Tuesday, January 31, 2012

For Sleep Sake

I have not been sleeping well. For a time I thought it was just because of the excessively long cold I had over the holidays. Now that the cold has cleared I've been disappointed the sleep hasn't too. Even though I haven't had great rejuvenating sleep in a long time at least I was sleeping through the night. But now...well I've watched the clock every morning for almost 2 months.

Recently I saw a report about this guy who was struggling to sleep (he didn't suffer from chronic pain, just couldn't sleep well) who tried something radical for 10 days to see if it would make a difference. To my surprise, and his, in this short time frame he saw a real difference. What he was doing was eliminating all artificial light from the house after a certain time at night (7pm or something like that). He covered all glowing clocks and red standby lights, turning off all cell phones, TVs, computers, etc and he and his wife would read, play games and talk by candle light. He reported that they were getting tired and just naturally going to sleep earlier and that without the stimulation from these artificial lights his brain allowed him to sleep.

As someone who LOVES candle light the idea sounded romantic and pleasant. As someone who loves to fall asleep to the TV I wasn't excited about the idea of doing this but was just desperate enough to suggest it to my husband. Hubby, being someone who also has lots of trouble sleeping, was on board. We're easing into it. For the past two nights at 9pm we turn off everything and over time we'll get down to 8pm (earlier if I get my way).

Have you ever tried doing something like this or anything else to try and get better sleep? What has worked for you?

Monday, January 30, 2012


Today I am feeling a tremendous sense of relief as I found out that my application for disability has been approved! My medical expenses continue to rise each year as does the cost of everything else, but my husband's pay (like so many others) is not rising at the same rate. Ever since I've been unable to work because of my migraines and Fibromyalgia we have struggled financially and it seems to get worse each year.

With the very large deductible having started over in January and my annual premium coming due at the beginning of April this assistance will make all the difference. I just feel like a weight has been lifted off my very stressed self.

Another bit of good news arrived over the weekend in the form of a letter from my insurance company. Apparently the appeal from my doctor's office over the 2nd round of Botox injections was successful and they have given an okay to receive it again.

Frankly, I'm feeling incredibly lucky and so very thankful for these two big blessings.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Can't Stand It

Let's face it, most commercials suck. They are usually louder than whatever program you're watching and they are an unwelcome interruption to your entertainment. Most of what is being advertised is crap we don't need and don't want but the companies are certainly trying their best to make you think we do. Most of them are filled with lies and distortions. BUT on the other hand this advertising revenue does help to bring us some of the wonderful programming we enjoy so much. I get that it's a necessary evil.

What I find absolutely unacceptable are the commercials with the loud, continuous, annoying sounds. Surely you've seen these, like the Geico commercial with the squeeling pig:

Or the new JCP commercial where women are just screaming "NOOOOOO!" the entire time:

Can't stand these!!! How did these companies decide that this was a good idea? Making me angry and annoyed isn't the way to lure me into being a customer. Do they annoy you too?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Today I awoke to intense pain on left side of my neck, shoulders and upper back. The muscles in full spasm mode and me unable to even push the covers off my body and sit up. Impatiently I waited for signs that my husband was waking up so I could ask for his assistance. Once up, he was able to pull the covers off me and lift me into a seated position.

The day has been painful since. All my movements have been slow, requiring lots of deep breathing and such. Fortunately, my right side is working okay so I am still able to feed myself and perform some basic ADLs but nothing else is getting done. Anything that requires the use of my midsection or movement of my left arm quickly escalates the pain and ends the activity.

Now I take a daily muscle relaxer but today decided to increase my dose to take the edge off the pain and allow me to function a bit more. So far it doesn't seem to have done anything besides making me even more drowsy than I normally am. This sort of thing happens from time to time and with time it always gets better  - but I think the next day or two are going to be tough.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


On CBS Sunday morning last weekend they did a segment on "grandparents" of pets. That's to say, the parents of grown human children who are either waiting so long to have kids or making the decision to not have kids and instead having pets as their "children"-making the would be grandparents, the grandparents of their children's pets. Am I making sense here? Perhaps the clearer term would be grandpets. Here's a link to the story if you are interested.

Anyway, watching the story got me thinking about my own life. My husband and I have been unable to have children ourselves and right now is not the right time to even think about adoption simply because of my health and our finances. We have a wonderful dog and rabbit - I simply can't imagine life without them. They bring us such joy, laughter and trigger those feel good chemicals in the brain. We may never have the joy of human babies but something about this story made me feel like there is nothing wrong with having "animal children" in our lives.

I will never actually view them as actual children, dress them in outfits or talk to them in baby talk but they are important members of our family and I love them dearly. They may be the closest thing I ever have to children. As a fellow animal lover, I suspect my mom views our pets as her grandpets as she always asks about them when we talk and gets them gifts at Christmas time. I even suspect she views her dogs as my sisters and brothers - giving me gifts and cards from them.

I really loved this story because it sort of confirms a shift in society that has made this an acceptable and more common experience. One that doesn't set me up for too much judgement from others. It felt like an affirmation.
Do you have "pet children"? Do your parents or in-laws see it that way too?

Friday, January 20, 2012


I met with someone in physical medicine at Washington University today. My migraine doc wanted me to get some biofeedback and this was the first step to that end. Basically today was just that intitial visit so I told her all about my pains and she decided that we'll do muscle biofeedback and then do thermal biofeedback. I'm excited about the plan and about the doc I'll be working with. She was very nice and understanding. Plus I think that this will really help me out with the relaxation/meditation stuff that I'm trying to do.

The migraine doc also wanted me to do chiropractic and acupuncture with someone specific he said is the best. Supposedly he has been working with her so she knows what specifically to do with his patients. All that sounds perfect right? The only problem is that they don't do any insurance work so they are going to be out-of-network. I still have some coverage but just learned that the coverage will not be enough to fulfill  even the most basic treatment. We certainly can't afford to do it on our own so I think for now I'll hold off on doing this. I'll see him in a few weeks and can talk about another way to go about getting this done. Hopefully he'll have a plan b.

My dog/house sitting time will be wrapping up tomorrow morning, which I'm really excited about. The extra money was nice but I'm anxious to get home and back with my husband, dog and rabbit. Just in time for the weekend :)

What are you plans?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beating the Late January Slump

Winter is kind of a bummer much the way summer is; the extreme temps, the utter pain of being outdoors, and the hassle of preparing to go out. For me, one of the biggest challenges to winter is all about motivation. It's all good until about this time of year because fall is so exciting. Immediately following you have the holiday season. Then you have the start of a new year. All of these times are filled with their own special unique motivations.

But by now, the fresh feeling of the new year has ended and I need to work on strengthening and enforcing those internal motivations that keep me eating healthy, exercising and plugging away at the whole relaxation/meditation thing?

What works best for me is watching a few documentaries about food, healthy and/or wellness. There are lots of great ones available streaming instantly on Netflix. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Deconstructing Supper
The Science of Healing with Dr. Esther Sternberg

These kinds of films help me remember exactly why I've made these changes and they breathe new life into my efforts. Plus there are lots and lots of them out there so throughout the year when I need a little boost there will be one available. As soon as I start thinking about my health and the wonders of healthy food, the exercise portion simply follows. For me they are two peas in a pod. Now I just need to figure out how to add more peas to that pod.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Insurance Appeal

It appears my migraine doc is appealing my insurance companies decision to not allow me to do another round of Botox. The doc said the Botox can provide more benefit the longer taken - and that it would really takes 3 or 4 injection before I knew for sure if it will reduce the frequency of the migraines. As you can imagine the insurance company doesn't see it that way.

Honestly, I didn't even know they were going to do this but am really glad they decided to. That's not to say that I hold onto much hope that the insurance company will decide to go ahead and allow it just because of the appeal - in face I have no confidence in them at all.

Still, I must admit I appreciate the effort by all those in my doc's office who will now have extra work on my behalf. And who knows, what a great surprise it would be if we won the appeal.

Have you ever had to make an appeal to your insurance company? How did it turn out?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

HD Lament

Still sick. Other than my dog duties I've spent the day watching TV and movies. My sister-in-law has a huge flat screen HD TV, which I'm finding is much different from our old TVs at home. I don't notice it much when just watching regular TV shows but when a movie is on, oh boy, what a difference.

Maybe you have one or have spent time watching one of these HD TVs and know what I mean.

My husband and I have found it difficult to put it into words, I still don't know that I can but will try. It is like the picture is just so clear that you almost feel like you're present during the filming. You see the camera movement more, you see more realistic details of the people, costume and sets. It's not like our picture at home is unclear, but it allows the viewer to see the picture through the glass of the TV, adding an element of glamorous separation.

I know we're supposed to prefer the HD but I just don't. I like the romance of the separation.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Small Change, Big Difference

I'm dog sitting for my sister-in-law's two dogs at their house. I've been here since Friday and this is the first time I've been able to get my laptop hooked up and such. It's always strange staying at someone else's house and taking care of their pets and this is the first time I've done this since I've been married, which has made it feel even stranger. I'm in the same area as my husband and my pets but I'm staying somewhere else.

Living with chronic pain has just made doing something like this all the more complicated. My routine is all messed up. Clearly I'm not as flexible as I used to be because this is already taking a toll. Yesterday was a tough pain day and today I woke up with a cold. Again. My body had been threatening me for several days with a cold but today I'm actually sick.

The dogs are super sweet and taking care of them is not difficult. I grew up with all kinds of animals including 5 dogs and have dog sat for my mom's multiple dogs many times in my adult years. Taking care of dogs is just not difficult for me and these dogs are no exception. This isn't a difficult thing so I wasn't expecting it to challenge me at all.

The thing is, it is not actually difficult to feed them, I feed our dog and rabbit. It is not actually difficult to let them outside, I take our dog outside. It is not difficult to sit on their couch and watch TV, I sit on our couch and watch TV. It is not difficult to get ready for bed, I do that at home. The only real difference is that I'm not in my house, with my husband and my pets. The pets here have a slightly different schedule than our pets but not by much. I guess I've been taken by surprise at how this slight change in routine and environment has proven to tax me so.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


St Louis is experiencing some unusually cold weather today and tomorrow with wind chills in the single digits. There was even snow early in the morning. This kind of weather just makes me want to hunker at home so that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Okay, so I probably would have done that no matter what today. I had a nasty migraine yesterday and I'm already well on my way to another one today.

Still the weather has made me feel better about the low key day I'm planning for today and tomorrow. I'll snuggle on the couch, watch TV, drink warm tea, make an easy bean stew and do some laundry.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hockey Hubby

My husband plays in an adult hockey league. The games get started pretty late at night and are usually 20-40 minutes away from home. The season goes on all winter long and the games are always on a weeknight. As you may have guessed I haven't been going to his games. I did really want to go watch him play at least one game this season even though he says he isn't very good anymore so that's what I did last night.

Last night's game started as early as they start (8:40pm) so I figured that was my best option. I bundled up because those rinks are always cold and we headed way out for the game. The "seats" were really just hard cold benches with no backing. Plus they were sticky and dirty. I don't know much about hockey so had a hard time following the game and following my husband on the ice. With all the gear and the helmet and face mask it was just so hard to tell him from the others unless his back was to me, which wasn't much. 

As fun as it was to watch him and to see him in all his hockey gear I don't think I'll be going to any more games. My butt, back and neck still hurt from sitting on those benches for so long. Lots to gentle stretches and rest are in order for today.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Great Stress Reliever

Our dog, Lucy, and bunny, Rupert, bring us so much joy. They are SUPER CUTE, as you can see, and they are very loving. They are fantastic little stress relievers!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Migraine Monster Awaits

Today has been one of those annoying days when I woke up with a migraine knocking on the door. It has hurt all day. The migraine pain sat just off to the side making all kinds of threatening gestures and barking orders at me before finally taking over.

I hate days like this. I try so hard to do the right thing and not aggravate the migraine monster but he wins anyway. If I had known he was going to eventually win I would have gone ahead and aggravated him earlier so I could have treated him earlier and would feel better for date night tonight with my husband.

I wonder if there is a better way to deal with days like today? I wonder if I'm doing the wrong thing by being so careful on days like this. How do you handle these days when your pain is walking that thin line between migraine and regular pain? Are you careful not to aggravate the monster like me or do you just proceed like normal and let the chips fall where they may?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just Nice

I got this image on I Heart It
Not feeling so good and wanted to share a pleasant picture with all you wonderful folks in blog land. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lost Meds

Since my appointment in mid-December with my new migraine doc I've increased the dose of one of my meds and started taking a whole bunch of B2 and Magnesium. I'm not crazy about taking all these pills daily but, obviously, I'm willing to try about anything to get these migraines under control.

The two weeks since this change started has been a real challenge for my foggy migraine/fibro brain. I find myself thinking about taking my medicine, trying to ensure that I remember to take it and then forgetting if I took it or just thought about taking it. It used to be I would take my pills before bed but now I'm taking them throughout the day so whenever I need to do anything out of the ordinary, which happened a lot over the holidays, the entire system seemed to fall apart.

Time to get a pill organizer. Once I did, I realized that I was getting close to running out of one of my meds so I went to my stash of pills to grab the new bottle that was just refilled on the 23rd of Dec. But it wasn't there. I checked everywhere I could think to check, looking high and low. It's gone and the pharmacy was going to be closed until this morning.

I've never in my life seriously lost one of my prescriptions. I want to blame it on the holiday craziness but I don't even know if that's it. Whatever the cause I think it time to get a little more organized so this doesn't happen again.

Have you ever completely lost a prescription before?

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Shows

My days are all screwed up. I had it in my head that Sunday was New Year's Eve and today was New Year's Day. Obviously I know this isn't the case but I can't seem to wrap my inner truth around that fact. I know in my head that today is the 2nd, so inside I feel like it's Tuesday. Hopefully this whole mix up will resolve itself by the end of the week as it is a bit unsettling.

Now that the holidays are over and the new year has begun the new Spring season of shows are getting ready to start. Here are the shows I'm most looking forward to seeing:
Love American Idol: even without Simon because Steven Tylor is so funny.
I've been watching Desperate Housewives since the first season and have loved every one.
New this past fall, Revenge quickly became one of my favorites.

 That brings us to tonight's premiere of The Bachelor. This one is my guilty pleasure.

What will you be watching this spring?