The Progress We Have All Made… Fibromites Unite!

I woke up this morning thinking about my blog. I cannot believe I started writing this 2 years ago. I realized, from reading my old posts, that I have come a long way. When I say “Fibromyalgia“, I don’t get as many blank stares, my doctors at Kaiser all “get it” now and I feel like my support system is pretty good. Not just pretty good… Damn good! I hope if you take some time to think back… you can see the progress you have made, that your support system is good, that you can see more blue skies days than dreary grey days.

I cannot believe that I have had over seven THOUSAND, seven HUNDRED hits on my blog!! WTF?? I mean, seriously, if you only knew. When I first started writing, I remember looking at other blogs and seeing how many hits they had and just wishing I could get someone to read my blog. I was so happy when I hit 100! To have had so many folks stop by and read for the last two years is truly amazing. I really appreciate it, I love to get comments and read what other people’s lives are like. It’s so important to me to know I’m not alone. I’m not crazy (okay, the jury’s still out on that), I’m not in this crazy painful world, going through these always new and UNexciting pains, on an island by myself. I am very sorry for you that join me in this world… wait, let me be clear… not sorry FOR you, just plain sorry. I wish none of us had this f’ed up thing we call FMS. But! It is what it is, and I, you, we …. are not alone, we are in this together. Fibromites Unite! (we need a good kick ass theme song  in the background when we say that)

I looked back in my blog and came upon this letter that someone else posted on their blog. It still holds true and I wanted to share it again. I hope you all are having a great day… foggy brain and all. It’s the last shopping week-end before Christmas, don’t overdo it. Take some time to reflect on the progress you made and give yourself a big round of applause and smile. Most importantly, smile. We don’t do it enough… find someone to laugh with today and think positive. Throw the negative shit out the window, hug you family, your four leggeds and be thankful that we have another day to face the world. Make it a good one!

Best holiday wishes to all of you!!

Hugz.

Tamiko

Letter to people that don’t have Fibromyalgia (FMS) and/ or MPS (Myofascial Pain Syndrome):

By Billie Chainey

These are the things that I would like you to understand about me before you judge me…

Please understand that being sick doesn’t mean I’m not still a human being.
I have to spend most of my day in considerable pain and exhaustion, and if you visit I probably don’t seem like much fun to be with, but I’m still me stuck inside this body. I still worry about work and my family and friends, and most of the time I’d still like to hear you talk about yours too.

Please understand the difference between “happy” and “healthy”.
When you’ve got the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I’ve been sick for years. I can’t be miserable all the time; in fact I work hard at not being miserable. So if you’re talking to me and I sound happy, it means I’m happy. That’s all. It doesn’t mean that I’m not in a lot of pain, or extremely tired, or that I’m getting better, or any of those things. Please, don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!” I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy.

Please understand that being able to stand up for ten minutes, doesn’t necessarily mean that I can stand up for twenty minutes, or an hour.
And, just because I managed to stand up for thirty minutes yesterday doesn’t mean that I can do the same today. With a lot of diseases you’re either paralyzed, or you can move. With this one it gets more confusing.

Please repeat the above paragraph substituting, “sitting”, “walking”, “thinking”, “being sociable” and so on … it applies to everything.
That’s what FMS/ MPS does to you. Please understand that FMS/ MPS is variable. It’s quite possible (for me, it’s common) that one day I am able to walk to the park and back, while the next day I’ll have trouble getting to the kitchen.

Please don’t attack me when I’m ill by saying, “But you did it before!”
If you want me to do something then ask if I can. In a similar vein, I may need to cancel an invitation at the last minute, if this happens please do not take it personally.

Please understand that “getting out and doing things” does not make me feel better, and can often make me seriously worse.
Telling me that I need a treadmill, or that I just need to lose (or gain) weight, get this exercise machine, join this gym, try these classes, take this pill/ supplement… may frustrate me to tears, and is not correct… if I was capable of doing these things, don’t you know that I would? I am working with my doctor and physical therapist and am already doing the exercise and diet that I am suppose to do.

Another statement that hurts is, “You just need to push yourself more, exercise harder…”
Obviously FMS /MPS deals directly with muscles, and because our muscles don’t repair themselves the way your muscles do, this does far more damage than good and could result in recovery time in days or weeks or months from a single activity. Also, FMS/ MPS may cause secondary depression (wouldn’t you get depressed if you were hurting and exhausted for years on end!) but it is not created by depression.

Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/ lie down/ take these pills now, that I do have to do it right now -
it can’t be put off or forgotten just because I’m out for the day (or whatever). FMS/ MPS does not forgive.

If you want to suggest a cure to me, don’t.
It’s not because I don’t appreciate the thought, and it’s not because I don’t want to get well. It’s because I have had almost every single one of my friends suggest one at one point or another. At first I tried them all, but then I realized that I was using up so much energy trying things that I was making myself sicker, not better. If there were something that cured, or even helped, all people with FMS/ MPS then we’d know about it. This is not a drug-company conspiracy, there is worldwide networking (both on and off the Internet) between people with FMS/ MPS, and if something worked we would KNOW.

If after reading that, you still want to suggest a cure, then do it, but don’t expect me to rush out and try it. I’ll take what you said and discuss it with my doctor.

In many ways I depend on you… people who are not sick…
I need you to visit me when I am too sick to go out…
Sometimes I need you help me with the shopping, cooking or cleaning…
I may need you to take me to the doctor, or to the physical therapist…
I need you on a different level too… you’re my link to the outside world…
If you don’t come to visit me then I might not get to see you…

And, as much as it’s possible, I need you to understand me…

I would also like to add a personal note to this that isn’t listed above that would be a tremendous help emotionally.

Please don’t make my disease about you… .or say things that make me feel like I let you down. Things like, “Oh, I was hoping you were better today.” make me feel guilty and that I have somehow disappointed you. I understand this disease effects everyone involved, but the last thing we, as the sick ones, want is to burden anyone. We have plenty of guilt for being so dependent on others as it is, we don’t want to feel like we’re disappointing you or making you feel bad by saying that we don’t feel good. We don’t expect you to say anything about us feeling bad as a matter of fact. Just be there… hold us when we need to cry from the pain or frustration of being so limited. We know you care… otherwise you wouldn’t come around or even ask how we’re doing, but please don’t make us responsible for your emotions too. When the bad days hit… we’re doing our best to deal with our own.

If you must say something it’s ok to say you’re sorry for what we go through.. but please don’t make us feel like we’ve killed your hope.  You are our source of encouragement.

What Are Your Christmas Memories?

New post, new holiday… the last couple weeks I have really been remembering a lot about this time of the year growing up. I realize now, as I’m sure many of us do, that I was so blessed. My mom was the bomb diggedy! She is and was the most amazing mother and woman. Holidays was her time. I look back and I’m amazed and so thankful for all she did.

The house had the aroma of Christmas, the tree, the baking, the wood burning in the fireplace… wow, I love those memories and how special that time was. My mom baked and baked and baked, we would spend days baking cookies and bars. Decorating cookies, man I looked forward to that all year. She would mix up all the colors for the icing and break out all the cool stuff to decorate the cookies and then set us free. She would decorate cookies with us and hers were always so elaborate. She broke out the toothpicks to really get the detail on those cookies. I cherished those cookies, I never wanted to eat them they looked so good! Of course they tasted amazing too, so I used to sneak as many as possible. It never stopped there though, she must have baked dozens of different kinds of cookies. I remember all the dough in the fridge waiting to be shaped and baked. Even after I grew up, moved out of the house, had a child… she still continued to do all the baking. To think of all the work it took to make all those goodies, it just amazes me.

Of course baking was just a part of the holidays, my mom was so crafty! She made ornaments and we all pitched in. I have all the ornaments on my tree and every time I decorate the tree, all those memories come flooding back. We would sit at the dining room table and she would teach us how to make these cool ornaments. We would be the pain in the ass kids and she would just keep going. I cherish all these beautifully crafted ornaments, the time she spent making them is so apparent in the detail.

My mother would put up the nativity scene with the christmas lights put up around them with all the angels and the sense of global awareness. Ornaments and angels from all around the world, recognizing the importance of the season. The time and effort that she would put into the decorating, I loved it and I miss it now. Of course, I didn’t appreciate the effort at the time as much as I do now that I have taken over all the decorations. Now she gets to enjoy the decorations that we put up in our home.

I remember being at home and she would go in her room and shut the door and tell us we couldn’t come in. They hardly ever closed the door, but we knew she was up to something in there and on Christmas morning all these beautifully wrapped gifts would be under the tree with our stockings full of goodies. Trying to figure out what was in the presents and getting to pick one present to open on Christmas Eve… brings such a great feeling of happiness.

These memories are so important as I attempt to instill the holiday feeling in my own home now. I am not even close to the holiday elf my mom was. She now sits back and enjoys the grandchildren during the holidays. It’s now time for us to carry the holiday traditions forward.

Growing up we used to always go to my grandparent’s house and hang out with the aunts and uncles and cousins. I loved those days! Driving down to L.A., the anticipation of getting to the house, unpacking the car late at night, tired as hell… but so excited to be there! My aunts and uncles and grandparents have passed now, I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for my cousins. It must be so different for my folks as well, different doesn’t mean bad, just different. I’m sure you understand what I am talking about.

We have created new traditions in my family since marriage and children. We always drive down Christmas Tree Lane in Palo Alto to see all the lights on the houses, we bake cookies with our best friends and the kids make crazy sugar cookies. Christmas Eve we go to our best friend’s house to celebrate with them and our Godchild, Christmas day we stay home (like we did growing up)… my brother and parents come over in the morning and the kids open their presents. The rest of the family comes over throughout the day and we eat and sleep all day. Thank God for the friends and family who continue to make  Christmas so wonderful. My own craftiness comes in the form of scrapbooking. I make calendars and put the best pictures from the year to create a memory from the previous year.

I thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my most cherished holiday memories with you. I hope you share yours with me.

Remember the reason for this season and I wish you all peace, no pain and happiness during this time.

Hugs to all of you (gentle ones of course)!

Tamiko

whew! i’m still standing. or rather sitting. or am i passed out on the floor?? all i know is… i made it through the holidays and now… i’m getting ready for 2010!!

merry christmas!! i’m still standing. or rather sitting. or am i passed out on the floor? all i know is… i made it through!!

what a whirlwind holiday season this has been! most days i had no idea if i was coming or going. i was foggy brain multi-tasking which, trust me, was the scariest thing ever. i mean it. think of this… my family room had about 15 projects going on, you could not see the floor, the table tops, the chairs, the couches, it was absolute chaos in there… but for me? i was workin’ it. i had three 6-foot tables in that room, i swear when i wasn’t in there, there were little project angels helping me… (a girl can dream, right?) i have to really give it to my husband, he let me do my thang (that’s right THANG). he generally (and by generally i really mean always, can’t stand it, has no patience for it) hates clutter and if that room was not the ultimate, extreme definition of clutter, i don’t know what is… but he just soldiered on each day, for weeks, and let me work. i’m pretty sure he knew i would have lost my mind if he said something, but that, my friends, is support.

i gotta tell you, i had a lot going on before that big guy was comin’ down my chimney… i had:

  • eight 12×12 scrapbook calendars to make (only 3 of which were the same) so i was designing scrapbook pages for hours!,
  • 28 kids to buy for (thank goodness for amazon.com!!) – let me tell you those lightning deals on amazon saved my “you know what”,
  • one 12×12 album to scan and copy to create two smaller 8×8 albums (seriously can santa bring me a 12×12 scanner next year?? scanning a page 4 times is so not fun!! can you say 26 x 4? and honestly my husband did all the scanning, what a guy!),
  • two desk calendars (thankfully there’s snapfish where i went to create online) and
  • two poster collage calendars (again i love snapfish!)
  • christmas cards (last minute decision… snap! fish!) and
  • i helped my daughter make eight custom designed tshirts (what was i thinking…. i was thinking in October… that she needed to start, which is what i told her… told her in November… told her December 1… 2… 3… you get what i’m sayin’… her beautiful brother helped me in the middle of the night to get these and the calendars done)
  • in addition to her one 12×12 scrapbook calendar… (again, why do i encourage the start of all these projects? i love the feeling of frustration and stress all at the same time… it’s such a yummy feeling! and honestly (again) i didn’t really do anything but encourage/motivate/yell/yell/yell at her to get it done) but… her creations were awesome! i have to say it again… totally awesome!!!

and all this in the span of the three weeks before santa arrives… 80% of it the 5 days prior to… oh yeah, totally forgot…i also had:

  • the cookies to bake, which the kids did (thank goodness for auntie cheryl who faithfully comes every year to lead the troops while i quality check the end result)
  • the tree to decorate, which i did in the middle of the night one night after i just couldn’t take it anymore (the tree had been put up and the lights were on it, what was my excuse? don’t get me started… but i had to put my mom’s handmade ornaments on it.)
  • i scrapbooked an album as a birthday gift for a family member (i was really happy to have done this, this one made me feel really good)
  • i worked a little bit up until christmas eve, which i had meant to take off completely… because i was needed to do some things. it took more time than expected, but it was worth it.

moving on… i’m getting ready for 2010!!

now that christmas is over it’s that time of the year where everyone starts to make resolutions for the coming year and reviews the goals they did or did not achieve for the prior year. we do this as a family in my house. we set aside a day and scrapbook a page and each list our “10 most memorable moments” and “10 goals for the year” some of the goals are the same for each year, some are different – it’s not a time to be judged. my son is very good about listing smart achievable goals, he knows how to create achievable goals. i am going to learn from him this time. what a novel idea… an achievable goal! this is such a great skill he has at such a young age… he is very wise for a 17-year old. tomorrow is the day we will work on our lists and scrapbook together as a family. i hope for a drama-free day… i plan to just work at my desk with the family with tani by my side and get into my groove with positivity and God on my side… because that is how i plan to start 2010!

this will be a year of change for my family…

  • my son will graduate from high school. we will find out what his next path in life will be in the spring, i am going to be brave about this, but i already miss him. my best friend’s son is leaving for the air force in february… i miss him already even though i never see him as they live a state away. he was the first baby between the two of us bff’s so i feel as though he is leaving me too.
  • the company i have worked my entire adult life for, the last 24 years will be acquired by another company come the end of January. this will be a change like no other for me…
  • i start my chronic pain program in january, this is supposed to change everything for me as far as my pain. the pain team says they have seen people leave this program, literally, with renewed lives. i’m excited to see how i am doing as i progress through the program.

i am thinking about my goals for the coming year, i know all of you are as well. i am wishing all of you less pain in 2010 than you had in 2009 and continued sharing and support. we hold each other up in the good times and the bad and together we will continue to make each other stronger.

thank you so much for making me a stronger and better person despite having fibromyalgia, this community of fibromites/ chronic pain people seriously ROCK! nothing can hold us down!

thank you for reading and stay cool!

screw fibromyalgia and celebrate the best things in life!! my family is AWESOME!!!

i drove for the second time in 6 months today… coincidentally, it was also the day my boss came in to town. i picked him up from the airport, after a day of meetings and meals… all i can say is by dinner i was walking with my cane. after dinner walking back to the car my legs froze up and the pain was quickly moving up my arms to take a rest on the left side of my chest. nice. NOT! soooo…. i suck it up, drive to the hotel and drop off my boss… promptly ask my lovely friend to drive and i jump into the passenger seat. no tears today folks!

yeah well, i was not happy. in fact, i was really going into quite the mood. i had to call my husband and tell him we were on the way home. he needed to get in the car and drive my girlfriend home because i was in over my head with the whole “thought i was independent” thing. (please bust out the violins and start playing now)

it all gets worse… while we are driving i find out my baby girl (she’s eleven) is home alone for the first time at night while we are out on this driving escapade. an escapade that we wouldn’t have to be on if i would just get my shit together and win the lottery, so i could have a flippin driver instead of having to “phone a friend” every time i need to go somewhere. (the sarcasm is really heavy at this point… argh!)

i get home and i’m not happy (if you haven’t figured that out by now)… but as i walk up to the back door i see a red ribbon on the door… a little smile on my face. what the…. i go in the house and my girl is in the kitchen and gives me a hug, my smile is growing. i go in the house and walk further and i hear christmas music… and i’m wondering what is going on… and i go check out where the music is coming from… and this is what i see:

my family had gone out while i was working, picked the tree, brought it into the house, put it in the stand and put the lights on!!!

BEST DAY EVER!!!!!!! BEST FAMILY EVER!!!!!!!

need i say more??? on days like this, screw fibromyalgia and celebrate the best things in life!! my family is AWESOME!!!

thanks for reading! stay cool!

happy holidays!

tis the season… calling all fibromites! what’s your perfect christmas present?

today is december 7th and i can promise you, telling you i have a lot to do is the definition of an understatement. i am not going to be hard on myself. there’s no whip cracking (wait a minute! mayyyybeeeee that’s the sound i keep hearing… let me check, just give me onnnnnneeeeee second… nope, that’s definitely just the rain outside. whew! i got scared for a second there!), as i was saying i am on my own schedule. i put the pressure on myself every year.

i have this crazy idea that i want to make presents for people. i love love love to give people gifts. in my next life i’m coming back as santa. (to the one above, let me be specific… when i say i would like to come back as santa… i mean THE santa, not the homeless guy in nyc or any other person with that same name… i mean THE one and only the big guy that ‘makes the list and checks it twice, gonna find out whose naughty and nice’ please let us not do any funny play on words… thank you very much!) again, as i was saying, if i was a bazillionaire (this is a real word in my dictionary), i would just find ways to give away without involving all the politics… yet i digress.

in making all these gifts, every year, down to the wire… i always end up working around the clock. this is the first year i’m dealing with my pain levels being so crazy bad. this is the year my fibromyalgia decided to come and visit… and never go home (if you say it with that deep scary voice, it is much more effective and entertaining). last year was pretty bad, this year… let’s just say… prettier badder… or even prettierest badderrest!! okay shit… it just effing sucks but it’s christmas time and i’m trying not to say bad words and i just did and now i feel bad!!

so what was the point of all that anyway?

hmmmmmm my title says “tis the season… calling all fibromites! what’s your perfect christmas present?” what was i going to say… (the sound of my foot tapping does not help me remember oddly enough)… oh yeah! seriously… this is real time and i sadly did forget what i was writing… that was foggy brain at it’s best. you have just witnessed my foggy brain in action. whew! back to my blog.

what i want for christmas! geez i better type fast before i forget again… i want the perfect organization system for foggy brains. let me explain so you know what i mean:

  • something i can carry with me 24/7 in my purse
  • something i can write in and journal as i think (so i don’t forget!)
  • place to take down work notes while on calls or in meetings
  • calendar tickler to keep my work and personal key dates coming up
  • place to take down work and personal actions/ to-do’s
  • reference information that i need to keep either for work or personal
  • i would like to keep my work and personal separate

i have an iphone so i don’t need to keep contacts and i also have my calendar in my iphone for reminders… but i am a visual person i don’t remember unless i physically write things down to feel and see myself write it down… and also… if you have an app for that (hahahaha…. say it… say the commercial “i have an app for that!”) let me know, i’d love app suggestions for my iphone as well, i have tried GTD, OmniFocus, and i can’t remember what else…

if you have made something, i’d love to copy it… if you have thought of making something, i’m taking ideas…

i love stationary… i’m kind of crazy about paper, i think that’s why i love to scrapbook and love stationary stores… i have looked at tons of personal organizers (in weight.. really, i bet the total is probably 1/4 of a ton, what… does that seem like a lot or too little?). why the crazy look on your face?

this is my dream… to create the perfect organizer for people like me. an adhd foggy brained fibromyalgia chronically depressed insomniac scrapbooking crazed mom! if that is not the best description… man the next time i’m in a work meeting and someone says “why don’t we start by going around the room and introducing ourselves”, what do you think? should i start with that?

thanks for reading! stay super cool!

happy holidays!

ps. i thought i’d share some sites with you that may be useful to you fibromites/cfs peeps during the holidays:

pps. if you just need a serious laugh… (not for the politically correct folk), check out my most favorite place to go when i really need some relief from pain. she makes me laugh out loud every single time i read her blog:

ppps. if you actually read all the way to the bottom of this… i know that i could have matched my pictures to my blog a little better (like a diary or an organizer but i haven’t found the perfect one so that actually would not have made sense… hmmm), but i love my dog and any excuse to use her holiday pictures and i’ll take it… and really, it is my blog right?