Exit Strategy, The Three Day Rule.

Recently, I have been going through a fibro flare. This flare has been brought on by a toothache, a damn toothache! I have a tooth that needs to be pulled. Since I don’t have dental insurance I go to the dental school. I am very happy with the dental school, but things take time and there is a month wait to get my dead tooth pulled.

I have been in agony. My body has turned on itself, leading to a need for antibiotics for an infection, pain pills for the fibro flare caused by the infection, and anti-nausea medication because I feel like I’m going to throw up ALL THE TIME because I am in full flare mode.

Now, the flare is ceasing. I am done with the antibiotics, decreasing the pain medication and the icky, empty, confused state of mind complete with an all over uncomfortable feeling is playing out. I know this feeling, and I know how long it will take to get through this feeling, three long agonizing days.

  • I will not be able to sleep.
  • I will not be able to eat.
  • I will not be able to think clearly… and I will probably cry, a lot, from pure exhaustion.

Well, guess what? It’s day four and I made it, again.

This is how my body works with fibromyalgia. The length of a fibromyalgia flare is always uncertain. The reasons for the flare itself are at times, uncertain. The increase in the symptoms the overall feeling of helplessness vary from flare to flare. And your flare will be different from mine! The only certainty about a flare is that it is temporary and it will eventually stop. You will return to a manageable level of pain. So how do you get back to the manageable level of pain after throwing everything you got at the monster flare?

The three-day rule.

A fibro flare is an increase in pain, fatigue and other symptoms unique to your type of fibromyalgia. Mine comes with the pain, fatigue, restless legs, nausea, and fatigue but the inability to sleep plagues me. I do try to sleep as much as I can until the flare lets go, but I have difficulty sleeping longer than a few hours at a time.

When a flare hits, it is time for rescue medications and your fibromyalgia toolbox (read this if you do not know what a fibro toolbox is;  Pick Your Box ). Anything you can think of, use, to just get through the flare. What you are not told is you will also need an exit strategy from the increase in medications you took and the body pain you feel from being so immobile for the time you had the flare.

Your exit strategy. First, this is unfortunate, you will go through three days of wishing you could just take a pain pill to make it go away. Do NOT. This is how you get addicted to pain medications. Just get through three days of feeling like crap after your flare ceases. Come up with your exit plan.

Here are a few idea that work for me, they may not work for you but you will figure out what does and you must use your exit plan. Take Tylenol or ibuprofen for the pain and rebound headaches. Use Dramamine for nausea and dizziness. Try drinking herbal tea, eat jello, use everything you have in your toolbox to keep your mind busy and pass the time. Get Netflix and binge! Sometimes … chocolate helps, (keep some mini fun bars in your freezer). Regular Coke calms the stomach, try sipping on a regular coke. (SIPPING not drinking six cans.) What I am saying is do what you need to do to get through three days after your flare. Whatever it takes.

When you hit the fourth day, get back to making smart choices … until your next flare comes along. You have your arsenal ready! You will do what you need to do and you have an exit plan in place.

You got this!

IMG_3383~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

Get a Clue, I’m Not Your Opinion.

Everyone seems to have an opinion, but not all have a clue. Carefully and continuously decide who to surround your self with. Those who can influence your decisions and whose judgments you take to heart must be conscientiously chosen. The more public you become, the more vulnerable you become. Make good choices. You are the company you keep.

I like to think of myself as having a ‘force field’ that no one can cross unless I grant them entrance. Much like Wonder Woman! Yes, like Linda Carter as Wonder Woman, I stop people dead in their tracks with my ‘force field’. I can keep people at a distance, far away from my inner self. My personal life, hopes, fears, and dreams are not for the clueless … I will not share certain details that make me vulnerable with those I do not trust.

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The people I choose to let into my inner Wonder Woman circle must meet criteria I have come up with to deem them as safe, meaning I can be vulnerable with them. After reading a few self-help books, realizing I was being told to change everything about me, I stopped! I put a few things into perspective. I’m not changing. I’m good with me and what I’ve become. Life has taken me down a few paths I normally would not have chosen but I made it through! Those journies have made me who I am. I am strong, competent, unafraid and kind but I come with scars of my own. Furthermore, self-help book pioneers, with no experience of devastation in your perfect little world, I’m not available for you to ‘mold’. You be you and I’ll be me, then we can decide if we want to take this relationship further. Comprendo?

What do I look for? Here are a few things that I rely on before the force field is lowered. A breach in even one of these areas undoubtedly ends with bitterness and pain.

  • Do I respect you?
  • Do you inspire me?
  • Do you assist me in expanding my personal growth?
  • Do your opinions matter to me?
  • Do I want you more involved in my personal life?
  • Do you have it together?

The last point, do you have it together is really very simple. Are you owning what you are in life? Are you admitting you have your own ideas, opinions and personal demons you struggle with? Because I will admit those types of things. I am not perfect, far from it. When a person gets close to me and pounces on my vulnerabilities, I have made a huge mistake in judgment. That person must be removed from my inner circle. That is so very painful! To trust and have it trashed. To be someone’s ‘opinion’ is not my idea of an inner circle confidant. I am more than an opinion, and those close to me in my life are too.

You choose who you surround yourself with, and it must be handled with care and consideration. The backlash of choosing wrongly stings for a very long time.

IMG_3180~Kim

Sad for a Day.

I think I like rain, a simple shower… I love the feeling I get as I hold my umbrella listening to the drops on the tent I have inverted over my head. Coat collar up and tucked into a scarf I tie around my neck to provide a little extra warmth, a little extra protection from the coldness of the rain.

It is a simple delight I take in a quiet, cool rainy day that I want to have with me all the time. I want to find that feeling and hold onto it for the days that do not offer soft rain and my heart feels like it will break. I want to feel secure like I do with that scarf tied up around my coat collar even when it is not there. I am filled with anxiety instead of security. Sadness instead of joy. Empty without delight. There will be no cool rain today.

You don’t have to speak to anyone when you are huddled under your umbrella, going about your business. You have time to think and think, and think. I can solve a lot of life issues as I walk in anonymity under my umbrella. So I walk, and think and think, and think.

Not one raindrop is the same, nor one person like another. It is spectacular to think about this. The individuality of each raindrop, each person, each a personality all their own. Everyone has a story that is unique to that person. Every story is unique in itself.

The smell of rain washes away the stench of the city and brings with it the colors of the rainbow, reds, and oranges, blues, indigos, and violet, yellows, and greens. Flowers bloom, grasses grow… it’s all new again. Everything is renewed.

No, today it will not softly rain, I will go through this day without it.

I like the cool, soft rain.

IMG_2884~Kim

Five Foot Two.

I watched Lady Gaga’s documentary, tonight.

She is very happy with her career at the moment, not her love life. She has a masseuse for when she cries in pain and a chiropractor for her hip. A nurse to give her medications, and a gaggle of Gaga helpers. I honestly do not know if she can dress herself? (It’s OK, she has helpers for that too.) Yes, she has pain, she probably has fibromyalgia but it was never mentioned in the film. She did say she felt bad for people who had pain like she does. She felt bad because they were poor and did not have the kind of money that she has to hire help.  She said she couldn’t do it on her own. (Big fear factor there.) We were blessed with a Gaga boob shot poolside and a literal shot in her ass cheek before she was to take the stage. She is a bit of a Diva (who isn’t these days?)

Her agenda was made clear in the first two minutes this documentary, The Joanne (Deluxe) Album was going to sell millions and she was going to make sure. She said she would do whatever it took, well, checkmark! The last sentence of the documentary, “A Million Reasons, from the Joanne (Deluxe) Album, just hit a million sold.”

Well done. I don’t have much more to say… except stop fighting with Madonna.

Listen, Lady Gaga is talented, she has a killer voice. I like her music. She was probably born to be a star and has probably worked very hard to reach her Gaga goals. I’m happy for her. I wish her success. I hope she finds a new love interest and has those babies while she tours the country! (Her dream, not mine.)

This documentary was a promotional filming to get her ‘new sound’ out to her fans. It was not about her chronic pain issues but a lifestyle lived in excess with access to anything she will ever need.

I’m still a fan, a bit disillusioned, but I will still listen to her music.

IMG_3178 2~Kim

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