Fibromyalgia and Creatively Finding Your True YOU…

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Post #500 My Foggy Brain… take 5… annnnnnndddd ACTION!

Yeah right! It’s not really my 500th post, but it is about the 5th time I have tried to write a post for my blog. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, every time I start/stop, start again or even finish… something doesn’t feel right. I’m just not feelin’ it. The vibe is not all good. You get what I’m sayin’… it has to be right, to actually push the “Publish” button! Once the content is out there, I need to feel good about what I’m sharing. I am always honest and give my best when I write and I don’t want to start half assin’ things now…

My world has been topsy-turvy, I always wanted to say that… topsy-turvy… Seriously, my life as a medically disabled on-leave full-time person is very different. It took three weeks just to realize I actually wasn’t working. One week to transition my work away, the second week to recover from the prior week of transitioning and the third week was the last week of the summer before school started, in addition, we had some getting ready to do for a family wedding. Let me just say this past week was the fourth week and I experienced a full-on flare for a few days and then recovery mode. Life definitely does not stop for anything.

I will say this… and this is not easy to say. I have chronic depression and I have had it for a very long time. Shortly after going on this medical leave I fell into a major depression. I have been doing a lot of creative journaling and prayer and listening to my Joyce Meyer podcasts everyday. I can feel myself coming out of it, it’s been almost a month. With the journaling to get clarity about some things about myself and my faith exercises along with my physical exercises and the support of my family it has helped to bring me to a better place.

The reason I shared that with you is to show you that it is possible to go from the crappiest place to a better place … but it definitely takes work. As I sit here and type I realize I actually did do some work to get here. As I smile I CAN say, “I didn’t just sit on my ass for the last 30 days.”. Not that I really did believe I sat on my ass for the last 30 days, but it is so far removed from working 12 hours a day that I didn’t actually realize what I had accomplished until right now.

In “finding” myself (I just laughed when I typed that because a girlfriend and I just discussed this phrase last month and “finding myself” in our discussion meant having an affair to a lot of other people…. so if that’s your definition… let me interject… NOT my definition!!)… okay pay attention, back to what I was saying. In my creative journaling to get to know myself better and find out what I really want out of life I bought a blank journal book and a whole lot of color pencils and asked myself some questions… in case any of you are going through this, I thought I’d share some of them with you, as well as a cool website I am using:

  • I just started with blank pages and wrote out “I Am…” on one page filling in the page with colorful descriptive words that I kept to less than 15 and all positive, on two pages I drew out a big heart and wrote out “I Love…” at the top and listed everything inside the heart… you get where I’m going with this – you can make your own lists to get to clearly define your own YOU.
  • creativity 101: discover, explore+empower your creative genius. This e-course is free and it’s pretty cool so far. Check it out, for all you creative types, there are weekly courses, meditations and you work at your own pace. for a free course, it’s pretty well done. http://www.abccreativity.com/creativity-e-course/
  • My big winner this week was finally, after a year of procrastinating, taking the integral tai-chi class! Why did I wait?? I loved it! It was two hours and it was relaxing, challenging, spiritually uplifting, mentally uplifting, physically I felt better when I left and I’m looking forward to the next class… oh and did I mention it was FREE?? These classes are offered through the local libraries so they are always free. With all the hype about Tai-Chi and Fibromyalgia, now is the time to try it out… you won’t regret it!

To finish my post, I went for a walk tonight with my two beautiful children and my crazy dog. It’s the first time I have done this in a very very long time. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I have gone for a walk like this. I really have to cherish these moments, in a few weeks my son goes off to college and soon I fear I will be “invisible” to my daughter. I can feel it coming… It was really nice to get out of the house and be able to walk for 30 minutes. My crazy, funny dog loved every minute and she kept us all entertained (as usual). I really need to give that Caesar Milan a call… I love my dog, but she has that psycho thing goin’ on whenever she sees another dog on a leash…. off leash she is pretty awesome… well… she has her moments… as long as everyone is off leash she is really awesome… honest, she is. look at her pictures, you know she is! she is totally submissive when she goes psycho… she just has this crazy bark that sounds like she is kujo-dog… all the while wagging her tail and as soon as she gets close to the dog, she rolls over to her back… but how would the other owner KNOW that?? They have to be a true dog lover to know that…. and not everyone is, sooooo anyway… how did I get on this?? oh yeah, I am easily distracted…. anyway… I love my dog and you would too if you met her! :)

Hey, thanks for stopping by and please let me know how you are doing today!

Stay cool

Tamiko

PS. The links and that picture are brought to you by this new fancy function in WordPress that I’m trying out… so I may have gone a little crazy with it… what do you think?

PPS. I am having a difficult time finding a theme that I like… hence the constant changing of the themes… still not loving this one… waiting for one to get published that makes me go WOW!

This Roller Coaster We Call Chronic Pain…

I have spent the last few weeks in a complete funk. I felt like shit. My flare kept me down. I had a difficult time overcoming my depression. Life was not fun.

Chronic pain is an interesting condition to live with… it’s like living on this ultimate roller coaster. Your life is literally going in these huge swings of ups and downs depending on the levels of pain you are in. YOU have to constantly be in control of your emotions. Everyone around you depends on YOU to constantly be in control of your emotions, your pain medication, your antidepressants (if you use them), your diet, your exercise regime, your sleep hygiene, basically every minute and second of your life. Let’s be real… this is just unrealistic. I know this… my chronic pain friends out there know this… but 99.9% of the people who live normal lives will never understand this. It’s incomprehensible to get this. Although they (folks without chronic pain) deal with it, they want a consistent “YOU”, not this sometimes  emotional, sometimes irrational/ erratic/ sensitive person. Sure we live in the straight areas of the roller coaster and we appreciate those times, but we all know that there are going to be the ups and downs.

Here’s the reality. The reality is, no one is perfect here. No one. Not us – the chronic pain people. Not them – the support people. We all have to understand this. So, there really should not be an “US” and “THEM” in theory, but in reality once again I challenge everyone to  think about this difference in groups. How do we bridge this gap? Is there a need to bridge the gap?

How do we better educate our family and friends around us? I still find it very difficult to talk about all the conditions I have. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, I don’t want to get “that” look. I realize I need to be okay with how people react, their reactions are normal. I realize it takes time for people to accept and be okay with change. I want to educate people so they can understand the conditions that I have. I want people to understand that I am in pain everyday. Some days are better than others, but even though I look good on the outside (okay people I am not trying to say “I look GOOD!”, I’m saying I look healthy good), the pain I feel is real.

So, let me get back on track (good pun, huh? Sometimes I am pretty good! lol!)… I was on the down side of this roller coaster and I was falling fast. I had no sight of things getting better and I really felt like the pain was going to keep getting worse, my stomach has been upset, I’ve been using my cane, my depression has been bad… that dark cave was getting smaller and smaller. I was trying to find ways to get out, but I didn’t feel like I had options.

I have been praying and I pushed myself to spend the 4th with friends and family and you know what? That dark cave opened up and the light shined through. I allowed myself to just relax and my husband and my kids took care of me and I enjoyed time with old friends and family. I had a fabulous time! I am not a social bunny (understatement of the decade). I generally do not like to be around a lot of people, but I had a really nice time. When my pain got to be too much, I looked at my husband and he knew exactly what I needed and we said our g’bye’s. We came back to the house and rested for a bit and while I rested my husband took Tani out for a run and then we all went next door for the annual fireworks and then back home for the night. All in all a great day to bring some well needed light into my life!

Sometimes, it just takes the simple things in life. Some friends to light up your life. Say “YES” to the invitations to go out, even if you stay for an hour. You might be surprised by the smile on your face when you leave. Wear something easy and don’t be hard on yourself about having to look perfect, people want to see YOU! I have missed out on many opportunities and I am sorry for that. I can only hope to work harder at this.

Also, let’s find ways to better educate those around us, and remember we aren’t all perfect… it’s just not possible. Let’s find a way to bridge this gap. The responsibility is on us, we are the ones with the medical conditions and we have the knowledge. Let’s find better ways to share in a user-friendly way. If you have ideas, please share with me.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Stay cool!

Tamiko

Maybe There Are Just Too Many Maybe’s… Making Decisions With A Foggy Brain

Let’s say, for instance, you have to make a life altering decision. How do you go about thinking through this decision? Do you talk to your friends? Do you go in a dark room and think, think, think? Do you sit down and make a list of the pro’s and con’s? Do you talk to your counselor? Do you talk to your significant other? Do you talk to your dog? parents? What do you do?

Let me give you an example. You have the option to make a change that will make a significant difference in your income, your social life, even your daily life and will cause you to go through some pretty major positive and negative stress. You can either make this change OR you can keep  going in the life you have. The life you have is not bad. You make a pretty good income, you work with some of the best people on earth, you have some pretty major stress.

So, what’s the problem? Well, that was just an example. My question still remains. What do you do when you have a problem and you need to think it through? I struggle with this all the time when I have issues. With a foggy brain, when I try to figure things out… well, let’s be honest… I don’t get to the “figuring out” part. I start to do the research, but I have a difficult time reading through the policy jargon. The stuff that used to be so easy for me… this is the shit that I used to read through and help OTHER people understand. Now I’m the one that can’t figure it out. What. Happened. To. Me.

I have my good days when I can be a Lawyer! Of course these are my husband’s worst nightmare days. He should really pray these are the days he doesn’t get into an argument with me… because if I’m feeling good, I’m probably going to really want to use my brain! (God help him!) These are the days that I will willingly work 16 hours to get through as much email and paperwork as possible. I can process stuff very quickly vs. the normal time it takes. Quickly. This is how I used to work in the late 80’s and 90’s and early 2000’s bcp (before chronic pain).

I can remember those days. I used to work 16 hour days… everyday. I used to work 6 days a week… every week. My life was work, work was my life. Hmmmmm, I don’t think I should look back on those days and say “those were the good ‘ol days!”. There were definitely some GREAT days! I had a lot of fun working, I learned a hell of a lot… but I gave up a hell of a lot as well. I am certainly paying the price now. People still expect the same output or I should say, people would still like the same output. I also expect myself to be able to work like that. I still push myself to work those hours. I don’t know how to work an 8 hour day, stop working and then figure out what to do the rest of the time. Well, let’s be real here… after those 8 hours, I’m pretty much useless. BUT, IF I had energy after 8 hours, what would I do? I have no idea. There is so much to do… where would I start?

My problem is… I have so many things I want to do, I am overwhelmed. If I wasn’t working at all, where would I start? Where would I stop? How would I prioritize? The thing is… why think about it at all if there’s no chance at the moment?

So… again, I have this question about how to make this big life altering decision. I have this damn foggy brain. I have all these questions in my head. I am completely overwhelmed. I know there are all these processes you can use to make decisions… and well… I think when it comes down to it… maybe I’m just not ready to make this decision. Maybe I’m afraid. There are just so many Maybe’s.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe I’ll figure out what I want to do soon.

But for tonight… I think I’ll go to sleep… and maybe, jussssttttt maybe, when I wake up I’ll have an idea of how to think through this decision!

Y’all stay cool! Thanks for reading…

A Simple Post: My Fibro Journal Template… Use It & Track Your Daily Progress… YES I SAID PROGRESS!!

Hi everyone!

I created this template based on the 10 week Level II Pain Program I took at Kaiser and I have used it every day for a month. It has helped me remember to take my meds, really understand my sleep (lack of sleep), how my pain goes up and down, when and how often I flare and… when I talk to my dr… I can actually speak factually (what a concept)!

Try it, tell me what you think… these are just pictures. I posted it a couple of weeks ago, but I thought if I showed you what the pages looked like, you would be more apt to try it out. :) You can download the template in my Awesome Resources tab.

If you are not tracking your progress… if you don’t use my template… create your own or buy one or do something! It’s important so you can see your PROGRESS!!!! Even if it’s small, you do progress. Even if it doesn’t feel like it… you are making progress. You will have bad days… but you will have GOOD days. Journaling forces you to see the GOOD!!

Okay, I’m off my soap box. :)

Thanks for reading and have a super cool and pain-free week-end!

MY FOGGY BRAIN: Daily Fibro Journal - Page 1

MY FOGGY BRAIN: Daily Fibro Journal - Page 1

MY FOGGY BRAIN: Daily Fibro Journal - Page 2

MY FOGGY BRAIN: Daily Fibro Journal - Page 2

Eczema, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Depression & ADHD? Anything Else Want to Join This Party?

Let me tell you something funny. I thought I knew pretty much all I needed to know about Fibromyalgia. I thought I knew all the pain and exhaustion and crap that I was going to know that came with MY Fibromyalgia. Pretty funny, huh? Obviously I was naive and completely missed the chapter about the skin and the effects that FMS has on it. I admit it… I’m a dumbass. I have spent the last 3 days… one, two, three and let’s count today so this is the fourth day… itching like a dog dipped and rolled in fleas. If you could see me now… I have hives all over.

Pain+crazy itchy=psychotic mom. My dog Tani, also has some kind of crazy itchy thing going on. I want to do what she does. She literally walks and randomly throws herself on the floor, I mean this, THROWS herself on the floor and “THUD!” rolls to her backside and vigorously wiggles back and forth to scratch her back. I’m jealous. I want to do this. I know I sound crazy, but she looks pretty content when she’s done.

I gotta be honest, I think I’ve been pretty okay to live with. I haven’t thrown things around the house or screamed for no reason or even cried like there’s no tomorrow (although I’m seriously on the verge). I have pretty much just sat on this couch and played Facebook games on my computer. Non-stop. It’s the only thing that can distract me enough to keep me sane. Thank goodness there’s a new game to play as well… I can’t read or Twitter or watch TV. I can’t sit still or barely write this blog post. I’ve been trying to write it for the past 24 hours. Idle time for more than 10 seconds and I am scratching like crazy. This seriously SUCKS. I mean, I am ready to take any drug offered to make this stop. I am anxious and stressed and frustrated and exhausted all at the same time… AND in pain. How is this even possible?

If you could see me now….

It’s Wednesday and I just finished this post. I hit save and the page exploded before my eyes.

The login page comes up and I login and I come back and … it’s all gone. All my edits are gone up to the point where I had last saved. What do I do? Do I give up and just scream? Do I say eff it and just leave the post yet again for another day? (yes that is EXACTLY what my first reaction is) or do I suck it up and just finish it?

This is me sucking it up… so be nice! hahahahahaha.

So! It is Wednesday (I know I just said that, cut me some slack here) and I am still itching away… I found out the problem, I’m just not sure I believe it. On Friday, like a good patient, I had sent an email to my chronic pain doctor. On Monday he gave me a call and we talked about what the issue might be. He decided it wasn’t a reaction to my meds (good thing). He also thought it would be  a good idea for me to see my Primary Care Physician (PCP). I had a feeling this was going to happen. I still find it super cool that he even calls me to check in with me. Kaiser has such a bad reputation, the fact that he calls me, and first thing in the morning, and then tells me why he didn’t call me on Friday?? Awesome! The people in the Chronic Pain group…. they are the best! I can’t recommend the Level II Pain Program enough!!

I went in to see my PCP and she figures it’s chronic hives… I’m not so convinced. She’s thinking and asks me if I want to go on steroids. Hmmmm, how about NO! Prednisone? Hmmmm… HELL NO! Then she tells me she is going to have this “Roving Dermatologist” check me out. Cool. I’m cool with that. Sounds interesting and a good idea. We wait. I have my husband and daughter in the room with me. We wait. She comes in the room with my PCP (I just like saying that… funny how that acronym just happens to be the same as, well…. you know). Anyway, the Roving Derm and my PCP start talking and the Derm starts looking at my hives and asking me the questions, “when?”, “how long?”, “anything new?”, she wants to see where all the hives are and then she keeps asking me … literally over and over and over again… “did you use any new lotions?” me: “no” okay, “but, have you used any new lotions?” me: “ummmm, no”. It was almost as if she didn’t believe me. I guess she gave up after she kept getting the same answer. She then does this doctor speak with my PCP and pretends my family and I are not in the room. Riggghhhhhtttttt. This 6 foot black man is not in the room. I am thinking… “I wonder if I pinch her, will she notice?” and then I think… I better not, the consequences of that are probably not very good… and just as I finish with my thinking, the doctor bubble breaks and “PING!” we are all in the same room again. My PCP gives me my prescription and we are on our way. I like my PCP, but it’s always kind of a strange visit to me.

Steroid lotion and cream and Atarax. I start day 2 of this lotion/cream twice a day schedule along with an Atarax pill and so far it’s not really working, but I’m giving it a chance… because that’s the sort of girl I am! I don’t like to take the Atarax during the day. I have to get my work done so I will wait until it’s time for bed. This means I’m itchy all day… all I’m saying is… you don’t want to irritate me… you don’t want to irritate the irritable, right? Pass it on.

Okay and here’s the thing… Eczema, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Depression and ADHD?? Good damn thing I’m married!! I’d never find a man with all that shit! What I’m sayin’ is anything else want to join in this party?? You better come quick!! I’m closing the door to this gosh darn party, I’m lettin’ the door hit ADHD in the ass as it closes! This is bullshit!! I did not sign up for this, but I’m handling it. I’m takin’ it. I’m living with it and I’m not going to sit down and cry my eyes out. Try me, damnit!! Okay, maybe some days I’ll cry my eyes out… but not EVERYDAY!! These things do not make for the end of the world… they cannot kill me and I won’t let them kill my spirit. Right? Are ya with me?? Good!

I will say this though!!! 2000+ hits to my blog?? That is WAY TOO AWESOME!! When I first started writing this blog I never ever in my wildest dreams (okay now I am going a bit overboard, I don’t really dream about my blog, but you get my drift) thought that I would have this many folk read what I’m talkin’ about. I love the fact that people understand and get what I am talkin’ about.

You all have a wonderful and blessed day!! Leave your comments, I love to read them!

Stay super duper cool!

PS. I was chicken, you would have pinched her, right? :)

When the Anger & Frustration Get The Best of You, What Do You Do? Choose Calm…

I am counting down the days… less than two weeks away until my son graduates from high school. While there is a lot to celebrate, I feel like I am seriously being tested. Mentally and physically…

This is one of those “how much can you take?” tests. All I’m saying is…. REALLY???? Right now???? First of all, I am not complaining. Okay. I’m complaining a little bit. So, as you read this, you must want to know what I am going on about. Well, I’ll tell you.

Work…. on top of Life…. on top of … Work … on top of Life… on top of … well you get it.

It is exhausting.

When the anger and the frustration get the best of you, what do you do? It’s interesting, either it’s age or all of the training I have received in the last couple years, I feel like I am a lot more calm now than I have ever been. This is another way for me to keep a flare away. If I lose my temper, I am guaranteed a flare within 24 hours. So, honestly, it’s a choice I make. How about you?

How about your surroundings? Do you notice people around you are getting mad a lot quicker? It seems to me people also get really mad at the small stuff. It’s crazy to me. I just don’t get it. It’s such a waste of energy. I guess, for me, I have so little energy to start with I see no reason to waste it on the small shit. Maybe if people were in pain, they would feel the same way. It’s an interesting way to learn such a profound lesson, but that’s how I learned! He said/she said… why do YOU care what people think of you? What is really important is what YOU think of you. Think about what makes you angry and figure out WHY. Is it worth spending the little energy you have on that anger? Or would you rather do something else with that energy… like LAUGH?

We are surrounded. There’s no doubt about it. Road rage. The daily news. TV shows. Movies. Rude people. Rude people in general. I am amazed at how rude people are these days. Rude people raising rude children…. and so on and so on…

So! Don’t stand for it. Smile. Don’t let the small shit get to you. Don’t get angry, get over it! Treat people with respect… ya hear me? Let’s use our energy for positivity!! Stand up and shout about it!

If you feel like you are about to lose it… close your eyes, breeeeeeeaaaaathe, count to ten.

If you want to scream at your boss, your husband, a rude person, your doctor …. take a deep breath, close your eyes, breeeeeeeaaaaathe, count to ten.

So… I think you get my point. The person who is going to suffer the most at the end of the day is the fibromite in the anger game.

Choose calm. Thanks for checking my blog out. Please leave a comment.

Stay cool – and chillax!!

PS. It’s funny how I always start off with one train of thought… and I always seem to end up somewhere else. Oh well, I did say I had ADHD, right? LOL!

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.