"I only get one life and I will not let Fibromyalgia take the joy from my living it."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is It Really A Migraine?

I have migraines. I was quickly diagnosed with migraines because of the nausea, sensitivity to light, sound, smell, etc. But this was WAY before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or understood that Fibro isn't just about pain. My Fibro manifests itself in nausea and vertigo due to an extreme sensitivity to external stimuli, i.e. light, smells, sounds, motion, changes in temperature, etc. I was always told that migraines are not the headache itself. The headaches that people usually refer to as a migraine is just another symptom of a migraine. So the fact that my migraine headaches did not always come with my other symptoms (i.e. nauesa, sensitivity to light) was not all that curious to doctors. So I was and am treated with preventative migraine medications that work. I also take migraine medication when I have a migraine headache and it works. But this morning on the TODAY Show they did a segment with Dr. Nancy Snyderman called Dealing with Chronic Headaches, migraines being one. The way they described it, I wonder if what I have is not a cluster headache. Although they said that they would go into what a cluster headache was they ran out of time and never did in fact describe a cluster headache, except in an answer to someone's question about a migraine that lasted for a week at a time. The doctor answered that it may be a cluster headache if it was lasting that long. I wonder if I was misdiagnosed. Maybe I have cluster headaches and the other symptoms that typically come from a migraine are really just symptoms from my Fibromyalgia.

Mayo Clinic defines a cluster headache as this:
A cluster headache is one of the most painful types of headache. A striking feature of cluster headache is that the attacks occur in cyclical patterns, or clusters — which gives the condition its name.
Bouts of frequent attacks — known as cluster periods — may last from weeks to months, usually followed by remission periods when the headache attacks stop completely. The pattern varies from one person to another, but most people have one or two cluster periods a year. During remission, no headaches occur for months, and sometimes even years.
Fortunately, cluster headache is rare and not life-threatening. Treatments can help make the attacks shorter and less severe. In addition, preventive medications can help reduce the number of headaches.
for more symptoms on cluster headaches, click here. Mayo Clinic defines a migraine as this:

Migraines are chronic headaches that can cause significant pain for hours or even days. Symptoms can be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down.
Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms or signs (auras), such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arm or leg. A migraine is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Although there's no cure, medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. If treatment hasn't worked for you in the past, it's worth talking to your doctor about trying a different migraine medication. The right medicines combined with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes may make a tremendous difference.

The cluster headaches sound very similar to what I have, but I have a lot of the vision problems that go along with the migraines with aura. See here for more info on the migraines with aura.
Either way, now I need to pay attention to the weather to see if I can see a pattern occurring between it and the headaches.

Mountain Cedar

The weather man said this morning that mountain cedar was high today. I made a mental note because of my bad day previously when we had high mountain cedar. Sure enough it's evening and I'm getting a migraine. I have been taking Zyrtec. I wonder how bad it would have been without it? Yikes! Thankfully it's a warmer day and the sun is shining. Who thought that I'd ever be glad to see the sun shine, right? But it does help take the aches away. Anyway, I took some Aleve and tried to see if the headache would go away without having to take my migraine medicine. I hadn't eaten lunch which I know is a no-no. So I sat down to dinner in front of the television, of course, I'm an American. By 8 o'clock I was falling asleep but without a headache. By 9 I was going to bed. Mountain cedar did not win today!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Score Cheap Diapers on Amazon by Sarah

I don’t know about you, but I hate spending money on diapers.  I learned the following trick from Money Saving Mom and it has definitely taken the sting out of purchasing diapers!
  • Go to Amazon and search for the brand and size diaper you want.  I buy Luvs because they are the cheapest ($35.00). 
  • Click on the diapers you want and on the right-hand side of the page, there is a blue box that says “Save 30% with Subscribe & Save.”  Click on the “Subscribe Now” button and enter your shipping and payment information. 
  • Once you’ve entered all that, you’ll see your First Delivery Summary on the right-hand side of the page showing your discount amount ($10.50) and your free shipping.  If you’ve ordered Luvs diapers, your total should be $24.50. Click “Sign Me Up” and your first shipment will be on it’s way!
  • Once you receive a confirmation email that your diapers have shipped, go to “Your Account” on Amazon, click on “Manage Your Subscribe and Save” and cancel the subscription. 
I also shave money off of my diaper total by using Amazon gift cards that I earn from Swag Bucks.  Swag Bucks is a search engine which awards digital dollars called “Swag Bucks.” These can be redeemed for gift cards, books, apparel, accessories and much more.  I purchase $5.00 Amazon gift cards, which I apply to my diaper purchases.
So, by combining my gift cards from Swag Bucks with the discounts from Amazon, I end up spending approximately $15.00 on a case of diapers!

Following Comments added by Me:
I thought this article by Sarah was relevant since I've been talking about my New Year's goal of making things easier by shopping online instead of going out to the stores. And my becoming a "mom" and how to make things easier on myself in that area as well.

I've added a banner to the top of my blog to take you swag bucks. Yes, that means I recruited you and will get points every time you earn points. But think of it this way, your surfing the web will be helping buy diapers for our baby, he he : ) 

Living Social Deal is $10 for a $20 gift card at none other than amazon.com. So go snag a gift card at half price, and get some of those diapers cheap, cheap using the methods that Sarah provided above. Let us know how it goes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fibro Mom Lesson #1 by Chantal

I asked the question on Facebook if anyone had advice for me as a new "mom" with Fibromyalgia. Chantal e-mailed me with lots of great info. I asked if I could post it here for everyone. I am going to break it down into categories over a few posts. Let Chantal know your thoughts and if you have any questions. Her contact info is at the bottom.

Here are some things that I have learned:

The first week that you are home with baby limit visitors, unless they are coming over to help with household chores or cooking. This seems harsh, but visitors although always well-intended, will zap the energy out of you!
You will need all the energy you have for baby.
Accept any help that is offered.
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding baby, feeding is a full-time job. All housework can wait.
If you are breastfeeding, please keep in mind that nursing a newborn can take up to 2 hours per session—due to baby’s hiccups and gas. This can be exhausting when you are on a 2 hour schedule. Enlist hubby or partner to bring the baby to you whenever possible.
If you are breastfeeding make sure that you learn all of the positions and holds. Do not leave the hospital without mastering one of them! You will need to alternate them often. This will help both with your fatigue (breastfeeding while lying down) and muscle stiffness and pain as well as with nipple soreness.
You will hear: "Sleep when the baby sleeps," so many times that you will be ready to punch someone. Learn to say "Thank-You" for all the advice, then, follow your fibromyalgic instincts. (Normals don’t understand the sleep disorder part of this syndrome).
You will hear: You don’t need a changing station downstairs. Just change baby on the floor. Again, learn to say Thank-You for all the advice, then, follow your fibromyalgic instincts. (Normals don’t realize the extent of muscle soreness and stiffness this disorder offers).
If you have a two story house, set up two changing and sleep stations. One upstairs and the other one downstairs.  Keep an extra supply of all personal toiletries and clothing items downstairs for yourself too.
Do a mental check off list each and every time you leave a room or level of the house. This will help you conserve your energy. For example: If you are going upstairs from the main level in your house, ask yourself, “What items do I need to take up with me when I go?” Bring these items with you. Rather then getting upstairs and thinking to yourself, “Darn, I need the baby wipes that are downstairs.”
 I also carry a large zip lock Hefty clear (in order to quickly identify its contents) freezer bag with me at all times in my house. I keep the baby’s oragel, Tylenol, and gas-x in it as well as my sunglasses and regular glasses, my asthma inhaler and any other items that I might need but may not have the energy to climb up the stairs again to get.
When doing laundry, have more than one laundry basket near the washer and dryer for dirty clothes. Separate the laundry by categories and or by people. For example: One category would be BABY, or; BABY and MOMMY or Baby Bibs and Sleepers. This makes folding the laundry and putting it away much easier and it saves you both brain power and energy.
When purchasing the high chair keep the following in mind: Be sure to purchase a chair that baby can grow into –it holds at least 40lbs. –and one that the fibro mom can easily maneuver. This includes the harness, straps, and buckles that hold baby in. Test different chairs in the store.
Make sure that the tray is light weight and easy to grip with one hand. The one hand grip release is the best for fibromyalgic hands. The tray should be small enough to fit into your sink for easy clean ups and also have a smaller tray underneath it with a bar so baby can’t slip out.
Make sure that the high chair also has an easy release for adjusting the height of the chair itself. Lifting a 30lbs. baby needlessly high into the air can put undue stress on an already sore back and aggravate fibro symptoms.

Chantal can be reached at her:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year's Goal 2011

My New Year's Goal for 2011 is to try to make things easier for myself, specifically by ordering things online. I can order online and have groceries and things delivered. I can pre-order things and just go pick them up when I get there. A lot of these sites also save money. I will try to share the sites with you as I find them. I hope this preliminary list helps you get your new year off to an easier start.

  • Angel Food Ministries- Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing food relief to communities throughout the U.S. basically allowing you to buy groceries at a reduced price. Order in advance and pick up at a local site. Plus, you can buy GLUTEN FREE, check out the current month's menu. When you arrive they just box up your groceries and put them in your car for you. It sure beats a trip to the store.
  • Schwan's - Online Grocery Store. I love when the Schwan's man delivers. It's so nice to not have to go to the store. I'll share my fav dishes in another post.
  • Soap.com -  Pretty much everything you would get at the store except groceries. From paper products to shampoo. Always free shipping on orders of $25 or more. And for a limited time it's 15% off your first order with promo code SOAPSPLASH.
  • Diapers.com - Everything for baby, mom and maternity. Free 2-day shipping on order over $49. Right now new customers can get 30% back on diapers on 10% back on everything else.
  • Netflix - We love our netflix. There are lots of movies, television shows, even exercise videos,  that you can watch instantly in addition to your movies that come in the mail. If you do not have a computer hooked up to your t.v. then you can purchase a blu-ray player than has the netflix player built in. My mom recently bought one and loves it. Just make sure you buy the one with the built-in wi-fi not the one with just the "wireless capable". You have to go online to your netflix account on your computer and put the shows you want to watch into your queue. Once that is done then you can access them from your television through the blu-ray player. 
  • Paperback Swap - Swap books through the mail.List books you'd like to swap with other club members. Once a book is requested, mail it to the club member. In return, you may choose from other available books! Books you request are mailed to you for free.
  • Church - I hate to miss church. I miss the music. I miss seeing the people, especially after being cooped up and isolated at times. And I miss the sermons, especially when they are part of a series. Did you know that many churches allow you to watch or listen to the sermons online? The amount of time it takes for the sermons to be put on the website after the service vary from church to church. Clicking on "church" here in my post takes you to a website where you can listen to Andy Stanley.
  • Post Office - please don't go to the post office just to buy stamps. Next time your checking out a the grocery store ask the cashier if you can purchase some stamps also. Or go to the post office website and order them. You can also print postage labels with shipping! Schedule your mail carrier to pick up your packages. Put your mail on hold or make your change of address online as well. There is no reason to stand in that line! 
  • CVS - This is who I use for my mail order prescriptions. I get a 90 day supply at a time. The only problem is you have to remember to renew them in plenty of time for them to go through the mail before your supply at home runs out. I have a problem remembering to do that. You can just renew online. The initial process of submitting your prescriptions is different depending on which mail-order pharmacy you use. Sometimes it can just be done between your doctor and the pharmacy. Your doctor's office will help you with the process though.  
  • AVON - Avon has come a long way. Not only can you buy really good cosmetics, but you can can get really stylish jewelry, purses, clothing, shoes. They even have undergarments! You can order online. You can pay online and have it shipped to you. Or you can choose to let your friendly Avon representative deliver to you and pay her (or him) directly. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Step

We've decided to apply to be foster parents for newborns. We're in the application process now. Training is in February. So I'm getting a nursery ready and planning on being prepared to accept a baby in March.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Buckwheat Pancakes by Sarah

Pancakes + butter + warm maple syrup =heaven!  I adore carbs.  Upon beginning my Candida diet, I mourned the loss of fluffy pancakes drenched in butter and saturated in real maple syrup.  Not only did I miss the taste, I missed the satisfying, filling feeling that came over me after having consumed said pancakes.  I was HUNGRY!!  Meat and veggies just weren’t cutting it.  So, I began researching alternate grains which would still permit me to eat carbs/grains without the side effects of traditional wheat and white flour.  Enter buckwheat flour! I don’t remember how I discovered it, but I’m so happy I did.  Buckwheat flour is gluten free and is an excellent source of nutrients. It yields pancakes which create a nourishing, filling breakfast.  It took me awhile to adjust to the taste and texture, but these have become one of my favorite meals.
Buckwheat Pancakes
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
Mix all ingredients together.  Add more or less water to batter to reach desired consistency and cook as you would normal pancakes.
                   I topped these with maple syrup for Bri and she ate 'em up!

Tip: Since these pancakes are dense and don’t absorb toppings like regular pancakes do, I thin out my batter so my pancakes aren’t very thick.  I top mine with butter and serve immediately.

**Those with Candida react to foods differently.  These recipes are based upon my reactions to food and should be altered to fit your unique dietary needs.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Old Man Winter Go Away!

Pretty much everything hurts. Pretty much all the time. I hate going outside. I hate having to get out from under the covers in the morning. I hate having to change clothes because the few seconds it takes is just long enough for my muscles to seize up from the cold. I haven't hurt like this in a long time. I guess since last winter. It's still not like most people with Fibromyalgia experience. I can get up and function. But it's difficult. I certainly don't want to. I've always thought I must have a high pain threshold. I think Fibro pushes that, but like I've said before my Fibro is more sensitivity to external stimuli. Hypersensitivity. Vertigo and nausea, etc. The pain is not my daily battle. Usually. I've asked the doctor if Fibro is progressive. I'm not sure if I got or understood the answer. It probably doesn't help that I've not been getting my full dose of Cymbalta for the pain. I can't wait for my meds to come in. And I wonder how long it will take for them to get built back up in my system. I feel for you all who have this everyday and to greater extent. How I long for Spring!

Loud Clapper

I had a very rough morning. Before we even got to church I was rubbing my gel on my wrist for nausea. And then had to send Rob for a Sprite. Then we were running a little late so had to sit on the opposite side that we usually do. That put us near this guy who is an unusually loud clapper. The pitches in the music and then his loud clapping. . . . ugh. I was holding on to Rob's arm because the vertigo was setting in. I eventually had to sit down. I was so sick. I hate the nausea. I'm better now, but very sensitive lately. I'm just waiting for the next wave.

Adrienne Dellwo had a good post recently about What's Behind Noise Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia. 

** I found out on the news tonight that Mountain Cedar was really high today.  Evidently that's a big allergen to watch for here. Wonder if that was a big cause of my vertigo today?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mail Order Madness

For over a week now I've had to take a half dose of my Cymbalta. The reason being because I didn't renew my mail order prescription in time. Then because we moved and the original prescription wasn't written by this doctor I couldn't just call and get a new script. I had to make an appointment and go in. Then there was the New Year's weekend and they were closed so I couldn't get in to the doctor's office until Tuesday after New Year's. They told me I could take my script in to CVS and they would do the mail order paperwork for me. That's what I did. CVS told me that would not work because they were separate. So now I actually have to snail mail my prescriptions in. Anyway, one thing after another. I've been taking my husband's Cymbalta. But he only takes 30mg and I take 60mg. I don't want to take two of his and deplete his supply, but I can't go cold turkey this whole time. And the doctor's office didn't have any samples because the reps aren't giving out samples since the economy has been bad. WHATEVER! All I know is that I am definitely in more pain over the last couple of weeks. I am more easily discouraged, I don't know if that has anything to do with the meds since I take it for pain. My mail order meds are a 90 day supply. I don't have any kind of reminder to tell me to reorder. So I don't realize that I need more until I'm getting low and looking for that next bottle. This needing the new prescription is just a yearly thing and having a new doctor is a fluke. Any suggestions on keeping up with your refills?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Regular Appointment

I had an appointment with my Fibromyalgia doctor today to get my meds renewed. My prescriptions ran out and since we moved here and she wasn't the doctor who wrote the scripts I had to go in to get the new ones. The good news is that I've only gained one pound since my last appointment. I used to gain 3 to 4 pounds every appointment. But it's slowing down, I guess. Yay! She asked how my pain is doing. It's definitely a lot worse since it's gotten cold.

Sea World Christmas

Rob's parents came to have Christmas with us the first weekend in January. We were able to catch the last day of the Christmas shows at Sea World. And with half price tickets. Whoo Hoo! They didn't open until noon and we caught lunch first. So it wasn't a full day. And I did better than I expected. My feet hurt at the end of the day, but other than that I felt okay. Very surprising!

The baby whale was the cutest thing. It was his 1st birthday too!

Smile! These dolphins were fat from all the feedings.

This lorikeet landed on my shoulder. I quickly turned the camera to snag a picture and then it flew away just as fast. I was shocked when I looked at the pictures and saw that it turned out.

Rob's mom got a picture of my getting the picture of the lorikeet on my shoulder.
Rob and I watching the sea lions.

Candy Cane Forest

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Minestrone Soup by Sarah

Most people have never heard of a Candida, so here is a definition in a nutshell.  When I first realized I had Candida, it required a complete change in the way I ate. No more starches , processed foods, no sugar in ANY FORM, etc.  It is easier to list what I can eat than what I can’t eat. Basically I can consume  meat, veggies and some complex carbohydrates like rice and barley.  I can also eat grains no one has ever heard of like buckwheat, amaranth, and the like.  I was seriously depressed for quite some time because I was hungry and had no idea what to make that I could actually eat.  But with the help of my Mom, my sweet friend, and lots of experimenting, I have a pretty broad range of recipes to choose from.
I threw this soup together last week when we all wanted something warm, satisfying and comforting.  It turned out delicious! All of the ingredients are Candida friendly except the potatoes.  Those can easily be eliminated and the soup is still tasty and, most importantly, FILLING!

3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can Italian diced tomatoes
½ cup rice or barley
½ cup lentils
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 lb. sautéed sausage
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer all ingredients until veggies, rice and lentils are soft.

**all recipes should be adjusted to meet your specific dietary needs, please consult your physician. developed for the Candida Diet