Archive for the ‘migraines’ Category


I don’t get paid to write this blog. I’m not good enough. So take me at my word when I say, as a very hyper-critical caramel-in-coffee-but-I-love-it coffee drinker that this is THEBEST salted caramel… nay, caramel creamer for your coffee. 

I say this, admittedly, as someone who already enjoys Natural Bliss. It’s the only one besides pure organic cream that I can drink in my coffee without contributing to pain issues and migraines.

I was skeptical about the flavor before buying because so many caramel creamers leave a weird aftertaste. No worries. I’m not buying any other caramel creamer brands now.
COFFEE-MATE Natural Bliss Salted Caramel Creamer 

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I don’t write about this often even though I’m sure a lot of you could empathize. Fibromyalgia and weight issues often go hand in hand.

The thing is, it’s usually not for the reasons you might think. There are many who have Fibro that are underweight, and can’t seem to gain no matter how much effort they put in to make sure they get a calorie packed diet. There are many who are overweight and can’t seem to lose no matter how healthful and active they are in spite of the pain.  I don’t know if people realize just how hard it is to have an appetite when you’re in moderate to severe pain 90% of the time. Pain suppresses the appetite. Many medications suppress the appetite as a side effect. With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a co-diagnosis, it’s hard to eat if you’re so fatigued you can’t even chew or blink, let alone cook a full meal or go grocery shopping very often.

The fact is that no matter how healthfully we eat and are active in spite of the pain and fatigue, we have to deal with the biology of the disorder and additional health issues and co-diagnoses that are part of the very real chronic disorder that has a mind of its own. We do the best we can when we can as often as we can. We just hope it’s enough.

I’ve been fat, and I’ve been slender. I’ve been in between too. People treated me better when I was in between than when I was fat. People treated me far, far, far better when I was slender than when I was in between or fat. Because due to Fibromyalgia, my weight blew up to 280 lbs on a 5’4″ frame.

Give me a moment to digest the fact that I’m divulging this sort of information.

When I was That Fat, people treated me shamefully in public. People, nurses, treated me shamefully in doctor’s appointments. People feel obligated to say nasty things about food intake and exercise, and apparent lack of willingness to conform to anything healthy yet have the nerve to complain about being heavy. It’s still acceptable to fat shame here in America because A.) people think it’s helpful to point out the fat and ugliness of it and B.) they think it’s motivational to be rude and mean and C.) some people just think it’s funny to shame people due to their size and act like bullies.

Since I started to lose the weight, in the typical Fibro start and stop fashion, I have dropped 85 lbs so far. This number is accurate as of 1 1/2 weeks ago. And let me tell you, I’m thrilled over breaking that 200 lb barrier. It took me six months to do that with tripled efforts, which means for me trying to fit in 2500 calories a day with as much full fat in whole foods as possible. I try listen to my body when the fatigue takes me down. Managing the pain, managing the relief so that I could move more easily has helped. A few months ago we got a wonderful new mattress so being more rested helps.

During all of time, with each 15 lb mark of weight loss, I see and feel a difference.

Oh, not a difference in how I feel physically. My pain is still there in full force and in fact I’m in far more pain than before I started to lose the weight I gained. That weight that never belonged there.

There’s a difference in how people are treating me and looking at me. People are offering me their places in line again. They’re smiling at me again, more smiles with each pound I lose. More doors being held open for me, where when I was fat, people made it a point of looking me in the face and letting the doors close.

There are people asking me if I need help. People are complimenting me out of nowhere lately on my clothes when I run errands after work. Strangers.

People are noticing my pain now. They are actually seeing my face. They see the pain in my face AND my body, and then they see my cane, and they’re kinder.

I’m not behaving any differently. I’m still me. The only real difference is my weight. This all feels good because I never realized before how kindly people treated me when I was slender. I sure did notice while at my fattest how poorly people treated me. I was invisible to many, less important. Even certain family members. Slimming out somehow is legitimizing.

That angers me a bit, but saddens me more. I think maybe I don’t need to explain why. You guys are pretty intelligent.

But guys… I’ve lost 85 lbs. I know I’m poopooing it, but I am happy about it. Maybe my pain isn’t better, but I know that my risk of Diabetes is down; my risk of Heart Disease is down; and even though I have very low cholesterol intake, my body was producing more bad cholesterol on its own while heavier. I was also drinking more coffee, though, which raises the bad cholesterol readings. Yes…. yes…. while still a coffee fiend I did reduce my coffee intake to two cups tops a day.

My next goal is 25 more. I know it’ll be slow, and that’s okay. If I never lost another pound but suddenly magically had Disney Princess hair, I’d die happy in old age (somewhere in the far future, I hope).

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So I got up yesterday morning to ready myself for work, as one does. I do it prior to coffee. I do it prior to the daughters getting ready. I turn on the TV to listen to local news for the weather and headlines.

There was about what you would expect at 5:dark o’kiss my ass it’s too early for anything. Watching/listening with my bedroom TV that I can’t rewind, so really, at first I didn’t really believe what I was hearing. Later I went downstairs where, when I hear what seems like ridiculous news, is often confirmed downstairs because that’s the TV that tells me the truth.

Yes. The Today Show confirmed what seemed like the imminent dramedy of:

The Most Ridiculous News Story Diverting Attention From Important Headlines Today

Loves, I regret to inform you that Sarah Palin is whoring herself out yet again in a phenomenally new and unexpected way. She has plans in the works to  have a television show just like Judge Judy Sheinlin of Judge Judy fame where she, Sarah Whackadoodle Palin, is the judge. Or judge-like person. Judging people in court.

What are her qualifications, you ask? Well, I thought maybe she’d whip out a secret law degree or some such thing but, well, Sarah Whackadoodle Dee Dee Palin being who she is believes that she’s qualified enough to be a judge in a court having, you know, chosen plenty of judges during her tenure as a governor of Alaska.

That’s not all, folks!

She also has all of that experience IN TELEVISION THESE PAST EIGHT YEARS since the 2008 Presidential Elections, y’all!

If you don’t believe me, you have Google Fingers.

Now, here’s a warning. If you’re a Sarah Palin supporter and you think she’s a really classy lady, and you feel like telling me how women ought to be supporting women rather than tearing each other down, I’ll disagree with you on point A and agree with you on point B. My explanation on point B is because I disagree on point A. I’ve blogged in the distant past as to why. I won’t go into that now because I’ll use up all of the words I didn’t use yesterday when I blogged about Trump Fatigue.

 

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There’s a meme going around with an ancient quote from a sixth century philosopher, Lao Tzu, so-called father of Taoism. It reads:

If you are depressed, you live in the past.
If you are anxious, you live in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

I know this is meant to soothe or be, you know, wise. I know that some therapists use a similar approach with their patients.

The more I see this float around Facebook and other social media… the more I see this in my support groups… especially the ones where so many of us have anxiety and depression in addition to our physical disabilities… the more this quote makes me realize how much it’s adding to the stigma and misinformation about Depression and Anxiety Disorders.

It insinuates heavily that we can choose our state of peacefulness, anxiety, or depression. Granted this quote is from the sixth century when they didn’t have the knowledge we have now about neurological differences and disorders like Major Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorders, Schizophrenia, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Intellectual Disabilities, Emotional Disorders, Mental Health Disorders, Behavioral Disorders, and more neurodiversity. Even if Depression and Anxiety aren’t the primary diagnoses, they can still be a secondary diagnosis and still be significant. There’s a biological basis for these concerns.

In other words, you’re born with it. You don’t choose it.

Depression has nothing to do with living in the past. Anxiety has little to do with living in the future. And let me tell you, living in the present is not usually a picnic but is in fact very often what causes anxiety and depression if we’re talking about situational depression and anxiety.

If we’re talking about situational depression and anxiety, talk therapy and using tools learned in therapy and coping mechanisms learned by experience in life can help ease the symptoms. Talking down, getting sunlight, exercise, proper diet, and all of those mood boosting things that we endorse (I do, really I endorse them because they’re helpful) are wonderful for situational depression.

If we’re talking about Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety, if we’re talking about other neurologically based depressive disorders and anxieties tied to them, there’s no control involved. There’s no talking it through. It’s not rational. Talk therapy may help, medical treatment may help more.

But it’s not a choice. And this meme… this meme of this quote is damaging to those of us who aren’t just going through Seasonal Affective Disorder or are sad because our boyfriend is cheating. We can’t just buck up and get over it because it’s not situational. It’s biological and we can’t turn it off. We have to let it cycle. A situation or mood may trigger it, but there’s usually a lead up with signs pointing to it. We can’t always see them or recognize them.

Please, if you see this meme with this quote, pretty lettering and all, don’t share it.

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Using All The Spoons

Using All The Spoons

I think it was one of my doctors that said,

“There is nothing noble about having to endure severe pain when there are options that will help alleviate the pain. I don’t care if its severe physical pain, or if its severe emotional pain. We put ourselves through too much pain, because we think that it’s some sort of spiritual, strengthening experience and it proves something about us as an individual. I don’t believe that.  Asking for help and pain relief is not a sign of weakness but of pride. Knowing when to ask for help is a strength.”

That’s been rattling inside my head for months, and I believe it’s true.

I’ve seen people online in support groups and in real life say that they endure the pain of Fibromyalgia and Lupus and other chronic pain disorders without asking for any relief from doctors or any support from friends and family because it’s a test from God. If Jesus could die on the cross for our sins then the least they could do is endure their pain without complaint outside of the Fibro support group.

I want to scream at those people that the entire point of Jesus dying on the cross for us was to sacrifice himself for our sins so that there would never have to be another blood sacrifice again to God. No more pain from sin, because he was carrying it. So any pain we’re going through isn’t because of sin, or because God wants us to go through it as some sort of test. God created scientists and doctors for a reason. God created nutritionists and yes, even homeopaths for a reason. To help us improve our health and ease pain. If we try and it doesn’t work, we simply (ha) having found the right combination yet.

So many of us that have chronic pain like Fibromyalgia seem to think that showing signs of pain and asking for help or support is a sign of weakness, and if we show any kind of weakness then others will walk all over us and take advantage of us.

We think that obtaining pain relief and admitting that natural remedies we’re trying don’t work well enough or are no longer working and we need to try something else is a sign of weakness.

We don’t want people to think we’re faking.

We don’t want people thinking we’re exaggerating.

We don’t want people thinking we’re whining.

We don’t want anyone to think we’re trying to suck The System dry and take Your Tax Dollars In Benefits We Don’t Deserve.

We believe that you have a right to judge our pain relatively while at the same time, believing that you have no right to judge.

We believe that we should be able to endure any kind of pain in silence, that we shouldn’t burden other people with our pain.

We believe we’re burdens.

We hope our spouses and loved ones stay by us steadfastly  no matter what, and refuse to see us as burdens and make great effort to understand us even when we’re at our worst moods and least ability.

We believe that our children shouldn’t see our pain and disability and how we handle it…. just like how so many people believe children should never see their parents fight and make up… without realizing that children who witness and learn to deal with disabilities in their families grow up with compassion and an ability to understand disabilities.

We believe we’re burdens even to our doctors ( if we don’t already believe Big Pharmacy is out to get us, poison us, take all our money, and all doctors are in on it). We forget that doctors are our employees who work for us and with us, and we get a say in our treatment. We forget that we have a voice, but that we need to learn to use it.

Our burden shouldn’t ever be someone else’s burden. Yet… when our loved ones don’t ask us how we’re feeling or offer to help us, offer to try to relieve us some how, some way, so many of us are hurt and insulted and complain that our friends and family must not care. We spend so much of our lives hiding our feelings, emotions, pain, and disability that we forget we’re not really letting them in. They don’t really know us because they only know what we’ve shown them until now. If it appears as if we don’t need help or care or support, they’re not going to offer it. If we don’t tell them we need anything, they won’t offer it. If we don’t ask, no one will help.

And if we don’t inform spouses and children that they’re expected to help, they won’t.

Yet we take on their burdens as if they were our own without complaints even if we can’t afford it, and we’ve nearly run out of spoons. Why do we do that? Because we need to prove ourselves. We need to prove that we’re fine and can handle our own burdens, those burdens that no one else is supposed to notice, as well as be helpful and loving to everyone else.

We need to prove that we can overcome. We can bust through disability that’s in our way. We need to defeat disability and illness and disorders and differences. If we can’t we need to pretend and try to pass so as not to make others uncomfortable.

We need to always be Hope and Inspiration. We need to be wanted.

The stigma of pain and disability has been built into  our society for so long that people who endure challenges from disabilities and chronic severe pain perpetuate that stigma by behaving as if we’re ashamed of our pain. That’s what hiding our disabilities and pain really does. When we minimize our experiences and we even go so far as to say,

“Someone else has it worse than I do. I shouldn’t complain.”

We’re saying that we don’t matter enough to be taken care of and to be paid attention to and to be pampered. We don’t matter enough, period.

Do I always want to look for strength in my disabilities? No. Hell no. I have some terribly horrible days where I don’t have any strength of any kind at all mentally, emotionally, or physically. I’m not an inspiration or hope to anyone on those days. I’m not trying to be.

The strength lies in our ability to ask for help.

More of us need to learn to insist on help from our loved ones, and explain what we need when we ask for help and support.

It’s not enough to hope and beg and pray that our loved ones will simply know that we need them, and that they will know what exactly it is we need. The problem is they’re not mind readers. How can they possibly know what we need if we don’t tell them explicitly what we need. Our doctors don’t even know unless we tell them explicitly. And when we tell people we love, as well as our doctors, we need to use a strong voice. We need to use our no nonsense voice in order to get our message across. I’m known for bringing printouts with a list of things I want to talk about. I’m also known for bringing printout of research I’ve done, and I bring links to online research which I know my doctors probably should have done or have already done so that they know there’s a resource that they can go to. When loved ones don’t seem to understand what I’m going through I have learned to show them research. I’m still learning to show my pain rather than hide it. I’m learning that hiding my pain and enduring my pain is not Noble. It does not make me a stronger person. When I need help I am learning to ask for help.

But perhaps even more importantly, when I need help and someone offers their help I am learning to say yes and accept it. It’s hard to do that because of pride, but I have learned that more people than not do have a good heart and even if they don’t understand what I’m enduring if I let them see my pain even if they cannot empathize with me they still want to help. If they can see an actual physical need that’s obvious to them they’re more likely to help. Someone sees simply pain and they don’t know what to do it’s hard to endure it it’s hard to know how to help. People feel helpless when there’s not an obvious task to say here let me help you with this. It’s hard to say what can I do to help you when there’s no clear solution to expect the person they want to help.

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I survived another birthday. I survived another year. I survived the changing of the leaves. I’m surviving the bipolar change in seasons so far. I’m surviving working.

I’ve been blessed to see my daughters grow and spend time with my loving husband.

I feel as if I’ve been able to begin healing relationships that need it, but I know there’s room for improvement. I know that I need to put more effort into additional healing, additional relationships.

I’ve just looked back on what I’ve written. It’s odd how I’m using the language, “I survived.” It’s odd that I chose to write about that, using that language, before I wrote about my family and relationships. Is that what pain has done to me in this past year? Has it really progressed that far again? I was going to write about something else but this probably tells me more about myself at this very moment than anything else I was planning to write.  That’s a little bit jarring.

This post isn’t at all what I expected, so I think I may need to come back to the subject later. How odd. Forgive me.

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I stumbled across this article on a new-to-me blog that I’m now following. It has some great tips that I never considered when thinking about going to the emergency room as someone who has chronic pain and related issues. This blog entry is talking about CRPS, which is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It’s a chronic pain disorder that is separate from Fibromyalgia but can be a co-diagnosis with Fibromyalgia. Each disorder can also be misdiagnosed for the other. She goes into more detail with each bullet point, and you should click the link to see the reasoning why. I’ve begun using these suggestions at work and although it’s been a couple of years since I’ve broken down and gone to the ER, I’m going to be taking this advice.

Considering the Emergency Room? Here Are Some Pointers to Keep in Mind if You Have Chronic Pain. |.

 

  1. Make sure that you have a regular physician who treats your chronic pain.
  2. Show that you have tried to contact your regular doctor before you go to the ER … only using the emergency room as your treatment of last resort, as opposed to the primary place you go for pain medication.
  3. Bring a letter from your doctor.
  4. Bring a list of medications.
  5. Work cooperatively with emergency room staff. It might not be fair, but if a patient comes in screaming and shouting that they need pain medication right away, the staff isn’t going to like it.
  6. If you have a CRPS card, hand it to them and ask for it to be put in your file.
  7. Ask for a nurse advocate or make sure someone is with you.
  8. If at all possible, use the same Emergency Department as the last one you went to, your pain will be that much more believable if you always use the same place.
  9. …keep a folder handy with all those details written down, as well as a copy of most everything I need to bring with me

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