Friday, December 30, 2011

The End and The Beginning

As much as I love the idea of the new year starting, full of possabilities and the unknown, I just can't get behind all the new year's eve and resolution hoopla. The idea of staying up to usher in the new year dressed up at some big party drinking and such sounds like punishment to me. Can you say PAIN. I'm actually not even sure I want to celebrate the end of 2011 and the start of 2012 beyond maybe making a toast to better things to come with my husband over dinner.

Despite how it sounds, I am excited about starting a new year. We never know what the next day, the next month, the next year will bring and for whatever reason I like to start out feeling hopeful that I will feel better. Back in the day I used to make resolutions but never managed to remember them beyond January so I don't make them anymore. Instead I prefer to take stock and think about what I could be doing differently to improve my life. It's sort of the same thing I guess.

This year I feel like the Fibro class I took at Mayo got me set on the right track. Since returning home in September I've been committed to implementing the stragegies I learned. The process has been tough and slow moving but I feel like I am beginning to feel more balanced and I want that feeling to increase over the coming year. Basically I'm affirming my commitment to this path.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rice Paper Me

This is my 400th post!

My husband and I joke that I'm made of rice paper because I am so physically fragile. Seems like the most innocent things can cause me pain or take me down. This afternoon, for example, I took our dog for a walk. I decided to take her around the neighborhood a bit since it is 60 degrees outside. Half way through I realized that the breeze, as warm as it felt, was cool enough to cause my ears great pain, which is now beginning to trigger a migraine.


The list of little things like this that trigger pain in my body is lengthy, which has long been a source of frustration in my life. The good news is that being able to joke about it with my husband has done wonders to help me come to terms with this reality. The frustration and anger that used to bubble up during these times has been turned way down. I still get frustrated and angry about it sometimes but it isn't as frequently or as severe as it used to be.I'll never be able to really thank my husband for this and a thousand other ways he makes my life better.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A look Back

With Christmas behind us it is now time for the annual look back at the year that was and look forward to the year that will be here shortly. Something about watching all of the retrospectives on the news, going over our yearly expenses and income spreadsheets and preparing the new calendar just puts me in the mood to think about my own past and future.

This was a big year.

The highlight was definitely moving to St. Louis. I've loved being back in the Midwest and being so close to family.

The toughest part of this year was losing my grandma.

While there was plenty of ups and down in between, overall I feel like I'm in a better position at the end of this year than I was at the end of last. Part of that is certainly attributed to our relocation but the other part is because I now have a more solid foothold on controlling my symptoms through lifestyle changes that I'm slowly implementing. I have a couple of great docs and a new plan to control the migraines. We've adopted a wonderful little rabbit.

What is best and worst part of your 2011?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Recovery

Christmas has come to an end and I am WORN OUT. I've been sick for a more than 2 weeks now and while I managed fairly well through the family gatherings on Christmas Eve and day I've just been so very tired. Fatigue is a staple in my days, of course, but I've been extra tired because of my cold and then adding on extra activity...yikes!

I was relieved to have been able to show up and participate in the family festivities because it was great to see everyone and enjoy my favorite holiday. Wouldn't have traded it for anything. We were the first to leave on both days but I don't feel bad about doing so as it was what I needed to do to take care of myself. Actually, I'm sort of proud that I was able to manage as well as I did through it all.

I had to make some cuts in order to accommodate my cold like not doing as much baking, taking store bought dip instead of making my own, and the like. Plus there are several regular chores that just didn't get done around the house like dusting and laundry.

But now Christmas has come to an end and I'm getting back into my regular routine. Happily. Tonight we've been invited to drive through a light display and dinner with my side of the family who live locally. I had been planning on going and looking forward to it but have decided not to go because I'm still sick and just so worn out. I hate to bow out but am proud of myself for making the right decision for myself and for not beating myself up about it. I consider myself in holiday recovery right now.

How did you do this holiday season? Do you feel like you are now in recovery from the festivities?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ignorant Family Member

My cousin's new wife recently started a blog that I have been reading and enjoying. I thought it might be a good way to get to know her better since they live so far away and I certainly have learned a thing or two about her. Up until yesterday's blog post I felt like I was beginning to appreciate and even like her. But yesterday's post was downright offensive.

She sat up on her pedestal and insulted everyone from people who take classes online, to people with disabilities, people who need public assistance, people who have children without living in a single family home with a backyard and college savings accounts and even people who can't find jobs. Perhaps the worst part about this post was that she started off by saying that she knew she was going to upset people with her post but that she hoped people would read it with an open mind, compassion and understanding for her and her "truth". The irony, of course, was that she went on to display a complete lack of those three traits. Plus the topic was responsibility.

Obviously, I was personally offended by the horrible things she had to say about people with disabilities and wanted to shoot off an angry message to her. I didn't. Then I thought about how young and naive she is and thought what she really needs is someone to teach her why she is way off base in what she was saying. I stewed about it overnight and this morning and have decided that it isn't worth it. She may be part of our family now but honestly I won't be seeing much of her because they live so far away. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing here or not but I've decided that I just don't have the energy for someone like her.

She is family so I'll keep her as a friend on facebook but block her posts so she doesn't show up on my news feed. I won't be reading her blog anymore and I won't be going out of my way to make sure she is included in anything. I'll be polite to her at the rare family functions that we both attend but again won't be going out of my way.

Do you people like this in your family? How do you deal with them?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I've been sick now for 6 days. For some unknown reason I actually feel worse today.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Apples to Oranges

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to just be. Be still, be yourself, be fully in each be, being, been. I wonder if I'll ever have full control over my ability to be, authentically. It is as if the world is constantly conspiring all around us to influence who we think we should be, what we think we should want, how our lives should look, even down to how our relationships should go.

I feel like I have to remind myself somewhat regularly that my path is my path and it shouldn't be compared to the images and verbal messages of expectation we are all subjected to. Many of the messages and influences that pressure me run contrary to who I am and what makes me happy and that is a stress I want to get under better control.

Today I had to remind myself to stay on my path because it is my path, the place where I belong. My path is the place I want to be. This festive holiday season that I love so very much is also full of opportunities to step off my path and start judging myself and my life. I spend some time today just sitting and thinking about what I want out of life and how lucky I am to have all the blessing that I do have. With life back in perspective and me firmly on my path again I'm ready to meet the final run up to Christmas.

How do you handle these kinds of pressures and expectations?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Baking

Wow, Christmas is going to be next weekend already! Time always goes so fast during the holidays. My husband's birthday is on Wednesday so this week promises to be quite busy. I'm starting to feel like it is about time to do a bunch of festive baking. I'll bake the usual sweet potato pies, pumpkin bread and cookies.

Watching Martha on the Today Show a couple weeks back I found myself thinking I could actually make these fancy yummy cookies. Obviously Martha has a book on cookies, and I had intended on getting it and trying some new ones this season but it hasn't happened. Now that I'm all geared up for holiday baking I'm regretting not picking up the book.

I suppose there will be plenty of the usual baking to keep me more than busy considering my state.

What baking do you do this time of year?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sick with a JibJab Smile

As I begin to catch my husband's cold I'm slowing down. No big surprise. Even under the best of circumstances I tend to get every bug that goes around. This time of year life is just busier with holiday shopping and such so it doesn't take much.

With Christmas a little more than a week away my perfect plan of balance and moderation is no longer going to work because now my body has to fight this bug. There are still a few things that will need to get done so I will employ more help from my husband once he gets to feeling better.

Today as a little holiday pick-me-up I went on and created a free animated holiday card with my husband, our dog, our rabbit and my faces. If you have never done this, I would highly recommend it. It will make you smile, I promise. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Doc Relief!!

I saw my new migraine specialist at Washington University today. My wonderful migraine doc at Mayo had such amazing things to say about this guy and I've waited 3 months for this first available appointment. He was worth the wait.

He wants to take a broad approach in my treatment. Meaning that instead of trying one thing at a time, trying a bunch of things all at once. He is going to restart me on B2 and Magnesium, send me for biofeedback, back to a chiropractor/acupuncturist, set me up with Botox again and increase my daily dosage of Cymbalta.

What I found interesting is that he was encouraged by what I said about the Botox. I have been thinking it was a failure because it hasn't decreased the frequency of my migraines. Over the past couple of weeks, as I've passed 3 months since initial injection date, is that I've seen more neck spasms and pain in the back of my head. I hadn't realized this has decreased until it started to increase again. I think it must have been the Botox. What the new migraine doc said is that Botox has shown to provide more benefit for people like me over time. He thinks that after a year or so on the Botox I could see a reduction in migraine frequency.

Obviously this is encouraging. Hopefully the insurance company sees it the same way.

I think what impressed me most about this new migraine doc is his approach. I like that we are not going to be doing one change at a time. I stopped caring about where this pain is coming from a while ago. I don't believe there is a magic bullet for me out there. All my body parts are interconnected and treating the whole body and mind sounds like the best approach. SO GLAD TO HAVE A DOC I'M ON THE SAME PAGE WITH!!!!!

I feel relieved.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Fountain of Youth?

I recently saw a story on the news about how science is getting close to "curing" aging in people. Supposedly this is not just about extending the length but also the health of our lives. The people being interviewed were so excited about life and wanted to live as long as possible.

Ah the age old search for the fountain of youth. I get it. Don't we all want to live good as long as possible? Sure. But don't we also want to do so with the understanding that there is a limit, that eventually life ends and we move onto the next stage? Don't we grow weary?

I find the whole thing sort of troubling. I do want to live and I want to be healthy while I am alive. What I don't want to do is live for 150 years or more. Heck I don't think I want to live to 100. The world is changing so quickly and not for the better. The world's population is already stretching our planet's resources, can you imagine if people start living for hundreds of years? Technology is pulling us further and further from interpersonal skills. And don't even get me started on the way food is produced and consumed.

Days are long enough, life is long enough. Perhaps instead of trying to extend it artificially we should learn to make the most and do our best with what we are given. It is enough...even if we can't understand that.

I think these efforts are a waste of money and time. I think it shows extreme short sightedness. The problems human beings of today face are numerous and complex. Let's focus our efforts on solving those instead of creating new ones. Let's stop looking for that fountain of youth already so we can live our best lives while we have it.

That's my two cents anyway...what do you think?

Blog Carnivals!

Two great blog carnivals are  now available!
The Headache/Migraine Blog Carnival
and the
ChronicBabe Blog Carnival

Both are great carnivals, well worth a read!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Check Engine :(

The check engine light has come on in my vehicle. Drat!

My car is about 10 years old now so it is all paid off but things go wrong from time to time. Each time a light comes on or a noise is made my heart jumps into my throat. I start to think about all the major things that could be going wrong and all the money it will cost to fix it. Obviously fixing it won't be as expensive as getting a new one. I know that in my head but I can never convince the frugal me to feel that way about it.

This check engine light could be anything from a simple, cheap fix to a major problem that will make me want to cry. The only way to find out what's wrong is to take it in. Since this is the first big problem since we moved to St. Louis I don't have a trusted somebody to take it to - shoot I should have done this research before there was a problem. I spent a couple hours looking at reviews online and calling around to get prices on just the diagnostic test. The cheapest I found was $95!!!


$95 just to hook it up to their machine and tell me what the problem is. That cost won't cover any of the actual repair. In the back of my head I seem to remember a commercial talking about free diagnostic for check engine lights - it took a minute to remember it was AAMCO. I found one of those nearby and will take my chances there just to see what the problem is before deciding to go to a independent shop.

An honest, reasonably priced mechanic is truly priceless. I know there must be one in the area, now I just have to find them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

'Tis the Season

The old saying "It's better to give than to receive" really is true. I'm having such a good time right now thinking of gifts and wrapping them up. My husband and I don't have much money to spend on Christmas gifts so I've become pretty creative at pulling stuff together inexpensively; baking goods, sales, crafting projects and the like. I actually think this makes the whole process even more enjoyable for me because I put so much time and effort into it.

I always seem to end up so excited about giving my gifts and watching them be opened. I even get excited about our Christmas cards. My husband is a wiz on photoshop so we like to come up with fun ideas for our cards. This year he put our heads into the American Gothic picture. He put our dog up in the window of the farmhouse and he put our rabbit coming out of the pocket of his overalls. Our aim is always to make our loved ones laugh.

I just love Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dear Santa,

This year I have several very practical things on my Christmas wish list:
- relaxation CDs
- books about meditation, relaxation and the like
- undies
- plants

Well, you get the idea. My family has told me that these are not "fun" gifts and have asked me to come up with better ideas. Here's the thing though, I'm very pragmatic and getting these kinds of things as gifts makes me happy because it means I don't have to spend money on them. What better gift is there?

I had to spend some time coming up with some gift ideas that were more "fun". After some time thinking about what I want more than what I need I couldn't help but start wishing for even more basic things. I wish I felt better. I wish I could work. I wish I had the energy to do the things I want to do.

Thinking about these wishes always makes me a little sad. I'm really working hard these days to not spend much time thinking about what I've lost and how crappy I feel most of the time. It isn't helping me to move forward and to live the best life I can. But there I was, thinking about how much my life has changed as a result of my Chronic Migraines and Fibromyalgia.

Eventually I was able to reframe my mind and I started thinking about what I really want despite the pain. Here it is:
- I want to simplify my life.
- I want to grow food.
- I want to find balance.
- I want time with my family and friends
- I want to laugh.
- I want to gain weight.

Unfortunately, these are not for sale in the stores...I guess my family is on their own coming up with "fun" gift ideas for me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Brain Fog and Laughter

The fog in my brain has been particularly thick these past few days. I don't know what brought it on, I'm not having more pain than usual or anything like that. Whatever the reason I've decided instead of getting upset at myself for this fog that I can't control I'm going to embrace it.
It is said that ignorance is bliss. Maybe I can learn to see my fog as a bliss as well. I've come to realize that this fog doesn't equate to a lack of intelligence or even ignorance. Rather it is like forgetting why you came into a room, or where you left your keys. Information is getting lost. We all know it's still there and that it will turn up.

I think I should start trying to have fun with it, you know, learn to laugh at myself when my brain decides to fail me. When I get frustrated and angry about the fog I get more tense and that can't make it any easier for my brain to function. What better way is there to release tensions than to laugh?

Well I can think of one, but laughing might be the more appropriate coping mechanism for this situation.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday's Relief

I'm excited about this week because my husband has some time off and we can do stuff together that we don't normally get to do. We've already done a little bit of Christmas shopping and given the dog a bath. Of course, it is great to have him around more but I can't even begin to talk about how wonderful it is for me to have his help in getting ready for all the upcoming holiday stuff.

Christmas may still be almost 3 weeks away but there is lots to do and my physical resources are pretty limited (as you well know) so working in advance is pretty important. Of course, with some undivided hubby attention the big stuff can get done and we'll have more time to enjoy the holidays as the time grows closer.

I feel relieved about the week ahead because of the added help, and maybe partly because of the Ativan I took at 2am. Either way, it's a nice feeling.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Strange Revelation

Okay, don't judge me. I've had a revelation.

After years of frustration and wasted money on all kinds of brands and styles of underwear, not to mention years of envying my husband for the comfortable boxer briefs he wears, I made a command decision. I am no longer going to put up with underwear that rides up, falls apart, or is saggy in the butt. Since I can't find anything acceptable in the women's section I've decided to try boxer briefs for myself.

I picked some up on sale yesterday and am washing them right now. I can't wait to see how it goes, although I'm sure there will be issues with them as I am a woman and they are made for men. Likely the end result here will be me designing and making my own underwear. In the meantime I look forward to being at least a little more comfortable.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Creepy Foldgers Commercial

Surly you have seen this ad on TV. For the past couple holiday seasons Foldgers has been airing this commercial about a young man who is coming home (presumably from war) for the holidays. His early morning arrival finds him greeted by his younger sister. They proceed to the kitchen where they share all kinds of awkward sexual tension as the parents awake and overlook.

Is it just me or does anyone else think this ad is creepy?