Category Archives: Life Altering Conditions

Have a Heart, Give a Gift

Heart disease, not cancer, is the #1 killer of women.  I learned that and other invaluable information on Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters blog.

Over the years I’ve “stolen” and reposted many a wonderful post from Carolyn Thomas.  Her blog, Heart Sisters, has been one of the few I’ve followed for years.  I have forgotten what led me to her blog but once I read both her compelling stories and the up-to-date information on  women’s health, in particular heart disease, I was a Carolyn-groupie.  

Apparently Johns Hopkins was a groupie too when they asked her to write a book on Living with Heart Disease.  My guess is that her down-to-earth writing coupled with up-to-date research and information appealed to Johns Hopkins as much as it did to me.

Here’s just a sample of info found on Carolyn’s blog:

“Did you know: Women generally fare far worse than men after experiencing a cardiac event? One possible reason is that it can be confusing to make sense of warning symptoms when they do hit. Women are also less likely than our male counterparts to seek immediate help at the first sign of cardiac symptoms. Instead, we end up:”

  • toughing them out
  • waiting to see if they go away
  • blaming them on stress, muscle soreness, indigestion or other less serious non-cardiac causes

Read 12 cardiac symptoms women must never ignore

I can’t say enough good things about Carolyn – you’ll have to read her book and her blog to see for yourself what fabulous advocacy and education Carolyn has provided since her own “widow-maker” heart attack. (Full disclosure:  we are not related, I’ve never met her in person, and I don’t get a kick-back!)

Buy a copy and give the gift of life to a woman you love . . . maybe it’s even yourself

Save 20% when you use the code HTWN when you pre-order the book from Johns Hopkins

Order your copy click here:  Johns Hopkins University Press 

Johns Hopkins University Press is the publisher and here’s a fraction of what has been said about Carolyn’s Book:

[A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease] gives women the knowledge they need to become their own advocates in a health care system that continues to be weighted against them.”

“This book brings a needed focus to a leading killer of women today and is a must-read for women and their loved ones.”

“If you are a woman, or love a woman, this is a book for you! Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women. Here is a book focused on women’s cardiovascular health. It is all here—prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Read it for the people you love.”

“This work is an important contribution to the discussion about heart attack and misdiagnosis in women. Thomas’s personal story—alongside the stories of millions of other women—provides a needed reminder of recognizing one’s symptoms, avoiding denial, and seeking medical attention. This elegant book is a unique addition to women’s health books and a necessary read for women and the people who care about them.”

Thank you Carolyn for pushing through your own symptoms to write a book of this magnitude.  

 

Sneek a Peek into my Pooped-out Sketchy Life

I’ve hit a wall – the fibro has flared it’s ornery self and striped me of energy.  My creative output is a bit puny.

The PROBLEM? –  No one can tell and I ain’t getting no sympathy.  I try not to be a whiner because I am sure others are as tired of my being tired as I am. This is the one place I can moan and grown cuz I know most of you won’t read it and are only interested in pictures of nude people . . .

charcoal sketch, 15 minutes

 

My Sketchy Life – hatch, hatched, hatching

Ai yi yiii – ever look up a word in the on-line “Urban Dictionary”?

I looked up “hatch” and was “blown away” by the uses . . . many of which I can not put in print on a G-rated blog . . . most of which I had never heard of nor heard spoken.

Why look up “hatch”, you wonder (or not)?  In art class the focus was on hatching – an art technique where lines are drawn in various forms & intensities to create shapes & shadow.

These two quick sketches were done prior to Easter.   Eureka! I thought: Hatching and eggs were perfect for an Easter blog post.

Then I got “hatched” – another fibromyalgia flare-up and I missed a week’s worth of art classes.

I’m still not feeling good and not pleased health issues keep hatching . . . but this chick got off her fibro-inflated rear and went to class this week.  

HatchVerb – To lose it; to get wound up over something; to be upset.

I’ve been hatching . . .

P.S.  Thanks Peggy A. for doing all the scheduled posting on CATNIPblog!  

Sneak Peek into my sketchy life – not the best . . . not the worst

Had a hard time concentrating and my arms were hurting when I tried to draw.  I’m blaming it on the rain . . .  a convenient fall-guy (pun intended).  When my drawings don’t turn out as well as I would like I usually blame it on the model.  

You can see some of the structure lines & corrections in these 2 minute sketches.

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The model held onto a rope in the poses.  We were suppose to concentrate on the angles.dscn6842

These below were 20 minute poses but I could only draw for about 10 minutes.

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Usually, I use large drawing paper and stand at an easel.  This session I drew on a smaller sketch pad and sat down.  I figured if the model could sit

so could I . . . 

"Excuses, excuses . . . "
“Excuses, excuses . . . “

 

The Queen and me

I admit I’m obsessive about steering clear of people who are sick.  I’ve been “known” to remove my groceries off the counter and go to another check-out if I see a clerk sniffing or coughing.  With fibromyalgia everything lasts longer and is more severe so I go to great lengths to avoid people who even appear to be sick.

My husband caught a cold 2 weeks ago and I’ve assiduously washed everything down – counters, door knobs, light switches and my husband – with disinfectant. 

Turns out I was disinfecting the wrong person.

I woke up yesterday with a scratchy throat, a headache and feeling even less chipper than I usually feel in the morning.

The Queen gave me a cold

How do I know, how am I told?

This cold is a dignified one

no snorting, sniffling nor dripping a ton 

My makeups impeccable, not a hair undone

Despite a sore throat and my throbbing head

staying all day, aching in bed

I shan’t complain

For how often does one contract

 a ROYAL pain.

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Queen is feeling better, says Princess Anne

“But at 90 . . . she is exercising caution as she recovers from a heavy cold which she’s had for at least 12 days, (12 DAYS!!!! ) and which is bound to have left her feeling pretty miserable. (tell me about it).”

“She hasn’t yet had an opportunity to go outside and explore her 20,000 acre private Norfolk estate. (So true, so true)”

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN . . . and me too!

P.S. Wash your hands after reading this post – I’m contagious . . .

 

Here’s looking achoooooooo!

I admit it.  I’m a bit paranoid about catching a cold or the flu.

When I get sick insult is added to injury as my fibromyalgia symptoms flare for weeks after I’ve recovered from the cold. 

I avoid anyone who sneezes, eyes are watery or is coughing.  I’ve moved my groceries from one counter to another to avoid check-out clerks who looked like they are sick and on occasion come home and taken a shower if I THINK I might have been exposed.  

Now I learn it’s possible I’m avoiding  people who aren’t sick,  just afraid, sad or incredibly empathetic!

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Sneezing is “catching,” like a yawn.

“It is true that emotions can affect your nasal membranes. Fear makes them shrink (which can make you sneeze), and sadness makes them swell (which can also make you sneeze.) Though there is conflicting evidence, yawning has been linkedto empathy, and one study showed that psychopaths — people who lack empathy — may even be immune to contagious yawning.”

“If sneezing fits are like yawning fits, does that mean that if we are tuned into others’ emotions, we might sneeze out of sympathy? Though hard evidence is murky, there is some reason to believe that both yawning and sneezing fits may be powered by the mind.”

The article Here’s Looking achoo – debunking the sneeze covers even more:

  • Sneezing is good for the soul
  • Sneezing is bad for the soul
  • If you say “God Bless You,” God might spare you. Or not.
  • Tweezing your eyebrows can make you sneeze.
  • Sneezing always comes in threes.
  • Bright light can make you sneeze.

Read the entire article click HERE.

 

 

Dizzy blond and I ain’t even blond

Friday: Spent all day and evening in the ER.  I was EXTREMELY light-heading, threw up, missed my art class and spent 24 hours in bed thinking I’d feel fine in the morning . . . WRONG.  

Saturday: In the morning the  room was moving and I wasn’t. Every time I moved I threw up and there was nothing to throw-up since I hadn’t eaten anything (You have probably created a nasty picture in your mind . . .  just make it even nastier).  

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Pencil sketch

The ER was even more fun.  Throwing up,  drawing blood, 2 CT scans (to make sure it wasn’t a stroke . . . it wasn’t) and finally, after 4 different anti-nausea medications and drips, I stopped throwing up. 

Sunday: I’m still dizzy and have to hold on to things to walk (it’s a bit wonky to type) but the good news, the GREAT news, is I’ve not thrown up.  The bad news is I’m still dizzy . . .  and  grey-haired.

"Such drama . ."
“If she thinks walking is hard she should try swinging from trees . .”

To my friends and acquaintances who suffer with Ménière’s disease. . . I have new compassion for you!

P.S.  For those of you I confused . .  I don’t have Menieres just plain Ditzy.

 

 

 

Laughter is the best medicine

The weather is changing

my body rearranging

Help! I’m in a fibro flare

Everything hurts

including my hair.

Sharon Bonin Pratt is a writer, an artist and a dear friend.  I think she also is psychic.  I’ve been not feeling great and the subject of her last post was just what I needed.  AND it’s dedicated to ME!!!!  What an honor!

Shari inspired me to look for a smile (SEE THE VIDEO).  

Here’s a sample from Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare:

“Who can laugh without relaxing? Isn’t that why some of us (not me of course, and certainly not you, but other unnamed folks) pee their pants when laughing raucously? Losing all control is not a bad thing, even if you must change your whitie-dities, because when you’re having that much fun – who cares about all the rest? Oh, and it’s contagious! In a good way, not like the flu, but like having enough cup cakes for everyone in the world. So now I not only feel good inside my own world weary bod – I feel good because everyone around me also feels good. Motto for today: Spread cheer – laugh out loud.”

Read her entire post –  Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare

The pinnacle is the climb, not the mountain peak

A lovely reminder of what our souls know but our minds forget.

WORTH WATCHING

Gabrielle Garcia Marquez

Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century and one of the best in theSpanish language, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Adding insult to injury

I woke this morning feeling like a truck hit me, threw me onto the train tracks where I was run over by a locomotive.

AND lo and behold . . .

. . .  today is National Fibromyalgia Day.  I’m in no mood to celebrate but the Fibro-Fiends that dwell inside me are having a ball!

I’m too tired to write an entirely new post to post on this post so I’ll just post part of a post of a post that I posted sometime ago.  . . . .

Judy's Journal, Mixed Media, Collage
judy’s journal, collage

“I look normalI act normal (relatively normal).  However, I feel exhausted much of the time, my body aches from head to toe and my brain sometimes has trouble remembering or concentrating.  Please don’t tell me to exercise more, eat better, try acupuncture or go to a new doctor.  After 20 years I’ve tried just about everything there is to try that I can afford, swallow or legally do.”

“I don’t even care anymore what you call itFibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, malingering . . . it’s just tiring being tired much of the time.  I push through it otherwise I’d have no life.  But the price for pushing can be days of crashing so I pick and choose my commitments.”

There’s a free on-line Fibromyalgia Summit.  If you’re interested in hearing the presentations click here: http://www.healthrising.org/blog/2016/05/11/three-days-may-fibromyalgia-summit-almost/

________________________________

Confidential:  Send me your prayers because tomorrow I’m leaving for an Unitarian Woman’s Retreat where I’m facilitating 2 workshops.  (I am not planning on taking my Fibro-Fiends with me.  Please don’t tell anyone because if the Fiends get wind I want to leave them home they will be angry . . . very angrrrrrrrrry . . .)

Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

Now back to washing the dishes and the soapy water that reminded me to water the flowers in the garden which reminded me about this video . . .

Thanks Sharon M.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is it a good thing . . . or a sign . . . I can no longer remember when my attention deficit was activated . . .?

O’ Woe is Me and my Rule of Halves (parenthetically speaking)

My dear Curious to the Max followers,

I imagine there are millions of you (I have a big imagination) who wait with bated breath and quickening heart beats for my posts – I shall call you Group Numero UNO.  You are keenly aware (due to your breath and heart rhythm) I’ve been bloggingly absent.  The rest of you (group 2, small “g”) are scratching your heads (or other parts) and wondering what I’m talking about because your lives, breath and hearts have gone on nicely without my posting.

For Numero UNO:  I just have lost my mojo, my energy, my focus – not interested in writing, reading, gardening, e-mailing, blog posts started and abandoned . . .  I’m giving credit to a fibromyalgia flare-up because fibromyalgia should be good for something.

For the second group: I am LOST, DEPLETED, SUFFERING and you probably don’t care . . .

On a serious note (not that I wasn’t serious before) fibromyalgia along with many other chronic conditions has a mind of it’s own and takes over at unexpected and unpropitious times.  After over 20 years of living with this condition I’ve still not got the hang of it.  When I feel decent I go, do, get overly involved and then crash for days, sometimes weeks (or months, but who’s counting).

The BACK half
The BACK half

To better manage what energy I have I’ve decided to do half of the ten things I currently need or want to do:

  1. Complete half the alphabet for the on-line daily blogging alphabet posting challenge. (I’ve half a mind not to even do the challenge this year and repost what I wrote LAST year).
  2. Brush half my teeth each day (I’ll alternate halves – half in the morning and half before bed)
  3. Clean and dust the half of the house I can’t reach.
  4. Stop watching the Super Bowl at half-time.
  5. Eat half the pan of brownies I’m making (half today and half tomorrow).

That’s half of my plans so I’m not going to write the other five.  

My New Motto (you can borrow it):

Live half my life with gusto, let the other half rest.

"This woman is half-baked as ever . . . "
“This woman is half-baked”

 

 

 

Frankly Freddie – I found a cure for my human!!!

My Dear Human Beings and other critters,

My human has been too tired to go on walks.  All she wants to do is sit around and I’m getting bored keeping her distracted by petting me.  She blames Fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue but I’ve long suspected that she just needs a new career that is exciting.  I found the perfect cure – FOR EVERYTHING THAT AILS HER .

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The CURE

There’s a woman in England who  (instead of moping around like my human being)  got a pair of feathered fans to do a routine in a bar that was holding a cabaret night.

She said: “It was nerve-wracking but exciting . . .  I felt alive. . . . Even though she’s not completely cured, her chronic fatigue only flares up every two or three months – lasting at most for a couple of days. “

She’s got big plans for the future . . . She said: “I have signed up with the alternative model agency Ugly, in London and hope to start appearing in magazines and adverts.”  (I didn’t tell my human being about “Ugly” because I’m not sure what kind of magazines and adverts want “ugly” . . . )

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

My human thinks all this is just a ploy to get her to take me on walks.  I told her if she didn’t believe me to read this:  

Woman Bedridden With Depression And Fatigue Turns Her Life Around With Burlesque Dancing

 

 

Wired and Weird – Two for the price of one

Have you missed me?  Have you EVEN noticed I’ve not been blogging?  Well, I’ve been mishuga, fermisht and verklempt.

In my never-ending quest to feel better . . .  

The short version: Went to an endocrinologist because I thought some of my exhaustion might be due to an adrenal problem.  They took a quart of my hard-earned blood and I peed in an “orange juice container” for 24 hours to be told my adrenals are fine but I have Hashimoto’s disease.

Whaaaaaaaat???  I’ve never been to Japan and don’t even speak Japanese. Seems my immune system is eating my thyroid all up.  Put me on thyroid medication and said I should have about 20% more energy.  With my continual state of exhaustion 20% sounded good.

Three months later . . .  maybe 10% more energy.  So endo doc suggested I take Topomax, a tried and true medication, that will put my brain into deep sleep (my brain stays in REM sleep and I don’t get restorative sleep – that’s the main reason I’m so exhausted all the time).  I researched it and checked it out with my fibro doctor who said it was worth a try.

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NOT ONLY DIDN’T THE MEDICATION PUT ME INTO deep sleep it didn’t even put me into REM sleep!!!!!  I was up for 3 nights and 3 days.  Couldn’t even nap.  My brain thought it was a stimulant.  I couldn’t think straight, walk straight or talk straight.  I’m just barely beginning to feel normally exhausted.  

I told my fibro doc what happened on the medication.  She gave me a new diagnosis: WEIRD.

Bob Blobfish sez: ". . . I p"
Bob Blobfish sez: “. . . She didn’t have to get THAT diagnosis from a doctor, just ask ANYONE who knows her . . .”

Now that I’ve got your attention . . .

Heart disease

is the NUMBER ONE killer of women.

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Excerpt from HEART SISTERS Most Common Heart Attack Signs:

“These cardiac symptoms often come and go – sometimes over a surprisingly long period of time.  They’re not always severe. We may believe that heart attack chest pain must be described as “crushing”, but it’s often frequently described by women with words like pressure, heavy, burning, full or tight – not “crushing”.”

“Almost 40% of women experience NO CHEST PAIN at all during a heart attack.”

Read the full post here: http://myheartsisters.org/2015/09/20/most-common-heart-attack-signs/

I may have helped save a life today

Thanks to Carolyn Thomas and her excellent blog Heart Sisters I recognized a heart attack in progress.

In my writing class this morning the woman next to me got up unexpectedly and left.  On return she said threw up in the bathroom.  A few minutes later she said she didn’t feel good, hot and sweaty, and thought she should go home.  Something told me to ask her if she had chest pain.  

I interrupted the teacher and privately told him she had heart attack symptoms. He immediately had the facility call 911.  

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The woman kept repeating she was ok, in great health, played tennis 4 times a week, no history of heart disease in the family, ate well and would be fine.  Even after the paramedics came she kept questioning whether she needed to go to the hospital.

Because I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog I know common symptoms for women having a heart attack:

Women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men and may report serious symptoms even before having a heart attack, although the signs are not ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms. These include:”

  • neck, throat, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sweating
  • anxiety or “a sense of impending doom”
  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • unusual fatigue for several days

This woman had three symptoms PLUS, by the time the paramedics arrived, pain radiated to her jaw.

I insisted she go to the hospital and she could blame me if everything was ok.

Everything was not ok.

Click & Read this: Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms

 

 

Coming!!!! Eradication of Disease

I have no question that some day humans will be able to be CURED from disease and illness.  It probably won’t happen in my life time but research is taking huge leaps forward in replacing function, eradicating disease, recreating organs.  It will happen. 

I have two very dear friends one who had a kidney transplant and the other whose husband had a transplant.  The process of getting donors, having to do dialysis and the operation itself was formidable.  This stem-cell research is exciting.  

Stem cell research is incredibly exciting and now here’s the latest application.

Excerpt from full article:

Scientists Grow Primitive Human Kidneys In A Dish

by ROB STEIN

Image of a mini-kidney formed in a dish from human induced pluripotent stem cells. Minoru Takasato/Nature
Image of a mini-kidney formed in a dish from human induced pluripotent stem cells.  Minoru Takasato/Nature

“For the first time, primitive human kidneys have been created in a laboratory dish, by using stem cells.”

“Although the kidneys cannot perform the functions of a fully formed adult kidney, the researchers hope the achievement will someday lead to new ways to treat people suffering from kidney failure.”

“It’s really exciting,” says Melissa Little, who heads the Kidney Research Laboratory at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia. She led the research, which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature. “I think this is a really big advance.”

“They are only able to do some of the functions that a kidney performs, such as filtering toxins from blood, Little says. The organoid is not advanced enough to do all the very complicated balancing that a completely formed kidney does.”‘

“Little’s group is hoping the organoids may eventually continue developing into more fully functioning kidneys.”

“In the meantime, the primitive organs could possibly be used to help save failing kidneys by transplanting parts of them into patients, she says. Whether that will work remains to be seen.”

“Another use may be in pharmaceutical research. Companies could use the tissues to test new drugs.”

Click on the title to read the entire article

“I don’t want to talk about it”

I should go out in the garden and eat worms.  I’m exhausted.  I hurt all over.   It’s hard not to have self-pity.   I TRY to limit my public and private kvetching because I know it doesn’t help . . . me or you.  There’s scientific basis for the harm we do to ourselves when we talk about trauma – any kind of trauma. 

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi
Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

 If you or anyone you know has a “story of pain” (physical, psychological, social, economic etc) read Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters excellent post.  Here’s a teeny taste:

Rehashing a traumatic story/event does some of the following:

  • puts our system on high alert
  • triggers inflammation
  • triggers the fight/flight response
  • triggers shutdown mode

On the flip side Carolyn talks about the benefits of sharing with close friends:

“Dr. Laura Cousin Klein and her team found that the credit for women’s unique stress reactions may belong to the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “lovehormone”).  It’s the body’s own wonder drug – released when we nurse our babies, for example, as well as during a woman’s stress response. It’s instinctual, it buffers the fight-or-flight response and it encourages us to tend children and gather with other women instead – what’s called our tend-and-befriend response to stress.  This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.”

Read the entire post “I don’t want to talk about it“- a Judy’s-Must-Read-Blog-Post.

The Ultimate DYI – I’ll make me a new pea brain

As my fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue symptoms go unabated I have asked my doctor Patricia Ahearn repeatedly to get her lobotomy certificate.  I’m sure there is week-end or on-line training for doctors.  She’s a very caring person so it’s been hard to understand why she’s been stalling.

Maybe she’s been waiting for this new research?!!!!!!

hmmm . . . speed up the evolutionary process . . . we could still rule the world . . 

Researchers Grow Nearly Complete Human Brain in Ohio Lab

“An almost complete version of a tiny human brain has been grown in a U.S. lab in a move that could bring major strides to the treatment of neurological diseases, a scientist says.
Rene Anand, a professor at Ohio State University, has grown in a dish a brain equal in maturity to that of a five-week-old fetus, his university reported.”

“It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain,” Anand said.”

“Around the size of a pea, the brain in a lab dish includes multiple cell types, all major regions of the brain and a spinal cord, but lacks a vascular system, the university said.” 

“It was grown from human skin cells and is claimed to be the most complete brain of its type grown yet.”

AND!!!!!

With the new 3D printing technology I might be able to make me new brain, each morning, right at home.

Long Live Sophia, my new role-model

Those of you who are regular readers know I’m a fragile flower.  I blame it on the fibromyalgia (at least fibro is good for something).  My system goes on overload if I watch, read, see, hear ANYTHING that is violent, sad or frightening.  I went to the Minion’s movie and it was too violent . . .

So when I watch TV it’s either HouseHunter’s International (lookie-loo travel), The Hallmark Channel (always a happy ending) or the Golden Girls. Sophia is my new role model.  She is wise beyond my years . . . and we have similar taste in food:

“I hate Jello.  If God wanted peaches to be suspended in mid-air He would have filled them with helium.” Sophia Petrillo

 

Draw a Stick-man

Draw a stick man or . . .  woman or . . .  animal or . . .  tree or . . .   !  

http://www.drawastickman.com/index.htm

Thanks Linda B. for the “Art” therapy – I drew a stick man giving the finger  . . .  I feel so much better.

 

 

It’s SWEEPS “weak”

Haven’t blogged in a while. The last few weeks have been rough – the fibro-fatigue-fiends frolicking fearlessly.  I’m looking for my mop.

mad, sad, fatigue, fear

sweeping away sanity

the broom of my brain

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dust storm of feelings

tiny particles of dirt

blowing through my mind

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wring out the debris 

clean clear water, bucket brain

gratitude mop up

Haiku Horizons - prompt SECRET
Haiku Horizons – prompt SWEEP

 

My Motto: Don’t call me. I won’t call you.

I never answer my phone.  I call people back when I have energy or e-mail because two-way phone conversations are physically tiring.  Crazy! . . . sounds crazy, even to me.  So I assume it sounds crazy to you.  

Not wanting to be labeled as “nuts” I usually explain  that after 30 years as a psychotherapist, answering my phone knowing that someone is probably calling in crisis, I’ve become phone-phobic.  

You understand phobia’s and their hallmark of being irrational.  You don’t understand neuroimmune-central nervous system-out-of-wack.  Can’t fault you.  I don’t understand it.  Medical science doesn’t understand it.   

Normal stimuli overload my brain circuits and the brains of others who live with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Lyme disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, brain trauma etc.  There are a lot of theories but no one really knows why or what to do about it. 

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi
Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

Even though I’m a social person by nature all socializing tires me. One or two “events” a week is my limit.  Social Events?  You are undoubtedly picturing me out-on-the-town, wearing a Dior gown and sipping wine at the opera ( . . .  those who know me are picturing me wearing a t-shirt, Levi’s, Crocs and sipping coffee at Starbucks).

Activities that once were pleasurable now create fatigue:

  • Going to the movies or lunch with a friend (afterwards I nap for 3 hours)
  • Participating in any group activity (afterwards I go to bed early)
  • Walking Freddie in the park.  (I go the opposite direction when I see others walking their dogs.  Walking is taxing enough without interacting with dogs’ humans.)
  • Shopping in stores crowded with merchandise.  (My brain goes on visual overload)
  • Talking on the phone to someone I love.  (Yup, two-way conversations take focus and thus energy.) 

Since retiring I’ve done phone sessions with clients.  The pleasure of hearing their voices, catching up on their lives and the honor of hopefully helping them get back on track far outweigh any fatigue that comes later.  I’ve long ago figured out that some things are well worth the consequences of a nap or a few days of inactivity. 

Please continue to reach out. I will be honest with you about my options and energy.  I don’t want to live as a social recluse.  So E-mail me when you want to catch up, share, or get together because I won’t answer the phone . . .  

Hammy Hamster sez: "Nuts?, Did I hear NUTS!)
Hammy Hamster sez:
“Nuts?, Did I hear NUTS!)

This article prompted me to write this post: Cort Johnson, Social Exhaustion The comments are perhaps even more telling than the article itself.

Sneek Peek into my journal – Loosely Sparking

Sometimes wanting to be “perfect” stops me from finishing projects.  I’m now too tired to strive for perfection.   I figure it’s time to experiment and remove expectation to get my “spark” back.

I’m comfortable abstractly sloshing paint color around but “drawing” is another matter.  Put a pencil or pen in my hand and I tighten both my grip and expectation.

With that in mind, I purposely held the pencil very loosely and literally scribbled “areas” rather than try to draw perfect lines.  I didn’t bother trying to copy anything, look at any references, decide where the light was coming from or have a plan.  I just scribbled.   I like the looseness of the drawing and taking away expectation of being precise was enjoyable.

Maybe this is a good lesson to apply to other areas of my life . . .

DSCN6281

judy’s journal – Scribbled and scratched in the face with pencil and pastel chalk

Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple
Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple

Going Viral

Scratch one more cure . . .  for now.
I started an anti-viral medication that has been successful in treating some people with Chronic Fatigue.  There is a long-held theory that virus are responsible for fibromyalgia/CFS and since I have tested positive for a viral-reactivation it seemed worth a prescription.
After taking the meds for over a month and coping with a bit of  24-hour nausea and headaches, last night I was wakened by really severe stomach pain which radiated to my back .  The cure was worse than the malady. 
Before the pain became full-blown I was playing around with some oil paint and roughed-in this face.  Now looking at my preliminary sketch it’s a window into how I’ve been feeling.  I think I’ll not “finish” the painting and leave it be  . . .  for now.
Oil
Oil

I stopped the medication this morning.  Like my painting, I’m not going to try to “finish off” the virus either  . . .   for now.

Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple
Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple

Being tired is exhausting

I look normal, I act normal (relatively normal)However, I feel exhausted much of the time, my body aches from head to toe and my brain sometimes has trouble remembering or concentrating.  Please don’t tell me to exercise more, eat better, try acupuncture or go to a new doctor.  After 20 years I’ve tried just about everything there is to try that I can afford, swallow or legally do.

I don’t even care anymore what you call it: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, malingering . . . it’s just tiring being tired much of the time.  I push through it otherwise I’d have no life.  But the price for pushing can be days of crashing so I pick and choose my commitments.

Judy's Journal, Mixed Media, Collage
judy’s Journal, Collage

No one knows what causes it or how to make it better.  Looking back, I think I’ve had it my whole life.  But I’m lucky because it didn’t become full-blown until I was an adult.  For teens and young adults it’s really hard. Read this article by teens and 10 things they want the public to know.   Teens who live with chronic illness and the 10 things they want you to know.

I’ve blogged about it before:

The Mask of Invisibility and me

Fibromyalgia, Dx: Hysterical Middle-Aged Woman’s Syndrome

I prefer not to talk about it, write about it, dwell on it.  It is what it is and I’m blessed that it’s not life threatening.  But today is World Awareness Day for neuro-immune illnesses of ME/Chronic Fatigue (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Lyme disease, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). It’s an opportunity to raise public awareness of these conditions that impact millions all over the world.

It’s a good bet that you or someone you know has one of these invisible conditions . . . if you didn’t before, you do now.

“S” is for Stroke of Insight

“One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor’s brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness  . . . ”

One of the best TEDTalks EVER!  VIVID, moving.

Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened.

“How many brain scientists have been able to study the brain from the inside out? I’ve gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career.” — Jill Bolte Taylor

“Amazed to find herself alive, Taylor spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk. She has become a spokesperson for stroke recovery and for the possibility of coming back from brain injury stronger than before. In her case, although the stroke damaged the left side of her brain, her recovery unleashed a torrent of creative energy from her right. From her home base in Indiana, she now travels the country on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank as the “Singin’ Scientist.”

 

“R” is for Running low on petrol

Have you noticed that I’ve been amusing myself writing poems lately?  (If you haven’t noticed that is evidence you are not reading my blog as often as you should be!)

My chronic fatigue has reared its “rear”.  Sitting and moving my fingers on the keyboard, one at a time, is about all the physical energy I have had to expend.  (mental energy is another matter . . .)

There once was a  lass

who ran out of gas

As her windshield grew hazy

she became quite lazy

removing the rust from her a_ _

"I hope you didn't hear that!"
“I hope you didn’t hear that!”
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Sneak a Peek into My Journal – Looking for a spark

It’s been a rough several months.  I suspect that in order to flee all the snow in the Eastern United States my “Fibro-Fiend” needed a bit of sunshine so dropped in for a visit.  It’s been sunny and warm here and she just won’t leave.  

She’s a demanding house-guest and almost all my energy is spent focusing on her needs.   She doesn’t have a very good sense of humor either and I have to find ways to amuse myself.  I’ve not had the energy to participate in Year of the Spark so I revisited some old, EASY Carla Sonheim exercises looking for some spark.

Click here – Irritated Birds – to see how I made the birdies.

Put a beak on it!

Put a beak on it!

Blob Critters  (they don’t have names yet)

  • Made a blob of color using water-color
  • Found critters in the blobs
  • Drew a bit

Blob critters

Blob critters

That’s all folks.  Gotta go feed Fibro-Fiend. 

Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple
Year of the Spark, Carla Sonheim & Lynn Whipple

 

Post-Traumatic GROWTH?

Skimming my surface

tell-tale signs of suffering

The pain buried deep

My haiku was inspired by Carolyn Thomas’ Post-Traumatic Growth: how a crisis makes life better – or not.  Carolyn had a myocardial infarction – the “widowmaker” heart attack.  Since that life altering experience she has been overwhelmingly affected by the ongoing pain of coronary microvascular disease.

Mask by moi
Mask by moi

Until I read Carolyn’s excellent post I had never heard of Post Traumatic GROWTH:

“Post-Traumatic Growth is the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises.

“Although the term is new, the idea that great good can come from great suffering is ancient.”

“Reports of Post-Traumatic Growth have been found in people who have experienced bereavement, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV infection, cancer, bone marrow transplantation, heart attacks, coping with the medical problems of children, transportation accidents, house fires, sexual assault and sexual abuse, combat, refugee experiences, and being taken hostage.” 

Read this informative and thought-provoking post and Carolyn’s concern for patients & people regarding this concept.  Click HERE

Haiku Horizons - prompt SKIM
Haiku Horizons – prompt SKIM

Mooooooooo . . . dy no more

It always “cracks me up” (figuratively speaking) when I see those signs for Chick Fil A.  NOW here’s even better news . . .  whether you are a cow OR a chicken .  Listen to this Nutrition Facts short video on improving depression and anxiety through what you eat:

eat-more-chicken

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/improving-mood-through-diet/

And for those of my blog readers who are too busy (or too depressed) to listen to the video here’s the conclusion:

 “The complete restriction of flesh foods significantly reduced mood variability in omnivores…. Our results suggest that a vegetarian diet can reduce mood variability in omnivores. Perhaps eating less meat can help protect mood in omnivores, particularly important in those susceptible to mood disorders.

 

Little Miss Muffett, no pain in her tuffet

Pain Remedy Pome

by judy

Little Miss Muffett

sat on a tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider

Injected inside her

medicating pain away

“I don’t hurt inside”

she happily cried

and threw her curds away

“No more aches and pains

or all manner of strains

the spider has made my day”

DSCN5899

Spider Venom May Hold Chemical Keys to New Painkillers

(to read the whole article the title above)

by KATE KELLAND

(Reuters) – “Scientists who analyzed countless chemicals in spider venom say they have identified seven compounds that block a key step in the body’s ability to pass pain signals to the brain.”

“In research they said could one day lead to a new class of potent painkillers, the scientists focused on 206 species of spider and searched for molecules in the venom that block nerve activity, particular via so-called “Nav1.7 channels”.”

“Experts estimate that as many as one in five people worldwide suffer from chronic pain and existing pain treatments often fail to give sufficient or long-term relief. Pain’s economic burden is also huge, with chronic pain estimated to cost $600 billion a year in the United States alone.”

“People sense pain in a part of their body when nerves from the affected area send signals to the brain through what is called the pain pathway, and it is this pathway scientists seek to disrupt when searching for potential new pain medicines.”

DSCN6012

Click here to read my other “tribute” to the Muffett Miss: 

No Rhyme nor Reason, Muffett & the Spider Pome

Stop Bleeding

Long after the original dagger has been wiped clean of blood, wounds of failure, loneliness and rejection often never heal.  We learn to cover them up with smiles and long sleeves to keep them hidden from view.

Emotional wounds lie on the surface. They get bumped, scrapped and ripped opened over and over throughout our lives. We habituate to our emotional pain and don’t look for help until our body starts talking to us through physical symptoms.

Many of you who know me well know I often speak in “hyperbole”.  All of you know I’m not now exaggerating.  Watch this excellent TedTalk.

“We’ll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.”

DRINK UP! – A Lesson on Chronic Stress

When I was a shrinkling listening was not automatic.  Thirty years later I’m on auto-pilot listening simultaneously on multiple levels: What clients are saying, what they are not saying, how they are experiencing it, what their body is saying, how what I’m hearing is connected to feelings in the last few days, years, lifetimes;  Listening for patterns, connections, disconnections  . . .

 Logic would have me think  it was more stressful being a psychotherapist in the beginning of my career.  So why, after just sitting and listening, I’m a zombie for days afterwards?  

This explanation about chronic stress might explain some of it (I agree with everything, except for the conclusion):

2-Free-Wines-or-Wine-Glasses-300x300

‘”A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining stress management to her audience. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘Half empty or half full?’  She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.”

“She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.”
 
“If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”‘
 
“She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”‘
 
“‘As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced.  So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up again tomorrow if you must.”
 
P.S.  I still blame much of my zombiehood on the fibromyalgia.  After all what else is fibro good for – it never listens.
Thanks Susan!

Sneek-a-Peek into my PRIVATE Journal

Not feeling very inspired cuz Fibromyalgia has been competing for my attention  but here’s a sample of what I’ve journaled for the journaling class:

Fishy Fishy
Fishy Fishy 19th Century Nursery Rhyme, not by me

Fishy Fishy in a brook

Papa catch ’em with a hook

Mama fry ’em in a pan

Baby eat ’em like a man

(You can read MY version Fishy Fishy Walk on Land – here)

*     *     *

Journal Prompt:  “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream another dream.” C.S. Lewis

Dolly at rest
Dolly at rest

I cut out Dolly (and some other images) days ago and stuck her in the journal book.  Unconsciously she wove her way into my journal free-writing during MaryAnn Easley’s journal class so I pasted her (Dolly, not MaryAnn) on the page.  I think she’s comfortable there even though I cut away the chair she was sitting in.

My bathroom mirror isn’t the only thing that’s foggy

The reason my memory isn’t as good as it used to be is because the longer I live the more data is stored so it takes longer for my brain to sort it all out – like when I walk into the bathroom, can’t remember why and leave.  

I have tens of thousands of kilobytes of bathroom memory” stored: take a shower, read a magazine, brush my teeth, get an aspirin, read another magazine, put on lipstick . . .  My brain has to search decades of stored data.  It usually finds the reason within 20 minutes or so before I embarrass myself.

A judy rat
A judy rat, young man

I was excited to read that “Researchers found they could stop normal, age-related memory loss in rats by treating them with riluzole already on the market as a treatment for ALS.

another judy rat, child
Another judy rat, little girl

By examining the neurological changes that occurred after riluzole treatment, . . . researchers “discovered one way in which the brain’s ability to reorganize itself — its neuroplasticity — can be marshaled to protect it against some of the deterioration that can accompany old age, at least in rodents,

Another judy rat, female
Another judy rat, teen age girl

After 17 weeks of treatment, the researchers tested the rats’ spatial memory . . . and found they performed better than their untreated peers, and almost as well as young rats!!

 

Another judy rat, male
Another judy rat, old man

I’ve printed the article so I can read it the next time I’m in the bathroom and can’t remember why.

If you want a copy for your bathroom click

Existing Drug, Riluzole, may Prevent Foggy ‘Old Age’ Brain

 

 

Don’t worry about old age – it doesn’t last that long

It’s my birthday season, day 8.  For those of you I confused with my birthday season post – My birthday is in February – 62 days to go!
My friend Kathe sent me  Nine Thoughts to Ponder during this season of my birthday:
Ponder on that!
Pondering . . . on how judy ponders
9.   Death is the number 1 killer in the world.
8.    Life is sexually transmitted.
7.    Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
 
6.   Men have two emotions: hungry and horny, and they can’t tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.
 
5.    Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.
 
4.    Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.
 
 3.    All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
 
2.    In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.
 
1.    Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.
Thanks Kathe, I think . . . 

 

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Find out how it started

Meet the mom who started the Ice Bucket Challenge – Great speaker!  Inspiring!

“When Nancy Frates’ 29-year-old son Pete hurt his wrist in a baseball game, he got an unexpected diagnosis: it wasn’t a broken bone, it was ALS, and there is no cure. In this inspiring talk, Nancy tells the story of what happened next.”

What Happens When Your Brain Doesn’t Sleep?

I think my brain is suffering:  Impaired Wit, Cerebral shrinkage, Eating binges, Hallucinations, Risky decisions, Anger, Lost memories, False memories, Head-in-the-clouds, slurred speech are some of the impacts from diminished or non-restorative sleep.

However, I won’t tell you which of those my brain is suffering from.  You’ll have to read my blog posts to figure it out.

I can’t read this chart.  The print is too small so click here for a larger image: What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Brain.

How sleep impacts the brain
How sleep impacts the brain

I wonder if diminished sleep and diminished eyesight are related . . . .

EXCELLENT presentation on Brain research & Chronic Pain conditions – Stanford University

If you have a brain in your head WATCH this!   Important information for everyone, whether or not you or anyone you know has a chronic pain condition (including – MCS, irritable Bowell, TMJ, Interstitial Cystitis, Back pain etc.).  It’s well worth your time.

Although the focus is fibromyalgia Sean Mackey, M.D., Ph.D explains how the emotions, the workings of the brain impact our physical well-being.

His presentation is 51 minutes long and then takes questions and answers.

Rosemary Lee, Seeking Equilibrium posted this on her excellent blog Seeking Equilibrium.  Rosemary keeps up with the latest research and I highly recommend her blog

I have 17 years and 4 months to live

My life expectancy is 87.4 years.  I KNOW because I got it calculated by  the Social Security Administration and THEY KNOW since they will be paying me money every month for 17 years and 4 months.

a judy doodle
a judy doodle

The calculations don’t take into account health, heredity or history, not to mention socio-economic status or hair loss.  But SURPRISINGLY, at least surprising to me, I am actually a bit relieved to know I have only 17 years and 4 months left . . .  for a few reasons:

  1. I work best under deadline pressure.  I get things accomplished if there are outside parameters. Give me a deadline and I go into action.  Give me as much time I want it will take however much time I want and often not get finished . . .  or started.
  2.  Seventeen years seems doable.  It’s the 4 months I’m a bit worried about . . .

If you want to know your life expectancy

click here for the social Security Government Life Expectancy Calculator

 

Do you remember Englebert Humperdink?

Haiku “Ode” to Fibromyalgia

(haiku prompt “RELEASE”)

Fibromyalgia!

Please release me let me go!

romance is kaput

* * *

Unrequited love

I don’t want you anymore

time to get a life

 

How about adopting this song as the National Chronic Conditions Anthem!!  Wadda ya think?

Please release me let me go
for I don’t love you anymore
To waste our lives would be a sin
Release me and let me love again

I have found a new love dear
And I will always want her near
her lips are warm while yours are cold
Release me my darling let me go

for I don’t love you anymore
So release me and let me love again

Please release me can’t you see
you’d be A fool to cling to me
To live a lie would bring us pain
So release me and let me love again

I'm thinking about it . . .
I’m thinking about it . . .

“Release Me” (sometimes rendered as “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)”), is a popular song written by Eddie Miller, Robert Yount, and James Pebworth[1] under the pseudonym Dub Williams,[2][3] published in 1946 . (Wikipedia)

If you don’t watch this you are stooooopid

Yes, I’m name calling to get your attention.  Watch this TO THE END!

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain. . . .”

ERIN, THANK YOU for telling me about this!!!

 

Am I Whining? you bet!

“Thou Shalt Not Whine”  is a hand embroidered sign in my office that was given to me by my good friend Sharon.

DSCN6093

I do try to live up to that motto but today I am whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiining.   I have a headache, my body aches all over, my feet are burning, my brain is fogged and the only energy I had was depleted by the effort it took me to get in bed and take a nap*.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!  Woe is me! Oh! woe is me!

"I'm not lissssssstening"
“I’m not lissssssstening”

Like all (or many) of us living with chronic conditions the key is life-style management to keep the symptoms at a low simmer instead of a rolling boil.  In the last several decades I’ve perfected life-style management:

judy’s Life-Style Management 

Overdo it quick

take advantage of the lull

then crash, moan and groan.

Whimper quietly

when no one is listening

It’s free therapy

1024px-Crying-girl

Did whining make me feel better?  Nope.  But it’s nice to know that even if I’m not feeling well

 my inner child is alive and kicking.

 *You don’t have to wash your hands after reading this post.  I’m not contagious.  It’s just fibromyalgia letting me know who’s in charge.

The Mask of Invisibility and Me

In 1996 I contracted an invisible “illness”.  I began experiencing excruciating burning pain in my hands, arms and legs followed by gastrointestinal, cardiological, dermatological, emotional “issues”.  The worst part is I was also in peri-menopause and experiencing mood swings, wildly, uncontrollably ric-o-shaying between happy, content to annoyed and upset.

DSCN1415

In1996 fibromyalgia was not recognized by the medical community as a “real” ailment. Doctors considered it to be a syndrome: Unexplainable, unverifiable and psychosomatic. It was a Hysterical Middle Aged Woman’s Syndrome, as doctor after doctor told me – based on test, after expensive test coming back negative – that nothing was wrong with me and to go home and “Get a life”.DSCN1413

Forever imprinted in my memory is the chief of neurology at one of the major medical centers in Los Angeles (the doctor and medical center shall remain nameless because this is a true story)  looked at me knowingly, like we shared a secret “You’re a psychotherapist. You know about psychological issues” – he leaned forward, compassionately touching me on the knee and winked.  “Go home, live a good life and take up a hobby like kick-boxing.”  The only reason I winked back was to blink away the tears that were threatening to disrupt the façade that I wasn’t a hysterical middle-aged woman.

DSCN1414

I looked for anyone – gynecologists, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, environmental specialists, acupuncturists, immunologists, chiropractors – to put a name to what I had, to give what was invisible to everyone but myself a label other than HYPOCHONDRIAC.  I looked fine, acted fine, all tests were negative.  All I took away from the 100’s of doctor’s visits was a stack of psychiatrist’s cards doctors handed to me on the way out of their office.

After years of escalating pain, exhaustion, depression, countless doctors and tests I really did qualify on all counts as a hysterical middle-aged woman .

Well over a decade after my initial symptoms fibromyalgia was recognized by the medical community as “real” and research has since shown that it’s a central nervous system, brain processing disorder.  

I’m no longer middle-aged or hysterical.  But the doctors were right – it was, it is, all in my head.

This is National Invisible Illness Awareness Week

P.S.  There are hundreds of millions of people with “Invisible Illness” in this world.  Click above to  read more information.  Here’s a tiny sample:

  • Why, when you tell someone who is ill that they look good, they’re offended?
  • Practical ways you can encourage someone who is ill.
  • What’s the difference between a visible and invisible illness when it comes to one’s career?
  • What’s it like to go to college with an invisible chronic illness?

 Check out Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters –“You look great!” – and other things you should never say to heart patients and lots of other great posts about invisible illness.

Sugar Shun (Parenthetically yours) 8 Steps to Kick Sugar Cravings to the Curb. OUCH!

(Day #5 and no refined sugar.  Thanks Lisa for this article from Woman’s Health Network!)   

My “editorial” comments below are in (RED)

8 Steps

“Craving — and eating — sugar is not simply about willpower or emotions. (That’s true because I’ve not had willpower for a long time and because I am a therapist I am in COMPLETE control of my emotions . . . ) We now understand that there may be several underlying physiologic causes feeding what feels like a desperate desire for sugar. For one thing, it can affect our brains in the same ways drugs and alcohol can, making it addictive.”

Sugar Roller Coaster

“Can’t lose weight — no matter what you do?

Extra sugar and carbohydrates that aren’t being used by the body are generally stored in the liver as glycogen. If the liver is full, your body will make fat from the extra sugar and store it in existing fat deposits around your body, (AROUND my body like a bloated hula-hoop) which is why there is such a direct link between sugar and weight gain.”

“Sugar can also directly affect you hormonally by turning off a gene that controls your sex hormones. Without this sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) gene, levels of testosterone and estrogen can become unregulated, leading to symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and more.(MORE, there’s MORE?!)

So here’s what you can do to stop your sugar cravings and all the corresponding health effects:

Bob Blobfish sez: "Here she goes . . .again"
Bob Blobfish sez: “Here she goes . . .again”

“Step 1: Balance your hormones. Just before menstruation, when estrogen is low and progesterone is on its way down, beta-endorphin levels in your brain are at their lowest. These cyclical hormonal and neurotransmitter fluctuations may explain why many women who experience PMS and perimenopause also have sugar cravings and the accompanying serotonin–endorphin bursts that high-sugar foods can provide.”  (Hormones? – at my age there aren’t any left to balance)

Step 2: Add nutrients. Specific micronutrients like zinc, vitamin C and the B vitamins are particularly helpful in calming sugar cravings by influencing serotonin production. Equally important are omega-3’s, which are crucial for regulating mood and inflammation — factors that are both associated with cravings.”

Step 3: Mix protein (or fiber) with pleasure. Combining treats with a stick of cheese, a few nuts, a glass of milk, or some vegetables will help balance the sugar and insulin surge and allow a gentler increase in blood sugar and insulin. Protein shakes make great snacks, too.”

Step 4: Investigate intestinal yeast. (Investigate?  Sounds like yet another TV show – Intestinal Yeast Miami) Yeast thrives on sugar. If your intestinal (and vaginal) bacteria are out of balance, they are more likely to welcome yeasts like Candida.(Isn’t Candida is one of the stars on the TV show Mistresses?) An overgrowth of yeast in the intestine (or system-wide) can lead to extremely intense cravings for sugar, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and digestive issues.  Going on a yeast-free diet is the first step to eliminating these sugar-hungry cells because they can’t live without sugar and refined carbohydrates. Take away their food and they go away.”

The BOOT
The BOOT

Step 5: Avoid acid-forming foods. Red meat is high in a pro-inflammatory molecule called arachidonic acid. Eating a lot of meat and refined carbohydrates tends to increase inflammation and acidity, causing the body to crave sweet foods in an attempt to maintain balance. Choosing anti-inflammatory foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as those that are alkalizing and antioxidant-rich, such as fruits and vegetables, can offset the damage and the cravings associated with this dynamic.”sensitivities

Step 6: Explore food sensitivities. Food are more and more common these days and they can lead to extra sugar intake by leaving us foggy-headed and fatigued. These symptoms logically drive many of us to a sugar pick-me-up to feel better or complete our daily tasks. (ah it is logical why  I drive to Ben & Jerry’s to pay a social visit) The most common food allergies are to gluten and dairy, but others to explore are corn, eggs, soy, peanuts, and citrus.

Step 7: Lower your stress. Any stressful situation can lead to less than optimal eating habits, but stress itself increases cortisol levels, which eventually increases hunger hormones. This can push many women with stressful jobs and lifestyles into a pattern of nighttime cravings, over-eating, and unwanted weight gain. (Tell me about it . . . ) Over time, these women reach adrenal imbalance and extreme exhaustion. And they find the only way to get through the day is to drink lots of caffeine and consume sugar for quick energy bursts.” (not to mention the only way to get through the night)

Step 8: Refrain from sugar for 3-5 days in a row.We know how hard it can be to do, but avoiding sugar for just three days can make a huge difference for some women. Trust us on this one! For others, it may take longer for their cravings to diminish. But eliminating the cyclical crash-and-burn bursts of serotonin and beta-endorphin from sugar and refined carbohydrates can help your body normalize its receptors and neurotransmitters. This way, your brain isn’t constantly sending the message that it needs more sugar.”  (I’m blessed that even with a completely fogged-out brain the message I need sugar still gets through)

For the entire unedited article click here: 8 Steps to Kick Sugar Cravings to the Curb

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