Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday

While watching an old SNL rerun over the weekend I came across this wonderful skit of Mokiki. One of my all time favorite SNL moments.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wondering if I Showed Symptoms of Fibromyalgia in Childhood

Remember back when you were in school and had gym class? The topic has come up several times over the past few years and each time it does I am reminded just how much I always hated gym class. Most recently, hubby and I were talking about it when the Olympics were on. We would catch some pole vaulting or hurdles or whatever and I would ask if he had ever tried it. He hadn't but the schools I went to had all that stuff and we were forced to do it all in class. 

I truly had a deep hatred for gym class and there were many reasons for it.
1.  I hated that everything was a competition. We were constantly competing to the fastest or strongest. Winning was all that mattered. The only thing I was the best at was being flexible. I was always super flexible. Unfortunately, that is not something valued in gym class. 
2.  I hated that we were never given much actual instruction or enough time to develop any real skills. Sure we got to try pole vaulting but we only had about a 1/2 hour to spend on it. We were told to run with the pole, secure it in the small slot and use that to jump over the bar. Sure, yes, but it's not actually that easy. We would then spent most of the time in line waiting for our turn to try it. We would maybe get to actually try it 2 or 3 times during that 1/2 hour. Unless you are just one of those people who were naturally good at everything (those people were annoying) that wasn't enough time to get the hang of doing something like that. 
3. The part I hated the most was that everything hurt. Hitting the ball with a bat hurt my hands, kicking the soccer ball or being kicked by people missing the soccer ball always hurt, catching the football hurt, running hurt my head and my side, crashing into to high bar hurt... Because everything hurt, I was always fearful and tentative in the way I approached every unit because I didn't want to be in a pain for the rest of the day. As you can imagine I was always picked last when teams were chosen. 

During a recent conversation with hubby about the various ways I had to suffer through I had an interesting thought. What if the pain I experienced was different from what the other kids were experiencing? After all, nobody thinks being kicked in the shin feels good but it didn't prevent anyone else from going full strength into a herd of flailing legs attempting to make contact with a ball. My legs would hurt for days after just one such encounter. 

Maybe this was an early symptom of a developing fibromyalgia. Maybe I always had fibromyalgia but it slowly progressed over my lifetime. It wasn't like I was adverse to physical activity as a child. Quite the opposite. I loved to play outside, go for hikes, jump around, dance. I was very active and energetic but gym class was a regular nightmare up through 10th grade when it stopped being mandatory.  

I wonder if any of you with fibromyalgia ever experienced something similar? 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Impact of my Foot Pain

Looks like the saga with my foot pain is going to be a much longer one than I had assumed. I finally went to the doctor last week. She indicated it would likely take a couple months to heal. She didn't have any real ideas for helping it along outside of icing it, which I was already doing. Fortunately, I'm a bit more creative than she is and I've implemented several strategies, both to help with the healing process and to prevent future troubles.

Healing Strategy
1. New shoes and slippers. I picked up a pair of Under Armour, gel padded slider sandals at Dick's Sporting goods. Great for wearing around the house and for short trips outside. I then had to order a pair of super soft padded house slippers because they won't be in local stores for several more weeks. And finally I ordered a pair of Speedo padded, waterproof, slider sandals/shower shoes for use in the shower.

Since my metatarsals are swollen, the theme for now is slide on,
open toed, padded footwear only 
2. Epsom salt foot baths. Hubby read online that it's great for inflammation and sore feet so I've been soaking my feet in a bucket of warm Epsom Salt water regularly. Much to my surprise, I honestly think there is a short term benefit to these soaks.

3. Anti-fatigue Mats. We found these great anti-fatigue mats at Costco for just $18. I've put one in front of the kitchen sink, one in front of the stove and one in front of my bathroom sink. That covers most of the standing I do. Since all of our flooring is hard surfaces it seemed important to pad my standing spots. I'm sure glad we did. My feet are still too hurt to make standing for more than 5 minutes difficult, but I'm really only able to do it now because we have these mats.

4. Padded exercise mat. A big part of my exercise regime has always been done on my old yoga mat, stretching, yoga poses and various leg lifts and bends. Since the yoga mat just sits on the hard floor I decided this needed to be replaced with a padded exercise mat. Although, I won't be doing any yoga poses or leg exercises until my feet feel much better.

Prevention Strategy
1. Throw away almost all of my shoes. While most of my shoes are actually nice shoes, they are all 4-22 years of age. Yikes! I do have one pair of boots that I've only had for 1 1/2 years so I'm going to keep those in hopes of putting some orthodics in them this winter.
2. Get new shoes. I bought a nice pair of tennis shoes but I'll need a pair of casual shoes to wear with jeans too. I'm not in a hurry. Two months is a long time.

3. Get new shoes every few years. I don't need many pairs because my life is pretty simple these days so regular replacement shouldn't be a big deal, though I'm certain it will feel strange to buy new shoes regularly.

How this impacts my Chronic Migraines and Fibromyalgia:
I'm trying hard not to feel defeated by this foot pain but it's been a real challenge. Paced activity is a crucial part of my chronic pain management strategy. However, the pain is pretty bad in my right foot and it gets seriously aggravated whenever I'm standing, walking or even sitting with my feet on the floor. Basically, unless I'm resting with my feet up or laying down I'm angering my feet.

In an attempt to avoid the terrible shooting pain that results from allowing my weight to transfer to the part of my right foot that has the most sensitivity, I've altered my gate, which is putting all kinds of new stress on the rest of my foot, ankles, legs and even my hips. I feel like every time I'm on my feet I'm not only making matters worse and delaying the healing process but I'm also triggering fibro flares.

I'm being so careful because I want my feet to heal as quickly as possible. I need this to heal ASAP. My house is a mess, I'm not able to do much cooking so we are not eating very healthy and I'm being driven a bit mad from boredom. None of this is good for my migraines. I HATE THIS!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday

And finally the exciting conclusion of the Baby Bachelorette. These kids are so cute, I can hardly stand it!

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday

And now for the dramatic hometown dates on the Baby Bachelorette!

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Lesson on How to Approach My Health From Watching Cesar Millan

I love watching Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer. I watch and rewatch his shows frequently, fascinated by the impact our energy has on dogs. Over the years I've tried many of his ideas on our dogs with varied degrees of success.

While watching a repeat episode last week, I had an ah-ha moment about my own health. That's right, the advice he was giving this couple about their dog inspired me to reframe my thinking and my approach to discussions about my medical problems.

Here's what happened.
This couple had a dog who was terrified of almost everything, inside and outside. When Cesar was talking to them they kept saying how they were just so worried about him on walks because his fear was so bad that he would freak out and pull super hard - what if he broke free and was hit by a car or ran away... They said it wasn't a problem inside because he wasn't in danger of hurting himself or anyone else when inside, despite equally intense fear of objects, noises, etc.

Cesar responded that it was all a problem that needed to be dealt with because it was all connected. He needed help with his fearfulness both inside and out. Just because he isn't in danger inside, doesn't mean he isn't unbalanced and in need of help inside.

This is a theme I've seen many times over the years and had even seen watching this same episode before. But this time, I connected to it and discovered a flaw in my own approach to my health.

Here's how it relates to me.
When I'm at the doctor's office, often I will speak about what I see as the biggest problem at the moment. I will come in focused on that issue and then downplay the other things that relate to it. Likewise, I've chosen not to go into the doctor for what I think is a "small issue", letting that issue become much much worse and much much harder to deal with because it wasn't dealt with early on.

This is not the right way to look at my health and it is definitely not the right way to present my situation to a doctor. They need all that information and I deserve to have all my medical issues dealt with.

A lesson which seems particularly relevant right now as I'm presently on day 6 of couch rest because I ignored foot pain I was having all summer until it became extremely bad pain that I couldn't take anymore. What's worse, this isn't the first time I've found myself in a situation like this. I must stop this pattern of only giving attention to the squeakiest wheels.

In my own defense, sometimes it can be difficult for a person (like me) living with multiple chronic pain conditions to know the difference between pain associated with one of these conditions and pain caused by something else. I've long feared that one day I'll have a cardiac event, small stroke or brain bleed and not recognize or get help because I'm used to crazy symptoms.

Not to mention, it can be difficult to decide to go to the doctor. My doctor's office is about a 20 minute drive one way. Between the crazy bright lights, the hassle of paperwork, the stress of fighting my pain and brain fog to converse with the nurse and then the doctor, followed by more driving, going to the doctor's office is taxing and always triggers more pain. PLUS, I've had so much trouble getting into a relationship with a doctor. I finally found someone I liked and a few months later she was gone. I would feel more comfortable going in for "small issues" if I felt like I was in a mutually respectful and trustful relationship with my doctor.

Maybe I need to adopt a policy of going to the doctor whenever I have anything new come up. That might help me avoid getting into trouble. No matter what, if new symptoms appear, just go in.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Metatarsal Pain

I've known my entire adult life that foot problems were eventually going to become an issue for two main reasons. First, I have very high arches. Second, my feet are mainly skin and bone. What I didn't expect was that it would begin before I reached my 40s. 

Nevertheless, here I am. Laid up with terrible metatarsal pain. If I hadn't been so distracted with my low back pain, endometriosis complications, computer trouble and my usual migraine and fibro stuff I might have paid closer attention to the sore soles I've been dealing with most of the summer. Such is life. 

Everything kinda hinges on using my feet so this has become my top priority. I don't want to go to the doctor if I don't have to so I've decided to consult Dr. Google first. Seems like there is a lot I can do on my own - resting the foot, icing the area, ibuprofen, arch supports, orthopedic shoes and such. I can do that. 

I can deal with orthopedic shoes and inserts for the rest of my life. In fact, part of me actually thinks that sounds nice. Sure, another part of me will miss wearing flip flops but I mostly just loved wearing them because it allowed so much air flow around my foot during the sweltering summer months. These days, one can get a nice summer orthopedic sandal so I'm not too worried. 

The only thing that concerns me is what to do when I'm at home, which is the vast majority of my time. I never wear shoes at home. I hate having my feet confined in a shoe for long periods of time. I don't want shoes on my furniture nor do I want to have to take them off and put them on every time I sit down and stand up again. Whenever I'm at home I'm in a slipper but slippers don't provide arch support of lasting cushions. Making matters worse, almost all of our flooring is hard, either wood or linoleum, which the Mayo Clinic and WebMD agree is not good for this problem. 

I just don't want to become one of those people who wears shoes all the time. Now I should get back to my Google research. If you have any suggestions for great shoes or inserts, I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Whimsy Wednesday - Babies acting like adults

Watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette is a guilty pleasure of mine. Before my computer died last month I posted an episode of Jimmy Kimmel's Baby Bachelorette. Here is the next episode in the series.

Babies acting like adults and poking fun at the show - so fun!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Trouble With Insurance Wellness Programs

I've noticed a trend in health insurance developing over the past several years - wellness programs. The insurer hubby and I use has one of these programs and they are constantly pestering me. I get phone calls and letters in the mail informing me that they can help me manage my condition better. All I have to do is call their nurses at such and such number. I've also been seeing more and more commercials for insurance providers who are touting their wellness programs as a selling point.

As wonderful as wellness sounds I can't help but have some mixed feelings about insurance company programs. So here are my thoughts:

On the up-side
Everyone benefits from preventative care and a focus on wellness instead of just illness. It's always cheaper and better to prevent problems instead of trying to treat or solve problems. That's true for everything, not just in matters of healthcare. There's even a saying - an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

A wellness program that can help educate people about eating well, exercising, cutting back on alcohol, quitting smoking and managing any conditions is a great idea in theory. Some people really do need help with education, follow through and encouragement.

On the down-side
A wellness program administered by a health insurance company doesn't likely have what it takes to make a real difference in wellness for 2 simple reasons. First, there is no physical location or in-person contact with the nurses who run these programs. Change is extremely hard, way too hard to manage with some random voice over the phone. Second, it's not realistic to think that these nurses can actually help. They don't have access to your medical or social history (thankfully!) and they don't have the medical training to really help with the wide range of complex medical conditions people are experiencing. For example, me. I know more about my conditions than both my PCP and my OB/GYN. I certainly know more than any nurse working for the insurance company.

I suspect these nurses are intended to help the insurance company save money by helping people manage common expensive conditions like diabetes, weight management, high blood pressure and the like. They certainly are not prepared for people like me, which doesn't stop them from trying to shove me into one of their programs to make themselves feel better.

In addition to the ineffective nature of insurance wellness programs, I have a difficult time trusting them with my private health information. In general I believe personal information needs to be carefully guarded and only given out on a need to know basis. The fear with insurance companies is that at some point in the future that information could be used against me. Right now laws might be in place about pre-existing conditions and such but republicans have continually tried to overturn this law since the moment it became a law. It's entirely possible that they might succeed some day.

I think wellness programs are a fantastic idea and I would love to see all people be able to access them as a right. Wellness ought to be valued and prioritized much more than it is today. It ought to start in preschool and be provided through high school - that will also require an overhaul of the school lunch programs, which consider pizza to be a vegetable. It should be available for adults in the community who need continued support. But it also needs to include access to food, quality medical care and mental health care. We need to eliminate food deserts and ensure that nobody goes hungry. We need to have a livable minimum wage and support for people who are unable to work.

Okay, I'm getting off topic here - my point is, insurance wellness programs feels to me like putting a bandaid on a severed limb. Plus, I'm pretty sick and tired of being harassed by them because I'm not participating.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Back online

I'm back online again folks! It took a little longer than I thought it might - I won't bore you with the ugly details but I'm relieved to have the whole thing behind me now.

I don't have enough time yet today to work on blogging but I should be back up and blogging regularly again within a couple days.

I've missed all of you and look forward to getting back on track.