Day 8: Best conversation I had this week

I am participating in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. Please visit WEGO Health’s blog and the WEGO Facebook page to find other writers tackling the same topics—or sign up for the challenge yourself!

 

Rinnnnnnggggg (not really what my phone sounds like since it’s a mobile, but I have no idea how to get that translated here)…

Me: Hello?

Man on phone: Hi this is Dr. X calling, we have a phone appointment scheduled today. How are you doing?

Me: I’m doing okay, how are you?

Dr. X: Well I’m doing good. I understand you had an appt with your primary care physician and she has referred you back to us here at the Pain Clinic. So, it doesn’t sound like you are really doing “okay”.

Me: Well, yeah… I never know what to say when people ask that question, it’s kind of a default answer. I have been in a horrible flare for the past few weeks. I don’t really understand what the trigger was, I can normally attribute it to the weather or an event. This time it’s has come and doesn’t appear to be going away… thus the appt with my dr. Normally I don’t go in or call because I know there’s nothing she can do for me.

Dr. X: Yes, I understand. With your situation, it’s a good thing that we are talking again. I know how hard it is to manage day to day and your right, your primary care dr. is probably at a loss. I spoke to Awesome Nurse (I’ll call her that, because she is) about your case before I called you and she mentioned what the two of you discussed the last time you spoke. We both felt it would be good to talk to you about some of the changes going on here.

Me: Okay.

Dr. X: Since you went through our Pain Program, we have made significant changes. We have a new Psychiatrist here and we have revised the program completely. We have introduced a group support structure and incorporated movement strategies into the program. We have very good results and the success rate so far is pretty high.

Me: This sounds interesting… and the conversation continued for another 15 minutes.

When I first saw this prompt for the Health Activists Writer’s Month Challenge, I was a little wary. More than a little, I was thinking this is one of the days I’m going to miss. No conversation stood out that I wanted to share… no good conversation I should say. My dr.’s appt was pretty disappointing earlier in the week and I’ve been in so much pain I haven’t really been conversing. This call that happened today gave me hope. Dr. X explained this program and how it works, the intake process and really gave me a great feeling. He said he’s seen people that have been in pain for a very long time, people like me he said, that have tried everything and he felt like they had really seen life changing differences after they completed the program.

He said that people on medication and rely on it, people that want to get off their meds, people that don’t want to take meds… basically whatever choices people have made about meds, it doesn’t effect their participation in the program. He told me that they don’t judge or discriminate, at the end of the day their goal is for people to be able to live better lives. A holistic approach, not just to “fix” something, but to change the way we are able to live. Part of the intake process and the program overall is to help determine what each individual needs, whether it’s medication or emotional support or whatever.

Like I said… I have hope and I can feel that sunshine again. I trust these people. They gave me life before. The Kaiser pain program is amazing. If you have one, and you are a member… I really encourage you to get a referral and jump in with both feet. You will be in a pain friendly environment where you will not be judged and most important… you will be BELIEVED.

I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I’d say wish me luck, but I have faith and that trumps luck every time!

Thanks for reading.

Tamiko

Day 3: Superpower Day… Loving Yourself

I am participating in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. Please visit WEGO Health’s blog and the WEGO Facebook page to find other writers tackling the same topics—or sign up for the challenge yourself!

If I had a superpower what would it be?

The power to heal. The power to heal would be so amazing. Just thinking about it makes my head spin. That was my initial thought when I started writing. I have written and re-written this a few times. It was sorta like… “This is a no brainer, the power to heal! What more is there to say?” I kept thinking and thinking and at the end of each little writing session, I was a little frustrated and kept wanting to just toss this posting in the garbage. I’m not sure why this question was so difficult for me.

I am sitting here watching Oprah’s Master Class and Reba McIntyre was on… and something about her vibe made me realize… I know what my superpower would be! Yes, the power to heal would be awesome and there are sooooooooo many people I would use that power on. When I was thinking about this super power ability and the power of healing was on my mind… I started making lists of all the people I want to heal. But for some reason, it didn’t give me the answer I was looking for.

As I am sitting here watching the Oprah show, I realize I want the power to give people value and self-love. I would love to be able to give people the ability to wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night knowing they matter. No matter what challenges are faced in life, at the end of the day – they always see the glass half full. Anxiety, depression, judgement and insecurity don’t live here. They may not love their job or understand why they have been dealt the cards in life they have, but that doesn’t poison their view of life. Self-love is not selfishness or self-absorbed. Self-love is loving yourself for who you are, understanding there’s room for improvement and building your character in a more awesome way along the journey. I also believe this drives acceptance and understanding of everyone around you. This, to me, would be amazing.

So! There you have it. Day 3 of this month of blogging and I think I’m doing alright so far. :) Thanks for reading! Please leave your thoughts, I love to read them!

Stay cool and here’s hoping for a pain-free day!

Tamiko

P.S. The prompt for today reminded me of a prior post I wrote: Fibromyalgia and Doing “IT ALL”… What Do You Think? I still want that invisible plane!

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

Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.

~Mark Twain

This quote says it all for me. I used to be so much smarter, more articulate… you know, way back when, when my memory was too good (those days when I used to wish I could forget things… man! I want to take those wishes back!) I was able to hold an adult conversation without stumbling over my words, without feeling like a complete idiot for my inability to figure out which word to say next.

I feel like a little bit of my brain goes dark each day never to surface again… I have a great day, but the memory of it doesn’t stick. The jokes and funny things, secrets amongst friends… yeah. That doesn’t work for me. I can’t remember shit and I don’t get jokes because by the time my brain catches up to what was said… the conversation has moved on.

Lord knows. I miss my mind. I miss feeling like a functioning adult. Holding a conversation at any level, with anyONE is stressful. I am afraid I’m going to say something stupid or something that just makes absolutely zero sense. I can fake it, you get good at that. I’m sure many of you would agree, you learn to fake a conversation… fake confidence… fake feeling good. My social anxiety, once manageable is now at an all time high. It’s all so exhausting.

What kills me is there are so many memories I wish I still had the ability to recall. Memories of my children, my husband, family, friends… “Don’t you remember when… ?” welllll, no, I don’t. I’m the best person to confess a secret to, I will not remember it. The problem is when you tell me a secret you want me to remember for future reference… hmmmmm, that is a challenge I don’t succeed at much.

So, what do I do about it? Well, I do my best to appreciate the here and now. I understand that this is my life and I do my best not to waste today worrying or wondering about yesterday. I give myself a break. I make light of it. I laugh at myself when I can’t remember how to use the washing machine, when I can’t figure out how to use a can opener. Life is too short. I appreciate that I can watch a movie more than once and still get surprised.

I have faith. I know that there is a bigger plan for me and I trust that I will follow the path that has been set forth for me. It’s not easy, but without faith, without believing… what’s left? I miss memories, the ability to articulate but each day presents a new opportunity to learn and become a better person. It’s up to me to take the challenge.

Fibromyalgia and the “Why Me??” Syndrome…

So I’m sure many of you have had those hours, days or even weeks where you have the “Why Me?” syndrome. You know what I’m talking about. You are in a flare, you are depressed, you are having major foggy brain… you are just doing what you can to function and get through the day. People around do not really get what this feels like, we look normal – yet we are suffering (God I hate that word, “suffering” – don’t feel sorry for me, I just can’t think of another word). You start to question what the hell did I do to deserve this f’d up thing called Fibromyalgia? For starters… you probably worked your body and mind for years to the point where everything finally just crashed and burned. I have to believe that’s what happened to me.  No, I don’t deserve it. Living with it is not fun… it’s never fun. It’s a struggle to keep my emotions in control. I challenge myself every day with staying positive, smiling and not falling down that deep dark hole of depression. Most days I win, some days I lose.

Working full-time is honestly about all I can do these days. It sucks. Every week I start working on Monday, I get to Thursday and I’m struggling by the afternoon… on Friday I’m struggling all day. Saturday I try to get up and out of the house and do something fun, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t… Sunday ends up being a day of forced rest. It’s a cycle that I have come to know very well. I’m pretty sure I’ve written this in my blog once or twice (maybe even three times) before. I appreciate that I have a job that allows me to work from home. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to commute everyday. I am thankful for the job that I have, it’s not the job as much as it is working in general. I get resentful that it takes all my good energy. What’s left at the end of the day is like the warning message you get when your laptop/phone is about to die “Warning! 10% remaining…”. Lately I’ve had to just “shut it down” and go to bed and try again the next day. I am a professional TV viewer. Well, maybe not professional, if you ask me what I just watched I can probably tell you the name of the show, but not what happened IN the show. I’m too anxious to read, no energy to go out and a lot of the time I sit and think “what should I be doing right now?”, yet as many times as I ask myself this question, I hardly ever get an answer. It’s crazy. I should know what I want to do and how I want to spend my time, yet each day it’s the same thing.

How am I doing this week… The dreaded question… or better yet, “What’s wrong with you?”, “What’s going on with you?”, “Is something wrong?”, you get the drift. Hmmmmm, so many ways to answer that question. Yet, I can’t come up with any new material. I’ve used up all the standard answers… and yes, I’m in pain all the time… and yes, most days I am depressed and I totally get that I’m not always that responsive. I really am doing my best. My best isn’t always good enough, I get that. Thus, the “Why Me?” syndrome. I really don’t want to live like this, it’s not a choice. I’m well aware of my mental and physical state… all the time.

What does it mean to live with pain? Well, the obvious answer, to those of us living this dream life, is I need help (I apologize for the sarcasm, but this damn “Why Me?” syndrome really brings out the worst in me). I need a lot of help. I need help washing my hair, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, cooking the food, shopping, walking the dog, worst of all – driving… the list is endless. It’d be easier to answer what I don’t need help with. I need help thinking, processing information, remembering. When I’m feeling like this, I can’t remember my name sometimes. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy because I can’t remember something… I already feel crazy. It means, what takes a healthy person 30 seconds to do will sometimes take me ten times that… hell 50 times that on a really bad day.

This past week-end I decided I wanted to do some things around the house. I thought I’d surprise my husband, who was gone for the day, and do some laundry, wash the sheets and the duvet thingy. Well, I got up and did some cleaning, took all the sheets off the bed and the duvet thingy off the comforter. Did I mention I have the easiest bed to make? I did two loads of laundry and I started to make the bed when WHAM! My body was like “OHHHHH, HELL NO!! You are not going to do that!!” Awesome. The fitted sheet is on 1/2 the bed. I’m laying on top of the bed in excruciating pain. So! Now it just looks like I made a mess and I’m too lazy to make the bed (and the real topper is you can’t even tell the sheets were washed). The best intentions… I did manage to finish making the bed, but not before my husband came home. Surprise! What a fail. I was exhausted, in pain and frustrated that I couldn’t finish what I started (I did mention I have the easiest bed to make, right?). Ever had one of those days?

Annnnyyyyyhoooooo, as you can see, I’m having one of those weeks. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I just want to express what I’m going through. I want to know my normal is normal to others with Fibromyalgia and Depression. I want people who are in relationships with people like us to understand… you know, really get that we appreciate the help but most of all we need you to support us by understanding. Plain and simple. Understand life with FMS/Depression is what it is. We have to accept it, we want you to as well. There are no miracle cures. We may feel good today and not be able to get out of bed tomorrow. Don’t act surprised or wonder why… we have no answers. Trust me, we want answers. We want a cure. We want our independence and freedom back.

Please let me know how you are doing. Share your experiences with me. Most of all, relax.

Thanks for reading.

Stay cool!

Tamiko

What Would You Do? Stand Up For Your Pain!

The cameras are rolling…. All eyes on you…. You have probably seen the TV show, “What Would You Do?” I was going to blog about a situation I was in a couple of weeks ago. A truly, stupid situation that I needed some time to get through, mellow out and say to myself, GET THE HELL OVER IT! I wanted to vent and get that shit out of my system, but it would not have helped and it would not have helped any of you! I have to keep reminding myself every hour, every minute of the day to stay positive these days. It’s a challenge, but sometimes that’s what one has to do. Right now, that’s what it is. Prayer and giving my cares and worries over to God is what I’m doing.

My life has been seriously out of balance. Work has been crazy busy – way too many hours. Family and friends close to me are in need of God’s healing hands. The weather has been crazy, mostly rainy and cold. I’ve been in a constant flare for what seems like forever – it’s only been a few weeks. For the first time in a long time I have increased my dose on one of my meds. It sucks, I don’t know if any of you feel this way, but increasing meds makes me feel like a failure, like I’m not managing my pain like I’m supposed to. I agree to a certain extent that I shouldn’t feel that way, but at the same time, I also feel I should be in control of my body. FMS is a crazy place to live. Depression has stolen a lot of my mind the past few weeks and I really want it back. I have fought and fought and fought, I FINALLY feel like I may be starting to come back, it’s so damn hard. It’s like climbing up hill through quicksand (because I have done that before, right?). Trust me, my family really, REALLY prefer the not deeply depressed mother/ wife over the scary/ ugly mean lady that’s been living in the house lately. She scares me too.

Speaking of my family, well specifically my husband… I am not CO-dependent, I am SOUL-dependent (and yes I meant to spell it that way) on (on? of? to?) my husband. I have been blessed with a husband who takes wonderful care of me. He does everything for my children and me. He literally does all the cooking, cleaning, driving, care-taking… this man does my hair, when my daughter isn’t doing it! He also deals with all that comes with chronic pain and depression, oh yeah and let’s not forget – throw in a little bit of ADD. What an effed-up combination! After almost 25 years together he has to be wondering what the hell he signed up for!! There is no return policy here. He had 30 days, but those days have passed and he’s now stuck with me. Thank God!

So! I started out talking about a TV show that puts folks in really awkward situations. A show that ultimately pushes those same to people make uncomfortable decisions. Now I ask you, when you are in a situation where you need to stand up for your pain, do you? Do you stand up for your pain or do you end up suffering? I made a decision to stand up for my pain and I also ended up suffering because I stood up. I am happy I made that decision because I was able to really see some true colors come out.

At the end of the day, most of us can barely stand up for long periods of a time, so why suffer any more than you have to, right? I mean, c’mon! Please do yourself righteous and STAND UP FOR YOUR PAIN!

Thanks for reading! Please tell me what you think, leave your comments and, as always, stay cool!

Tamiko

Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Depression, ADHD…. None of this Defines You

New year, new theme for my blog… and I am saying good riddance to 2010!! It has been one hell of a year! I am happy to see this one go, I must say. 2010 was a tough year and I am ready to move forward and start strong with 2011.

What do you remember most about 2010? This was a painful year for me… both physical and emotional. I felt the pain of fibromyalgia and the pain of losing loved ones, the pain of walking away from my house after 10 years, the emotional upheaval of changing companies after 20+ years…

It was also a year of celebration… my son turned 18, he graduated from high school and started college. My daughter is in middle school and is excelling in her academics and in soccer. They are both maturing and growing up and I am realizing that they are so independent. I am also seeing what traits they have taken from my husband and myself and it’s awesome and difficult at the same time to see. You always want only the best traits to be passed on, right? You know that’s not the way it always goes… you just pray that your children will listen and learn from your experiences. If not, they will learn on their own as you did yourself. I honestly get this, it hurts my heart to see it happening though. Many of you out there know what I am talking about. You are going through the same thing with your children.

As we enter 2011, my family just completed our annual project.

  • What are your 10 most memorable moments of 2010?
  • What are your 10 goals for 2011?

We take those and write them down and scrapbook them on a piece of 12×12 paper, frame them and put them up on the wall for the year. I will share mine (truth be told, mine is the only one that is still “almost” complete”), as I was saying, I will share mine with all of you when I finish it.

I highly recommend you sit down with your family and do something like this. If anything, it’s a great conversation.

I wanted to make sure I ended the year by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  to all of you… you have all been fantastic supporters in my life.

Most important, if you take anything from my blog, take this… Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, depression, ADHD…. none of this defines you. You are defined by the values and beliefs and all the inner beauty inside you. Your pain is real. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

You deserve an awesome 2011. I’m praying you have one!! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back in 2011.

Stay cool.

Tamiko