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Posts tagged ‘chronic illness’

Living “With” Fibromyalgia

Receiving the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia often takes a long time.  Every other illness/condition must be ruled out, or added to, our list of diagnoses.  After all, Fibro is rarely a lone diagnosis; it can be the primary or secondary, irregardless, the diagnosis of Fibro is a life changing event.

There are many ways that those with Fibro are treated…antidepressants, pain medications, alternative therapies (like acupuncture), chiropractic care, etc.  Some of us have extremely hypersensitive systems that greatly restrict what our medical team can prescribe or do for us.

Fibro does not manifest itself the same in each person; it can range from a slight inconvenience to overwhelming…meaning some can manage Fibro and continue with a normal life, whereas others are forced to quite jobs and become homebound.

There are 100 symptoms of Fibro.  Just as some people experience a handful of symptoms, others experience 25 – 50,  and still others will experience close to, if not reaching, all 100!  These symptoms do not hit all at once…the symptoms of Fibro can change on a daily, weekly, sometimes hourly basis.

When diagnosed with Fibro, we often fight our condition.  It is a challenge to learn how to deal with the symptoms, that can be overwhelming….fatigue, burning, numbness, tingling, brain fog, headache, stabbing, throbbing, cramping, muscle weakness, etc.

It also takes time to truly understand that Fibro is a condition that will not go away…there is no cure…the symptoms can improve and then flare at any given time.  Sometimes we can understand what we did to cause a flare, other times we can not make any sense of it.

We do eventually come to terms with our condition.  We learn to live with Fibro.  We accept the life changes it has forced us to make…we learn how to limit our activity and maximize rest in order to minimize our symptoms.  We see that we our definition of living has changed to adapt to our condition.

Hidden Beauty 

Body Aches

The warmth of the fire

Gently heating the room

Creating a cozy feeling

That relaxes the mind…

Sitting in the recliner

With feet elevated

To best calm the stabbing

To help rest the throbbing

And aching that permeates the body…

Light pours through the window

Reflections from the snow

Ever brighten the early morning

The sun hidden behind the clouds

As if wrapped in a soft gray blanket…

Thoughts race in the mind

As ears ring in a deafening tone

Increasing in intensity

No amount of distraction

Can calm the turbulence within…

Eyes and heart are smiling

At the beauty of the day

The memories of a year almost done

Distractions viewed with appreciation…

The Secret Within

Outward appearances misspeak

Showing health and vitality;

Inwardly rages a battle

Symptoms vying for position…

No scan, no image, no x-ray

Will show the culprit;

Pain, searing and stabbing

Has no visible face…

Only the hidden grimace

The silent groan;

Expressed in the heavy sigh

Or the slow deep breath…

A burden shared by few

When united find strength;

To find comfort and solace

In fighting the secret within…

Financial Stress

I awoke from a light slumber this morning knowing that I had to try to reach out…to speak up about one of the big stressors that can weigh heavily on us. The unfortunate side of chronic illness…how it can destroy our finances. This thought was heavy on my mind  as my body craved sleep.

In my situation, it has taken me out of the workforce. My husband had struggled to find employment…always coming in second when interviewed!  Yet a door was opened for him to start his own business…which we see starting to grow.

In the meantime, as I am sure many of you can relate to, we have had to use credit more than we would normally. The medical bills (that will keep coming), groceries (especially when you add in those of us with special dietary needs), the high cost of insurance, house payments/rent, fuel costs, clothing, shoes for our ever growing kids, and on and on. Even with careful spending…being as stingy as possible…stretching every dollar as far as possible, we see our savings (if lucky enough to have any) disappearing quickly.  We are forced to look at selling our homes, taking out a second mortgage, or worse…find ourselves homeless.

It is important to take advantage of all of the programs possible. Remember, when we were “healthy”, we were working, paying into those programs.  Sign your children up for the reduced/free lunches at school if you qualify, apply for food stamps, seek out other possible assistance programs you may qualify for…this is not easy, I know. It requires a change in our mindset…to see these programs as an opportunity to receive some assistance during a rough spell. You may qualify for just a few…or you may qualify for all. Allow yourself to embrace this opportunity for some relief.

We put on a brave face for our children, our families, our friends. Yet this stress is one that we have little to no control over. It can increase our symptoms, resulting in Fibro Flares, IBS flares, bacterial infections, additional illnesses…causing us to go into a serious health spiral…as if we are not all ready dealing with enough!

Take time for yourself.  Nap if you need to…find ways to relieve your stress. I use writing as my stress relief…I also spend much time praying and reading scripture.  (Reading as best as one can with the Fibro Fog that is so variable…from a thin fog to a heavy veil.) I take advantage of the view out my window.  I find a silly science fiction movie to watch…or work a puzzle on my iPad…distractions that are a huge help!

This is a very difficult path we walk…yet…we are not alone! We can build each other up…through the many on-line communities, whether we choose illness/condition specific or more generalized chronic illness/pain sites. Remember you are not alone…even if you are primarily home bound like me.

Gratitude Journal

I had the pleasure of attending a “Gratitude Gala” this evening….a wonderful soup and salad dinner with women of our community.  

The opportunity to get together with friends is always nice (especially when not feeling well). Yet the “program” left a huge impression!

Three ladies had been asked to speak about what they are thankful for…each spoke from the heart…from a favorite fond memory to the idea of having a Gratitude Journal.

Each of us was challenged to keep a Gratitude Journal…to write one thing that we are thankful for at the end of each day. This could be done in a Journal…a notebook…on computer…on our smart phone (via Instagram or the like). It can be written…can be a photo with a brief description…whatever our preferred way.

I am excited to accept this challenge! I would encourage each and everyone to try this! 

Freshness of the Morning

 

img_5646The early morning light

Peering out between the clouds

The freshness of the breeze

Gentle against the skin

Like the touch of a loved one

Eyes close to savor the moment

The call of birds

The buzz of a lazy bee

The gentle roll of a fish

Its scales glistening

The water around gently rippling

Followed by silence

The quiet of the early morning

Senses aroused by the freshness

As nature awakens…

 

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