Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pushing Myself and Paying the Price

My to-do-list is long. My natural instinct is attempting to convince me that I should make a plan and just get this stuff done, while my body and mind are trying to convince me to slow down and take it easy. Obviously, I know my body and mind are correct. As someone living with chronic migraines and fibromyalgia, I have no business trying to get so many projects and errands taken care of in such a short time. I know there will be a high price to pay for such unrestrained activity.

Clearly the right choice for my health/pain levels is to slow down and pace myself better but that's not the whole story. There are 3 complicating factors: 
1. We have outdoor projects that must get done in the spring when the temperature is reasonable. 
2. We have a major indoor painting project that needs to be done during a 4 week span of time between hubby's online classes. 
3. There is a big family function coming up so I'm getting ready for a house guest and the party. 

I'm doing what I can to plan ahead and pace myself but the sheer volume of stuff that needs to get done coupled with the time constraints makes it near impossible to slow down enough. I knew this spring would be tough because of these projects. I knew I would pay the price, that I would have more pain, nausea, brain fog, etc. And I was right. My whole body hurts. I'm having more migraines and am more exhausted than usual. Basically, all the usual crap I have to deal with is happening simultaneously and with high intensity. 

I know I should slow down but I'm having so much trouble making that choice. I'm rationalizing - telling myself it's okay to push myself for a relatively short, finite period of time in order to accomplish some projects that are important to me. Part of me wants to be mad at myself for knowingly making my daily struggle more difficult but I don't really have the energy to beat myself up about this. Plus, I'm not really sure I'm making a bad choice. 

Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. Maybe there is no right or wrong decision here. Do you ever push yourself in the short-term in order to accomplish a goal, knowing the physical price you will pay?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

I could watch these dogs and kittens all day - they are just that sweet. I hope it brings you a smile.

Have a great day!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Celebrating 1,000 Posts

I just realized my last post was my 1,000th post.

It took me a little more than 5 years to do it, but I've actually written 1,000 blog posts.

Logging on this morning and discovering this milestone was reached has given me a bit of a boost.

I may not feel well enough to say much today but I wanted take a minute to thank all of you wonderful readers. I love sharing this crazy journey with you.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stress: Enemy or Friend?

I came across this TED Talk yesterday that I wanted to share with all of you. The speaker, Kelly McGonigal, shares some fascinating research about stress.

Basically the research shows, it's not so much the stress in our lives that has a negative impact on our bodies/health. Instead it's whether or not we believe stress is bad for us that determines whether or not the stress has a negative impact on us.

Of course, she does a much better job of presenting the research and explaining it so I would highly recommend checking out the short presentation below.

I know I've long been one of those people who believes stress is bad for you. I've read articles and seen scary stats that show how stress impacts various aspects of our health. This fresh perspective on the matter has convinced me I ought to train myself to look at my stress differently.

After all, life is full of stress. One can't really eliminate it. Wouldn't it be something if we could learn to embrace it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

I just love these videos with kids interacting with zoo animals. Here's a bunch for your enjoyment.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Inevitable Unproductive "If Only"

Today started out okay. My pain was only about 5 and my other symptoms were low enough that I was feeling confident I would be able to do the 3 things on my to-do-list. Shortly after my shower things turned - quickly. 

My pain is now widespread and increasing fast. I'm laying on the couch, about to take my rescue meds and hopefully sink into a therapeutic nap. Maybe if I play my cards right I can salvage the 2nd half of the day, however unlikely the possibility. 

If only I could will or work myself into feeling better...
If only I could function normally...
If only I didn't have to deal with my chronic pain every single day...

While I can't help but think about the "if only" scenarios, I'm very aware how unproductive it is to spend much time dwelling of them. The inescapable truth is, I have chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. My life is complicated and challenging but so are all lives. Beyond the complications and challenges I have many blessings so when I find myself thinking "if only" I try to replace it with gratitude for all the good stuff. 

It doesn't take long to realize the good stuff far outnumbers the bad stuff. 
And, as an added bonus, being in that frame of mind makes coping easier.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Deciding To Forgo The Hotel For Airbnb

Hubby and I are in the process of making plans to travel north to visit my family sometime in late summer. This year we decided to try something new. Instead of staying at a hotel we're going to try Airbnb. Have you heard of this? 
Basically this is a website that pairs people who have rooms, apartments, houses, etc. available to rent with travelers who are looking for a place to stay. I first heard about this service when CBS Sunday Morning did a story about it a couple years ago. We are not big travelers so I didn't think much about it at the time but frustrations over the accommodations available to us last year as we traveled with our chihuahua got me wondering if Airbnb would be a better fit for us.

Here was the problem:
- The nice hotels that allow dogs wanted an extra $75 - $150 per night for a dog to stay.
- The moderate hotels that allow dogs had smaller fees between $25 and $50 but had assigned specific rooms for people with dogs and they were NOT nice rooms. Some hotels only allowed dogs in smoking rooms and others just in run down rooms with moldy bathrooms and peeling wallpaper. 
- Either way the added fees really drove the price up and influenced how long we stayed.

I was able to find a few places that fit our needs on the Airbnb website and set about signing up as a user. Part of the sign up process is writing a little about yourself so that when you reach out to a potential property owner, they can learn a little about who you are before accepting you as a renter. Since this is a relationship business and the profile blurp seems like an important aspect. 

I spent two hours thinking and trying to compose a few paragraphs that describe who we are, what our travel style is like and what we like doing. Sounds easy enough, after all I do know us pretty well, but I found the task quite challenging. I couldn't decide what, if anything, I should say about my chronic pain. How do I convey that we are friendly and well humored while still explaining that we are introverts who don't want to hang out with the property owners. When it comes down to it, we sound pretty boring on paper. We don't drink, travel the world, hike or bike in any serious fashion, we aren't involved in anything outside of our family/friends/house. Heck we don't even eat meat. 

Then again, maybe boring is what people want in a renter. Perhaps it will assure them that we won't disturb the neighbors or ruin anything around the house. STILL, I'm putting a fair amount of pressure on the whole thing because a couple of the places we want to stay don't take dogs. When I finally get our profile crafted, I'll be reaching out to those people and making a heartfelt plea for Gypsy's acceptance. 

The benefits to Airbnb:
- We can have an entire apartment/condo/house to ourselves - places with full kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and living spaces. Much more comfortable and private than offered in the hotel setting.
- We can stay twice and long for less money.

More stuff for less - it's totally worth a try. I'm optimistic that this will make our visit more affordable and enjoyable. I'll let you know how it goes after. 

Have any of you ever used Airbnb?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

Now that 2016 election season has kicked off, SNL has stepped up to shine a funny light on it. Here is a great clip from last weekend's episode.

Have a great day!

Monday, April 13, 2015

There Is No Typical Day In My #ChronicLife

A couple months ago I did a 48 hour #ChronicLife, live-tweeting experiment. The experience has stuck with me. As I continue to reflect on that time, I've been thinking a lot about how my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia manifest in such varied ways from day to day. 

The variables are too numerous to count. I experience several different types of migraines and all can occur with varied levels of intensity. I experience fibro pain in different parts of my body on different days and with varied levels of intensity. I experience a whole bunch of other symptoms associated with both conditions at varied time and varied intensity. Then, there are times when the symptoms compound during a long stretch of intense pain. Sometime the migraines and the fibromyalgia team up against me. 

Basically, there is no typical day.

You know, part of me was thinking that this 48 glimpse into my life would be a great way to show people what it's like to be me. What I learned is that while the 48 hours was an honest and open look at those 48 hours, it certainly didn't tell the whole story. There is no way any 48 hour period of time could do that because it just isn't enough time for me to experience all the vast number of scenarios that make up my chronic life. 

I guess this is why I have such a hard time answering the question I always get from doctors - tell me about your migraines. Well, where do I even begin and where does it end. Most doctors are only going to pay attention to the first couple of things you say. But that's a whole separate issue, isn't it? 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

5 Tips to Discourage Others From Talking to You in a Waiting Room

While I'm still sick I thought it might be fun to republish an old post. Sort of a blogging throwback Thursday. This post was from March 15, 2012. I offer up some tips to discourage strangers from trying to strike up a conversation with me while in a waiting room.

The Waiting Room Game

Waiting rooms come in all shapes and sizes. Some have old magazines. Some have dirty toys for kids to play with. Some have TVs. Some always seem to be over crowded. Some have comfortable seating and others not so much. Some have medical brochures. Some are decorated in a soothing fashion. Some are quite plain and cold. They are ALL overly lit. You get the picture - heck, much like me, you've probably seen more than your fair share of waiting rooms too.

The thing is, no matter how much or how little thought has been put into patient comfort, the most annoying thing about a waiting room are the other people. I don't want to be stared at. I don't want to listen to kids screaming. I don't want to sit anywhere near someone who has a cold or flu. I don't want to listen to some rude person talking loudly on their cell phone. I don't want to smell cigarette smoke wafting off the hair and clothes of others. I don't want to worry about what the crazy person, who is talking to him/herself, will do next. And I certainly don't want to talk to ANYBODY.

I just want to be left alone. Is that too much to ask?

Here are some of the things I try to remember whenever I go to a doctor's office to encourage those around me to leave me alone:

1. Pretend to sleep
2. Pretend to read (I often can't concentrate in a waiting room enough to actually read)
3. Pretend to listen to music (this only works for short times as earphones become painful)
4. Look annoyed and unfriendly
5. Try to never look anyone in the eye

How do you feel about waiting rooms? Do you have any tricks to help you cope with them?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

We are big fans of the show Veep. Here's a scene to entertain you on this Wednesday.

Have a good one.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Flu Is Coming

Hubby and I attended an Easter gathering yesterday with his rather large family. His family is all very nice - they're outgoing - they love to laugh - just good people. As much as I like them these big gatherings are always a challenge. As the only vegetarians, we can't really partake in much of the food. Plus, the crowd is big enough to create a din that is both uncomfortable and distracting. We tried to escape it by going out onto the porch but every time we did that someone would come out and light a cigarette sending us back inside. 

Having survived the holiday and returned home, hubby realized he was getting sick. We think he caught this flu while traveling for work this past week. As rare as is it, hubby is pretty sick. I'm doing what I can to make him comfortable but I don't have the heart to tell him, I'm now beginning to feel early signs of it too. 

This could be the beginning of a very long week around here. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tired vs.Sleepy

If you were to look up the word "tired" in a thesaurus you would find sleepy as one of the synonyms. Heck, even the dictionary uses the word sleepy as part of the definition. I don't disagree that they are similar but I find myself compelled to clarify whenever encountering the word tired.

People ask, "Are you tired?" and the answer is "yes". Always "yes". But not sleepy" because, for me, tired doesn't mean sleepy. In fact, I can be exhausted and still not be sleepy.

Sleepy, can be an elusive sensation. Far too often I struggle to fall asleep at night or find myself waking up in the wee hours decidedly not sleepy. When the sleepiness finally sets in, I try to take full advantage. But it's a delicate state that easily subsides. I must be careful to not interrupt or jar it in any way or it will be gone.

Then there are days when sleepy is the prevailing sensation, as if the flood gates have been opened. The entire body is weighed down by inescapable sleepiness. On these days I may take 2 or 3 naps and still sleep through the night.

This back and forth sort of makes me long for pre-chronic pain days when I was awake during the day and sleepy at night. Regularly.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

Here are some news bloopers to lighten your Wednesday.

Have a good one!