Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Plastic Woes

No doubt plastic is one of those inventions that has changed our lives in a massive way. I assert that not all of these changes have been positive. Perhaps the best example of this is plastic storage containers. We all have them in our kitchens, be it Tupperware, Gladware or any number of other brands. Some are microwave and dishwasher safe, some are not. All are intended to make our live easier. If nothing else they are lighter than their glass or clay counterparts.

Let's not even talk about BPA, we'll pretend that all of it is completely safe. The problem will still always exist that it is a softer more porous material that soaks up color and odor. I've tried everything but bleach to clean my plastic containers but nothing works. No matter what I can still smell taco meat or chex mix or whatever pungent thing that was once stored in them. They are no longer clear but a cloudy reddish from all the red sauces of stew and such.

It has become so that I no longer use any plastic containers for my leftovers. No matter how much these are sold as light, cheap, convenient alternatives to glass I will never again buy into it. I have bought and replaced so much of the plastic crap - if I had just started off with the more expensive glass containers I would have actually saved money in the long run because they would still be around.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Seriously? Office Incense?!?!

This morning was my social security psych appointment. You won't believe what I encountered in the office. Okay I won't keep you guessing...incense smoke. The whole place was thick with it. You can imagine how much this ticked me off.

When the guy came to get me, I asked him if there was another space we could have this appointment. He was not willing to be flexible about this matter. I explained that the smoke was going to give me a migraine. He said that I was welcome to leave. I told him that I wasn't welcome to leave, I was required to meet with him. He knew this was true and just shrugged it off.

At the end of the appointment I told him that I thought this office should be more considerate of patients with medical issues that make them sensitive to strong smells and smoke. I told him that I am not the only one out there who is going to struggle in this environment and the fact that he is doing these appointments for the social security office means they should be aware of such issues. I know this went in one ear and out the other.


Today's migraine is unnecessarily brought on by office incense. Office incense! Who burns incense in an office where patients come to get help?!? Seriously?!?!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back Home

We're finally back home from Minnesota and things are returning to normal. So far I've been able to keep things calm enough, go slow enough and not allow myself to get overwhelmed. I made a command decision to allow myself as much enjoyment as possible and in that spirit I allowed myself 4 sips of a sweet Riesling during Thanksgiving dinner. I love wine and miss having it from time to time. The alcohol doesn't seem to be what triggers my migraines but rather getting that buzzed feeling in my head is what does it. I figured a few sips of wine would not cause that and so would be okay. Fortunately I was right.

Even though I took it easy I'm pretty tired from the long holiday weekend. No matter what we did drove 8 hours one way and all the stresses caused by simply being away from home and routine. There is no way to make travel anything but difficult for someone like me. I'm glad we went though. It was nice to see my mom and sister and to get away for a few days.

How was your holiday?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thankgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there in blog land! I'm off to take a measured, balanced holiday weekend with my family. See you next week!

I wish all of you good luck keeping your pain, fatigue and other bothersome symptoms at bay enough to enjoy your Thanksgiving with the ones you love. Please know that I am thankful for each and every one of you.

Much love,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011



With so much to get done before we make the drive up to Minnesota for Thanksgiving I'm struggling just to stay upright. I have my period (of course) and am having really terrible cramping (worse than usual). Plus during this time of the month I always get really bad migraines that don't respond well to my rescue meds. My brain is all scrambled and I feel all funky.

Our animal sitter is stopping by in an hour to meet our animals and find out what all needs to be done. It's a critical component of the getting ready to leave stuff but I'm just a mess. Fortunately the sitter is someone I know who will be very understanding and nonjudgmental but still normally I would just want to hide in the apartment and do very little, certainly not see anyone but my husband.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Planning for a Holiday Plan

The holidays are becoming more and more real now that Thanksgiving is just a couple days away. I'm so excited - just love the holidays!

This year the holidays are going to be more of a challenge than usual because now we live so close to family. Since the onset of my chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia my husband and I have been living on the East Coast too far away from family to be expected to travel. Now there will be all kinds of invitations to go and do...

I've made a vow to myself and now to all of you in blog land that I'm absolutely not going to overextend myself this holiday season. There will be no staying up and out until all hours. There will be no crazy foods, or crazy schedules. There will be no drinking. There will be no pressuring myself to buy tons of gifts and spend money we don't have. There will be no guilt. There will be no spending all our holiday time with family and friends.

I'm going to make a plan with my husband while we're driving up to Minnesota for Thanksgiving to ensure that we have time for just us this holiday season in addition to the down time I'll need.

This will certainly be a challenge but I am very committed to doing this right so that I can actually enjoy the holiday season that I love so much. Any advice?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Trouble Making Comments

I follow several great blogs and for the past several days I've been trying to comment on your blogs and have not been able to.

Sorry for all my silence. I'm still reading and wanting to comment. Will get to the bottom of it soon I hope!

Friday, November 18, 2011

More SS Frustrations

So the Social Security office scheduled two appointments for me - one with a neuro and one with a psychologist. I guess I'm not sure exactly what they want out of these appointments but I saw the neuro today. Guess what? I still don't know.

The best I can tell it was an absolute waste of my time. The office was a 1/2 hour away and the doctor was useless. He clearly didn't give a damn about my answers. He wouldn't tell me what the purpose of the appointment was and every time he asked a question, he wouldn't let me answer before he would interrupt  me with another question. He was downright rude about the whole thing. Perhaps worst of all, he didn't ask any questions about MY migraines AND he wouldn't listen to any additional information.

I don't know what the SS office thinks they can learn about  me and my conditions from the interaction I just had with this piece of shit doctor but I'm certain they won't learn anything. All I can do is hope that it won't effect the final decision.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oh, Worry~

My Aunt and Uncle, who live locally, have invited us to their greenhouse this weekend for their annual holiday festival. I've wanted to go since we heard about it a couple weeks ago and it is coming up this Sunday. We talked about inviting my husband's parents but figured they wouldn't want to come because they live an hour away and the greenhouse is a 1/2 hour from us so that would mean 3 hours on the road for them. We went ahead and invited them and to our surprise they said yes.

Now I'm getting anxious about it. Before when I thought it would just be my husband and I there was the comfort of knowing that if I couldn't make it, it was okay. If we went and I started to feel real bad we could just leave early - no problem. Now that my in-laws will be driving all this way to go with us I feel like I don't have that out.

Deep down I know no matter what happens I'll be okay. If I have to leave, it's okay, they will understand. But I will feel awful if they have to spend 3 hours on the road if I can only stay for a 1/2 hour. Mostly I think I feel pressure because they are my in-laws and I'm just not completely comfortable with them yet. I still feel like I need to put on the bravest, toughest front with them. I feel like I need to hide the ugliness of my chronic pain from them.

I may feel fine and maybe there won't be an issue at all. I need to find a way to not experience all this anxiety and fear surrounding the what ifs.

Do you ever worry about an upcoming event like this?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Almost Here

Is it really possible that Thanksgiving is just a week away? The most recent ChronicBabe Blog Carnival was about giving thanks and even though I missed the deadline I still wanted to do a post on the subject anyway. No matter what difficulties and ugliness pervade my days I have so much to be thankful for. Here's a list:

1. Having moved back to the Midwest I'm so thankful to once again be living close to family.
2. Food on the table, soap in the shower, clean clothes in the closet, a roof over my head and a husband who is gainfully employed.
3. Wonderful blogs to read and blogger friends who understand what it's like to live with chronic pain.
4. Have I mentioned my husband/best friend who is such a great companion in life, who keeps me laughing as much as possible and keeps me active as I can handle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Headache Blog Carnival Up

Great news, the November Headache Blog Carnival is now up! This month's topic is Friendship and Migraines. Check it out.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fibro Confusion

One thing I've noticed about my Fibromyalgia is that the biggest problem area tends to migrate around. Sometimes my arms and hands give me a lot of trouble, sometimes my legs and feet. Other times fatigue is my biggest issue and other times it is my ability to concentrate. Well you get the point.  Does this happen with any of you?

I feel like this aspect of the Fibromyalgia is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I bet it would be worse to have to cope with everything being really bad all at once. A curse because sometimes it makes me feel like I'm going mad. I can't seem to fully wrap my mind around my condition at any given moment because as soon as I think I'm understanding a symptom my symptoms change.

I feel like it is making it more difficult to manage my symptoms too. Hopefully this will cease to be an issue once I have integrated all the changes on my Road to Wellness. Gotta have hope, right?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Migrainista and Friend

We all know that close friendships are very important, maybe even more so during difficult times. No doubt living with chronic migraines qualifies as an extended difficult time. But in addition to making friendships important living with these kinds of chronic pain conditions also seems to have a way of shining a bright light on your relationships. At least this is what I've noticed in my own life.

The thing is that I have limited time and energy so it has become imperative for me to evaluate everything in my life and decide what is worth my limited resources and what is not. Friendships are a big part of that. I've been incredibly blessed to have some really high quality friends in my life. Friends who knew me before all of this pain and crap came along. Friends who love me, appreciate me, and still look at me and treat me like I'm the same person I used to be. To say that this is a blessing is a huge understatement.

Unfortunately, all the moving around we have done has meant that these beloved friends live and work many many many miles away from where we live. I missed having regular face to face contact with them greatly over the past several years, especially since I've also been struggling so much with all this pain. Fortunately, we have been able to maintain our friendships despite the distance. Those treasured close friendships have remained largely unchanged.

The real changes have been with acquaintances and with new friendships. Before chronic migraines I was a social butterfly. I was someone who was energized by social events and had many lovely acquaintances that I enjoyed a great deal. These days I am completely drained by social events and just don't have any interest in expending my valuable energy on acquaintances. I love my family and my close friends. They are now the exclusive recipients of all my social time and energy, which basically means that I am not currently investing in new friendships.

The day will likely come when I have some energy to put into developing new friendships. I recognize that it would be nice to have one or two close friends who live near me. Right now just isn't that time. Right now I need to focus on bringing more balance into my life. What's interesting is that I'm in no hurry. I'm certain that when the time is right, the right person or person(s) will come into my life and accept me for who I am, even though they didn't know the old me. Besides, I live with my best friend (my husband) and I get to see him and spend time with him every day. I am indeed a blessed Migrainista.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Early Signs of Christmas

For those of you who didn't know, I'm a huge fan of Christmas. I absolutely love every step between now and then. Each year I work really hard to make myself wait until at least Thanksgiving to put up my decorations and start listening to Christmas music.

This year my efforts are being undermined by a couple of my favorite local radio stations who have already started playing nothing but Christmas music. Normally I have about 5 stations that I listen to when in the car. Usually between then, one will have a good song on. While I remain strong on the decorations - mostly because we will be traveling to Minnesota for Thanksgiving and there is so much to do before then that there isn't time. But in the car my defenses are down and I so LOVE Christmas music I often cave and allow the soothing wonder of the holiday tunes fill my car.

In my head I know it's just too early. I don't want to grow weary on the tunes I love so much. In just a couple short weeks when Thanksgiving is over I'm sure the other stations will also turn over to exclusive Christmas music or at least add them into the normal mix. I wish they could just wait. The sinic in me thinks they have started doing this because their large number of retail advertisers are already pushing all their Christmas merchandise and want to get people in the buying spirit earlier than usual so they want to buy  more now.

I won't let it jade me on my favorite holiday of the year. I'm not even going to feel guilty about occasionally indulging in a classic holiday tune or two en route to the grocery store.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Next Step in Disability

I finally got the additional paperwork from the Social Security office and I have very little time to fill it out and get it back to them so I'll be doing most of it this afternoon and then finishing it off tomorrow afternoon. It's all a bit intimidating. I hope I use the right language. I hope I don't forget anything. I hope I can paint an accurate picture of just how hard my days are.

I just feel such a sense of gravity surrounding all of this process. The information that goes into these packets and applications is what the powers that be will be using to decide if I qualify or not. That's huge!

The office told me to expect the decision to take 3-6 months, possibly longer depending on how long it takes to get my medical records. If the decision is no and I have to appeal, who knows how long this waiting period could extend. I don't want to have to go through that.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Something kind of cool has happened the past couple of nights. It started Wednesday night. My husband had a late hockey game and wasn't going to be home until about 11:30pm or 12:00am so I had gone to bed without him. Not long after going to bed I woke up with a tickle in my throat and a cough. It wasn't like I was getting sick but as I coughed my throat hurt more and I started getting that sickly feeling in my stomach that sometimes results from a hard cough. Anyway, I finally had to get up and get a lozenge and some nausea medications but then I was awake.

I tried to get back to sleep but before long my husband was home, more lights were on and noise was being made as he showered and got ready for bed. An hour later he was finally settling in for the night and I was still wide awake. By this time I was all entangled in the thoughts swirling in my head and was beginning to wonder if this was the start of a long night.

Then my husband pointed out that it was raining. I hadn't even noticed so I took a second to listen for the rain and before I knew it, it was morning. I hadn't even had a chance to think about it before I just fell asleep.

Last night I was again having a little trouble falling asleep and as I was thinking about it I remembered the rain from the previous night and thought to myself, I wish it was raining again tonight. I started thinking about the rain and the next thing I knew, it was morning again.

Is it possible that falling asleep can be as easy as focusing on something external? Perhaps this is simply a coincidence but I'm going to keep trying it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blog Carinval!

The latest ChronicBabe Blog Carinval is now available HERE! The topic is Behind the Mask and is filled with great posts about who we are under the mask we show the world.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A New Plan

For the past several weeks I've been trying to get a handle on the first step in the Attention Interpretation Therapy (AIT), which is just taking the time 4-8 times a day to focus your attention on something external. Weeks later I can tell you that I haven't even achieved a small grasp on this exercise.

I forget almost every day to do it even once a day and on the days I think of it, I usually forget after I've done it just once. It sounded like such a simple task, I can't understand why I haven't been able to remember to do it. Then again, I suppose that's why I need to be doing it.

I'm committed to doing this and have grown pretty frustrated that I can't seem to manage to integrate this one simple first step into my day. The way I see it, the only way to move forward is to completely abandon the idea that it is a simple first step that I can just start doing and instead spend some time each night making a plan for the day to come, which includes time set aside for doing this. I'm going to start writing it down and having it displayed. Hopefully then if I see it regularly it will remind me that I have this task to do.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today on Dr Oz

Did any of you see Dr Oz today? The topic was on physician assisted suicide. As usual he had professionals and patients on both sides of this very controversial issue there to discuss their beliefs on the topic. If you missed it the show's website will have segments available for viewing.

I've long thought this to be an interesting topic. One thing that surprised me about this particular discussion was that it wasn't limited to the topic of terminally ill patients in crazy pain with no quality of life and no chance for improvement. Instead the topic was broadened to include people who have chronic pain conditions (they certainly weren't talking about chronic migraines or Fibromyalgia) but more physically limiting conditions like MS.

One of my biggest fears is being without my Imitrex and Baclofen. If any kind of disaster were to arise and my meds were not available, or if my body suddenly stopped responding to them and I didn't have any way to control my pain or relax my muscles enough to allow my migraines to resolve I would be in serious trouble. I've had extended periods of time (2-3 months) with daily migraines that never really subsided and it was torture; I couldn't think, I could barely move, everything hurt constantly, severely. Watching Dr Oz today I couldn't help but wonder if I was put in that position again only with no hope of any kind of medical intervention, would I want to have the option to just take a few pills and go.

I can sit here and wonder about how I would feel and what I would want but when it comes down to it my mind isn't even willing to let me explore this unlikely scenario. I very likely will never have the life I had before chronic pain took hold but I still do have a lot of quality to my life thanks to the medications I have and my wonderful husband and family. I may not be able to work but I can still manage to do some stuff. My situation could be a whole lot worse and while most of the time this is not a comforting thought, today it is. For whatever reason today it is.