Monday, December 27, 2010

So, Fa, la, la, la, la... Truck Days, and New Year's Resolutions.

How You Doin'?

So, I've been on hormones for awhile now, and I have noticed several changes in my person. Unfortunately, I still hurt. Today, as a matter of fact, is a "Truck Day". If you are not aware of what a "Truck Day" is, it's a day were you feel like you've been run over by a truck. That's how I feel today. So, I can't say that the hormones have cured that issue.... yet. I think that the overwhelming days may not be an every day occurrence right now, but I'm not convinced that is the work of the hormones.  However, there are female issues that have improved, and my mood may be improving... Really, I guess you should ask the people around me if that last one is the case.


Christmas has come and gone, New Years is peeking around the corner, and all I can say is, "Whew!"   This year has probably been one of my worst years EVER. If I wasn't battling my body, I was battling people around me.  Many of these "people" issues I have attributed to my body issues. Hopefully, this year will be a bit more forgiving and a lot more relaxed. I am already putting into place several things that should see to that issue of "relaxed". God is opening and closing doors, and I'm hopeful that I am seeing clearly the beginning of the path He has set befor me this year. More on those things later.

I'm not one that makes "resolutions". I feel like they are just asking to be forgotten, done away with, or given up on no later than the fifth of February. I will occasionally make a goal for the year that is vague at best, but those are usually something like, "Make the best of every situation this year," or "I'd like to bake more this year."  Nothing too fancy and never anything that I will fall short on before Valentine's Day.  This year, however, I am only picking a word. This word will be a thing we focus on in the months to come. Something to inspire us, get us going, or to simply remind us that there is something more that God wants for us this year.

Pick a word, any word! Faith, Love, Light, Hope, Healing, Travel, Traversing, Tranquility, Health, Cheer leader, Festivity... The list could go on forever, but I'll stop at that. Pick one word or a group of no more than one word per person in your home, and make this your goal for the year. Let's say I pick "Light". I will determine to make, receive, see, or show that idea in as many aspects of my life as I possibly can this year. I can be a light to someone, I can remember that there is always more light than I can sometimes see in a situation, I will decide to be content with the idea that God's light is all I will ever need, I will be forever hopeful that the people who hurt my heart most last year will see that they can change and become a light bearing vessel to someone else.

You see how one word can have such limitless possibilities this year? I'm so excited to be sharing this with you, and I hope that you will decide to break through the traditions of years gone by and embrace a new kind of resolution, if you want to call it that. We will resolve to be different, we will resolve to change and be changed, we will resolve to make a difference in someone else's life. No, it's not something that you have to do every day, but it is something that you can embrace over the course of a year.
  • Put up post its with your word for the year in places that you will see every day. The refrigerator, bathroom mirror, your bible, or your car.
  • Meditate on what your word means, and how it can be integrated into your life.
  • Make a list of simple ways your can help some one else embrace this treasure. Just being a reflection of the meaning of your word is often times more than enough.
  • Leave your post its in places that others can see them. This may very well open up a line of conversation that will enable you to educate and maybe even encourage them to pick a word of their own this year.
  • Look up verses that talk about your word, or have reference to your word. Memorize them and call on those words when you need them most.
I hope that you will take on this challenge with me. I know that this time of year people are deciding to diet or things of that nature. Most of these things focus on your outward appearance. Pick something to concentrate on this year that focuses on your inward heart.

Many blessings, and I hope to post again soon.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Holidays! AND fewer mood swings!

What my doctor decided to do

So, I've been on Progesterone for ten days now.  What is progesterone?  Progesterone is naturally secreted by the ovary in the second two weeks of the menstrual cycle in reproductive age ovulating women. Progesterone or progesterone-like substances called progesterone's or progestins are also ingested by women in birth control pills, menopausal hormone replacement therapy, or just sometimes to induce a menstrual period or regulate abnormal bleeding problems if menses are skipping or bleeding is irregular or prolonged. Progesterone has been used also as therapy for PMS syndrome and for women with infertility or frequent pregnancy loss.

Apparently, my levels were all askew. The Doc was suspicious that this problem was the culprit for many of my "issues", and that's what the tests confirmed. I'm using the cream formula that must be compounded at a special pharmacy (not many chains do this, but many locally owned pharmacies do).

Women who have low levels of progesterone often have infertility problems and when they do conceive, they are at a higher risk for miscarriage. You may have low progesterone levels if you have any of these symptoms:
• Irregular Periods: Your menstrual periods have gaps or inconsistent spaces of time between cycles.
• Spotting: You have occurrences of light pink to red mucus when you wipe between cycles.
• Clots: You experience clots during your menstruation.
• Weight Gain: You gain weight even when you haven’t made changes to diet and/or exercise routine.
• Memory Issues: You may forget things that seemed clear a few minutes ago, your thinking might be fuzzy.
• Vaginal Dryness: Your vagina is dryer than it should be; there isn’t mucus when there should be.
• Anxiety/Depression: You may have feelings of fear or sadness without basis. Worry about things that shouldn’t affect you strongly.
• Breast Sensitivity: Your breasts are sensitive and may ache if touched.
• Night Sweats: You wake up sweaty and uncomfortable in the night
If more than one or two if these symptoms seems familiar and occur at the same time you get a test for hormonal imbalances. This will help to determine what can be changed to resolve the problem.

Reasons for Low Levels of Progesterone Hormone in Women
• High Estrogen Levels: Higher estrogen levels can overpower the body’s hormones, throwing production of other hormones including progesterone out of gear.
• Chronic Stress: Stress affects your body in many ways. It can make you sick and it can upset the normal function of your body when it overtakes your life. Chronic stress is stress is one of the causative factors of low levels of progesterone hormone in women.
• Lack of Proper Exercise: Exercise is essential to good overall health. Without it your body’s natural functions don’t get the proper signals they require to determine how best to maintain a healthy level of activity.
• Resistance to Insulin: A condition that doesn’t allow the body to use the insulin it makes. Associated with obesity, it can also play a part in low Progesterone levels.
• Lack of Proper Nutrition: When the body is starved of proper nutrition it is unable maintain itself. Certain foods may also help unbalance your hormones.
• Medication Interaction: Certain medications don’t interact well with each other and can have side effects that affect your body’s function.
• PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome): A disorder caused by a lack of ovulation in a woman, this disorder causes issues with the interaction of hormones, ovaries and brain. It also usually means infertility without treatment by as doctor.

Read more:
So, this means what?
Well, this means that I'm gonna try this and see how it goes. I'm still taking everything else I've been taking, but I've added this to the mix. So far, I haven't noticed much improvement, but I'm hopeful that my body will begin to show improvement. Even if I only see improvement in one or two of the issues I have been suffering with, then I think I will be happy. There are many who think that natural alternatives to drugs are the only way to go. Below are a list of natural alternatives (some I will be adding to my lifestyle) that are said to naturally increase the levels of progesterone in a body.
Schedule a Doctor’s Visit: Go see your doctor and see if your progesterone level is low enough to require treatment. If it is, see how low it is so that you can best determine progesterone level you are losing and the urgency with which you need to seek treatment.
Find Natural Supplements: Look for supplements that match what you require to properly regulate progesterone production. They are available in oral, intra-vaginal, injectible and intra-dermal forms. Oral supplements are generally only available through a prescription from your doctor. Please be sure to research each supplement before starting to take them to determine side effect and allergy issues.
Stay Tested: Be sure to keep seeing your doctor and get regular testing on your hormonal levels. The balance needs to be maintained. High levels of progesterone can be just as risky as low ones.
Watch Your Diet: Only eat foods that don’t boost hormone production lest you or else you risk unbalancing your hormones otherwise.
Avoid These: Avoid blue cohosh, vitex, saw palmetto berry, lavender, tea tree oil, licorice, hops, rhodiola rose root, black cohosh, dong quai, red clover blossom and motherwort leaf as they all increase levels of estrogen further lowering progesterone.
Reduce Stress: Stress reduces progesterone production drastically, the less you have of it the better.
Exercise: Improving your overall health does wonders for the regulation of all your body’s hormones and secretions at the same time as helping you feel better about yourself.
Diet: Eating these foods can help improve your progesterone levels: Wild Yams, walnuts, whole grains, soy milk, red meat, chicken, shellfish, turkey, turmeric, thyme and oregano. Foods that are rich in vitamin B-6, zinc, and promote progesterone production like these can help.
Get Your Vitamins: Zinc, magnesium and vitamins such as Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin C, are generally found to be lower in women who have low progesterone. Getting more of these vitamins in your diet and vitamin intake can help boost your levels.
Stop Smoking: No seriously! Smoking has been shown to bring on premature menopause and increase infertility in younger women. The more you smoke and longer the higher risk there is to bring on these side effects.
Try Natural Supplements: Chasteberry is one of several supplements you can get that may boost progesterone levels.
Environmental Toxins: Pesticides and contaminants found in food can alter the way your body produces hormones. Petrochemicals can cause bind to the receptors in your body that detect estrogen and thereby alter the way your body produces estrogen and its balance with other hormones in the body.
Of course, I must insist that you get tested and not self medicate even if you feel sure that this is the reason you are having problems.
This is day ten, and I still hurt, my head feels a little less foggy, I may have more energy than I usually do, I can't tell yet if my mood is better or if I am less likely to break into tears at the drop of a hat, but I'll let you know about that.
At the beginning of the year, I intend on drastically changing my diet. I know it's going to be hard, but I feel like I need to do this. I will eliminate all the unnatural sugars and processed foods from my diet. I've done this once before for another reason all together, and I had wonderful effects. I lost around 30 pounds, and felt much better, but that was long before the Fibromyalgia fully took hold. I am slowly taking measures to eliminate stress. I know that's easier said than done, but I feel like my quality of life is in jeopardy.
At this point in my struggle with Fibro, I think I'd do just about anything to make it better. I know that there are plenty of you in that same boat, and I pray that each of us are able to find relief until it's cured. I don't think that God put this on us, and I don't think that this has necessarily happened for a reason. I do believe that we can work to make change, we can always use our circumstance to help others and that is what I'm trying to do. Even if I only manage to help one person, then I have done something positive. As I search for information and try to find remedies, I will continue to post and tell anyone who is still reading or who stumbles across my quaint little blog what I have found. I would love you to post anything you have attempted, even if it didn't help you! We know that some things help some of us and some things help others, and I don't believe I have met one person who is like another even in their list of symptoms, nor in their list of things that help their battle with fibro.
I pray for you, pray for me. We will continue to stand together until we come out of this cured, and I want each person who reads this to take away something positive and in turn, give something positive to someone else. I wish you all a happy holiday, and a reminder to take each day a minute at a time. Remember to count each blessing and don't look over the itty bitty ones. 
This is my latest "itty bitty" blessing.  "Adara"

Monday, November 15, 2010

New things I'm trying


I have been absent for many days for a variety of reasons. It's been a time of "one thing after another" and other such nonsense.

New things...
Did you know that Fibromyalgia affects around 14 million women? I didn't realize the number was so high, nor did I realize that it has been a recognized condition since the 1800's.  It, just like Lupus and several other conditions were thought to be caused by inflammation (it was called fibrocistis then) or mental issues.  That breaks my heart to think about how many people have suffered with this condition, and they were just shuffled aside or told they were crazy. I can tell you first hand that I have wondered if I was crazy. If this pain was really all in my head. You don't have to be told by too many doctors that ,"your tests all came back ok. I don't think there is really anything wrong with you." or "You are just depressed." to begin to question your sanity. Luckily, I have wonderful people around me that believe in me and believe that this thing called Fibro is real.

I have been hurting a lot these past few months, with little to no relief. No, I require no sympathy! However, I do want you update you as I try some new treatments and see if they work for me. Here are the two things I am going to attempt:

Guaifenesin: An expectorant found in some cough syrups and Mucinex.
It is said that this somehow flushes your body of  excess phosphates. Excess phosphates are thought to hinder cellular energy production and other cellular malfunctions.

I've been taking this for a few days now, and although I have seen no benefit yet, I will continue to take it for at least two more weeks.  I'll keep you updated.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy: I went in for the consult, sent in my spit test and am going back tomorrow to see what the Doc says. I am hopeful that it will help with some of my mood swings and feeling so down in the dumps. I know that hurting on a continual basis and being so tired is a major cause, but... MAYBE there is hope in a cream that will replenish something my body is deficient in. 

I know, I know... There are mixed reviews about this, but at this point, I am willing to try just about anything. Those who don't feel this way have no idea what it's like. I want to assure you that the aches and pains are not mild and it's almost impossible to live and function in a normal way if you have no energy and you have widespread pain. I can honestly attest to saying, "I understand why and how people become addicted to pain killers." I assure you I have done no such thing, but I can see why people turn to that! Dealing with this is indescribable at times. There are days that I can deal with it and move through the day with relative ease. Other days are not as easy, and I find myself constantly fighting back tears. The pain dances over my body and my spirit, and I feel like it has stolen some of the best parts of me. Yet, I keep pressing forward. I am determined to find a remedy of healing! Not just for myself, but for all those who I know are in the same set of shoes I am in. Keep your chins up and your heart and eyes focused on God. I know it's hard, but I keep reminding myself of that scripture...

"...and then He told me, My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." I Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What if God doesn't heal me? And other paranoid thoughts.

Today, Tomorrow, or Tuesday?

There are days that I am convinced that God is going to heal me. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day. I know that God, the creator of the entire Universe can and does heal people every day! I know this! I believe this! I do not doubt the capable hands of God, the one who knit me together in my mother's womb could certainly cure what ails me. If Jesus could heal the rotting skin of a leper, make the blind man's eyes see clearly, heal an unclean woman with the issue of blood just because she touched the hem of His garment, and raise a three day old dead man from the grave, he could heal whatever it is that makes my skin ache, my brain fog up, my immune system not very strong, and my joints hurt for no reason. He could make a lame man do the Cha-Cha if it would glorify Him.  Ahh... That's something to think about... If it would glorify Him.

What if leaving me in my present state for the moment would bring Him more glory? Now, I'm not talking about anyone else in this world. This is my personal revelation for my personal self. I'm not sure that sentence was proper English, but oh-the-well. What if? WHAT IF... I need to learn something, slow down and smell the roses, teach someone else something I have learned, just listen to Him more carefully, or all of the above? He could choose to heal me tomorrow, two years from now or right this second, but what if that would just make my life easier and bring Him no glory at all?  What if I would never become the woman He has called me to be if I didn't carry this sickness for a prescribed time? Should I beg for healing if in this process He is intent upon teaching me something that being healed could NEVER allow me to be taught?

Things I think about

I like to read in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Paul says, "I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he did in fact was push me to my knees... At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then He told me, "My grace is sufficient; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness."

I'm not comparing myself to Paul, so please don't anyone get their knickers in a twist. I do however find myself thinking that I'm in pretty good company. If Paul of all people wasn't healed, then God must have had a pretty dang good reason for allowing it to continue. So, it stands to reason that God must have a pretty good reason why He hasn't yet healed me... Maybe?

Oh, woe is me...

After I get over my regular pity parties... I try to find any light I can possibly find. Sometimes I start thanking God for everything from indoor plumbing to a roof that doesn't leak! (It works!) It occurred to me that during this time in my life, while I learn to deal with this "syndrome", God wants to teach me some very valuable tid-bits. He may even intend for me to relay a few of those fancy findings to you. I could be wrong, and it wouldn't be the first time that's happened. You can ask my husband, children, mother, friends, pastor, etc., and they will all let you know how very often I am wrong.  However, I don't think I'm wrong about this. I'm sure, if I didn't have this I'd have something else to deal with or struggle through. Don't you all have something you struggle with? Well, there are a few other things I deal with as well, but that's another blog. I'm pretty convinced that this thing is not nearly as bad as some of the other things the world could have thrown my way. I don't think that God "put this on me", but I do think that whatever the trial, He will allow you to learn from it. Perhaps you could say that He's allowing me to keep it, because... well, I don't know why. You will just have to ask God that question.

NO, I don't think that's against God's purpose and plan. I have to trust Him and stop questioning my faith and my relationship with Him. I do have enough faith. I have enough faith to walk through this with Him at my side and not question the fact that I am not healed. I know He's there, right there with me every step of the way, and He will not leave me. The fact that I have this malady does not define my level of faith! It doesn't dictate to anyone how close I am to God. I know it's easy to do (I've done it too) when we get an idea in our head and heart as to what a "christian" (or whatever)  is supposed to look like.

Yes, I may whine a bit here and there! I feel like I've been hit by a truck on a regular basis! If you love me, you will look over those moments and move on, just like I look over those "moments" in the lives of those I love... Yes, you know who I'm talking about, and you know what "moments" I speak of. I try not to have them on a regular basis. Seriously... Remember when we talked about love? This would be a perfect time to practice it... on me...

I leave you with this

I hope you are healed today. I really do. I know how stupid it is to feel this way and not have a good reason. I grasp at straws on a regular basis for a reason as to why. I still pray for healing on the days that I don't feel like getting out of bed, and I just want to cry. I'm not the "man" Paul was, and cannot keep my request of healing to a three time limit. I still hope for things unseen, and I ask for them on a regular basis. God is just gracious enough to give me only what is good for me, and what will glorify Him.

2 Corinthians 12:10
Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size- abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Only God could love a girl like me

Today is... a day

Ok, so today was really no different than any other day. In all honesty, I'm not gonna talk about a specific day. Consider this a rant, a praise report that I am still alive, a call for prayer (we always need it), or a call for a trip to the psych ward... Yes, that could be every other day in my life and this one too. I try to look at these days as a rather comedic bunch of crazy nonsense!  If you can't laugh about it, well... you are gonna cry, and I assure you I have done a fair share of both on a regular basis. In fact, that may have happened today!

So, my typical day is as follows: I wake up, I force myself to crawl out of bed, I pray for grace, I go into the kitchen and forget why I'm there, I go back to my room and lie down for a moment in the hopes that I will remember why I went into the kitchen in the first place, I pray for strength, I go to work, I forget what I'm doing, I try not to kill anyone, I pray for peace, I come home, I pray for more grace and some more strength... and a bit of sanity... and what the heck, throw in some peace as well, I come home... wait, I already said that, I attempt to make my house livable, I may or may not cook dinner, I lay on my heating pad, I pray some more, and I go to bed...ahh... THEN, after tossing and turning, I go to sleep, wake up, roll around in my bed, go back to sleep, wake up with my teeth clenched and my leg in a cramp, pray for whatever because I don't know what I need anyway, go back to sleep... Wait, it's time to get up!

This may look somewhat familiar to you, or maybe you are perfect and your have never had such troubles.  I have to ask, if it's the latter, why are you here reading this blog? This blog written specifically for insane people or for those who are on the verge of losing their minds. THIS BLOG is for imperfect people who are hurting for no reason, screaming on the inside, but have to keep their face looking happy and normal so as to keep the mental health organization off there back. Yes, this is no place for normal people because you will not have a clue as to what I am talking about.

What are you talking about?

For a long time, my husband didn't understand depression and the black abyss that's associated with that word. I had to educate him. I'm still in the process, and I assure you he is now earning his college degree which just took him 12 years of marriage. He doesn't get the why's and the how's, but he knows that it's real, and he tries to understand as best he can.

BUT, you don't have to understand why. You don't understand what makes someone tick or why they can't seem to explain to you what their pain feels like. The bible tells us to "bear one another's burdens." That would be found somewhere in Galatians, but I'm too lazy to break out my bible and check the address. I'm more concerned about what that phrase means. Jesus said that the most important command was to love God, and right after that? Why... He said it was to love other's like you love yourself, of course.

All we need is love. Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh...

Now, I'm gonna ramble on a bit, and for all of my five or six devotees I'm sure you will be riveted by my witty banter with myself... So, here goes. Just a little food for thought because I know your brain is hungry. What if you can't bear to love yourself at the moment, much less someone else? What if the people around you are so full of themselves that they can't see the forest for the trees and even though they know they are supposed to believe and practice these lines in the bible they see the black cloud that has settled over your person, but they ignore it... They think, "They'll get over it." or "They're in a mood again." or better yet, "They need to get a grip." What part of this is, "Loving other's like you love yourself"?  What part of this sounds like we are bearing one another's burdens?

I'm not saying that I'm perfect. My friends have been in a funk before and I did nothing. I have watched them in the beginning stages of self destruct mode, and I have turned and walked the other way. Why do we do that?  I was scared. I didn't know what to do. Me! The one who knows first hand how it feels to have that "thing" settle over her heart and zap the strength and will right out of my soul. Yes, I was too scared to do anything.

I know it's hard for people who have never felt this kind of pain to understand it. I know it's hard for people who have never felt their brain covered with a cloud of fog, been kept awake by leg cramps, cried or wanted to cry because their skin hurt for no reason, felt like taking some one's head off because the headache just wouldn't stop, or been bombarded by a variety of symptoms that made no sense at all to anyone including your doctor.  How can a person, "bear one another's burdens" if they don't understand the burden?

I have learned a few things in my mere 33 years here on this planet. (Who knows how long I was on all those other planets) One thing is, you don't have to know how to bear those burdens. You don't have to know HOW to love someone. You just have to do it. I get so tired of people trying to fix things, or help me with their words of encouragement. Sometimes we just need to be loved. Sometimes we just need to have a friend who wants to talk to you about nothing in particular... Because they love you.  I've spent a lot of time worrying over those verses. Wondering how I was supposed to bear some one's problem that I didn't even understand. Trying to think of the perfect words that would change their heart and mind forever, and set them on the path to healing and being closer to God. Yes, I just knew that was my job! That was what I am, as a Christian and leader, supposed to do. But I don't think that's what He wanted at all.

I just want you!

You know how I know someone loves me? Because they think I'm important enough to talk to for longer than five minutes, and about nothing in particular. Just spend time with me. (Wait... isn't that what God wants too? Ok, that's another blog) Time was and has never been my primary "love language". Have you read that book? It's very good! Well, my love language is acts of service. No, it's never been quality time, gifts, physical touch... Nope, Just a good ole' dish washing would show me that you cared! I've come to realize that any of those things I just mentioned can turn into an act of service. My love tank gets all kinds of filled from any of these things if they are done when I just need to know that you care about me. So, I'm inclined to believe that most people feel that way too.

Can we ever get this love thing down?

See, now I've written these words and someone out of the ordinary is going to try to sit and talk to me for an uncomfortable amount of time, because they read this. I will then attempt to hold in my laughter, as I will be the only on in on that joke. I know it's hard to love me sometimes. I know that because I live with me almost every day, and have for the last 33 or so years. I'm sure, if most of you are honest, you can say the same thing about yourself. Let's stop worrying about us, and just take some time to love someone else. Spend some time with them. Reach out and don't worry about the impact you want to make. Just know that your act of love will make an impact. You don't have to come up with some kind of theological words of wisdom... That's so NOT the point.  It all starts with realizing that we may not understand the hurts, faults or agony within our brother or sister, but that doesn't mean we can't sit and share a piece of the clock together. Maybe someday, we can get this whole love thing down, but in the mean time... we should at least practice.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You don't look sick!

Even "Godly" words, from Godly people hurt us sometimes...
"You don't look sick." How many of us have had those words uttered to them? I too, have had some variation of that said to me, but I think they mean well (I know, I'm too optimistic at times). Even Godly words from Godly people hurt us sometimes. There may be a scripture they have taken to heart and they truly believe is it pertinent to your situation, but when it's delivered, all it manages to do is evoke hurt, or a time for us (who do this sort of thing) to look down on our internal strength and be displeased with ourselves for not being able to muster up the "faith" it takes to be healed. They mean for the words to be helpful.  I know some of you are laughing right now at that thought, but I do really think that people, in their "deep down", don't mean to be mean when they say things of that nature. We have to be patient with the people around us who don't understand if we ever expect them to be patient with us.

Sure, there are people who really think I'm faking. There are people who think I must just be "overly sensitive".  Some have accused me (behind my back of course) of being less sick than I claim to be, or just depressed. People in their attempt to help have stated that, "You need to get serious with God." or  "Don't you believe that God will heal you?" Something inside my heart has to believe that they speak out of complete ignorance and therefore I have to have Godly (not Heatherly) patience with them. I, after all, am human and cannot muster up enough of my own patience to deal with them.

Just like anything we go through, other people cannot know the pain, torrment or hurt it has caused you. You are the only one who knows the condition you are truly in.
"Well, you didn't act sick yesterday." Is another common phrase that comes up.  Maybe I didn't look sick or act like I felt bad. Maybe, I was using every bit of strength I had in me to put up a front for you... OR, maybe I WAS feeling pretty good yesterday. If you are reading this and you do not have this thing called Fibro, you must understand that many of us have good days and bad days. We don't choose when we will have either, and a good day can turn into a bad day and vice versa. There are some days that a cloud settles over my body and mind and it takes everything in me to just function as a "normal" human being.  There are a variety of illnesses that have that type of affect.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is one that sometimes overlaps Fibro, and the people who have that will experience good days and bad days. 

Most of us do not know what triggers a "bad day", therefore, we cannot keep from having one. There are some of us who know that they cannot have certain things or be around certain things or there will be hell to pay.  There are some days that the mere smell of smoke on someone who had a cigarette two and a half hours ago will trigger a migraine in me. Other days, I can survive going into the local cigarette shop to buy a pizza... Yes, welcome to small town life!

Ok, I am beginning to feel like this post is a bit "preachy or whiny", and I don't want that. I know that the people who say these things don't mean to hurt us with their words. I know that there are people out there that really do "like" being sick and the sympathy that's attached to that. I know that there is a great deal of misunderstanding and uneducated-ness that follows a lot of diseases.  So, what do I want to get across in this post? First, I guess I want people who are dealing with this stuff to understand they are not alone, and there are people who do care and understand what they are going through. Second, I want people who have loved ones going through this to grasp hold of some general knowledge and understanding.

The bible tells us in Ephesians 4:1 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

We have to learn how to interact with people and what turns them away from one another. If I know that I am going to be bombarded with healing scripture and a "word from the Lord" every time I see one certain person, I am tempted to run the other way when I see them coming. If I know that I am going to be bombarded with love, acceptance and a gentle or uplifting word when I see a certain someone, I am tempted to seek them out on a regular basis. The bible doesn't tell us to interact with people in a harsh way, or tell them how to fix their issues.  The bible does tell us to be patient, humble and kind with each other. To forgive wrongs, to turn the other cheek, to bear one another's burdens, to have empathy for those who are struggling.

There are times when it's necessary, and God ordained, for us to deliver criticism or correction to one of our bothers or sisters, but when they are weak or hurting or dealing with an ongoing issue... It's time to love and support.

The world will know that we belong to Christ if we love one another. At least that's what Jesus said, so I am inclined to believe it was important to apply it to my life.  I'm not perfect and I don't claim to be! I don't always love people like I should. We must start making that a priority in our lives. No, we can't tap dance around on eggshells so we don't hurt some one's feelings, but we should be mindful, considerate, and not belittle others for any reason.

What do you say when people don't understand?

I used to argue with people when they would tell me something they were sure would "fix" me. They would give me a verse that was supposed to instill in me a determination to make myself well, or let God make me well. I would go home, look up verses that countered their opinion or that showed that not everyone gets healed, and be ready the next time they came at me. It wasn't that I didn't want to be healed, because I do. It wasn't that I didn't believe that He can heal me, because He can! It was that I didn't think He did heal everyone. I don't think it's in His will for some of us to be without our burden until we find ourselves in Heaven.  This is a fallen world we live in, and things are sometimes pretty crappy. After all, Paul pleaded three times for a burden to be lifted from him, and God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Wow! If Paul, the man who started the Christian church as we know it, wasn't healed... Well, all I have to say about that is, I am in good company. I will try to be patient, I will try to "boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2Corinthians 12:8-10)

Fortunately, my wonderful husband believes me and although he cannot possibly imagine what I personally feel like, he does try to be empathetic.  I, in turn try to realize what it must be like to be married to someone who never know what she is going to feel like, and hurts like she's getting the flu. That's what we need to do for each other! You can assume all day long what's going on in someone else's body, mind, heart, spirit, but you cannot know until you walk around in their skin.

So, I hope I haven't made anyone angry or upset. I don't want anyone to think that I don't appreciate words given that are meant to uplift or exhort. I am so thankful that I have a church family that loves and supports me. They have proven that fact so many times in my life and I am proud to be called part of their family.

If you don't have a church home or a group of people that you can depend on, I encourage you to seek them out. Church, so often, has a bad name because of hurts that us mere humans have caused others. It took several tries for me to find the place that God wanted me, and I can't say that I haven't been hurt in the church where I am, but I remind myself that we are all in the process of growing up. I can't expect them to be patient with me if I'm not patient with them!

I hope you all have a blessed day, that you are pain free and energy rich! I also hope that you are able to take a look at the world God has painted for us and be amazed by the wonder that we take for granted every day.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

What is Fibromyalgia?

If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed or thinks they may have Fibro, there are a lot of unanswered questions that one site alone just doesn't seem to be able to comprehensibly answer. I know that this blog cannot do what these carefully crafted websites cannot do, but I want to try to combine all the information that I have read on so many different websites, books, and from individuals who have been dealing with this syndrome.

If you were to begin to look into this thing called Fibromyalgia, you would see a general list of symptoms that might look something like this one below. No one person is the same as the next, and some symptoms may come and go. This magician (now you see it now you don't) like list of symptoms often leads many who have Fibro to think they are crazy, or imagining the symptom they had yesterday or even ten minutes ago.  It's very easy for me to convince myself of things like that, but I had it explained to me this way... Giving birth was very painful, but the next day, you might remember it hurt a lot, but you cannot begin to remember exactly how painful it was. No matter how traumatizing the pain was in the moment, most women would do it again. At least with pregnancy, you have something good to show for all the pain you just experienced, but there is some truth to the idea.

The typical list of symptoms
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue (moderate of severe)
  • Aching of the skin or muscles
  • Pain that jumps from one spot to another without reason (migrating pain)
  • Brain fog
  • Jaw and face pain
  • IBS (constipation and or diarrhea)
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms or tightness, weakness in the limbs, and leg cramps
  • Tension or migraine headaches 
For years I've dealt with issues, illness and just a variety of things that I never even thought about blaming on Fibro. From migraine headaches (from age 7) to chronic female issues (most of my life after puberty), I had decided that I was either dying or falling apart slowly. My mom told me that she remembers me asking her if I could soak my feet because they hurt, quite often. I spent a great deal of time being sick as a young person, and having doctors making me feel that it was all in my head, or that the issue I was currently suffering from (singles in one case) had to be the affect of bad choices I had made, or that I was just battling a low immune system. They spent a great deal of time trying to test me for AIDS, STD's (even after I told them I had never had sex and had not used drugs)and a variety of other diseases.  I complained that I was tired all the time, so they tested me multiple times for Diabetes.  I was having anxiety attacks and they were sure it must be Asthma.  The pattern continues into my adult life when I was in so much pain and having so many female issues, such as chronic reoccurring yeast and female infections, pain during intercourse, low sex drive (why would I want to when it hurt?) depression, anxiety, fatigue, migraine headaches, joint pain, and the list goes on.  The doctors would look at me confused and bewildered when my test results would come back negative. One was sure my husband had cheated on me and that I must have an STD.  She even tried to convince me that you could contract some STD's from toilet seats. On more than one occasion I was told, "You are just depressed."

I would go into the office with a list and end up in tears as I told the doctor what I wanted him to figure out. Why am I having this issue? Why am I hurting like this? Why am I tired all the time? What is causing this? Am I dying? Am I crazy? I wanted answers, not a medication that would make me forget the symptoms were there. I tried to keep most of the symptoms secret because I knew that people would think I was making it up, or that I "Liked being sick" or "Just wanted sympathy." On the faith side of things, it was hard for me to believe that God really gave a flying flip about me when time after time after time, I was ignored as I begged for healing or at the very least, "Just take a few of these issues away from me!"

I had read about Fibro, but in all honesty, I thought it must be what they labeled people who were crazy or they were tired of dealing with. BUT I didn't know the history of Fibro or the history of many other diseases that were once labeled syndromes... More on that later.

Then, a wise doctor that I trusted, asked me after I sat if in his office crying for fifteen minutes while I explained my list of maladies, if I had ever heard of Fibromyalgia, and I said, "The hypochondriac's disease, right?"  After he laughed, he told me that he thought it was a legitimate condition and that I should read up about it, so that's what I did.  After I checked off just about every symptom off the normal lists one finds on the Internet, I continued to look, and I found these other things you might be dealing with and a host of other intriguing info that I will give you as this blog continues. Why? BECAUSE it's too much into to digest in one sitting... At least it is for me.

These are the things a lot of sites/books leave off the list.
  • Sensitivity to one or more of the following: odors, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, vibrations, and cold
  • Numbness or tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder)
  • Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
  • Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long (even sitting comfortably)
  • Sensitivity to fabrics
  • Women are prone to yeast/female infections and a slew of other female issues.
  • A feeling of swelling (without actual swelling) in the hands and feet
  • Acid reflux
  • Hair loss
  • Lipomas
  • Impaired language
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Profuse sweating
  • Nose bleeds and hemorrhoids
  • Time, math and spatial problems (some have a variety of labeled learning disabilities)
  • Allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Low functioning immune system
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sternum pain (costochondritis)

There are many conditions that seem to overlap with Fibro. 
  • IBS
  • TMD (Temporo-mandibular disorder)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • GWS (Gulf War Syndrome)

"It’s an illness that has symptoms that get better/worse
on a day-by-day basis. One day the irritable bowel seems
like the worst symptom, the next day it’s the panic and anxiety,
the next day it’s the pain."

That's not my quote, and I don't know who it belongs to, but it seemed to me to be quite correct.  I hope you can forgive me for not being able to tell you the name of the person who said it. 

There are many great message boards where you can find others who are dealing with the same issues you are. The one I have come to enjoy is

I encourage you to find someone who understands, or will try to understand, and talk to them. Whether it's a message board, a therapist, support group, or an empathetic friend, you need to find someone you can trust to vent these issues and hurts. Having people like that has been one of my saving graces. It kills you slowly to know that the person you are pouring your heart out to doesn't believe a word you are saying. I suppose that goes for just about everyone in every aspect of life. We all need someone we can talk to openly, without feeling condemned or judged.  

I am blessed to have many friends and loved ones that will allow me to talk to them about my Fibro. My husband has been a huge blessing. There are so many women I've talked to whose husband tells them they are just being lazy or they are hypochondriacs.  

So, I will say a special word of thanks to those who have been supportive even when I couldn't put into rational words what I was feeling. You are a treasure and a gift from God.

On my next post, " don't look sick." I will talk more about my faith and dealing with the mindsets of people who love me, my own way of thinking, and how God thinks about me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Be Patient With Me...

October 14th, 2010

My Faith Vs. My Fibromyalgia

Be Patient With Me
I have had an idea for some time. This idea seems silly, but I wish I had the fruits of it already at my fingertips. This idea may be a God thing, and maybe it isn't, but I'll figure that out as I go. I ask that you are patient because I have no idea how to do this, but I feel like it needs to be done. I may not do it all the way you would, or the way it should be done, but I hope that in this process I am able to help someone.

First, I want to give this disclaimer: I am not a writer, I am not a perfectionist, I am not a literary snob, I am just a woman battling something she doesn't understand and trying desperately to make those she loves understand it at the same time. I know so many are in that same boat. Things are happening to your body that you don't understand, or that you haven't attributed to this unique "thing" we all have.  The more I dig, the more I see that in most cases, it is part of this puzzle called Fibromyalgia we are all figuring out.

So, When you see words out of place or type-o's, please understand that I do not really care. Well, I do, but I don't.  I will try my best to catch and correct, but I'm gonna miss some. :-) And if you have Fibromyalgia and have experienced that wonderful thing known as "The Fog", you will realize that even the most intelligent people have those days where it places a cloud over your brain that stifles and confuses even the most basic tasks.

Another thing, I am not here to have a heated, argumentative,philosophical debate. Please do not make this a Christian vs. Non Christian thing... This is not the place for it. The purpose of this is to tell you how I am dealing with this syndrome and my faith. Please keep your comments focused on what this is and not what you are trying to make it. I don't mind questions, and I certainly don't mind if you disagree with me! I love discussing different viewpoints, but I will not argue or tolerate hate talk.

My Idea
My idea for this is simple, I want to let you know what I have found out about this syndrome. I want you to see that you are not alone. I called this My Faith Vs. My Fibromyalgia because it has been a battle between the two.  I was at a point where I was ashamed to have people pray for me because I wasn't healed the last twenty-seven times they prayed for me. Constantly I had to fight these notions that, "My faith wasn't strong enough." or "I just needed to get real with God."  I'm still battling these things, and I know that there are some of you, whether you are Christian or not that feel like you are to weak or just plain stupid because you can't get over this "imaginary" disease. 

I want to instill two truths that I have to force down my throat on a regular basis.

1. This is real. Fibromyalgia is not fake. It's not a lazy person's disease. You are not a hypochondriac or just too sensitive to pain. It is real. Whether you have it or not is not for me to decide, but if you have been diagnosed with it, it's time to move ahead and tackle this head on as a reality in your life. People with cancer or diabetes, or strep throat don't talk down about themselves because they can't cure it or believe it away. It's time we stop allowing others to tell us how we feel and start focusing on what will make us feel better.

2. God did not put this on you. He is not punishing you for some past transgression. I have plenty, and I will be open with some of mine later, but I am still assured that He has forgiven every sin that I have given to Him. The bible tells us that He threw them into the sea of forgetfulness, and in the world we live in... He doesn't have to add to any of the troubles it already tosses on us. Psalm 103:12 "And as far as the sunrise is from the sunset, he has separated us from our sins." The Message.

3. We are all different and we are affected in different ways. Some may find a cure, some may not. One thing may work for you and not for me. You may find that rubbing raw onions all over your body every night was a miraculous cure, but it may not work for Jane over there, and that is OK. This thing called Fibro is a monster and like any monster, it has different ways of getting to each of us.

 I want you to share as well, and together we can make finding the answers and filling in the blanks a little easier. In my search, I find a list of symptoms here, and another there with things that were not on the first. One website has this, and another that. My hope is to encourage you through seeing my trials and triumphs and help you with compiling all the information I find.

Be blessed and I hope I am able to enlighten and assist you in some way.