Friday, March 11, 2016

The NEW Fibromyalgia Association Magazine

My article is featured in the NEW Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Fibro 10 Years Later

It's been quite some time for me posting something of a personal nature on here. Part of the reason has been that I've lost both my Grandmother and Mom within the past 6 months or so. Mom just passed right before the holidays.

It was not a shock. You regular blog readers have known that she has been sick with Alzheimer's for almost 25 years.

Society has taken a strange turn here in the US. Almost 30% of us are caring for a loved one while having a family of our own AND maintaining a full-time job. The numbers will only get worse as half of us will have to deal with caring for someone with a chronic illness in the next 30 years.

I found these numbers completely shocking when I was Googling anxiety and fibromyalgia for my own personal needs. You see, out of all the symptoms I have had over the course of the past several years, I'm finding panic attacks to be the worst. And I think it's because those attacks remind me of what I have lost.

Both deaths were not shocking, but they still are very hard to deal with. I no longer have an ill person to care for and that's an empty feeling. I think that is probably the hardest thing for me at this point, aside from not having both of them around to just talk to.

When they were both here and in need, I found a sense of purpose in preparing their meals, doing their laundry, and giving them the companionship they craved. I also had two children that needed me for help with homework, meals, and laundry and a husband who needed these things too. Life was beyond hectic and I would often find myself suffering from anxiety the most as my stress levels rose. It had gotten bad enough where I really didn't want to leave the house in fear that it would surface and I'd be trapped.

Now that they are gone and there is less of a sense of urgency, I am having difficulty finding a sense of purpose. This usually can be easily remedied with me immersing myself into work, but I honestly have been finding it hard to write. I either lack the energy or nothing seems to sound right. I am even struggling with this blog post. I personally think it's one of my worst entries, BUT I know there are probably a lot of people out there that may appreciate these raw feelings so I'm going to go with it-- for better or worse.

I'm also finding it difficult to do housework. It seems like I get a panic attack at just the mere thought of doing it. I know some of it has to do with my OCD and the fact that I have a new puppy. She is difficult to potty train and that is REALLY not helping.

But hey-- let's bask in the cuteness of the puppy-- shall we?

This is Luna. She is a Siberian Husky. We got the puppy for the hubs as a gift. He has always wanted a husky. She is quite a handful. She loves VERY long walks, likes to tug at the leash every chance she gets, is teething, and is BEYOND playful with my Sport. 

Sport, my Cocker Spaniel is really liking Luna. They get along quite well. 

The cat Onyx? Well, he's not all that into Luna and would rather spend most of his time in the basement. But even he is starting to warm up to the sweetness! Okay, here's some equal time with the cuteness factor. Here's Sport waiting for Daddy to get home:

And here's Onyx in all of his cuteness and being VERY bad. He's not supposed to be on Daddy's desk. LOL!:

These three, along with my daughters, nieces, and hubs have always been my inspiration to get out of bed in the morning, but after 10 years of dealing with this beast, you'd think I'd have a better handle on my symptoms where I wouldn't get a panic attack at the drop of a hat. Sure I could say that my illness has just gotten worse, research would back me up. But I'm not so sure. 

Truth be told, there is a reason why Fibro is called a beast. This thing can be hard to tame-- even after having it for 10 years. Sometimes new symptoms creep up. 

Or in my case-- the symptoms are there because my body has not found a way to calm down after being put through a constant fight or flight scenario. 

Yes, it is true that many Fibro sufferers CAN and DO suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). BUT I do not feel that this is completely true in my case. 

Alzheimer's/ dementia care is a unique type of care. You are caring for an adult like you would a child, BUT you have to honor the adult with dignity. Watching someone lose their entire being is probably one of the worst things you can witness. There are others-- but this one ranks high up there because you wind up feeling completely torn. 

This person, when aware, must feel so trapped and you want nothing more than to try and comfort that feeling for them. It's a battle you tend to face alone because the partner in this might not remember you or their disease 5 minutes from now. This is why stress can be at very high levels with Alzheimer's. Cancer, heart disease, or any other illness that need a caregiver is just as hard. I just can't speak with as much experience, so I won't try. 

I believe that sometimes a caregiver continues to go through the fight or flight feelings after your loved one is gone because your body needs time to catch up and process what has happened. I've been caring for my Mom and grandparents for over 15 years and I think that does something to your psyche. 

But even if you have been caring for someone for a lesser amount of time, I think your body has a problem processing that much stress without a release. 

And when this happens, listen to your body. Relax by taking a nap, a soak in the tub, meditate, play a mindless video game, read, write-- whatever-- but do something that YOU enjoy. Your body is longing for that release. Give into it so your body can heal and get one day closer to the normal you remember.

Supplements also help. I'm currently taking Ginko Biloba and Sam-e for the anxiety, stress, and depression. I also take vitamin D and B to help with the fatigue. And I also crave a glass of orange juice every morning. I stay clear of coffee and drink a good cup of tea.

Hope this helps...

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Adolescent Fibromyalgia Research Study:

Thank you for being a reader of Fibro and Fabulous. I am writing to share some information about a clinical research study that may be of interest to you.

Research studies contribute greatly to the overall progress in understanding and treating diseases and Fibro and Fabulous supports that mission.

Adolescent Fibromyalgia Research Study Enrolling Today

Does your child suffer from widespread, unexplained body pain that impacts their daily routine?

If so, local research study doctors are studying an investigational medication to see if it can help manage symptoms associated with juvenile fibromyalgia in adolescents.

If your child is between 13 and 17 years of age, and has juvenile fibromyalgia or is experiencing unexplained aching, stiffness, fatigue, or trouble sleeping, he or she may be eligible to participate in a clinical research study.

* No-cost investigational study drug
* No-cost study-related care from a local physician

Visit anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Founder of Fibro and Fabulous

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Fibro New Year's Resolutions

Today's guest post comes from Barbara Leech.

Barbara Leech is a freelance writer and mother of four from Maine who lives with fibromyalgia, lupus and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. She considers herself a survivor of all things and is passionate about family, faith and small victories. Barbara is a writer for NewLifeOutlook|Fibromyalgia. For another one of Barbara's articles, please visit:

My Fibro New Year’s Resolutions

It is that time of year again when people start resolving to change their bad habits and promising to be healthier and wiser than they have been for the last 12 months.

New Year’s resolutions are a tradition for many, and although the concept is often unsuccessful (often abandoned by February) I have reached a turning point with my fibromyalgia that I want to support with better, healthier behavior.

I have been in a period of “healthful calmness” for the last several weeks. I almost feel I must whisper it, so fate doesn’t catch wind of my good fortune and suddenly take my health for a turn in the wrong direction.

I suffer from fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s (autoimmune thyroid disease) and lupus (autoimmune system attacking my body and organs) and all three seem to be under some level of control right now. My organs are doing well again and my hair has stopped falling out. Fibromyalgia seems to be hovering at a manageable level of pain each day. I still battle debilitating fatigue on some days, but it is not every day as it once was.

Life is easier to deal with. I am afraid to say the word “remission” out loud, but I think about it daily, hopeful with the possibility that peace might be mine for a little while. So naturally, I feel inspired to do all I can to support my health and keep my fibro as calm as possible. It may be time for some New Year’s resolutions.

I have asked for advice from my rheumatologist, my endocrinologist, and cardiologist… all of whom are wonderful specialists, but who often lack solid answers. This time was no different. I got responses like, “Keep doing what you’re doing,” and, “Exercise more, but don’t overdo it.”

If I look at what seems to have worked best, what may have led to this moment when I have a bit of hope that next year could be more healthy for me, with fewer days of pain, it is hard to pinpoint a clear path to take. I’ve even looked back at my journals, which I keep for this very purpose of playing detective about what brings about relief and what triggers a flare.

What Stands out as Important?

As I craft my New Year’s resolution list, I am not at all certain it will bring about a fibromyalgia remission, but I am hopeful it will create the best opportunity for my pain and fatigue to continue to ease — and maybe yours too.

Faith and hope are beautiful things and it is my hope that you will try to make a promise to yourself this coming year. It is so easy to choose things that are not the best for our health, from drinking soda or too much alcohol (ahhh the holidays) to eating fast food.

Fight the urge to indulge in things that make you feel worse and aggravate your fibromyalgia. I encourage you to compile a list of your own (or steal from mine), but try and put your health first for the next several months. Commit to being healthier than you are right now (mentally, spiritually and physically) and at the very least, you may have fewer bad days and be in a better position to fight your daily fibro battle.

My New Year’s Resolution List

I asked a friend of mine who is a nutritionist to give me some advice, and with her thoughts and the insights from patterns I see in my journals, I’ve written down my resolutions:

* I will eat my veggies. I promise I will eat more veggies with each meal. My plate will be 75 percent veggies and 25 percent protein.

* I will try to avoid processed foods. Only turkey hotdogs, sandwich meat and bacon that are nitrate free will pass my lips. I will avoid chips and all those fun snacks at family gatherings and focus on the fruit and veggie platter.

* I will cut back on gluten intake. While I am not gluten intolerant (according to tests), I have read that limiting it as much as possible can make a difference in someone with fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease. * I will let go of my fibro guilt. Even though I have been feeling better for the last couple of months, I still have days when pain and fatigue come knocking on my door. I often allow fear of this to get me into what I call the “blame myself mode.” I think about what I did to trigger it and I beat myself up for having fibromyalgia. This coming year I will not blame myself or feel guilty on days I must rest.

* I will stop envy and anger. I am embarrassed to admit that this is a big one for me. Even though I know it is wrong, it still sneaks up on me. Many people in my life are so happy and healthy… which is great, but it all plays out in front of me while I fight for normalcy. So no more jealousy or anger at the unfairness of the cards I have been dealt.

* I will remember to take my medications. My memory is horrible and in the past I have missed doses of medications for several days in a row. I will organize my meds so I cannot help but remember to take them. I will set an alarm on my phone as backup.

* I will exercise. Few people love to exercise, and it is so hard to get started when you feel pain each day during normal movement and activities. I have been better about exercising lately, probably because I have felt better, so movement is easier than it once was. I will keep up this momentum and get at least a little each day.

* I will rest. I am a bad sleeper. I struggle to sleep each night and because of work and kids, I never nap. I promise myself I will listen to my fatigue and say no to some activities when I am feeling exhausted.

I think deep down we all know what we could be doing better, letting go of and putting into our bodies that we are not, to improve how we feel. Fibromyalgia is a strong foe, so to have any hope of winning this war, we must look out for ourselves and take care of our bodies. This is the typical focus of most New Year’s resolutions, but for a fibro-warrior, it is even more, important to commit to taking care of yourself better in the coming year.

Thank you for your guest post today Barbara!

Stay fabulous!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Herbal Medicine and Fibromyalgia

Today's guest post comes from Patricia Bratianu. Patrica is a nurse and a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. She has a Ph.D. in natural health and is passionate about helping people find health care options that work for them. For another one of Patricia's articles, please visit:

The Best Herbs for Anxiety and Stress Relief

As if the everyday stresses of living with a chronic health condition like fibromyalgia aren’t enough, chronic pain depletes your body of endorphins, the natural compounds that relieve stress, pain, and depression. Stress and anxiety have a direct impact on pain levels, and so the cycle goes around and around.

Fibromyalgia, anxiety and stress may go hand-in-hand, but you can fight back with herbs — the safe, reliable, natural option for relief of stress and anxiety.

Why Use Herbs?

Herbal medicine has been used to treat stress and anxiety for thousands of years, and modern research confirms that herbal medicine is a safe and effective alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.

Pharmaceuticals often cause multiple undesirable side effects, including drowsiness. Most herbal remedies for anxiety and stress are gentle and free of side effects — but that doesn’t mean they’re weak.

Herbs work with your body’s natural soothing actions. Some herbal remedies for stress relief work quickly, however, most must be consumed regularly for at least a month to get the maximum benefit.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, herbs contain vitamins, minerals and natural compounds that nourish your nervous system. They provide benefits for your entire body. Most of the calming herbs reduce discomfort and ease abdominal distress.

Safety First

While most herbal remedies are much safer than pharmaceutical medications, it is best to check with a qualified health care provider who has extensive herbal knowledge before using herbs to treat stress or anxiety.

Some herbs should not be used simultaneously with certain medications, and herbs, like all other substances, may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Make Tea, Not War

When using herbs to relieve anxiety and stress, I recommend consuming them as teas — usually three or four cups each day.

One of the reasons that I suggest tea is so that you will take a break. Use the time it takes to drink your tea to put your feet up and mentally disengage from the day’s events. It’s a great time to meditate, take a few deep breaths, gaze outdoors, or remind yourself of an uplifting quote.

If you do not have time to brew up a fresh cup of tea several times per day, make up a day’s supply in the morning and keep in an insulated thermal container.

Other Options

Brewing tea from fresh or dried herbs is not the only way to get your herbal fix.

When herbs are extracted in alcohol to make tinctures and elixirs, a high percentage of the plants’ healing compounds are extracted. They are readily absorbed when the medicine is consumed.

Glycerin is used to make glycerites, which contain no alcohol. Glycerites are sweet and extract a fair amount of a herb’s healing compounds.

I prefer not to use herbal pills or capsules unless they are made with freeze-dried or concentrated extracts, as their goodness is not as readily absorbed as that from tinctures.

For instant stress relief, you can try taking an herbal bath by brewing a quart of herb tea and adding it to a bath, or suspending a cloth bag filled with fresh or dried herbs in the bath water.

Taking a hot herbal bath can rapidly relieve pain as it soothes your mind, body and spirit. I like to add a cup or two of Epsom salts to herbal baths. Epsom salts contain large amounts of magnesium, which is a naturally relaxing element that supports detoxification and helps relax tight or sore muscles.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm, also known as Melissa, is one of my favorite herbs. It is in the mint family and likes moist soil and a moderate amount of sun. Lemon balm is a pretty plant that has fragrant green leaves. You can easily grow it in your garden or in a pot.

I prefer to use lemon balm as a tea, but it can be prepared into a wide array of herbal medicines. The sweet glycerite is a wonderful remedy to take during acute stress. Simply place a few drops of it under your tongue.

Lemon balm has been proven effective as a remedy for depression. It soothes nervous stomachs and relieves stress.


I grow several types of passionflower in my garden. The old-fashioned purple variety is the best one for healing purposes, but all will work. Passionflower, also known as maypop, is an easy-to-grow vine that flourishes in warm locales.

Mine covers an old wooden swing in the corner of my yard, so I get a double benefit when using passionflower to relieve stress — I sit in the swing while enjoying a cup of passionflower tea and let my worries fade away.

Passionflower is not flavorful, so it’s best to blend it with other, tastier herbs. Try mixing it with chamomile or lemon balm, or add a couple of rose petals, a small pinch of lavender and a bit of stevia for a stress relieving treat.

Passionflower can help you to sleep better, yet does not leave you feeling groggy the next day. It relieves pain from muscle aches and headaches and settles butterflies in the stomach.


Lavender is an excellent herb to use for the treatment of pain, stress, and headaches. It has proven, time-tested relaxant properties. Try making a soothing compress and placing it on your forehead or the back of your neck next time you feel stressed.

You can make a sleep pillow out of lavender and other relaxing herbs. Simply sew two small rectangles of cloth into a pillowcase shape. Place a handful of dried herbs in the bag and then sew up the fourth side of the bag. Don’t overfill the bag — it should lie flat. Place the bag inside a full-size pillowcase and concentrate on the relaxing herbal fragrance when you put your head on your pillow at night.

Other Herbs to Try

Lemon balm, passionflower, and lavender are just a few of the many relaxing herbs you can use to relieve stress and promote overall comfort. Some other favorites include:

* Chamomile
* Nutmeg
* Linden
* Red clover
* Valerian
* Hops
* Kava
* Skullcap
* Vervain

Do some experimenting and see which individual herbs or blends are most effective for you. I find that red clover is very effective for me.

If anxiety interferes with your ability to sleep, try some valerian, hops or kava. Skullcap and vervain are useful for relieving stress headaches.

Learn as much as you can about the herbs you’re interested in using and speak with a qualified practitioner for expert advice. Be patient. Herbs will help to relieve stress and anxiety; however you must use them regularly for them to work their best.

I hope you have enjoyed today's guest post from Patricia Bratianu who a writer at NewLifeOutlook|Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Community 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Forever Tied from Santa's Naughty List

Looking for a Free Read this Holiday?

FREE FROM  THIS PAGETO FIRST 100 READERS WHO LEAVE EMAIL !Go Go Go*Facebook  not  responsible  for  this  giveaway
Posted by Full Moon Series on Sunday, November 22, 2015 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fibromyalgia: A Guide to Prepare, Be Heard and Get Results Book Review

Fibromyalgia: A Guide to Prepare, Be Heard and Get ResultsFibromyalgia: A Guide to Prepare, Be Heard and Get Results by Robert J. Langone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review. This is a very informative and fascinating book! The research is very extensive. This book is a good read for Fibro sufferers, but because there is a lot of information, I do suggest reading it on days when you have less Fibro Fog. I was in a flare for quite some time and there were foggy days that prevented me from reading. Other than that-- it was great!

View all my reviews

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