Fibromyalgia at Fifty!

50… wow. I can’t believe that I am 50. I can’t believe how quickly the last 50 years have gone by. Damn! I have to make my life better. I realized lately that I spend a lot of time living for another day or another moment. On Sunday, my mind is stressing about having to start work Monday morning. During the week… “Lord have mercy, when will this week be over.”. On Thursday, I’m thinking… Just one more day…”. There’s a lot of, “I can’t wait until… XYZ“. When that moment or day arrives, my mind has already moved on. I really envy people who can just live for the moment. I want to train my brain to enjoy the now. In order to do that I have to somehow shut my brain off. It’s constantly processing… whether it’s curiosity about something going on 5 feet from me or thinking about a project at work or what will I do when I retire or what are my kids doing right now or what should I eat… I mean seriously. I could have kept typing until my fingers got numb because my mind started going 100 mph just thinking about what I think about!! Oh man, you have really entered into my world… Danger! Danger! Warning! Get out as fast as you can!! Once you enter this crazy ass place, I’m not sure if there’s a way out. At least I haven’t found a way out yet.

I keep looking at myself and thinking, when am I going to grow up? I have so much growing to do mentally… although I am pretty confident I way overachieved on the growing physically so maybe that’s why my mental side is so far behind. I used to be so independent and able. With all this medical bullshit, I have lost my way. The last few months have been really hard for me. Sidebar, how many times do I say that? I feel like I say that all the time… “The last few months have been really hard for me.” It’s as if I want to believe that it really has only been the last few months, when in fact it’s been so flippin’ long I can’t remember what feeling good feels like. If you ask me how I’m doing, I will give you the standard, “I’m good” or “I’m alright” or “I’m fine”. I’m not. I’m not any of those things, I’m feeling like shit… a lot… end of sidebar. Anyway, I have not only lost my way in general, I also got completely caught up with that sidebar. (I did warn you in the first paragraph that my brain was a scary place.)

Well… maybe I should start taking my own advice. OUCH! Damn! That really hurts to say that. I mean, I’m great at giving advice, but taking it? Crazy talk. I recently advised my daughter what she should do to sleep better. On another day I advised her on keeping a food journal so she can get a picture of what she’s putting into her body. I am always telling her what she should do when she’s stressed or angry… do I do any of those things? Welllllllll, I definitely do some of them, but for the most part… Not really. It’s hard! It’s really hard to make healthy choices. This is a typical conversation I have with myself…

Smart brain: “You should exercise today.

Emotional Me: “Hmmmmmm, I am in a lot of pain, I’m thinking maybe later… how about some coffee?

Smart brain: “Caffeine is not good for you and that shit you put in it to make it taste good is really not good for you.” (although the word good shows up a lot in that sentence, we all know there’s nothing good about this train of thought)

Emotional Me: “Just this once… last time, seriously, this will be the last time. I really want to be healthy” (followed by a cup of coffee and a carb)

A couple of hours later…Emotional Me, “I’m hungry.” (followed by me standing in front of the open refrigerator or cupboard)

Smart brain: “You should eat something healthyand before you pick something to eat… take a moment to answer this question, are you hungry or are you bored?

Emotional Me: “Screw you, I deserve to eat whatever I want.”

It’s basically all downhill from there. Sentences that start with “I deserve… ” come up a lot in my mind when it comes to food. Well, trust me, I have “DESERVED” (she says with a very sarcastic tone) a whole lot because as I said earlier, I way overachieved on the physical side of growing up! I need to come up with a better reward system in my mind. (Preferably one that doesn’t involve spending money or else I just open myself up to a different problem!)

I am a pre-diabetic 50-year-old woman with Fibromyalgia, Depression, ADD, Essential Tremor, GERD, Anxiety, IBS… shit I’m stopping there, that’s enough disclosure for one blog post. Why was I saying that? Oh yeah, I said all that because with all that going on, if today is not a good day to start getting healthy, what will it take? Do I really want to go to the doctor and be told I am diabetic? No.. no I don’t.  I definitely don’t want to hear that come out of my doctor’s mouth. I think I have heard her say enough already.

Today… right now, this very moment. This needs to be the moment I start taking better care of myself. I have a goal of 5,000 steps a day. (Don’t judge, I barely hit that once a week.) How about if I challenge myself to hit that 3 x a week? It’s not much, but it’s a good start. I actually went the entire month of April without any desserts/ sweets… then May hit and let’s just say, I didn’t just fall off the wagon, I think I fell off and have been getting dragged behind it for weeks. I’m telling you… as I write this, right this second, my emotional side has already started the fight. It’s telling me to go cut a slice of that chocolate cake in the fridge and eat it… it’s basically screaming at me to go do it. Bitch. Why do I have chocolate cake in my fridge you say? Because the other night I craved it so bad, my husband went out and surprised me with it. I will overcome that stupid Emotional Me and make better choices. I should not let my emotions influence my decisions. It never ends well when I do that.

I will choose to eat healthier. I will choose to move more during the day. I will choose to live in the moment and not worry about tomorrow. I will have faith that tomorrow will work itself out. I’m not in control of it anyway. I will think positive  thoughts. I will meditate to calm my brain. I will believe in myself. I will be healthy. I have to believe that with hard work the outcome will be less pain, less depression, less digestive issues.

My moment starts right now. I can do this. And now that I’ve said it out loud (or written it for all to see), I hope I can come back with some results in a future post.

Before I go, I want to say a huge thanks to Healthline for including me in the Best Fibromyalgia Blogs of the Year for the 6th year in a row!! It’s an amazing honor to receive this recognition. Take a moment to go check out the other blogs on the list.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I wish you a pain-free day and feel free to join me in this quest for better health.

Gentle hugz.

Tamiko

PS. My girlfriend gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday. In the bouquet were these ginormous peonies. When these flowers start to open up and bloom, you really have to pay attention because it all happens in a day or two and once the flower opens up, the period of time to enjoy it is very short. This is what I mean by living in the moment. I put the bouquet right next to my desk so I could enjoy the beauty of these amazing flowers. Now you can enjoy them too!

Amazing… MyFoggyBrain and The Mighty’s eBook

I still cannot believe people want to hear my voice… or rather read my thoughts I should say… and to get asked if I want to contribute to a book, magazine or guest post on someone else’s blog? Well that is beyond my ability to comprehend. It’s amazing is what it is. I started this blog years ago when I was at my lowest point. When Fibromyalgia was not on commercials for pain meds… when it took many years to get a diagnosis – while during that time I thought I was crazy. As far and awesome as the knowledge and acceptance of Fibromyalgia has come, there’s still a long ways to go. I look forward to the day I go to a doctor with an issue and I don’t get the standard, “I’m sure this is because of your Fibromyalgia.“. How crazy is this? It took years… YEARS… to get the diagnosis after seeing a crapload of doctors. It took years for my own primary care physician to finally acknowledge/ say the word “Fibromyalgia” during a visit… and now every time I go in, it’s the first and pretty much only thing I get as a result of whatever the hell is going on with me. And like all of you out there with chronic pain, IBS, depression, anxiety… I could go on and on… you NEVER (as in NEVER EVER EVER EVER!) call a doctor much less schedule an appointment with a doctor unless you have been experiencing an issue for a long time and that little voice (or big voice if your husband/ family member is involved) tells you it’s time to see a doctor. And I’m sure you often get the same result as me… nothing but frustration. So! As I was saying, I look forward to the day the doctor looks deeper and doesn’t just see Fibromyalgia, but sees me and the potential for other issues or even just spends more time understanding what’s going on and makes me feel like I’m being heard. I don’t want my doctor to feel sorry for me, I want my doctor to work with me. I believe those of us who live this life know a lot, research how to manage living with chronic illnesses, go into the doctor’s office with almost more knowledge than the doctor. That’s how it is for me. I hold out hope that one day soon things will change.

Wow, I totally did not intend to go into that rant. Every time I think about my journey as it relates to the medical world, there’s a definite level of frustration. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some super awesome doctors and counselors through Kaiser’s pain program. But there are only a few of those in comparison to the vast majority.

Back to the reason why I started this post… you all know how easily distracted I get so thank you for bearing with me! Anyway… In the last week The Mighty’s Real People, Real Stories: Fibromyalgia E-Book was released. It was an honor to contribute one of my past blog posts to this book. I hope you take the opportunity to check out the book and read through the many stories.

Everyone has their own story to tell based on the journey they have been on. Don’t ever hesitate to start your own blog, write your own story – focus on the things that make your life worth living. We have our good and bad days, but I believe it’s important that we uplift each other out of that black hole we can so easily drop down in. That’s become my purpose with this blog… I may vent and feel like crap, but at the end of the day it’s important to find something good to say. I have to try to find something in my day that’s positive! You do the same.

Thanks for dropping by. Please feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

Gentle hugz,

Tamiko

BTW… my new obsession is bullet journals. I can’t wait to share my experience and how much I am loving it! Stay tuned…

The View From My Room

I can’t believe it… it’s really been since May that I wrote my last post. Hmmmm…. Well, there goes another goal for the year that I’ll miss! Although I must say, I actually have a good reason behind all this. Since my last post it’s been non-stop crazy… whether we are getting ready for graduation or preparing for college, this weekend is the first time I really feel like I have been able to sit back and relax.

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View from her dorm room!

Where has the time gone? First we had high school graduation and all the stuff that goes along with it. Except this time, with my new found sewing skills… I decided to make laundry bags and book bags and towel wraps for Kiyomi and her friends for college. It was a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong – but also a lot of work with defined dates everything had to be done by! The best part of all this was the time spent with friends while sewing. It was a learning experience, but one filled with laughter, great conversation and, of course, good food! The end result was I learned a lot and had some nice hand made gifts for some wonderful kids.

The college preparation experience entailed finding the perfect comfortor set (which took many, many weeks), the rain boots we promised her if she decided to go to Eugene… and all sorts of required dorm decorations, clothes, etc. We atttended orientation… or IntroDucktion as they call it at the University of Oregon… a great experience, but really brought home how much closer we were getting to her leaving… and then over the summer as her friends were leaving (or preparing for leaving) for school – each day and night became “the last XXX…” get together. So we saw her less than any other time of her life. I think I started missing her  the day she graduated.

img_6043All this to get to this weekend. We drove up on Tuesday and moved her into her dorm room on Wednesday. The move-in process was more work than I thought it would be… it wasn’t bad, just took a lot out of me. Times like this always remind me of all the crap I have. The pain, the digestive issues, the mental bullshit… it all just hits me at once. I go into these events thinking… “I got this!!” and halfway through my pain starts rearing its ugly head. I told my husband my body was basically saying, “what the hell do you think YOU’RE doing??”… and then proceeded to remind me whose boss – and apparently it’s not my desire to get shit done that’s boss. Although I did fight it for many hours before finally giving in.

We had lunch on Thursday, she jumped out of the car and Ray and I drove over to the coast. We are staying in the most awesome hotel (the Fireside Motel in Yachats). We have an oceanfront room (something we have never done before) and have just stayed in the room all day watching the waves or listening to the waves while we read/ write. It’s a little slice of heaven. I had no idea how exhausted I was until we got here and sat down to watch the sunset. We had all these plans to sightsee… and then… we both decided to just do nothing. We have gone out for some yummy dinners – but stayed in our room and just had snacks during the day. I am having the time of my life!

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View from our room!

What have I learned? Okay i didn’t “learn” this… I was reminded (very loudly) to listen to my body. In times like this, how about if I don’t self sabotage and eat all bad shit… treat my body with respect. I feel like I was on a mission to spiral down in anticipation of letting Kiyomi go. Stupid.

It’s a privilege to be healthy enough to travel to this place. We drove up to our room and walked the 15 feet from the car through our room to the outside deck. The first thought that came to mind was… “This place is perfect for my mom!!”, but she isn’t feeling well enough to travel like this anymore. I need to be on a mission to feel good! I’m on my way… this place we are staying at, the sound of the ocean, surrounded by this beauty – it’s time to move to the next phase in our lives. Healthy is a good place to be and it’s my new goal!! I should go for a walk on the beach now… hmmmmm… maybe in an hour. One step at a time. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Tamiko

How has Fibromyalgia Affected You?

You know how one singular day can seem really long? Like you are sitting (or standing) at work and you can’t wait for the day to end? Every minute feels like an hour and every hour feels like a day… the struggle to get through the day is so hard that you wonder to yourself, “How many days like this can I possibly endure?”. My days have felt like that a lot since the beginning of the year. It’s crazy how long this stupid flare has gone on. It’s dumb, the word “flare” doesn’t even define what has been going. In the dictionary, the words used to define flare lead one to believe it’s sudden but quick… a bright light used to bring attention. Well, I’m sure all of you are well aware, the attention part is definitely correct. No way you could ignore this shit. Bright light? Not so much. Although I imagine inside my body there’s a bright light at the points where all the pain hits in my muscles and nerves. I must look like a Christmas tree inside… before Santa drops off all the wonderful gifts. Sudden but quick? Not in the least. My mom asked me the other day about being in remission. I never thought about that word, I’ve only associated that with cancer. Again, the words in the dictionary used to define that word are, “a period of time during a serious illness when the patient’s health improves“. It is fitting, but it would feel strange to use it. Although, right now I’d be ecstatic to apply that definition to myself!

Yesterday my husband and I shared our 21st wedding anniversary together… our 29th year together. A year ago, on our 20th wedding anniversary we celebrated it in the hospital. That was the day I had surgery. One I hope never to have again. But it makes me think. Time seems to go by so slow most days, while a year ago seems like only yesterday. Time is a funny thing, in one moment it can feel like it will never pass while only a moment later it feels like it’s going at warp speed. It reminds me that I need to do a much better job of living in the moment. Not worry about later today or tomorrow or ten years from now. Make the most of right now.
Our anniversary celebration didn’t go at all like we planned. We were going to go watch the sunset on the coast, enjoy some good food and maybe go for a walk along the beach. Sounds wonderful. Afternoons and evenings are the hardest for me so although I felt pretty good in the morning, by afternoon I could barely walk. So we ate in and watched TV. When I apologized to my husband later in the evening, he was not very happy with me. He constantly reminds me that what I am going through is not forever, it’s just a moment in time. We’ve had decades together and so many wonderful memories… he knows that this too shall pass and we will again be walking along the beach. I am so blessed to have this man in my life.

Which leads me to another topic. I was asked recently to contribute to a medical magazine (the kind you see while waiting at the doctor’s office) and one of the questions I was asked is how Fibromyalgia has affected me… as you can imagine, I am definitely most affected by my lack of independence. I rely on my husband for everything. He’s amazing. He takes care of everything… he cooks all the meals, keeps the house clean, makes sure the kids have everything they need and he makes sure I enjoy life. He makes me laugh every day and he supports all my trial and errors in the hopes something will ease the pain. He’s amazing. I have a lot of respect for those of you that are on your own or in a relationship where you don’t have the support you need. One of my biggest worries is what I would do if I were on my own… but right now… in this moment… I just don’t have the energy to figure that out and more important I just said two paragraphs ago I need to make the most of right now. Damn… bad habits are hard to break!

I woke up this morning feeling so blessed. I say this a lot, but I don’t think it’s possible to say it too much. Keep the folks around you that love and support you. Get rid of any negativity. It’s hard enough without having people bring you down or bring drama into your life. I believe what keeps me going is that I know, no matter what, I am loved. I have hit the lowest lows in the past few months, I have questioned my reason to live when it feels like every day is so hard… I have gone into that dark place. When I hit rock bottom I find so many reasons to end the pain… but I only need one reason to keep going. Love. That’s when I see the light shining through the darkness. Don’t let the pain and frustration take away all the moments of love and laughter you will have in your future. It’s there… it may seem out of reach at times but sometimes it’s right in front of you and all you need to do is look up.

I wish you a pain-free day and a day I hope is filled with love and laughter!

Tamiko

How Honest Are You?

… vent, vent vent… complain, complain, complain… this is how i feel. I feel like everyday I say the same damn thing. It goes something like this…

girl-150102_640“I am not feeling well”

I am exhausted

I am in a lot of pain

That food was so good!” … and an hour later… “That food made me really sick

I don’t have the energy for that

My legs aren’t working” … “My hands are killing me” … “I have a migraine” … ” …

I can go on and on and literally ON! I know a lot of you folks out there feel like every time you describe to your family or those closest to you how you are feeling … it’s like a broken record. Should we lie? If I don’t tell the truth people assume that I’m feeling perfectly fine and then expectations change. The truth of the matter is, just as quickly as I forget what pain feels like, others forget what me in pain looks like. And honestly… be super-duper honest… is there ever a moment in the day when you don’t feel any pain? For me, the answer is an adamant “NO!” (I’m really not shouting at you… just making a point). So if I go with my baseline pain level and call that “fine” and then just speak to my worse than baseline symptoms, is that better? And better for who? Me? My family?

What prompted all this? Well… I’m not sure. I think it’s because I have been in a flare for months now. I’m not sure how long because at the beginning of this calendar year I, for no rhyme or reason, stopped using my calendar. I had a calendar last year that I wrote all my health stuff in… this year I just haven’t had the energy. I’m not even sure it’s a lack of energy thing as much as it is I got tired of thinking about everything. I’ll be honest… I’m kind of a mess right now. But, as I was saying, I feel like I’ve been flaring for months. I don’t recall being in a flare for this long in years. It’s just not calming down.

So, is it a burden for my family and friends to carry if I am honest about how I am feeling or is it a burden for me to keep the truth to myself? What’s the balance and where do you draw the line? I’ll tell you what. I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling like shit. I’m tired of being depressed. I’m tired of never being able to say… “I feel GREAT!”. I’m just flippin’ tired.

And now that I have vented and complained what the hell am I going to do about it? Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm, can this be one of those days where I just vent and complain? Do we get those days? I think if you talked to my husband he’d tell you I definitely have those days… but that’s not what I want to do with you folks out there who have chosen to follow my blog. We all have these shitty days, but to just vent and complain brings everyone down including ourselves. How do you get out of the pit of pain and depression? I believe you have to be kind to yourself. Acknowledge that you will have bad days and today is one of them. Tomorrow is a new day. It’s a new opportunity to have a less painful day. A less down day… one that could be a happy day. It sounds strange, but in our world of chronic pain – pain and happy go together. You cannot let the pain take your happiness away. If you don’t allow yourself to be happy while in pain… the alternative is not a life worth living.

IMG_0379Yesterday was a pain and happy day. I was having some issues walking, but I was determined… I couldn’t let that ruin our family day. We started the morning out playing soccer with my exercise ball in our bedroom (don’t tell the kids) – I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time (let’s just say we were almost in the market for a new tv)… followed by an awesome breakfast the kids made for Father’s Day and then we all piled in the car and spent the day together. A day which included walking… which was extremely painful. In this instance I was not about to let the pain get in the way of everyone’s happiness and just as important mine. We had a beautiful day which I managed with pain meds, laughter, joy and a lot of positive self-talk. A pain and happy day.

So back to my question… how honest should we be? Maybe I will try another approach. Maybe I’ll use the baseline approach and if I’m feeling my normal pain, I’ll say, “I’m doing good!”… I might even try to start saying, “I’m doing great!”. If I’m feeling worse than normal, I can just say “It’s not a great day”.

Our lives are not predictable. The only thing we know for sure is that there is going to be pain, we are going to be uncomfortable. We are going to have days where we want to scream and shout, stomp our feet (although that would cause more pain), and cry… but after you realize your life could be a lot worse and that you are surrounded by the best family and friends anyone could ask for… you realize how blessed you are. Today may be hard… but there’s always tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by! I love hearing from you either by email or comments.

Stay cool and relax… Gentle hugz!

Tamiko

How do you Recover?

How do you recover? I never seem to ask myself this question. I know I should plan for pain. I know when I’m going to be in more pain than normal based on my upcoming activities. But for the most part I have an attitude of “I am going to enjoy myself and deal with the consequences after...” It may not be the smartest approach, but I tell my husband all the time… if I stop doing things because of my pain, I’ll never do anything! Pace yourself… we hear this all the time. Stay away from stress… another major tip we hear… but, honestly, pacing myself stress me out!

In the last few months I have created my own awesomely good days… I have sewed with friends, went on vacation with my mom and daughter, surprised my dad with a party for his 80th birthday and watched my daughter prepare for her prom. After each big event it takes me weeks to recover. I do my best to pace myself and stay away from stress, but as you know… life happens.

Recovering from any activity that takes energy has to be balanced by down time. Throughout all those great events, I have endured the longest flare I’ve had in years. I have no idea what is going on, but for one reason or another my body decided it didn’t want to manage the pain efficiently. It just wanted to be in pain … every… single… day. If it’s not the pain from Fibromyalgia, it’s the pain from IBS. Thankfully, my depression has been somewhat under control.

If you ask yourself, is it worth it? As I know many of us do… on a regular basis… especially when in the midst of an ongoing flare. When it’s all said and done, the answer has to be a resounding “YES!”. There are nights when the pain from my day’s activity is so great, laying in bed is painful. My legs are throbbing from the inside out and my neck and shoulders hurt so bad even my skin hurts. I have taken more pain meds in the last few months than I have in years. It’s been the only way I am able to sleep… and let’s be honest, in the middle of a flare, who really gets good sleep? I generally wake up around 2 or 3 and end up reading until I can fall asleep again… and then wake up a few hours later. This does not make for good sleep.

I work full-time and I thank God every day that I am able to work from home. But… working from home means it’s really hard to call in sick. I mean you have to be pretty bad off to call in sick. At least I do. I feel bad if I have to stop working early because I am in too much pain. There have been many days where I’ve felt like I could have done a better job or worked a little harder, but due to this ongoing flare, work has been tough. On the plus side, since I have such a hard time sleeping, there have been more than a few days where I’ve started working between 4:30 and 5. Not only am I thankful that I am able to work from home, the folks I work with are extremely supportive and understanding. I couldn’t ask for a better working situation. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like if I wasn’t blessed with the work situation I am in.

In preparing for my daughter’s prom night, I had to leave abruptly from her make up appointment because I all of a sudden felt really sick and could not endure standing (or sitting) any longer. My husband picked me up, and as he drove me home I felt like a loser mom for missing out on even one part of this big day. I went home and laid down for 45 minutes so I could recover. There was literally NO WAY I was going to miss seeing her all dressed up with her date and friends. I was not going to miss the opportunity to take pictures at the park. I knew when I got home I was going to collapse… and I did. But it was worth it. I also realized that missing out on a small part of the day so I could enjoy the main event was something that I needed to do. It was a blessing that my cousin was at the appointment so I could leave. Recovery…

We surprised my dad for his 80th birthday 10 days ago. All the preparation and work towards the event was so worth it when he walked in the room and I saw his expression. At the end of the night when I got home, I literally crawled up my stairs to my room, took a bunch of pain meds and went to sleep. The next day was my daughter’s 17th birthday and I had family visiting from out-of-town… we all got together for a big breakfast at my folks house. Although I could barely walk, the pain was not going to win. We ended up creating more memories of fun and laughter as we ate great food and visited with each other. That day ended with a trip over the hill to Santa Cruz with my daughter and her friend for dinner to celebrate her birthday and watch the sun set. A perfect week-end.

I am determined to enjoy my life. How do I deal with the non-stop pain? How do I recover? I think about how blessed I am. I think about how much joy is in my life. I think about the look on my dad’s face when he walked into that room full of people who have loved him for decades. I think about how much laughter there was on vacation with my mom and daughter. I think about how damn beautiful my daughter looked on her prom night. What could stop me from enjoying these moments? Nothing! I cannot imagine missing these moments. I say screw you pain!!! (I could use more harsh words… but… that would be rude)

On this May 12th, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day… I say let your joy, laughter and blessings be your recovery. Enjoy life, don’t kill yourself doing it, but definitely don’t go the other extreme and stop living. You deserve better!

Before I say good-bye, I have to say how thankful I am to be recognized for the fourth year in a row as one of the top bloggers in Healthline’s 2015 Best Fibromyalgia Blogs. I am so proud to have made the list, it means a lot… and Congratulations to the other winners!!

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Thanks for stopping by… I hope today was an awesome day for you!

Tamiko

Make 2015 a Better Year!

First things first… Happy 2015!! I bet we can all look back on 2014 and… well… sigh. This can be a sigh of happiness, sadness, relief.. or just a sign that we are still breathing. 2014 was a heck of a year. One thing I know for sure… 2015 is going to be better!

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My 2014 memories/ 2015 goals project

I had a new year’s resolution in 2014 that I would blog at least once a month. Fail. I had 10 goals that I outlined at the beginning of the year as part of my annual family project. Let’s just say that I believe I achieved two of those goals. While we worked on our project this year I paid more attention to identifying achievable goals. I didn’t do the copy/ paste/ then change the words goals that I have sometimes been setting in the past. This year I want to be able to say I accomplished at least half of my goals. (I will be honest and say I did keep the “finish resume” goal that I think has been on my list for the past 10 years. This year I am determined to achieve this goal!). To the right is a little picture of my completed project. I really look forward to doing this every year. As the kids get older, it amazes me that they are still willing to do this. In fact, it feels like they are more willing now than they were in the younger years. We added my god-daughter in the mix this year and we had a day full of love and laughter. I can’t think of a better way to start 2015.

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My daughter’s rag quilt…

While preparing for my project, I thought about this past year and the memories I will cherish… my son graduating from UC Santa Barbara, both the kids getting their driver’s license, going to the movies with my  mom, my daughter’s sweet 16, going to Utah to see my dad present his experience in the Japanese internment camp at Weber State and visiting Topaz with his friends… these are all memories that I hope I remember forever. There are also the memories that will stay with me because of the challenge to stay positive in the face of difficult times… supporting my friend when her mom passed away, my mom’s frustrations with her health, friends in the hospital… me in the hospital. Even with the challenges, there’s always the positive. I will forever cherish the incredibly thoughtful gift my  beautiful friend gave to my son as a graduation gift. She took my son’s soccer jerseys from the many years he played and made the most amazing quilt. I took this queen sized quilt and made it a part of my project this year. You can see I printed the picture of his quilt in black and white and added some color to parts of the picture for texture… in addition to this quilt, she also made my daughter and I rag quilts last year. I know I’ve said it many times before… and I will continue to say it… I am so so SO blessed to have such wonderful, supportive, loving family and friends in my life.

I didn’t set a goal for the number of times I would blog in 2015 on purpose… writing my blog does not always come easy. My husband has this very strong belief that I should write more. I love the strong support he always gives me… but I value your time as readers so I am… wait… stop. Let me invite you into my mind for a moment… I had an ADD moment while writing this… I am pretty sure that just typing the word “blog” twice in this paragraph kicked my brain into thinking… “It’s the beginning of a new year, I am going to change the theme on my blog…”. As you can well imagine, this thought led me to spending hours browsing the WordPress themes and then I actually tried one on for size and didn’t like it… activating the new theme and going back to my original theme completely screwed up my blog so I then had to spend time fixing it back to how I wanted it… I guess that lasted longer than just a moment. It doesn’t stop there friends… while I am going through the themes, I see all these photography friendly themes and I think to myself… “I really need to get my pictures organized…”. Just as I’m about to open up my iPhoto library I pull myself out of the vortex… before my brain keeps going and going and going and… SNAP! I’m back. Damn. AS I WAS SAYING!! Okay, breathe… as I was saying, I value your time as readers (which isn’t actually evident in this particular paragraph)… I really do value your time as readers (now I’ve said it three times so you really should believe me). Getting back on track… you are all important to me and I want to stay true to myself. I have to be in the right state of mind to write. That’s really what it comes down to. I want to spend my time focused… scratch that (I want to be focused but I know my limits!)… I have to be able to set aside a good amount of time to write something that is meaningful to me. It usually takes me hours to write one post. I write, review, re-write, review, re-write… you get it. I’m sure those of you that have your own blogs do the same thing. It’s keeping that balance while sharing my experiences between honesty and positivity. I never want to bring you down. Our bodies and minds do that already. If you are taking the time to visit my blog, I want you to laugh, get uplifted and most of all feel like you are not alone.

Fibromyalgia is such a frustrating and sneaky disorder (I always want to call it a disease but I know that’s not right… but at the same time disorder just doesn’t work for me)… anyway this shit makes me feel like a hypochondriac. I went to the Podiatrist for my foot because I couldn’t walk on it… he gave me a boot, I bought 3 pairs of expensive shoes and weeks later… the pain has moved on to somewhere else in my body. I get this weird feeling like a bee is continually stinging me in the back of my neck… is it real or fake? I go some days feeling like I can climb Mt. Everest (okay maybe just climb a small hill) and other days I can barely get out of bed. I can go weeks having mostly good days and then boom! flare. I guess what I’m saying is that I have to keep reminding myself that my body forgets what pain feels like as soon as it’s gone (even if for a brief moment). I question my sanity… a lot. I feel like I can never say I am feeling good because I’m afraid people are going to think I’m cured… that nothing is really wrong with me. I’ve never really said that out loud. It sucks to always feel so guarded about your health. I think we need to feel safe in expressing how we truly feel without worrying about the future repercussions. We don’t want to have to “justify” or explain our pain. It just is what it is. Some days are good and some days are bad. We need to be able to enjoy our good days to the fullest and not worry about when the next bad day is coming. Right? Right! I think the only person getting in my way at the moment… is me.

I sai101411_Rogue2_180d that all that because over the holidays, like every year I go, go, go to get the house ready, get the gifts purchased and wrapped and make my annual calendars. For the first time ever I didn’t scrapbook the calendar pages. I created digital calendars. It was really difficult for me to let that go and accept that there was just no way I was going to be able to get the calendars done. I didn’t have enough time and I didn’t have the energy. I felt like I should have been able to do it… but my body said… well I think it shouted, “NO!”. So… I listened. I accepted that I do have the many disorders/ conditions/ diseases that are on my medical chart and I gave myself a break. Even on the days I felt good, I knew I would still experience pain – that although it’s not always present, it’s somewhere lurking like a stalker. I don’t want to be the dumbass that is alone in the dark, saying “Come out, come out, wherever you are….”, I’m happy to let it lurk. Those are the folks in the scary movie that always get killed off first. I know it’s there… I’m going to do my damnedest to keep ahead of it. It’s not going to kill my spirit.

So back to my goals… I am going to keep that pain behind me as much as I can, both physical and mental. I’m going to work harder to take better care of my body and mind in 2015. I hope that you take the time to set some goals for yourself. Be kind and honest – set goals that you can achieve based on the reality of your health. Say it out loud… “2015 is going to be a great year!”… and it will.

I wish you all a healthy, pain-free 2015 sharing lots of love and laughter with your family and friends.

Thank you for stopping by!

Tamiko