“Sleep on…”

When you have a chronic illness there are people in your life who will stand by you no matter what. There are people who will not be able to do that either due to lack of understanding, disbelief, or even a lack of empathy. You cannot change their minds no matter how many times you try. You will need to move on, they are now in your past. These people are not meant to be present in this part of your journey. You disengage yourself because this is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and the other person. You stop trying to explain, the define, to apologize. You simply stop beating your head against the wall trying to make others understand you, you simply let them “sleep on…”

I must admit, this entire post came from a sermon I heard from Joel Olsteen on YouTube. Joel was telling of a story where Jesus was asking his disciples to pray for him while he went to talk with God, his Father. When he returned to check on his disciples they were sleeping, he woke them asking them again to pray. When he returned a third time and they were sleeping and Jesus realized he was on his own, he couldn’t control the actions of others, and he finally understood this as he announced to his disciples, “sleep on…”

I like watching Joel Olsteen. SNL does a skit of him and he says he likes it when they make his eye sparkle on camera, he has a great sense of humor! In fact, he starts every service with a joke, seriously. Then he gives an uplifting sermon and relates it to our everyday lives. And on the day I happened to be watching, I was very nervous about some changes my husband and I were making and how our families would react. Change is difficult in the first place, but job and lifestyle changes are the MOST difficult. I had little doubt we were taking the right steps. We had planned these huge changes over a two-year process of research, study and taking a few classes, we’re moving forward. We are ready!

Take the words “let it go” and replace them with “sleep on…” There are times when we look to a person for support and that person is no longer supportive. We look for understanding and that person is no longer understanding. We look for encouragement and that person is no longer encouraging. Why? What went wrong? Times change and people change too. The person you may have counted on is no longer the one you can count on. You’ve outgrown their purpose. Time to move on. That person can “sleep on…”

You can work on your history or you can work on your destiny, you can not do both. Pick your destiny and let your history “sleep on…”

IMG_3343~Kim

Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction, I’m Deadly Serious.

Shaved ice! Best to cure…heartburn, stomach acid, nausea, … and pancreatic attacks.

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Ever had trouble with your pancreas? A pancreatitis attack? Well, how would one know? You would know because it feels like you are literally going to die from the pain and you invite death. Anything is better than living with the pain you feel as it crushes your middle, right under your ribs all the way around to your back. You find yourself crumpled on the floor with searing heat overtaking your midsection. You can’t straighten up and are curled in a ball, literally stifling screams from the pain you feel.

The pancreas is a little organ or “gland”, inside of your body that resembles the shape of a fish. Your pancreas inflames and quits working. All of the nutrients you consume go through you, and you begin to rapidly lose weight and have trouble remembering the day’s, week’s and month’s events as the blood is slowly being redirected from your brain to feed the other organs in your body from completely shutting down leading to your death.

That was the first stage, a clear indicator something was wrong … but I just had the ‘fat lady surgery’, (the RNY weight loss surgery) a little under five years prior. I thought nothing of a rapid weight loss period as the weight loss came in increments over the first five years after surgery, this was ‘normal’. This is what we were taught in the classes, yes, you have to take classes before the RNY surgery. The memory loss? I attributed to fibro fog. Surely this was related to my cognitive difficulties from fibromyalgia? I was so sure. I was so wrong.

Fast forward; eleven lengthy hospital stays and seven surgeries later … I found out that I had a calcium blockage in my pancreas that caused the inflammation which in-turn resulted in an idiopathic (unknown) pancreatitis diagnosis as well as a permanent sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. (Meaning the duct that drains bile would not work correctly, creating a calcium deposit by a bile back-up that inflamed the pancreas.) How’s that for a big revelation that took four years out of my life and two years that I cannot remember one damn single full day from.

I ordered and reviewed my hospital notes, trying to regain my memory. My husband wouldn’t or couldn’t talk to me about it. Some form of sheer terror would show in his eyes everytime I questioned him. All he’d ever say is, “You lived, you survived, that’s enough.”

I searched through the medical records. I had signed two DNRs. Once my husband was called into the recovery room to attempt to wake me up from the anesthesia because the nurses in recovery could not. I was not expected to live through many of the surgical procedures. The procedures which included several ERCPs, Endoscopic surgeries with stent placements to enlarge the opening of the inflamed pancreas to finally remove the calcium deposit. My skeletal remains of a gallbladder were removed. I had numerous stent placements, CT scans, and scopes. I had a living will in the system. I had a drainage tube inserted that stuck out of my stomach for over a year. Some of these notes jogged certain memories, like that damn tube, but I am not certain of the rest…

The good news is there is an 80% recovery from pancreatitis. The bad news is I am in the 20% group.

But I am still here! I am still fighting! I am still educating people that idiopathic pancreatitis is real, of unknown origin, and can be lived with even though pancreatic attacks will continue to plague me for life. They happen ‘at will’ and ‘whenever’ they damn well feel like. My doctor told me to stop blaming myself and just learn to live with this. So I quit complaining about it. I put a stop to the ridiculous and very intrusive continued surgeries they wanted to try but could not say the results would benefit me in any real way. I can put up a good fight now, I know what to do when an attack hits and when to call it a day and check into the hospital for IV fluids and painkillers … but those check-in days are few and far between.

I got this!

 

2DE45478-3139-4A04-8299-57F000C3ECAC~Kim

The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia, Your personal Journal.

After you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, you will begin to know yourself intimately. Some say you will decide, “what you are made of,” others, “what I can’t do anymore.” You will really be looking at your life as a half full or half empty glass. Some may not even see the glass. You will have to decide how you will live with this chronic illness. It won’t be easy. It will be one of the hardest things you have ever had to do, but you can do this.

I have co-written an interactive journal that is available for purchase on Amazon. This is not a self-help book like we are used to! Karen (my co-author) and I do not believe fibromyalgia is a ‘cookie cutter’ disease. We will give you suggestions, ideas to think about and implement if you decide they would work for you. This journal is to record YOUR thoughts and what YOU believe will benefit you! This will be your personal planner, your personal journal. You will make your own choices and write your own story!

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The Shadow Boxers, new book listing!IMG_2728

 

 

The Shadow Boxers, new book synopsis!IMG_2730

The Shadow Boxers is available to purchase in paperback and ebook format available on Amazon. Again, this will be in printed form and e-book. And do not forget to check out the resources personally recommended by Karen and myself! They are great resources! Whether you are new to fibromyalgia or have had this disease for years, this book will speak to you!

The Shadow Boxers Link to purchase on Amazon.

IMG_2890~Kim

 

Trust Me, Eat The Monkey

I had a friend tell me that she used to trust anyone that could write a prescription. So did I. Trust. That is a big word. Those five little letters in a row can be life-altering. Do you trust me? Do I trust you? Trust is a knife wrapped with a bow. A gift that can cut you and make you bleed.

In life there are buyers and there are sellers. You have to be willing to purchase what they are selling in order for that seller to continue selling. Does this make sense? The rule of supply and demand. We all have something to sell and we all have something to buy, that is what motivates us. The bottom line is do you trust the process, the person, the outcome?

Let’s cut the through the B.S. 

I want to get well. I want the doctor to cure me! Why? Because I want to be healthy, return to the career that I love and make money so I can buy shit that I want to buy. I busted my butt getting a college diploma and I haven’t gotten my just rewards! I’m sick and tired of being a “patient”. I’m sick of being the “buyer” of those things deemed necessary by a seller. Like medications, therapies, yoga mats, TENs units, and etcetera. I want to be a seller for a change! I want to sell my services and get a big fat paycheck for the work I can be trusted to do! The work I was trained and educated to do.

What am I willing to do to become a seller? At one point, I was willing to do A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G! If I was told to eat a monkey, I’d eat a damn monkey! I trusted the people who were telling me to eat the monkey and I ate! Guess what? It didn’t work. I am not cured. Broken trust? Not for me! I went back, bleeding with hands held open for another helping.

And I kept going back, after all, these people had prescription pads…

Eventually, trust was slowly and sadly removed from my vocabulary. Trust must now be earned. I don’t care if you can write a prescription or have several initials after your name. I do not care at all! You have to earn my trust. I’m not buying blindly anymore. I will listen and take your advice into consideration, but my purchasing power remains steadfastly with me.

I can read, I can research, I can weigh out options and make a list of pros and cons… I am smart. I am a consumer at this point in my life and I am well aware of the target that places squarely on my back. I’m the buyer. Within these confines, I need to do my due diligence! That isn’t just a good idea, it is imperative to my goal of getting as healthy as I can possibly be and living a good life.

You are smart, you can read, research and do your due diligence! Don’t blindly buy what the seller has to offer, it might be just a monkey.

 

IMG_3497~Kim

How Much Can You Afford to Lose?

The best advice I ever received was from my father, “Never carry more than you can afford to lose.” Of course, he was talking about money. As a young man, he had nothing, a father who died too early, a mother to care for, and rented land to farm. Not a penny must be lost! My father is now worth more than he cares to tell us, his children, but his net worth means nothing compared to the father he is. I was blessed with a father who loves me. I never questioned his love for me, ever.

As I pack for trips, I always carry several separate bags… drives my husband crazy at times but I never carry more than I can afford to lose. Ever. If one bag is lost, at least I didn’t lose everything.

I think about my health in these terms a lot too. “Never carry more than you can afford to lose.” I break it down to physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. I can’t afford to lose all these things at the same time, so I split them up, putting each in its own ‘bag’. Sometimes a bag is lost, but it is eventually returned to the lost and found and I still had the other two bags with me. Sometimes two bags were lost but I always manage to hang onto at least one. I’m never left with total loss.

Physical health for those of us with a chronic illness is fleeting, but it can be managed. It can be prepared for and dealt with. MOST of the time… then there are the hospital stays, you’ve lost your physical health but you have your mental health and a sense of overall well-being.

There are times when your mental health is alarming. People in constant pain become depressed. Who wouldn’t? But you go to a therapist, you seek out something to assist you with the chemical imbalances your body is going through. You may lose your mental health and go to the hospital again, but you have your physical health and overall sense of well-being.

So this ‘well-being’  word. What do I mean by this? Health, happiness, and contentment? Your well-being is how you define it. To some, it might mean you have a roof over your head, clean water to drink, healthy food to eat. To others, simply that you can still laugh! In general, things that bring you peace, comfort and happiness are often those things that are deemed positive towards our feelings of well-being.

Never carry more than you can afford to lose. Learn to look at your life departmentally and prioritize what you cannot afford to lose and make sure you spread those things out, knowing if at any one time you lose one or even two of these things, the one bag you are holding onto is still with you. The rest will return as soon as they are found.

Just remember, “Never carry more than you can afford to lose.”

IMG_3343~Kim

An Interactive Journal Just For You!

We have covered some of the 6 healthy habits to develop in order to live your best life with fibromyalgia, those that have been reading these habits know that they can be applied to almost any time in your life that creates a huge change, negative or positive. These habits are just part of the information you can find in the interactive journal, The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia.

We have Covered;

#1. Know Thyself {Know Thyself. }

#2. Adjust Your Attitude { Adjust Your Attitude }

#3. Develop Your Own Coping Skills { Develop Your Own Coping Skills }

As a reminder:

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The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia goes into depth with the remaining positive habits. It also covers 7 areas of positive change that you may already be doing or may want to do. If you decide any of these changes are for you then you may want to implement some, this journal will guide you. The book also reviews definitions, helping you define your personal definition to express how fibromyalgia affects you as an individual. Then there are questions and answers for you to answer and a few personal stories. At the end of the book, there are a lot of invaluable resources for you to check out.

In this interactive journal, we offer options, not opinions.

Once you complete the journal you will follow prompts to help you write your very own story. Your story is yours alone to tell, no one can put the words together for your story but you. I co-wrote this interactive journal with Karen Anderson and we are hoping you will write your story, maybe even publish it! Information is power and knowledge of how this disease connects us yet separates us by symptoms is invaluable information!

I hope you order the book, it is on Amazon; in print and in Kindle versions, it is also available right here, I will mail you a copy! Think about it but until you decide, keep working on the first three healthy habits!

My wish for you remains the same… and that is to lead your best life even with fibromyalgia or any other chronic illness or distressing life change that may come upon you.

Live your best life!~Kim

The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia, Your Personal Journal

$12.95

If you have any questions or concerns, remember, you may always reach out to me! Here is my email address; itrippedoverastone@yahoo.com.

Develop Your Own Coping Skills

We are continuing with the 6 healthy habits found in the book The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia, Your Personal Journey. If you have missed any so far they are as follows;

  1. Know Thyself {Know Thyself.}
  2. Adjust your Attitude {Adjust Your Attitude }

The third healthy habit to develop is Develop Your Own Coping Skills in order to live your best life with fibromyalgia.

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At this stage you are learning, you are gaining knowledge. You realize, I may not be able to control this disease but I CAN control how I react to it. You are figuring out your medications, supplements, meditation practices, massage therapies, water therapies, physical therapies, you are searching out what works for you. How do you handle the fibro flares? The fibro fog? The daily pain? You put a plan into place, you are developing your coping skills that are unique to your needs. What works for you and what works for Suzy Q down the street will not be the same. You are finding your power!

This has become your new job, your health. It is a full-time job at this stage. You learn to pace yourself, following a routine that works for you. There are new activities you are learning that spark that old flame inside of you. You find new interests and hobbies, support groups and friends. You are learning when to say “no” and mean it.

This is a lengthy, time-consuming habit to accomplish and you will always be visiting it. Some things that worked for you in the first 5 years of your disease, will not work in the following years. Other things are just not needed or are completed. Other symptoms can (and will) develop later in the disease and personal relationships with friends and family often do go awry. But you will cope. You will build your coping skills as the years’ pass and you will take back the power you have to control how you react to this disease.

Develop your own coping skills.

IMG_3343~Kim

 

Adjust Your Attitude

We will continue with the Six Healthy Habits to develop to live your life successfully with Fibromyalgia.

We covered #1. Know Thyself {Know Thyself. }

Today we will look at #2. Adjust Your Attitude.

As a reminder:

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To learn to Adjust Your Attitude, you must have taken the time to allow the grieving process to run its course. You are no longer the person you once were, your life is not what it once was. You must say goodbye and move into a period that allows you to adjust your attitude.

Adjusting your attitude can be exciting and very positive! Who is this new you as you begin a new life? What are your hobbies, interests, and goals? What are your interests within your limitations? What new things do you want to try? Go after these things and find some joy in your life!

I reached an honesty about my life, it was not the one that I had hoped for but it was still a life to be lived. I did grieve for all that was lost. Then, I realized I was getting a shot at a whole new life! A second time around. Who can say they lived two lifetimes in the one we were given? You can. I can.

I found that hobbies I had enjoyed now held a promise of future purpose. Some dreams I had were now capable of becoming reality. I was beginning to like this new, gentler me. I was gentler, yet somehow so much stronger! I realized I was actually hopeful as I started this journey with a new attitude.

Adjust your Attitude.

IMG_3383~Kim

Know Thyself.

A while ago I blogged about six healthy habits to develop for living your best life with fibromyalgia. Know Thyself is the first habit you will need to develop. I also wrote about these habits in my book, (Co-author, Karen Anderson) The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia. I want to discuss all of these habits a bit more in-depth. Today, I will start with Know Thyself.

As a Reminder:

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This is the first habit to develop once you have learned you have fibromyalgia. You must learn what it is and how to define it. It is hard enough for you to understand! How do we expect our loved ones to understand it? Learn everything you can about your diagnosis and know how to explain it in your own way. Use your own words.

During this time you are also learning to grieve for the old you. You have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, things as you knew them are gone. Life as you know it is done. But you will find your way. You will find a purpose and find the joy in life again, but first, you must grieve. For without the grief process, you will have a very difficult time of recognizing your new potential.

Acceptance is a key factor in fully developing the habit of Know Thyself. You must accept where you are at, this doesn’t have anything to do with giving up or surrendering your hopes for better health. Nothing to do with it! It is learning about this new you, what you can do and what you can no longer do. There will be certain limitations but limitless possibilities! You must figure out where these possibilities lie as you begin your journey with Fibromyalgia. You must deconstruct your life in order to reconstruct it. A life that absolutely can be lived well with fibromyalgia.

Know Thyself.

IMG_3064~Kim

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