Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Comfort And Fortitude

Our old word "comfort" did not originally mean ease, it meant "with fortitude, with courage." The ability to face a situation with courage regardless of the outcome does give a kind of comfort that is possible in no other way. This comfort or courage is not evoked by putting our confidence in a sure thing or in some guaranteed safety, but rather in some risk whose outcome is uncertain. The person who can face difficulties "with courage" will find that he is buttressed from within. Just as a soft balloon yields to the touch and a hard balloon resists outside pressure so one who has sufficient internal resistance can withstand forces that press in upon him. An ability to endure whatever happens "with fortitude, with courage" should enable us, in the root sense of the word, to have comfort.

From Moments of Meditation by Paul S. McElroy 1961

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FM Sort of Day

I have really tried to remain positive for almost a year regarding my fibromyalgia. I have refused to let it take over my life and control what I can and cannot do. As I have mentioned before in previous entries, my worst months for fibro flares have always been February, August and November. This year has been a strange one when it has come to the weather which usually plays a big role in my flare-ups. It is December 15th and I am having one of the worst days I can imagine. Actually the last several weeks have been miserable. Today though I am in such severe pain I just want to scream at the top of my lungs! I am having so much trouble typing this but I thought that I would "journal" today on here.

I wish I could describe it but I can't. Yes as usual, I feel like I have been hit by a train, but the weird sensations & pain in my arms, legs, shoulders, neck, etc. right now are so annoying that they are overpowering my every thought. I can't even watch the movie that is currently on. I can't even believe that I am able to even put a straight thought into what I am typing. Maybe I'm not. Maybe this makes no sense whatsoever. Maybe I'm just venting in my own way.

I really hate to complain & discuss my fibromyalgia with negativity because I know that all that does is bring me and the people around me down. I am trying so hard to fight it but right now the fibromyalgia is winning. I know it won't last forever. It comes and goes. The weather sucks! It's cold! We're supposed to be getting some kind of wintry mix tonight! UGH!!!!

I changed my blog so as not to concentrate on the fibromyalgia and try to make it a more positive escape. Today is not positive. That doesn't mean tomorrow will not be. I am still human and I will have my bad days. Yes I feel like complaining about it today because I am so frustrated.

The thing with FM is for instance, right now out of nowhere I get this sharp pain in my left knee that feelis like someone is stabbing it with a knife & twisting it around. It kind of just moves from one part of my body to the next.

I like to offer solutions and help and once again, positivity, but today is about me & my pain and I am going to whine about it! Althought I really don't think I can type much longer as I lay here on the sofa, miserably uncomfortable.

I think my rant is over. I know there is really no real content or valuable information in what I am typing but just knowing that I cannot always be perfect and happy and perky and yes, positive just makes me normal like everyone else.
I suffer for a reason. I sometimes pray that as I suffer in pain that I can take the pain of others away-if that makes any sense. It does to me. Even though I think like that I still am going to complain and say once in a while "It sucks to be me" even if it's just for a moment or an hour or a day, week, month or year. There are other people worse off than me and I should feel blessed and I do! Life really is great!

Feeling better now! :-)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pain & The Holidays

Wow- It sure has been a while since I posted so here I am! Yay! Only thing is I am actually sharing something written by someone else. So much for my creativity :) I read this & wanted to share with my friends who suffer from chronic pain.
The following was written by Paul Gileno from the INvisible Project. In this he also quotes from Michele Gargan, Psyd.
Yep it's a long one. Hopefully I will be back on real soon with some good stuff for ya!

Here is Paul's message:

I think during the holiday time people who have pain and or illness actually have a very hard time. I feel this way for many reasons. One reason is I notice it in myself, I am in more pain, I get frustrated and I get depressed quicker. Holiday times become very busy and in turn we try and do more to stay "normal" at least I do: maybe bake some cookies, or travel to someones house, or spend more time on your feet, get less rest, we spend time worrying about others, and we put pressure on ourselves. Living in pain can be draining as it is and then you add some of these to our days and it is a recipe for disaster. The pain is ignored because we are with family or friends for that momemt and we don't want to loose that moment of joy, because that moment of joy is so powerful and uplifting yet at the same time when those moments are over we have higher pain and all the baggage pain brings. Truthfully we need to balance all of this but not only during the holidays but always. We can have those moments of joy all the time, the problem is for me still to this day is I find myself doing all or nothing. When I feel good, I do to much and when I feel bad I do nothing. It is true I preach to everyone to find a balance each day, I have posted and printed articles written by Doctors on how to find that balance. In all honesty I have tried and found some balance but not enough and during the holidays it seems to just disappear. I want everyone to know your not alone in this and do not be hard on yourself. We are all in this together and we understand all of this and together we can help one another through all of this. BELOW IS THE ARTICLE FROM DR. GARGAN. Hoping you have a low pain and high spirits holiday season. - Paul

Pain and Activity: Use It or Lose It

The human body is meant to move. Yet a person who experiences intense, persistent pain will probably move less and less over time. He or she is also likely to develop a number of “pain behaviors” such lying down for long periods, using unusual postures to brace against the pain, or favoring one side of the body over another when moving. After a while, these pain behaviors take on a life of their own and actually add to the pain.

Long periods of immobility disrupt the body’s pain sensing mechanisms because pain perception relies on feedback from normal muscle activity, particularly the larger muscle groups of the body. Avoidance of activity under stimulates the large sensory nerves and results in more pain when movement is resumed. The habitual use of unusual postures results in secondary pain in other areas of the body as certain muscle groups go into chronic spasm while other muscle groups atrophy from lack of use. So, rather than decreasing pain by avoiding certain patterns of movement, a person is actually increasing his or her pain as well as creating new pain.

A common pattern that I see in my pain patients is a burst of activity on a good day followed by several days of increased pain and immobility. As much as I preach consistently moderate activity, my patients habitually try to get everything done when they feel good. But when they do this, they get nothing at all done in the following two or three days. A prudent and effective pattern to follow is to do the approximately the same amount of physical activity each day. On “bad” pain days, you will have to push yourself, while on “good” days you will have to hold yourself back. If you do this, you will see that you get the same amount done as when you do a burst on Monday and nothing on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you do a little each day, you will get the same amount done without misery on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The following are some suggested techniques you can use to maximize your functioning:

Keep an activity log for a two-week period. Write down everything you do including quantity (how many dishes you washed) and how long you spent at it. You will probably be surprised at how much you do accomplish even though it feels to you as if you are doing little or nothing. Keeping this type of log will make you more aware of your patterns as well as help you set reasonable expectations. Challenge the artificial deadlines you set for yourself. What does it matter if the whole task is completed in one hour or one day, or in three hours or three days? How perfect does the work have to be? Learn to say, “That’s good enough.”
Breathe while you move. Be aware of using your breath to support physical exertion instead of holding your breath against pain. Also be aware of the amount of energy you are using to accomplish a task as well as the quality of your movement. Replace short, quick, intense movements with longer, slower, lighter movements. Elongate the muscles when dusting, scouring, or reaching, and slow down to allow a full range of motion.
Take frequent breaks. Every twenty minutes or so, change positions, change activity, or just rest. It may take you longer to do what you used to do in the blink of an eye. So what? It is important to learn to pace yourself.
Schedule a rest period in the middle of the morning and the middle of the afternoon. A half-hour is usually effective, but some people take an hour or longer. If you have to nap, go ahead. But many people find that just relaxing, listening to music, taking a bath, daydreaming, or meditating is effective in extending their ability to function throughout the day. Go back to your activity log and find the natural breaks where you can insert rest periods. If you think there is no time to rest, you are trying to accomplish too much.
Make conscious transitions between tasks. For example, if you are cooking dinner, take a few seconds to breathe and stretch between peeling the potatoes and molding the meat loaf. This allows you to release muscle tension and adjust your posture as well as tune into your physical effort in order to maintain a steady, easy pace.
Put some type of regular physical exercise into your life. Don’t deprive your whole body of exercise and fitness because part of you is in pain. Yoga is excellent for persons with pain because it increases flexibility and strength while focusing on breathing to support movement. Most yoga instructors will modify the poses to fit your needs. Walking and swimming are also good activities to keep the whole body healthy.
Explore new recreational activities. If you used to play soccer or go skydiving for fun, you have to find new pursuits. Music, painting, gardening, creative writing, and handicrafts do not offer the same physical thrills, but they are relaxing and rewarding. Make time for fun even if you have not completed all the chores that need to be done.
If you have a chronic pain condition, you have to accept that much of your life has changed permanently. This does not mean your life is over. It just means that you can’t do things the way you used to before the pain set in. If you set realistic goals, learn to pace yourself, maintain a moderate level of daily activity, and engage in pleasurable pursuits, you will be able to have a full life.

Michele Gargan, Psyd

Sunday, April 25, 2010

About Prayer

Those of you that know me well know that I am not a religious person in the regular sense of the word. I consider myself more of a spiritual person with a universal love for all and the religions that they follow. I usually do not talk religion or politics, but I've been finding a lot of articles and such lately on Prayer. Whether you believe in God or a higher power or nothing at all, I do believe we all have to have faith in something to keep us going and it does not have to revolve around religion, although this is where is customarily comes into play.
One thing I do believe in is the power of prayer (no matter who you are praying to). There is something about a group of people actually putting their thoughts & good intentions into your well-being that enacts a positive, peaceful energy flow that you can actually feel at times of despair. I know that people pray for me & I pray for a lot of people, hoping that whatever troubles or ails them will somehow be alleviated and they can feel the love & peace that I am sending their way.
My mom has this book, well it's actually in my possession now, called Moments Of Meditation by Paul S. McElroy, copyright 1961. I use this in a lot of my blog entries and when friends need special comfort. The entries in this book are still so relevant in 2010.
Here is an entry called About Prayer, which is really aimed at praying to God, but can easily be interpreted to meet your sense of worship and/or your higher power.
About Prayer
Prayer is not an attempt to get what we want but an endeavor to give God an opportunity to do what he wants through us. Prayer is not begging from God but cooperating with Him. The thing to be sought is not how to get our way, but how to accept the will of God. The intent is not to change God's mind, but to change our attitudes. Prayer is really thinking in God's presence. As the level of our conscience is raised toward the level of God's thoughts, the happenings of life are seen in truer perspective. Effective prayer involves a deep yearning to know God, an eagerness to trust God all the way, an ability to relinquish our hold, and a willingness to let go and let God.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Here is a "Letter From Fibromyalgia" that was sent to me by a friend. I don't know who wrote this, but it seems pretty accurate. Yes it seems depressing, but at the same time it brings awareness to exactly what fibromyalgia is to those who suffer from it. One thing is for sure- Only someone else with fibromyalgia can really understand what you're going through.


Dear Miserable Human Being,

Hi, my name is Fibromyalgia, and I'm an invisible chronic illness. I am now ‘velcroed’ to you for life. Others around you can't see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me. I can attack you anywhere and anyway I please. I can cause severe pain, or if I am in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.

Remember when you and Energy ran around together and had fun? I took Energy from you and gave you Exhaustion. Just try to have fun now! I also took Good Sleep from you and in its place gave you Fibro Fog (a.k.a.)Brain Fog.

I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal. Oh yeah, I can make you feel anxious or depressed, too. If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away too. You didn't ask for me. I chose you for various reasons: that virus you had that you never quite recovered from, or that car accident, or childbirth, the death of a loved one, or maybe it was those years of abuse and trauma.

Well, anyway, I'm here to stay! I hear you're going to see a doctor who can get rid of me. I'm ‘ROFL’ (rolling on the floor laughing)! Just try! You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively. In fact, you'll see many doctors who tell you ‘it’s all in your head’ (or some version of that). If you do find a doctor willing to treat this ‘non-disease’, you will be put on pain pills, sleeping pills, and energy pills. You will be told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given a TENS unit, told if you just sleep and exercise properly, I will go away. You'll be told to think positively, poked, prodded, and most of all, you will not be taken seriously when you cry to the doctor how debilitating life is for you every single day!

Your family, friends, and coworkers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and that I'm a debilitating disease. Some of them will say things like "Oh, you're just having a bad day", or "Well, remember, you cant expect to do the things you used to do 20 years ago," not hearing that you said "20 DAYS ago"! Some will just start talking behind your back, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity, trying to make them understand, especially when you are in the middle of a conversation with a ‘normal’ person, and can't remember what you were going to say next!

In closing, you've probably figured out that the ONLY place you will get any real support and understanding in dealing with me is with Other People With Fibromyalgia! They are the only ones that will understand your complaints of unrelenting pain, insomnia, fibro fog, the inability to perform the everyday tasks that ‘normal people’ take for granted.
Remember, I'm stuck to you like Velcro – and I expect we'll be together for the rest of your life.

Have a nice day!! (ROFL),


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Take Time Out

How often we find the days produce too many interruptions, too many unanticipated demands. Extra duties and the trivial all too easily crowd out the more important work that should be done. When we feel crowded and pushed and feel that things are running us instead of our running them, that is the time to slow down. That is a warning to stop, to take time to get away from it all and be alone. When we are overworked and tense, we become inefficient and we overtax our strength. At such times much more will actually be accomplished through rest, difficult and impractical as that may seem, than through overwork and overdoing. Nature demands that we now and then take time out to let our souls catch up with our bodies.

--Paul S. McElroy (Moments of Meditation 1961)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Peace & Happiness

BE YOURSELF ... DARE TO DREAM... REMEMBER TO LAUGH - We've all received advice over the years from family, friends, co-workers - even from hairdressers and bartenders. Sometimes we nod our heads in casual agreement, but pay no more attention to the advice than we would to emptying the trash. At other times, good advice arrives just when we need it the most, Our best friends tells us to go on that job interview, and we get the job offer and the happiness and fulfillment we're looking for.
Sometimes, like a thief, happiness sneaks up on us when we least we least expect it - and we are forever changed. We become open to new experiences; we feel that single ray of sunshine on a cold, wintry day; we feel blessed to be alive. At other times, happiness can be not only hard to obtain but also hard to recognize. The search for happiness can be a lifelong process of discovery and trial and error. I hope that I, as a person, can help you discover what you can do to enjoy the peace & satisfaction of a happy life. My goal is to bring peace & happiness to all.
I am always here for you ♥

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Penguin- Inspired Advice

Life Is Not Black And White

There are two kinds of penguins: the white ones coming toward you and the black ones going away from you. That probably qualifies as the oldest joke in the Antarctic. It’s not true, of course. There are actually seventeen kinds of penguins, and most have at least a little bit of color. It’s tempting sometimes to see the world in black and white and to take unwavering positions about right and wrong. But things are seldom that simple, and it’s life’s full spectrum – of colors, emotions, philosophies, and ideas – that make it so worth living.

From: Flipping Brilliant-A Penguin’s Guide To A Happy Life

A Toke a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

A Toke a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
posted by Ann Pietrangelo on Care2

Alone in her Birmingham, England home, a woman stirs a half teaspoon of cannabis into her hot tea. By seeking relief from pain and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis in this way she is, in the eyes of the law, a criminal.

She doesn’t take this action lightly and is not out for a recreational high. She simply wants a reprieve from the relentless pain that plagues her and, after sipping her tea, generally experiences about three hours of relief. Only those who live in chronic pain can fully understand her anguish.

Speaking of her predicament she says, “I want politicians to be nice to me… I’m sick.” One cannot put it more simply than that. (You can read the rest of her story and view the heartbreaking video on BBC News.)

Medical marijuana enjoys legal status in many parts of the world, where it is recognized as an effective treatment for chronic pain or nausea caused by conditions like multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, and cancer. Canada, Chile, and the Netherlands have decriminalized or legalized it, and Australia and Belgium are conducting trials on its benefits.

Patients report that use of medical marijuana provides relief from spasticity, nerve pain, tremors, sleeping disorders, nausea, and depression, greatly improving quality of life.

In the United States and some other countries, social stigma and stereotypes twist the issue into a moral argument rather than a purely medical one.

Ironically, if you watch television for a few hours, you’ll be bombarded with ads for powerful prescription medications with lengthy lists of potential side-effects up to and including death, but they are perfectly legal… and encouraged.

They side-effects associated with cannabis are mild in comparison. Long-term smoking of marijuana has some of the same negative effects as smoking tobacco (a legal substance) and is associated with some short-term cognitive problems. For those living life in chronic pain, it is a fair trade for improved quality of life. It is a very personal decision, one that should not be criminal.

In the U.S., 14 states allow some use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington), and legislation was recently introduced in Maryland.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration insists that legal medical marijuana already exists: “A pharmaceutical product, Marinol, is widely available through prescription. It comes in the form of a pill and is also being studied by researchers for suitability via other delivery methods, such as an inhaler or patch. The active ingredient of Marinol is synthetic THC, which has been found to relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients and to assist with loss of appetite with AIDS patients.”

According to some patients who have tried Marinol, it is much more expensive than traditional marijuana and does not effectively relieve their symptoms. “If I smoke a joint, the tremors go away most times before the joint is gone,” says one man with multiple sclerosis. “It makes my life a little easier.” Marinol, by contrast, “didn’t really do much of anything for me,” he said.

It is time for the United States let go of antiquated notions of marijuana and recognize its legitimate medical use. Stop penalizing the ill… please sign the petition asking the U.S. Congress to recognize the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Strong Enough

From the days of the bronze ages when primitive men first discovered that if copper and tin were mixed a stronger metal resulted, to the days of the steel age when men discovered that if carbon were mixed with iron a still stronger metal resulted, the history of progress has been one of trial and error. In order to stand the added strain and stress that is being put upon us in these days, we need a tougher metal in our souls. The only alloy that can successfully strengthen and fuse with our impure hearts is love. Love is a concern for others that knows no limitations. Love is the ultimate in altruism. Such love can endure all things. When our souls are fused with such love, then the metal of our souls will be strong enough for anything.

- Moments of Meditation by Paul S. McElroy 1961

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I Love Penguins!!! I have a huge collection & feel like somewhat of an expert. Heck I even have a penguin tattoo, and some of my art features penguins as well. They certainly are amazing creatures. I would love to see them in their natural habitat one day, which I really don't see ever happening-It's so cold down there. Well, lately we have a had some freak arctic blast here which makes me feel like my penguin friends. I know, it's really not THAT cold here, but still. Still Freezing!!!

Nothing new & exciting here on my end, and lately my mind has been drawing blanks on creative ideas.
I do want to share a video though, made by my beautiful step-daughter, Jennifer, which highlights her family in 2009. Having no biological children of my own, Jennifer is the most wonderful daughter one can imagine. I feel so blessed to have her & her family as part of my life. She & her husband Tommy have also given me the greatest gift of a granddaughter-Payton. This is a beautiful video.