Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summertime Recipes

Chicken Salad

The summertime can bring a lot of fun for a family, but it can also bring flares because of the hot days and cool nights. Cooking is hard to do in the summer because temperatures rise and having flares can make things worse.

But we all have to eat! And when you have Fibro, you have to eat well in order to stay fabulous. Having said that, I'm going to share some new recipes that are not in the book The Fibro Hand recipe section. These two recipes are quick and easy and you won't have turn on your stove-- unless you want to of course!

The first recipe is a new spin on an old summer favorite, Chicken Salad. I often make it with left over pieces of the prior night's roaster chicken, but you can very easily use ready made chicken breast strips from the meat section of your local market, or you can also brown a couple of breasts for this easy recipe too.

What you will need:
4 cups of shredded chicken breast (about a breast and half cooked)

4 tablespoons of mayonnaise

3 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil

2 teaspoons of paprika

1-2 teaspoons (to taste) of sea salt

15 pitted kalamata olives in olive oil

2 Roma tomatoes

3 small cloves of garlic (chopped)
Mix all the ingredients together and serve cold and with you favorite crackers or bread. This amount of salad will easily make about 8 sandwiches.

Spinach Dip

Spinach Dip is one of my favorite snacks. This recipe is really easy and really good with wheat crackers or chips.

What you will need:

3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese

12 ounces of sour cream

4 small cloves of chopped garlic

1 slice of a purple onion chopped

1 chopped Roma tomato

8 ounces of chopped frozen spinach

1 medium green pepper (diced)

1/2 cup of grated romano and parmasan cheese

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1.) Saute spinach, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and pepper with one tablespoon of canola oil until softened (about 5 minutes).

2.) Blend sour cream, cream cheese, grated cheese, sea salt, and saute mixture together.

3.) Chill for one hour and serve with wheat crackers, chips, or tortilla chips.

Hope you enjoy these summer favorites of mine!

Stay Fabu

Love and friendship,


P.S. Fibro and Fabulous is now boasting it's own domain thanks to all of you readers! Yeah!

P.S.S We are only 5 comments away from a winner... will that winner be you? Post a comment to make sure you are in the running!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Frustrations Runath Over

I finally found a doctor that was excepting new patients for my eczema swelling. He was a general practitioner and I had doubts about seeing a GP because they really don't have a specific field of expertise-- especially when it comes to fibro patients. But I went anyway because I needed some relief from my swollen eyes.

The nurse came in first and asked a lot of questions about my skin condition and I gave her my entire medical history in about 5 minutes of conversation. Being a fibro patient has some perks and having a knack to spew out 36 years of medical history in 5 minutes is one of them.

The doctor came in after a few minutes and then asked to see my hands and face. I showed him and then he asked if I was using new moisturizer. I told him that I have been changing my moisturizer constantly because nothing is giving me relief. The last "new" moisturizer was something that I've been using for about a month.

He told me to stop using it and go with baby oil and said I'm having an allergic reaction. He gave me a script for steroids and some kind of soap and then sent me on my way. It took him longer to write out the script then it did to talk to me and I REALLY hate doctors like that. Now, granted it was almost 5 PM and he wanted to go home-- in fact he left the same time we did, but I really don't think that is an excuse for sweeping my health conditions under the rug.

Doctors are like the rest of us--they are human and have families they want to go home to, but they also have an oath. My advice to people is to only go to a GP if you have the sniffles. I know that may sound harsh, but I've seen enough of them in my past to know that they don't have a clue about people and what they go through with serious health conditions. The only thing I've seen with GP's is that they are good with colds and the flu.

I'm also finding as of late that I need to argue with doctors a lot more just to get the medical attention I need and that's really not fair considering they make more in an hour than I did all day at my job as a retail manager. In fact, I had to work all week just to get what they make in an hour.

I don't mean to make this into a rant that is bashing doctors in general-- that's not the point-- please don't misunderstand. What I'm saying is that if you have a problem with your skin, find a dermatologist. If you have an autoimmune problem, see a rheumatologist. Specialists seem to be the way to go and that's sad really because specialists can get really expensive. I know I was paying a lot out of pocket when I first started seeing them-- and I had insurance. It didn't cover anything, but I had insurance. And alternative care is usually out of pocket too. Right now, out of pocket is really out of reach for most of us.

I hope that somebody out there some day changes the health industry and makes it better for the patients instead of it being better for the insurance and drug companies. These pill pushers need to be pushed out of the office and make room for the ones who are willing to treat the whole person.

As for me, I'll be making an appointment with a dermatologist tomorrow and probably start my research into finding a specialist for allergies. Hope you are all Fabulous and don't forget about the contest.

Love and friendship,


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Irritation On Awareness Day

Wow it's been some time since my last post! I'm truly sorry about that. I try to post for all of you at least once a week no matter how I feel because I think it's important to help people as much as I can with this debilitating disease. I know that I may not know as much as some people, but I try to help with what I can.

April was a tough month for me because of a flare. My fibro can be a bit wacky when it comes to flares because some times I will only get pain and other times I will have a slue of problems all at once. This flare has a slue of problems with it from insomnia, fibro fog, pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and eczema and seborrheic dermatitis skin irritations. I'm still having problems, but I am feeling a little better with the fatigue-- hence the post.

This post is going to be about skin irritations because they are really bugging me today so I thought it'd be a good one to discuss. About half of fibro patients suffer from some kind of skin irritation, disorder, or disease. There are many different kinds and one in particular is called eczema.

Eczema has different levels of severity to it. They range from topical dermitis, something generally diagnosed with people who show reactions to some type of soap or detergents, to seborrheic dermatitis which is an oil gland disorder. It is typically diagnosed in people that have eczema around the eye(s). I was born with this type and it is never fun when you have this kind of skin flare.

Way back when, some now 36 years ago, there was nothing that could be put on the eye for relief because topical medications were not meant for the eyes. Over the counter anti-itch treatments like cortizone are usually not recommended either because they can cause blindness if they get into the eyes.

When I was little, my eyes didn't bother me so much, but once I got into my twenties, this seborrheic dermatitis would reek havoc on my eyes. I tried some eye creams out on the market and got a little bit of relief. I would have to switch brands every once in a while if one in particular stopped working, but all-in-all, they generally worked for several years. Eventually though, I would find that the annoyance would come back harder and stronger. By my late twenties I stopped using makeup to elevate irritation.

The elimination of makeup helped greatly, until now. So far I have eliminated every cleaning product, detergent, and soap that had any type of scent to it from my daily routines. I started to wear gloves when cleaning or doing the dishes and I dust and run the vacuum two to three times a week to relieve any other irritants that may be causing this flare.

I don't wear makeup anymore, and as of late, I have limited my wheat and cheese intake from my diet just to see if I'm all of the sudden allergic to that. So far nothing right now seems to be working.

Showering has become very painful and I often wish I didn't have to bathe at all, but that of course, isn't really an option when you live with others. It probably isn't a good idea period since every one of us has to be in contact with another human being every once in a while. And somehow, being a recluse doesn't sound appealing either.

So what does one do at this point? Well, I guess I'll be taking yet another trip to the doctor, but at least this time I'll be seeing a dermatologist instead of a rheumotolgist. I hope that we can get to the bottom of this and find out exactly what is bothering me instead of just treating the problem. I of course will keep you updated on the progress, but until then, I'd like to give you all some info I've come across while trying to help myself, hopefully, it can help some of you.

Milk and wheat can be triggers for eczema, as well as, perfumed soaps, detergents, and shampoos and conditioners. Other allergen triggers that may cause problems are cigarette smoke, makeup products, cleaning products, mold, mildew, and pet dander.

Some things that may help alleviate your skin symptoms are stress relief techniques, like deep breathing or even yoga, moisturizers that are perfume and dye free, herbal supplements like evening primrose oil, st john's wart, and vitamin b-12, drinking plenty of water, ultra violet light from either the sun or tanning beds, and bathing in baking soda may also help too.

A couple of sites to look at for further information are the National Eczema Association and Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews. Both will give you helpful information. The National Eczema Association offers a free news letter that is sent to your email on useful info for eczema sufferers.

Skin Deep will tell you the severity of chemicals and irritants a product has. It is a pretty extensive site and some of the products that are severely irritating to the skin may surprise you because there are supposed "all-natural" products with a questionable label. Some of them have a high rating of chemicals and skin irritants in them. The ratings go from 1 to 10, 10 being the most severe.

The FDA does not regulate makeup and other health and beauty aid products and this makes it hard for a consumer to know what they are really buying. Skin Deep is a non-profit organization that tests a good majority of the popular products out there and will let you know what's in it. They don't have every product that's out there on the market today, but they have a lot.

I hope some of this helps you all out there on this wonderful Fibro Awareness Day. Take care of yourselves, be fabulous, and don't scratch lol!

Stay fabulous,
Love and friendship,

P.S. Don't forget about the comment contest! We are really close to having a winner so keep the comments coming!

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