doing?”, what’s your response? Me? Well, there’s always the standard response:

“I‘m doing alright...” or I may say”I feel okay…” or

I’m fine…” or sometimes I’ll say

Theatre-stage-curtains-an-001I’ll be alright…” or… or… the list goes on. All of which translates to… “I feel like crap, but I live to get through another day.“.  I depress even myself when someone asks me the question. And, trust me, I’m not saying I don’t want folks to ask how I’m doing, it’s just I never know what to say. Honesty is not the best policy in this case. I don’t really think people should have to hear my truth. In addition, I don’t want to say out loud multiple times a day that I feel like crap. I imagine it would only make me feel worse mentally. Which leads me back to my original statement. I think I am pretty  good at acting. Most of us don’t want the whole world to know how much pain we are in or even that we are in pain at all. To get through the day, we have to put on a happy face so folk see us as functioning people and not just people with pain or disabilities. I don’t want to be the one that people look at and feel sorry for. I want to be the one that is looked at as strong and responsible, caring and able.

Sometimes I think I am so good at this acting stuff, that I convince even myself nothing’s wrong… I can literally act myself into thinking there is nothing wrong with me. Until, of course, I try to live without paying attention to what my body/ mind are telling me. Those are the days that reality slaps me in the face, basically saying, “WAKE UP! Stop just thinking about right now”. I feel like I have to go through the acceptance process of all my medical conditions at least once or twice a week. I know what the diagnosis is (trust me it’s difficult not to know), but when you act like your are completely fine… you act like you are completely fine. If I acted like I was fine while also managing all my medical conditions better, I’d actually be almost fine!

So! What has happened since the last time I blogged?

Damn. Damn… DAMN! I have had tests, more MRI’s, CAT scans, many appts… I did the Prednisone thing. This was the first recommendation to see if it would alleviate the pressure/ pain in my neck (reduces the inflammation). That actually really helped the pain for a few days. I was like a new person, literally tons of focus and energy. It was crazy how good I felt… for a FEW days. Awesome, very much like when I had a epidural while in labor with my son, which literally worked for ONE contraction. There really is nothing worse than feeling the awesomeness of no pain… when you should be in a lot of pain. Only to have that awesome feeling snapped right out of your reach in an instant. So! The Prednisone worked for a few days and then slowly stopped working, but I did end up with the bonus of more pounds on my body. JUST WHAT I NEEDED! yay… (she said super quietly with a lot of sarcasm…)

I had many discussions with the spine surgeon and two separate neurologists and have come to the conclusion that surgery is definitely in my future. With that in mind, I needed a solution for this tremor. None of us want my head to be shaking just out of surgery… that would seriously dampen the entire post-surgical bliss that I’m looking forward to. So! I started a new med. I had a handful to choose from and I made a decision and tried the only one that seemed like it might work with the least amount of side effects (or cause me to have to change my antidepressant)… Well, again, it was good… at first. And then… the side effects kicked in. The kick was a big one. My depression tanked. Tanked as in I fell into that big f’d up black hole. You know, the one that has no bottom and there’s no light at the top to give me hope. It took me a bit to see what was going on. By the time I realized what was happening, I was in too deep. That feeling of hopelessness and despair completely overwhelmed me. I started to back off the meds and ultimately decided I would stop completely. The thoughts going through my head are not worth the benefit of the relief from the tremor. Which sadly, the med did stop the tremor… It’s the choice of bad or deep black hole I’ll take bad any day. That is the end of meds to address my tremor (for now).

So for the last few weeks I’ve been a mess. Working has been like walking through wet cement for hours. (I’m full of analogies today) Attempting to focus with this mental state and my pain levels going through the roof has not been fun. But! I made it through. Today was my first day off the meds and I believe in a couple of weeks I’ll feel much better.

In the meantime, I prepare for my surgery. The mental and physical preparation will take a while for me.

I know God is on my side. With all this stuff standing in front and on top of me, I am blessed with the most wonderful family and friends who stand beside me and on many days who hold me up. I have a job that allows me to work from home, which in turn makes me feel like I am contributing and adding value both at work and at home. I have a plan to address the neck pain/ weakness in my arms and legs. The future is not grey and bleak, it is in fact looking okay. I may be in pain every day and I may suffer from severe depression from time to time, but I am blessed. I do not take the great things in my life for granted.

DSC_0353We just celebrated my daughter’s 16th bday. A celebration that would not have been a success without the help from those closest to me. From the hand-made decorations, to the made from scratch awesome tie dye yummy cake and caterpillar cupcakes, to the candy leis to the cotton candy machine to the best food in the world… this celebration was one to remember… and in less than two months, my son graduates from college. You were all with me when he graduated from high school! Every day is a blessing.

40,000+ visits later, my blog is still going strong because of the support from all of you. I say it again. I am blessed. Thank you for taking the time to read this and leaving your comments and sharing your personal experiences with me. It means a lot to me.

You all win the award for best acting! You do it every day… all day long. It’s not a good or bad thing, it’s just what we do.

Gentle 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

What is Your Identity? Best Fibromyalgia Blog of 2013… THANK YOU!

What is your identity? I am really struggling these days trying to figure out what it is or rather, who it is I want to be when I grow up.

So, is my identity in what I know or what I share? Is my identity in the work I do, how I raise my children or how I spend my time? Am I invisible or is my true identity visible? Lordy… am I having a mid-life crisis?

I admire people who know exactly what they want in life … and then go for it. I have never been one of those people. I have pretty much lived my life with the Pretty Woman motto as my own… “I would say I’m a kinda fly by the seat of your pants gal, you know moment to moment.

seejanerunI have had a challenging six months. We have moved and I have changed jobs. I have been going in and out of flares the last few months. My walking streak stayed behind with the house we moved from. BUT! On the positive side, I did complete an awesome 5K with my girlfriends and my daughter and god-daughter (I walked, my daughter ran). I went on a couple fabulous vacations to Santa Barbara to spend time with my son and enjoy family time right on the beach. I also went on vacation to Tahoe with family and had the most relaxing time with everyone, while enjoying delicious home-cooked meals in a beautiful location.

I am blessed and I realize there will be challenges, I just need to remind myself that so far, I am still standing (literally, I’m not in a wheelchair or using a cane). I have my children and my husband who always support me, my parents who never fail to lift me up and the rest of my family and friends who surround me with love. As far as my identity… let’s just leave that for another day… when I have more energy (or let’s be real… when I have some energy).

And… on another awesome note… I just realized that I received this award for the second year in a row!! I am very thankful to everyone who visits, follows and subscribes to my blog. THANK YOU!!

Bestof2013

Wishing all of you a pain-free day/ evening. Thank you for visiting! Please feel free to leave a comment, I love hearing from you!

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

This is AMAZING! 21 Best Fibromyalgia Blogs of 2012…

I am sitting here having a pretty down day… not feeling great. I decided to check out the stats for my blog and the most amazing thing happened. I looked at one of the referring sites and followed the link and yelled out “HOLY SHIT!”. My husband thought something really bad happened, turns around and asks me what’s wrong (with that concerned look on his face)…

I am smiling as wide as ever… a bit speechless. I said to him “I can’t believe this!” Then I held up my laptop and showed him this screen:

Completely unexpected, this made my day… wait! What am I saying, it made my week!!

Thank you Healthline for the recognition. I may just have this smile on my face for the rest of the day…

You all have a GREAT week-end!

Thank you! HAWMC’S Most Riveting… Wow!

I woke up this morning and checked my blog and wow! I have hit 11,000 hits… this is so incredibly amazing to me. I would never in my wildest dreams imagine that people would read my blog, much less have 11,000 visits.

THANK YOU!

Just as incredibly cool to me, yesterday I received an email from Amanda Dolan, Editor at WEGO Health. I was awarded a Superlative Badge for the Most Riveting post in the 30 day writing challenge last month. I am proudly showing it off (on the side of my blog as well :) ! If you click on the badge you will see the rest of the winners.

Awesome day… surrounded by the most cool and awesome people on the internet! Thank you for the motivation and inspiration.

Stay super cool!

Tamiko

Here’s the posting that received the award for Most Riveting:

Day 2: Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most…

For more information on WEGO Health, check out any of the following: