Saturday, May 29, 2010

Calgon Take Me Away!

I'm writing another blog carnival post for Patients For A Moment sponsored by Selena of Oh My Aches and Pains!  Thanks Selena for the invitation.  The more I write the more I like it and if I can help someone or make someone think, laugh or even smile it's worth it to me.

This time of year in Salem Oregon the temperature is in the 50's and the humidity is 50% or higher.  Not great weather for someone with arthritis and fibromyalgia.  I think about warm, dry weather like in San Diego - where we lived while Rich was in the Navy and Tucson - where I've traveled to twice in the past year by myself.

The first trip wasn't planned, like a vacation.  Amy had a high risk pregnancy, and I had to be there for emotional support.    Since it was last minute it seemed like I traveled and waited pretty much the whole day - I was exhausted for most of the time I was there.  A friend of mine told me I should've told the airline I have a disability.  You don't need any written proof, but I still felt a little uneasy saying I was disabled.  I guess for myself I need that "independence" of saying I can travel on my own, but it was hard.  In a motel room I do get extra pillows and if you ever get the chance to stay in the Radisson they have sleep number beds - heavenly.

For the second trip I STILL didn't tell them I had a disability.  Even if I know way ahead I'm going somewhere I'm not a "planner" but I think maybe next time I will plan ahead before I board an airplane.

I got some tips from About: Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue that I'll be using next time.  The last two times I did request an aisle seat - easier to get in and out of.  But I think next time I'll request a bulkhead aisle seat which is the first one in coach.  I was lucky coming home - I got that front seat along with a woman with a walker.  I do travel with all my medications clearly labeled in a gallon zip lock bag, just in case.  WHEELS on the luggage LOL - don't have that.  

The good thing about traveling down to Arizona - I got to see my grandson born the second trip! Bad part - I ran my mouth and told my lawyer I was making that trip just in case I'd get a call about my disability hearing.  I did get a letter telling me I had one in January 2010.  When I had my hearing the judge pretty much said "well by the great letter your doctor wrote you would have gotten disability BUT the fact that you traveled by yourself questions your disability".  WHA??  Many disabled people travel with crutches and wheelchairs.

Here's hoping my next trip will be better planned, with someone (hopefully my husband), and for a happy reason - Christmas vacation!  Some other places I would love to travel: of course some tropical island like mentioned here *sigh*:

I would also like to go to the coastlines of California, Greece, Italy, Spain.  

Here are some links relating to traveling with a disability or just traveling in general:

a lot destinations, modes and even some stories from travelers themselves.

handling traveling in a wheelchair since 1985
of course I like the coast LOL and Crater Lake is one of my favorite spots to travel to

Any suggestions on traveling on your own and disabled would love to hear from you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

*8Things: Improved Eating

OK I found this badge on my Artist's Way teacher Dayna's blog and the originator is Rachelle Mee-Chapman - 8 Things Thursdays. This week it's - Improved Eating.

I am eating less red meat and more chicken. I do drink a lot of water - almost a gallon a day. It helps with my skin and with taking opiates that are constipating and it fills me up. I am on a Snapple Iced Tea kick though right now but I still drink water in between LOL. I have improved my eating habits - not too much red meat, more whole wheat or 12 grain bread, more seafood. I also like whole grain pasta, fresh ground peanut butter. I try not to eat processed food. I used to eat a lot of frozen dinners because they were "easy".

Things I need to improve on: fruits and veggies. Fresh, organic. I like just about every fruit except maybe cantaloupe and honeydew melons and veggies except Brussels sprouts, parsnips, turnips. I've eaten plain yogurt with frozen fruit and honey and I LOVE strawberries in season, peaches and apples. Watermelon

I've read lots of stuff that say it lessens the pain of fibromyalgia and arthritis. I take calcium/magnesium, omega 3, Vitamin D. Not sure if they help, but I guess they don't hurt. If I took all the supplements that are recommended I'd be eating pills all day LOL.

There's always room for improvement in eating, exercise, etc. I'm not a "diet" person. I did try Weight Watchers online and I just about went crazy LOL. Three weeks and I was done. I saw the Oprah show with Geneen Roth who wrote the book "Women, Food and God". They had women in the audience who've gone through a lifetime of dieting and disappointment. The guidelines for "intentional" eating are:

Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
Eat what your body wants.
Eat until you are satisfied.
Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.I am guilty of eating in front of the TV and the only time I probably can eat would be breakfast and lunch when Rich is at work. I'll have to try it and see if it works and try all the others suggestions.

OK here are some links:

a video about the Tinsel Trading Company

and the catalog - they have tons of beautiful stuff!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Never Say Never

OK you know when you say "I'll never do . . . " and God laughs?  Well I was watching "Julie & Julia" about 2 weeks ago and when Julie wrote in her blog about the fight with her husband I said "Oh wow I'd never do that" when Rich was watching with me for a bit.  Well I did it yesterday.  I didn't quite tell everything.  I keep things inside and try and forget them and they come welling up when things like this happen.  I don't know whether I expected people reading this to help me or what but I guess at the time it felt good "talking" about it.

If anyone has a spouse with both PTSD and ADD it's difficult at times.  I have gotten used to some things, but like with fibromyalgia there is always something that comes up that's unexpected.  He suppresses more than I do and  I just don't want to go backwards as far as suppressing MY feelings and walking on eggshells.  Thank God for our therapist LOL.

Anyway on Thursday I will be posting *8Things - but I might be going out of order LOL.  I found this link through Dayna Collins' blog and it sounds like a good idea to me.  Also got an e-mail from an old friend Bobbie yesterday - I am doing a block swap!  Not sure how it's going to go but it will be fun I'm sure.

Can't help it but have to post my ray of sunshine in a cloudy day - got this picture from my daughter

and can't help but smile!

Links for you to enjoy:
7 best house plants for beginners
I like reading some of these when I'm feeling down
I've watched some interesting films on this TV channel

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Movie, Mad and My Name is Mud Monday

I just saw on Facebook that a Chronic Babe and a blog I follow has posted for Monday

Believe it or not Andrea you inspire me. When I saw your post on Facebook that you'd done a blog entry it got me thinking. I will try to post according to the day of the week and this post will be about a movie or movies I've seen lately. Maybe I can get some of my readers to tell me movies they've seen lately.

One thing about movies - I haven't been in a movie theater for YEARS. Rich doesn't like movie theaters so it's either go by myself or feel good enough to ask someone to go with me. It's ok though - I like watching DVD's at home and Netflix is a pretty good deal.

Also it's Mad My Name is Mud because well Rich and I (well Rich) had a fight. Got up this morning and Rich was very quiet. He put on his work boots and all hell broke loose. He started talking to me about my betraying him AGAIN. Why oh why do we have to fight about MONEY? And adult children? I sent money to my daughter without telling him first because otherwise she would have to steal FOOD to eat and doesn't want to get in any trouble. I know he's not feeling well but to bombard me first thing in the morning. With the meds and sleep number bed and nice pillow you think I'd wake up bright and cheery but NO - I am stiff and sore and don't want to deal with anything at least 2 hours after I wake up. He said things that were hurtful and man I had a lot of ammunition myself but did not use it. We are going to see the counselor jointly on Wednesday. I hope we can get this straightened out. I feel helpless at times because I don't work and really can't work. I've worked for over 30 years and now that I don't work I feel like a child sometimes asking for money. It sucks sometimes to have a chronic illness. You think it would be better after a few years but it's not. It's also hard having a husband with ADD and PTSD - it's just hard.

The movie part - saw Avatar last night. I think that would be a cool movie on a BIG screen. I loved the movie, the colors, the story. Hopefully we will be watching UP sometime this week. I started to watch it this morning and said I'd save it for us to watch. Also I have My Sister's Keeper on the DVR. Read the book, heard the ending was changed. The ending was a shocker and I had my mouth wide open LOL.

I want to hear from my readers - favorite movies, thoughts on chronic illness? I guess when I'm troubled I feel like no one wants to hear it or I try to cover it up with jokes, etc.

OK I'll post some pictures/links:

My grandson Brandon is on the right, little London is in the middle, and Brandon's cousin/brother James is on the left. Sweet little boys!

Brandon, Amy and London last weekend.

Amy is getting to spend more time with her son Brandon. I hope she can get to see Zoey also - a girl need her mom. Amy's situation isn't a good one but I have hope.

Went to craft demos today to take my mind off things -
now I want "style stones" and buttons to make cute little doodads -

very interesting links - Fair Trade, dolls of color

the best free cultural and educational media on the web - I listened to some free music!

all things GLEE (one of my favorite shows this year)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Adventures of a Craft Virgin - and other things going on this week

I'm not sure whether it's a symptom of my late diagnosed ADD or just pain ditsy-ness but I have a reputation for not finishing some projects. While others talk about their "craft rooms" or "studios" I have a sort of TV table and two paper bags full of "stuff". I've taken an Artist's Way class with Dayna Collins and a bunch of really great women. I drew stick figures for people and made a clay creation that any 4 year old like my grandson Brandon would go "how pretty Grandmom". I have done a needlepoint picture for my grandmother when I was about 10 years old, who hung it up proudly in her kitchen for years. I have crocheted and gifted afghans for several women who were having babies.

I see all kinds of classes through Dayna, but I don't want to sign up and not be able to get there. Every time a class came up I felt discouraged because I know I'd be missing out on a great time. I'm hoping one of these day that I CAN get to a class by Dayna or something from all the other e-mail newsletters I get from classes in Salem.

Thank goodness I found an alternative! Linda Peterson, of CraftechUniversity, held her first class yesterday. It was called "Friendly Plastic - Fusion Illusion". Friendly Plastic can be heated and molded to make jewelry and a lot of other things I'm still exploring thanks to Google. I went to a Meet and Greet to figure out how the classroom was going to work. The teacher and the students all are seen and heard on webcam and audio. I've had a webcam for a while and the one in the laptop came with the laptop. I don't like using it LOL because I'd have to comb my hair and put my "flipper" in where I lost a tooth up front. Nice visual, eh? Anyway the class was early for me and I looked like one of the vamps from Twilight - I prefer True Blood thankyouverymuch LOL. Loved the class and made a "pendant" but I'm going to play around some more and make a better pendant. I did play around a little yesterday afternoon - and set off our smoke alarm! Fun times.

I'm going to take another class from Linda involving polymer clay - it should be fun. Also I've signed up for a Textures class involving stencils with Tiffany Windsor. I can finally put some pretty stencils on our bedroom wall. I wanted to when Rich first painted it a calming green color. I wanted either fern leaves or palm leaves. The stencils from the class will be looking great on our walls.

I can't believe a lot of my favorite shows have had their season finales already! I'm glad I have a DVR because my heart was pounding after the first few minutes of Grey's Anatomy. I watched it Friday morning otherwise I probably wouldn't have slept Thursday night LOL. This show never disappoints me (except when they killed off George). Private Practice, CSI, Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters were all good - at least to me.

Here are some links - enjoy:

Have some fun drawing - this reminds me of Paint Shop Pro

If Shoes Could Kill - and man these would be murder on my feet LOL

Recycled jewelry - pretty cool at least I think so

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (and other stuff)

Every time I see a Lyrica commercial I want to scream. Instead I look at the TV and usually say "shut up" after I hear the "all over muscle aches" yadda yadda yadda. Unless you know someone with fibromyalgia you look at that commercial and say "hey this thing can be cured". Yeah right. I don't want a cure - I am still trying to "manage" this beast. Think I'll call him "George" LOL.
Yesterday I had hope because I heard the weather was going to be in the 60's or even 70 by Thursday. What they failed to say it would be cloudy along with it, which mean high humidity - at least for today. I am hoping tomorrow is a bright sunny day and we can take a ride to the coast.

I am listening to the Glee cast - inspired by Tiffany Windsor's blog post for today. I am a big fan of music, musicals - I am a G(l)eek and proud of it. Crafting - well - I've "dabbled" but I am gathering courage for an online class coming up. I'll be taking another online class after that. I feel like a kindergartner at times (my skill level that is) but I think that's sometimes fun too. Who wouldn't want to be a 5 year old at times in a 52 year old body LOL? I am at the age where I am who I am and if you like me accept me for who I am and who I can possibly be in the next 30 years.

I've read about a lot of people that have had great accomplishments after age 50 and I am trying to visualize myself publishing an article/book/whatever to try and help someone, to discover something new and useful to someone:

at age 50:

Hermann Hesse wrote Steppenwolf, which dealt with man's double nature.

Leo Tolstoy, horrified by the meaninglessness of existence, considered suicide, and finally turned to the simple faith of the peasants.

P. L. Guinand, a Swiss inventor, patented a new method for making optical glass.

The philosopher Plotinus was finally persuaded by his students to write down his ideas, published as The Enneads.

Samuel Adams directed the Boston Tea Party.

Barbra Streisand won a 10-year film and recording contract estimated at $60 million.

Mary Dixon became a pilot at the age of 50, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Earl Vickers got married. The day included a string quartet performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody," a performance by an improv group, and a song he wrote for his wife.

Terri Tapper became the oldest female certified kiteboard instructor in the USA (and possibly the world).

Larry Silverman of Ballston Lake, NY, achieved his 3rd-degree black belt in karate.

At age 55:

Painter Pablo Picasso completed his masterpiece, Guernica.

Italian physicist Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic cell.

Richard Daniel Bass reached the summit of Mount Everest.

Walter Cronkite broadcast two special reports on Watergate, for the first time putting the story clearly before the American public.

Ella T. Grasso became the first woman to become an American governor on her own, not as the wife of a previous incumbent.

Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, which publicized the indiscriminate use of pesticides and helped rally support for environmental protection

At age 60:

Playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw completed a play, "Heartbreak House," regarded by some as his masterpiece.

Italian sculptor, painter, playwright, draftsman and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini began designing churches.

Ann Roberts retired from 30 years of driving an 18-wheeler, changed jobs to tax preparer and also sales rep for a tractor/bush hog company. She square dances evenings and weekends. She is a grandmother of 4 and is still working.

Frieda Birnbaum became the oldest woman in the U.S. to give birth to twins.

At age 70:

Benjamin Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence.

Businessman Cornelius Vanderbilt began buying railroads.

French actress Sarah Bernhardt had a leg amputated but refused to abandon the stage.

Justice John W. Sirica heard the Watergate case.

Judy Brenner, who had recently run the Boston Marathon, chased a teenage shoplifter 100 feet and helped hold him until police arrived.

At age 80:

Jessica Tandy became the oldest Oscar recipient for her work in Driving Miss Daisy.

George Burns became the second oldest Oscar recipient for his work in The Sunshine Boys.

American writer and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes published "Over the Teacups," which displayed his characteristic vitality and wit.

Christine Brown of Laguna Hills, California flew to China and climbed the Great Wall.

Paul Newman earned an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for "Empire Falls" in 2005.

Dick Van Dyke appeared in the movie, "A Night at the Museum."

Sir George Martin (along with his son Giles) co-produced the Beatles' album "Love," the soundtrack to a Cirque du Soleil play.

At age 90:

Chagall became the first living artist to be exhibited at the Louvre museum.
Pablo Picasso was still producing drawings and engravings.

Chemist Paul Walden was still giving chemistry lectures.

By the way - if you care or know someone with fibromyalgia please take the Pledge to Care at the National Fibromyalgia Association website.

Thanks so much for reading this - I appreciate it.

Fun/interesting links I know of have visited:

queen size mattress anyone - they are LOVELY!

kids being kids (I DID cut my hair but hey it grows back LOL)

an online sketchpad

learn just about anything online

and finally the class I'm taking:

Fusion Illusion (Friendly Plastic) and polymer clay

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Learning to Live with Pain - and not succeeding very well at it

I've dealt with a lot of physical pain like childbirth, getting a liver biopsy (have you SEEN one of those needles) and a gall bladder attack that was worse than childbirth. Chronic every day pain now that's another matter. I've had pain every single day for the past 5 years. At first it was just being really tired and neck and back pain. I got the name of a chiropractor and was told he didn't do "cracking" which I was grateful for. He did some electrical type work on my back, legs and neck which helped a lot.

I've gone to a chiropractor before and didn't have to go for long. This time around when I got done I would hurt about 2-3 days later, plus I was really tired. I got a memory foam pillow which is wonderful, but I was still tired and achy all over when I have had a full night's sleep.

I then went to a rheumatologist that diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and poly arthritis. I've learned to live with the overall pain with the help of antidepressants and 3 types of pain killers. Painkillers do NOT kill pain LOL. They make it manageable. You don't get "high" from pain medications, they help you get out of bed every day, even if to stumble to the couch. That's one thing I told myself when the pain gets bad - just get out of bed - or I'd never get out. Oh that's another help - we have a sleep number bed and it's great.

I've tried an infrared sauna which helped but getting there was a problem after a while. I've tried massage - the first time was great the second time was awful - I started cramping up! I was stressed to the max taking care of my mother-in-law. I'd like to try it again maybe twice a month. I've tried acupuncture and after 2 sessions a week for 3 weeks the last session hurt so bad I didn't go back, but the first few weeks were great.

I know the weather has a big effect on my pain. I live in Salem Oregon, and for someone with arthritis and fibromyalgia it isn't the best place to be. I know I need warmer, drier weather. I've been in warmer, drier weather down in Tucson Arizona and I felt a LOT better. I still had pain but it was the underlying pain I could live with and walk around with. I still got tired after hardly doing anything but my pain level was lower.

There are things that help me be more comfortable - my heating pad, soft blankets, socks. Biofreeze which comes in a roller form so no stinky mess on your hands LOL. A nice warm bath with some nice smelling bubble bath, bath salts. Our two dogs Curly and Kayonna who lay with me. Kayonna is good at knowing when I'm really hurting, but I don't recommend a chihuahua as a service dog LOL.

My husband Rich does understand my pain, even though sometimes I feel like I'm a burden or ask too much of him at times. He's brought me a fuzzy queen size blanket, socks, my favorite dark chocolate candy. He's also brought me tulips in beautiful colors so I can look at flowers when the weather is dark and rainy. He's brought me a lot of flowers LOL.

I am part of the Chronic Babe Blog Carnival and the question is - OK the question is - What's your laugh-out-loud illness-related experience? For me it was when I was diagnosed with fibro and the doc asked me about sleep - I wasn't getting any LOL. He gave me Tizanidine and said even though it's main purpose was for muscle spasms it was being used for fibro patients for sleep. First night I took it and a half hour later I was OUT. A little while later Rich said I wasn't in bed and wondered where I was. I was on the toilet - SOUND ASLEEP!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And Speaking of "Invisible" Illness . . .

Today is May 2nd and yesterday was the start of Mental Health Month. I'd like to get the word out for people to understand that mental illness does not mean "crazy". I've dealt with mental health issues in my family, then my husband, and then myself.

My mom is a daughter of an abusive alcoholic and has had anxiety, agoraphobia, depression off and on since I can remember. She hid it well, but I do remember medications she's taken, visits to the ER thinking she had cancer (her mother was sick at the time). She stopped taking those medications and is trying to go with just over the counter and supplements.

My husband Rich served in Vietnam, but wasn't diagnosed with PTSD until about 30 years later. Post traumatic Stress Disorder is a common anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.

When I met Rich I didn't realize he had a heavy drinking problem or what some people would call "self-medicating". He didn't know what was wrong with him so he drank to quiet the hidden memories of Vietnam. He was in the Navy at the time and went for 6 weeks to Navy rehab. He was ok for a while, until he went through Desert Storm. He came back and things weren't the same with us. He got really depressed, angry at little things. He checked himself into the Naval Hospital in San Diego.

After leaving the Navy we moved from San Diego to Salem. We went through 10 years of counseling, Rich being misdiagnosed with clinical depression, bipolar disorder with medications to go with each disorder. He checked himself into the mental hospital because he wanted to commit suicide. That was really scary because we had several guns in the house. I hid the guns and told him he needed to sell them, and he did.

He went to the VA center here in Salem and talked to a counselor there, who also was a Vietnam veteran. It finally started making sense to Rich - he had PTSD from Vietnam. I learned all I could from the Internet, talking to other veterans wives online. He's had hypnosis from another counselor that specializes in PTSD, and now Rich talks about how he's feeling, the nightmares he's had for years. He can talk about things more often now, but we still have our times dealing with his depression.

I've dealt with anxiety and depression when I was stressed about Rich's situation, trying to work a stressful job, and raising our daughter Amy. I felt like I was walking on eggshells with Rich because I didn't know from one minute to the next what kind of mood he would be in. I know my daughter dealt with her own feelings and acted out as a teenager - drinking, taking drugs, ditching school. I felt very guilty that I didn't do enough when she was a teen, but she says she's forgiven me. I hope by talking to her she'll be able to find the tools to cope with depression and anxiety, which she has also.

At one point I hoped that I wouldn't have to take antidepressants any more. I was off of them for a while until I had my first ever physical about 5 years ago. I was told through my blood tests I had Hepatitis C. To me it was just a name of a disease - I didn't know what it was, how you get it, etc. Of course I hit the Internet again, talked to others that had Hep C and others going through different stages of liver disease. I was told before and during treatment for it I needed to take antidepressants since the medication gave you suicidal thoughts. I was able to get off them after I had treatment lasting 6 months. About 6 months later I sprained my ankle badly and a little after that I had really bad neck and back pain and I was tired all the time. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia with poly arthritis. I didn't get on antidepressants even though I was told when you have a chronic illness there is depression. A short time later I started getting really angry about little things. I went to the doctor for antidepressants and have been on them ever since.

My next post will be part of the Chronic Babes Blog Carnival! I missed the last one due to computer problems but this one I'm in it YAY!

Here are some links related to mental health: