Monday, May 27, 2013

Taking My Daily Medication and Supplements Challenge--Important Update

By now, you know I am not here how to  tell you how to get rid of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue 
Syndrome, or whatever Chronic Illnesses you deal with.  Since I've been ill, there are more people talking about how to manage our illnesses, giving out comfort and encouragement, and wanting to have a dialogue than I have ever seen .  The internet has been a blessing in that regard.  However, that doesn't change that it is up to each of us to manage her health, even when she gets exhausted.  If you are at the point you can no longer care for your own needs, you may get assistance;  but for most of us, we still have to keep track of our daily routine.

And so, the balancing act goes on -- pacing ourselves, keeping track of our medications and supplements, as  well as facing each day with fatigue and pain that never entirely goes away.  Some days are better and other days, we wonder how we can keep going another day.  Most of the topics I write about  come out of my own experience and a few I have caught as I read, so I pass them on.  Today's topic is something I need to work on.

M E D I C I N E  &  S U P P L E M E N T S

A warning about medication and supplements is necessary, because small children are apt to be curious.  Please keep medication and supplements out of the reach of your children and grandchildren.  Some people even keep them in locked boxes.  Since our grandchildren do not live near enough to be here often, I put them in a place that is out of their reach when they visit.  When we visit them, I am also careful to keep medications out of their reach.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Medicine, Supplements, and Remembering to Take Them

Leftover pills that have not been taken.  These pill
containers were filled about two weeks ago.  How
does a person make it any easier than this?
Obviously, there has to be a concentration on
priorities.  The red pills are a cranberry pill
for helping to prevent UTI's.  They were not
needed anymore.  And this does not even give
you an accurate view of the pills that were in
there, which were left from previous weeks.
Confession Time has arrived for me, and I am wondering if anyone else deals with this.  Taking my medicine and supplements has been getting sporadic in my life.  I am pretty good about the medicine, but I get too busy or too tired and I don't keep up very well with my supplements.

Somehow, I have a feeling there are people out there saying, "Oh, it is easy.  Write it down.  Put them in your divided pill containers for the right time of day, etcetera, etcetera."  And I have done both:  I usually end up with lots of leftover vitamins and other supplements that are good for me.

Is anybody out there saying, "No wonder you haven't felt too great lately."?  Well,  I am sure it isn't helping that I have gotten slack on taking everything.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How To Keep Going When Your World Turns Upside Down

Have you ever noticed that children know exactly
what to do when they are worn out?  Our grandson
came into go potty;  and then, he sacked out in the
bed, wet bathing suit and all.  I love this picture.

Do you ever have a week or two that seems to turn your safe little world around?  Your routine is upside down and your body is gasping for energy.  Your brain is working, but it has slowed down to a 20 minute lag.  Everything seems to be painfully slow, and you know you need to take life at an easier pace.

Even now after years of illness, I get these guilty,  nagging, little feelings when I don't do everything I consider to be my work, my calling, my responsibility.  Does this happen to you, and what do you do about it?  Are you backed into an "I have to do it corner", whether it is detrimental to your health or not?  I have been there, and I ended up getting more ill, because I have never liked giving in to my illness.  At least, that is how I saw it.  I had to be stronger than that.  If my body was not going to cooperate, then I would trust in will over matter.  

I am not saying that I stopped praying.  I still trusted in God, but I also thought I had to push through to be well and to please Him.  However, at that point, I chalked most of my problems up to my liver, depression, fibromyalgia, and gaining weight.  I did not realize that my thyroid was compromised and I had multiple things going on in my body that added up to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Actually, now when I look back at the onset of my illness, probably most of my problems were Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, including the depression.  It took total collapse to finally find out what was wrong with me.

Some people think they are weak because they cannot get well or work through these diseases/syndromes.  I would like to suggest most people are stronger than they realize.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Gift

I forgot to tell you why my husband was breaking up soil with the tiller.  

A friend came over and plowed.  The soil was still too chunky, so my husband broke it up with a tiller.

On Saturday, my daughter, her husband, and part of their family planted us a vegetable garden.

What a blessing for a gardener that cannot plant and care for a garden, except for very minor details!

Why I Forgot Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

I was just reading Fibrofaery's Blog!, and I realized I failed to do something special for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day on Sunday, May 12, 2013.  However, it won't be the first time in my life I have done something late;  and besides, I did have one of my daughters, her husband, and seven grandchildren here on Saturday and Sunday for Mother's Day.  There is excuse number 1a.

Here are the rest:

  1. I overdid getting ready for their visit.
  2. I vacuumed 5 rooms for the first time in over two years or more ?!  (My excuse is my husband was breaking up soil with a tiller.)
  3. I cuddled grandchildren, read, and sang to them.
  4. I made an easy breakfast on Sunday morning.
  5. I collapsed Sunday morning, and went to church even though I probably shouldn't have.
  6. I played Crazy Eights on Sunday afternoon in my bed with one grandchild, then two.
  7. Actually, I think I went and laid down several times, because I felt horrible, but I did enjoy the visit.
  8. I walked around toys on the floor and tried not to break my neck.
  9. I think I am forgetting some things, but I'm sure you understand.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pacing Yourself, Resting, and Getting the Job Done in Baby Steps

Image Courtesy of [Danilo Rizzuti]/
Today, I get to exercise practicing the art of slowing down.  While I write this, I think, "As if I wasn't slow enough already."  It is true that I don't see myself as speedy anymore, nor do I  accomplish everything I would always like to accomplish, but that doesn't bother me like it used to.  I have learned to accept it as part of my life, and I have learned I can still make improvements in areas that for a while, seemed impossible to change.

One of the things you need to learn when dealing with chronic illness is pacing yourself.  Sometimes, it includes uncomfortable attempts to change one's upside down schedule to a more normal one.  When I woke up today, after only sleeping about 5 hours of only partially restorative sleep, I decided to make another try at staying awake and going to bed at an earlier hour than usual.  Have you ever tried to do something like this?   It may or may not work.  Unfortunately, my night owl tendencies tend to override a normal daily schedule with the fact, I often lie in bed wide awake, even when all I want to do is sleep.  I have found different ways to compensate, and I have gotten to the point in my life, it is not worth it to agonize over a weird schedule.  It is what it is.  

However, once in a while, I have to try to normalize my schedule to fit in with some of the scheduled activities I want or need to do.  If it works, great!  If it doesn't, I am not  going to be miserable and guilty over something I can't help.

The second thing I want to mention about pacing is knowing when to say no to work.  Sometimes, we feel like we have to force ourselves to do things, even though our bodies are drained and the very thought of work is almost painful.  The bone deep fatigue is something we can feel gnawing at our muscles and nerves.  Our cells are depleted of the energy they need to function normally.  Sometimes, it hits us unaware.   And there are times, it is not surprising at all.  

However, even though the fatigue is there, we know there are things that need to be done.  Only  you can decide what is important.  If you still have children that live at home, then sometimes you have to push through to get something done.  However, you need to remember that when you give in one area, you will have to let something else go.  Otherwise, you could end up where I was a few years ago, which was on empty--able to do nothing.  And I have never been able to fully recover.

If you have been following this blog, you know I have been trying to make our house less cluttered, as well as making it a welcoming, comfortable home.  I have had to contend with dark walls and changes that were not in my former home, which was newer;  and, it is even more challenging with my disabilities.  However, I have been taking baby steps, and I am seeing changes that help improve our surroundings and my motivation. 

It seems to me that getting started is often the hardest thing to do, whether you are ill or not.  But if you take the first step you can usually take another one, and then another one.  And the wonderful thing is that the first step can be as small as putting one thing away or cleaning for one minute.  The pre-step can be visualizing what you are going to do, and how you are going to do it.  

1.  Yep, looking really bad.
That is how I got this sideboard cleaned  off -- one baby step at a time.  In fact, I have more to do to complete the job:  I want to decorate.  But I have done the hardest part for me, which was to clean it off and not just shove things into a bag or box, and stick it in a closet.  It took me about two months to get this done, because I have been working on the whole dining/work room

3.  Here, I have a nice clean palate to work with.
I see  endless possibilities.  Woohoo!

2.  It's better, but very dusty and there
are those icky little pieces of paper  to
go through -- not my favorite thing.

Finally, I want to end with how I am pacing myself.  Today, this sideboard and wall does not have to have objects placed on it.  In fact, every time I walk by it, I can enjoy the uncluttered surface and anticipate with enjoyment the thing I like better  than cleaning, which is decorating.  Moreover, I think I may still have a couple of boxes that were never unpacked from moving.  Next week or sometime this weekend, I might have Christmas in May and discover what is in one of those boxes.  Delicious anticipation...  Will it be something that looks good on that wall or on the sideboard?  What fun it will be finding out!

One final word:  I believe you can learn to do this.  I have not gotten to this point overnight.  I have been working on rebuilding good habits and learning new ways to get the job done over a period of years.  It took not being able to do anything for me to learn how to do things in  baby steps, and to give myself a psychological break.  Be kind to yourself:  do what you can and realize tomorrow is another day.  We are building habits.  That does not happen overnight.  

God bless you and have a good weekend.   

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Persistence in Cleaning --an example of success!

One little candle in the darkness
 A light in the darkness, could that mean a glimmer of hope?  Or is it merely, the cute rabbit some friends gave me with a battery candle that flickers?  Yea!  It is the rabbit, which is shaped so much like a turtle, I had to see it to remember what it was.  But the point is I can see it now on my table that has taken me a month to get shipshape amidst illness and other jobs that need to be done in a house.

Rabbit and Birthday Box in the Light
So now I present the unveiling of the Clean Table, my work table and my dining room table when we have more than four people eating.  It is old; and it is special to me, because it belonged to my grandmother.  I am thinking of painting it, but I haven't yet.  I think the legs would be hard to paint, and my body would not like the contortions it would take to do it.

Here it is, my table with my box that can hide notebooks,
craft paper or whatever needs moving when it becomes
a dining table.  The big box is part of my birthday.
I love the brightness of it in this paneled room


 Would you believe it took me almost two months to get to this point?    And I'm not done, because I have a sideboard to finish.  And I did not pile everything on the sideboard.  I have been systematically working on this from five to fifteen minutes a day, minus a few days for sick leave.  I have been organizing craft supplies, throwing away trash, filing direction booklets and other filables, and giving away clutter that is usable.  I have less than I started with, which makes me very happy.  Also, I have found items that made cleaning feel like Christmas.  Today, I am closer to my goal than yesterday.  

You can do this too.  It has just been proven what can be done using a few minutes out of your day.  It may take longer than you want, but it feels so good to know you are not hiding papers and other paraphernalia in your closet, just to make it look like you have a clutter-free house or room.

Those bags and boxes that are hidden in the closet only seem to attract more clutter, which adds up to a pile that seems insurmountable, so one ignores it, because that is easier than dealing with it.  It becomes a habit to clean up quickly, until one cannot do it anymore and there is not anyplace left to hide the clutter.

Moving did it for me, even though I  was slowly working it before.  Even though I was decluttering before, it wasn't enough after moving into a small house.  I know the decisions about what to keep and not to keep are going to get harder, but I am determined to do this one step at a time.

But God Hath Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear

Fear,  over cleaning off a table -- what is the deal here?

I don't think the  fear is about cleaning off a table: it is about what I have to do  after  I  clean off the table.  I have to figure out how to keep it that way.

Do you ever have fears that unexpectedly pop up?  All of a sudden, this irrational fear  envelops your being.  

Ask these questions:

What is the fear really about?
Has it been a hard day?
Are you on the edge of exhaustion?

It seems answering these questions might explain some aspects of fear.

What is the fear really about?  I'm afraid I will let the table go again.  If I use it, it will become a mess.  And I am weary of  trying to figure out what to shed from my life and where to put the keepers.  I want everything to be simple and clear, but life doesn't always cooperate.

Has it been a hard day?  Oh yes, from the very beginning.  I woke up dizzy and I am walking around in a fog that I don't want to give in to.  And I weighed -- I have gained all my weight back.

Are you on the edge of exhaustion?  Yes.  I am.  I live most of my life on the edge of exhaustion, trying to overcome it.

However, as I walked out of the room with the big table, I prayed God would take me step by step down His path.  I don't care how long it takes, as long as He is my guide.  So now when I should be fixing supper, I close my eyes and rest, thankful for frozen dinners.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.   2 Timothy 1: 7 (KJV)