& now, for something amazing…

Last Saturday was a great day. From start to finish, it was one of those rare, awesome days. I felt amazing, I had lots of energy, had no pain to speak of… It was a one in a million day for me, but it wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized how truly remarkable the day had been. I was getting ready for bed, which in my case means swallowing a handful of pills when I realized that I hadn’t taken my morning meds that day. My little handful of uppers/anti zombie pills was still sitting in the pill organizer.

My jaw literally dropped. I must have spent five minutes sitting there trying to figure out how I had managed to miss taking them. My morning routine has been the same for YEARS: I wake up, I groggily reach over for the pill box & my water bottle, then I roll back over for another 15-30 minutes so the pills can do their work. On the rare occasions that my ritual gets interrupted, it doesn’t take long for me to notice. Every other time I’ve missed my morning meds, I’ve been foggy, unfocused and barely able to stay awake. After a few hours of this, it will occur to me to go make sure I’ve taken my meds & I can get on with my day.

Not this time. At one point during the day, I had so much energy that I was, dare I say it? Hyper. I was almost literally bouncing off the walls. I did think that was a bit odd for me, but it never occurred to me that I might have missed my meds.

For anyone reading this that is unfamiliar with fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness, this may seem like a strange thing to get excited about. What you must understand is that I have been completely dependent upon drug companies to keep me going for nearly 10 years. I can neither sleep at night nor function during the day without major chemical intervention. It’s an absolutely ridiculous cycle of pill popping and while I abhor it, I didn’t know that there was any other way to live. Until now.

I don’t remember what interrupted my chemical ritual that morning, but I may know why I didn’t notice its absence: my diet.

Over the last 40 days or so, I have been in the process of changing the way I eat. It all started with The 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge. I had been looking for a way to sneak more fruits and vegetables into my diet. Yes, I said “sneak”. I have never been a huge fan of veggies, so eating them has always felt like some sort of punishment. However, my quest for a healthier lifestyle made it clear that in order to be healthier, I have to eat healthier. Green smoothies seemed like the perfect way to get some extra veggies into my diet without feeling like I was punishing myself.

Guess what? They are. The 30 day challenge is super simple: drink one green smoothie a day for 30 days. That’s it. All you need is a blender, some fruit & some leafy greens. By the end of the first week, I was happily consuming things like spinach, kale and collards for breakfast. I got braver and began adding other veggies as well as things like flaxseed, hemp hearts and chia. By week 2, I was drinking 2 smoothies a day and totally loving every slurp. (Also, driving my friends & family insane with my constant prattling about how amazing my concoctions were. Thanks for not smothering me in my sleep!)

I decided to start digging a bit deeper into the dos and don’ts of a healthy diet. I started by watching several documentaries, including “Hungry for Change”, “The Perfect Human Diet” and “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. All of them come at nutrition from different angles, but the one thing they all have in common was that we humans should be eating less processed food and more fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” was my inspiration to give juicing a try. The basic idea is that by juicing your fruits and vegetables, you can get more servings than you could typically eat in a form that’s easier for your body to use. I started with one juice a day, in addition to my daily smoothies. I had been doing this for about week before my accidental medication glitch. Coincidence or is it possible that I really am making myself better through nutrition?

My goal is to find out. I’m not naive enough to think that I can just drop the medications, I know what withdrawal is like and I do not want to go through that again. I am, however going to talk to my doctor about cutting back on the dosages. I’m already pleased with the results I’m experiencing from changing what I eat. The thought that I *might* be able to live drug free is more than enough to make me want to continue to evolve my diet. Even if I can only get off one or two of the drugs, it would be worth it.

I’ll keep you posted!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In case the title didn’t give it away, I’d like to give a huge “Thank you!” to the author of Just Another F-Bomb for nominating my little slice of cyber space for the Liebster Award! I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that real people are actually out there reading my words; most of us struggle along in silence simply because we feel like no one wants to hear what we have to say. Every time I receive a new comment or link back, I am reminded that I am not alone in this and that my words are reaching, and even encouraging others to break their silence as well.

Like the Versatile Blogger Award, the Liebster, (which means “dearest” in German, by the way), asks that it’s nominees answer a few questions and also nominate others. I’ll be honest, I’ve been incredibly remiss in reading any blogs lately (as well as writing my own, as you may have noticed), so I can’t post my nominees right now, but I will go ahead and answer the 10 questions posed to me by my nominator, Just Another F-Bomb.

  • If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would it be?
    – I haven’t made it there yet, but I think it’s safe to say that I would be perfectly happy to live in Nairobi, Africa; specifically at The Giraffe Manor. I mean, really, living somewhere where giraffes could come and join me for breakfast? How can I possibly resist?
  • What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
    – Key West, FL. It’s absolutely gorgeous and so very relaxing.
  • If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
    – A giraffe feeder, hands down.
  • Do you have a favorite teacher who inspired you?
    – I had many wonderful teachers over the years, I really can’t choose just one, or even two.
  • Why do you blog?
    –  Writing this blog is my way of shining a light into the darkness; my way of proving that I do not suffer alone, nor do I have to suffer in silence. This blog helps me break the barriers created by the pain and the best part is, it’s not only my own barriers being broken, my words have encouraged others to break their silence as well.
  • If you had a magic wand, what would you use it to change?
    – A magic wand wouldn’t be enough to fix everything that’s gone wrong in this world, so I’m not going to go all serious here. I think the first thing I would do with a magic wand is shrink a giraffe down to about 3 feet tall, that way I could keep him as a pet 🙂
  • Do you dress up for Halloween?
    – Usually. The last time I dressed up for Halloween, I went as Aphrodite.
  • What was your most memorable day and why?
    – Again, tough question. I’m going to go with the day I rescued my cat, Sammy. It was the day before a major hurricane swept through my area and there were some kittens living in a small ditch next to a near by 7-11. In an attempt to save them from the storm, I went down there with some cans of cat food and a large animal carrier. I managed to lure three kittens in, but before I could shut the door, two of them escaped, leaving me with one very angry orange ball of fur. It was a rough start, but he eventually came around and was one of the best cats I’ve ever had.
  • Kids or pets, which do you prefer?
    – As I’ve never had any children, I’m going to say pets 🙂
  •  How long did it take you to complete the Liebster “task”?
    – About an hour, give or take.

I just want to reiterate how extremely grateful I am for all of the support and encouragement that I’ve received. Thank you to everyone who has commented on a post or emailed me and also to all of you who decided to click “follow” button; it means so much to me to know that my words are being seen.

More things never to say to some one who has fibromyalgia

Seriously people, what’s with all the negativity? I feel like I’m swimming in it lately. There are just too many people around me who seem to be waiting for me to fall flat on my face. I keep hearing things about what I can/can’t do, or what I can expect out of life. The ridiculous thing is, they don’t even have fibromyalgia; they have a “basic understanding” from what they’ve read on the net or have heard from other people who don’t have the disease either.

With that in mind, I’ve got a few more things to add to the list of things to never say to someone battling the invisible menace.

  • “I know someone who has that, their life is miserable!” OR “I know someone who has that, but it’s nothing like what you’re describing.”

    Rule #1 about fibromyalgia: it’s different for every single person that has it. That’s why it’s so hard to diagnose and treat. No two cases are the same, they may have similarities, but you cannot compare them. Just because things went one way for one person does not mean they will be that way for anyone else. Part of the reason things are so different from case to case is simply due to the way people react to having it. True, at some point most of us go from being angry to being devastated (or vice versa) and then eventually we accept that we have to live with it. How you decide to live with it is entirely up to you, and will undoubtedly have some impact on how the disease affects you.
  • “It’s only going to get worse as you age.”

    REALLY?! Think about it for a second, does anything health wise actually improve as you age? Unless you’re Benjamin Button, EVERYTHING gets worse as you age. Your metabolism slows down, your joints wear out, your memory starts growing holes in it, your hair falls out and you get all wrinkly. Sure, old age probably isn’t going to help the fibromyalgia any, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that it might be worse in your sixties than it was in your twenties. The upside is, there is research being done and eventually, they will come up with something that helps.
  • “You can’t possibly expect to have a ‘normal’ life with this disease.”

    Actually, yes I can. Not only do I firmly believe that a person can do anything they put their mind to, my belief in myself is unshakeable. I know myself well enough at this point to be able to say with 100% certainty that if I want to do something, I will. True, having fibro adds about 50 pounds to the weight of the baggage I’m lugging around, but it only makes me that much stronger. I’m not saying that I can wish the disease away, or that if I ignore it, it doesn’t exist. Short of some miracle cure, I will always have fibromyalgia. I know that. However, I also know that I am creative enough and flexible enough to find a way to do anything I want to. That’s just me personally, I’m certainly not saying that everyone who has fibro is going to be able to do the same, but I think many people would be surprised if they tried. One major thing to keep in mind is that the goals I have for myself are realistic. When I say I can “do anything I want to” I’m not implying that I could be an astronaut or that I want to climb Mt. Everest.
  • “What happens if your plan stops working and you start feeling bad again?”

    Eventually, my body will get used to the endorphins from exercising, and losing weight will only help so much. I’m sure that at some point, I’ll have to go back to the drawing board for a new way to fight the pain. I started this experiment with the diet and exercise with no real expectations of success. I know now that it is possible to alleviate the pain. I’ve also learned that the way I react to the pain is the most important factor in how the fibro affects my life. I can’t always stop the pain, but there’s no rule that says I have to be miserable about it. Ok, so I have to spend a day or two or three in bed; as soon as I’m able, I’ll get back up. In the meantime, I can read a good book, watch a new movie, write a new blog post… Yes, it sucks to be forced by your own body to stay in bed all day, but there are worse fates. I’ll take my victories where I can get them, as long as I wake up, I win.
  • “Oh, you’re just in an ‘up’ phase right now, you’ll have a ‘down’ swing eventually. You won’t be able to fight it forever.”

    Want to bet? I didn’t call this blog “Fighting Fibro with Fire” just because I thought it sounded good. I am determined to fight this until the day I die. I know that there will be setbacks, and I know that I will have bad days, but as long as I breathe, there is always tomorrow. I have been in the dark, I have seen what rock bottom looks like and it terrified me. Mark my words: I will not ever go back there again. I found the strength to pull myself back from the edge of the abyss and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am strong enough to keep myself from going back.

Part of me feels that these lists shouldn’t be necessary, that not saying these things to people with chronic illnesses should be common sense. Obviously, that’s not true, seeing as the only reason I am able to compile these lists is because people have said them to me. Initially, when I started writing this post, I was angry and ready to tell the people who said these things to “go to Hell”; after typing all of this up, I find that the anger has dissipated and all I feel now is determined. I am determined to prove these statements wrong and I am certain of my success. All I want to say now is, “hit me with your best shot”.

Something to strive for

Something to strive for

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What a great day!

As part of getting myself back out into the world, I’ve been babysitting once a week or so for a friend. She has a lovely 12 month old little boy, who for privacy purposes, I’m going call “Alex”.

Alex is extremely active and has just recently learned to walk; which is a lot of fun, but also something of a challenge. I enjoy my time with him immensely. 🙂 Alex gives the best hugs, ever. Seriously, this little guy can turn even the most depressing day upside down with nothing but a hug, but his brilliant little grin helps too.

Today, I learned that he even makes my exercise routine fun. I took him in the stroller for a 30 minute walk. We talked about birdies, butterflies, cars… Ok, I talked, he made happily little gurgles and giggles. Still, it was a lot more fun than walking with just music to listen to. It’s amazing how fast 30 minutes goes by when you’re enjoying yourself!

When I got done watching Alex, I went home and laid out in the backyard for some sun. The only thing missing was a drink with an umbrella in it.

Pain levels are way down and even the fog is manageable today. On top of that, I’ve lost another two pounds, which puts me at 14 total. What a fabulous day!

Wow.

This morning, I woke up to find an alert on my phone, letting me know that I had a comment awaiting moderation. I always love that; it brightens my day every time I get a notification about someone following, liking or especially commenting on my writing. This comment, however was special. FibroFaery had written to let me know that she’d nominated me for an award. I’m speechless. I’m trying to come up with words to express how touched I am to have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you FibroFaery for the nomination! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, I highly recommend doing so!

I’ve only been blogging for a month now, and quite honestly, to even have one or two readers who are not people I know in the flesh is amazing. To have 115 fabulous followers and to be nominated for an award is simply astounding, again, thank you!

As a nominee, I have to nominate 15 other blogs for the award. I don’t have the full 15 yet, as I’m fairly new to the community, but I will update the list as I come across new ones!  Without further ado, here they are!

Like I said, I know this list isn’t complete, but I haven’t had a chance to really start exploring other blogs just yet.

Finally, here’s my list of 7 things about me. Hopefully, this will help you get to know me a bit better, beyond the fibro!

 

7 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

  1. I love giraffes. Not just like, but seriously, LOVE giraffes. They are by far my absolute favorite animal. One of my favorite things in the world to do is to go to a zoo that allows you to feed them.
    giraffe love
  2. My favorite color is red.
  3. I am an arts and crafts junkie. Depending on how I’m feeling any given day, I crochet, draw, paint, dabble in jewelry making, scrapbook… The list goes on and on.
  4. Even though I rarely feel up to it anymore, I love working in my flower beds. At one point, I was working on “growing a rainbow” using different shades of day lilies.lily
  5. I love to cook!
  6. All of my pets (from about the age of 15 and up, at least) have had human names. Andrew, Sammy, Riley, Octavius… They seem to get grander the older I get.
  7. I love my life. I love that I have finally found my voice and the knowledge that it’s being heard makes it all the more awesome. I love that I actually have some ability to help others, even in my “disabled” state. I’ve had some rough times, and I’m sure there are more to come, but that just makes the joy in my life all the sweeter.

Decisions

“Some choices you make with your heart, some with your head, but when in doubt choose head over heart—it will keep you alive.”

– Meredith Gentry, Laurell K. Hamilton

Now you know

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Past or Future?

This is a lesson that I’m still trying to learn. It’s why I’ve spent two posts so far discussing the things that I have lost because of illness and still mourn. The future doesn’t deserve to be punished for the things that have already happened, I think we could all be happier if we could find it within ourselves to truly forgive.

watchful savvy

past and future Don´t let yesterday take up too much of today.  The past is over and has served it´s purpose.  Now and tomorrow is the place full of potential and like a blank canvas can be painted anyway you choose.  You decide what you spend your time thinking on so dwelling on things from the past that can´t be altered can often be a misuse of your mind´s potential.  Thinking about the way to make things work for now and the future can be more productive and a lot more rewarding.

You are what you think

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