High pain and mood drops

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The correlation between high pain and mood lows is pretty obvious in me. I didn't need to do a statistical analysis and chart it out. It was Every time my Pain is High, like 9 high, my mood drops like -9. (Scale of 10 not 100 or 1000. Just to be clear on that).

I have talked about Paingry when intense pain makes us irritated and angry.
 
Well, it can also take a mood quite low. When we realize we have nothing that can lower it. No medication that can help. No medication that did help. And we just have to ride the pain out. But it is Intense. 

So I say things like 'It can't rain all the time' and 'this too shall pass like a kidney stone'... because I know it won't last. Nor will the horrible low mood.
But in the Moment. Well. In the moment, the pain feels so much worse because of that depressed mood. All-consuming. And your brain reminds you, always, how the pain will never really end. This pain will, but the PAIN will not, Ever, End. My brain is very dramatic like that. Being gullible I am all yeah, you're right I will always be in pain. No matter what, when this particular pain is over, there is another to follow and another and another. The Neverending story of pain. And I get more depressed by it. How can I handle a future like that? When I barely survived my past with it? 

At this point, you go Stop. STFU. Sometimes I say it out loud. Shut the fuck up, brain.

But put a stop to the thought for they will take the slippery slope down into a pit of despair. So don't allow that. Stop the process. Distract yourself. Turn on some tunes that make you happy. Not angry, depressing ones. The turns that you listen to in a good mood or even a mellow mood.

Now that you have the ambiance in the right mood setting. Write down three things you are grateful for. Write down three things you achieved today. Can be small, minute, but you did them. Like I got out of bed despite the pain. I put away the dishes. That sort of things. Write down three goals you have for tomorrow.

Now that you have thought about some positive things. You can meditate for 20 minutes. I recommend a body scan meditation. 

After that when you are calm, either go to bed. Or do an activity that is relaxing like reading. It is keeping you from thinking. Keeping you occupied and will relax you for sleep.

The mood will be there lingering. But you have taken away its power by not paying explicit attention to it.


Christmas and health-related gift

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So for Christmas I got a Migraine! Wait, that is actually the gift that keeps giving all year round. Today, at least, it was a late day migraine so I was pretty free for visiting with my mom, step-father, brother and his girlfriend. And that is good. Any break in the day counts. It is just really unpleasant right at this moment.

And I will say this I got a lot of cool health-related gifts this year which is pretty cool. Things that are going to be quite useful to me and are also very thoughtful.
  • Space heater- I have hypothyroidism and apparently No temperature control. So often I get cold and it is not cold in the house. I wear hoodies. I wrap myself in a heated blanket (last years Christmas present by the way) and I also wear winter fuzzy socks (which I got this year for Christmas as well). But I am always freezing. So my spouse got me a space heater I can bring to any room I am in, mostly the computer room, and just heat that space. It is awesome and what a grand idea.
  • Himalayan salt lamp-  Okay these are suggested for a lot of things but what I am interested in is air quality, allergies, and asthma. And it has been suggested they are good for those specific things. Here is a wee article about that. I actually think they do benefit in this way. I have a wee one for the computer room and it seems to help me in there. I have no idea if they have any other benefits to be honest but, hey, they are aesthetically pleasing with a soft, migraine friendly light so you really cannot go wrong on them. The one I have is red, which is a rather soft light. You just have to make sure you do not get a fake one and also have one that heats up.
  • Magic bag- This is actually a Canadian company so I will explain what it is. On the site, it says "Magic Bags are thermotherapeutic compresses that help with healing and maintaining good health and well-being. 100% natural, it is approved by Health Canada as a medical device. They contain high quality oat grains that have been given a special treatment." They are essentially a heating pad. But they can be used for heat and cold, and are all natural. I use cold for my neck and migraines. My spouse prefers heat for his knees. The package we got for a gift comes with 2; one large one and a smaller one. They are seriously awesome.
  • Pure magnesium oil- Magnesium is beneficial for migraines and fibromyalgia and the oil is actually a great way to get the magnesium. Like Epsom salts. In fact, you can actually add the oil to the bath as well. A way that works if you have issues with digesting it, which I rather do. Not to mention apparently magnesium is a little hard to absorb anyway.
  • The book Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks- which is something I got as a Secret Santa gift. Not really health related per sa, but with migraines with aura, it is a very interesting topic I like to explore. At times I wonder, is it my eyes or my brain. For example, I have visual snow, which was recently found to be neurological; it is hypermetabolism in the right lingual gyrus. But some auras one wonders. I have one where I move my arm and I see about twenty arms after it all in a translucent blue color. Aura? Eyes? Visual snow? Some are obvious, such as vortexes in the sky or arches of scintillations. So far the book is fascinating. TED talk by Oliver Sacks.

So I did well on the health-related gift side of things. And just in general. I think I did fairly well picking out gifts, even though I never have had much of a knack for it. Some people excel at gift giving and some people, like me, are pretty mediocre at it. It is like I have the perfect idea middle of the year and always when I am broke and when it comes to buying have no clue what that awesome idea was. I would write it down but I also have a knack for losing lists. And forgetting to write things down. Anyway, I thought I did decently this year and my spouse helped out as well, which likely helped. It is the thought that counts. I was pretty broke this year so I had to get creative. And seek out some deals. It would have been Better on the Stress side of things had I been approved for my sick leave from work. That would have been rather nice. I do not enjoy the stress at all. I find it amazing how stress makes my usually crappy sleep so erratic it is completely undependable. 2 hours? Sure. Why not? Who needs sleep.

It would have been Better on the Stress side of things had I been approved for my sick leave from work. That would have been rather nice. I do not enjoy the stress at all. I find it amazing how stress makes my usually crappy sleep so erratic it is completely undependable. 2 hours? Sure. Why not? Who needs sleep. I think that is how I managed to get sick while not even going Anywhere, except the doctor's office. Stress, not fun business.

I read this article about suicide and the holidays. I will start by saying Christmas is my favorite holiday. And I will add that apparently, the social and happy aspects of the holiday lower the risk of suicide in others. So in many people, this time of year is a mood boosting affair. You get to see family and friends. You are thinking of family and friends while shopping for them... even if money is tight... anything counts. You get together for a meal and a visit. You are bombarded with happy, sappy movies and happy, sentimental music. The whole affair is a mood boost. And of course, no one wants to commit suicide on the holidays, due to the impact it would have on others. So they found everywhere statistically it was lower, aside from two countries; Australia and Mexico where it was slightly higher. And the day that is highest... is New Years and shortly after. Because... that vast year lying ahead where all those same troubles lay in wait. It seems momentous. Too much to bear. So then it raises significantly. But the idea that the holidays make it worse is actually false, it actually goes down during the Christmas holiday. Maybe that is why I like the feeling of Christmas so much. Maybe it always gave me a happy mood boost after a horrible work year. I don't know. But it was interesting.

I needed the mood boost, is what I am really saying. When I get stressed about things I cannot control I tend to get depressed. And maybe that is what is causing my immense fatigue as well. And promised myself I wouldn't think on anything stressful for the whole holiday break. Not any stray though would I allow to linger. I just need it to be a good relaxing holiday. 

So be like me. Chill with a good book. Drink some nog or Cocoa. Relax and watch movies or play video games and chill.

Relationship ponderings

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I should say when I am angry and in pain I do not take it out on my spouse. I just don't. I am angry I am in pain. I am short tempered with people who are morons. I get impatient at work with people who bicker about idiotic things. I get angry I have to work and be in so much pain. Which is better than depressed, which is far more frequent.

I was talking to my spouse about arguing. About what we don't do in arguments. As in we never say vicious things we would regret to each other. Not ever. Because you cannot take those things back. We were talking about how we lasted so long in our relationship. Got together when I was 20 and I am now 39. And how that is a bit surprising considering at a young age people change a great deal so many relationships don't last that long at that age. I mean what do you know at 20? Zip all.

And I said because I learned very early on you are very sensitive to the world choices I use. So I have always chosen my words very carefully so you don't feel like I am Personally hurting you, I told him. Because he is very defensive. I often have to phrase things like 'we should maybe do this because of this very valid non-personal reason'. He used to think I was angry at really weird things, or would be, so would lie about them. And I had to explain, that didn't make me angry and would never have made me angry, but lying about something so weird, sort of does.

And he said he knows he cannot tell me to do things. Like them me the house needs to be cleaned or I am not cleaning enough. Because I feel guilty.

I said yeah, if you saw into this head? It is all guilty, guilty, guilty about what I didn't do, couldn't do, should do more of. Why can't I? Should I force myself? And having someone external to me confirming I should feel bad about it makes me feel Horrible and usually spikes my depression. Like it is somehow this confirmation my self-worth is low for a reason... because I Do suck. I said to him I do all that to myself. I don't need the help. I have depression. I beat myself up all the time.

It is weird that way. What we say internally to ourselves. It isn't nice. It is high expectations when you think about it. It is healthy person standards. If we get the slightest confirmation then it is ten times worse. Because clearly it means it is true. That all that horrible stuff we have been saying to ourselves much be actually true. And then depression smacks into you big time.
Anyway, you pick up these nuances of what distresses each other. And you do not do them because no one wants to hurt their significant other.

And chronic health problems, that I have literally had since I have been with my common law spouse, create their own issues. It adds stress to a relationship. He was also telling me how he is glad that I am not working. That he knows it is better for me. And that, yes, the money issue is stressing him out, but as long as we have enough to exist on he is fine. That is but One issue that comes with health and relationships, but that one is a major one. Chronic illness often impacts income negatively.

Depression and medication

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Psychiatrists Must Face Possibility That Medications Hurt More Than They Help
Antidepressants were the most common type of psychiatric drug in the survey, with 12 percent of adults reporting that they filled prescriptions for these drugs… In addition, 8.3 percent of adults were prescribed drugs from a group that included sedatives, hypnotics and anti-anxiety drugs, and 1.6 percent of adults were given antipsychotics.”

A 2013 study, Higgins writes, found that “the toll of mental disorders had grown in the past two decades, even as other serious conditions became more manageable.” He adds: “Suicide rates per 100,000 people have increased to a 30-year high. Substance abuse, particularly of opiates, has become epidemic. Disability awards for mental disorders have dramatically increased since 1980, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is struggling to keep up with the surge in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
I know since being put on Abilify that lack of wanting to kill myself is killing me. What a drag, eh? I mean the suicidal depression is just a phase. I am sure I'd survive it... well, not likely. Not if I had anything to do or say about it. That was rather the point.

Yep, I am missing those deep dark plummets into severe depressive episodes. Fighting with my brain as it insisted it had the perfect argument for why I should just die already. Good times. I can totally see why that med was not necessary at all.

Oh the sarcasm. But really, that medication makes my existence something worth living emotionally. Not that I also do not do therapy.

Maybe, just maybe, shrinks are diagnosing way too much. Maybe people those mental disorders are not actually problems but just normal every day stresses and situational depression that can be dealt with by dealing with the situation. Also remember in these stats that anti-depressants in particular are off-label for Many things including FM and chronic pain and even sleep. So yeah the numbers on them are massive. Especially now that opiates are evil... they will go up even more. They make me suicidal so I am on an antipsychotic usually prescribed to make anti-depressants work better in people with severe depression.

And you have to wonder if medication is the answer. When I was younger and depressed I was put on a medication, responded badly, went off of it... took a year off university and dealt with it myself. Recovered and went back to school. For this second bout I wasn't put on medication right away it was treatment with therapy for a few years. Not until my second suicide attempt did they realize I needed medication for it. Which I am thankful for. But in many cases, including my first depression, therapy would have been quite fine by itself. Pills are not always the answer to everything.

When medication is needed, it is bloody well needed. And we are damn thankful for its existence thank you very much. The difference is night and day.

5 Quick Tips About fibromyalgia

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1: SLEEP: is vital. Therefore my tip is do not play around on the computer before bed or your smartphone. Get your brain all riled up with things and ideas and what ifs. No. Do things like read, in the quiet, dimly lit room snuggled in a blanket with a decaffeinated tea. Like a sleepy-time tea. Then right before bed, medicate for 10-20 minutes. Then go to bed. We need to wind our brains down. And then ease them into this whole sleep idea our brains clearly suck at. Not saying you shouldn't take your prescribed medication, just saying try these as well.

2:WALKABOUTS: The walkabout is pretty important for when you have to be somewhere where sitting is required. A family function, a work, function, school, or work. You can use excuses if you want but definitely get up and do a walk about for a few minutes. Walk around the office. Walk outside for a bit. Gets you moving those muscles that have begun to hurt from sitting down to long and also helps with mental fatigue, gets that brain kick started again and out of a fibro foggery.

3:SNACKS: Eat small meals throughout the day. Or basically have a bunch of snacks through the day. Keeps your blood sugar up. And it helps with Fibro FOG. Nuts are always a good choice.

4: MEDITATION: 20 minutes of meditation can help with stress and pain sensitivity. You can break that up with you want. Do different types to find which works for you, but it goes very well with any pain management plan.

5:EXERCISE: should be added to any pain management plan with FM. This can be going for short walks. Modified yoga. Stretches and physio exercises. Riding on a stationary bike, but starting slowly. Whichever you think would work for you, starting at a slow pace and increasing slowly as to not induce a flare.

Proof is in the pudding

Proof is in the pudding, as they say. My leave from work was declined due to lack of medical evidence. So I need to provide more 'evidence'.

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I say the proof is in the facts. The very fact I have actually had migraines since I was 20 and chronic for most of that time. I have actually had leaves for this exact same thing. And a long term leave. And clearly substantial evidence for it. Clearly I have been unable to work. And I have over the decades done so many multiple treatments that I am considered intractable. Done them more than once. Mixed them together. Only an idiot would doubt the evidence at this point in time. I mean, really. If you simply look back in the records it is all laid out. Seriously, it is really ridiculous.

I get it. Insurance company. They don't like to pay money to people with actual disabilities. Sucks to be me, with a chronic pain condition that has gotten to the point of being unmanageable. Because it is chronic pain. You have to somehow prove that you have crossed that line from 'holy hell this is agony but I think I can somehow function a little bit' to 'holy hell I think I would rather just die'. It is a fine line. On one side, maybe you can manage part-time. On the other, yeah, work isn't feasible. Where is that nudge of proof though? Oh, yes, the suicide attempts might have been a slight indication the pain was getting the best of me. Hmm. Yes, that might be when I crossed that line. Maybe the depression alone might be a sign my pain is getting pretty complicated to deal with. I don't really think proof should be that I actually die. I don't think that seems all that logical to me. It made more sense to me to go on a leave when the suicidal ideation was getting to that peak point again and the pain was getting to that non-functional point, as evidence of my actual performance at work suggested. I don't think someone should have to die just to say 'told you that wasn't working. I couldn't handle the pain after all. There is your 'proof''. There really ought to be a line Before that line. Some sort of 'evidence' they will accept that says hey that person is Actually in a butt-load of actual pain that actually interferes with her Entire life, including her capacity to function at Any job.

I honestly do not know what they want for proof. I'll get my doc to send them the MRI that shows the lesions on my brain... which develop from having migraines a long time, chronic migraines and are prone with migraines with aura. It is proof of migraines, and chronic migraines at that. If they have the knowledge base to research it and know that. I will give them the neuro letters I have. I'll get the pain clinic to write up my current treatment. I'll get my doc to request something from my psychologist.

Fuck if I know if any of it will help. Proving pain is a damn hard thing to do. And it isn't just the migraines. It is the FM. The fatigue. The nausea. The goddamned depression.They are not separate. They all affect Me. They are all intertwined. I think my doc put me on leave from migraines but she should have put me on leave from Migraines, FM and depression. They all roll together to create serious problems. Depression being the obvious one. The more pain I am in, the more severely depression and suicidal I become. When I work I am in significantly more pain, so I get significantly more depressed with much more suicidal ideation. It is a problem.

Woe is me



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Yes, woe is me. For I am suffering the stomach flu, with a side of migraines and FM. I don't generally whine about the flu. I used to go into work with it because I needed my sick days for 9 migraines. And then I'd proceed to spread around the misery, but what can you do?

I actually am thinking of attaching a Lysol container to me and have it just spray everywhere I go so my spouse doesn't get sick. Because I have sneezed on everything... including all 3 cats. They were not impressed. At all.

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Let's face it though. When those of us with chronic illnesses get sick. We do it Masterfully. We win at sickness. For example, I have not left the house in a week. So where did I even get this? My immune system is so low I just got it from being. I have the immune system of a 110 year old who likes to take strolls in hospitals and get sneezed on. Plus we often have troubles sleeping... which lowers your immune system. A stressed body from our illness... lowers the immune system. So yeah we could walk by a sick person within ten feet and get whatever he had. Thanks random sick person!

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It began with a stuffed nose. meh. Then couldn't sleep. Then I felt so cold. Next day. Fevers and chills. Fever and chills. All day long. Wearing two hoodies to just a t-shirt. As a stomach bug I had nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. I couldn't leave the house and I had already the day before when the nausea had kicked in consumed all the things I had in the house for nausea. All of it. Gone. So I called my mom and asked her to get me Gravol, a Canadian one for motion sickness, nausea and vertigo. And Pepto for the diarrhea. She came back with that and More. Zinc lozenges. Peppermint tea, which is great for nausea. Chicken noodle soup, which I have had now for supper twice now. Also an electrolyte replacement to help with the fact I was likely not doing so well being so sick... all the fluids I got in me were coming out as fast as they went in. She made me Set. I had a nest of meds on the couch, I was stuck on.

It was the nausea that was the worst of it. You see I have had migraine related nausea for over a year now. Every day. A massive issue. The flu kicked in and the nausea went to on a scale of 1 to 10 to a 10. If I coughed from my raspy cough I have going on I would also gag and want to throw up. And often did run to the bathroom and do just that. I could barely stand, since the nausea was worse and I felt dizzy and faint. Sitting was mildly better. Laying was the real way to go. But once I had meds. I took the daily amount of Gravol wishing I could take me. Daily amount of pepto. And that combo was helping just enough to keep the nausea at a 7.

So really my recommendation is don't get sick when you are sick. Since I got this flu my spouse went and got his flu shot. So I ought to as well once I am better. I am just so prone to these things. But I feel slightly better. The nausea is at a 7 and I am upright and on the computer... and no way in hell I could have done that earlier today. That is a good sign.

Getting sick when you are ill... we have to rest. We have to manage our illness as best we can. It will last longer and be a slower recovery if we do not manage it. Like I said I used to work through flues and colds. And they always lasted overly long. Chest cold lasted a month once. Flu... two weeks. So we have to take care of ourselves. Rest. Get fluids into us. Get simple foods like soup into us. Don't go to work, if possible. Take care of yourself as best as possible, because in general they tend to last longer and hit us harder. If we hunker down and take care, we can kick it faster. Easier to say than do, given life and obligations though.

Remembering discrimination at work


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I managed to upset myself with a memory. I was reading an article about malicious gossip and how to deal with it. Pretty benign. And then I thought about times I have dealt with that in the office. Mostly hearing it, and trying to be neutral because I loathe malicious gossip so much. I really cannot stand people who indulge in it. Anyway, then I remember the time when I heard about it directed my way.

And the memory was like a punch to the gut. This sense of real sadness. Because it wasn't about Me, it was about me being chronically ill. So you'd think it wouldn't bother me. But of course it did because I am the sort of person who literally believes everything is my fault even when there is no humanly possible way it is my fault. So I feel ashamed for being ill when I have no reason to be. Guilty when I have no reason to be. And when people blame me for being ill, think I am slacking, am not in as much pain as Whatever... I feel ashamed I have chronic pain and am failing. I know, at the time, a lot of that shame came from my employer at the time who actually told me I was failing my co-workers, my customers and myself. And I Believed it. She actually also told me other employees were complaining to her about my missing work and having to pick up the slack, which everyone said wasn't true... but I believed that as well. Because the pain was Winning and I was sucking. I was failing. Who wouldn't think that I sucked?

I was mentally in a very bad place because of the pain. Not a good time to be giving me ultimatum and making me feel ashamed about the pain. The pain which I felt was out of control and I had completely lost all hope of every managing. So bad mental spot at that time. And it did rather go downhill.

So the advice in the column doesn't really apply or wouldn't for me at that time. Because we self-blame. We remember being healthy. A lot. And we feel so guilty we cannot function like that. So we push ourselves. A lot. And that makes things so, so much worse. Then we blame ourselves for that. We take any sign from Anyone that confirms this blame that we should in fact feel shame and blame and guilt. Then comes depression. But we think, well, we are depressed because of the pain. It is just normal. Who wouldn't be depressed? Who wouldn't feel utterly worthless?

I wish I could tell people who work with people with invisible disabilities what not to do and what to do. I wish I could have re-written that time. I would be in a lot better place if I had just said, stop, that is discrimination. Let's try working on ways to help me manage work, not ways to make work so much worse. I haven't been able to function since then. I suppose because the depression and pain got so much worse. The pain because of the stress. The depression because, of well all the negative thought processes I went through. Just got embedded in my head. Just the memory of it still makes me quite sad. Also angry, yes, obviously angry, but very sad. And I could have died from the suicide attempt that was the end result. I was lucky I didn't. That is the power of a bad work environment. One employer can just destroy your self-worth. And actually make you worse in the long run, ironically. All the things they tell you not to do for pain, are the things you end up doing. All the things that are very bad for a person mentally, are what the employer does, because they somehow think it is 'motivating'... like you are some lazy child who doesn't want to do their homework. I am aware I got substantially worse physically and mentally during that time. I am aware I am better off not being there...as in you literally could not Make me go back there Ever.

Much more difficult to fix the damage. My psychologist says I have a real issue with self-worth. Huh. Makes you wonder where I got that from. But, yeah, you have to believe what is shoveled at you. And I did. We tend to do that when we are chronically ill. I really wish employers had proper training. Maybe from someone with a disability themselves. I am quite ill now and can't work full-time or straight up hours, but I had quite a great manager recently. I was quite impressed there. And I wonder if it simply is that he is considerate, listens, non-biased and wants a functioning team in all respects? Not sure. But having someone come in and speak with management one on one, or in a group... seems logical to me. Hell, I'd do that (and hey, I could set my own schedule! lol). Because some of them seriously need it. They need to understand some things you simply Cannot say. Other things that should not be done. And ways you should approach things. It isn't rocket science. It is respect, it is motivation, it is helping them so they can be productive for you and taking care of how you phrase things.

I wish I could tell someone in the same situation I had been in. In survival mode. A lot of pain. Dealing with management like that. I wish I could tell them not to believe the things they hear from anyone especially management.That they should report it. Report it. Report it. Like I never did. Do it. Every damn time. And I would tell them you are chronically ill. It is not your fault. You did not cause it. You are not to blame for it. You have no reason to feel ashamed or guilty. Ever. You are worthy and strong. Keep on doing what you are doing and ignore the rest. Remember to report.

I actually blogger about all of my time there. You have to back pretty far to see it. But yeah fun stuff.

Isolation in the Great White North

There is a difference between being alone and isolation. Sometimes we want to be alone. To recharge. We have to conserve our energy. Manage our fatigue. And being alone, isn't always lonely..png
I am going to tell you a secret. I am an introvert. It is true. I'd rather write on this blog than talk to anyone really. And I do not find this to be a problem. I like being an introvert. I think introversion is pretty awesome. I think a great deal about everything. I am introspective. Philosophical. Contemplative. Reserved. Reclusive. Hermit. All right so the last part seems to be the 'issue'. I have a lot of hobbies. And they all involve me and the indoors and not the outside world and people.
So what?

So my psychologist thinks isolation is a Big Deal to people with chronic illness who are not working (currently, as that is a work in progress, my leave that is) and isolation is a factor in depression.
And Winter is a Isolating factor in Canada.

I personally do not want to go out in This. As in, my back yard.

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It is cold out there. It is windy and it is cold. And pain is worse when it is cold. And I want to hibernate all winter long. Is that so wrong? No, no it is not.

He suggested some sort of charity work that was the sort you could not have a rigid scheduled. I mentioned something online. He said, no real people. I mentioned those people at the SPCA that pet or walk animals. He said, No People. I don't think he quite grasps I don't like peoply places. That it isn't a necessary thing for me. That I have some socialization every month and that is okay by me.
I don't feel isolated. I am not lonely. I enjoy my hobbies immensely. I fail to see the problem to be honest. I think if I crave people I can just go be around them... like go to a cafe and bring my laptop with me. Or go for coffee with my mom and actually have some social time.

Also pain and fatigue. I was telling him how immensely fatigued I have been. Such that when I have an errand to run... I have been putting it off. By the by, my doc says that I should also exercise and get out of the house to help manage the fatigue. So far, not helping. Just more fatigued. It actually really makes this concept difficult. To do anything on any sort of schedule that is. When I feel any teeny bit of energy I do get those errands done and it drains me. I need to up my B12.

Anyway, point is isolation seems to be an internal thing. I have felt it in the past for sure. But right now I do not. I feel profound relief I am not working at the moment. Not isolated. Just profound, utter, relief I do not have to work in the pain I am in right now. And we all feel isolated somewhat in the winter, here and other bitterly cold tundras, because it is harder to get out and do things. So we do have to make some effort to find things to do outside of the house at least once a month.

I did some exercise! Sort of.

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I did in fact do some exercise in the technical sense of the word.

I got on a Exercise bike and I moved my legs on it so in fact I did exercise.

It caused tremendous and immediate pain on a level that is pretty indescribable except to say that it just got worse and worse and worse.

I tolerated 2 minutes of that torture.

Yes. Two minutes.

I know that sounds super lame and pathetic. And it is. But I have not been exercising for some time so I have to start at zero and zero means basically this horrible start point of epic pain from the get go.

It basically goes like this. Exercise is very, very painful. It always is painful. It never stops being painful. I do not understand these endorphins people talk about but I would sure like some of that business. In the beginning it is extremely excruciating for just a wee amount of time. Then you can add a little more. Like a minute. Then a minute more. Until you get up to 10 minutes consistently of this really intense pain, but no longer this extreme muscle exhaustion that makes you incapable of doing more than your, say, 2 minutes of excruciating pain. Then, you get to Past this 10 minute mark to this less painful zone I like to call muscle numbness, where the pain gets less intense for some strange reason. This once you have worked up to this point, likely another month or so of effort, lasts for another ten minutes. Then you hit another level of excruciating pain that is extremely sharp and jabbing and also like before... gets worse and worse and worse. And then you know, you must stop. That is alarm pain. So 20 minutes of very painful exercise. Takes you a good 6 months to Work Up to 20 minutes. And that was my max. I never did get beyond it. We will see if I can.

So in a nutshell that is that. Not fun. Not boring. Not a chore. Very painful. I exercise downstairs and after I have to use my arms to help crawl up the stairs. That sort of fun. After two bloody minutes. Actually after whatever minutes... the pain and muscle exhaustion just makes it very difficult to handle stairs.

Any it counts. Because it is my start point. Every two days and two minutes will gradually become more and more.

Why the insanity? No freaking idea. Apparently it does something.

Chronic Illness Bloggers Holiday Giveaway

Chronic Illness Bloggers Holiday Giveaway will run from November 23 to December 3, 2016. There are great prizes on line to win, some of which I have reviewed already. FibroCane or Organic Aromas both or which were my favorites and I use regularly still.

To ENTER HERE
 
There are 11 Prize Packs to win and value around $400 to $600. 2 of the Prize Packs are available only to US-based winners. As winners are chosen at random, if a non-US- based winner is chosen for one of the US-only prize packs the winner will have the option to either have the prizes shipped to a US address of their choosing or to forfeit the prize.
 
“This giveaway is sponsored by Chronic Illness Bloggers. Prizes have been donated by the following: Alisha Nurse - https://theinvisiblef.com/; Aromafloria -
http://www.aromafloria.com ; BackPainBlogUK - https://backpainbloguk.wordpress.com/  ; Bridgwater Crafts -http://www.bridgwatercrafts.com/ ; BeingFibroMom – http://www.beingfibromom.com ;Broken Teepee - http://brokenteepee.com/ ; Chronically Content - http://www.chronicallycontent.com ; Chronic Mom Life - http://www.chronicmomlife.com ; ColitisNinja – http://www.colitisninja.com ; The Fay Farm - http://www.thefayfarm.com ; Fed Up with Fatigue – http://www.fedupwithfatigue.com ; FibroCane – http://www.fibrocane.com ; Fresh Assist Spray – http://www.freshassistspray.com ; Gupta Programme - http://www.guptaprogramme.com/ ; HFactorWater -http://hfactorwater.com/ ; Kirsten Schulz - http://www.kirstenschultz.org/ ; Living Well Today - http://www.livingwelltoday.com ;Living Grace Blog - http://livinggraceblog.com/ ; Lupus Chick - http://LupusChick.com ; Megan Schartner – http://www.liveken.comMelissa Swanson – http://www.fibrowarriorslivinglife.com ; Mini2z - http://www.mini2z.com ; Organic Aromas –http://www.OrganicAromas.com ; Oska Wellness - http://www.oskawellness.com ; The Pain Free Life - http://thepainfreelife.com ;Patient Playbook – http://patientsplaybook.com ; Perfectly Ambitious Blog - http://www.perfectlyambitious.com/ ; Posture Pump –http://www.posturepump.com ; ProHealth – http://www.prohealth.com ; Rebuilding Wellness - http://rebuildingwellness.com ;Strength Flexibility Health EDS - http://www.strengthflexibilityhealtheds.com ; Sylk USA – http://www.sylkUSA.com ; Theraspecs -http://www.theraspecs.com ; Vital Plan - https://vitalplan.com “

To ENTER HERE
 

To ENTER HERE

 I personally like the Prize pack 8 because it has my two favorites in it. Those I mentioned above that I did reviews on and still use. Not to mention some books, which is my thing. So this is my favorite. You can see more when you register your entry. Check it out:

Prize Pack 8
  •  Gupta Home-Study DVD Programme donated by Gupta Programme
  •  FibroCane Serenitea; Daily donated by FibroCane.com
  •  6 Pack of H-Factor Water donated by H-Factor Water
  •  Self-Love 101 e-book (digital) donated by notstandingstillsdisease.com
  •  Flare Survival Kit donated by Mini2z.com
  •  Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang book (digital) donated by Megan Schartner
  •  Ravyn's Doll book signed donated by Melissa Swanson
  •  Raindrop essential oil diffuser from OrganicAromas.com
  •  Smoothie Jumpstart Course from Sue Ingbretson
  •  Suffered Long Enough by Dr. Bill Rawls donated by VitalPlan.com
  •  Living the Best Life with Fibromyalgia by Alisha Nurse

Sponsors

  • Rebuilding Wellness - http://rebuildingwellness.com
  • Strength Flexibility Health EDS - http://www.strengthflexibilityhealtheds.com
  •  Sylk USA – http://www.sylkUSA.com
  • Theraspecs - http://www.theraspecs.com
  • Vital Plan - https://vitalplan.com 
  • Alisha Nurse - https://theinvisiblef.com/
  • Aromafloria - http://www.aromafloria.com
  •  BackPainBlogUK - https://backpainbloguk.com  
  • Bridgwater Crafts - http://www.bridgwatercrafts.com/
  •  BeingFibroMom – http://www.beingfibromom.com
  •  Broken Teepee - http://brokenteepee.com/
  •  Chronically Content - http://www.chronicallycontent.com
  •  Chronic Mom Life - http://www.chronicmomlife.com
  • ColitisNinja – http://www.colitisninja.com
  •  The Fay Farm - http://www.thefayfarm.com
  •  Fed Up with Fatigue – http://www.fedupwithfatigue.com
  • FibroCane – http://www.fibrocane.com
  •  Fresh Assist Spray – http://www.freshassistspray.com
  • Gupta Programme - http://www.guptaprogramme.com/
  • HFactorWater - http://hfactorwater.com/
  • Kirsten Schulz - http://www.kirstenschultz.org/
  •  Living Well Today - http://www.livingwelltoday.com
  • Living Grace Blog - http://livinggraceblog.com/
  •  Lupus Chick - http://LupusChick.com
  • Megan Schartner – http://www.liveken.com
  • Melissa Swanson – http://www.fibrowarriorslivinglife.com
  •  Mini2z - http://www.mini2z.com
  • Organic Aromas – http://www.OrganicAromas.com
  • Oska Wellness - http://www.oskawellness.com
  •  The Pain Free Life - http://thepainfreelife.com
  •  Patient Playbook – http://patientsplaybook.com
  • Perfectly Ambitious Blog - http://www.perfectlyambitious.com/
  • Posture Pump – http://www.posturepump.com
  •  ProHealth – http://www.prohealth.com
  • Rebuilding Wellness - http://rebuildingwellness.com 
To ENTER HERE
 

Day 28 HAWMC Victories and Challenges

5 Challenges & 5 Small Victories. Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going
 
Thought I would add some extra laughs
 

Naming difficult things, yeah, that is easy peasy. There are a lot of difficult things that come with chronic pain conditions for me. Things that I really struggle with.

  1. Work: I have not been able to consistently manage work for over a decade. It has been working, then going on a short term leave, then working, then leave. Then a long term leave. Finally the pain clinic said, hey, you simply are not capable of working full time, which frankly, I knew, my family knew and seemed pretty obvious but had to be bluntly pointed out it seems. But when I tried That, I could also not function that way either. Even though simpler job with less stress. So now trying for yet another leave of absence. It is a tiresome struggle I must say. And one that is necessary because one needs money to survive. It is stressful. It never seems to have a lasting solution. And I am so tired of it all.
  2. Suicidal ideation: I put this under depression but really it is due to pain levels. And suicidal ideation I am told is pretty common with chronic pain and only becomes a major concern when it becomes suicidal intent. Which it has for me in the past. So my risk factor for suicide is pretty high since I had two prior attempts.
  3. The pain: Yeah the pain itself is a difficult struggle I attempt to deal with in a multitude of ways.
  4. The fatigue: You know it is hard to manage anything when you have zip energy to do literally anything. To think or move. Like your body is made of led. And you must have gotten no sleep at all ever in your Life, because you feel tremendously exhausted. Frankly, the lack of actual sleep probably does play a role in this.
  5. The cognitive dysfunction: Thinking through the pain haze is problematic when you add in migraine cognitive issues and FM fibro fog. Clarity of thought not my thing.

The small victories. The gleams of sunshine.
  1. Depression treatment: Literally keeps me going. My medication for depression literally makes me less suicidal when I am in a lot of pain. I am still depressed, of course, but it is not the same, at all. It is saving my life I think. Whereas before I was on antidepressants for migraine treatment... and they made me suicidal. I have that side effect on them all. I kept saying, they mess with my mood. But finally the pain clinic reviewed my medications and said, yeah, you can never be on those and put me on a different sort of depression medication. And damn, it works so fine.
  2. Meditation: It doesn't seem to work for pain for me. But it does something for me. It seems to quiet my brain, relaxes me and soothes me. As a constant worrier and over-thinker I sort of value this as a de-stresor for me.
  3. Hobbies: Hobbies are a pain distraction and self-care... they literally keep me going. I Need to focus on things that stop me from dwelling on the pain and fiction writing is that for me. It is part of my self-care on bad days. It is part of my rough mental health days to feel better. It is something I need for my well-being and I think we all really need things that boost our wellbeing.
  4. Support network: My support network are my peeps IRL like my mom and my spouse or those online like in groups I go to. Either way, they mean a great deal to me. They get me through life. If I have a problem they are there. My spouse is there to help me do things I cannot and encourage me to do things that are good for me. My mom always has my back and gives me rides to places I need to go, recommends vitamins and other things for me. We have to have our go to people that are there for us no matter what.
  5. Socialization: I am a hermit and an introvert. But there was a time when the pain was as bad as it is now that I was truly a hermit. I didn't leave the house aside from work. I didn't do anything else, because of the pain. And that isolation is not good mentally and worse, it made my spouse do the Same. So I promised myself due to my shrink at the times advice to start going out bit by bit to get some social time as a couple. And we have. Sometimes he goes alone, on bad pain days. Sometimes we leave early, if my pain spikes too much and I just cannot handle it. But we do socialize at least once a month. Sometimes twice. Which works for us.

Day 27 HAWMC: Selfie

Sunday Selfie: Post your favorite picture of yourself. Don’t be shy, it’s time to shine!
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I took this while on a vacation at a cabin. Just chillin.
Then I made a double exposure of it from another picture taken there!
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Review: Targeted Medical Pharma

"I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. "
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Targeted Medical Pharma :  I review three products for this company. It was quite exciting because it targeted three important areas of my chronic condition: Pain, fatigue/cognitive function and the infamous sleep issues. All at the same time for the course of three months for the trial I took them for. I recommend reading the product information on the website yourself or even the links I provided you for some in depth into on what they are using. It is fascinating. I like their methodology and I like the products they have designed. So I am going to give a speel here on the products themselves. All of which you can find in detail on this page on their site because it is important to understand what they are doing here. Then I will follow with a personal review.

The Methodology

I should point out these are Medical Foods and they define these as "Congress defined "Medical Food" in the Orphan Drug Act and Amendments of 1988 as "a food which is formulated to be consumed or administered internally [or orally] under the supervision of a physician and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation." Medical Foods are complex formulated products, requiring sophisticated and exacting technology, and that are used only for a patient receiving active and ongoing medical supervision wherein the patient requires medical care on a recurring basis for, among other things, instructions on the use of the Medical Food." Essentially they were looking at factors such as amino acids that are lacking or deficient in a specific condition and adding that back in with natural products. This an intriguing concept to me. It reminds me of the fact that most people are missing certain digestive enzymes and by taking them overall it helps with digestion. Important to note, they specifically say to take with medical advice. Which, of course, is recommended with all supplements.

 The supplements

Theramine –is a medical food for chronic pain disorders and inflammatory conditions containing a blend of amino acids and polyphenol ingredients is pecific proportions. As unhealthy individuals we do not exactly take in food and nutrients the same way. "Thus, the distinctive nutritional needs associated with a disease reflects the total amount needed by a healthy person to support life or maintain homeostasis, adjusted for the distinctive changes in the nutritional need of the patient as a result of the effects of the disease process on absorption, metabolism and excretion” (Thus their methodology) It turns out with pain increased nutritional requirements are required for tryptophan, GABA, choline, arginine, flavonoids, and certain antioxidants. This is interesting because a psychologist once recommended tryptophan for me actually and gave me a prescription for it. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin so it makes sense this one would benefit in pain. Some experience nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, but I had no side effects with it at all.

Additional review of tryptophan on WebMD: Mostly with this one, you want to remember it does turn into serotonin. So medications you are on that have that already are a consideration for your doctor.
Additional review of choline on WebMD
Additional info for GABA on WebMD
 
Sentra AM – Medical Food for chronic fatigue and cognitive function and they need increased nutritional requirements for choline, flavonoids, and certain antioxidants. They tend to have issues with reduced plasma levels of choline and have actually been shown to respond to oral administration of choline formulations. Choline reduced diets can result in the decrease of circulating choline. Patients with these conditions sometimes have activation of the degradation pathways that increase the turnover rate of choline thus leading to a reduced amount of production of acetylcholine for a choline blood level. Genetic dispostistion can lead to the accelerated degradation and thus to increased requirements in patients.

"Choline is required to fully potentiate acetylcholine synthesis by brain neurons. A deficiency of choline leads to reduced acetylcholine production by the neurons. Patientswith fatigue and cognitive disorders frequently consume diets that are choline deficient. Flavonoids potentiate the production of acetylcholine by the neurons thereby reducing fatigue and cognitive impairment. Diets deficient in flavonoid rich foods result in inadequate flavonoid concentrations, impeding acetylcholine production in certain patients with fatigue and cognitive disorders. Acetylcholine in pre-synaptic and post-synaptic ganglia is necessary for neuronal function. Provision of choline, flavonoids, and antioxidants, in specific proportions can restore the production of beneficial acetylcholine, thereby reducing fatigue and improving cognitive function" Choline is needed by diet. Some adverse reactions were nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea but I had no issues with this one that is taken in the morning.


 Sentra PM – Is a Medical Food for chronic sleep disorders. The missing nutricinal requirements in insomniacs are tryptophan, choline, flavonoids and some antioxidants. As I said above I had been told to take tryptophan in the past and it was in fact for my horrible insomnia issues. I was quite pleased to see it on the list, as it is often recommended instead of sleep medications. People with sleep disorders have been shown to respond to oral tryptophan or a 5-hydroxytryptophan formulation. Reduced levels of tryptophan can lead to reduced serotonin, which actually I remember being informed of. Once again side effects include nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea and once again, I had no issues with these.

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The review

Targeted Medical Pharma was the most comprehensive supplement program I have been on in some time. I rather liked the fact they gave me the three months trial since it does in fact take time to give supplements time to be effective. They are easy to take, morning, day and night. I just added them to my other morning, day and night pill sorter. I am equally impressed with their methodology and ingredients. 

The Sentra PM was the most effective for me and I found my quality of sleep was quite improved on it. I have some profound insomnia issues since childhood so it is very, very difficult to treat I am told due to it being so ingrained not to mention pain now complicating it. I already take two medications to get a sort of sleep and sometimes none at all.With this added into it I was actually able to get the full 8-9 hours of sleep. With very little wakings. I am quite impressed by that result. Only pain interfered with that result, because on high pain days I can just not sleep at all. So it was a great non-medication approach to enabling me to get an Actual Normal Sleep for once in my life.

I am unfortunately experiencing a massive flare of symptoms right now pain and fatigue wise so it was an inopportune time to see any improvement in those areas. My pain and fatigue have actually been substantially on the high side, so I wouldn't have noticed any improvement on that side of the scale. I was hoping to because it has been so, so much worse and maybe I in fact did but relatively speaking it is quite hard to say. I believe the approach is quite valid though such that it is well worth it to take. My experience with the Sentra PM for example and my excessively aggressive insomnia suggests I was in fact getting something from it. I do wish my pain hadn't been so aggressive lately as I would have liked to feel the response from that.

However, that being said... I have improved cognitively on Sentra AM. It wasn't able to do anything for this massive increase in fatigue I feel lately, but maybe if I am on it longer but I don't know the cause of that yet. But cognitively I did notice some clarity of thought. I have cognitive issues with chronic migraines, brain fog, aphasia, and just difficulties with concentration and confusion as well as fibrofog issues from FM. Overall I noticed, more clarity of though, more able to focus, less confusion. Ideas came to me easier. Still had trouble with my long term memory but short term was much better. Working memory seemed the same. It was a boost and I felt it. Trust me when I say the cognitive effects of my diseases I Notice. And Abhor. So when I get this clarity all of a sudden and ideas again. A plans and goals in mind. Yeah, I felt the change all right.


*For Canadians you might be aware until recently tryptophan was prescription only, as it was when I took it myself and it says here and here it was removed 2012, however, many doctors still do it by prescription basis. Interesting history of tryptophan here.
 
 

Day 25 HAWMC: Health and pain care

As health activists, we are on a mission to innovate healthcare. If you could change one thing in the healthcare landscape right now, what would it be?

Doctor

I am Canadian not American. If I were American there are more than a few things I would change because I know people who suffer under a system designed in such a way. Nevertheless, I am not.

I live in Canada. We have great healthcare. I go break a bone, go get it fixed at no cost to me. Bravo. But say they prescribe a medication for it. I have to have a plan through work. If I don't I pay out of pocket. If I have a crappy insurance plan then I pay most of it. I personally have 80% coverage, my spouse has 80%, so I pay nothing, usually.

What I would change is that medications are also free to patients and are a part of Healthcare. I say this because by the government taking it on they actually would save money in the long run and people would be able to get any medication they needed. Not just the ones they can afford on their plan. Or if they have no plan, not just the medications they could afford. My medications are not cheap. I have looked at the prices. The amount of money I would need to pay for them? Literally impossible. Someone with my health without a plan coverage? Would never manage it.

That is an idle fantasy of mine.

Depressed sad bandaged injured man going to have an enema proced

Also a big one I'd like to see:

What I would also do for pain patients in particular is open more pain clinics. Much more multidisciplinary pain clinics. Each patient would have access to free physio treatment, yoga classes, mindful medication classes, session with a psychologist to assess mental illness, a psychiatrist visit to assess medication if they are mentally ill. Exercise classes to have instructors there to help them slowly, and correctly, learn what exercises they need to do and learn how to do them. Pain doctors to assess treatments and medications as well as overall response to all treatments. Comprehensive program would last a year for chronic pain patients. After that they could continue to see a psychologist, if needed. And most would continue to see pain doctors. There would be the expectation they would continue with the rest of the program at home. Yoga program would continue to run as would mindful medication for anyone who wanted to sign up for additional work.

Ideally there would be wellness centers as well covered federally so that people could go to a center and get physio, acupuncture, and other highly recommended alternative treatments free of cost. No more out of pocket business. So you would get a referral to the pain clinic first. And in your follow up care to the Wellness center for other things to help you manage your pain along with the routines you had established.

That is what I would change. Medications and alternative treatments, free and comprehensive pain clinics with longer programs and More of them for patients.

My final change... doctors get taught a lot more about pain in school.

Day 24 HAWMC: Picture it

Choose 3 images that represent your health focus. Share the images in a post and explain why you chose each of them.
 
just-breathe-through-thepain

I choose this one because I am focusing on this in pain management to decrease the suffering that comes with chronic pain. Not the pain, which I cannot control. But the suffering. Things like meditation which is important to get into the habit of and I find quite useful. Other things are a gratitude journal, a mood journal and distraction techniques. Then of course, relaxation breathing for when the pain is brutal.

say
This one words and all I choose because of the nature of the Facade we use to mask our pain. I use humor as a firm base to mask my pain and when I don't use that I am very stoic and quiet. Either way, I have to remind myself that not communicating about my pain isn't always a good thing. I am the sort of person who prefers to suffer in silence. I don't like the pain game. Where I say I'm having a bad day and someone inevitable has to point out how there elbow hurts. Or that they feel worse. Or that it could be worse for me. So I generally just prefer to not mention it at all. And I downplay it to doctors because of gender bias. And I firmly believe that my loved ones would prefer not to know how I actually suffer. So silence it is. But this is confusing. To everyone but me. It is important to communicate pain so people understand where you are at and what you can and cannot do that day. So they understand, in my case, my silent moments when I don't laugh and am in high pain are Not anger, which is also how I am angry. Confusing, right? I don't like to speak in anger, so I tend to not speak at all under I chill out. I have to learn a facade is Useful but it isn't a permanent state of affairs.
 
pain-changes-us-all-into-effing-warriors2
Well, I want to be a fighter. And reminding myself I have survived this long helps with that. I have fought hard and long and sometimes I feel defeated by this war. And I get there is no victory in this war. But there can be battles I can win. So I want to be the warrior. I want to be a fighter who continues to thrive. Because I tell you sometimes I do not thrive and I do not want to fight at all.

I would love to just redirect you to the new site...

But sadly the redirect function doesn't function. I will continue to persist hitting it and see if it will eventually do something. Or s...