The content in this blog is based on my experiences and the guidance I have received from my Care Team determined by my individual and evolving needs. Before beginning, trying, or experimenting with anything mentioned in this blog, you

Friday, July 29, 2011

10 Low Budget Things to do to make summer fun

10 Low Budget Things to do to make summer fun

1. Carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks. Nothing better then spending the day eating corn dogs, smelling cotton candy, and riding thrilling roller coasters!  Early in the mornings or later in the evenings are the best times for me, it tends to be less hot and sometimes you can have less of a crowd.  

2. When the temperatures start soaring, nothing feels better than running through a cold sprinkler, fountain or fire hydrant.

3. Go to the beach. Swim in the water, build sand castles, play with a beach ball, sun-bathe and have LOTS of fun!  Most people forget about their local lakes, rivers, and harbors - some offer a swimming area and a sandy beach.

4. Go rollerblading, swimming, biking, or skateboarding – anything you enjoy.  (Personally I look for a rocking chair or swing in the shade.)

5. If you hear the music from the ice cream truck, go and get some!

6. Have a campfire and make s’mores!

7. Windy day?  Fly a kite!

8. Go camping in your backyard. Sleep under the stars with your friends, and sing campfire songs or tell stories.

9. Grab your water guns, water balloons, buckets, hoses and whatever you’ve got…and have a water FIGHT!

10. Go to the nearest park and have a picnic with your pals. Ride the slides, hop on the swings, play Frisbee and take a whirl on the merry-go-round.

Special Thanks to Yahoo Blog!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Picture of me!

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

Day Ten:  One Photo of you

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Two Recipes

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

Day Nine: Two Recipes!
These are two of my "go to" recipes for when I'm having a fibro day.  Its very little cooking, easy peasy, throw together delicious.  And they can be converted into a healthier option!

Fibro Friendly Chicken Salad 
Yield: 6 cups of chicken salad.
  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast
  • 1 red apple and 1 granny smith apple (doesn't matter which kind of apples, as long as there are 2)
  • touch of lemon juice
  • 1 cup sliced, seedless grapes
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup Craisins
  • ½ cup to 1 cup of light mayonnaise (to taste)
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped (or can use toasted slivered almonds)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chop both apples into small cubes, and place into a bowl. Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of lemon juice over apples, this will help them from turning brown. Add chopped chicken, chopped celery, grapes and craisins. Mix well. Add 1 cup of light mayonnaise, and stir well. Depending on how the salad is coated, you may want to add an additional 1/2 cup of light mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Allow flavors to marry in the refrigerator in a covered container for about an hour before serving.

I love it on bread, toast, crackers, and even just with a spoon some days!

Fibro Friendly Chicken Alfredo

  • 1 lb dry pasta, any kind
  • 1 ½ cup Alfredo sauce (small jar) 
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breasts
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to instructions.
2.  Steam broccoli according to instructions.
3.  Drain pasta. 
4.  Drain broccoli.
5. Combined cooked pasta, Alfredo sauce, chicken breast, and broccoli. 
6.  Heat and serve.  Flavor with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Three Pretties

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

Day Eight: Three Pretties!

my Fibro pretties:

my everyday pretties:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Four Tips

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

Day Seven: Four Tips

Learn to listen to your body.  I think the hardest thing about having fibromyalgia is not the pain, discomfort, low immune, or even the hot flashes... it is that so many people, even respected medical professionals, do not believe in it!  I have been told that my solution lies in a husband, a makeover, a new job, and that I would find healing if I moved to another state.  

Accept that sometimes, everyone needs help.  In the beginning of my illness, I was embarrassed to use a handicapped parking place on a bad fibro day.  I knew in my head that it was ok because I needed to be closer, but I was humiliated with the thought of someone seeing me using it... until a good friend pointed out to me that it might be even more embarassing for someone to find me passed out in the middle of the parking lot or clutching to a stray buggy as I grew violently sick by pushing myself... Now I park in those places and consider myself blessed to be allowed that support when I need it. 

Embrace who you truly are, down in your soul.  And do not let anything or anyone change that. Having an invisible illness is extremely difficult, it can be frustrating, exhausting, and has made me question my very sanity at times... but I was blessed in that I have an amazing support system that always brings me back around to being me. Quote of the day - "Let your smile change the world, but don't let the world change your smile!"  

Keep some sort of record/journal, for the good days and the bad.  Some place where you can be 100% brutally honest about how you feel and the thoughts that keep you company...  I have discovered a lot of strength and learned a bit more of myself by being able to go back and read some of my previous entries.  

Bonus Tip:  Like it or not, this is the new you... take the time you need to learn to love yourself and it is ok to grieve for the abilities you may have lost... The important thing is not to dwell on this loss, but to pick up and keep moving forward.  

Just Keep Swimming

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Five Quotes

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all. ~ Bambi

Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable. ~ The Wizard of Oz

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. ~Unknown

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in. ~ Secondhand Lions

Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that count. That's when you find out who you are. ~Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Bonus Quote:
Be the change you want to see in the world. ~Gandhi

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

But You Don't Look Sick: Sick Humor: Re-Finding the Funny
Sharing a bit of something that has truly made me laugh on a day I needed it the most.  The deeper into the article you read, the funnier they get!   I think my favorite is When 'Spray Tans Attack' which perfectly sums up why I am hesitant to trying a spray tan. 

Sick Humor: “Re-Finding” The Funny

We have forgotten how to laugh.

There. I said it. Not that I can blame a single one of us. Let’s face it, when you wake up, throw your leg off the bed and hear it echo in the room like a creaking door in a 1950’s horror flick, the giggle factor isn’t really at an all time high. I don’t think any of us can say that we even crack half a smile until at least a quarter past noon and a third of a way through that third cup of coff….uhhhh, I mean apple juice. (in case any non-specific rheumatologists that may or may not live in the southeastern part of North Carolina that may or may not have recently reamed me up and down for excessive caffeine usage are paying attention….I most definitely do not abuse the java bean. And I most definitely do NOT have my fingers crossed behind my back, either.)

I get it, the pain, the stiffness, the aches, the swelling, the rashes, the doctors, the needles, the hospitals, the pills, the pills, the pills, oh the pills. Say the whole spiel enough times and you automatically start laughing…but not so much of the “ha-ha” kinda laugh as the “try on this new designer jacket with the sleeves that have ties” kinda laugh. At the end of our day, we are hard pressed to find something humorous in the entire time we spent awake just trying to make it to the next hour without killing someone in the process. How can we fight the neverending battle to just stay vertical during the day and at the same time find something funny about it?

Simple. Just stop and take a good look around. If you truly step beyond your world and view it from the outside looking in, you will find the hilarity in situations you never imagined were the least bit funny before. Inside our box, the everyday happenings we experience are routine. To general society, our normal is chocked full of sit-com and reality show gold. What is our normal would leave even the most outlandish Saturday Night Live writer scratching their head and wondering where we come up with our material.

I’m guilty of seeing the glass not only half empty, but seeing that the glass hasn’t been washed in 3 days and is sitting on a counter that’s covered with stains that seem to have fossilized overnight. But if I’ve realized anything during this autoimmune roller coaster I unknowingly boarded ten years ago, it’s that life with chronic illness is not normal and for better or worse, it will never be normal again. That’s it. That’s the facts, ma’am. So, I have two choices; I can go through life thinking everything sucks, everyone sucks and everyplace I go sucks (I’m going for a theme here, in case you can’t tell…) or I can at try to find at least one thing a day in this crazy life of mine that is worth a little peeing in the pants giggle. (Sorry folks, after four abdominal surgeries, the old bladder ain’t what she used to be…just keepin’ it real).

Still don’t believe me? Don’t think there’s absolute hilarity in everyday life?

Exhibit A ~ Freak Earthquakes in Southeastern North Carolina

You know what I’m talking about…those moments where you are walking along, perfectly normal, when out of nowhere, the core of the earth spontaneously shifts causing the floor to move sideways and the walls to tilt at a 45 degree angle? Yeah those moments. I like to refer to them as freak earthquakes. However, we, as very sensitive and in tune individuals, can detect such a phenomenal disturbance in the force much deeper than the average person…so much more than they can barely even feel it. Some might say that they don’t even feel it…or see it at all. They may even question us as we fail our arms out for any sturdy piece of furniture or human limb to hold onto as the freak earthquake makes its presence known…just like the boy scouts, we’ll be prepared when the big one hits and they will have absolutely no wall grabbing expertise to fall back on. Until that point, always carry a pen with you so that under extremely intense scruinty you can throw it on the floor, point at it dramatically and spend the next 10 minutes on a rant about the dangers of office products and work place accidents.

Exhibit B ~ I have a Coffee Pot and Staples…Where’s The Mailroom?

Ahhh yes, the proverbial office scavenger hunt for one…only the key player had no idea she was playing. It starts off in my office…I have to get some file folders to bring upstairs, so I set out on my journey, my trusty phone always in my hand. Along the way, my senses get the distinct aroma of fresh brewed coffee. Yum…can’t pass that up, and I’m right here at the break room, so might as well just pour a small cup. Oh look, here are Bob and Sue…haven’t seen them in a few days, so catching up is a must. Before we know it, we have finished the pot of coffee…how rude of us! Common workplace courtesy says that we should fill it back up, but tap water sucks, I should go fill it up with the water cooler down the hall….so off with the coffee pot, I go. Going through the mail room, I see the supply of staples…crap, I’ve been meaning to get some of those for a while. Can’t hurt to snag some. Uh-oh, no hands left…no problem, that’s what cleavage is for…one package of staples, down the shirt…classy. I turn back around and stare at the post office meter like it held the answer to world peace. I have a coffee pot in one hand, phone in the other and a double pack of staples stuffed down my bra, standing in the middle of the mailroom with NO clue where in the hell I was going in the first place. Some call it “brain fog”, some call it “fibro fog”, I just call it “dumbass daze”.

Exhibit C ~ What The Hell Do You Mean That Was Just The Warm Up?

Now the funniest thing about this whole paragraph is that I am (ok, used to be…) a fitness instructor. As recent as a year ago, I could put on a microphone, pop in a CD and make you sweat so bad, you wish you could sneak up behind me and tase me into unconsciousness. But now, I’m one of you and I’m on the other side of the proverbial fence, so to speak. I popped an aerobics DVD into the player the other day and thought, “no problem…I’m a pro at this, piece of cake.” Five minutes into it, I was sweating like I had been air dropped into the pit of hell and gasping for every breath like it was my last on earth. The perkiness of the instructor made me want to throw my pill bottles at the tv… “c’mon! You can do it! Get that leg up higher! Higher!” Higher? Look lady, my foot is 3 inches off the floor, that’s a victory in my book so shut your face and take Brady Bunch factor down a notch. At the end, I was dying, my shirt drenched and I felt like someone had my lungs in a vice grip….but I had done it, I didn’t give up. I stayed with it and put my body to the test. I was feeling rather smug until in the middle of my self-congratulatory celebration, the DVD kept rolling… “Now, that we’re all warmed up, it’s time to really work out! Ready?”

Hell no. I have three words for you, sweetheart…



Anyways, I never did finish the DVD. I have a low tolerance for perky these days.

Exhibit D ~ When Spray Tans Attack

I can laugh at this now. Now…the operative word is, NOW. It wasn’t too damn funny at the time and sometimes I still have nightmares about it but I will tell my story in hopes that I maybe I can save just one person from being visciously attacked like I was. As with most autoimmune disorder sufferers, I cannot tan. The sun and artificial sun do crazy things to my skin and send me into a flare in the blink of an eye. So, this year, I decided the logical solution was spray tanning. Although I was nervous, I carefully listened to the demonstration and the first few times of doing it, it went smoothly and I admit…I got cocky. One day I stepped into the spray tanning booth, faced forward as the recorded voice instructed, then upon the command, turned to the right and assumed the “Heisman” pose. Then it happened. It was worst thing that could have ever happened. Standing there in a tanning booth with nothing on but a shower cap.…..vertigo. Oh yes, vertigo hit, I got the spins and BAM…down I went. The whole thing only lasted a few seconds, but spray tan machines wait for no one and as I tried to pick myself back up, I wobbled and fell forehead first, right in the direct line of fire of the evil spray. Screaming out, “ahhhh, I’ve been hit!!!” I flailed about, trying to get my bearings which only succeeded in created an accidental “arc” of the spray nozzle, hitting me directly in the throat. This, of course caused me to instinctively throw my arms out, palms first to block the offending spray, coating both palms with a nice golden brown hue. I will spare the rest of the details but needless to say, the next morning after the “color” had all developed and appeared, I looked like some sort of science experiment from the Coppertone institute.

These are just a few example of the insanity that have happened to me along the way. There is so much pain and sadness that we have to endure in our lives that I have learned to laugh at myself at the worst possible moments. If I don’t laugh then I cry, and I don’t know about you, but I know which one I would rather do. Unfortunately we don’t have a choice in what happens to us sometimes, but each one of us has a choice in how we react to it. For me, even through the constant sickness and pain, laughter is the only thing that keeps me pushing forward and seeing through the darkness. I’m not usually a “quote a famous person” kinda girl, but I’ll leave you with this…it pretty much sums it up for me.

“You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.”
~Bill Cosby

Article written by senior editor, Stephanie Kennedy

Stephanie lives in Fayetteville, NC and is the mother of 3 always hyperactive and occasionally adorable children. She was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in 2001 and in the time since has added Scleroderma, Hashimotos, Celiac and Degenerative Disc Disease. In her day-to-day life she is a Community Relations Specialist (aka, marketing and creative hodgepodge facilitator) and a part-time blogging snarkzilla. She can always be found somewhere in social media-land causing some sort of trouble. Find her on twitter at @steph_in_nc or on facebook at Stephanie Welborn Kennedy.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Six Supportive Sites

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

Day 5: 6 Support Sites

My number one go-to website for information is the Mayo Clinic.

I also like to touch base with the National Fibromyalgia Association.

I also like to read blogs written by others with chronic illnesses. This reassures me that not only am I not alone, but that truly living is possible.

For those who are in search of an online support group, MD Junction offers numerous online groups for various diagnosis. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Seven Movies I Love

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

Day 4:  Seven Movies I love, in no particular order. 

Click on the movie name to get the Internet Movie Database Information on that particular movie. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Eight Songs Off My Life's Soundtrack

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

Day 3: Eight Songs that truly mean something to me or touch me in some way.  At first this entry was a little overwhelming, trying to think of eight songs by different artists that I wanted to showcase...and then it was trying to cut it down to only eight!  So I went through my collection and these are the eight I wanted to present with this blog challenge. 

In no particular order, I present... eight songs that speak to me. 

I absolutely love this song! I can turn this on, sit back, close my eyes and breath... the song takes me away to a calm quiet peaceful place...

Kenny Chesney: Old Blue Chair.

This is definitely one of my favorite summer songs! Whenever I hear it, I start to smile and even laugh a little.

Craig Morgan: Redneck Yacht Club

This song reminds me that life is all a matter of perspective, we all have a purpose for being in this life... It just takes patience and an open mind to discover it. 

Martina McBride: God’s Will

Who can hear this song and NOT dance or at least sing along?  

Sister Sledge: We Are Family

This song really touches my heart... I don’t want to take anything or anyone for granted, because we are not promised another day. It’s important to me, that those I care about know that I care about them... I don’t want anyone who means something to me to ever wonder if I cared… This song means so much more to me since my Dad passed suddenly..

Garth Brooks: If Tomorrow Never Comes

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies, by one of my favorite artists.

Ray Charles: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This is a very powerful song… I want to live my life as though it were my last day on earth… I want to dedicate this song to my beautiful sister Jennifer... Living with no regrets, no fear.

Tim McGraw: Live Like You Were Dying

No matter where I am where I hear this song, it gives me a smile and makes me want to dance!

Michael Franti & Spearhead: Say Hey (I Love You)

Bonus Song! 
Zac Brown Band: Knee Deep (Featuring Jimmy Buffett)

What songs are you secret weapon against chronic pain?  Read about mine, here

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sickie Challenge: Fibro Friendliness in Nine Products

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here.

Nine Products that Make my Life Fibro-Friendly

1. Handheld showerhead – for days that I need a hot water massage on my back or am too sore to bend very much.  I love how independent I feel using the hand held, even on bad pain days.

2. Crest Spin brush – for days my shoulders/hands/back hurts too bad to brush my teeth on my own.

3. Easy Feet foot scrubber/massager – This feels amazing no matter how I’m feeling! Sitting on the side of the tub, this dandy little thing scrubs my feet from tiptoes to the back of my heel.  Absolutely worth more than the $10 that it sells for!!

4. Blackberry / Google Calendar – Not only does this keep up with work deadlines, family birth dates, and my schedule, it also keeps me in contact with my coworkers, family, and friends via text messages, twitter, facebook, email, etc. I feel totally lost without my blackberry.

5. Icy Hot Spray and Banana Boat's Spray on Sunscreen – Thank God for these inventions!  I am single, so I don't have the helpful hands of a spouse at my disposal when it comes to either putting on soothing muscle rub on my aches and pains, or even protecting my skin in those places pain will not let me reach with sunblock.  While some say aresol sprays are bad for the environment, they are a welcomed assistance in my world.  

6. Canvas Tote Bags for groceries – Find out more here

7. Facial Wipes – I try to be as skin-health conscious as possible, which includes not going to sleep with a dirty face. This wipes are a blessing! Even on bad days, I can save some pain by cleaning my face with a wipe.

8. Electric Blanket – I’m a good sized girl, tall and curvy. So an average heating pad will not cut it during muscle spasms that last all night long. I have discovered that an electric blanket is an excellent alternative!

9. Post it Notes – Fibro fog anyone? These little miracles save my life at work! This may not be a product I use at home very often but from grocery lists to reminding me to stop by the bank, they are amazing!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sickie Challenge: My Bucket List

Thank you Monique for developing the 10 Day Sickie Challenge! For more information on how you too can take part in this experience, get more information here

10 Things I want to do before I die: My Bucket List

1. Fall in love
2. Get a tattoo
3. Learn to French braid my hair
4. Learn how to burlesque dance
5. See Kenny Chesney in concert
6. Become more fluent in ASL
7. See Jimmy Buffet in concert
8. Spend more time in the Caribbean
9. Learn about Reflexology
10. Make a quilt

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer Sickness Treated by A Good Laugh

It's hard to believe that it's already one third of the way through July.  The last few days have drug by, I'm the lucky woman in possession of an upper respiratory infection during the summer!  Oh and as an added bonus, I have laryngitis also. 

I started getting sick yesterday at work, feeling congested and losing my voice.  Last night, I ached all over and was severely fatigued... but with fibromyalgia that isn't anything new.  This morning, I woke up with a fever, completely horse, wheezing with a bad cough.  So a quick four hour trip to a Doc-in-a-box confirmed that yes I am sick.  So glad I paid $25 to discover the obvious.  Yuck. 

Needless to say, I'm exhausted and thought instead of detailing my illness I would provide you with something that happened today with my gorgeous sister... I have laughed all day over it, yes it penetrated the sick fog to give me a happy heart. Take a moment and read about this event.  Be prepared to laugh until your face hurts!

Trust me, her story is much funnier and more interesting than mine.  I'm still laughing about it.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Laugh Alert: 8 Inventive Ways to Beat the Heat

Sometimes while I am researching a thought/topic for a post, I run across some crazy stuff.  Normally I brush over it with a smile but this one truly made me laugh!  So I thought I would share it with you!  

If you would like my thoughts on beating the heat, please check out my post called Sweaty Spoonie Cheating the Heat!

The complete truth is that after reading the suggested list (first link), I want to say that a man wrote it... looking at ways number: 1, 3, and 6. lol  But I could be wrong.  (Sorry about that sexist joke, read the list and you will see what I mean!)

* Note: Please do not consider this to be my advice or even my suggestions, this just made me laugh. However, if you experiment with these suggestions, leave a comment to let me know how they worked! lol * 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Even though it has been a crazy summer so far, its always good to take some family time out to honor the freedom of our nation.  I have always loved the 4th of July - but this year I wasn't feeling much like celebrating.  Mom's been sick, I've been overworked, and its wicked hot.  However, when my Uncle invited us out to his campsite on the river - how could we say no? 

Grilled hotdogs, deer meat burgers, cold orange crush, walking down to the beach with my niece, and an amazing boat ride later.... I was beaming from ear to ear with the hottest holiday of the year.  I didn't even need fireworks :)  But I did party a little with one of the best ice cold margaritas I've had in a very long time.

The absolute best part was having that time with my family and friends, having fun outside, grilling, being on the water, the beautiful scenery and the breeze... I am truly blessed. 

Happy Birthday America!  

Thank God for family, friends, boats, and tequila!   

God Bless our Troops!

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