Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thank You Thursday

Dear Ativan,

With my body and mind getting increasingly wound and painful over the past couple weeks I have at last turned to you for some relief. Thank you for stepping in and helping me to slow down the momentum and allowing me the opportunity to start turning the tide. Sometimes I just can't seem to turn things around on my own no matter how much breathing, stretching and such that I do.

Dear DVR,

I fought against you for several months. I feel like you are over priced and certainly not a need. But here you are at the strong urging of hubby. Now that we've had you for a couple months I find myself appreciating all that you have to offer. Mainly, allowing me to skip over commercials. We no longer watch shows when they air. These recordings save me so much time and frustrations.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Whimsy Wednesday

I wasn't able to get today's video to properly load off youtube so I'm going to have to do another link:  Dog can dance salsa.  Trust me, it's worth it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

War on Happiness

I've been thinking about the concept of happiness recently. Of all the emotions this one seems to be the most difficult to pin down. Culturally we are programmed to seek it out. Advertisers are always trying to convince us that their product is the missing piece - if only we had (insert any product) then we would be happy. Of course they are much more subtle than that, showing us powerful images of happy people with whatever product they're pushing.
We are sort of told from a very early age what life is supposed to look like and if we can only achieve all those things then we'll be happy. Even though life doesn't work out that way for most people we often try to pretend that it does. We work so hard to show the world how perfectly our lives are going. And boy is it easy to do. All it takes is a big smile and the use of positive superlatives in response to all questions. How are you doing? - "fantastic!" What have you been up to? - "Work has been wonderful and we're planning an amazing trip to celebrate how fabulous our lives are." 

Nothing is ever enough. Happiness has become perpetually out of reach. Or so it would seem.

I absolutely think we can all be happy. The challenge, for me anyway, is just trying to get rid of all the noise designed to make me feel lacking. The things that actually make me happy are so much simpler. I'm happiest when I'm talking and laughing with loved ones, taking in great art or reading a great book. A tidy house and a good meal make me happy. Snuggling with my husband and our sweet little dog make me happy. Feeling productive and purposeful make me happy.

Life with chronic pain is a constant challenge both physically and emotionally. For that reason those moments of happiness are so much more important to me these days. I've actually started to take the societal war on happiness personally. Advertisements are everywhere and just when you think these is no more room to squeeze in more ads you find yourself staring at a panel of 10 ads while on a public toilet. It's just too much! We don't need all this crap and we certainly don't need to look at ads while we pee. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Super Short Story

A few inches of snow topped with a good layer of ice. Enough to hold up all 10 lbs of our little chihuahua so long as the weight is evenly distributed among all four paws. Meaning each time she tries to shift her weight to move around in search of the perfect spot to do her business her tiny little paw punches through and sink.

I guess this makes it official, the entire family hates snow.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thank You Thursday

Dear Winter Storm,

You are crippling the greater St. Louis area but I'm so thankful that my husband is home safe and sound, we have power, I have a puzzle to keep me occupied and a little chihuahua to snuggle with.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Whimsy Wednesday

Today's whimsy comes from the Saturday Night Live vault. You may remember when Will Ferrell used to parody Harry Caray. Even if you have no idea who Harry Caray is, the character is funny enough to stand alone.

For some unknown reason I can't seem to load the video into the post but if you click HERE you can see it on YouTube.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chemical Free Project #4: Toothpaste

The thought of making my own toothpaste was daunting to say the least. The only reason for this is my extreme aversion to the taste of salt. For the most part these natural homemade toothpaste recipes include baking soda, which has a very salty flavor. I honestly couldn't imagine being able to get past this hurdle and had basically written off the possibility until discovered Wellness Mama.

This website has all kinds of great information and recipes for natural and homemade stuff. She does such a great job of explaining not only what ingredients are used but also why. It is here that I found a toothpaste recipe that makes the baking soda optional: Remineralizing Tooth Powder. 

4 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
3 Tbsp Calcium Magnesium Powder
1 Tbsp Baking Soda (optional)
2 Tbsp Powered Mint Leaf (optional)
1 Tbsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Clove Powder
1 Tbsp Xylitol Powder
essential oils for taste (optional)

All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together and you get your powdered toothpaste.

All you have to do is wet your toothbrush and dip it in the powder. For that reason I went ahead and got these small individual glass jars so my husband and I won't cross contaminate. 

Now this is not the only change I made for my teeth. After spending some time exploring the many links Wellness Mama offers about tooth care I've also started brushing with Activated Charcoal, swishing with hydrogen peroxide and doing the usual floss and mouth rinse. 

Honestly my teeth have just not been the same with all the medications I've been taking for my migraines and fibromyalgia over the past 7 years. Seems every time I turn around I have another cavity. The only solution the dentist offered was to use a fluoride gel on my teeth and gums. The research I've done on fluoride turned up some scary information so I decided not to use it. I may not know if this remineralizing powder will make the difference but it can't hurt, which is more than I can say for the fluoride gel. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Invisible Me

All the talk recently of frustrations and anger sparked by crazy things people say to those of us living with chronic, invisible pain has gotten me thinking. Perhaps what bothers me most about having to deal with this crap from doctors, family and friends is that it makes me feel invisible.

Chronic, invisible pain may not define me but it does have a very big impact on my daily life. To dismiss it or misunderstand it to the extent that most people seem to, means that you can't really see me. With so many people (almost all) in this category it's so easy to feel just as invisible as my illnesses.

Do you ever feel this way?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

No Thank You Thursday

Dear Valentine's Day,

No thanks.

No matter how big of a fan I am of love and those I love, I get awful annoyed with the whole of Valentine's Day. Greeting cards, which normally cost $2-$3 suddenly cost $6-$7 because you have to get those you love a card. The flower and candy industries follow suit with inflated prices that take advantage of the well worn, well oiled V-Day PR machine. They have convinced us that these are the bare minimum we need to purchase in order to properly express our love.

Now if you really love someone you'll also buy jewelry, romantic getaways and go to a super fancy restaurant where you will, by the light of candle, drink wine and eat a meal that is $50 a place and  presented like a work of art with lots of white plate and very little food. Then you will head home and put on sexy lingerie, drink more wine and have mind blowing sex.

This must all happen on the night of February 14th, every February 14th. The pressure of it all, it's ridiculous! If that works out for you, great. My guess is that more often than not it doesn't. If you're single the whole day is set up to make you feel even more lonely. If you're attached you have plenty of days to celebrate your love for one another (anniversaries, birthdays, actual holidays). If you suffer from chronic pain then the list of things that can derail the "perfect V-Day evening is extensive: pain, exhaustion, the blues, finances, light/sound/smell sensitivities...etc.

Yeah, no thanks.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Whimsy Wednesday

Today's whimsy is a cute little bunny playing with a big sweet golden. May it make you smile :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grieving The Me I Lost

Despite efforts to the contrary I'm finding some pangs of jealousy and sadness have been bubbling up over the past couple weeks. Watching and listening to people my age who are healthy and able to do the things they want to do has been reminding me of the times I was able. I remember it so vividly. Then as my attention inevitably turns back to the present, sadness and jealous are the predominant feelings.

I imagine all the things I could have accomplished over the past 7 years - 7 years! Oh how I miss the energy I used to have. The freedom, the focus, the time...chronic pain has robbed me of SO MUCH. Grieving all that I've lost, while not constant, never quite resolves.

As happy as I may be for the forward movement and living that my contemporaries get to do, sometimes it just makes me jealous. I'm trying hard to fight the useless questions that it stirs: "Why can't I have more pain free days?", "Why do they get to do (xyz) and not me?", "Why can't I have a career?", "Why is this happening to me?". These questions serve no real purpose and they certainly don't have any answers. I must not ask them, must not ask them...

This is all just part of the current wave of grief over the me I lost. A grief that waxes and wanes.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Migraine Blog Carnival

The February Migraine blog carnival is now available. This month's topic is: Migraine Pet Peeves. It's full of lots of great posts that we can all relate to.

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Migraine Pet Peeves

The list of things that people say to me about migraines or about me and my migraines that irritates or angers me is long. Most of the people are well meaning and I'm sure their comments are also in that spirit, blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH. Whatever the reason it's still irritating and, frankly, still hurts at times.

Here are some of the worst:

"Well you look good". Normally being told you look good is a positive. Who doesn't want to be told they look good, right? The problem is when it comes at the end of a discussion about how my migraines have not improved or about how I'm not feeling so good. Then it sounds and feels like a invalidation, a dismissal of what I've just said. When someone says this to me, I hear "you can't feel too bad because from what I see everything is fine."

"Have you tried..." This kind of question always comes from people I barely know, which makes it all the more irritating. Yeah, I don't need your obvious suggestions. I've been going through this for a long time and my doctors and I will be making the decisions about what I try and when. I've been researching and working on this for years, there is nothing you can suggest that hasn't been tried or at least considered. The last thing I want to do is discuss this long, complicated, hard path I've been on with someone I barely know.

"You just need to..." Yes, if only I did whatever ridiculously simplistic suggestion you just made, then I would feel better. Gosh, if only I had thought of this sooner. I can't believe I've spent the past 7 years in constant pain when all I needed to do was join a gym, or walk more, or any one of the dozens of crazy suggestions folks have made over the years. THIS IS NOT MY FAULT. I have not done something or failed to do something that lead me to my present predicament. This is a neurological disease.

Okay, I'm getting all worked up here so I'm going to stop. Admittedly, it feels good to express how I feel about these "well meaning" comments in a non P/C way. Sometimes I get sick of trying to be so understanding and sympathetic of these people and their motives. Wishing instead they spent more time being more understanding and sympathetic of my situation.

Okay, done venting.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thank You Thursday

Dear Federal Reserve Bank,

Thank you for giving my husband a job. After years of being under paid by companies who offer nothing short of terrible benefits we are both relieved and excited about the respect and care you show your employees through great salaries and benefits (what used to be referred to as benefits). It's a real crime that this is so hard to come by in present day in the USA. We're both very thankful for this opportunity.

Dear Post Office,

Thanks for making the snail mail even slower by eliminating Saturday service. Now I know you've been struggling  financially for a long time now due to the increasing use of electronic communications and online bill pay. The rising cost of stamps just have not been able to make up that difference. I do get it and, what's more, I'm one of your supporters. I still pay my bills by writing checks and sending it through the mail. I send and receive two Netflix DVDs each week. Heck, I even still send some personal correspondence.

I honestly can't imagine the world without postal service. I love getting Netflix DVDs. I love Christmas cards.   But there is also a big segment of the population who don't have computers in their home or don't have internet access and the necessary security to make online bill pay an option for them. Heck, a large number of Americans don't even have bank accounts. The only way they can receive and pay their bills is through the mail.

All that being said, I fear that no matter what the mail usage will decrease no matter what. That will only continue to drive the cost of a stamp up. All of us will be hurt by this but it will hit the poor disproportionately hard.

The problems here are complex and I'm certainly not going to pretend that I have the answers. But I sure will miss Saturday service and am saddened by the road you are on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Whimsy Wednesday

Today's whimsy comes again from Saturday Night Live: Will Ferrell as George Bush. Always good for a laugh.

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Doc

I had my appointment with a new primary care physician today. It's hard to know if it'll work out with her or not but we got off on the right foot. That's a good first step anyway. Best of all I'm on the road to getting off all my prescription meds, except my rescue meds. Can't imagine not having the. I just can't stand all these meds.

I feel so overwhelmed by all these pills, side effects, appointments and such. The line between what are symptoms of my migraines and/or fibromyalgia and what are side effects from the medications has become so fine I'm not even sure which is which. I honestly don't even know what is normal for me anymore.

The thought of coming off all the meds is very appealing. It'll be interesting to get that perspective and see my  symptoms absent from all the side effects.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chemical Free Project #3

This 3rd project was an easy one: the all-purpose cleaner.

It was a simple recipe made up of things I already had on hand from my other two projects: Chemical Free Project #1 and Chemical Free Project #2.1.

1 tsp Borax
1/2 tsp Washing Soda
1 tsp Liquid Castile
2 Cups Warm Water (boil the water first then let cool, or use distilled water)
10 drops of essential oil - I used lemon

I simply put all these ingredients into a spray bottle, swished it around until the powders were dissolved and done.

Did I mention how simple it was? The best part, it's working just great. I'm using to clean the bathroom sinks and toilets.