Start a Conversation Today!!

Can you believe it’s almost May? Time just continues to zoom by … there are moments when I want to implement some kind of slo-mo magic in my life and then there are the moments where I would love to hit the fast forward. The last few weeks have been terribly painful. When I start to feel like this vice of pain is getting released, another flippin’ flare hits me. Yesterday was particularly fun… every time I took a breath this intense pain just pulsated through the right side of my back. I woke up this morning and it was all gone. Don’t get me wrong, I was very happy that that shit was gone, but seriously… it confuses me when the intensity is so high. I actually start to think something else might be wrong… and then I am reminded when I wake up that it’s just Fibromyalgia.

Almost a month ago I had this really wonderful experience. I was requested to participate in a film focused on invisible and chronic illnesses. The audience for this film is all of us living with the illnesses, but it is also for those people who love and support us everyday. The creators of this documentary, Ron and Tasra, have done a beautiful job portraying our journey in a creative and honest way. The work they are doing is so important. It validates that we are not alone. When I viewed the short video that Ron and Tasra shared to give me an idea of what they are creating, I was at a low point in the day. I was laying down in the midst of yet another flare when I read their email… I clicked on the video expecting to watch a bit and turn it off (I have about a 30 second attention span), but I not only watched the entire five minutes (I know… it sounds crazy even when I write it… as if it was five hours, not five minutes)… anyway, I was hooked. I responded right then. Which, let’s be honest… that’s also not my usual M.O. I am horrible at reading emails and even worse at responding (This is me apologizing right now to those of you I have yet to respond to). A memory was in the making. Ron happened to be coming to my city (coincidence? I like to think of it as a blessing from above) and both my children and my husband were available on the date we agreed (triple blessings!). Unbelievable.

I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous and excited at the same time. Ron arrived, set up and we started talking… and talking… and as we talked I was amazed at what I was hearing from my family. This experience brought us closer and helped us to better understand the impact my illnesses have had on each one of us. At my very worst, my son was in his early teens. I realized how hard that was for him. I missed a lot of important events because I just couldn’t walk. I remembered when he was talking that I lived in my bedroom… in the dark. I was so out of it I could barely function as a person, much less a mom.

I know when I’m in a really bad flare or fallen into the black hole of depression I am hard to live with. My frustration and exhaustion get the better of me and there are times when I just feel like giving up. Those are the times when I just retreat into my bedroom, close the blinds and shut the world out. The times when I miss important events, when I let my family down. Meeting expectations can be hard when I’m feeling slight pain… when I’m at my worst, it’s almost impossible. I realized that during the worst months and years, I had (and continue to have) a very unrealistic expectation that my family knew how bad things were for me. At the same time, I acknowledge that my family had a valid expectation that I would be present for them no matter what. While the kids and my husband answered Ron’s questions, there were moments in the conversation that made me pretty emotional. I felt a loss… I was reminded of how much I wasn’t present (both mentally and physically) over the years… but as hard as it was to hear some of the responses… the emotion I felt the strongest? BLESSED. Blessed that we could all sit down together and be honest. I realized how forgiving they are and how, when my journey was decided, God gave me the best gift in the world… my family. I was reminded how far I have come since the days when I could barely move around and the doctors just thought I was crazy. I believe had we not all had prior commitments that afternoon, we could have talked for hours. It sparked an important conversation for us. So, for me, I am very thankful to Ron and Tasra for initiating the conversation.

 

InvisibleIllnessFilm.com

https://invisibleillnessfilm.com/

I tried to make this image a link to their site… but that didn’t really work out… so don’t try clicking on it… it will only lead to frustration.

Watch the video and if you take away nothing else, sit down with your family and have a conversation. What do they remember about you before the shit hit the fan? How has it affected them? What can you all do to improve your communication? your lives? I admit, I completely blanked on the technical, “What is Fibromyalgia” question Ron asked… like really blanked… but for me it doesn’t even matter. This documentary is not about learning what the illnesses are the individuals have.. it’s about hearing how people are living life regardless of the illnesses… it’s about validation.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog today. Have a blessed and pain free day!

Gentle hugz.

Tamiko

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My Wishes That Came True.

I have a secret. I have been thinking about this a lot in the last couple months. It’s crazy and I’m going to share it with you.

I wished for a dining room in my house. I have one now.

I wished for one of those windows in my kitchen over the sink that you can put flowers and vases and stuff that you want to just keep to show. I have one now.

I stayed in a really nice hotel once that had a big huge shower with a bench and a separate ginormous tub and I wished that I could have one in my bathroom… someday. Someday is now.

I wished that my bathroom would be bigger so my husband and I could have our own sinks. My bathroom is now almost bigger than my bedroom was before.

I wished that we could have a room with a sliding glass door that I could walk outside and look to the sky. I have that now.

I wished for a backyard that I could go outside and work. I have that now.

I wished for a backyard with lots of seating for entertaining and shade where people could sit. I have that now.

I wished that we could live close to my son’s friends. We are there.

I wished for a kitchen nook to sit and eat casually with upgraded kitchen. I have that now.

My kids wished for an upstairs. They have that now.

I wished for my own separate room for paper crafting. I have that now.

I wished for a guest room. I have that now.

I wished for peace and quiet. I have that now.

I wished that we had an  extra bathroom so when guests stayed with us they had their own space. I have that now.

I wished for a bigger back yard for Tani to run around. I have that now.

I clearly remember in all these times thinking, it would be nice to be further away from all the noise and traffic (not that their was a lot of either where we were). While I was quietly thinking about all these things at different times over the course of my lifetime, God was listening to me. He turned all my quiet prayers into reality. He did this in a way that was not necessarily your “dream come true” story, but I do have all those things I thought about. I have it all now. I have all the grounded outlets. I have more grounded outlets in this house than one could possibly imagine! We have power in our backyard, I mean this is crazy – all the possibilities with the things that are in this house we are living in now. We are blessed. We lost our home… we gained my “wish” home without even realizing it.

It is so quiet here. I am getting used to it. I miss my neighbors, it hurts my heart to not have them across the street and next door. The fact is, everything I wanted in a house would never make up for the relationships that you build over the years.

My secret is that God listens to everything. You never know when and what you will receive. At first I felt responsible for what has transpired, but then I know God has a plan for us. From the moment we found this house, I knew there was a higher plan taking place. Under normal circumstances, this is not a house we would ever afford or find. Life could be so much worse.

Already I know we are better for what we have gone through.

I am almost through another winter. This has been a painful one, but I have been able to work from home for the most part. This has helped quite a bit. My meds are working and I haven’t had to make a lot of adjustments to the meds. No migraines for the past month, thankfully. I just take the pain in stride and my mental state seems to help manage my physical pain. The more positive I keep myself, the more I can manage my pain. There is a definite relationship there. I do a lot of self talking and willing that negative shit away. Some days are better than others, but you all know exactly what I mean. Some days we are stronger than others.

I am careful what I am wishing for now. :) I am definitely more focused on the more important things in life, like keeping my son safe and always praying he is making good choices. Praying for my daughter to be aware of her environment and that I can be there for her whenever she needs me and that she will come to me. Nothing like becoming an adult!

Well, I better get back to my Sunday. Thanks for reading!

Stay Cool and please let me know how you are doing.

Tamiko

I Am Enlightened… My Son is Graduating! I Can Do This, RIGHT?

Being a parent is so easy… When I was pregnant, I read all the books, I took in all the advice, I did EVERYTHING right… I was soooo prepared!! Man, I am the perfect parent!! Just call me and I will tell you all the answers. I am the leading advisor on all parenting issues.

Yeah, right!!! Ask my kids, they will tell you the real truth. My son is graduating from high school in a couple weeks and last night we had our “what are your plans for the summer conversation”. I am enlightened. I shouldn’t really call it a conversation. It was more of a one-way talk/defensive-response. I mean, I’m under no crazy assumptions here, I know I am not, let’s just say your Claire Huxtable/Mrs. Brady type of momma … but on the other hand I am also not your get-ready-for-primetime-Jerry-Springer-show momma either. I am smoothly on the side of “living-with-fibromyalgia-so-can’t-do-it-all-so-I-do-my-best-and-it’s-not-always-the-most” kind of mom. I am not sewing Halloween costumes or baking cookies or to be frank, doing laundry or making dinner or to really put it out there… cleaning the house or driving the children around. Are you still with me? Or did y’all quickly leave my post in disgust… that’s me, take me or leave me… I work full-time+, generally about 50-60 hours a week as a, let’s see my title this week is “Sales Operations Analyst”. I have two managers … I report to a Sr. Director of Global Operations and the VP of Sales at a hugemongous (yes I made that word up… and I like it!) corporation that is taking over the world one company at a time. I have worked full time since I was about 16. That’s 25+ years working full time, I’m just slightly tired sometimes. Until FMS hit me, I was definitely that type A personality. Now I am a type “a” personality… just give me the little “a”.

So, having said all that (remember… easily distracted)… I am enlightened. This is a difficult time for me. I want to stop the clock and just say “Wait a minute. I just want some you and me time to just chill. I know you are leaving, but I want to just hold on to you a little bit longer…” He, on the other hand, is ready to GO. I remember that time. I could not wait to get out of the house. I wanted to go, get out and not look back. This is a difficult conversation. Any words said between parent and child can be pretty hurtful.

Us. “We want you to get a job. We understand you are making money on your own, but we also want you to get some experience, have some structure, learn how to take direction within a management team, etc.”

Him: “ummmm, whatever. I don’t agree. I’d rather just hang out with my friends.

Us. “We know you are going out with your friends, we just need to say this so it’s been said… please make right choices about getting in the car with people who are driving under the influence”

Him: “I choose smart friends, why would they do that? I don’t appreciate you assuming they would do that.”

Us: “We just want to tell you our expectations for when you go to college, just on our mind…”

Him: “Why? Can’t you just tell me on our way when you drop me off in like three months, this makes no sense… I mean, why do you need to tell me now?”

Us: “You are graduating from school, you have a lot more time to contribute to the house, both inside and out. We would appreciate it if you would help out. These are not chores, these are things that need to be done, that we may ask you to do. You don’t have any chores that you do, so would ask that you help out a lot more until you leave.” (An alternative was given to pay instead of helping out…)

Him: “I’d rather pay than help.”

Anyway, I’m sure this is not drastically different than a lot of kids, but honestly. Selfishly, and I mean this, selfishly… life at work is so hard, why does life with him have to be so hard? He is so defensive and argumentative about everything that he disagrees with. He cannot discuss calmly, he just goes for the jugular. Aw well…

He was honest. He told us he’d rather spend his summers staying at the college than coming home… He said it’d be more fun staying at the beach with friends hangin’ out than coming home and getting nagged. Wow. That was enlightening. This kid has zero chores. I made a mistake somewhere not giving him chores and sticking to my guns on that one. Now any chore he is asked to do is an issue. On the other hand, this is also not so hard to understand. I would have felt the same way at his age. It’s is just hard to hear.

I am enlightened. Since he was a small child, he has been so stubborn. Very hard headed… to the point that we took him to counseling. I think I get it. Now. Just this moment. He is very serious about his stuff. Since he was a small child all the counselors have always said, “take away what’s important, whether that’s material or something like privacy, ie. remove the door from his room”. We have done that all his life. Now he pretty much hates us for taking that action. He KNOWs his stuff will get taken away, yet he will not give a shit. At the end of the day, he is pissed at us for all the shit we have taken away in his life. Still pissed. He remembers everything. So, why did he push it to the extreme? Why did we let things go so far? Life lessons. There is no damn “this is what you should do in this situation” reference book for each individual child.

In our children and godchild’s lifetimes, we have done our best as parents. We have made mistakes. We will continue to make mistakes. That is how life works. I know this, I accept this. It is painful for everyone involved. This is how we all grow.

I do know, my miracle child is smart, he is a genius to me, he is going to go exceedingly far in life. I am so proud of him. I love him. I trust he will make the right choices. That doesn’t mean I won’t worry, that’s just part of our DNA as parents, right?

Now begins the countdown… Lord have mercy. I can do this. He is ready. I will be too. He is a strong boy and when he walks out that door, he will be a b-b-b-….MAN! He’s been prepared. It takes a village and those he has been around the last 17 years have all given him the tools he has needed to become who he is. It’s up to him to take all of that and take the next step.

Y’all pray for me and give me your support… I already miss him!

Stay cool!

My Mom and I Sport Matching Canes & I Want to Tattoo this on my Children!!

If you all go back into your memories and think about how you were raised, the moments that stick out into your mind… what do you remember that relates to your health today? What should you remember? What is that you want to communicate to your children that they may want to keep in mind as they grow older?

I went to lunch with my folks yesterday and one comment the manager of the restaurant said stuck in my mind… he said something like “I like how you two sport the matching canes!” From that comment, this post was born…

I remember, when my mom was my age, she certainly was not using a cane. She was in much better shape than I. When my grandmother was my mother’s age now, she certainly was not using a cane, she was in much better shape than my mother. It amazes me how the health of the three of us have deteriorated between the three generations. My grandmother was in really good shape until her 90’s. I don’t see that for myself. How is it that my grandmother lived to her late 90’s and both of my aunt’s have passed away already? They were not even into their 80’s! As I look into the past, this is what I  remember…

  • In my childhood years, my mother used to do all the cooking and cleaning, driving us around, in addition to all that, she was also very active in a non-profit group with my father.
  • In my high school years, I remember my mom working and running errands and helping us do whatever needed to get done… her life had to be frustrating dealing with 2 teenagers in the house! She was working at a medical clinic and still doing the cooking and cleaning. I was not paying much attention, I was a selfish teenager just paying attention to myself. I can somewhat appreciate my son’s attitude as he graduates from high school this year. I was a bit more oblivious than he is!
  • After I moved out, I noticed my mom took a lot more naps in the afternoon and tired a lot easier. It’s hard to work, take care of a house, and cook. I think she stopped cooking as much as her lack of energy didn’t allow her to do it all. Completely understandable.
  • As I started having children, my mom’s health really started to decline. She had to stop driving and her eyesight was not as good as it used to be so she was not able to enjoy the hobbies she once used to love. Now quality of life was so different that it once was. I can definitely relate to this.

I know through all of these years, there was a hysterectomy, hypoglycemia, diabetes, kidney transplant, plus a lot of stuff going on with her eyes… all the while my dad has had his own medical issues to deal with.

When I think about all this, I sit back and want to tatoo this on my children.

  1. Exercise, exercise, exercise!!!
  2. Please, eat a balanced diet… don’t go crazy, just eat good foods!!!
  3. GET EDUCATED!
  4. Never be too proud!!!
  5. Have fun, tomorrow is not promised, don’t take life or people too seriously!!!

Honestly, there have been many moments in my life where I have let things get to me and bring me down for WAYYYYY to long. I mean, really… REALLY? Was it worth it? HELL NO! Let’s be serious. I wasted that time just being angry.  So as I said… wasted time! Stop wasting time being angry and get over it!

I have definitely wasted moments in my life not getting educated vs. getting an education. That may sound strange, but instead of actively learning I would honestly sit in class and just not pay attention. If you have the opportunity to learn – pay attention and get educated!! I just had a really hard time, I believe I was depressed and I let myself fall further and further behind and never raised my hand up and said I needed help. I was too proud. Never be too proud. Especially if you have chronic pain. That is one thing I have learned in so many ways… over and over and over and over again!

Moral of the story? The time you have is valuable, use it wisely.

  • Live, love and laugh!
  • Don’t be too proud to ask for help so you can use your energy to have fun vs. washing the dishes or cleaning the house.
  • Get educated, we are the best advocates for chronic pain and fibromyalgia, let’s keep pushing the knowledge out there!

Does this make any sense? Let me know.

Thanks for stopping by my foggy brain blog. It’s been one hell of a painful week. I end this vacation wishing I had another week off, but accepting I don’t. Thanks for all the support!

Big HUGE thanks to Teia Hassey for my Sugar Doll award, that has totally made my vacation week!! Everyone check out her blog, it’s awesome!

Just Breathe – Life changing experiences with tibial torsion, ovarian cancer,vertigo,tinnitus,and Fibromyalgia. My quest for happiness.

Stay cool!

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!

fibroFLUmyalgia… from bad to good

i am going out of my mind… it’s bad enough the weather is changing and every inch of my body seems to want to scream out in pain to let me know. it also seemed to be a good time to catch the flu. why not? why not get it all over with at the same time? i mean… let’s stop and pause for just a moment to think about why not:

  1. it’s not as if i haven’t missed enough time from work and
  2. it’s not as if laying in my bed 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week doesn’t thrill me to pieces and
  3. it’s not as if feeling like my head has been filled with cement is better than just the foggy feeling i usually have and
  4. it’s not as if my kids don’t love joining me in my bedroom for “mommy and me” time and
  5. it’s not as if that journey from my bed to the kitchen for my “once a day” trip out of bed doesn’t just make for a great “FIELD TRIP”! and
  6. it’s not as if the walls aren’t closing in on me in my bedroom and
  7. it’s not as if playing these same four facebook games don’t keep my interest, right? RIGHT?? and
  8. it’s not as if having the flu is really that bad… I mean it’s just aches and pains…

shit. it’s just aches and pains…. what the eff? if i thought my aches and pains were bad before… let’s just say TIMES TWO! i was not an 82-year old lady anymore, i was a 164-year old lady this week. a 164-year old lady that couldn’t sleep, had no appetite and was in excruciating pain. TIMES TWO.

this week, i was unable to walk the hall from the kitchen to my bedroom after dinner one night. it was a horrible experience. i was embarrassed. i was in shock really. it was as if i forgot how to walk. i could not lift my knees up to take a step so i just held on to my husband and literally scooted my way down the hallway in my slippers, one inch at a time. i had to stop three times to take a break it was so exhausting. meanwhile the tears are just rolling because i am in pain, i am frustrated, i am pissed off because i am once again put in this position of complete invalid. i feel the words at the tip of my tongue… “I AM PISSED OFF AND I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!”, instead i just go lay down… take a few minutes to get it together and then call my son in to watch “grey’s anatomy” together and get my “mommy and me” time in. i cherish this time together like i cherish sleep.

this is when i realize… i am blessed. let me say that again. i. am. blessed. i have this beautiful child. my first-born. he is  a miracle child, he was almost lost to me during my pregnancy. he is a fighter, he has been since he was inside my belly. he had to fight to stay alive and he’s kept that attitude ever since. he’s an awesome kid. he’s graduating from high school this year and i must cherish every moment i have with him. so… screw this pain. don’t let this shit take away from my moments with him. i must remember this moment right now, this feeling i have right now. these are the moments to be cherished. you don’t get do-overs in life.

thank you for reading! time is so precious and i appreciate that you take the time to help me as i work through my experiences through my blog. this has helped me tremendously get through the days and nights.

stay cool!