Integral Tai Chi is My New Depression/ Fibromyalgia Pain Drug of Choice!

“My body is healthy… My body is healthy… My body is healthy… My body is healthy…” I am chanting this in my head while next to me a lady is not so quietly snoring… interestingly it does not bother me, although there are moments when I want to laugh (but cross my heart…. I don’t). While I chant this over and over in my head, I scan my body for pain and if I find any, I mentally push it out of my body. You are wondering what I am talking about… I get it, I would be wondering too.

This is the relaxation segment of my Integral Tai Chi class. It is the last 30 minutes of the 2-hour class I have been taking… my new favorite depression/ pain drug of choice. As I am laying in the dark on my mat in the “corpse” position and the instructor has directed us to relax every part of our body and told us when we awaken our bodies will be healthy. It becomes my chant while I lie there for the next ten minutes. I feel like this class has changed my life. Sounds pretty crazy, right? Well, take me seriously and find a class and give it a try. Here’s the class description:

Integral Tai Chi is a self-healing system that integrates tai chi, yoga, relaxation and meditation to heal the mind, body and spirit. This comprehensive approach involves a series of 10 body movement postures each designed to increase balance, awareness, endurance, flexibility, flow, concentration, energy and spiritual transformation. Integral Tai Chi can be easily learned and practiced by all ages and body types.

I have been able to do things that have caught me completely by surprise… okay, for example… remember in Karate Kid that crane move that all your friends growing up have done and said “I’m the Karate Kid!!”…. I CAN DO THAT!!! SHUT UP!! I CAN!!! Unbelievable… I can actually balance on one foot!! I almost fainted with surprise the first time I did it… I started to giggle. I really did. No one can even understand the gravity of the situation. balancing on one foot, WHILE lifting my arms UP IN THE AIR like that is just CRAZY!! LOL!! For all you modern folk that do not remember Karate Kid (the original… God forbid…) it’s the Crane pose in Kung Fu Panda!

I can’t explain it, I don’t get it myself, but the stretches that are done… although they definitely are challenging for me, feel soooooo good! I feel really good both mentally and physically when I finish this class. I have felt like a totally different person the last three weeks. My husband tells me he is afraid to break the spell… he wishes I could take this class every day. I think that might be a bit much. :) I mean, what is the message he is sending to me?? LOL!

For me personally, I think I said it in a prior posting, the mental effect that this has had on me is so significant… the healing of the mind and spirit and the pure focus on positivity and exiting frustration, stress, negativity from the body/ mind… this is just what I need. I sleep better on the nights that I go… although this time, my beautiful dog decided to wake me up at 4:00 in the morning to go outside and I decided to write this blog posting instead of going back to bed. I also have been able to relax enough to read an actual book… this is amazing. I haven’t read a book from beginning to end in so long I can’t remember when. I have finished three books in the last two weeks. I usually start a book and then after the first couple pages or chapters, put it down and never pick it up again.

I know a lot of you are in pain. If you are in the bay area (San Francisco to San Jose on both sides of the bay), these classes are FREE, take advantage and give it a try… “listen to you body” and do what you can, but stay for the last 30 minutes. If you are not in the bay area, find a local class and it is very possible that you may have free classes as well. I understand this ITC organization is in Southern California offering free classes (this is a non-profit organization). This particular group is AWESOME! I think you can tell, I am pretty jazzed about this… just a little bit… :) I’ve been in pain a very long time… This is the first time I have found something that is FREE and works and not a drug! nice… it’s a blessing.

http://www.css-sanjose.org/eng/itc.html

  • 30 minutes of warm up
  • 60 minutes of 10 body movements
  • 30 minutes of relaxation and meditation

I could barely walk when I went to the first class… I am walking significantly better… ask my dog! :)

Thanks for reading! Stay cool (literally! It’s been pretty hot out there!)

Hugs….

Tamiko

Who is Your Lighthouse? Every Fibromite Needs At Least One…

sometimes life is not what it seems. these days, every day feels that way to me. i am not working right now due to my medical situation, my blogger friends will know without a doubt why… but i feel guilty. i can’t quite work out my emotions. this is not a vacation, this is not time to work, this is time to heal. wow. time to heal. i say it out loud and i still can’t believe it. if i do things that i believe are healing for me, i still don’t feel right. this is crazy. i am a grown adult. i am lost.

i can remember the moment the words came out of my mouth. “my doctor has taken me off work.” from that moment on, there was no turning back. i was both scared shitless and relieved at the same time. so many questions going through my head, i couldn’t turn the volume down.

  • would i be able to heal?
  • would i have a job to come back to?
  • what does this mean?
  • how is this going to effect my friends at work?
  • what will my children think of me?
  • can i make this change?
  • how will my husband handle yet another burden on his already heavy load?

question after question just kept coming up and before i could answer another question would come up… and then all the forever questions… oh shit what will i do if something happens to my husband? i can’t take care of myself, much less my children… why the hell did this happen to me? why now? why did my friend just pass away without giving me the chance to talk to him just one more time to hear his crazy ass laughter? why can’t i pick and choose when i want to be in pain? why can’t it be obvious that i have a medical condition so people will know i am not okay? (i mean… seriously, i much prefer to look anti-social at parties… that is so much better! [btw, i just told my daughter that sarcasm is bad]  i always end up sitting in one place or better yet even… like today, having to take a nap because the pain was so bad… nice!) i know this is why many of my chronic pain friends do not go out, but that is not the solution. i want to go out and be with friends and family…

warning – i digress here….

i am watching my children, nieces, nephews, and their friends grow up and what a generation we have coming up around us! these. children. amaze. me. their determination, assertiveness, independence… they have it all. they have grown up with so much technology and knowledge compared to what we grew up with. they have access to so much more information at their fingertips… and they access it and use it with ease… we have raised some strong-minded youth. they know what they like, what they want and by the time they can vote … they will not hesitate to make their opinions known. it’s an interesting time. for me personally, sometimes i just want to scream, i get so frustrated trying to raise my children. they know what they want, have so much knowledge, i can’t battle them – don’t have the energy to fight them. most the time i just want to hold them so tight and not let go. i know they will leave me soon and i will only see them when they want to visit. my time with them will be  solely on their terms. their time with me so far has been on my terms. the rest of their life will definitely be on their terms…. how did i get to this topic? hmmmmm…. just typing and this is what came off the top of my head.

and now back to my original post…

as you can see, i am having a very difficult time focusing in one area. i am struggling to wade through this quicksand of emotions. i am trying to journal again. i thought that it would help me “find myself” so to speak. so far not a word on paper in my new pretty journal. zip. nada. nothing. the big zero. “How to Find the Inner You”, “How to Redefine Your Life”, “Where are You?”, “The Map to the Real You”, “The True You”, “This is Your Real Life”, “Your Life Begins Now”, “Life After Chronic Pain”, “Redefining the New You”… etc. all titles of books that would really help me now… if they existed (and they probably do, i just don’t want to pay the price for them, i mean,  after the title, what the hell do I want with them?) i have no patience to read a self-help book… i am just really trying to find a way to get myself to stop! write what i’m feeling down! and listen! and really… is this possible? i have journaled all my life, but for some reason, it really is asking a lot of me. you’ll just have to take my word on this one. (by the way, if you are thinking of writing a book and you were planning on using one of those titles above… ummmmm…. go for it. i’ll just take a one time cut. :) i know God has a path for me already written, i just need to stop! and listen! to Him. i never was very good at listening… my husband can definitely vouch for this. (oh man! did i really just put that in writing?)

so… why the lighthouse image for my blog this week? i’ll tell you why. two beautiful women celebrate their birthdays this week. i look to these women to provide safety in the dark for me and they have no idea how much they save me on a continual basis. one beautiful woman because she is and has been my best friend for the past 20+ years and has been there for me through thick and thin and even though i know i don’t call as much as i should… just knowing if i ever need anything i know she is there.  she gave me the very very best gift of all, my beautiful goddaughter. i would never have made it to this point in my life, if not for her love and strength… i would not be who i am without her in my life. she taught me how to be a professional, how to know and appreciate God, how to be a parent, how to be a girly-girl and without her in my life i would not have been so honored and blessed to know and love her Mother (and yes that is with a capital “M”!)… it would take a lifetime to just say how much she has blessed my life.

the second beautiful woman because through the friendship of our children, i have been blessed with the friendship of this woman. she has given of her heart over and over and over again and always ever so quietly. there is no way i would have survived the last six years without her friendship. she has a calming effect on me the moment i know she is around. her thoughtfulness, sense of humor, no bullshit attitude is so awesome! i look forward to strengthening our friendship with each birthday we celebrate.

they are my lighthouse in the storm that can be my life. dependable, steady… always there. i celebrate them. i hope that all of you have a lighthouse in your life. there are definitely a few other folks who are in this category who i will celebrate in a later blog…

thank you for reading! stay cool… please let me know how you are doing, leave a comment and let me know what’s on your mind.

take care and here’s a gentle hug for all my chronic pain readers.

tamiko

PS. Thank you so much to everyone!! I just passed 3000 hits to my blog this past week… that is too amazing… THANK YOU!!!

I Went to the Beach Today…

I WENT TO THE BEACH TODAY AND… now

pain pulsates through my body

i suffer for having to walk at all today

my legs scream in pain

feet tired

my chest is bruised on the inside

arms and shoulders

exhausted

neck

my neck

i wish

my neck

was

not

so

tense

so

i

could

relax

but that is not the case

and

to top off this day

i have a headache and

my heart is heavy on this day.

WHILE AT THE BEACH… I DID

have a nice time with my very close friends

we ate great food, good conversation

wonderful weather

i

did

relax.

i

should

have

stayed

at

the

beach!

What’s Your “In Your Head” Morning CheckList? From One Fibromite to Another…

i am running about to go up some stairs … anndddd I’m awake! well, my brain is slowly adjusting to the morning fogginess attempting to determine dream vs. reality. ummmm running? definitely dream! as i slowly go through my morning checklist in my head…

  • can i move my legs? let’s see… i can already feel that numbing-tingling-i’m-gonna-go-limp-on-you feeling in my knees and i haven’t even gotten out of bed… great. it would be one thing if i had maybe been on a 2-hour bike ride first, but this is ridiculous… oh yeah, it was all that running i just did. the top of my legs, right on that bone area… as long as you don’t… well let’s just say touch it… we are all good! maybe i should just invest in shin guards… soccer fever is in the air, right? hey, my thighs? alllll goood!!
  • how about my feet? toes are good – check! bottom of my feet are good, yes! i hate that pins and needles or i should say spikes and knives that go on for about 1-3 minutes that feels like 15 minutes that make me want to scream in pain! AHHHHHHHH!!! but i can’t complain about that at this moment… woohoo!! tops of my feet were feeling a bit of “the jolly green giant stepped on me” pain, but i can deal with that.
  • i’d love to skip that middle of the body – ’cause … well … it’s just a bit massive so in my mind it’s just best sometimes to forget about it. (“body image mom!” i can hear my daughter saying because i don’t like to say negative things around her… i don’t want her growing up constantly obsessing about her body image. shit. i hate when stuff comes back on me like this.) okay.  anyway, my tummy is upset as it always is these days when i wake up… when i am awake… pretty much all the time… and i don’t end up with a beautiful bouncing baby 9 months later either!! let’s be very clear — i don’t want a beautiful bouncing baby at this time in my life, but for feeling sick like this? you’d think it would be the end result! i keep thinking i should break out my maternity clothes because my stomach is all bloaty and upset all the time, then i remember, nope just another side effect. damn. (and i thought i had an excuse to go clothes shopping!)
  • arms…. oh my arms. yup! let’s just say they definitely are not going to be doing any heavy lifting today. light lifting is out as well. driving? not today either. wrists? high on the pain level scale… and shoulders? high, very high.
  • neck? well… unfortunately that is not a good place for me. neck and shoulders is where i carry my stress. i have to constantly remind myself… r-e-l-a-x! i do a lot of the deep breathing exercises and relax my neck and shoulders during that time because i constantly forget to relax there… pain is high. i will get up and do my exercises and hopefully that will help.
  • head? i have a headache this morning…

guess what day today is. just guess. no really. because i am in bed saying to myself it’s definitely a “cane” day and i’m not talking sugar cane… it’s definitely a day to take a long nap and rest. although i will try to convince my husband to take me to the dog park, my favorite place to just get away and relax. it is, of course, saturday. because that would be my free day and it has become my “down” day. literally. after working 5 days and wanting to have a fun day, i always end up with this “down” day. which actually isn’t the worst thing that could happen… i just don’t like things forced on me.

this week has actually been great, we’ve had friends from out-of-town visiting to make for better days and last night we had a great night out. tomorrow we will go to the beach. it’s not the usual week. no complaining from this girl!!

what’s your usual “in your head” morning checklist?

wishing you all a pain-free week-end! thanks for stopping by… stay cool!

tamiko

Expect the Unexpected… The Life of a Fibromite

Expect the unexpected… that should be the motto of our lives. Each day we wake up we never know which part of our body will function, or not. This is always an interesting part of my morning routine… I wake up and lay in bed for a few minutes and sort of have a chat with my body:

“okay feet, what’s going on… crazy nerves or are you going to be cool today?”

“legs and knees, numb this morning? can we stand up? walk?”

“back… oh back, let’s just rest a bit and then stretch out and … we really can do this… right?”

“shoulders… breathe…  breathe… release (I always have to remember to let my muscles relax in my shoulders!)”

“neck.. relax.. relax! .. oh I mean …. breaaaathhhheeeee… relaxxxx”

I have had one flare free week and what a blessing that was. I haven’t had a relatively pain free week like that in a very long time. Today is a new day. I will take it for what it is. I have new challenges to face today and I will face them and I will use my tools to manage through the pain and I will fight the flare monster away!

Today is a new day.

Expect the unexpected… and accept, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not so good. Everyday is a new day, which means every day you have a new opportunity to make it a GREAT DAY!

Thanks for stopping by!

Stay cool.

Fibromites, Do You Wake Up Refreshed? Just Smile!

It is Saturday morning, 6:30am and I am sitting here wide awake. Ask me why… c’mon, ask. Come onnnnn…. Okay fine! Because it’s Saturday and I can actually sleep in (well not really, my daughter has a soccer game and I would have to get up in a bit anyway, but that’s not the point!). The point is, it’s Saturday and I don’t have to get up at this time and it’s like flipping backwards day as usual in my life and I am awake for no reason when I should be asleep and here I am wide awake! Whew! That was a long sentence! It is not as if I got enough sleep so I woke up feeling…. and I hate this word now –> REFRESHED (Wait a minute, I honestly have tried to take that word out of my vocab… so rewind, erase and replace hate with strongly dislike). How many fibromites actually feel “refreshed” when they wake up? (could you actually feel me doing the quote/unquote really strongly with my fingers that time? because I was, well as strong as these grip-less hands would let me). I mean, that is just not something I have felt in years. I wake up feeling like …. hmmmm … not sure I have thought about this … I wake up and think about how I slept, what hurts and will I be able to walk when I get out of bed and then I try and figure out what day it is. Now as my daughter says, “sharing is caring” so when y’all read that one, laugh with me, not at me… because, for example, today I woke up and really thought it was Thursday for some reason. I was pretty happy it was Saturday once I figured it out. Still laughing at me, I mean, with me? That’s alright, that’s why you visited my blog today, some pain relief. :)

So back to my point, most days I wake up feeling tired, half of those days along with tired foggy decides to join the party and maybe 15% of those days depression decides to crash the party and bring everyone down. So refreshed never really happens. I wonder what that’s like. You know when you are watching t.v. and that commercial comes on with the chick in her all white pajamas changing the all white sheets, and the light shining through the wall of glass behind her and she just looks all clean and refreshed? She is the anti-me. I ha… oh wait, really dislike her.

It’s really not all bad, it’s my reality. I’m just saying it’s Saturday and “hellllllooooooooo”, just thought I might sleep in today, but apparently I needed to get up and greet the world. Okay… seriously, I am smiling… I really am. I just realized it. I am crackin’ myself up as I write this… I have to take my own advice, right? Don’t take life too seriously… and THAT my friends is why I am up early. I needed to wake up and get an early start so I could smile and hopefully make you smile. If I didn’t get up early enough I would not have been able to write this before getting out of the house for my daughter’s game. That’s the start of my day… smiling. Awesome!

Hope you enjoyed my post. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you start your day with a smile!

Stay cool!

I Close My Eyes…

I notice I close my eyes a lot these days…

When I am in physical pain.

I close my eyes.

When I am hurt emotionally.

I close my eyes.

When I am mad.

I close my eyes.

When I am sad.

I close my eyes.

When I am frustrated.

I close my eyes.

When I am tired… exhausted.

I close my eyes.

When I need to think.

I close my eyes.

When my heart is feeling scratched and torn.

I close my eyes.

When I feel disrespected and I am about to lose my mind.

I close my eyes.

When I am talking and I’m not being heard.

I close my eyes.

When I need to take a mental break.

I close my eyes.

I find myself thinking what it must feel like to be blind…. memorizing my surroundings and taking mental note of what I want to remember. Visualizing in my mind the environment I want to keep in my memory if I am not able to see.

What is this about? I have no idea. I have just noticed that more and more in the last six months, it is a physical response that I have started to use. It was not something intentional, but also not something I decided I didn’t like. I like it. I like that it makes me stop and take a moment to close the world out and take a break. It tells me… “don’t lose control…. just take a moment and get it together.” This life or any life is not easy. God did not put us on earth for “easy”, we are all here for different reasons. If we accept that and stop fighting it, then life becomes easi-“er”.

I believe I know why I am here. I am put in situations and I help out where I am needed. In the end I am definitely rewarded. God is good to me. As long as I look at the big picture and don’t just think about “ME”, I do well. This life is not about me.

It’s interesting, I got up this morning, to write about something completely different. God certainly does work in mysterious ways.

I hope you enjoyed this post, please leave your comments.

Stay cool and have a happy Easter!