Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Trust Factor

I know I had a prior blog in November that talked about Family, Friends, and Flares and how it is okay to get mad when you are sick so you don't burden the people around you.  It's a good feeling to have sometimes, but we as human beings also need to find a balance between doing things for ourselves, and asking for help when we need it.

Help can come when you least expect it and sometimes that help can be overwhelming, even stressful.  I'm sure a lot of you remember my post called Please Be Kind... Rewind.  It's a post about how my man does the laundry and how that kind of help can be stressful on me and my clothes LOL!  During flares, we need help.  It may not be the exact kind of help that we are looking for, but it is help none the less.

As you all know, my Grandma fractured her back and I've been going over to help her and my Grandfather out.  Grandpa can be a little stubborn when it comes to receiving help due to his Alzheimer's.  He does not like anyone who is unfamiliar in his house.  He has always had a hard time trusting people, so this is really nothing new.  He gets worried about strangers wanting to steal from him, or worse, harm his wife and him.  He's very overprotective.  He also worries about how much a service might cost because he knows his money will only go so far.

My Grandmother also tends to worry.  Her worry stems from him and his reactions.  She worries about how he might treat me, my Dad, or the plumber if Grandpa does not remember us.  She worries that he won't eat enough to curb his forgetful bouts.  She worries about him roaming around at 4 AM because he wants to shave.

A lot of unexpected worry can happen when you are ill.  There are things you just don't think about.  I remember having a conversation with my Grandmother about the garbage.  It goes out on a certain day and the pail needs to face in a certain direction or they won't pick it up.  One week my Grandfather became so distraught that he forgot who I was and my Dad.  My Grandmother told us to forget about the trash for that week because of this.  We did, but I became worried because I know that home invasions can happen and the garbage pails are a clue to these sick people that something might be wrong in a house.  If you deter from any part of your routine, it's a sign that someone may be ill or not home, easy pickings for a home invasion.

I don't want this to happen, of course, and I spoke with my Grandmother about it.  I actually became adamant with her about it.  I didn't want to be, but I do fear for her safety.  She understood my concern and we are now making sure that the garbage is out when it is supposed to be-- regardless as to whether or not Grandpa is himself.

Another thing that you don't think about often is being snowed in.  The storm that made the news today, storm Albert, hit Connecticut pretty hard.  I had a pretty hard time digging myself and the car out to get to my Grandmother's.  As I had stated in another blog on the net entitled The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling, Oh That's Just My Ceiling my apartment complex is not the greatest.  The attitude of the landlord is ridiculous.  He seems to think that the rent money should lace his pockets instead of using it to upkeep the complex.  What does that spell for us?  Well, management will only remove snow and ice on their time, a Sunday is not considered their time, so if you need to get to your car (or God forbid, have an emergency vehicle coming) you have to clear your own paths.  Sad?  You bet!  But oh so true for every apartment dweller I know around these parts. 

In fact, most people that rent have less rights than people do in jail.  Harsh?  Nope not really.  You see, a jail is considered a public dwelling so if there are any leaks in the building they must be fixed immediately.  Fixing a leak not only helps with taking care of your water feature problem, it also helps by preventing black mold.  A jail cannot have that either because black mold is extremely unhealthy to be around. 

An apartment is different.  An apartment is considered a private dwelling and if there is a leak, the tenant needs to go through the proper channels in order to get the leak taken care of.  Most landlords will only correct the leak, they don't bother fixing any of the damage caused by the leak-- and that's if you are one of the lucky ones.  Some landlords will only fix a leaky roof once it falls down. 

VERY SAD, but VERY true, happened to a friend of mine.  What's even worse is that rent costs just as much, if not more than a mortgage today.  Not sure why some people seem to look the other way when it comes to this unfair treatment of people who do not own a home, but they do.  Perhaps the laws will change one day.

Anyway, getting back to my story about Grandma, I was obviously going to be there late.  Dinner would have been late too if the neighbor did not take it upon herself to come over yesterday and reassure my Grandmother, Grandfather, and myself that she would come over with a lasagna around 11 am, the time my Grandfather likes to eat.  I can't tell you how relieved this made me feel because I knew how hard it would be for me to get two young ones and myself there in time to cook something.

Grandma was a little skeptical at first because she didn't know how Grandpa would take the change, but the neighbor and I reassured her that everything would be fine and it was.  Grandpa let her in and the lasagna was enjoyed by all. 

This kind gesture has taught me that sometimes you have to trust in others for things to run smoothly, even though it may be difficult.  Little things can always go wrong, we live in an imperfect world, but the kindness behind the effort of any gesture should always be celebrated.  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and experience a little kind gesture yourself.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Friday, December 11, 2009

Just Thought All of You Should Know...

I just wanted all of you to know that we are only 7 comments away from another winner of an autographed book!  Now, since I have published another book, I will let this next winner decide which book they would like as their prize!

Keep commenting and keep thinking about which book you'd like as your prize.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Quest for the Perfect Pillow

I must admit that I don't think about bedding, pillows, or mattresses very often.  It's kind of sad actually, because I used to sell all of those products when I worked for a famous retail chain.  The training was pretty intense.  We used to take countless numbers of quizzes and tests and sometimes we would have to go off site for all day training.

Out of every product I've ever sold, I'd have to say that selling mattresses is the hardest.  Believe me, I've sold almost everything you can think of from hardware to clothing.  I went from being a "Bob Vila", selling tools and paint, to an "Al Bundy" selling shoes.

Mattresses are a tough sell because most people don't give them a second thought.  They want something that's firm and something that is cheap, why?  Because that's what they slept on when they were a kid and it worked out well then, so why not now.  It's a hard thing to overcome, and yet, people should because one third of their life is spent while sleeping, so it might as well be a comfortable experience.  Since most people think this way about a mattress, you can imagine what they think about pillows.

Pillows and I have not been getting along in the past recent years.  I fluff, but they still remain flat.  I wash and dry them, but I still seem to get an allergic reaction-- even with fiber filled.  I was getting a new pillow about every 3-6 months or so because of my discomforts.  

I'm not a big fan of soft pillows even though they are supposed to be great for side sleepers.  I like my pillow firm so I can wedge it in between my shoulder and neck.  This gives me a ton of support and it keeps my neck in line with my spine at night.  A soft pillow does not keep my neck in line with my spine and causes a great deal of stress on my neck and shoulders.

Pillows have become pretty expensive over the years.  I can remember being able to walk into a department store and being able to buy 2 pillows for ten bucks.  The prices today, well, they can make me loose a lot of sleep.  I truly can't believe how much some of them cost.  For me, I tend to shy away from high priced merchandise because I just simply can't afford it.  Try as I might for my search of the perfect pillow, I was reluctantly coming to the conclusion that a better pillow for my condition may just come with a much bigger price tag.

Recently, though, I won a contest from Sleep Number.  This contest allowed me to win a customized pillow from them.  The pillow itself comes with an outer shell, an inner core, and an outer protector.  Prices for these pillows can range anywhere from almost $80 to almost $220.  It's a big investment, but is it worth it?  Some previous winners of the pillow were very excited for me because they knew what I would soon experience.  A lot of them DM'ed me their congrats from Twitter.  I was excited, mind you, because I've never won anything in my life that I could use-- up until now, of course.  A pillow was something I really needed to help me sleep better at night and this made me hopeful.

Once I received my coupon, I took a trip to a local mall and went into the Sleep Number store.  I was greeted by a really nice and knowledgeable associate named Dennis.  Dennis was taken a back at first by my coupon because it was something he had never seen before.  But once I explained what it was, everything went very smoothly from sale to transaction.

What I liked about the pillow buying experience was the fact that Dennis asked enough questions to get a feel for what I needed in a pillow and he took the time needed to fulfill that need.  I wound up with a totally custom pillow because I wanted some support, yet, I have allergies to down.  Dennis was very patient with me, but coaxed me into trying a down inner core because of the comfort level I was seeking.  He explained that the feathers are triple washed so that the dander from the feathers is gone.  This makes it less sensitive for people with allergies.

I was a sceptical-- to say the least.  I knew that the mere sight of down would send me into a sneezing fit.  It was the main reason why I went to fiber filled pillows to begin with.  What's worse is the fact that even when the down is removed from my sight, I will still have a sneezing fit and possibly have an asthma attack.  But I did try it because at the time I had my inhaler, so I felt like I really had nothing to loose.  And boy was I glad that I tried!  The feather inner core was soft and fluffy and gave just the right amount of support.  I did try a couple of other inner cores too-- just to make sure, but this one was it.  

I settled on the down alternative shell, the feather core, and silver pillow protector.  The silver protector provides protection from odor, static, and allergens.  It contains an all natural anti-microbial protection.  I couldn't wait to try it out so I started using it that very night that I got it.  It did take a little getting used to and I must say that you shouldn't let that discourage you if you plan on purchasing a pillow of your own.  The reason being is that the pillow is new and there has not been a sufficient enough time for you to contour with the pillow in one night.  The company gives you 30 days to try it, but I'd say that if you are not feeling more comfortable in about a week, try a different one.  Fibro patients are more sensitive to their own needs.  You know your own body and if you can't get comfortable in a week, you won't be in three-- don't torture yourself.

What I also liked from the experience is the fact that I got to try out some of the beds without feeling pressure of buying from a sales associate.  I've been in sales for almost half of my life and I know what those poor people go through, and believe me when I say that the pun is intended here-- they are in most cases poor people.  

I feel pressure myself because when I'm shopping, I have an intent to buy, but it may not be at that moment.  Pressure builds for me when I start to get to know the person I'm talking to and feel that I really should buy so I can help them out.  Sound silly?  Well, maybe to some, but to me, it's not.  I genuinely like to help people and if a sale helps them out, I will try my hardest to make that happen.

A mattress is a big purchase.  It's a lot of money.  Yeah, it's an investment and you could go for financing, but why do that if you don't have to?  I'd rather save up for what I want because it would take a lot less time to save up for an item than it would to pay it off on a credit card--let's face it.  I'm almost 37 and I still have college bills from 1995 that I'm dealing with.  I don't need anymore debt, thank you very much.  

When I shop, I want to know I can buy if the price is right, but sometimes an extra $500 to $1000 dollars is a little hard to come by for this gal, so I tend to window shop.  That's a little hard for mattresses because you really have to lay on them to figure out what's best.

But after my pillow experience, I now know which bed I'd like to be my next, and that's the memory foam.  It's a little pricey at almost $2800 for a queen to be delivered to your home.  That's going to take some serious saving time, but it might be worth it.  If not, the pillow top is also another great alternative.  It might not be my first choice, but it's comfortable too!

You all know me and you know that I would never pressure any of you to go buy something, but I will say that you should at least check these pillows out so you can get a better idea as to what is out there for you and your comfort levels.  This pillow is something that I will cherish for many, many years and it's so nice that I'm going to get one that's comfortable enough for my husband.  He deserves something this nice too... and so do all of you, my dear readers.

Stay fabulous!

Love and friendship,


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Family, Friends, and Flares

During the holiday season one can think of a lot about food prep, cleaning cobwebs from the ceiling, and getting rid of any old magazines that seem to pile up on the coffee table.  I don't know about you, but for me, it's a constant struggle to keep the house clean and presentable to guests.  Yeah, my friends and family won't mind a little dirt here and there, but I mind.  I'm Monk in a house of people who are not. 

It's very frustrating at times and can lead to a lot of stress on my part.  I tend to yell and cry a lot because the frustration brings my fibro into overdrive.  I get really crazed at night when I know I have at least 8 more hours of work and only 1 or 2 more hours to do it in. 

Life can be tough and no one on this Earth has ever said it was easy, but for some of us fibro sufferers, it can be down right detrimental when we are dealing with normal stress on top of unexpected stress.  Normal stress is easy for most people.  You get up, you get ready for work, you go to work, you work, you come home, you eat and relax with your family and your day is done.  That can get stressful when you have a deadline to meet or you've had a bad day. 

Unexpected stress is different.  Unexpected stress is when a family member is ill and you have to care for them and/or their house, or you have to deal with a death in the family, or some type of abuse.  Unexpected stress can take a huge toll on your well being, and unfortunately, it is unavoidable.  Everyone has to deal with a death, illness, or some form of abuse every now and again in their life.  And the most unfortunate is that it usually happens around the time of the holidays--statistically speaking that is.

Now, I could go into a ton of research for you and site a lot of the articles I've read over the years.  But right now, I can't.  It's not because I don't want to or I haven't actually researched it, because I have read a lot over the past 15 years to back this up.  It's just that I can't because I'm dealing with unexpected stress right now.

I'm not sure where this blog entry is actually going right now, but my intention was to have it informative, helpful, and upbeat.  I don't like gloom and doom.  I never did and I don't want this post to be taken the wrong way but I feel that if I can't say this in a raw state as a Fibro and Fabulous writer, I'm not doing any of you, my readers, any good.

About two and half weeks ago my Grandmother fell.  I was not there right when it happened, I was there later in the morning.  We had planned to be together that day.  She wound up injuring her back that had already had a prior fracture. 

For those of you that have not had the chance to read my books, I will delve a little into my private life about my Grandma.  She is a beautiful woman who taught me how to cook and how to be a true woman.  It was amazing for me to have her around when I was a teen.  Yes, I've had my Mom too, but Grandma was always there when Mom was not. 

And to this day, Grandma is still there, but I fear for not much longer.  That day will be sad because I not only have her ill, but I have my Mom and Grandpa ill too.  Both Mom and Grandpa have Alzheimer's and they are in the last stages, and yes, they are all the same bloodline, so Grandma is my Mom's Mom.

Grandma is a tough cookie.  She has lived through polio, the Great Depression, a miscarriage, the loss of her son, and now she is dealing with a sick daughter and husband.  That's a lot for any one person to handle.  I honestly don't think I could.  But she still gets up every morning.  She is the true symbol of being positive to me.

Some people would give up on life and become crabby, not my Grandma.  She still to this day gets up out of bed and that's hard when you have post-polio.  She should be in a wheel chair but my Grandma uses walkers to get around her tri-level house.  She keeps on keeping on... but how?  How does someone do that?

Well, I can't speak for Grandma, but I can sure speak for myself and I think it comes from anger.  Not the kind of anger you direct towards someone and not the anger you direct towards yourself.  It starts there, but it doesn't finish, you get angry with the fact that people have to help you and then you stop and say to yourself, your higher power, or whatever you believe, enough already!

Harsh, well, plainly, no it's not.  Why?  Because you are saying that for a very good reason.  You don't want to burden your friends and family with anything.  Why should you.  Life was meant to be enjoyed.

Now, I don't mean to make this blog a prayer fest.  It's not my intention because everyone has different beliefs out there.  And I love you as my reader whether you are pagan, christian, heathen, or anywhere in between.  I celebrate, appreciate, and understand you all and that is why I truly try to leave faith out of my blogs.  We are all different and faith can get confusing when it comes to specific beliefs.

But when you come right down to it, everyone believes in a higher power or self-- across the board--we all do simply put.  And my basic premise of getting mad can help anyone-- regardless of religion or faith.  Get mad at your higher power-- make things change and shift to help you and the ones you love.  If you don't, things can stay the same and that's no fun for anyone involved... especially you and your caretakers that want to see you better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's here!

Fibro and Fabulous, the book is finally here!  It does not have an ISBN number, so it can only be purchased at at a special rate.  I am forgoing the ISBN at this point so all of you can get at a good discount.  Don't forget to check out my main website for information on an additional discount from Lulu.  Lulu's only runs till the end of November, so hurry.

I hope you will all enjoy this labor of love.  I truly cherish each and every one of you.  You are my reason for getting up to write in the morning and the reason to stay up late to finish a book!  I can't thank any of you enough for that!

Stay fabulous!

Love and friendship,


Monday, November 9, 2009

Stevia: This Sugar Substitute Is Sweet and Healthy

Stevia: This Sugar Substitute Is Sweet and Healthy

Stevia is a really good substitute for sugar. I like it a lot, however, I must admit that I did not know all of the health benefits that Stevia can bring. This article touches on a few studies that were done on patients with diabetes and high blood pressure. The patients had lowered their blood pressure and sugar levels-- a sweet effect. There is also a couple of great recipes in the article too and with the holidays coming up, one could use these.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Update: I wanted all of you to know that I working hard at releasing a new book before November 30th so you all can get the book at a discount through Lulu. The book will be entitled Fibro and Fabulous, a tribute to this blog. It will have a lot of fun and new topics, as well as, some of your favorite posts from here. Look for it soon!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Great Books, Great Buys for the Month of November

I normally don't partake in very many contests.  I don't win anything unless it's something I can't use, so I usually don't even bother.  I remember winning a ton of free music downloads when Pepsi was first doing the giveaways, but I'm convinced that the only reason why I won was because I didn't own a computer at that time.  It's pretty hard to use a free download when you don't have access to a computer.  

This contest, however, was worth entering, because it allows me to give all of you, my cherished readers, a discount on my print books!  I like these kinds of contests because they allow me to do what I want to do for each and everyone of you.

From now until November 30th, you can receive a discount on any of my print books.  Go to for more details about this great deal that Lulu is offering.

BTW, we are almost half way to the getting another winner for an autographed copy of my book!  I know it may seem that I have not been reading your comments as of late, but I really have.  

A few of you will be in my newest book to come... For those of you that are not, be patient because you will in a future one!  My readers are very important to me!  Please know that I appreciate you all.  I have been trying to get used to my new comment thingy on my website.  I actually don't like it very much because it doesn't alter me to your posts-- a very BIG negative.  Please be patient with me until I adjust.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Wide Spread Pain

As some of you know, I'm in the process of finalizing a new book that will hopefully hit the market by the end of this year, or very early next.  The book is a spin off of this blog and discusses topics about the disease, hope to cope, and also offers my tips, tricks, and rather strong opinions of big business and the healthy people of society.  I even get into politics with this book, a subject that I try to never discuss here.  It's been fun to write because I really got a chance to let my hair down with this one, so I hope all of you will like it.

I'm getting most of my material from recent news articles found on the web.  Some of the stories are interesting, some of them are a repeat of what we fibromites already know, and some of them are just too shocking to even believe.  I found one article so shocking, that I just have to make it the topic for today.  The numbers in this survey are really big.  This topic will appear in the book, but I feel it needs to be here in the blog too.

Health care is a topic that is very close to my heart.  I believe that everyone on this planet deserves to feel their own kind of fabulous.  To me, it's a God-given right.  Here in the US, we are called the land of the free, and I would have agreed with that statement up until recently.  You see, I feel we are free to pay what big business deems as a fair price, and I include the health care industry in this statement.  I feel this way because I've spent a considerable amount of money on my health, so much so, that my family and I had to postpone our dreams of owning a home, just so I could focus on feeling better.  Now, I did say postpone because I feel that one day we will be able to accomplish this dream, but I had really hoped that dream would come sooner.  We are going on almost 10 years of postponement and it's really getting to the point of ridiculous.  Life should not cost that much.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way and I'm not the only one who has these kinds of problems.  I hear it all the time from family, friends, and co-workers.  I also know that each and everyone of you are facing the same struggles here in the US, Canada, Greece, and all the other countries out there that read Fibro and Fabulous on a regular basis.  Sometimes we all may feel like we are alone in this world when we are trapped in our own finances, but we really are not.  In fact, did you know that there are 40 million of us around the world that feel this way?  Yep, that number is right-- 40 million people world wide are now known to have Fibromyalgia and each and everyone of those fibromites has had some kind of financial difficulty with this beast.  That's an awful lot of us on the books.  Now let's think about this in an even bigger term since so many of us go misdiagnosed for sometimes years, if those misdiagnosed people were to get onto the books, statistically speaking, how many people world wide suffer?  Probably a lot more than 40 million.

This study is from India and I wanted to share it because it has some surprising facts.  This article goes into great length about the fact that it is extremely difficult for those of us with Fibro to maintain a regular, traditional job.  On average of the countries reported, 1 in 5 patients missed anywhere from 2 to 5 days of work in the past year due to Fibromyalgia.  Those are alarming numbers because if these patients are missing work, they can't afford to get the right care, and so starts the vicious cycle.  Health care needs to be there for everyone and every nation, it's just that simple.  The article appears in it's entirety here...

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Monday, October 26, 2009

Sleep Deeply, Live Longer

This is most definitely one of the better articles I've read for sleep advice. I thought I'd share it because I have actually tried this technique and it works beautifully. For the past two months, I've woken up about 2 minutes before my alarm goes off-- every day--even weekends! This is something I haven't done in years!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Sleep Deeply, Live Longer

Fibromyalgia and the Workplace

I came across a rather interesting article today while perusing the net.  It was an article about working with a chronic condition.  I was intrigued by what this writer had to say because I'm always willing to hear new tips and tricks.  It never hurts to listen to others because it just might work for you-- you know?

For those that have read my book The Fibro Hand, get ready to hear me repeat myself.  For those that haven't, I had to leave a career that I had for 18 years due to my Fibromyalgia.  My career was in retail management and I worked for a very old and well known company.  In fact, about 1 out of every 2 of you that read this blog probably purchased an appliance from this well known company.  I worked for Sears. 

Most of my career was in the Home Improvement and Home Appliance departments, although, I worked almost every other department in between for 12 years.  I liked my job because I really enjoyed helping people.  Some would even keep me smiling all day, and of course, some would not.  But the ones that treated me like a person, rather than a sales girl, always stood out to me.

When I left, I felt like I was letting them down.  I also felt like I was letting myself, my family, and the company down.  But I just didn't have the strength to give my 110% anymore.  This girl in this article, God bless her, has found a way to beat the system...

I'm glad she can find a way take a few winks at her computer.  That can truly help, but for me, that was not an option since I was always in the public eye.

So, for those of you that are not so lucky, I'll offer a few tips that worked for me.  I used to try and really get to know my boss by seeing what he really looked for in performance.  In other words, if he picked on the fact that the handbag department looked awfully messy, or my back walls and front end merchandise was picked through, I'd only focus on those areas and I'd leave the rest for another day. 

Now, me being in management helped out greatly, of course, because I could ask my associates for help.  But, even if you aren't in management, this little bit of advice may work.  Turn their constructive criticism into a positive spin on your day.  Work only on what they say needs to be done-- not what you know has to be done.  I'm sure that their list is shorter anyway-- they usually don't know the job as well as you do.

Ask a co-worker for help if you need to.  I used to ask a lot of people for help when I couldn't lift things due to my illness, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I had to lift some pretty heavy things pre-Fibro, like washers, dryers, and air conditioners, but you never caught me trying to lift those things post- Fibro.  I had to be able to function and lifting things like that would have cost me my mobility-- not an option.

Now, I'm not saying this will work every time.  There were times that my boss would get moody with me and pull one of those, "Well it's not going to move itself." routines.  In those cases I'd move it while gently reminding him that I'd be incapacitated for the next day.  Whether or not that was the case, I still made it look like it was.  Yes, I used his guilt to my advantage, and no, I'm not ashamed to admit it.  Why?  Because if I didn't stick to my guns, I'd be faced with him thinking that I could move mountains anytime HE wanted me too and that's simply not possible.

I eventually had to leave, though.  The stress was getting too great for me.  I'd come home dazed and confused.  This was not an option since I had a little one at home (at the time), a Mom with Alzheimer's that I care for, and Grandparents (one with post-polio and one with Alzheimeir's) that I care for too.  Oh yeah, and did I mention the hubby?  Quitting, or how I like to put it, retiring, was hard at first, but one door closes, and there's always another that's wide open, waiting for you to walk through.

I'm content because I have two great jobs right now.  They are so great that I really can't call them jobs-- I love them too much.  I'm actually happier now, than I was way back when, in retail.  It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm my own boss now, I don't have to make a quota unless I want to, and I work the hours I can, not the ones that someone wants me to work.

Not everyone can say that-- I know.  It takes a special kind of person to be able to have enough tenacity to be self employed, but I think we Fibromites have that special gift because of all the obstacles we face.  I love to write, it's one of my greatest loves and I love to talk with and help people one on one.  I sell legal and identity theft protection service plans (my day job), and that suffices my latter passion.

I have Fibromyalgia to thank for allowing me to find my passions.  Loosing my career may have seemed like the end of the world, at first, but it wasn't... and it doesn't have to be for you either!  Find your own niche in the world and try it on for size, it just might make you feel fabulous!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Colony Collapse: Are Potent Pesticides Killing Honeybees?

I'm not a fan of any kind of bug. I don't like them, but I take exception to the honey bee and butterflies. They are not pests.

It's devastating to think that the chemicals people are using to kill one pesky bug is killing off another that is vital to our society. The honey bee pollinates our crops-- we need him.

What's worse is that some people honestly think they are not doing harm to the human population when they use "new and improved" chemicals. They tend to think that the formula is the same as it always was and that is so far from the truth.

Big business is killing us off bit by bit in the name of the almighty dollar. They are making products cheaper by using synthetic chemicals in place of the real thing. That would be fine if the chemical wasn't harmful, but chemicals are harmful.

I am a huge fan of doing things the old fashioned way. Chemicals are just making our lives worse. They are making us a sick society with Rheumatic diseases. It's time we all find a way to get back to the basics.

Colony Collapse: Are Potent Pesticides Killing Honeybees?

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Interview With Author KimberleyLB

I received an invitation for an interview from a website last night.  A lot of the questions had me thinking and it was great to put my thinking cap on for a bit.  I had such a blast doing it.  Many of the questions asked had to do with all of you, my readers, and I thought that you all might be interested in seeing the interview.

I also discuss a new book that will be available in print form and ebook.  The book is based on this very blog and will be formatted as such.  You will see my trademark Stay Fabulous ending in each post.  I have added my favorite posts to the book, as well as, a ton of new stuff.  The book will have a lot of surprises in it and you can read more about it in the interview.  A link to the interview will be placed at the bottom of this post.


Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Flu Shots, Swine Flu, and Fibromyalgia: Should Pain Patients Get Vaccinated? - Chronic Pain -

I came across this article and I thought I'd share it before the vaccines come out this year for the flu. I'm still debating about getting one myself because I have not done well for the past two years with the flu shot, but I'm still thinking about it.

Flu Shots, Swine Flu, and Fibromyalgia: Should Pain Patients Get Vaccinated? - Chronic Pain -

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National Pain Awareness Month

National Invisible Illness Awareness Week may be over, but National Pain Awareness Month is still not!  Pain is not fun to deal with and the number of people who suffer from issues like back pain in America today is alarming.  Some 80% of Americans are affected by back pain at some point in their life and 50% of older Americans suffer from chronic pain.  Restless sleep is a big factor in these numbers.  100 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, so it should be no wonder to us that our bodies are getting cranky.

Pete Bils, the Vice President of Sleep Innovation, will be hosting a Twitter Party!  Sleep Innovation does clinical research for Select Comfort.  I had discussed Select Comfort in a prior blog a while back, along with a national contest they had been running.  This should be fun to virtually attend and I hope you can all join me.  Details about this event appear below.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Pete Bils is hosting a Twitter Party Wednesday, September 30, 2009 from 11:30-1:30 CT. This is a great opportunity for you to ask an expert your sleep and pain-related questions via Twitter.  All you need to do to participate is the following:
·         Follow @SleepGeekPete to join the discussion and ask questions on September 30 between 11:30 a.m.  and 1:30 p.m. CT
·         OR join the chat by including the #SleepGeek hashtag in your tweet

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How to Dry and Freeze Tomatoes

I shared an article on canning and an article on how to make your own solar dehydrator, so I thought I'd share this article on drying tomatoes.

How to Dry and Freeze Tomatoes

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pacing Yourself in the Race of Life

I've had a lot of people comment on my energy.  "Kim, slow down!  You are making the rest of us look bad."  "How do you do it?  I don't have all that energy."  "You did a lot!"  I don't hear these as much as I used to, but when I do, it's hard not to take it as a compliment. 

Energy was something that I had always had when I was younger.  Looking back, some might say I took my energy for granted, "You're young, enjoy it now.", I'd hear.  I don't really think I took my energy for granted.  I just knew I had a lot to do on any given day, and only 24 hours to complete it.  My old catch phrase when people said I looked tired was that sleep was over rated, and I'd get enough of it when I was dead... that was when I was in my twenties in college...

Now?  Well, I still have energy, but not as much as I used to.  It can be amazing what fibromyalgia and 10 years of abuse will do to a body.  The big difference between then and now is that I need to pace myself.  The word pace was never in my vocabulary before, especially when I did stock work in the home improvement and home appliance sections of a major retailer.  Not much thought went into lifting compact dryers on top of washers.  I just did it because I had too-- it was part of my job.  The only thing that ever crossed my mind back then was to relish in the fact that little 100 pound me could lift heavy objects.  Looking back, perhaps I should not have taken so much pride in that fact.

I can still lift things, walk quite a few miles, and even do strenuous exercise like aerobics, but only on my good days, and even then, I have to pace myself and not overdue it.  This may be great when it comes to living day- to- day, because you can always close the shower curtain so you don't see how much of a cleaning it needs, but what about meeting deadlines?  Is it possible to meet deadlines, or even go to celebrations when you have a chronic invisible illness like fibromyalgia?

The answer to that question is yes and no.  Sometimes deadlines at work can be met, and other times, you may need a little help meeting that deadline.  Some people think that because I'm a writer, I have all the flexibility in the world and can meet deadlines all the time, every time, and that's just not true.  There are many times when life gets in the way of creativity and I have to put my writing on hold so I can live through life.  I've missed out on writing many fun topics and even a contest or two (or thirty) because I was just too tired to look at the keyboard.  Parties and celebrations can be tough too.  I have missed out on a few girls night out fests, along with birthday parties that were throne for me.

It can happen, and when it does, there is usually a very good reason for it.  I tend to find that the week before an event or deadline, is very intense.  I am very detail oriented and I get very worked up about having very little time to accomplish the mundane before a big event.  For instance, when I know I'm going to have Christmas dinner over at my house, I will go crazy the week before cleaning and re-cleaning everything that has a surface, just to make sure I leave a good impression on my guests.  I am very much like Monk in that I like order and cleanliness, but you'd never know that because my kids and husband are the exact opposite.

Just looking at things out of order can send a cringe down my spine and this is not good because I become stressed, overwhelmed, and then eventually, I get a flare.  My flares can either be excessive pain, excessive tiredness, anxiety, or a combination of any of these.  When this starts to happen, I can kiss the celebration or deadline goodbye.

Having said all of this, how does one with fibro overcome enough stress so they can meet their deadlines in as pain free as possible way?  Well, you have to pace yourself.  For me, I have to start planning an event at least a month in advance.  I will start to clean up the house very early by taking care of the things one does not normally do on a day-to-day basis.  I'll vacuum the heater vents, dust, and get rid of all of the cat hair from every nook and cranny that I can find about a month ahead of time.  I then clean the curtains and windows and also make sure that everything that's out of place is put back in its place.  Once that is all done, I start to prepare the hors d'oeuvres and desserts.  Once they are cooked and baked, they go into the freezer until I need to take them out for the big day.  If I am cooking a turkey, I will even start to cook that a day ahead of time, just to make sure that I get it done on time.

Doing all of these things in advance has helped me over the years.  Pacing myself and my time has even helped me to enjoy the holiday in an upright position, instead of in my bed.  This won't help with everything, especially when there are other people involved with your deadline, but it can help out in most cases. 

Pacing yourself can even work when you have an outing planned with your friends and family.  For instance, I knew that I would be going to the sunflower maze and picking apples with my kids this past weekend.  This was going to be an all day event because picking your own apples can take a little bit of time and pacing myself was crucial in order to get through the day.

I prepared by taking extra clothing for the children, drinks, and food, just in case we needed to take short break from the picking.  I also took a bag that had extra shoulder support and the baby carriage to make sure I had something to transport the bag, the toddler, and the apples if I tired from carrying any of it.  I also invited several people along with us to aide in carrying the load.  This worked out fairly well for me because when I needed to stop and take a break from carrying little Olivia or the carriage, my brother or mother-in-law was right there to help.

Having fibro means that even the fun days need a little extra planning, but with a little thought, some experience of past ventures, and patience with pacing yourself, you can have a life outside of your condition.  And that is just fabulous!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Eat Locally Grown Food All Year

Some people have wondered how I can cook a healthy meal EVERYDAY and not feel tired. The truth of the matter is that on some days, I am tired and I need something quick.

After keeping track of my illness for a little while, I realized that on some days I'd have a ton of energy and could be productive all day long. On those days, I'd spend my reserve energy preserving food. It made sense to me to prepare extra home cooked food for the days I just couldn't do it.

I use many methods for preserving, but canning is one of my "new" favorites. I used to watch my Grandmother do it when I was younger and that gave me the confidence to try it for myself. Canning is not that hard and despite popular belief, you don't need fancy tools for it-- just the Mason jars.

Frankly, if you have a big pot to boil things in, the Mason jars, a set of tongs, oven mitts, and the internet, you have all you need. I have found tons and tons of preserve recipes on the net and have had no need to buy a recipe book. I have found several recipes for berries, peaches, and even, clam chowder.

You can get fancy, of course, and buy a pot that will put pressure on your cans while boiling them, but it's not necessary. The only reason why you need to boil them is to remove enough bacteria to be able to preserve what you are canning. A stock pot can do that for you.

The mason jar tops will flatten over a period of time while you are boiling them. The seal can be checked by pressing the middle of the lid with your fingers. If you here the metal move, it hasn't sealed just yet. It will seal over a bit of time and with my experience, I've found that it seals within the first couple of hours.

Mason jars are easy to find in stores right now because farmers are starting to preserve their summer crops. I found mine in a local supermarket, as well as, Walmart. They are fairly inexpensive and can be stored in the fridge, freezer, or in some cases, a pantry shelf (depending on the recipe).

This article below shares one person's experience with canning and I hope it gives you the encouragement to try it for yourselves. It's really fun and is a great way to help you feel fabulous all winter long.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Eat Locally Grown Food All Year

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Eat Locally Grown Food All Year

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Eat Locally Grown Food All Year

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Eat Locally Grown Food All Year

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Visible Symptoms of an Invisible Illness

Some of you may be scratching your heads at the topic of this post and wonder what I could possibly be talking about, but after I explain, you may not want to scratch any part of your body ever again. The topic for today is skin irritations and for some Fibro sufferers, this is a visible symptom that can plague us.  According to Fibromyalgia Network's interview with Doctor Charles Lapp of Charlotte North Carolina, skin irritations are very common.  He states "fibromyaligia-related rashes occur in the majority of patients that I see." Fibromyalgia Symptoms boasts a rather high statistic on its site claiming that 70-80% of Fibromyalgia patients have skin problems with their illness.  The skin problems can vary from person to person.  Some experience dry, itchy, and/or mottled (skin changes color, appearance, or in tone) skin.  Others have experienced skin that is tender to the touch, or have a rash develop due to itch and irritation.

I was born with skin irritations around my eyes (Seborrheic Dermatitis).  The doctor at the time told my mother that it was eczema and that there was very little we could do about it because steroidal creams were out of the question when I was born.  These creams were believed to cause blindness so I suffered through until I was old enough to start using moisturizer. 

Throughout my teenage years and young adulthood, I would have an occasional breakout around my eyes, scalp, and arms.  Management of it then was not hard, I just changed moisturizers when I needed to and the problem went away within a few days.

It has only been recently that I have found my skim irritations to be a major life altering problem.  For the past two years, I have been dealing with my two right hand middle fingers having a chronic rash.  It has become painful on some days because the skin is mottled and is so dry that it will peel and bleed.  I have also had the same problems near my breast plate, around my eyes, legs, and arms.

The itching was becoming incredibly intense, and at times, I would avoid a shower like the plague because it hurt to have my skin in water.  On occasion I'd get lucky and find a moisturizer or doctor recommended steroidal cream that would clear my skin up.  However, this is now only lasting for 4-5 days. 

Upon desperation, I started to surf the net for natural ways to deal with this problem.  I started searching for reasons for the problem first.  I wondered if there was a link between foods, chemicals, allergies, or even mold that might be the culprits for my condition.  The little information I found, was confusing at best, and at times, contradictory between websites and doctors.

In the first quarter of 2007, The Advocate Newsletter from The National Eczema Association, interviewed Doctor Jon Dyer of Columbia, Missouri.  He is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Child Health and believes that diet is a controversial fix because you may be depriving your body of essential nutrients.  He goes further to state, however, that he "is unclear about the role of diet and allergies in a lot of (his) patients."  Dr. Dyer also shared his views on probiotics helping with eczema.  These views are about the same as his thoughts on diet, "I think the jury's still out on this, but it's an interesting idea."  The article goes on further to explain many other treatments like massage therapy, ultra violet light therapy, and even topical and systemic medicines.

After reading this, as well as, other articles on The National Eczema Association website, I began to get very discouraged.  Taking the time to constantly moisturize my skin is a difficult task with two little ones...not to mention the fact that I hate vanity of any kind because to me, it's a waste of time.  I don't like moisturizing my skin, I don't have time for makeup (I can't wear it even if I wanted to anyway), and my hair hasn't been out of a ponytail in almost a year (or two-- I forget).  Frankly, with the kids, the cats, and the hubby, I'm lucky to even be able to make it to the bathroom on some days.  I'm sure all of you Moms out there know what I'm talking about, we tend to put our needs last.

So, I started to surf a little more and came across another site, but this one was very different than the rest.  This site is run by a woman who suffers from eczema and knows what it's like to live with such an irritating condition (pun intended).  Her name is Donia Alawi and she has suffered with eczema since 1980.  Her skin disease had gotten so bad that she was facing the possibility of having a limb amputated.  She had tried creams like cortisone and herbal remedies, but these did not seem to clear her skin up for good.  What she started to realize was that if she wanted a lasting clear up, she'd have to look to her diet.

This made a lot of sense to me because I am an advocate of a healthy diet.  I don't like fake foods of any kind, be they processed or filled with chemicals, and I have been trying very hard to eliminate them all.  I will stray from time to time and eat out at a restaurant, eat frozen pizza bites (a huge favorite of mine), or even eat an occasional candy bar.  For the most part, though, I've got a good handle on it 80-90% of the week for my fibromyalgia condition. 

Donia's suggestions for eczema are a bit different.  She suggests to eliminate beef, chicken, and dairy while adding more raw foods and fish.  It's a vegan approach to a healthy diet with some exceptions.  She suggests to avoid tofu because the processing of this product may cause a flare.  Tempeh, a soybean cake that is generally found near tofu in the market, is okay.  Now, this diet may be harder for me to adhere to because I really, really like dairy and tofu, but if this can help with my skin condition, it is worth a shot.

I encourage each and every one of you to check out Donia's Eczema Natural Healing site if you have, or know someone with a skin condition that can benefit from Ms. Alawi's wisdom.  She responds to each email personally and also has an informative newsletter that you can sign up for.  It is with high hopes that her wisdom will help me to feel fabulous on the inside and out.  Wish me luck, and as always, I will keep you all up to date on this.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


P.S.  Don't forget about the comments contest I'm running...  We have restarted the contest and the 50th commenter will be the winner of an autographed copy of one of my books. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is: Fibromyalgia
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2005
3. But I had symptoms since: 1984
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Giving up my full-time retail management job of 18 years.
5. Most people assume: That I'm not sick and that I'm making up my illness.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Trying to work through the stiffness.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: N/A
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: A jar opener and a Mr. Clean Magic Reach Mop.  Both have been great additions to my household to help me be able to be self sufficient.
9. The hardest part about nights are: When I wake up and can't fall back to sleep.
10. Each day I take _0_ pills & 4 vitamins. (No comments, please) I only take vitamins.  I am doing a natural approach.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Look to the simple and inexpensive alternatives like yoga, meditation, crystal therapy, chakra clearing, and aroma therapy.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I wouldn't change my invisible illness for anything.  It has taught me a lot about my strengths and weaknesses.  I've also met many, many new friends that I would not have had otherwise.
13. Regarding working and career: My career is now very different since I'm a stay-at-home mom and a writer and it took some time to get used to, but this is how I chose to reinvent myself.
14. People would be surprised to know: That I get very run down by 3 pm and I have to do something physical while drinking coffee to stay awake.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: The guilt of not being able to do what I used to.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Hike.  I love to hike, but stopped for a while when I first got ill.  I just recently went on a short hike and found that I still can do what I love.  The hike may be much shorter than I used to do, but I can still do it.
17. The commercials about my illness: Are awful!  The only thing that pills will help with is depleting your funds.  The pills I've seen are only geared for one or two symptoms-- not all of them.  Diet, lifestyle changes, a strong and positive will, and exercise are the best ways to deal with this beast-- in my opinion.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Enjoying the change in seasons and dancing.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: Working.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Indoor Gardening.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Play whatever my kids' hearts desire.
22. My illness has taught me: That you define yourself not your job.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: When healthy people think that my being tired is like their being tired.
24. But I love it when people: Understand what I go through.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: The Show Must Go On
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: That there is hope in having a somewhat normal life.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: That life can still be pretty normal.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Make me a cup of coffee.  This may sound weird, but I couldn't lift the coffee pot at one point during my illness and had to ask my husband to make it for me.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I believe in this and I'm passionate about it.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Understood.
Find out more about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and the 5-day free virtual conference with 20 speakers Sept 14-18, 2009 at

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week: My thoughts, My Life

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is fast approaching.  The kickoff is on Monday, September 14,  2009.  Many of your favorite health bloggers will be discussing various chronic illnesses at this time because nearly 1 in 2 people in the US have a chronic illness.  From that statistic, about 96% of  illnesses are invisible.  These may be shocking numbers to some, but when you think about it, how many people with Cancer look sick?  They may loose their hair from Chemo, but aside from that, most of the time these people look healthy.  People with Fibromyalgia, heart conditions, Diabetes, ADD, ADHD, arthritis, Lupus, and Lyme Disease all look healthy too.

It is unfortunate at times that any of us with a chronic condition appear fine, because there are some people who don't understand how we could be feeling okay one day, and reeling in pain the very next.  Some of us with a chronic condition wish we could have some type of visibility to our illness, but I'm not one of them.  I know I may not be understood by some people and that's okay with me.

Why is it okay?  Because if that individual can't be bothered to take the time to get to know me, well they might not be the type of person I want to be around.  People who do know me can say that I'm a very open and honest person.  You don't have to guess at how I feel because I let you know.  I'm also very giving and appreciative.  If you take the time to help me, I will appreciate you back.  I feel these are good qualities to have. 

But there's one thing that I used to do before my diagnoses that I don't do anymore.  I don't apologize for being me.  Some of you may wonder what I mean, so let me explain.  You see, I used to have a lot of people in my life that wanted me to agree with everything they said and do everything that they wanted to do.  I'd help them clean their house, watch their kids, offer my shoulder for crying fests, and the list goes on.  In return, they'd be my friend by coming over for coffee or showing up for one of my holiday shindigs.  And that was great at the time.

Once I got diagnosed, my schedule started to change a bit.  I was throwing less parties and I couldn't watch other people's kids or have all-night shoulder crying phone fests either.  I was tired from my own immediate life.  I tried to be as nice and as accommodating as possible to these friends at first.  I'd apologize for being scatter brained instead of trying to explain fibro fog for the thousandth time.  I would blame my being tired on 12 hour shifts at work or being up with the baby, instead of my chronic fatigue because I didn't want to hear how tired they were from an 8 hour shift at work.  I even apologized for being cranky with them

A lot of us do this on a day to day basis because we don't want sympathy and we don't want people feeling sorry for us.  But why should we feel sorry for being sick?  This is the realization I came too when I had asked an old friend to help me.  It was very rare that I asked her for help and when I did, she almost always said no but this time was different.  She had said she would be able to help, but blew me off at the last minute with an I just can't because I'm too tired from work excuse.  I probably would have let it go, but when I heard the statement You have to understand how hard my life is, I lost it and started yelling into the phone.

I did this because I did understand her life.  She had struggles like we all do when we are first starting out with a husband and a child.  I had (and still have) the same struggles.  I worked a full time job and then came home and cooked dinner and I'd spend my one day off a week cleaning the house.  I know and understand what that's like and I can sympathize more than most because I did (and do) all of these things with a disability to boot. 

I yelled because I was upset for being mistreated.  I yelled because I was mad at the fact she was blowing me off.  I yelled because I was irritated by her lack of understanding my needs.  I yelled out of frustration because it was apparent that I had to take on the brunt of responsibility in her absence.  She knew this, I'm sure, but she still expected an apology for my behavior. 

It was at that moment that I had an epiphany.  I decided not to apologize for yelling at her and decide to agree that we would disagree with the situation.  I did this because I knew she would never truly understand what it's like to have Fibromyalgia.  She couldn't because she can only see a regular life staring back at her.  And that's okay.  But just because she view things differently, does not give her the right to mistreat me due to my Fibromyalgia. 

My friend and I don't talk anymore.  Perhaps her life is busy, perhaps she still feels the sting of that uncomfortable day.  That's okay too, because she taught me a very valuable lesson.  The lesson?  Never take yourself for granted because others can and will.  Don't ever apologize for being sick.  You can't help it, but they can help you by being supportive.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How can I know which health stories in the news have the best information?

When I post any information on health issues for Fibro and Fabulous, I try to look for a lot of what this Harvard Report is saying. One study does not cut it when it comes to anything having to do with Fibro-- we sufferers know that.

Fibromyalgia is so diverse a disease that you would need several studies just to cover everyone's symptoms so this makes sense.

Most of us who have been dealing with this beast for quite some time have become desensitized to all the hype with a single study. But the newly diagnosed may not know what to think and I hope and pray that they come across this information first BEFORE they take the "truth" of a health study on the net.

How can I know which health stories in the news have the best information?

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Monday, August 31, 2009

A Class to Prevent Disease?

I was listening to the Today Show this morning, as I do every morning, to keep up on current events. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Cheif Medical Editor for NBC reported some interesting statistics about chronic illness and how some major companies are trying to deal with it.

60% of the reported bankruptcies in 2007 were derived from an illness that needed extensive medical care.

75% of medical costs today are from a chronic illness. These costs are from a patients lifestyle and are from four main factors: smoking, inactivity, stress, and/or food choices.

40% of premature deaths in the US are from poor lifestyle choices.

2.5 trillion dollars is the projected spending for health care in the US for 2009.

These statistics are pretty astounding to me. It's truly hard for me to grasp at the fact that chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, are running so rampant in the United States that it is overwhelming the health care industry. It's also astounding that people are continuing down a dangerous path by not doing what they need to do to take care of themselves properly.

Places like the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic are trying some interesting approaches to drive down these overwhelming costs. And are succeeding. The Cleveland Clinic has developed a program called Lifestyle 180. It teaches everything from how to reduce stress to cooking lessons.

This program has become so successful that businesses are now looking into enrollment for their employees. Some businesses have come to the conclusion that if they invest in their employees' health, the employee will call out less, be happier in their work environment, and perform better. All of these will effect the company's' bottom line positively. In fact, some businesses like the Cleveland Clinic, will not hire an employee that smokes. Smokers statistically call out more due to health issues and places like the Cleveland Clinic want to drive down costs by eliminating these types of factors in the workforce.

Dr. Synderman believes that this type of thinking will branch out nationwide through all types of businesses. She went on further to state that some employers may go as far as trying to either help out their obese associates, or possibly not hire someone due to their obese issues. Not all states can go this far because some states in the US believe it is unconstitutional to take a person's health into consideration with employment. Every state law is different and you may want to check out the views of yours.

Having said all of this, I'm not sure if this will really help the individual in leading a healthy lifestyle, though. If a person has a choice between a job that won't hire smokers v. someone who will, it might not make that much of an impact for them. I know that when I was a smoker it was hard to quit. I tried on 12 separate occasions during the 10 years I smoked, to quit. I only quit for good after I decided to do it for myself. When I wanted to quit for my family, I failed miserably, so in my opinion, quiting for a job may not necessarily work for everyone.

I do believe that a lifestyle program is a good idea, however. A program like this helps people because it not only teaches people how to eat healthy by reading labels, it gives them ways to cook healthy by providing them with a cooking class.

People also like to have support when they are trying to change for the better. A class will allow the individual some camaraderie and it's comforting to know they will have someone to lean on during the tough times of change.

Learning ways to relieve stress is also great in a class environment because it allows the individual to get away from stress triggers for a little while. I know that that may sound only like a quick fix, but having even just a few minutes that are stress free does wonders for the mind and body. Some techniques that you can learn are also portable enough to take to work with you too.

I remember a time when I was younger where people actually took a scheduled 5 minute break to do some stretching to ease tension. And this wasn't just for school, it was prevalent in the work place too. Of course, that was in the early 80's and 90's, what seems like a lifetime ago, but it was common place back then.

The turn of century has changed people's mindset and most don't take the timeout to do simple stretching anymore. They just don't have the time because the employer's pressure to perform is too great. I am amazed at how much companies ask of their employees. It can be pretty sickening, especially if the pay is mediocre. Most employers expect their associates to perform tasks that were once done by 2-3 associates, sometimes more. This can be discouraging and cause a good amount of stress for anyone put in this position.

I am all for a change in the way we try and prevent disease in this country. Let's hope that a lot more employers get on board and tackle expenses in a positive way as opposed to the negative way I've seen. A tongue lashing followed by performance write ups won't change business expense. It only creates more of an expense due to turnover. Perhaps change instead of waste is indeed needed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pam Gaulin in emFirst for Women/em magazine

When you have fibro, you sometimes have to get creative when it comes to paying your bills...

Don't get me wrong-- some people can have a job before diagnoses and manage to keep it. But most of us need to find ways to maintain our health and wallet by looking for ways to work from home.

This article is about three work from home options--- AND YES, they are definitely legit. I have done 2 out of the 3 listed for quite a few years now, and I agree with the magazine's take on the pros and cons.

My father always used to say, "Do what you love, the money will come." and he's right. Of course he also used to say, "You won't get rich working retail, but it pays the bills." I can't agree with him on the later-- retail only pays some of the bills, but it was a job for me BF (Before Fibro).

Sometimes we fibromites can feel useless because we have no energy to perform at a job, but we shouldn't! Especially when there are places out there where you can make some money and feel accomplished.

Stay fabulous,


Pam Gaulin in emFirst for Women/em magazine

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Testimony to Congress Warns of Antibiotics Overuse in Agriculture

That old adage, "You are what you eat" really has new meaning here. I read all of the testimony and I must say that I didn't know that animals were being treated with as many antibiotics as stated.

I am allergic to penicillin, I have been since birth. I'm actually so allergic that my throat would close if I were to ever take it. I can get that way with blue cheese too (penicillin is made from blue cheese). I had no idea that animals are being treated with penicillin regardless of whether they are sick or not.

Now, you may wonder why this might be a big deal for someone like me. Well, if I become immune to medicines (and in some cases I am thanks to fibro), I run the risk of running out of medications to help me fight off disease. I can't take penicillin or any of its other forms-- not good.

This is just more proof to have antibiotic free as possible meat. Because if we don't, we not only have the problem with our meats and vegetation, but we have the problems of illness.

This is a good read and I hope you enjoy.

Testimony to Congress Warns of Antibiotics Overuse in Agriculture

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Make Safe, Natural Paint

This is a great way to "go green", but this is also great for fibro sufferers with chemical sensitivities. I have not tried all of these paint recipes myself, but they are easy to make and look promising.

The paint you buy in a store contains chemicals so it will hold up to fading, mildew, mold, cracking, and peeling. And there are a lot of good paints out on the market today that are quality paints. Some are even low odor.

I tend to like Sears paint because it is thick, covers well, and is okay as far as odor. But even I'd like an alternative sometimes.

When you decide to paint a room and you are toying with the idea of buying a gallon, ask yourself this one question before you buy a gallon of fumes... "Am I going to love this color for the next 20 years?"

If you don't think so, try your hand at this homemade paint. It may just be the breath of fresh air that you need.

Make Safe, Natural Paint

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Short

I love write about self help for fibromyalgia because it's a passion of mine. But I also have a lot of fun writing fiction of the paranormal and science kind. This is a short that's up for an Associated Content contest. It's a piece that was supposed to be a screen play for ScriptFrenzy but it turned into a short. I hope you enjoy it.

Forever Friends

Autumn thought her distaste for evil only went as far as slum lords, until her blood started boiling over a dream meeting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Defective Design

I am an avid HGTV watcher. I love to see all of the wonderful ideas they come up with for room design and another favorite is the Gardening Guy from Gardening by the Yard. I even cheered on David Bromstad when he won the first Design Star.

Design Star has been a pretty good show. I enjoy watching the raw talent become polished as the show progresses. A lot of times, at least with the first 3 years, you could tell which one of the designers would be going home on the first day. This year was different, though.

For those of you that don't watch, or have not had a chance to see the first episode, I will try and explain this without ruining too much, but this story needs to be told because it's a sad one. And frankly, if this is the way that HGTV wants to go, it won't be watched in my household ever again.

There were two contestants on the show named NataLee and Tashica that decided that they wanted to do a dramatic Hollywood bedroom design. They both went shopping for the room and spent what seemed like way too long at the stores. Once they got back, you could see Tashica rushing to get painter's tape on the floor and rushing to put silver paint on the floor, as well. They only had about an hour to do this before the first day was done, so anyone in their right mind would not even try to attempt to paint a floor at this point because the chance for major errors are more probable than for it to come out well.

The next day came and when they were pulling off the painters tape, they found that the silver paint bled through. This can be common with thin paint and you have to allow yourself time to fix it. Most designers who have even the slightest bit of experience would know this. However, time was not on their side. Tashica, not NataLee, said "We don't have time to fix it." They went to do what was left in the room and the cameras kept going on Tashica who kept saying "We don't have time." When lunch rolled around, NataLee asked when Tashica wanted to break for lunch and Tashica said "We don't have time." So NataLee tried to continue working until the day was done and on that particular day, they worked for 14 hours straight.

When the host called time, NataLee started to feel every muscle in her body ache and her body also started to shake from not eating. She ate a little and then tried to get some sleep. Once she woke, another contestant asked her how she was doing and she replied, "I feel like a truck hit me." I, of course, immediately sympathized with this poor woman because her statement echoed how I feel with the pain of fibromyalgia.

She got up, though, pain and all, and proceeded to try and finish the room. Tashica started to sound like a broken record and repeated her mantra of "We don't have time." Tashica in her rush to get things done, duct taped the curtains to the ceiling.

Now, needless to say, one of these two contestants went home that night because their room was the only one that was very poorly executed, but by reading this, which one do you think was sent home? Well, if you think it was the one that rushed through everything and slapped everything together with duct tape, while stating that "We don't have time.", you'd be wrong.

The judges felt that NataLee could not handle being a designer because she lacked stamina. Um, excuse me, but even a healthy person needs to stop and take a break if they are working 14 hour days. And let's see-- eat for God sake! I can't believe they'd let a girl go because she wanted to work, but they did. One of the judges did say that NataLee should have eaten, but come on now, if someone you work with-- or worse-- your boss said "We don't have time.", what would YOU do?

What's worse is that almost every comment on the first page of HGTV Design Star is filled with comments about how weak NataLee is and how she lacks stamina. I'm sorry, but this just disgusts me to no end that a bunch of people will except a poor, sloppy, uncaring, and certainly not a dedicated worker over someone who clearly has a disability, but CARES. I mean, would these people enjoy having a designer like Tashica come into their own homes and do over a room for them with duct tape? I know I wouldn't. I can't say for sure that NataLee has fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, but what I can say is that she should have been commended for trying so hard.

What's even more sad is the fact that society today seems to be embracing poor workmanship with open arms because it can be done quickly while shunning anyone with a disability that may take the time to be thorough. This just should not be stood for anymore. Everyone in this world is capable of designing a room the way they want. Some may take longer than others to do it, but that's not a reason to get rid of them. Getting rid of someone who performs poorly just to get ahead-- well that SHOULD be a reason!

Okay, I think I've said enough about HGTV and my boycott... I'm stepping down from my soap box now.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cheaters Can Prosper

Living on Earth isn't easy when you have housework to do along with a full-time job. There are also a ton of other things that keep us busy like grocery shopping, getting the kids to soccer practice, and walking the dog. These types of day to day errands and chores can reek havoc on our stress levels when we are doing them, but for the most part, they can get done with little to no help. When someone who suffers from fibromyalgia, however, these tasks can be down right impossible without help. And that can make a chronic pain sufferer feel very dependent on others.

We all have to ask for help sometimes, but most of the time, we don't because we fibromites find ways to "cheat" through our day with special devices or tools. The devices or tools may vary from person to person in order to fit one's needs. I tend to use quite a few on a daily basis and they are pretty common household items.

This particular blog entry will discuss one of the valuable items I used with my youngest, Olivia. It made things a little easier for me when I fed her and held her. This item can be purchased in many department stores and is a well-known aid for feeding babies. I liked it very much, more so, than the other leading aides for feeding babies.

It was a good choice for me, but just because I like it, does not mean it is the greatest thing since sliced bread for you. As with anything I say, research it for yourself (and your doctor if need be) to see if it will work for you. I'll be doing a few blogs geared towards products that work well for me so that each of you can see if it will work for you too.

The product I'd like to discuss further today is the feeding pillow called My Brest Friend (TM). This pillow made it a lot easier for me to distribute Olivia's weight to the pillow while eliminating pressure from my shoulders, neck, and lower back. The added security of the pillow being able to wrap around my body so it wouldn't go anywhere, eased my mind from the fear of it, and the baby, falling from my arms. I also liked how the wrap around back had ample material to relieve back pain, a pain that is all too familiar to new moms, and to fibro sufferers.

We Mom's always like to take pride in our super human capabilities and we tend to shrug off the fact that we are tired. We also have a tendency NOT to even say how tired we are to our husband and girlfriends too because we've come to except that silly stereotype that Moms can do anything, anytime, and anywhere. We know that's far from the truth, because if there was any truth to it, we wouldn't have to sleep-- ever, and of course, we do. But still, we feel we MUST carry on, no matter what, because after all, if our own Mother was there, she'd be able to do it.

I used this pillow to help achieve super human strength every time I held Olivia at home for the first several of months. It was a God send for me on those days when human help was not possible at the time. The distribution of weight helped me hold her even when my muscles were very fatigued and this allowed me to cheat my way to prosperity.

Now, I'm not saying that tools and aids like these are going to be the answer to all of your life's questions. And I'm not saying these will be the magic pill or cure all for your day to day battle with this chronic beast. But finding the right kinds of tools and aids that help you and fit your lifestyle can make your life (and peace of mind) a little easier.

I also must make one other thing clear, I'm not endorsing anything I discuss because I'm not working for the company and I'm not getting any kickbacks either. The products I will discuss are ones that have worked for me and my lifestyle. That's all. There's nothing super special about them and they aren't any different than anything else out there, except for the simple fact that they worked for me. In my book, that makes them worth talking about.

I hope these entries will help, I'll be doing them from time to time. If you have any you'd like me to research or discuss-- let me know.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When Police Don’t See Your Invisible Condition

This is the type of story that makes me mad. It's just unbelievable that someone would have to go through something like this in today's world. I know everyone of us out there has a tendency to label people we come across every once in a while-- it's human nature to do so because it gives us a way to understand or relate to others, but this, this is ridiculous!
When Police Don’t See Your Invisible Condition

Monday, July 6, 2009

Natural Mosquito Repellent

One of the most common problems I've had over the years with Fibromyalgia is being chemically sensitive to everything out on the market. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've had to leave a store because of the strong smells of detergents, soaps, and chemicals.

It is very discouraging to a chemically sensitive fibro sufferer to try and live with the "to go" lifestyle of today. A lot of times we have to make our own products, buy organic, or, sometimes, we have to do without.

When I find something for sufferers that I know will work, I like to pass it along because I've always felt knowledge is power. This article is a way to make your own mosquito repellent that is all natural. What I like most about this way is the fact that you can make the scent as powerful or as minimal as YOU want and it will still work.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Natural Mosquito Repellent

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