Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spammer Break Needed

Image courtesy of [Vlado]/
I know how aggravating it is to go through the word verification to prove you are not a robot.  But for a short while I have to turn it on.  For the last few days I have been getting hundreds of irritating robotic comments, and I need a break.  If you want to say something please bear with me.  Maybe, they will get the idea I am not going to put up with these weird comments from obvious spammers.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Looping -- My Groundhog Day?

Do you remember the movie Groundhog Day?  Have you ever felt as if you were caught in an inescapable loop?  That's the sense I had last night.  I am caught in a loop of what I can only figure is seasonable depression.  Perhaps, I have a touch of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder.  All I know, is even though I thought I would escaped the January blahs this year, I did not.  I don't want to go anywhere, my sleep patterns are disrupted, and I am unmotivated to do much of anything.  The reason it feels like Groundhog Day is that I have to figure out how to get out of the loop again.

I know if I wait it out, the bad feelings will go away;  however, it gets old always having it come back.  I have to exert twice as much will to get out of this -- at least that is how it seems.  With prayer and faith, God will give me strength to get into a better routine.  And I will begin feeling better.  FlyLady says if your routines are established you can keep on going. This week I have been happy for each small thing I do a day.    

One of my favorite facebook fibromyalgia-groups stays very positive.  Am I being negative to admit my ups and downs?  I certainly do not want to bring you down or make you feel less positive.  Unfortunately, depression often comes in the Fibromyalgia package.  If you are encouraged that you are not alone, I have done my job.  I will start taking my babysteps again.  I am sure I will be able to get back to feeling better with each small step of moving forward in my life. I have hope.  Will you join me?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

If I Could Delete It...

If I could delete self-doubt entirely, would that be wonderful?  The reality, is that self-doubt often creeps in when I least expect it.  That is why I deleted my last blog post on my dressing principles;  even though, I knew I wrote those principles seriously, wanting to encourage those of us who have body-types that have blossomed outwards due to struggling with our illnesses.  However, that old enemy "fear" creeped in, and I felt uncomfortable leaving that post for others to read and judge.  

Have you ever worried something you meant for good, would give the wrong impression?  Or have you ever thought people you know might actually think you were self-centered or even worse, a hypochondriac?  The reason I ask this is most of us, who have Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, deal with the fact that we don't look sick.  That is where the term invisible illness comes in.  And as I am sure most of you know, there are other illnesses that also fit this category.  I want to suggest that we should not worry so much about what other people think, because we cannot control their thoughts.  Nor, do we really know what they are thinking unless they tell us.

For instance, I deleted my blog post, because I saw that only nine people had viewed it.  So I decided that people did not like it.  I began to feel embarrassed that I had tried to encourage people by two methods:  writing and photographs.  I don't actually know what anybody thought.  Not one person left a comment, which is not uncommon in the world of Blogdom.  Many people read blog posts, which they may like or not, and do not leave comments.  However, maybe I was just embarrassed to have put all those photographs there -- it sounds kind of silly, when I think of my intentions for having put them there in the first place.  I put them there, because I want to encourage other people with chronic illnesses to know several things:

  1. Our lives may feel like they're on hold when we are sick, but they are not.  We can live with our illnesses, even though our lives have changed.  If you haven't gotten to this point in your life, where you can really believe this  -- give it time.  
  2. Sometimes, when I am feeling down or depressed, I have a hard time believing number one in this list, but I know it is true.  This is my life and I am finding my way with God's help.
  3. If I could delete my illness totally, I might not be the person I am today.  I might not understand what people with chronic illnesses go through:  the frustrations, the pain, the loneliness, the depressions, or the joy and understanding that has entered my life through pain.
  4. You are special and there is no perfect way to get through this illness.
  5. Give yourself a break:  quit being self-critical, because you cannot do all the things you used to do.  
  6. Listen to your body, and don't be angry with yourself over your lack of energy.  In my experience with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it is not mind over matter that gets me where I want to go.  Sometimes, my body does not cooperate:  accepting this has helped me not spend my life in constant depression.  However, sometimes I still get mildly depressed;  but, it was worse when I did not understand why I get the ups and downs in energy level.
  7. When you do feel better, take baby steps back.  It is true that we lose muscle-tone when we are too sedentary.  I notice this every time I come back from a flare-up.  
I suppose it is important to let you know that I still get frustrated too.  I want to be better than I am.  There are so many things I want to do, or I think I should do.  However, I feel like I am just doing the best I can with what I have.  It is the small steps that have helped me the most in dealing with my daily life.  Spiritually, it is trusting God and reading the Bible that have helped me the most.  And I don't do that perfectly either.  However, I have a Savior, Jesus that helps me deal with the things in my life.  He knows I am not perfect, but he loves me anyway.  I cannot apologize for sharing the most important person in my life, even though my love for Him is not perfect.  However, His love for me is perfect:  He loved me and you so much,  He did something He didn't have to do -- He died on a cross. 3 days later, he arose from the dead.  Yes, I believe the Bible.    

Monday, January 21, 2013

Finding Shoes for Our Arthritic Knees

One of the things I like about blogging is that it can be fun work.  Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day in my part of the USA, and I had  on a new pair of shoes, which I want to show you.  The special thing about these shoes is the research I did before I bought them.  I have bought many pairs of comfortable shoes, hoping that I would finally have the pair that made my feet or knees feel better.  However, I never did any research to find out what an expert doctor might actually say was best:  I thought I knew.

Last fall, I bought a pair of shoes from a popular shopping channel.  The commentators oohed an ahed over the height of the heel, the arch, and the way the shoes fit.  I bought it, started wearing it, and I almost always had to take them off, because my knees start hurting or hurting worse than before.  The shoe was everything the announcers on that show said, but it isn't what I read about on Web MD.  What was comfortable in the past does not always work for me now.  If the shoe is too soft, too stable, or too high, my knees feel horrible.

The shoes I found on sale at a local store were made by one of my favorite shoe brands.  I tested them for CUTENESS, for heel height, for length, for width, for arch support, and for flexibility.  This shoe style got an "A+."  I guess there really is nothing like trying on a shoe before you buy it;   because I tried on a similar shoe in another brand, and it didn't make the cut.  It would have for someone else's foot, but not for mine.  The whole size was a tad too short and the half size larger was too big.  

This past Saturday I gave my new shoes the test.  I took a walk in them, as I shot pictures around my neighborhood.  I got to become a short, plus-size model as my husband and I played photo-shoot.  It was fun figuring out poses and checking out the photographs later.  Don't you just love digital cameras?  Oh right!  I was talking about shoes.  They worked better than any I have except my flip-flops.  And they looked really cute with my casual-comfy outfit:  last years leggings from Walmart and a three or four year old hooded shirt from dressbarn. Don't you love it when buying your special colors means you can put a new "old" outfit together?  

My affiliate link for this shoe is
in the right side bar
Guest photographer:  my husband.

Next post, I will show you the whole outfit.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Courage to Leave the Room

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are energy drainers.  People who have FM and CFS do not have bodies that produce energy as quickly those who have healthy bodies.  Therefore, even when you are feeling good, you have to remember to pace yourself.  Listen to your body when it starts telling you you have had enough of an activity.  If you have been sick for very long, you usually sense when it is time to stop whatever you are doing.

However, I know it is often hard to just stop.  If you are in the middle of an activity, you want to finish -- at least, I do.  Therefore, consider yourself in the midst of retraining, which will take as much persistence as the goal to complete a task.  A good example of this is my return to choir rehearsal, which is something I want to do, but I often am  without the energy to be a regular member of the choir.  I am blessed to have developed good musical skills over the years, so our minister of music is happy when I can be there.  However, when I am there I often give out before the end of choir rehearsal -- even if I was careful during the day to save energy for it.

So what do you and I do if we give out during our activities?  In my case, my outside activities are volunteer, and the other participants "know" I am ill.  Supposedly, that should make it easier for me to do what I need to do to be able to do, which is rest;  however, my pride gets in the way.  It is embarrassing to get up and walk out of the room before the last song is sung.

Last night, I arrived at choir rehearsal early, which eliminated the stress of feeling rushed.  I was able to leisurely get my music and my rehearsal format, then find a seat.  I enjoyed chatting with other choir members as they walked into the room.  --so far, I was alright--  I  listened to the devotional and sang through the first few songs.  Then, I felt it:  panic attack or chronic fatigue.  Which was it?  Usually, I know;  however, it was mild;  so, I stopped singing and tried to relax.  I felt like I needed to leave the room and go home.  But, I was getting closer to the end of the hour long rehearsal, so I stayed, which was a mistake.

My body was telling me, "Rest, Deborah."  And like so many other times in my life, I didn't have the courage to leave.  I was too worried about what other people would think.  Moreover, I like to finish what I started, but I cannot always do that in the allotted time.
Image Courtesy of [Sattva] /

For those who have read Got All My Marbles?, you are familiar with counting marbles for the activities, that you do during the day.  When I do remember to move my marbles from one bowl to another, it is an easy way to pace myself.  It is a visible reminder, I need to slow down or suffer the consequences, which could be anything from disturbed sleep to having a flare-up.  I thought it might be enlightening to count my marbles in what I thought was a not too heavy day.  

1.  Make brunch  2.  Check email  3.  Read friend's blog, comment  4.  Check social media  5.  Respond to comment on my blog  6.  Write blog post  7.  Send blog post to various social media  8. Shower, Dress  9. Put on makeup, Blow hair dry, style   10.  Scrape out peanut butter jar and eat, fix ice water and waffle, eat on way to rehearsal  11. Hunt for umbrella, secure house, walk to rehearsal in drizzle  12.  Choir Rehearsal  13.  Walk home
14.  Scrub and cook potato in microwave, cut leftover roast, get out vegetables, heat my  meat and vegetables, fix bake potato -- finally sit down and eat supper.  15.  After an hour or so break, wash dishes by hand, wipe off counter, and shine sink.     

Image Courtesy of [Maggie Smith] /
It's obvious I went over 12 marbles, and as you know from your own daily lives that does not count the incidentals during the day.  Some things, don't seem to take as much energy, but I think you would be surprised how much thinking and emotion figure into the equation.  That's probably no eye-opener for you, but I think many of our healthy friends and family don't understand how all these things add up to affect us even into the next day;  nor, do I  think our healthy doctors understand how we feel.    

So I didn't walk out of the choir room when my body was telling me go home.  After last night, I think that is going to change.  My choir director, who is also my husband says do what I need to do.  He knows my work at home is affected by everything from overdoing to weather.  

The point is you and I are the ones responsible for doing what we need to do, so that we do not throw ourselves into a bad day or a flare-up.  Even then, when we are pacing ourselves, there are often outside factors that affect our energy that we have no control over.  I encourage you to plan ways that you can rest or back off when you need to.  If you are able to go to the zoo, find a bench or a table in the shade to rest.  Don't be afraid to tell your family that you need to go back to the car to close your eyes.  Sit down on a bench in the grocery store or use an electric cart on those days you are extra fatigued.  Forget about embarrassment.  It is not other people's jobs to judge what we need to keep our bodies functioning.  However, it is our privilege and responsibility to exercise self control and make good decisions.  This will help to make you a better family member, neighbor and friend.  It will give you more energy to use in serving others.  To lead more satisfying lives, FM/CFS patients need to incorporate the techniques that help us pace ourselves in a realistic way.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Very Late Flu Shot

Right now, I am wondering if I should listen to the news on television less;  because I looked at that big flu map of the United States with major red zones, and I decided  a mostly red map meant I had better get that shot.  So when I did my errands yesterday, I dropped in at my pharmacy and got that needle with flu vaccine stuck in my arm.  The shot arm is only sore when touched, but the rest of me feels like one big ache.  

Courtesy of
[David Castillo Dominici] /
I probably would not have gotten that shot had I not watched the news.  However, my memory of having influenza in the mid-nineties made my decision easy, because I was very sick for about two weeks.  And it took a couple of months before the weakness really left me.  I may forget many things, but I doubt I will ever forget having influenza.  Early one morning, I noticed a strange achy pain in my big toe;  and when I woke up, I felt like I had been run over a few times.  My whole body hurt from head to toe:  I was nauseous, but I couldn't throw up.  I think I would have felt better if I had upchucked.  My fever skyrocketed and I am not prone to easily running a fever.  I had the respiratory symptoms, and I was very weak.  The flu is horrible, and it can be dangerous.  Even if one isn't going to die; at the time, you are sure it would feel better than being sick in that bed. 

Now, I am wondering how long is this flu shot going to make me feel like I have a mild case of the achy portion of the flu.  The only other symptom I have is fatigue.  Now, isn't that a big surprise?  Sarcasm intended.  This morning, I was so thankful my dog is good about not going to the bathroom in the house, because I couldn't drag myself out of the bed until noon.  And then, I had to have a hot shower to feel human.  Usually, getting her on the leash and out is my first priority, even if I have to wear pajamas, but not today.

Did you know that it takes two weeks for the flu shot to keep you from getting  influenza?  I read that last night, as I took two ibuprofen, which can dilute the  vaccination.  Guess what!  I am going to take my chances on whether NSAIDS can dilute the shot.  Even my fingers hurt.  Call me a wimp when it comes to constant, unrelenting pain, and I won't be insulted.  

It is very late in the season to get a flu shot;  but if you are thinking of it, here is a good article from one of my favorite Fibromyalgia / Chronic Fatigue writers:  Flu Shots: Yes or No for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Adrienne Dellwo.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Frozen, But Melting

Honesty, my policy of truthfulness to myself and others
Is not what I want to think about,
Because I will begin to doubt

Frozen in a sludge of half-desire to jump in and Be, 
I wonder how I manage to get to this 
Point of having to push myself to get anything done.

I know what to do, but since I kept falling asleep
Today, after an uncomfortable bout of intestinal flurries,
I seem frozen to my chair.

And I wonder if other people are like me, 
Sometimes frozen, sometimes bustling in flurries of useful activity, 
Sometimes only able to get one or two things done,
And that has to be enough.

At least I got dressed and combed my hair, 
But I never put on my shoes, 
My fuzzy, warm socks caress my feet,
Leave me feeling relaxed and comfortable.

So I will accept these moments, knowing when I'm patient,
I escape the ice that encapsulates me.
Each small chip in it brings me closer to the me I like best.
I don't have to get depressed and cut myself down.
As the ice melts, I move a little more.

Self, talk nicely to me.  I needed a break.
My eyes are closing again, as my fingers
Rest on the computer keys,
C's and brackets cover my page...

Where is that light load of laundry?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

From Numbness to Normalcy

A friend of mine said something important to me the day before yesterday:  IT'S NOT WORTH's not worth it for me to be robbed of the joy and peace in my life because of another person and their problems that seem to affect it ... let it go... and keep releasing it to the Lord...casting down vain imaginations to Jesus.  That made me think about something.  What are vain imaginations?  How did that apply to my situation?

For those of us that have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, one of the symptoms can be an overactive fight and flight syndrome.  Quite often we are sensitive people who have a hard time recovering once those chemicals get released in our body.  I'm not going to get into the scientific explanation, which you can probably read in half a dozen other places.  Instead, I want to talk about how it makes us feel, and how we can get through the effects of the adrenaline surge.

courtesy of [stock images]/
Maybe you haven't experienced what I have, but if I was a betting person, I would say you have.  So I am going to get personal.  First, there is the pain and anger to deal with -- the disruption of peace and normalcy in your life.  It hurts with the grief, anger, and confusion filling your body.  You want to get away from the source of the pain, so you start considering how you can do this, especially if it has happened before.  I think that is where the vain imagination comes in, because in this heightened state of mental/emotional pain, it is hard to think clearly.  In my case, I found it best to pray and spend some time alone after the onslaught of adrenaline in my body;  however, there may be those who cannot stay at home because of physical abuse from another person being a danger.  You should not stay in a situation that is dangerous.  

An aside to what I am saying about the sensitivity of an overtired FM/CFS patient is that even peaceful, loving families have their moments when someone gets frustrated or angry.  It may not happen very often, but it is hard for people who have chronic illnesses to deal with.  We already are living on a balance beam, pacing ourselves, and a crisis of this sort can throw us over the cliff, so to speak, leaving us feeling as if we will never feel right again.  I have had advice to go to another person to make things right, but sometimes I have to have a cooling down time for my body to recover before I can handle even that.  I think you have to know the other party to a degree and handle some situations delicately for you and that person.  It takes a dose of wisdom, especially if you are dealing with a person that acted improperly towards you, such as listening through keyholes, offering unasked for advice, complaining all the time, or actually cornering you and forcing his or her opinion on you. And those are only a few of the things that cause dissension in a family.     

My point is that one who has FM and CFS may have heightened reactions, especially if that person has already been drained of energy.  This happens to so many people around the holidays, even to people who do not have chronic illnesses.  Routines are disrupted;  one's space is invaded.  Maybe some people have to give up their comfortable retreats to accommodate someone else that does not normally live at one's house.  Whether fight and flight syndrome is activated by a disagreement or a compilation of slights, there is usually something that sets it off, such as an argument, emergency, or even something that should be insignificant in the scheme of life.

Yesterday, I was still in the numb stage.  As a Christian, I am thankful to know that the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (NASB, Romans 8:26-27).  Once I was able to focus an read God's word, I was able to think clearer and feel more normal.  I felt at peace again.  However, I believe it takes time for the body and mind to heal, unless of course, God heals one instantly.  Sometimes, it takes more faith for one who is hurting to persevere, than for someone who is not suffering in some way. 

Also, if you have a trusted friend, whom you can share some of your hurt with, it helps.  I am not talking about airing all your "dirty" laundry.  Use your common sense.  You do not want to cause someone else to be hurt by gossip or change someone's opinion about a usually nice person.  Let's face it -- none of us are perfect.  However, if you have a discreet friend or discreet friends that will pray for you, that can be a helpful road to recovery.  My friends not only prayed for me:  they offered wisdom and solace.  I did not have to tell them every detail of what caused my pain, only that I was in pain;  and I needed help.  I am grateful for my Christian prayer group.

P.S.  Another friend mentioned letting things roll off my back.  I can do that sometimes by considering the problems of the person who is being difficult.  Actually, I had already done that quite a bit this time.  Some people would say there are some things that are not forgivable, but if God can forgive me for my sins; then, I think I need to be able to forgive other people their sins against me.  Holding bitterness in one's heart, hurts the person holding the bitterness;  while the person that made one angry or hurt may already have forgotten the problem.  In the Lord's Prayer it says: forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Jesus said that, so He must have thought it very important we forgive others to be living an abundant, balanced life.  Have you ever known a happy, bitter person?  Nah...I haven't either.

God bless you, and may your life be more peaceful in 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fixing Life Again

Have you ever tried to fix life?  Have you found out you cannot do it -- that you can only pray about things?  Or that you can let those things ruin every day?  Have you discovered you have to decide which to choose?  Do you ever feel confused and wonder if you should take a road you have never thought the right one?

Words Do Hurt
All I can say is that I have found myself turning myself inside out trying to please others.  Pleasing people I love is something I like to do, but when I try to explain myself or protect myself or be myself around some of these people, I get words thrown at me like darts.  I don't know if these people know what they do.  I think they still think I am well or better, when I push myself past my physical and emotional limits.  Then, they get mad when I crash.   Or they think I have gone mental, when what has happened is I have nothing left in me physically to do the every-day, normal things.  I have to go to bed all day sometimes.  Wednesday, I slept most of the day.  

Then, here come the questions:  are you sick?  how do you feel?  Hmm.... let's see...I was so tired, I wet the bed last night...nah let's not mention that one.  Am I sick?  Well, what do you think?  Could the fact I have a cane that I have to use sometimes be a clue?  Have I said a miracle happened -- I'm cured of the illness I have had for the last 15 to 20 years?  Could the fact I have not gone to the grocery store or cooked for two days be a clue?  Could the fact that I no longer pretend to be Mrs. Perfect to visiting relatives be a clue?

Could someone tell me when enough is enough?  Why am I the one that is supposed to always be nice, compliant, sweet, uncomplaining and patient?  Why do I have to listen to someone else complain?  But I cannot get mad because I might lose my husband -- not his words by the way -- someone else's. My husband is mature and loving:  he is human:  and he is mature and loving.  I will not let someone else's fears become mine, nor her insecurities.    

The point is that many people with chronic illness go through similar
mental /emotional abuse through the holidays or at other times.  I try to turn the cheek, keep my mouth shut, and wait for the offender to go home.  Some of you live with that person all the time.  Some of them do it on purpose and some are clueless people who never consider how words and tones of voice can hurt.  My question is how much is too much?  Will that person or persons even understand?  For some of us, we know some of the offenders are not capable of understanding.  I hate to leave this open-ended, but I am still figuring out what my solution is.  

The reason I had not written for the last few days was that I thought 2013 was going to start out so differently than it has.  I didn't want to be sad or write something sad.  But I promised you honesty, because we all have situations to deal with at different times in our lives.  I'm sorry if I rambled.
I am in healing mode right now -- Again.