Thursday, February 26, 2009

Get your information and History on Paper

If you are considering applying for either work disability or social security you must have records. Keep a journal of doctor appointments and findings, how your life changes, day by day (what you used to do and can’t now)....pain levels....relationship changes .....memory changes...etc.

Your doctor must keep good records of how you are feeling, symptoms, work place and home changes you cannot do anymore and must be willing to work with you to validate the need. Some doctors are willing to work with you and others are not. Keep your records from other doctors if you have had more than one.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Been gone to the Oregon Coast

We spent a few days at the Oregon Coast. Very rainy and windy. My arthritis and fibro are flaring tonight so will write again as soon as it lessens.

It's time's like this that I lean on my faith in God. It gives me peace and comfort to rely on His love during bad flare ups.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Laughing helps

When I am really hurting and life seems a pit, I've found that if I can think back on humorous situations in my life and laugh out loud about them, it helps my attitude toward my pain.

At one of our face to face Fibromyalgia meetings, one of the attendee's found things to make us laugh. Leaders were in on it and so we belly laughed. Soon everyone was really laughing and there was a new feeling in the air.

You might find a funny movie that can make you laugh. Perhaps it's joke web pages you read that starts the laughter. Playing with your pet and laughing at their antic's can change your attitude.

Call a friend that can get you laughing, tell them you need cheered up. Maybe it will be "Remember the time, we" or "I've got to tell you the story about"

We once had a gal coming to the meetings. Lovey was in pain so much of the time but she always had us in stitches. She wrote about her Fibromyalgia experiences but found the humor lurking behind the situation. She would read these writings to us and we'd laugh and laugh. One experience was about trying to get out of the bathtub. She turned a painful situation into the funniest thing you ever heard. I miss Lovey, think I will give her a call.

When in pain, it is easy to get into pity parties and slide around the top of the pity pot. But we sure don't want to fall in to it. Remember, if it is to be it's up to me.

I'd love to hear about some of your "being able to laugh about" experiences with fibro. Fibromyalgia isn't fun and the pain is real but we can do things to help us get through the ugly pain days.

Have a great weekend, hopefully pain free.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Moves around in the same day

Have you ever questioned yourself and your pain due to the fact that you might feel good when you get up but not long after you start hurting, this time you hurt in the shoulders. "Get out of here, Fibro" you say. The pain gradually subsides but then after lunch you starting hurting in the hip area, now you question yourself about your pain. Your self talk may not be nice. How can it move around in the same day?

Fibromyalgia affects all 4 quadrants of the body. It can and does move around in the same day. You are not imagining it, you are living it. There are 18 area's on your body that has tender points.

Watch your self talk... instead of lashing out at yourself, try accepting the pain and thinking instead "What did I do that may have triggered it? What can I do to help myself? (sit and have a pity party or take medication or do some easy stretching or get you mind busy on something else).

Self talk can be an asset or it can be damaging. Would you talk to a loved one or friend like you talk to yourself sometimes? Of course not. Be nice to you!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A New Week living with Fibromyalgia

The other day I talked about living in the day... not yesterday, not tomorrow. I hope you are thinking about this as it's a healthier way of life. Do today what will help you tomorrow, don't do what will make tomorrow a pain day... for instance.....

The sun is beginning to shine, the windows are dirty, the dust shows on the furniture, the spots show on the floor, the bathroom needs cleaning and the sheets need washing. Don't go crazy and try to do them all in one day.

I used to be able to clean my whole house in one day. I now can only do one or two "bigger jobs" in a day. The whole house is never "all done". This can be so frustrating and depressing if we let it be.

Let's tackle one room a day... if there is too much to do (windows, furniture polishing, vacumning, dusting, etc., etc) then take two or three days and finish one room at a time. Be pleased, be proud and stand tall. The results (without the pain) will make us feel much more positive and having accomplished something.

Get someone to come in and do the heavy work for you if you can afford it. Get more help from your family. Share duties with a husband, daughter, son, grandchild... important not to take advantage of them or EXPECT their help.

Pace yourself, remember the 20 minute timer?

If you combine house cleaning with some thing fun for you... like reading, painting, computer, soap opera, etc then you have breaks that allow the body to cope.

Keep moving... laying around won't help.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Yesterday was my face to face Fibromyalgia Support Meeting. I lead the group but have 8 wonderful ladies who help out at the meetings. I could not do it alone.

If anyone wishes to start a Support Group, feel free to e-mail me for suggestions or help.

We had 23 people come to the meeting. Some were hurting, some were not. I think that without question they felt better emotionally when they left. Why? Because the meeting is always uplifting and fun. We laugh together, visit together and sometimes hurt together. That's support. Positive support with a hug, a smile and fun time can make a big difference.

One of the things we talked about was living in the now, TODAY. Not yesterday or tomorrow (neither are here) and we only have today. Getting up in the morning, planning our day and asking ourselves what we can do to work with, not against, our bodies. Pacing, planning, stretching, accomplishing something we can be pleased about... it might only be a day we get the floor swept, the kitchen counters washed off well, straightening up one room. But the way you worked with it and not against is by pacing. Do for 20 minutes, rest for 10. The pain seems to let up, we re-energize and can do something else.

Do something for someone else... a phone call to a sick or down person, write a card and mail it on the same day (grin- you know what I'm talking about) to someone who could use cheering up, if you feel well enough, go and visit with a shut in..

Always do something nice for yourself in your day. Try a different flavor of tea.... a soak in the tub... read a book (watch your posture)....take a walk in the fresh air enjoying nature. You all know more things you can do for yourself.

Have a great time living for TODAY and remember to PACE YOURSELF.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Irritable Bowel (sorry, but many fibromite's have this)

Irritable Bowel is not fun. You can be running to the potty one day and a few days later wishing you could. There can be a lot of pain in the gut.... I call it roto rootering going on inside my body.

When it happens to you, think about and note the following things:

1. What did you eat the last few meals? Anything different?

2. Have you drank more caffeine?

3. Have you eaten chocolate?

4. For some green salads or a mixture in a buffet can cause it... did you do that?

5. Spicy food? Oily or greasy food?

5. Were you stressed? Did you sleep well the night before? Did you take your medications without food and did you drink a full glass of water?

Jot down the date... the reactions you were having....and anything different from above. Track it for a month or so. Do you find a common thing happening? Could that be the cause? To find out, take it out of your diet or change your sleep patterns or do what it takes to get rid of the stress. Many times you cannot get rid of the "stressor" but you can do things to relax and distress.

Talk to your doctor about your results. There are medications that will help. Good luck

Monday, February 9, 2009


The fatigue of Fibromyalgia is utterly awful. You are feeling good and so glad. Then all of a sudden you begin to hurt, your arms and legs feel like lead weights, You don't feel like you can keep on moving due to the fatigue. That's scary and no fun. But sadly, many people with fibromyalgia have this (as does Chronic Fatigue people).

It's been described like being run over by a mac truck or a steam roller. Have you had that feeling?

Naps can help but when I say naps, it's not in a chair watching tv, not reading but laying down in a darkened room for 20 minutes or half hour (you can set a timer if you are afraid of sleeping all day). When you lay down, doing some relaxation exercises first, covering up so you are warm (cold makes the muscles hurt worse for me) and turn off the brain chatter. That takes work to do but once your brain gets the idea and you practice turning it off, it will make a difference. When waking up, don't jump right off the bed..... stretch a little, gradually sitting up, sitting a few seconds and then getting up. Rehydrate your body by drinking a glass of water and then go about your day.

Check with your doctor about sleep apnea tests in case you are not sleeping well at night.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Learn all you can

Read, read and read. There are many sites on the WWW and many books out about Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Myofascial sydrome and more. The libraray also has books that will help.

The more educated you become the more you understand your body and how to work with Fibromyalgia to make your life less painful and more "normal" (whatever that is).

If you live near a Support Group for Fibromyalgia, try to attend. Keep attending if it is informational, compassionate and motivating. Don't go back if it is a huge pity party ...."Woe is Me". Put positive, understanding people in your life.

Belittling, negativeness, doubters, etc do nothing to help you cope.

I help lead a Support Group in SW Washington State. There are times when I can hardly make myself go but ALWAYS I'm thankful I went when I leave. People who are understanding , fun to be around, seem to just lift me up and I forget me. That doesn't mean the pain leaves but I'm able to cope with it. If you live in SW Washington and want more information on the local support group, please e-mail me. My e-mail address is on this page.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fibromyalgia Hints

Here are a few hints I've learned over that years that helps alleviate some of the pain.

  • Put a kitchen timer by your computer. Set it for 20 minutes. When it goes off, get up and stretch a little, move around. Sitting in one spot too long can start the Fibro hurting. Reset it for another 20 minutes if you are going to be on the computer longer.
  • Before you get out of bed in the morning do some leg stretches and some arm stretches. Sit up slowly and get your balance.
  • Eat right. Breakfast is healthy for everyone. Before taking medications you should have food in your stomach to prevent stomach problems. Drink water to rehydrate you from the night.
  • Make a "To Do" list .... no more than 8-10 things. Cross off half of them and concentrate on the other half, taking breaks throughout the day.
  • Stay busy. I lose myself in the computer and forget my pain. Getting our mind off ourselves can make a big difference.
  • Think positive. Don't get lost in a pity party. Do something for someone else, it might be a phone call or a note.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Way you breathe makes........

The Way you breathe makes a difference.

Notice next time you are in pain how you are breathing. Are you breathing short little breaths and your shoulders are tight and up high? Pain does that to us.

Deep Breathing can make such a difference in your pain level. Where ever you are at the moment, you can do deep breathing. Breathe in through your nose, pulling your stomach in as your lungs fill with air. Hold for a few seconds then release the air out letting your tummy push outward. Do this 2 or 3 times if you are standing (like in the long grocery line) and longer if you are sitting. Why the difference? You can become light headed.

As your lungs fill to the bottom with air you are adding oxygen to your body. It will be transferred through out your body making you feel better. You will feel your shoulders loosen and lower.

This is an exercise that you can do through out the day when you are hurting or in a stressful situation. Stress can lead to more pain, so now you can do something about it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tennis Balls and Rice

What do tennis balls and rice have to do with Fibromyalgia? They both are tools that can help your pain.

Rice: Take a mens white tube sock and fill about 2/3 rds full of white rice. Sew across the top edge by machine or by hand. You can tie it if you do not have a way to sew it.

You then put it into the microwave starting for 2 minutes. No longer than 3 minutes. Do not get it real hot or you could get burned or even start a fire by it burning. If it is too warm for your skin, wrap a dishtowel around it. You then can lay or sit with it in the sore spots. This will start relaxing the muscles so you can use the tennis balls.
Note: You can substitue wheat, flax, corn (not popcorn), bird seed. You can also put herbs in it like lavender, mint leaves, spices, etc.

Tennis Balls: Buy a tube of tennis balls (they are not expensive), cut off a leg of pair of panty hose. Drop 2-3 balls down into the foot. Leave the leg long and tie just before the balls. You now can can toss these over your shoulder, stand up against a wall and massage the sore spots. Yes, it'll hurt but it will feel better when those muscles loosen. You can lay down on the floor and roll around on the balls where you are hurting.

Try it, you'll like what it does for you.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

When you hurt, you hurt!

What do you do when you are REALLY hurting? I've been fighting a flare for over a week now. I got up early this morning and went to church. By the time I got home I was pounding, throbbing all over my body. It's a damp and cold day and I was freezing.

Yep, I did it. I took a pain pill, turned on my electric blanket, shed my outer clothes and crawled in.... out I went and now 3 hours later I wake up and am warm and toasty, the pill helped the pain. I temporarily gave in to it.

I am one of those girls that puts off pain med's until the last minute, instead of being smart and taking it when the pain starts. Because of that, I pay for it. Just don't want to get "hooked" on pain med's. Oh yes, my doctors have lectured me not to let it go but........

Sometimes a hot shower and stretching helps. When that hot water is showering down on your body and you do some simple stretching in the shower it helps the muscles to relax. The knots and tightness seem to begin to melt.

Have you ever had a day like this? What did you do to help yourself? I'd love to hear about what you do.