Monday, September 27, 2010

Meet an author Monday!




Here's how it works:

READERS:

  • Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many "new to you" authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We'd love to chat with you!


AUTHORS:


  • Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
  • You will need to enter your name and blog url into the Linky tool.
  • Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don't create a post for the hop, your readers won't have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!
  • The purpose of the hop is to meet "new to you" authors and discover great new reads. Follow as many authors as you can. Leave a comment and introduce yourself!
  • If you'd like to share the Linky list in a post on your blog ( Please do!) just follow the link and grab the code.

If you have a WordPress blog, feel free to email me for the code.
This is a Blog Hop! 18 entries so far... you're next!



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Taking Care

Care takers are a strange breed.  They seem to have a bountiful amount of energy, are always cheerful, and can do just about anything when it comes to taking care of the sick.  They are amazing and truly can't be thanked enough for what they do.

My life has blessed me with the understandings of both sides of the fence, I am a care taker and I receive care taking for myself on occasions.  This understanding gives me great perspective when it comes to asking for help when I need it.  I never used to ask for help.  I always thought that if I couldn't handle something it was a sign of weakness on my part.  Even if the job over powered my physical strength, like lifting a compact washer on top of a compact dryer, I still thought that I should be able to do it when asked.

As a side note... Anyone can lift a compact washer on top of a compact dryer, all on their own, (even if they are 100 pounds soaking wet) if they are pissed off enough at their boss for asking such a stupid thing.

I guess I thought this way because I was trained to at my job.  People there just assumed I would do anything and everything for them because I never said no.  Okay, well, that's only partly true.  I said no, but it wasn't heard.  Why?  It was because I didn't set any boundaries.

Boundaries are important when it comes to care taking.  If you are the care taker you have the responsibility to set limits for yourself because contrary to popular belief, you aren't Superman.  In fact, I know you aren't because my Daddy told me he was when I was three.  Oops!  That was supposed to be a secret LOL!

And if you are on the receiving end, you also have a responsibility.  It's just that your responsibility is a little different.  You need to make sure that there is open dialogue between you and your care taker.  This way you know if the boundaries that were set are still valid.  I know this may sound weird, but things really can change day to day without you or your care taker realizing it.

My life has been pretty regular this past year.  I was at my Grandparents' house every day, all day, for the past year.  It worked out well because my oldest, Brittanny, was in school until 6 pm due to an after school program at a local college around here.  It was easy for me to be there, cook their meals and then go home to tend to my own...

This year, though, is a little different.  Brittanny is in a different school because we moved to be closer to my my Grandparents and Parents' houses.  This school is a private one and the school system wants active parents.  It's no surprise because all Catholic schools need all the funding they can get, but I'm finding that I need to set a few limits, and not just with the Grandparents.

Life can be pretty complicated when you add every aspect in, even religion.  I'm not saying all of you should go and proclaim that you are atheists.  Please!  Even they have social gatherings.  I'm just saying that you need to find a way to allow yourself some boundaries, even when it comes to your family and your faith.  You can only do so much.  Really.  And no one can decide when enough is enough except you. 

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lisa's Story

There is no doubt that Fibromyalgia is a real disease and there is real pain associated with it.  People deal with this pain differently.  Some keep it to themselves, others talk about it.  I hope that no one else out there deals with it like Lisa did, though. 

I came across her story this evening and it was sad.  Those that read my blog regularly know that I like to keep things upbeat on here because there is too much negativity in the world, especially for Fibro sufferers.  But this one got to me and I have to share it.  It's terrible that this poor gal had to suffer on her own for so long without a loving support system in place.  I wish Lisa never had to go through that type of pain, it's an awful thing to feel like you are totally alone.

My heart goes out to her husband and I hope this story helps others.


Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Lisa's Story

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Cleanup and Fibromyalgia

I've always loved fall because the trees look like an artist spilled oil paints all over them.  It makes hikes during this time of year so worthwhile because the scenery is really rich with color.  Wearing bulky sweaters, boots, and stylish hats due to the cool weather is a nice bonus too.

Fall can be fun for many wonderful activities, but some fall activities can be, well, a pain in the neck.  Fall cleanup is one of those activities and so is any type of home improvement.  If any of you had the kind of weather we had over the summer, chances are you didn't get much done due to the extreme heat.  Hot temperatures don't let you get much painting or cleaning done.  It's even hard to mow your lawn in hot temperatures because you can scorch your grass if you cut it too low.

Having said that, some may think that the Fall is the best time of year to catch up.  It is, but if you have Fibro, remember to pace yourself.  Rome was not built in a day so your house doesn't need to be painted in one either.

Sure, that paint guy at the store says to keep going until you come to a natural break because that will make your painting job look professional, but natural breaks don't have to be one whole side of the house.  You can easily finish a paint job up to a window and then finish the job at a later time.  The window in this case can be used as a natural break.  This same technique can be used inside too and no one will know the difference.

One thing I always do when I'm painting an interior room is to give myself a week, yes, you heard me, one week to finish a room.  I start the prep work on the first day by filling holes with spackle, fine sanding the rough and uneven spots, and then cleaning the walls.  The next day, I move only the furniture needed to do one wall and then I start to tape.  After that, I paint.

There are a ton of paints out there today and they are most definitely more high tech than the kinds I used to sell way back when you had to prime your wall first.  Today there are paints that have a primer added right to the paint and that's a great choice for us Fibromites because it cuts down on the time you hold a brush or a roller.  These paints are a little pricey per gallon (or even quart) but in all honesty, they are less than the cost of both a primer and a paint combined.  One to try is Behr Premium Plus Ultra.  It's ranked number one in Consumer Reports.  I liked it very much.

And I'm not just saying this because I just bought some for my kitchen, which came out rather nice, I might add.  You can see a picture of it here...



I used to be a Sears kinda gal and booed and hissed when Behr surpassed Sears in paint greatness.  Sears paint used to be the best out there eons ago when I sold it.  It was a very thick paint, had great hiding in one coat, was extremely washable, low odor, and didn't fade.  Those were the days...

One may think I'm jumping ship now that I'm no longer a Sears sales associate, but that's not the case.  I like Sears, I really do, but Sears isn't focusing on paint (or anything else that made them great for that matter) anymore.  It's sad really and something I just don't like.

Okay, my tangent is over.  Let's get back to painting!  Once you are done painting the one wall with the first coat, step back and marvel at what you accomplished.  It's not often that ordinary people get to play interior designer and you should feel proud of what you did.

Once you have completed your happy dance, check the wall to make sure the paint covered evenly, if it didn't in spots, touch up the spots only.  You don't have redo the whole wall because it's still not dry yet, hence, the touch up work won't make the wall paint look unevenly matched.  After that, wash out your brush and other materials, close up your gallon, and then put your furniture back once the wall is dry to the touch.  Just make sure your prized Victorian couch isn't right up against the freshly painted wall-- you wouldn't want marks on either.  YIKES! 

I like doing my painting one wall at a time because it makes my life less stressful.  My room isn't in a shambles for too long and the room isn't smelly from the paint fumes either.  The added bonus is that I don't have to scramble looking for the switch plate screws when it comes time to put them back on.  Even on a Fibro Foggy day, I can remember where I put things if it's only been an hour or two.  An afternoon or a few days is a whole other story!

Another project people do in the Fall is yard cleanup.  Some just do leaves and others go all out by pruning trees and planting spring bulbs.  Leaves will pile up quickly in the fall and this can be back breaking and time consuming work-- no matter which way you slice it-- but there are ways to cut corners here too.  Firstly, focus on the part of the yard your neighbors can see.

Why?  Well, some neighbors are nice, but there are some that aren't.  I think that's why Frost preferred fences.  If you have one of those not so nice neighbors, save yourself some grief, aggravation, and stress by making sure the yard looks neat to them.  I've accomplished this many times by focusing on the front yard at both my place and my Grandmother's.  I've fooled many a people doing this hehe!

The other important thing to focus on is your gutters.  I know there are great contraptions you can put on your gutters to block out the leaves, and I'm sure they are worth it in the long run, but for those that don't have the luxury of buying them, this section is for you...

Work a section at a time and make sure you are not overly stressing out your body by holding onto the ladder too hard.  Try and shift your weight from one side to the other every so often when on the ladder.  Your knees will thank you for this.

Another helpful trick is make sure your gardening gloves fit properly.  Some gloves are great for heavy work, like pruning, but I find they are too stiff for weeding.  This can hurt your already tired hands.  Try and choose gloves that allow your fingers to move freely for your finite work, and yet, be thick enough for the task at hand.

Lastly, ask for help with the big stuff.  Pruning a bonsai is one thing, but using the chain saw for the big old maple out back is something totally different.  There is no shame in asking someone to help you, especially if the chain saw seems to weigh more than you do.  Don't laugh, I've seen (and held) some big ones LOL!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

P.S. As a side note, the hubs and I recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We went out to Bobby Flay's for burgers.  Those are the best I tell ya!  Anyway, I had my oldest take a picture of us, now that was near a picture of us, then.  And it just goes to show that not much changes in 10 years... including hairstyles!  YIKES!  LOL! 


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fibromyalgia, Pregnancy, and the Pain of Finding Information

I came across a rather upsetting article last night.  It upset me so much that it's the topic for today...

Fibromyalgia, Pregnancy, and the absolute pain of trying to find correct information on it.

A long while back I decided that my goal in life would be to put as much of a positive spin as I could on any negative subject matter that I find appalling.  Finding insufficient or down right incorrect information that is slanted towards the negative side of life due to Fibromyalgia is most definitely a subject that requires a positive and informative spin.

Now don't get me wrong, people are entitled to their opinions but when it comes to writing articles or blog entries that are out there for the public to see, I'm sorry, your opinion cannot count.  As a writer it is your duty to inform people-- period.  You can put your own words into it, you can say how you feel, but by NO means should you write an article stating that there is only one way to look at things.  Nor should you write out and out lies about a subject.

The article I came across was about Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy.  It stated that it may be difficult for a woman with Fibro to conceive a child.  I'm sorry, but this just isn't true.  There is absolutely no link between the two in any article or study I've ever come across in the 5 years I've researched this disease.

The article further states some findings about Fibro symptoms being far worse during the last trimester of pregnancy.  I know of these findings.  They were done by a professional doctor, however, the study was done with only a handful of participants and doesn't really prove much.  Further more, the article states that Fibromyalgia prohibits mothers from breast feeding!  It says that right in the title of the article on Science Daily!  Again, this is just not true.

With all of this negative misinformation, it's no wonder Fibro sufferers are in pain!  I'm in pain every time I surf the web because I know that I'll have to look for the pearls of info through all the crappy sea weed of negative article writing.  It's very disheartening and time consuming-- hence the stiffness and pain LOL!

Fibro is painful and it can make you cranky due to lack of sleep.  In fact, it can make you feel like a bitch and you want to bitch about it.  That's fine.  Call your friends, family, or the hubs and bitch all you want, but by no means should you bitch so much that you wind up becoming jaded in your journal to the world.  Society is filled with enough negative crap.  No one on this planet needs more garbage...


Okay, now that I've stepped down from my soap box, let's talk about some helpful information, shall we?  There are many things a woman can do before she conceives to better her chances of having a wonderful pregnancy.

The first thing to do is to find the best OB/GYN for yourself.  There are a lot out there that are very good, kind, and considerate that listen to your concerns.  I find that this is the best kind of doctor to have when you are concerned with Fibromyalgia.  In my condition, Fibromyalgia was not considered a high risk pregnancy so I did not need specialized care.  However, this might not be the case for you if you are taking certain medications.  It is important that you disclose any and all medications to your OB/GYN and this should also include herbals because there are many things that can harm a growing fetus.

Your OB/GYN may suggest weaning yourself from certain medications before conceiving.  This is something that you should most definitely discuss with your primary doctor that aides you in your Fibro pain management care.  Though I was not on any medication at the time, I was in constant contact with both during my entire pregnancy because a healthy mom equals a healthy child.

Another thing to consider is prenatal vitamins.  These not only help baby, they help you too.  I felt much better and had more energy on the days that I remembered to take my vitamins.  Not all vitamins are created equal.  Your doctor can suggest some.  I was lucky and happened to come across some great ones and can offer more information to anyone interested if you email me.  But always remember to check with your doctor before you start anything.

Energy can be hard to come by during pregnancy because feeling sleepy is an actual symptom of pregnancy-- not just Fibromyalgia.  Some pregnancy books suggest that an expectant mother should nap when needed or go to bed earlier than normal.  I napped most afternoons during my second pregnancy and it helped me have more energy when my oldest came home from school.  During my first pregnancy, I went to bed early.  I couldn't nap because I was working most afternoons.

And also remember one VERY important thing...

Wonder Woman, though gorgeous, was just a character.  She's not real and you should not think that you can do laundry, vacuum, dust your house, write 10 articles, bake 100 cupcakes for the next school bake sale, make dinner, and fight crime all in one day.  Relax and give yourself a break.  And as a side note, a non-Fibro friend once told me that even a healthy person couldn't possibly do all that in one day, so relax.  Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and your nursery doesn't need to be either.

The last thing I'd like to remind every women out there about is actually an old saying it takes a village to raise a child.  Now I know some of you might be reading this and saying, well gee, Kim, that's nice and all, but I'm single.  Or you might be feeling that your husband won't contribute his fair share.  These are very valid feelings and should not be ignored.  In fact, they should be explored.

Every woman needs a support system when they have kids, every woman, even ones without Fibro.  Moms know what I mean because they get calls from their girlfriends with children all the time asking them to either pick up their kid at school due to car trouble or they need a last minute babysitter.  Life happens and sometimes hubby can't get to you in time to change your tire on the highway so you can pick up junior from soccer practice.  This is where you support system comes in.

A support system is anyone and everyone that loves you and your baby.  Some of them will help you with your laundry, some of them will be a shoulder to cry on, and some of them will help you with midnight feedings, but all of them will help if you ask them.  The key here, though, is communication.  They can't help you if you don't talk to them, so express your fears and some of your needs before the baby comes so they can help.  Your needs may change once baby comes and that's okay, just express yourself once your changes arise.

And don't rule out Dad.  You might be surprised as to how helpful he really is.  Dads today are very different than they were even a couple of decades ago.  Some of them would kill for a chance to be a stay-at-home dad because they crave that close connection with their kids.  Others, like my beautiful hubby, step into their Dad role the minute they come home.  Scott mostly does bath time because I find it difficult to kneel down on the tiled floor.  I'm also usually exhausted by then too and he knows this so he gladly steps in.

Pregnancy and the child rearing years are not extremely difficult for Fibromyalgia sufferers.  You just have to be a little creative, have a lot of patience with yourself, and enjoy the times you have with your growing family.  I'm not saying it won't be challenging, but anything that's worth it in life always is. 

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Kimberley

Friday, September 3, 2010

Best Fibromyalgia Blogs and Websites - fibromyalgia - Health.com

This was something very exciting for me to come across and I want to thank each and every one of my loyal readers for this honor. I'm not sure how I got nominated for this wonderful list, but I'm truly touched. This is a great honor, but it could have never happened without all of you, my dear readers. So, as you read up on the Best Fibro blogs, give yourself a pat on the back too! Thank you all again!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Best Fibromyalgia Blogs and Websites - fibromyalgia - Health.com

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