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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Slipped my Mind

Today has been an ok day, I’m not feeling the best. A bit of a fibro flare up, more of a brain foggy fatigued slow motion kind of morning than anything with a lot of high pain. One of those times when it feels like your head is under water and you can’t really understand exactly everything someone is saying to you but you can kind of get the jist of it? The brain fog is the hardest symptom for me, I can be in the middle of a sentence and completely lose my train of thought. Or my brain will kind of hiccup and I can see an item in my head and cannot bring myself to say the name of it or I can't think of what to call it.  Thank goodness for my stint in American Sign Language because I usually end up using the sign and making sound effects to communicate what I'm talking about.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fog with a side of Hurricane

Sophia Petrillo isn’t the only one who has gotten more intuitive about the weather.  I have been having a flare-up over the last few days, muscle pain/cramps, joint stiffness, and swelling.  I have had worse flares, so I am still thankful that I am off work this weekend so I can rest.  Even with the muscle cramps that bring tears, I am still very blessed.  Especially considering that this weekend, as I am writing this, Hurricane Irene  is having her way along the North Eastern seacoast of the US.  The people receiving her wrath are in my prayers, my heart goes out to those families who are losing everything...

I have been in a hurricane once in my life, and trust me it was more than enough of an experience.  Granny and I were on a cruise ship near the Bahamas when Hurricane Wilma hit in 2005.  What surprised me more than anything about the storm, wasn’t the force of the rainy wind or the violent way the ocean threw the boat around – but the drastic drop in temperature!  At this point, I had not experienced the traumatic event that triggered my fibromyalgia, so I was chronic illness free!  Perhaps I should have taken the storm interrupted vacation as a sign, because shortly after, my life changed forever.

Growing up, my grandparents were able to predict the weather.  Later on in life, my Dad was always accurate when it came to spotting a cold front on its way here.  As an adult with a chronic illness, I can put my hat in the ring for knowing when changes in temperature are approaching and not only can I smell the rain, I can feel it ten miles away. 

Sorry this post is a little rabbit-chasing, but this flare has definitely brought its share of brain fog. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Natural Pain Relievers

Over the last few months I have began to look forward to the newsletters in my inbox from IVillage.  This morning, I was very happy to see an email about relieving pain naturally.  I'm up for anything (at least once) so I thought I would browse through and share some of the highlights here.

The first option was Yoga for pain relief.  The article mentions a lot of different types of pain, from hangovers to pms to sinus pressure.  For me, what helps the most are the anxiety breathing and backache poses.  I'm not flexible AT ALL (picture the Tin Man when he started getting oiled, that would totally looked like me if I stopped coloring my grey!) and yet I found a way to do these positions comfortably.   

The next option was 20 Natural Pain Remedies from your Kitchen.  I have to admit that at first I wasn't too impressed with what it offered, but when I seen that ‘fresh pineapple daily can cut painful bloating within 72 hours’ that definitely got my attention!  As anyone who takes Neurotin will tell you, I'm bloating up like a fish!  And I love fresh pineapple, so if it works it will be win-win!  

Another thing that I do to ease my pain is try to distract my mind away from it.  It isn't always easy.  The newsletter had an  article, Surprising Ways to Ease Pain, lists some of my favorite methods of  redirecting my attention away from the pain.

What do you do to ease your pain?  Do you have any natural or mental tricks?  Please share your experiences in the comments below!

Monday, August 22, 2011

If I Only Had a Cure - Need Creative Help

I need your help!
I need your creativity!

Readers, near and far, let's join together and have a little fun with Chronic Illnesses for a change!  Help me rework a classic in the style of 
If I only had a Cure!

Since the brain, heart, and courage are verses to the same song, you can use whichever inspires you to rework it. 

Email your lyrics here or leave them in the comments!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Extra Extra - Read All About It!

The headline should read:  
Fibromyalgia hits Amber!

Yes, that would make me the person stuck under the house.  No that doesn't make me a bad witch, but I am less friendly on higher pain days. 

This time around, I have been more emotional than I have been in previous flare-ups.  I have been stressing much easier over small things that normally would not even phase me.  In the past, my medication helps me sleep a little less restlessly, but this current flare-up is an exception.  

The Fibro-House may have fallen on me, knocked me down, and delayed my plans of world domination (haha) but as you can see in the picture, I am still ROCKING those ruby slippers!  My condition may be able to take me down or push me around, but I will continue to sparkle and shine.... even if it is a little less brightly. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Win a FREE Acupressure Mat from Always Sick Chick

A twitter friend of mine, Always Sick Chick, is having an amazing giveaway!  She shared on her blog about her experience with one of those fancy smancy Heavenly Acupressure Mats that I've been hearing about.  Let's just say I couldn't read her review fast enough!  Not only did she say that it helped (YAY it might help me!) but she is also giving away one for absolutely FREE!  How great is that?!  Woohoo  
Click on the link below to share in her experience with the mat and enter for a chance to win your own, for FREE!  Everything's better when its FREE! lol

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark.  - Anonymous
Not feeling that great today, intense muscle pain/cramping, stiff joints, dizzy and headachey.  Still hoping that the weekend will improve, tomorrow I will feel better... I hope.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Attempting a Mental Escape

Like many others with chronic illnesses, I am struggling to make it from day to day.  Juggling responsibilities, trying to manage my care, racing home to try and rest/relax before the next round that begins the following morning.  As others may or may not know, stress can make a chronic illness (like fibromyalgia, lupus, diabetes, PCOS, etc) worse.  All of which are ganging up on me.   

Once upon a time (in college) I studied meditation and it helped manage my stress (and relax me) tremendously.  Today I find myself reaching back into my memory to try and bring some of that calm to today’s storm. 

First thing I tried was closing my eyes, taking several slow deep breaths.  I imagined my worries/problems leaving my body with each deliberate and slow exhale.  Blowing out my worries over money, my fear of not doing well at work, etc...  Each breath in, I imagine a warm light that fills my entire body, slowly at first, pushing out the darkness that symbolizes discord.  Picturing negativity leaving my body each time I expel the breath from my lungs, leaving more room for the calm. 

Go ahead and try it, I’ll wait.

Are you back?  How did it feel?  Did it help?  Normally it works for me, but today not-so-much.  So then I thought I would add the muscle relaxation technique I learned. 

Starting at the toes, squeeze your toe muscles tight for a few seconds (I tend to do 5-10 seconds) then relax them.  (I try incorporate the breathing technique here too, squeezing muscles as I breathe in and relaxing them with each exhale).  Move on up to your feet muscles, squeeze and hold for a few seconds.  This goes on up the body, from muscle group to muscle group, so on and so on.  For me, it ends in a slow circling of the neck, rotating from left to right then right to left.  Most of the time, if the breathing imagery doesn’t work this will work.

Not today.

So taking it a step further, I began to try and convince my senses that I was on a hiatus.  One of my favorite “go to places” for a mental vacation is the farm I grew up on as a child.  I imagine myself laying in the crisp grass, a gentle breeze arousing a dance of tree limbs and calming caress of my hair against my forehead.  I remember the scent of the corn and tomatoes that lingered that summer, the harvest coming soon, everything in full bloom.  If I listen close I can hear my Grandfather talking to the cattle as he goes about to check on th---good grief!  What is that?  Something is biting my back – please don’t be a tick.  Squirming and reaching around me to scratch at that place – dang Fibro and your nerve twitching!  ~Ugh!~  Fibro even distracts me from a mental vacation!

Lets try my second favorite spot, the beach.  Small splashes of salt water on the breeze that sweeps across the ocean, cool kiss of it upon my skin.  Warm sand shifts beneath me with each lick of the surf that comes up over my toes, color of my polish glitters beneath the foamy surf under the bright sun.  I love the smell of sunscreen as it dances with the distinctive aroma of saltwater.  Quiet chatter of children building sand castles in the distance, as I become lost in the tide.  Breathing in time with the roll of the ocean, feeling my body grow heavier and heavier... anchored in the tranquility of the – that almost worked but I think I took it a little far.  Face is feeling warm, color rushing to my cheeks as the fibro delivers on a headache strong enough to rip me from the beach! 
Ok, switching tactics.  

Stretching.  When I was getting regular massages I used to stretch a lot and it helped me relax.  Let’s try that!  I’m going to walk around a bit, using this opportunity to stretch my large muscle groups and then try my smaller muscle groups when I get back. 

I’m back!  What began as an (imaginary) errand turned into about 25 minutes of power walking.  The more I thought, the faster I walked.  The more I stressed, the harder I stomped.  The more I worried, the more I pumped my arms.  Ooohh!  This seems to help!  I’m going to take a few minutes and retry the beach scenario now that I have most of my nervous energy out.  

While I’m doing that, here is more information about creating your own mental vacation.  Please take a moment to let me know what you think.  I love getting comments and am interested in your take of things.  Good luck, let me know please in the comments if you found something to work for you and what you thought about it :) 

PS  I think I will play boxing on the wii tonight, it helps me get aggression out safely and might wear me out the rest of the way for some peaceful sleep tonight! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

-beep beep- Coming Through!

Most people who know me professionally will tell you that I am always busy and rarely find myself with very much downtime. Those who know me personally know that I struggle with fatigue. I think that is one of the Fibro symptoms that is the hardest for me to navigate around. Before I started seeing my current PCP (Primary Care Physician) I was going to a doctor more focused on holistic treatment. He suggested that I experiment taking Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10. At the time, I didn’t try them because I had other things going on that I felt would make it hard to judge if they worked or not. 

 About three weeks ago, I touched base with my current Physician- she said she did not feel the supplement would take anything away from my current treatment plans. So I picked up a bottle of CoQ10 liquid caps and thought I would give them a whirl. 

While filling my pill boxes for the week, I added one 100mg CoQ10 pill to each of my morning doses. I could tell a difference almost immediately! Within 30-40 minutes of taking the pill I began to feel more awake and within an additional hour I had more energy than I have had in several days. It was as though I had drunk one of those 5 hour Energy Shot drinks again – except I didn’t crash (mentally) afterwards at all and I didn't talk four-hundred words a minute either! lol  I did, however, get very hungry several hours after taking the supplement. Over the last three weeks I have learned that if I eat a good breakfast before taking the CoQ10 I don’t get hungry after.

For me, taking CoQ10 works. I can feel the energy boost for a while too, if I start to pick up my activity later on in the afternoon I can feel that energy surge slowly filtering through my body. I’m kind of kicking myself for not trying it earlier.

As with anything else discussed on this blog, please touch base with your Doctor or Health Provider before altering your routine, medications, etc.

Happy 32!

Happy Birthday to me!
32 years old
Thank you to everyone who has wished me a very happy birthday!  It has been a blessed day, filled with family, friends, laughter, and smiles.  It couldn't get any better than this!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Fitness Pal: Heart Information

Following the lead of my beautiful currently shrinking inspirational sister, Jennifer, I have joined My Fitness Pal in honor of my final day being 31. While my focus this year was more about emotional health, the next year I want to discover a physically healthier Amber.  (Follow Jennifer along her journey.)  My family has gone through some pretty traumatic changes over the last few years and I am going to join my sister in the proactive fight!

So My Fitness Pal had this nifty little heart test thingie and it's pretty interesting.  This is what it says about me:    

Today, your heart will pump around 2,143 gallons (8,101 liters) of blood
In your lifetime, your heart will pump 1.2 million barrels of blood
(that's the equivalent of 3 supertankers)

Your body contains about 5 gallons (19 liters) of blood
This blood circulates through your body 3 times a minute
Your blood travels around 25,956 miles a day (41,763 km)
(roughly halfway around the circumference of the earth)

If you make a fist with your hand, your heart is about this size
(A whale's heart is roughly 400 times this size)

Your entire cardiovascular system, if laid from end to end, 
is over 97,333 miles (156,609 km) long
(that's long enough to wrap around the world more than twice)

Your heart beats approximately 146,111 times a day
(by the time you die, your heart will 
have beat more than 2.5 billion times)

Will beat 146,111 times, pump 2,143 gallons of blood, and push that blood nearly 25,956 miles throughout my body!Created by

What will it say about your heart?
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