Anyone Else Exhausted?

IMG_9952I can’t believe how quickly the holidays came and went. We put our Christmas tree up the first or second week in December and bright and early December 26th the ornaments were off and the tree was on the street! I’m back to work after a week off between Christmas and New Year’s and… I am exhausted. You know when babies get so exhausted they just start crying for no reason? Or how about when kids are so exhausted they get angry and frustrated for no reason, remember that? That’s me right now… except I’m 50… not a baby or a small child. I have been going and going for so many weeks I can’t do it anymore. I thought for sure this holiday season I would pace myself. I actually got a lot more done in advance than any other year, but I noticed my energy level just keeps going down. My ability to turn things around after a stressful situation just takes more and more time.

Someone say stressful situation? My day started somewhere around 2:30 in the morning when I woke up with a jolt. This was not about pain… the whole house was shaking… can you say EARTHQUAKE??!!! After only a couple hours of sleep, I got up and started working. My work day consisted of several hours trying to resolve system issues mixed with attempting to get my work done. Can you say frustrated? I managed to finish working and planned for a relaxing night… let’s see… I clogged the kitchen sink and my beautiful aging dog left me a nice post-Christmas gift in the bathroom. Did you catch that? She went to the bathroom… IN my bathroom. Usually when she does something like this (which unfortunately is happening too frequently these days… poor baby) she kinda sneaks away and hides. This time she stood there and stared at me as if to say, “who in the world would do that to you? that’s so f’d up!”. It’s almost as if she was feeling my frustration and providing moral support… to clean up her mess.

Why am I sharing all this? I am exhausted. I know things are not good when I start feeling the blackness start to surround me and today I sensed my mental state starting to really spiral downwards…  So I decided to fight. In the midst of the crappiest day in a long time I chose to get up and get on the treadmill. It’s been weeks since I last exercised and today instead of allowing my depression to win, I fought back. I’m not saying that I am no longer depressed, but at the very least I did something for myself that was good. There’s the silver lining in my day. I need to end my day with gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude (it’s one of those days… my mind just bounces from one topic to the next)… We have plans to go on our first family vacation this year! I mean a “get on a plane and fly to Hawaii and stay in a super nice hotel” kind of vacation! I cannot wait!! I have 8 months to get my act together or it’s going to be a … “get on a plane and fly to Hawaii and stay in my super nice hotel room IN PAIN” kind of vacation. Nobody wants that. So! It’s time to get it together. I know that this kind of change is not going to be easy, but I commit to being kind to myself. I am not going to be perfect, I will not always follow a strict diet and I won’t all of a sudden run 5 miles every day… but I can do my best and make better choices. As long as I know I am doing my best without compromising my happiness, that works for me.

Now for a completely different topic (although it eventually ties together)… I went to the beach with my daughter last week. She’s only here for a short period of time before she goes back to college. Mother/daughter time is very special to me. We don’t have these opportunities very often. She is figuring out where she fits in the world and she is fighting for her independence. I remember what that feels like, I couldn’t wait to move out of my folks house… so like a complete idiot, I moved out at 18. I’m not saying it was the dumbest thing I have ever done, but I never realized how much my folks did for me. The biggest gift they ever gave me was letting me go without a fight. I don’t know how they did it. They hardly ever questioned any of my decisions… and I can’t remember a single time they turned their backs on me. They watched me move out and struggle and every single step of the way they lifted me up when I was down. There were so many moments in my life when they carried me on their shoulders for long periods of time… and they did it without me even realizing it. If i could be 10% as good to my children as my parents have been to me… that would be amazing. It’s an overwhelming emotion when you step back and look at your life and realize the people who have been your strongest supporters. Without a doubt my folks have been there for me every step of the way. The fact that they allowed me my independence as a young adult forced me to learn so many things in life. It’s time I take the blessings they gave to me in my life and share those with my children. The challenge is really letting go…

 

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I completely lost focus there! Me? Lose focus? No way! Getting back to my original point (I told you i would tie this all together). I went to the beach with Kiyomi last week and I took this picture of her with our dog Tani. To me this picture signifies how small we are in God’s beautiful universe. I realized that what I call “problems” are so small in comparison to what is going on in other parts of the world or even just down the street. I have a home, the best family and friends in the entire world, I have a good job with a manager who understands my health challenges and supports my work/life balance and I have a relationship with my son and daughter that far exceed any expectations I ever imagined. What the hell could I possibly complain about?

So! I started out telling you how exhausted I am. Trust me, I am still exhausted. It just  doesn’t matter how exhausted I am… how much physical pain I am in or how depressed I am, it’s up to me to do something about it. I choose to live my life. I’d rather hang out with friends in absolute pain then sit at home alone in pain.

I will have my bad days, but let’s hope 2018 brings an abundance of good days. That is my wish for all of you. I wish for you all to have more good days than bad and I wish for you to live your life to the fullest. Laugh! Feel the joy of friendship and experience the fresh air and sounds of whatever you love in nature. I, personally, can never get enough of the ocean.

Thank you for stopping by!

Gentle Hugz.

Tamiko

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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

Welcome 2016!! Hello Happiness!!

 

Stress takes a toll… relationships… health… sleep… diet… PAIN!! Stress takes a toll.

What do you do when you are stressed? Me? Some days I manage well… other days? Not so much…

2015 was full… I mean FULL of stress and challenging times on a personal level (honestly… what would it be if not personal)? I can take classes, read  books, gather tips and best practices for managing stress… but the problem is, as many of you well know… you actually have to PRACTICE those things that one learns. WTH? No magic pill? No snap of my fingers? No twitch of my nose? Damn! I actually have to work to make it WORK.

Every year I write down my goals… each year, kinda the same thing. I want this year to be different. I want this year to be better. I will do better. I will set and achieve my goals. No more, “I will lose 50 pounds in one month.” … maybe something like, “I will exercise once a week.“… (damn, even that sounds hard to me… Crazy!! Full confession… I don’t exercise at all right now, so exercising once a week is going to be very challenging). Maybe I will set goals to achieve each month. For examplgoalschangesm.jpge, in January I could… eat less sugar! Hmmmm I need specific achievable goals… so in January I will reduce my sugar intake by not eating sugar 1 day in week 1, 2 days in week 2, 3 days in week 3… that will be damn hard, but changing fro
m bad to good habits isn’t meant to be easy. Accountability! (I really need to figure out a better word to use as my mantra.) Most important…  I will do my best to be happy about small successes.

That’s a challenge in itself. Being happy. For those of you with depression, you know exactly what I mean. Happiness does not come naturally for me, it requires me to take meds and accept things and not be sad or down about shit, not get upset – I am super envious of people who are able to “take things in stride”. What the hell is that anyway? How does one do that? What’s the key to happiness? I’m quite sure it all goes back to exercise, eating right and acceptance. It’s everything. These three things solve stress, pain, depression, anxiety, self-confidence, self-esteem… the list is infinite! These three things. Exercise. Diet. Acceptance. Three words. How can there be so much behind three words?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if I had one of those believe it and you will do it minds? Well… I don’t. I have one of those… “Jussssssttttt one more See’s candy… I deserve it!” minds. “CALLING ALL SELF CONTROL TO THE FRONT OF MY MIND!! … PLEASE … COME TO THE FRONT OF MY MIND!!” Wait.. what? It’s gone in hiding? Can’t find it? Damn thing is never around when I need it. I really have to work on that. Self Control has to replace “I deserve it!” as my BFF… that’s going to be a hard one. My current “I deserve it!” BFF has a box of See’s candy in one hand with a Nordstrom bag on her shoulder and the remote control to the TV in the back pocket and of course, an “I will start tomorrow on… (you fill in the blank)” attitude! Replacing her is going to be tough… I mean I have to kick her to the curb HARD to make this work.

Well welcome Self Control to 2016 and g’bye “I deserve it!“!

I hope you are saying hello to all good things this year and g’bye to the bad.

A big gentle hug and I wish you all the happiness, good fortune and pain-free/ improved health in 2016!!

I leave you with one of my favorite pictures of 2015… Three generations! Happy new year!!

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Tamiko

Day 13: 10 Things I Can’t Live Without

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!

I like this prompt, it makes me realize how blessed I really am. I have all of this in my life today and as long as I have God in my life, anything is possible. What a great way to start the day! Imagine a life without Tivo or my laptop or the internet … it actually seems kinda nice.

God

My family

My friends

Laughter

Freedom

Books

Music

The beach

Blue Skies

70 degree weather

Do You Dream?

Are you are dreamer? With the amount of sleep I don’t get, I end up in that dream state a lot. I doze, I nap, I am in REM state…. I just don’t sleep-sleep like normal people. What I do … is DREAM …  in HD … vivid color!! It’s super crazy. I have been dreaming like this since I was a kid. I have dreams that have been going on, continuous or the same dream over and over again. I have these places in my dreams that I have visited many times at different ages. It is to the point where there are things that I honestly don’t know if it is real or a dream. These are moments that I will think about in a blink of an eye and then forget again (who the hell are we talking about here?). I have nightmares. My mom had an angel that she would put over my bed when I was growing up to help me sleep at night. I really loved that angel. I don’t think she realizes how much that helped me. Nightmares are the enemy.

In my dreams I visit people that have passed on. I have conversations with my friends and family about what is going on in my life today. I share ideas and life experiences like they are still with me. I wake up and I forget that they have passed on and I experience the loss all over again. I am a little better than I used to be, if I can tell myself that I am dreaming, I can sometimes prepare myself or even use my time in my dream to my advantage. Really strange, right? But there are times when I just want to lose myself in that dream and just let go… it’s dangerous. I don’t want to wake up. The pain of waking up is so deep, it will take days to recover. I know I will relive that dream over and over again. The pain from that experience, visit, unforgettable dream… one so vivid that it sometimes haunts me forever.

In my dreams I can do anything, I can go anywhere, I can see anyone.

I can fix anything, I can mend any relationship, I can overcome any challenges.

I also see myself struggle and I see others struggle and I feel and it’s not easy. It’s uncomfortable and it’s awkward and it’s real life. It’s not “dream” in the sense that it’s all nice and beautiful and wonderful and perfect. It’s a dream because I have my eyes closed and I am not awake. If I could write it out as it happens, I would do it. I would love to analyze it every day as I dream it. It’s difficult to do as I have too many of these short stories going on at the same time.

Last night I had a dream that I went to see a doctor. I checked in and wait to be called. The nurse who calls me back looks at me in an disapproving way. You know the look, the one that says “you look fine, why are you here”.  This female nurse tells me to come around and meet her at the door and she’ll take me to the back, so I walk to the other side of the counter and stand there and wait for her to open the door. As I’m standing there waiting for her to open the door, I start to feel strange. I can remember I’m holding some papers in my hand along with a book and my purse that my cousin gave me is on my shoulder. The next thing I know, I start to fall – in slow motion. I am fainting. I am falling to the ground, but I have no control, I cannot stop myself. I am going to seriously just fall on my face. This is what it feels like to faint! I can hear the people in the waiting room gasp as they hear me falling. THUD! I hit the ground. My head hits the floor and I feel sick. This is so surreal. I can smell the carpet, I can feel how hard the floor is. There is an older lady sitting in a chair just directly in front of my face, but she doesn’t know what to do. I am just embarrassed. I just fell flat on my face.

The nurse comes out the door and sees me on the floor and calls for help, “Someone call a Doctor! Damn, she fainted!”. I can feel her moving me around, but I’m not sure what she is doing. I am really not well. I recall nurses around and a man with a gurney at this point. I remember feeling the light from the windows coming in. The windows have dark brown wood around them. I am laying on the floor on my stomach and I am not able to move at all, I can feel the scratchiness of the carpet and I can smell the office. I felt really light headed and sick to my stomach. I could hear the nurse talking about getting me cleaned up… and then? I woke up.

I woke up. I was awake for about ten minutes and then it was off to another dream about visiting a girl I was best friends with when I was about eight-years old. I often dream about her and for some reason we are always going to the beach.

I wouldn’t mind dreaming so much if it would allow me to feel RESTED in the morning! My mom and my Godmother are/were dreamers. This is the gift they have both passed on to me.

Crazy, right?

Well, I can’t help what I dream. Do you dream? How do you journal your dreams? Does it help you get through your pain?

Apparently the pharmacies ran out of my pain meds in the bay area so I can’t get them until tomorrow. A week without them, how much fun am I having? Trying to be a good sport, that’s all I’m saying!!

I think my next blog will be about meds. I could use some advice on meds. Hopefully you’ll comment.

Thanks for stopping by. Look forward to your comments.

Take care and stay cool!

Tamiko

PS. The picture was taken by my daughter… pretty awesome, right?

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

This Too Shall Pass… I Am Blessed.

Wow… Where have I been? It’s been over two months since I have written something… and to be totally honest, it’s been over almost that long since I have even visited my blog page. Six months ago, if someone would have said I would let that let that much time pass without viewing my page, I would have just ignored them because I would have thought to myself “NO Flippin WAY!”. Well, it’s true. Now that I’m here, that old familiar feeling is back. It’s the middle of the night, I’m sitting in the dark, on the couch with just the dim light from my laptop…. except this time… same couch – different house.

Where do I start? My life, my life, my life… Lord, I know You do not shoulder more than one can bear… I. Just. Am. So. Very. Tired. I really do try not to complain, I know there are people so downtrodden and their lives really suck, I know I have no right to complain…

Here’s the deal… let me bottom line it for you… I feel like I am starring in a country song where you play it backwards to figure out everything that has been lost (I should win an award for this one!)… I am just not mending… I don’t even know how to mourn anymore. I know hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units up and down the west coast and unfortunately so do my children. What started out as a good learning situation for my children when they were young, has turned out to be a continuous cycle of “Whose Funeral Are We Going to This Month?” … Scarred for life.

Where the hell was I going with this? Oh yeah… I was bottom lining it… let me get back to it…

So! Important in a Chronic Pain Patient’s life… Truth. Honesty. Well in anyone’s life, but more so in a chronic pain person’s life because you spend your entire life explaining your pain to people who do not believe you!

Shortly after the passing of my very close friend Steve’s passing, I lost my Godfather which seemed “suddenly” to me (way too soon as I just really wanted more time!)… Very close after that… we had a traumatic experience with a dog that we were really hoping to adopt (all of my 4-legged blogger friends would totally relate to my experience but Lumpy is in a happy home now!) Well, my son entered college and turned 18 and then my husband and I found out we needed to move out of our house we had lived in for over 10 years. We had less than 2 weeks to vacate. So! I found us a house to rent and we packed up our memories and our furniture and moved to our new “home”. That was the 1st week of November… and did I tell you I was on disability and went back to work the second week of September?

For those of you that were around my blog last year… I was blessed to get out and help pick the tree this year and my husband and I trimmed it this year!

I have this horrible feeling there is a big ass dam inside my body somewhere secret stored up and it’s just going to open up one day… God help the folks that are around on that day. Poor souls… I have a huge smile on my face right now… because Lord knows, all you can do is smile when you think about the poor souls who will have to deal with my ass when I unload on them!

So, now that you are caught up with where I have been and what I have been up to since the last time I blogged….

After all I have been through…

my family still makes me laugh at least once or five or ten times a day.

My parents are still with me and I thank God every single day for this.

I am blessed.

I still have my brothers, sisters and their families and my friends and their families around me.

I am blessed.

I still have my five senses.

I am blessed.

(Ummm I did not say I HAVE sense, don’t get crazy here).

My husband still wakes up every morning and goes to sleep to me.

I am truly truly blessed.

I have fibromyalgia, ADHD and chronic depression and yes…

I am blessed.

For me, it is important to remind myself to remember what I have and to do my best to stay positive. Please be positive with me. There’s enough negativity out there…

Thanks for reading! Stay cool…. and God bless all of you and Happy Holidays!