Friday, October 30, 2015

4 Things to Love About Sleep in Light of Chronic Pain

I love being asleep. That's a truism no matter the situation - napping, accidentally dozing off or proper nighttime sleep. My love of sleep even extends to all things surrounding it. Here are 4 things to love about sleep in light of chronic pain:

1. I love our bed, pillows, blankets and sheets. Getting into bed at night and snuggling into all that softness is such a relief after a long day of fibromyalgia and migraine pains. I'm never quite so aware of just how much stress my chronic pain puts on my body until my bedding surrounds me with soothing comfort.

Gypsy likes to snuggle under blankets too
2. I love it when feeling sleepy and feeling tired converge at a time when I can give into both and just sleep. See, I'm always tired (exhausted would be more accurate) but I don't always feel sleepy. My chronic migraines and fibromyalgia conspire to make sleeping tricky and, at times, quite elusive. I'm happy whenever sleep happens but truly relish the sensation of giving into those tired and sleepy feelings. Drifting off to sleep and stepping away from awareness.

3. I love waking up and seeing I still have time to go back to sleep AND being able to actually go back to sleep. This allows me to enjoy the drifting off again. Okay, okay, this is a rare event. The truth is, waking up in the middle of the night happens to me a lot. Most of the time, I can't get back to sleep. But what a gift when it does happen.

4. Then we have the main event - the sleep. Now, sleep is wonderful for many reasons and has plenty of health benefits but, for me, it all about one simple thing - Escape. When I'm asleep I'm not aware of my pain. I'm not thinking about my pain. I'm glossing over big chunks of time with none of the effort my waking hours require of me. Even though I basically never wake up feeling rested or refreshed, I truly appreciate the respite from the constant struggle of chronic pain.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

Another great lament from Henri the cat for your enjoyment.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Relieved to Not Be Moving

Another new house was completed last week, which means we had new neighbors moving in over the weekend. I always feel something close to hope when new people move in. I'm so curious about who they are and what kind of neighbors they will be.

Inevitably, watching people move reminds me of that oh so familiar feeling. You know what it's like - everything in boxes, trying to adjust to a new place, struggling to do things like eat or get dressed because your stuff isn't unpacked. It's just such an unsettled feeling, especially for someone who relies on routine. Everything about moving is hard and, between packing, moving and unpacking, it disrupts life for a fairly long period of time.

As I watched the new family move in, I could feel that feeling and just as it threated to stress me out and I remembered I'm not the one moving. We are nice and settled in. The house is still not done but we are far from that just moved in state.

The whole weekend ended up feeling like a celebration of NOT MOVING. We watched a disc of Homeland, played some games, drank hot tea, I cut a bunch of fabric in preparation for some sewing this week, we walked the dog and even had a firepit. It was a lovely weekend.

I was actually feeling relieved that it was them and not us who were moving. Such a silly thought to even have. I suppose it speaks to how weary I am from all the moving we've done over the past decade and how much I hate doing it.

Now we wait to learn about them and see what kind of neighbors they end up being.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

Since today is Back To The Future Part 2 day, I thought it would be fun to show a clip. I remember going to see these movies in the theater back in the day - I was always a big fan. I hope that it brings back some fond memories for you too.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Little Slice of a Chronic Pain Life

I had plans for today. Reasonable plans that included getting 2 quick errands done, cleaning the bathroom and doing one load of laundry. I planned to have plenty of rest between these activities and to go ahead and give myself the entire day to get them done. 

But I woke up with a migraine. I was pretty sure I would because I had one last night when I went to sleep. I took my rescue med before even getting out of bed and added in some Ibuprofen once I had a little food in my stomach. After a quick nap the pain was more manageable so I went ahead and took a shower. 

Now I'm sitting on the couch feeling mentally and physically exhausted; feeling hung over and achy throughout my body. I can still feel the migraine pain under the medication, which means as the meds wear off later this afternoon the pain will get worse, which means I'll go to bed with a migraine and wake up with the same migraine - just like today.

I will probably take at least 2 naps today. One as soon as I'm done here and then again after I walk Gypsy around mid-day. I'll work hard to pull myself together to heat up leftovers in the microwave for dinner tonight but it's possible hubby will have to heat up his own and I'll end up with a Clif Bar thanks to my nausea. Thank God for leftovers.

It's safe to say my reasonable plans for today and tomorrow have to be abandoned. I'm already reworking the plan in my head. I can push off that trip to Target - maybe stop on my my home from the doctor's office on Thursday. Who knows, I may even feel a little better by then. I can probably squeeze in that load of laundry as a way to get myself moving. It's important to move periodically. The bathroom can wait. Gyspy needs a nail trim so I hope tomorrow isn't quite as bad as today so I can take her to the groomer. But her nails might need to wait until next week because I have doctor appointments on Thursday and Friday. Honestly I wish I could just sleep until my appointment on Thursday - but that's not how life works, is it? 

Ah, life with chronic pain. Full of uncertainty, altered plans, lost time, pain and a whole list of other symptoms and consequences. Ufda!

Friday, October 16, 2015

The 5 Most Annoying Aspects of Social Media

Social media can be such a great way to connect and share with family and friends, especially when you live far away. But let's face it, social media can be annoying. Here are the 5 most annoying aspects:

  1. People who troll around just trying to collect more followers or friends. I see this most on Instagram. A stranger will start following me and if I start following in return they will stop following me - that way they always have more followers than people they follow. It increases their Klout Score and it makes me mad. I now keep track of all strangers who start following me so I can stop following anyone who practices this behavior. 
  2. Facebook has started clogging up my news feed with posts from complete strangers. I'll be scrolling down and enjoying articles my friends have shared and pictures of their adventures and suddenly I'm looking at some random kids. Why? Because now it seems every time one of my friends likes or comments on something from one of their friends it shows up on my news feed. I don't know these people. We are not mutual friends. I don't want to see random posts from complete strangers just because one of my friends liked it. It's a waste of my time and I HATE that I can't find a way to eliminate it from my news feed.
  3. Random strangers being hateful and mean when commenting. I haven't run into much of this personally but I see it happening to my friends, fellow migraineurs and in the news. People without any empathy, any understanding of the facts and with no reason whatsoever attacking another human being - unfathomable. I have a strict No-Being-Mean policy on my facebook page and the comment section of my blog. But with Twitter and Instagram there is no way to oversee or manage what is being said. I think if people started getting nasty I would close my account. The stress of that just wouldn't be worth it. 
  4. Twitter comments scrolling across the screen during TV shows, or worse, being read on-air during a news broadcast. I have never cared, nor will I ever care, what some random person with a twitter account has to say about a show or a news story. If I wanted to find out what people were saying about something I would go on Twitter and look up the hashtag myself. I have my own opinions and thoughts. While I may be interested in hearing what friends or qualified professionals have to say on specific topics, I don't find any value in broadcasting the quick reaction of unverified people via Twitter. 
  5. Anything that gives away location information. Okay, so this isn't so much annoying as it is dangerous. Every time someone announces they are leaving for a vacation, or checks in at a restaurant, resort or wherever I cringe. Basically I see this as a public announcement that you are away from home - nobody is home - now is the ideal time to rob you. It might never happen but why open the door to that possibility? The better announcement is when you have just returned home from a wonderful vacation or from the fab new restaurant.
Still, I do love connecting with people on social media, especially Instagram, so I guess putting up up with these and other annoyances is just part of it. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

I love this old sketch from SNL. May it bring you a laugh or two and brighten your midweek.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

3 Weeks Into My Endometriosis Treatment

I'm back on the pill again, hoping to eliminate my periods in an effort to control the crazy pain that now accompanies my cycle. Thank you so much endometriosis.

Adjusting to these hormones has been a challenge. For the entire 3 weeks I've been on them, I've felt like I'm about to get my period. Yep, all the annoying and frustrating symptoms of PMS are happening every day. With time I'm confident my body will acclimate to this regulated level of hormones. I'm just not sure how much time will be required.

I feel like I've been sitting around with my fingers crossed and my breath held for the last week or so, waiting to see what my body does. Will I get any break-through bleeding this month? Was my last period, which landed me in the ER, actually my last period? Will I get some pain even if I don't have any bleeding? I just wish I knew what was going to happen.

While I wait, somewhat impatiently, all I can do is take my pills as prescribed, each and every day. A task, which isn't as easy as it used to be. I can't even believe I'm about to say this, but... back when I was young the pill used to come in a plastic container that allowed you to set a dial and indicate which pill was for which day of the week. Since taking them regularly is key to their efficacy this was an important feature that made it really easy to see if you had taken your pill for the day or not.

I do remember the dial packs being eliminated shortly before I went off them about a decade ago but they were replaced with stickers that would indicate which pills were for which day. It was a less elegant solution but it worked just the same.

Now, well, now I just have a press pack and I have no idea if I'm on the right track or not. Not great for someone like me with migraine and fibromyalgia induced brain fog. I'm tempted to start using my pill box organizer that I've been using for years to help me keep track of the muscle relaxer I take. But still, I'm disappointed in the deterioration of the packaging of this product over the years.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday

Saturday Night Live is back! WOO HOO!!!

Here is one of my favorite clips from the season premiere last weekend.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mother Nature Does NOT Know Best

Someone recently said to me that Mother Nature knows best, in the context of a conversation about my endometreosis and the female cycle. The statement wasn't a judgement or anything, more of a expression of a general view about medicine and our bodies but it got me thinking.

While that's a lovely thought and I wish it was true, Mother Nature has done me wrong - seriously wrong. I honestly don't care if eliminating my periods entirely isn't the best thing for my body. I need to do it in order to function and control the all-consuming, debilitating pain that now accompanies my period. I'm just super thankful that we can intervene and correct or at least aid in the correction of dealing with the problems Mother Nature has caused.

Overall, I actually think Mother Nature is great. I'm a big fan. Truly. But she does get it wrong sometimes. Certainly my endometriosis is only one of several things that have gone wrong with my body, and one of thousands that could possibly go wrong. Sure, not everything that goes wrong needs medical intervention but many things do. The idea that Mother Nature knows best just seems absurd to me.

The thing is, we have to weigh our options and decide what risks are worth taking. I hate that I take so much Ibuprofen because there are several serious risks involved. Sure, I take precautions like always taking it with food and a full glass of water but I still don't know what the ultimate price will be. I hate the way my triptan makes me feel but if it does lesson my migraine pain and improves my ability to function and cope with the migraines I can treat. I don't want to take muscle relaxers every night but I do because without it my migraine pain would be constant. I didn't want to start taking hormones to eliminate my periods but I'm doing it because it will help me control the intense pain.

Every intervention has consequences, which is why I only intervene when I feel like I need to. And when I do, I don't feel the least bit bad about it. In fact, I'm extremely thankful for my meds. I can't imagine what I'd do without them. I don't know what sort of long-term damage I might be doing to my body but I know that my quality of life is greatly improved because of the medicine I take. And it's further improved by natural remedies like staying hydrated, regularly doing light exercises, having professional adjustments, meditation, etc. Alone those natural remedies would not be enough. For me, for now, I need modern medicine to step in because Mother Nature does NOT know best.