Tag Archives: fibromyalgia

Catching up

train shirtMorning, y’all.  Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie is slowly coming out of hiding. Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself.  Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.

Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself.  Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.  Although I have realized that my normal means that I will hurt and feel tired more often than not, I started feeling sorry for myself and pictured my future with more pain and less mobility.  This sent me down a darker path and binge eating.

What brought me out of it was a combination of things.  Well, I’m still in it, but fighting to pull out of it.  Physically, I’m getting better (thank you anti-inflammatory foods and support sleeves), but the brain still needs work.  Hubs and I joined a gym and are still tweaking our schedule.  I’m learning to recognize and listen to my body. I know when I need to switch to a different body part while training, when to start getting my heart rate down, and to start more slowly so that I can get stronger without hurting myself.  After a little over an hour yesterday (treadmill and a full-body lifting session), I don’t feel that bad.  The BCAAs do make a difference.

I would love to skip supplements and get off all meds, but that is not in the cards for me now and may not be later.  And I’m okay with that.  I refuse to let anyone shame me for doing what I need to do.

Some days are better than others, but that’s how things are with everyone.   I may move more slowly than I used to, but my inner athlete is coming back.  And she is badass.

Until next time, peace.

Chronic pain killed Prince?

I loved Prince.  I loved him since 1979 when “I Wanna Be Your Lover” hit the airwaves.  I loved how he was different.  He cared not for haters and did his own thing.  He inspired me.

I read an article a few minutes ago that made his death even sadder.  Lorraine Berry’s Raw Story post states the Prince died from chronic pain.   There is speculation that he has a cocaine habit.  He could have tried self-medicating, something I’ve done from time to time. I don’t know what happened with him, and will not speculate any further on what happened to him . I do know what chronic pain does to me.

Some days it’s like I can feel the life draining out of me. When meds stop working, I get desperate to find anything that helps.  Sleeping all the time does not work because I have things to do and people to care for.  Self-medication becomes a necessity at times, and that is not how things should be. I’m  not just looking to score drugs. I want relief; to feel close to the old normal again.

And now this post is coming to an end.  You know,  because things to do and people to care for.  Taking a few deep breaths, pasting on a less grouchy face, and going for it.

Costochondritis

I’ve been feeling like crud lately and thought this would be a good time to discuss various side issues that go along with a Fibromyalgia diagnosis.  I am not a  medical professional and don’t claim to be.  Don’t assume that my experiences are the same as yours.  If something is happening that you don’t recognize, go get checked out. 

Costochondritis is literally a pain in the chest.  It’s terrifying to anyone, especially one with a family history of cardiovascular issues.  My first experience with it came in the early 90s.  I was in the middle of an argument with my then boyfriend and started feeling bad.  I put the argument aside and went to bed, hoping rest would make me feel better.  It didn’t.  I awakened with strong chest pains and trouble breathing. The trip to the ER cost a pretty penny to the uninsured food service employee. but it was worth it to know that I wasn’t having a heart attack.

Many years and a few similar episodes later and it still results in a similar fear.  I know now what symptoms to look for and know the attack will pass.  Costochondritis is a regular part of my life now and just part of a severe Fibro flare.

Costochondritis, or inflamed breast bone,  is painful inflammation of the breast bone and rib cage.  Like me, if may make you think you’re having a heart attack.  The pain may come out of nowhere like mine did, or it may be the result of overtraining, an injury, or extended coughing fits that accompany a cold or flu bug.  Treatment is easy – just over the counter anti-inflammatory solutions like tylenol or Advil should do the trick. When Fibromyalgia is involved, the pain is intensified and does not always fade as quickly as one would hope.  Extended pain saps energy, and when the chest pain combines with the spine pain, makes Sherrie tired and angry rather than friendly.

Do you have Costochrondritis?  How do you deal with it?

Healing by any means

No, this is not another ‘no longer vegan,’ posts.  It’s just a commentary on trying work around meds and supplements that aren’t exactly veg-friendly. 

It’s a struggle,  y’all.  Not sticking to my way of eating, but trying to find vegan supplements and meds.  I’ve found many that work, but not all are veg-friendly.   Does it make me less compassionate?   No.  It means I’m one of the many dealing with this.

If you choose to judge me based on this mindset, so be it. Step into  body on a high pain day(well, week)  and talk to me afterward.  I’m doing what needs to be done while I find the optimal balance.

Does it mean veg-friendly instead of certified vegan supplements?   If the veg-friendly products work best, yes.  Does it mean dealing with meds that have no vegan alternative?   Yes, unfortunately.   Does it make me sad?  Yes.

I need to keep it together while on the journey.   On days like today, that means healing by any means necessary.

Nuphorin for anxiety relief

Note: I am not a medical professional. Anything shared here is based on my personal experimentation and not meant as medical advice. Do not alter your protocol without discussing it with your doctor.

Vitavana offered me a bottle of Nuphorin free of charge for my review.  My views on this and any product I review are my own. 

I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals, but I know when to stop experimenting When no other options work, I take my meds. If the side effects nullify any of the medication’s benefits, I discuss the options with my doc and we’ll work together to find an alternative solution.

Before I found a drug and supplement protocol that worked for me, my doc suggested I try an anti-anxiety medication for help with pain and stress relief.  Fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients sometimes also deal with depression and anxiety, so sometimes the addition of anxiety medication may reduce those issues and help take the edge off of pain.  With daily pain hovering in the 6-7 of 10 range with flares and spikes in the 9-10 range, I figured I should try.  I was willing to try anything.

After three months of Cymbalta and her side effects, it was time to try a natural option.  I’ve heard that GABA, 5-HTP, magnesium, and vitamin B all have positive benefits for some anxiety symptoms, so the search for a supplement was on.  I didn’t want to add many more pills to my protocol, so I focused on combination supps.  Vitavana offered me a sample of Turmerex and I noticed the company also had an anxiety relief supplement available.  They offered a sample of Nuphorin and asked that I give it a try and share an honest review.

Nuphorin Anxiety Relief may be a good alternative for those using alternative options for anxiety or stress management. Each vegetarian capsule contains Ashwagandha extract, GABA, Chamomile, 5-HTP, DMAE Bitartrate, Vitamin B-1, Vitamin B-2, Niacinamide, Vitamin B-6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, and Magnesium.  The ingredient list did not worry me, so I stuck to the recommended dose of 1-2 capsules a day (one with breakfast and one with dinner) and wished for good results. I did not feel the blah haze the came with the Cymbalta and I didn’t feel the need to binge eat.  My heart hate went back to regular, my eyes stopped throbbing, and that, uh, loving feeling came back.  Hubby was happy about that.

If you’re currently using supplements for anxiety relief, Nuphorin Anxiety Relief is worth a try.  Each 60 capsule bottle is $39.95 with free shipping for Amazon Prime Members.  Vitavana offers a 60 day money back guarantee, so trying Nuphorin is risk-free.

I’ll share more about my protocol in other posts.  Finding the right mix of pharmaceuticals and supplements was just one part of the process.

Flare week two

Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie isn’t feeling very friendly.   The frustration,  anger, sadness, and grump are strong in this one.

Frustration stems from an inability to control pain when it’s in an uncontrollable state.  My daily routine, relaxation,  and even meds only aggravate the pain sensors and make me stabby.

Anger comes from the same place as frustration,  but is magnified by the limited mobility, lack of meaningful exercise,  and fear of the flare continuing past week two.

Cue the sadness.  Once fear comes around,  the tears are sure to follow.  I’m only 46.  If this is what 46 feels like, what will 56 bring?   If I need assistance to stand now, I might need more assistance later.  And what if the degeneration speed increases with time?  How am I supposed to train when I can barely stand?  

Yes, it gets that bad sometimes.  It’s hard to tell when people see me smiling and pushing through.

Once anger passes, the general grump sets in.  Why are people calling me?  Why do I need to cook?  These dogs need to feed themselves.   Bah, humbug.

The longer the flare, the longer this cycle lasts.  I know flares are temporary,  but while living through one, logical thinking flies out the window.  And laughs at me.

Why do I share?  Because it helps keep me sane.  And to let anyone reading this know that the feelings are real and you’re not crazy.  Or alone.  Chronic conditions can do a number on your body, mind, and spirit.

If you need me, give me an hour or so.  I’m riding out the flare from my bedside workstation.   Thank you, flexible scheduling!

Peace.

Inside a Fibro flare

All pain sucks.  It sucks the energy out of the body and mind.  Extended pain due to injuries takes a toll on the injured.  Days (or weeks) of pain seem impossible to handle until the pain eases as the injury heals.  With spinal issues, I ache daily.  When Fibromyalgia rears its ugly head, it’s agony.  Before it fully attacks, Fibro toys with me.  It pokes, prods, and smacks at different body parts before jumping on full force.  Fibromyalgia makes pain worse.

The early indications of a fibro flare throw my days off.  Yesterday started off great.  We attended the boy’s apprenticeship signing ceremony and had a fairly relaxing morning after that.  By early afternoon,  a dizzy spell hit that took me out for a few hours.  Out cold.  I didn’t see it coming.  By early evening,  my ankle began to tingle.  Tingle isn’t the right word, exactly.   The pain fell between a tingly sensation and pins and needles.   When it happened,  I knew – June’s flare is coming.

This morning,  on went the anke support.  Suppirts ease the pain and keeps those joints stable.  By 9 am, the knees, elbow, and shoulder tingling kicked in. All at once, the discomfort level rose.  I made a note to change my training plans (no lifting) and took the preemptive dose of anti-inflammatory herbs and meds.  By 10:30, my overall pain level went from 3 to 7 as my spine joined the pain party.  I had to switch from a seated to reclining position for work.  By day’s end, I’ll resort to prescription medication and an early bedtime.

The pain will either increase or remain at the 8-9 range for a few days.  Light either annoys me or hurts.  Sunglasses outdoors are a must, even if I’m in the yard with the dogs.  Otherwise,  it feels like heat rays boring into my brain.  There is no movement without pain and no comfortable position.   I’ll smile and socialize, but I’d rather be aslleep until the the flare passes.  I’ll eat because I have to,  not because I’ll want to or enjoy it.

Within a week, the pain level will drop to the 5-7 range with occasional spikes to 7-9.  Within two weeks,  I’ll be back to my usual self.  Some flares end sooner while others drag on for weeks.  While the general symptoms stay about the same,  something new pops up from time to time.  In May, it was a shap, stabbing pain in my hip sockets.

That’s what it’s like for me when a flare strikes.  If someone you know mentions a flare, be kind.  They’re not trying to blow you off.  Pain makes people angry, sad, frustrated,  and forgetful.  And hopefully,  it’s only temporary.

Until next time, I may or may not be in a blanket fort with a book or two and the Roku remote.  Peace.

One week into 21-Day Fix

Thank you, Autum Calabrese!  The 21-Day Fix is legit!



I’m proof that just about anyone can do the workouts and I had a good first week even with the modified moves and schedule! You know by now that I have to modify any program I’m on thanks to the crumbling spine.  I cannot (but can) belive I still had a successful week as far as weight and inch loss.

I made sure I ate my reds, greens,and blues every day without fail. Greens went into my smoothies along with fruit – even cabbage and broccoli.  I ate Soy Curls, tofu, beans, hemp seeds, and Gardein.  I counted oranges and teaspoons with nuts, nut butter, flax seeds and touches of oil in salads, oatmeal, and on bread. (Note:  Sherrie needs garlic bread with pasta!)  Starchy yellows included bread, rice, and oats.  When I ate Gardein as protein, I ate half to three-quarter sized yellows.  When I used beans as protein, I measured them in yellow containers and added more green to my meal.  My blues included homemade hemp and coconut milks.  I didn’t cheat last week.  I also didn’t eat on schedule thanks to a couple of crazy days.

For training, I alternated Upper, Lower, Total Body, and Cardio Fix with PIlates Fix and Yoga Fix to aid in my recovery.  I had a bad day on Thursday, so I did two short sessions with Tony Horton and a short walk.  Ten Minute Trainer is a great one for people short on time.

My results?  1 pound down and lost inches in my waist and hips.  Yes, inches plural.  I lost two inches off my waist and one off my hips.  I’ll take it!  I don’t usually care that much about the scale, but weighed in to prove that modification still yields results.

I cannot wait to see what the next two weeks brings!  I’m checking out Team Beachbody Club and Beachbody on Demand and will substitute a workout from 21-Day Fix Extreme, Focus T-25, P90X, P90X2, P90X3, Insanity, Asylum, RevAbs, Turbo Fire, or any of the other streaming workouts available on BOD.  If you like mixing it up or want to try a program before you buy, BOD rocks!

Here’s to another week of eating clean and training.  It doesn’t matter how you train – be consistent and go as hard as you can.  If you want to join me, just give me a shout.  I’ve got your back.

Note:  The images link to my Team Beachbody Store.  If you want or need support or accountability and don’t have a coach, pick up 21 Day Fix or any other program and I’ll be your coach.  You can join for free if you’re not ready to commit to a program yet and just need some help.  I’m here for you.

See ya, January! Happy February!

I’m glad to see January 2015 go. It was a craptacular month and I don’t think I could easily handle a second month of it. An annoying reason I hated the month is the setback. Grr, the setback. But, January is over and February is here. I’m ready for it.

I tried to post this yesterday, but the January Kick Ass continued for an extra day. My saved pots disappeared three times.  I was not amused.

My goals this month are to get my eating back on track and learn more about what ails me. Research might drive some people crazy, but it helps me feel like I have more control. The Fibromyalgia quirks and tummy issues don’t bother me as much since I have an idea what to expect. I hope that makes sense. I wonder sometimes if it does. If it doesn’t, I blame Fibro Brain. 🙂

And speaking of research, I picked up this goodie a few days ago. candida

Ricki Heller‘s blog is one of my favorite stops and I know the advice in this book in my hands will make a huge difference.  I’ll share more about the book and recipes here and in my Examiner column.  If you need sugar-free, gut-healing whole food recipes, take a look.

I was advised to consider the possibility of candida overgrowth a little over a year ago.  I took the assessment and scored in the top range before I completed the whole thing.  Oy.  Overachiever, I am.  These recipes work with my eating plan.  I just have to tweak things here and there.

For fitness, I’m starting another round of 21 Day Fix starting on February 8.  21 Day Fix Extreme drops today, but I am not ready for that one.  Both 21DF and 21DFX are designed to get you on track with 30 minute workouts (yes), an easy clean eating plan, and quick results.  All moves include a modifier front and center and only minimum equipment is required.  I’ll use resistance bands and my favorite exercise mat.  If you’d like more information on either program, give me a shout or visit my store.

21 day fix dvd
30 minutes a day, clean eats, and modified moves that even I can do. Love it!

 

Do you have specific plans or goals for February? If you need or want support and encouragement, give me a shout.  If you’re following a different program, it’s all good. This is all about support for whatever your goals are. Swing by Facebook and say hi.

Until next time, be good to yourself.  Remember that you are not alone and that you are your competition.

Peace!

 

Handmade beauty with Beauty by Shea

You know how people tell you that many commercial health and beauty products are bad for you and how we should go more natural?  What they don’t tell you is how expensive it is to go more natural.  Sticker shock is a killer!  But once you get over the shock you hit Google and Pinterest.  Once you hit Google and Pinterest, you find recipes for the health and beauty items you need.  And sometimes you realize that you have most of the ingredients on hand.  Then you go into the kitchen and blend, giggling all the while.   Sometimes you share these handmade products with friends and family.

That’s my story.  I drifted away from handmade a little, but learning more about Fibromyalgia and environmental sensitivities sent me back into the kitchen.  I make my own laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, and skin cream.  The family doesn’t always share my enthusiasm for my handmade concoctions, but the addition of Shea Butter to the skin cream recipes brings them around.

Beauty by Shea photo.
Beauty by Shea photo.

I regularly make my own foot cream and muscle rubs with essential and coconut oils, but the family wasn’t fond of the coconut oil base.  Adding Shea Butter seems to do the trick.  It thickens the base and the products leave no oily or sticky residue when applied.  I had the chance to try Beauty By Shea’s Pure Organic Unrefined Raw Shea Butter and jumped on it.  This was not my first purchase of raw Shea Butter so I knew what to expect.  My package arrived quickly (thanks to Amazon Prime) and I was impressed from the jump. Real, unrefined Shea Butter is firm-textured at room temperature, has a creamy ivory color, and a faint fragrance on its own that blends perfectly with any added fragrance.

I use it straight up on my elbows and knees to help soften the rough skin. Just a touch is all you need. For my hands, I use a 60/40 blend of Shea Butter and Coconut Oil without added fragrance as a nightly hand cream.  In cold weather when my hands are particularly dry and cracked, nothing beats a 90/10 Shea/Coconut blend, especially when its still warm and has a hint of added fragrance. I reach for essential oils because I’m cutting out as much junk such as artificial fragrance as possible.

This is the start of something wonderful.  Sherrie Thompson photo.
This is the start of something wonderful. Sherrie Thompson photo.

When I need to pick up more Shea Butter, Beauty By Shea is where I’ll shop.  The 1 pound bricks regularly sell for $19, but right now are on sale for $11!  That is an unreal deal!  I may order another bag now so I’ll have it on hand through cooler months and for holiday gifts.

Do you make your own household or beauty products?  What are your favorites?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.