Friday, December 30, 2011

Tai chi appears to help fibromyalgia patients

Tai chi appears to help fibromyalgia patients

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Watchdog: When Social Security says 'no' -

Watchdog: When Social Security says 'no' -

Thursday, December 22, 2011

6 Weeks of Bliss

We all got to talking on about gifts and what we'd like to give and receive this year.  I thought about it long and hard and came up with this...

The best gift I can receive is a little time-- say five minutes a day away from the entire family-- including the pets.  I'd like to try and use that 5 minutes to meditate.

The best gift I can give is healthy inspiration to everyone I know both physically and virtually.  I truly believe that health is achieved through state of mind, as well as proper diet and exercise.  And I think this is especially true for the chronically ill since they live with disease in the long term.

Depression can creep up on the chronically ill.  It can mask itself as part of the disease so much so that some people don't even realize that they are depressed.  Depression can be a dark place.  It's hard sometimes to see yourself out of it because there seems to be no light.

I speak from experience because I too have had to navigate my way through the darkness of depression.  I was lucky though, I had a guide who provided me light along my journey.  She was always there to lend a hand or shoulder when I needed it and she also made sure I'd hear encouraging words when I needed them most. 

I'm not sure where I'd be today if I didn't have my Grandmother's help, but I know for certain that I wouldn't be in as good of a place as I'm in now.  My blog has been an attempt to give to someone a little light in one's darkness of depression.  I truly hope I can continue to inspire not only in 2012 but beyond.

Food's Lasting Effects

Do you still believe that cheap food is okay to eat?  Think again!  My Dad and I are running an experiement with cheap three month old hot dog rolls.  We are waiting to see hou long it will take for them to go bad.

The expiration date is from 9/25/2011 and they haven't gotten stale nor have they molded.  How sick is that?!  Pun intended!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunnyvale Hypnosis Center Announces they are Offering Symptom Relief from Fibromyalgia Using Medical Hypnosis

This looks like a very interesting and controversial topic. Hypnosis was commonly used as pallor tricks for magic shows. It gained recognition when used to help people quit smoking or loose weight. I'm surprised to see people now using it for Fibromyalgia relief. I'm actually a little saddened by this because it seems that society as a whole has not come to grips with the fact that Fibromyalgia is a real disease. Real diseases need real doctors, real treatments, and real diagnoses in order to have relief.

Pain pills and trick words to pretend the pain away are really making things worse for us all. The body has pain naturally occur for an actual reason-- it's trying to tell you something is wrong. New research has to be done for this disease so we all know where the source of it is. If we find out that it happens to actually be a brain abnormality then magic pills or words are not the solution.

The band-aid factor that the medical industry is using to cure our aliments has to stop. And unfortunately, I think the only way we can stop this travesty is to stop buying into it. This may just be the medicine that corporate America needs to see the air in their ways.

Sunnyvale Hypnosis Center Announces they are Offering Symptom Relief from Fibromyalgia Using Medical Hypnosis

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Less is More During the Holidays

The holidays have approached us and the hustle and bustle can give way to stress and flares very easily if a fibromite is not careful.  Listed below are my top ten tips during this busy season.

  1. Tree trimming 101:  You don't have to trim your tree all in one day, in fact it is better to let an artificial one rest once you get it out of that attic.  Put the tree together, fluff it, and let it rest for an evening or two before you put all of the ornaments on.
  2. Bake ahead.  It's nice to have everyone over, but sometimes it's not so nice when you have to cook everything.  Bake your desserts, cookies, and pies a few weeks ahead of time and freeze them.  They will be just as fresh once they are thawed as they would be if you baked the day (or morning) before.
  3. Don't shop till you drop.  Long lines are never good on fibro knees.  Plan on shopping during retail's down times.  Mid-morning after the early bird specials is a good time and later in the evening between 7-10 is also okay.  If you must plan a huge shopping trip, plan it on a Tuesday.  Tuesdays are the slowest day for retail stores.
  4. Hassel-Free place settings.  Take out your dishes and flatware about a week prior to the big event and inspect them for water spots or dried on food.  Wash only what you need to and have warm water and a clean rag available to clean spotted silverware.  Wash and towel dry all glassware during this time too.  
  5. Have your children help you set the dining room table the night before so your settings can be hassel-free.  Children love to help and this will in turn also teach them how to set one.
  6. Less is more when it comes to decorating.  We all love to tour those houses that could light up an entire town with the amount of Christmas lights they have on their lawn.  But that's not practical for a Fibro sufferer since the take-down process can be just as painful as the set-up.  A garden flag, a few lights on your shrub or small tree, and maybe a garden stake or two is more than enough to instill a festive mood.
  7. Don't over due it.  In these times, many people are trying to watch what they eat so a large buffet may not be necessary for a huge amount of guests.  Scale down your recipes by cooking finger foods.  Many large meals can be miniaturized.  Quiche, cocktail wieners, shrimp, chicken and artichoke dishes can all be made into bit-sized culinary masterpieces. 
  8. Learn to say yes.  If one of your guests asks if they can bring a dish-- say yes!  It's one less detail you have to think about.
  9. Give your house the once over.  Bathrooms always seem to be the messiest room in the house.  My family not only likes to leave toothpaste all over the place, but I tend to find things like toys in there too.  Leave your bathroom as your last task to tackle and give it the once over with a few cleaning wipes.  The bleach will kill the germs and you won't be killing yourself scrubbing. 
  10. Be merrily light.  Over-eating or drinking could cause an unwanted flare.  If you plan on drinking a cocktail, chase it with a glass of water so your body doesn't get dehydrated.  Use a smaller plate for your meals to control food portions.
Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Friday, November 25, 2011

Improving Brain Function in Fibromyalgia Patients

This study, though small is a shining example of what can happen for Fibro sufferers who go med-free.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hell Has Carpets by Amanda Kimberley in Biographies & Memoirs

This ebook is a short story about my life as a care giver. It's in a contest being done by

Care giving can be hell, especially when you have a chronic illness. It is down right exhausting too.

The best top 5 tips:

1. Get plenty of rest. You will not do yourself or the one you are caring for any good if you aren't getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.

2. Exercise. Even if you only have enough time for a brisk 15 minute walk, it's still a good idea to exercise. Exercising releases serotonin, a natural chemical that helps aid in keeping your spirits up.

3. Eat well. A well balanced diet will help you maintain enough strength throughout the day to care for another. It also levels out your blood sugar which can spike if you eat too many sugary snacks and beverages. The sugar may also make you crash causing you to feel tired.

4. Keep your doctor's appointments. You are no good to any one if you neglect your own health while caring for a loved one. Keep those appointments!

5. Take your vitamins. Vitamin D is essential for those who are chronically fatigued. It is not a vitamin that is easily absorbed in the body with diet alone. You can get vitamin D from the sun, but that can be more difficult during the winter months to achieve. An extra vitamin supplement is a good idea.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Hell Has Carpets by Amanda Kimberley in Biographies & Memoirs:

'via Blog this'

The Pursuit of Liberty by Amanda Kimberley in Poetry

Amanda Kimberley is my pen name for fiction and even though my fiction writing has very little to do with Fibro and Fabulous topic-wise, I thought I'd share my latest two ebooks with all of you.

Writing fiction is my form of stress relief. I get to hide in my characters' worlds for a while. It's one of the ways for me to be as pain-free as possible.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

The Pursuit of Liberty by Amanda Kimberley in Poetry:

'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chiropractic Care and Fibromyalgia

I must admit that before the first week of October of this year I didn't give chiropractic care much thought. I knew it existed and thought it was a great form of help for people that had suffered back injuries. It never occurred to me that chiropractic care could help someone with Fibromyalgia. In early October I had attended a local fair with my family. Most of the time I don't get to go into the building that houses local businesses because my children tend to find that building boring. They'd rather go on the rides or partake in a tractor pull race. But this year was different and I was able to go through the building with a friend who introduced me to her chiropractor at his booth. His thoughts on homeopathic care as opposed to traditional forms of medicine intrigued me because these views seemed right in line with mine. He believes that surgery on any joint should be a last resort and he also believes that medicine will only mask what's really going on. I listened to him further explain to my friend Karen that he would be introducing other forms of care into his practice, one being acupuncture, and that got me even more interested into talking with this man. I explained to Dr. Walter Henderson of Henderson Family Chiropractic Care that I had Fibromyalgia and I was very interested in seeing if acupuncture or any of his other forms of care would help me. I had recently been in a rather long and painful flare that was really starting to take over my life again. I wasn't at the point where I was in bed everyday, but since I had been down this road so many times before, I knew I would be headed in that direction if I didn't try something different. I scheduled an appointment to see him and at that first visit, he asked a series of questions that were quite similar to the questions I was asked at the Rheumatologist's office. He also took a series of x-rays and performed a trigger point test with me. I was told to return in a few days once he had the results of my x-rays. The second visit was an eye opener for me because this was the first time I was able to see my neck, spine, and hips in quite some time. The last time I had seen them was in late 2005. At that time I had noticed a slight misalignment in my spine but I had honestly thought it was due to standing improperly at the x-ray. Call me crazy, but the words of my mother saying, sit up straight still haunt me to this day so much so that I just assumed I hadn't been doing so in the x-ray pictures of 2005. And the Rheumatologist and General Practitioner of 2005 weren't overly alarmed at my misalignment either, in fact, they were quite happy to see that my joints had very little deterioration. Both thought I'd be fine with my condition with a little therapy and medication. They did, however caution me that surgery may be inevitable in my future. Dr. Henderson showed me the latest version of my bones and I was in shock. I couldn't believe that I was looking at what I believe to be a young body. My spine veered to the right at least 2 inches, and I'm probably being modest because I'm not good with numbers or measurement off the cuff. My left hip was also severally misaligned by at least 2 inches too. My neck is completely straight with no arc at all. I was speechless, and that's something that doesn't happen all too often for this writer. Despite this shock, I managed to be able to muster a few words like, So how do we fix this? What he said after that shocked me even more. He stated that if I continued on the traditional route, surgery would be unavoidable. I knew this to be true for my knees, but now it was clearly evident that I'd need surgery for one of my hips too. At 38, this doesn't sound like a viable option for me. He further explained that his solution would be different because he would readjust my hips and spine to help alleviate pain. Most people that I know are a little leery of Chiropractors. They seem to think that these people couldn't possibly help them because all they do is crack your back. They also think that these doctors don't get anywhere near the same type of schooling that conventional doctors do. Well, let me dispel the rumors and negative thinking for you and tell you that these statements simply aren't true. Chiropractic care, or spinal manipulation has been around since the times of ancient Greece and China. Some writings on the subject date back to 2700 B.C.! Hippocrates also wrote about the importance of spinal manipulation but the actual start of the occupation didn't come about until 1895. Spinal manipulation, or chiropractic care becomes important for Fibro sufferers because the muscle winds up with a build up of protein or ground substance. This theory, though never discussed in this blog prior too, is not a new one. Many doctors believe in the same theory, in fact, R. Paul St. Amand, M.D. also discussed ground substance deposits in the body in his book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia. Dr Amand's theory goes in a completely different direction, however. He is not a chiropractor. He is a conventional doctor and his theory will not be touched on in this entry. All of this history of medicine sounds great on paper, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, does it really work? Well, as a patient of Dr. Hendeson's , I can assure you that it does! I can actual feel my body's pain levels go back in time. I know that may sound a little weird so let me explain. A couple of years before diagnoses I used to have a lot of problems with my knees and very little problems with my upper and lower back. My knees got so bad that it became extremely difficult to walk due to tiredness and pain. I even had knee buckling. My back was really not a major issue at that time. It only hurt when I lifted something very heavy or when I'd do repetitive motion for a long period of time. My back, prior to diagnoses was never as bad as my knees because my knee injuries were older than my back injury. I had sprained both knees in my early teens as opposed to straining my back in a dance class, followed by a car accident. I honestly barely mentioned my back as a problem area when talking to my doctors because the pain was easier to deal with. As time went on, as all Fibro sufferers know, my pain increased. It was always most prominent when extra added stress entered my life. Stress is a part of life, however when it rules you, it's never good. I had to leave a career because the stress of work/life balance was too great. Lately, I'm experiencing a different kind of stress and that is one of a care giver to my Grandmother and my Mother, as well as being one for my two children. It's been a tough balancing act with everyone because I feel I should be everywhere ALL at once, hence, the stress creeps up and settles in. My father, brother, and my soon to be sister-in-law are caring for Mom on a full-time basis and my husband and I are caring for my Grandmother full-time. My Grandfather, whom my husband and I cared for, passed a day before my oldest daughter's birthday last year. My Mom and Grandfather were diagnosed with Alzheimer's and it's been a challenge. My Mom doesn't wander but my Grandpa did and I remember all too well being awoken in the middle of the night by my bedridden Grandma asking for me to come over just to see if Grandpa fell asleep the family room chair. I'm trying to deal with the stress and pain as best as I can at this moment in my life by handling things day by day and minute by minute. But Chiropractic Care a very good relief option for me because my pain-factor is far less than it once was. I've had some knee pain and fatigue, but it is no where near the levels of pre-diagnoses, nor is it anywhere near the levels of my recent flare. I honestly haven't felt this good in 15 years! I will continue this discussion of Chiropractic Care as my blog moves on. I'm even going to include an interview with my doctor so please stay tuned for upcoming entries. Stay fabulous! Love and friendship, Kimberley

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Why Factor for Fibro Flares

Flares are something that each of us struggle with on a daily basis. We constantly ask the question, why today? Is there something special about today? Did I do something wrong yesterday? What could possibly be the reason for my pain?

Most of the time we have the answer, we are either over-worked, over-tired, over-stressed, or a combination of all three. If you live in a perfect world, you can chalk the day up to experience, move on, and never make the same mistake in your life again-- in a perfect world.

I don't live in a perfect world, as I'm sure, neither do any of you. And when our world is imperfect, or worse, crashes down around us, we Fibromites tend to find flares as part of our norm, rather than infrequent.

Stress and life's crises always come about. Sometimes they are unavoidable, like when your position at work changes due to downsizing, and sometimes life can slap you in the face, like when someone you love passes away suddenly.

Recently I've had a lot of stress in my life. I've had a few things come up that were unavoidable, like a promotion and I've also had a lot of things slap me in the face. I've had family and friends pass away recently, some relatives got sick, and I've even been dealing with a recent problem in our parish with a priest that I won't get into here. It's not that I don't want to share, it's just that I don't believe this is the place to.

Yes, I believe that everyone should be able to vent and make their opinions known about religions, parishes, and priests, HOWEVER, this is a blog about Fibromyalgia and I want to keep it that way. If you'd like to leave a comment about your personal beliefs, or you just plain want to know what's up in my life, please do so via my email: And I welcome and thank you for your comments and chat.

I'm not going to go into unavoidable stresses here because these stresses, though very valid, are not the subject for today. I'd like to talk about the slap in the face stresses because if you don't deal with those in a healthy way today, you could be paying for it tomorrow.

So how does one deal with shock? Well, put simply, you deal with it minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. This process may seem new to you in your Fibro-frenzied panic, but I can assure you that it's the same process you went through when you first discovered you had Fibromyalgia. You dealt with your pain and worry minute by minute during your days as a newly diagnosed patient and when you deal with a shock, you should go back to your roots and take as many baby steps as you need to deal with your illness and your shock as best as you can.

The stress of shock can lead to a flare and you have to deal with that by listening to your body, know what it's asking for. It may cry for attention minute by minute, or it may wait until the end of the day to tell you what's wrong.

Remember your vitamins. During these hard times, it's best to keep up with your daily intake of good vitamins and supplements. The best kind are food based, or naturally occurring and easily absorbed through the body.

Exercise and stretch when ever possible-- even at work. This will help you to focus more on your tasks and less on your aches and pains.

Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated. Sports drinks are best in the summer due to the heat and outdoor activity. And speaking of the outdoors, make sure you have some down time in the sun too.

Most people tend to think that the sun is their enemy, but our bodies actually crave the vitamins it provides through absorption. So lather up the sun screen and have some fun in the sun.

These are just a few of my suggestions. I'm sure I'll have more as I go through my own pains in life. Keep on keeping on!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rock Recipes: Blueberry Balsamic Pork Chops

Rock Recipes: Blueberry Balsamic Pork Chops: "Here's one of our family favorite pork chop recipes for a quick weekday supper. Nothing beats good old wild Newfoundland blueberries in thi..."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Primary Care and Fibromyalgia

Most Fibromyalgia sufferers you talk to will tell you it took several doctors and years to get diagnosed. When this happens the patient gets discouraged and sometimes looses all hope. In the frustration, sometimes we Fibro sufferers loose faith in the fact that there are good doctors out there on our side.

One doctor, Bill H. McCarberg, MD of San Diego, CA is one of those good doctors. He presented at the recent Pain Meetings in Washington, DC. I will be posting a link to Doctor Bill McCarberg's video presentation on Twitter and Facebook (I can't link it here) so if you'd like to see it, follow me on there.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blog Jog Day

Welcome to Blog Jog Day! Please enjoy my site then click over to to see what the next Blog has to offer! Lost in the links? You can always go back to the main Blog Jog Day Blog at and find a new link to jog from. Thank you for stopping by my site!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How Fibro Sufferers Can Beat the Heat

The extreme heat that Connecticut had been facing about a decade of summers ago had made it difficult for me to enjoy the dog days. I used to practically live outside all summer long when I was a kid, only going inside for food and sleep.

My symptoms ran rampant during extremely hot days as a newly diagnosed fibro adult and I tried to avoid the heat like the plague. I was finding it difficult to breath and to move due to the pain. I knew I had to do something for relief, but I wasn't exactly sure what.

At first I tried to live without an air conditioner. My thinking was that the extreme change in temperature was the culprit. I figured if I could eliminate the drastic change, my body would become more used to the summer again and I could finally remember what it was like to enjoy the warm weather. That worked until the past two summer's temperatures were breaking records set 40 years ago.

My asthma then kicked in, causing a whole other set of problems, including extreme fatigue, and the feeling of faintness. It was obvious that my conservation of air wasn't the best way to deal with my pain, so I opted to suffer through the lesser of the two evils and I put the air back on.

Summers for the most part are usually okay for me if Connecticut doesn't see temperatures over 85. My flares are mostly minimal as long as the humidity doesn't make the temperatures feel like they are over 100. These past two summers, however, have been a little difficult.

During this time, I've been caring for grandparents who aren't particularly fond of air conditioning so my husband had suggested I bring several packets of a hydration mixture with me while caring for them in a stiflingly hot house. Amazingly, my symptoms started to diminish. I couldn't figure out exactly why this was happening but I reveled in the fact that it did.

Below is an article that I just recently came across that offers tips to fibro sufferers who find it difficult to beat the heat.

Every Day Health

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Thursday, July 14, 2011

‘Health Adviser’ Uses Natural Ways to Help Individuals Heal - The Missourian: St Clair News

I wanted to share this particular article because I believe that Natural Doctors are making some important strides in aiding patients with diseases like Fibromyalgia. Homeopathic care is on the rise, but it is not always recognized. In this article you with see that this particular doctor is nationally certified, but she is not recognized as being so in her home state. Hopefully this outlook will change as Natural Doctors become more popular.

It is important to know, as with any doctor, it's always good to do your research. Read up on the treatments they suggest, find out if there is any side effects to medicine they prescribe, and if you don't feel comfortable with a particular diagnosis, get a second opinion.

‘Health Adviser’ Uses Natural Ways to Help Individuals Heal - The Missourian: St Clair News: "After looking fibromyalgia in the eye and beating it, Angie
Chaudoir decided to move from corporate America to a more natural

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy | Articles | Pregnancy Today

I really don't think there's enough out there on this subject and it's important for every sufferer to know that a woman can have a happy and healthy pregnancy and birth of a child while having Fibromyalgia. Any pregnancy has its fair share of symptoms and Fibromyalgia should not be an excuse to not have children.

The important things about Fibromalgia and pregnancy are listed in the article below, but I'd like to reiterate that many doctors will not consider a Fibro patient a high-risk pregnancy unless it's absolutely needed. I was not a high-risk, in fact my pregnancy was pretty normal aside from being induced. And that had nothing to do with Fibro. I'm just one of those gals that needs a little help with labor because I tend to have long ones. I was also induced with my first and I had my first long before my Fibro diagnoses.

Another factor to consider is a calm setting. Birthing places have come a long way. Most look like 5 star accommodations today and we can take a few pointers from that idea once we are home with baby. Set up a calm setting for feeding time. You don't have to get incredibly fancy. A nice rocker next to a window will do. I used to watch the fireflies with feeding Olivia. A fish tank is also another great option. Fish have a calming effect and can reduce one's stress. A fresh water tank is the most economical because these fish tend to run smaller-- hence only a small tank is needed.

These are just a few ideas that can help reduce your stress and flares during pregnancy and those first few weeks.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Fibromyalgia and Pregnancy | Articles | Pregnancy Today

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

5 Surprising Signs of an Unhealthy Heart

This topic may not have a lot to do with Fibromyalgia, but it could. Some of the symptoms described are extremely close to Fibro symptoms and you could be dismissing some very serious warning signs. If you are at all in doubt of what your body is trying to tell you, don't hesitate to call for an appointment with your doctor.
5 Surprising Signs of an Unhealthy Heart

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Friends and Fibro

Today's news story about Caylee Anthony was not a very happy ending for the people I know that watched it.  I must admit that I did not because I couldn't stomach the news story to begin with.  I have two daughters myself and I could never picture my life without them.  I'm not one to ever accuse anyone of anything, especially as a journalist, I have a code of conduct I uphold.  It's not my job to speculate, however, I do believe that justice is always served.  God sees to that and Caylee's killer will be exposed with the justice that is deserving for that little girl.

Today, for me at least, was filled with a lot of sadness.  I've had a lot in my own life to deal with when it comes to loss as of late.  I try hard not to dwell on the negative, so let's focus on the positive and look at something to be grateful for.  I am grateful for friends when it comes to my Fibro issues.

Having friends that are there for you when you are in a flare is a Godsend.  I have actually lost count when it comes to the times that my friends-- either through the magic of the internet or in person-- have been there for me during a flare.

Most of the time I can feel a flare coming on, but there are always those times when I least expect it and that's where my friends have stepped in.  They should know, or at least I hope they do, that I'm VERY appreciative of them.

I can remember a time where I awoke from a deep sleep in a sweat.  I felt dizzy and I couldn't see well.  The best way to describe it is that I was experiencing tunnel vision.  My skin was itchy from the inside and I had this looming notion that everyone was out to get me.

I didn't know it at the time but what I was experiencing was a panic attack.  I got through it by making a simple late night phone call to a VERY understanding friend named Emily.  She was great.  She asked a series of questions and then came to the conclusion that I was having a Panic/Anxiety attack and that I needed to do some deep breathing exercises.  I got through the night with her and I will never forget it.  Thanks Emily!

Another friend of mine helped me when I was newly diagnosed.  She sat there and listened to all of my banter about the disease.  She heard a few of the why me statements and she even did a few Reiki sessions for me.  Dana was there for me a lot and I can't even begin to form words for that thank you.

Karen and Michelle are two other friends that have been there during my dark times and I'm pretty sure that neither of them know just how much their little statements have made such a big impact on my healing.

There are some people that just pop into your life that say something profound for your life circumstances and bingo-- life becomes clear.  Michelle or Michy as she likes to be called is one of those people.  She tends to say things that I've always believed but never acted upon.  I look to her for guidance in a way that is different from all of my other friends because she is someone I've never met face to face, or even had the pleasure of talking to one the phone.  She's an internet buddy and she may see herself as only that but I know better.  There are just some people in life that can exude their kindness no matter how small because it's just in their nature to do so.  Sorry Michy, I don't want to sound weird or anything, but it is what is.

Then there are some friends that you held dear that you never wanted to let go and then due to life, they slipped through your fingers.  You think about them often, even hope they got what they wanted, but never do you think that you will ever see them again, until you do.  Facebook has it's perks and finding lost friends is one of them.

I met Karen at 14 and lost touch with her towards the end of college.  It was just one of those things.  But thanks to the reconnection, I'm viewing Fibro through a new set of eyes again.  She sees things that I'm missing.  For instance, she made the comment "I think you do too much.  Let Brittanny and Scott help a little more."  I wouldn't have seen that potential flare because I'm too much in the middle of my life to compensate at the moment. 

We all have some true friends that we look to every so often.  Just make sure, especially today, that they know how much you appreciate them.

Stay fabulous,
Love and friendship,


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating

Think you have the latest bug going around or that your Fibro IBS symptoms are causing you grief? Your stomach might be telling you something completely different:

The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Food Labels and the Missing Fine Print

A rather interesting article was in the local Hartford Courant today.  The article was written by Consumer Reports and explained that insects and toxins are allowed in our food. Shop Smart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports just recently announced some interesting finds that food labels won't contain.  Here is a list of those findings:

Can I Get a Little More Protein With That?
The Food and Drug Administration will allow companies that grow, harvest, and process food a little leeway when it comes to bugs and other crawling critters.  They deem this as naturally occurring defects.  This means that a certain amount of full and partial bugs can be added for that extra protein kick, as well as a few rodent hairs mixed in for flavor.  YUMMY!

Obviously, if bugs disgust you as much as they do me, return the product if you happen to find one.  I remember seeing a few live ones inside a loaf of bread while in line at the grocer.  I kindly let the cashier know that I didn't want the extra protein and he got me a bug-free version before I left. 

Your Not Seeing Double

It is quite possible that you may be consuming a clone without knowing it because the FDA doesn't require labels on products that contain genetically engineered plant material or meat for the most part.  It also doesn't require it on milk from cloned animals.

Products that are widely sold under this category are corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton.  Organic is the best option if you want to avoid seeing double here.

You Are What You Eat

It is possible that the chicken or steak you carefully picked out from your grocer's meat case is full of it.  Some animals on our farms today are consuming other animals, bones, feathers, and you guessed it, waste.  Those labels that say no additives, no antibiotics, no hormones, or no steroids might be full of it too because those statements cannot be verified, so the findings state.

The best option here is to buy organic.  I know the price of organic meat is crazily through the roof, but believe me when I tell you-- there is a difference and you can taste it.  I just started to buy organic meats and I will add a post in the near future on tips to stretch your dollar when it comes to buying them.

How Sweet, Fresh Meat-- NOT!

Consumers have been fooled into thinking that beef should be red and that salmon should be bright pink because that means it's fresh, when in fact, a gas or additive is packaged with it allowing the meat product to look fresh for a month or more.  I don't think I have to worry about Freddy coming for me because that beef I'm about to cook just might resurrect itself.  Talk about your scary movies-- YIKES!  All kidding aside, most of the oxygen in the packaged meats is replaced with other gases, including carbon monoxide.

The only way to avoid this problem is to ask your grocer if their meats happen to be packed with carbon monoxide.  And don't forget-- this happens with produce too.  You can avoid it there if you buy local or shop your frozen foods section.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Elimination Diet

I'm a big wrestling fan and I'm thinking about the "Elimination Chamber" matches from the WWE as we speak.  In wrestling, you have a winner and a loser and usually a good guy and a bad one.  Sometimes the bad guy wins because he's sneaky and we hate that, but that's the appeal of wrestling.

Whether you are a fan or not of wrestling, most people who suffer from fibro can hate elimination when it comes to diets because we have the good and the bad angel speaking to us.  We fibro sufferers who have been around the block know that these diets exist to help us eliminate the bad guys from our diets.  Many will find, like I did, that processed food is a major culprit.  Some will see gluten as a problem, and others are left in the dark.

My post today is to those people still looking.  Please know that an Elimination Diet is still a good idea-- even if you have a demon and angel complex because you can find out a lot about your body.  The best thing to remember is that once you have ruled out a food as being a target, you CAN and SHOULD reintroduce it back into your diet.

Some fibro sufferers I've talked to have steered clear of certain foods just because they know most patients have a problem with a particular food and this is not a good practice.  If you crave something in your diet, you need it.

Now, some people may disagree with me saying she's crazy!  All Fibro people need to avoid gluten and processed and, fill in the blank here.  And the answer to that is simple, no, I'm not crazy.  People are as different as this disease is and not everyone is sensitive to the same things.

My advice is to make sure you do an elimination diet often (at least once a year) and find your culprits.  Make sure you know what makes you feel good and bad as far as food and activity go and get yourself on a good multi-vitamin.

Stay fabulous,
Love and friendship,


Friday, June 10, 2011

Fibro and Fabulous, Amazon, and the State of Connecticut

To My Dear Readers,

The governor of the state of Connecticut has passed an extra tax law here and despite my views of the greed of today, I have no choice but to comply.  You all know that I have dedicated my life to helping all of you feel fabulous as best as I can.  I do this out of my own pocket.  I don't get any type of compensation for what I do, and as a matter of fact, I don't even break even for my published books on this subject.  Most authors of today don't see a profit, we just write because we love it.

Having said that, I will continue to the best of my ability, to offer as much information on Fibromyalgia as I can to all of you as long as I can afford it.  I don't need to let any of you know that the economy has hit me harshly because all of you feel the pinch too.  What I do need you to know is that this blog will be getting a huge makeover.  I am removing all Amazon ads as per Connecticut law, and I may have to remove Adsense ads as well.  Below is the lovely letter I received from Amazon at 6 this morning:

For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of Connecticut residents. Unfortunately, the budget signed by Governor Malloy contains a sales tax provision that compels us to terminate this program for Connecticut-based participants effective immediately. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers - including but not limited to those referred by Connecticut-based affiliates like you - even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.
We opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside Connecticut, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.
As a result of the new law, contracts with all Connecticut residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program will be terminated today, June 10, 2011. Those Connecticut residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to , , MYHABIT.COM or . Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before today, June 10, 2011, will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.
You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Connecticut. If you are not currently a resident of Connecticut, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here . And if you relocate to another state after June 10, 2011, please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.
To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to Connecticut residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from .
We have enjoyed working with you and other Connecticut-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to Connecticut residents.
The Amazon Associates Team

I do not, nor will I recommend anything from Amazon anymore, and it's not because I don't like Amazon, it's because I don't want any of you to pay more money for your products just because I live in a greedy state.  And why do I call it greedy?  Well, that's simple.  Not more than 2 or 3 years ago, this state had a surplus of money due to over taxing and now ALL of that money is gone due to overspending.  I'm all for helping people out and giving them many beneficial services that this state provides, but if I have to operate my indie author business at a loss and pinch every penny, than I think this state should too.

Please keep me in your thoughts as I try to find other ways of income to not only keep this site running, but my publishing business too.  Also, please be patient with me while I redesign my site.  I have a lot of family issues to contend with.  My mom, who is the last stages of Alzheimer's, and my grandmother, who is disabled, require a ton of care from me.

And if you feel compelled to help keep this site going, please do so by recommending it, as well as my books to as many people and bookstores as you can.  It would be much appreciated, because word of mouth is really worth its weight in gold.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fibro Fog: The Bad and the Ugly of Fibromyalgia

I knew in the beginning where I'd go with this post but somehow the words are becoming a bit of a blur.  My thoughts are in muddled water, slipping through the dried cracks of the earth I refer to as my brain.  Some thoughts have laid there so long that they've dried up in a desert like fashion, hoping and praying for rain.  Still, I know I wanted to express my thoughts about fibro fog and how it's grip takes hold on my day to day living, but I just can't put my finger on the words that I wanted to express.

I think you know what I mean when I say fibro fog, right?  It's that thing that keeps me and every other sufferer who has this symptom from thinking straight.  It can send one into spirals that swirl in every direction, and unfortunately for me, they tend to go downward when I'm faced with the fact that my focus isn't as clear as it needs to be.

Fibro fog is a horrible symptom of fibromyalgia.  It can make you feel depressed, crazy, and in your darkest hours, even feel dumb.  I know I've felt dumb.  I try to express myself and then boom-- my fog hits and there's the wall and all forms of communication have turned to mush.  Dear friends of mine have uttered the heart ripping phrase, your roots are showing, and I'd laugh it off trying to conceal the gut wrenching thoughts going through my head.  I was the supposed sensible brunette, as my mother put it.  I should never, as far as she was concerned, be compared to a blonde stereotype.

It's frustrating when you can't get your point across, but I find that much better to deal with as opposed to not being able to drive.  Yes, there are times when I'm so uncomfortable with my fog that I don't drive.  I know I say you should always try to look at the positive side of things and work through your illness.

But I wouldn't be a good blogger if I didn't tell you that even I say when.  Driving is, and has always been a when with me.  I get very emotional when it comes to driving.  A car is like a weapon, was drilled into me in the all too literal sense.  When I was beginning my driving lessons, a friend of mine, who was under the influence, died at the wheel when he was 16.  It was a life changing experience for me and I vowed to try and make safe rides home for all of my friends, however, I failed in college when two other friends fell asleep at the wheel. To this day, I still feel responsible, even though I know that I've done everything humanly possible to help.

None of these incidences clearly have anything to do with my illness.  Fibro DOES NOT cause stupidity or sleepiness during college.  I want to make that totally clear-- even with Goggle.  But the impact of what CAN happen still stings my ears.  Yes, I have an illness, but I sometimes can't get to that appointment even if I want to due to my fear of fog.

Some may say that I should just get over it because everyone experiences a momentary lapse of reason, but I know better.  This is a very real symptom and gosh darn it, I could hurt someone.  Learning the signs has helped me to know when to say when.

  1. Over thinking 
  2. Deep thoughts
  3. Forgetfullness
  4. Short term memory loss
These are all signs of fibro fog and you should take heed to them when you are experiencing a flare.  Fog comes during every flare of mine as of late and concentration has been hard.  I can't tell you how many times I've had to rewrite my blogs before I've posted-- it's the God's honest truth.  It's been tough.

But I need you to know that it can be overcome or reworked.  Driving is always a touchy subject with people.  We Americans really have no choice but to use an automobile for transportation, and usually we are the ones driving ourselves everywhere.  It's hard sometimes to keep up with the non-ill, however, I've developed a mantra, no destination is worth reaching if you can't come up with the toll.  I live with that every day.

Stay fabulous,
Love friendship,


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why Your Skin Issues May Be More Than Fibro Related explains that a wheat allergy may be to blame for some pesky symptoms like arthritis, skin rashes (including eczema), tiredness, irritable bowel (IBS), muscle aches and pains.  Sound like some of your Fibro symptoms?  I know they sound like mine.

Now, I'm not saying that all of my problems will go away if I become a vegan or go gluten and wheat-free, but it may help.  The only true way for me to find out if I have a wheat allergy is to go to a professional.  My doctor can perform a skin prick or blood test to see if wheat may be the culprit to my on-going four year battle with hand eczema.

Eczema and other skin rashes can be a symptom of Fibromyalgia.  I was born with eczema around my eyes.  I didn't have many issues when I was young, and the small flares I did have were easily managed with a little prescription skin cream.

When I reached my twenties my skin disorder took a turn for the worst.  I would get a flare around my eyes at least once a month.  The doctors I saw at the time dismissed the flare as stress induced, prescribed a moisturizer, and sent me on my way. 

This regimen worked throughout my twenties and for a good portion of my early thirties.  It wasn't until I became pregnant with my second child that I had more severe problems.  The itch became out of control.  There were days that I wanted to rip off my skin in hopes of getting relief.  I had rashes in my scalp, crooks of my arms, lower legs, feet, breast plate, and hands.  I would cry when I took a shower because I knew I'd come out irritated.

My doctor assumed I had a rash due to my pregnancy.  I assumed it was an eczema break out and we both dismissed it as normal.  Most of the rash went away once Olivia was born but my hands and breast plate were still itchy.  At this point I tried a series of skin lotions and bathed in oatmeal.  This helped for a very short time and then the rash came back with a vengeance. 

Finally, after reading a book called Eczema-Free for Life, I tried sports bras and stopped wearing makeup.  I wore gloves every time I washed the dishes or performed other household duties like dusting, tried raising the humidity levels in the house, added flowering plants to my indoor garden, and wore moisturizing gloves at night.  This helped but it didn't completely rid my rash from my hands.  In fact, the rash has remained on my hands for four years.  My fingers have swollen so much from the itching that it now impossible to wear rings, a favorite jewelry of mine.

I went to yet another doctor about this because my eyes again became severe.  I explained to him that I was born with eczema and have Fibromyalgia.  He in turn explained that Fibromyalgia didn't exist and that my rash was due an allergy.  I should discontinue the use of a brand of skin cream I was using and be put on prednisone to clear up my swollen eyes and hands.  He figured Benedryl would work to maintain a flare-free breakout. Well, needless to say, I discontinued the use of something, but it wasn't the skin cream, it was his service. 

My fight still continues with my Fibromyalgia and my skin problems and I think I will now see if wheat is the reason for my irritation.  Some Fibro sufferers actually benefit from going wheat and gluten-free because their symptoms completely disappear.  Adrienne Dellwo explains this in her article Can a Gluten-Free Diet Eliminate Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue.

I, like her, advocate going on an elimination diet to see if food sensitivities are to blame for symptom flares.  Wheat was not something I looked into eliminating on my first rounds of food culprits.  I looked at processed and refined flours first.  It is possible that I missed wheat and gluten because not all foods were processed with wheat during the time I started my elimination diet. 

It has only been recent (within the past five or so years) that you find EVERYTHING known to man containing wheat since it's a cheap bulking agent.  Trader Joe, an organic and environmentally conscience food store, has a list of gluten-free products that one can purchase.  It's a great spring board for ideas on going wheat and gluten-free.  The list can be found here 

Wheat, surprisingly, is now ranked as one of the top eight food allergies among sufferers.  Peanuts, shell fish, milk, tree nuts, fish, soy and eggs are the other seven major food allergies of today.  I often wonder why these sensitivities are happening and I can't help but think it has something to do with over exposure.  There are just too many food manufacturers using the same processes and ingredients for our food and it's becoming very irritating (pardon the pun) that these manufacturers are more concerned with profit rather than producing a quality product.

I'm not saying that these food giants should not be able to make money so they in turn can keep a roof over their head-- don't misunderstand, I'm just saying that as a giant, they need to learn some responsibility and start finding ways to allow variety in their customer's diet.  Not every consumer has hours on end to stroll the food isles and read War and Peace food labels.  Nor do they have the time to research product credential labels, or even figuring out which company is actually producing said food product.  Consumers are getting savvy, but this whole buyer beware motto needs to die so people don't have to second, third, and quadruple guess everything.  Latin is a dead language so shouldn't that phrase die along with it?

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Monday, May 23, 2011

Fruits for Health: Recipes for Cough Syrup, Teas, Face Masks and More - Natural Health - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Looking for homemade alternatives for your health and beauty? Here are a few wonderful recipes made from common fruit.

Fruits for Health: Recipes for Cough Syrup, Teas, Face Masks and More - Natural Health - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

When Penny Pinching is NOT a Good Idea

In today's day and age where gas prices are high along with every other necessity, one tends to look for any way to pinch pennies.  Some ways, like growing your own victory garden, scaling back on your cell phone bill, or buying generic products, are good.  But there is one particular way of pinching pennies that is very bad for a Fibro sufferer.

Coupon clipping is NOT a way to pinch pennies for people with Fibromyalgia because the coupons that come out in your local paper are usually for items that are filled with chemicals and preservatives that can cause a flare.  I'm sure some of you will argue with me and state that I should try and surf the web for some great deals, but this gal is not convinced since I had to spend several minutes searching for food sites only to find one match for a quality food which was flour.

Another argument I usually hear is, well if I had money I'd buy the good stuff but it's just too expensive.  Again, this just isn't true, besides, would you rather spend your money on quality food or medical bills?  I can guarantee that you will take more trips to the doctor's office and the local pharmacy for flares if you buy processed foods than you would if you were eating healthier alternatives.  I'm living proof of that!

Trader Joe's is a quality grocery food store that has incredibly reasonable prices on food.  They are only in 9 states, however, you can still take a trip to your local grocery and find some good deals on organic foods.  Going to a Farmer's Market, your local dairy farmers, or your local orchards are also other ways to get quality food at a reasonable price.

The top five tips for penny pinching on organic or quality food are:

  1. Buy the store generic brands.  They are just as good and usually a third less expensive than their commercialized organic sister products.  Most major grocery retail chains have put out their own organic brands, this includes Trader Joe's.
  2. Look for local farm specials.  Sometimes if a fruit or vegetable is in season, you can get a good price on it.  Eggplant is a good example.  Around here, two local farms sell an abundance of this veggie to local stores and I can get it for as low as $1.00 a pound!
  3. Local orchards and farms also have great deals for in season fruits and vegetables.  I live in a rural town and have access to many farmer's stands, but you can even reap the benefits of local farmers in the city by watching your newspapers.  Most will post a local farmer's market day.  We had one every other week in the city I lived in.  It was fun because the stands stretched for several blocks on Main Street so we got our exercise in while shopping for good foods.
  4. Quality meats may look pricey compared to their bulk-buy counterparts, but take a second look.  How many bones and fat are in that bulk pack?  How many colorants are there to make that salmon look "pretty"?  Are there hormones that might make yours go out of wack?  Most quality meats may only measure out to a pound or two, but when you think portions, most of the time that pound will feed a family of four.  Proteins should not be consumed in massive amounts, in fact, proportionately, it should be the smallest thing on your plate because your whole grains and fruits and vegetables are supposed to take up the majority of that plate.
  5. When you really need to pinch, buy frozen.  The frozen food section is one I usually avoid-- even in quality food stores because prepared foods are always more expensive.  But I make an exception when it comes to frozen fruits and veggies.  An out of season berry may be highly priced if it's fresh, but the frozen counterparts are always at a good price.  This is also true for green beans and spinach.

Hope these tips help you out the next time you shop!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Friday, May 20, 2011

Fibro and Relationships

Okay readers, you might want the kids to step away from the computer as you read this entry because I'll be talking about sex again.  It's not often that I post twice in one day, but I just had to this time because this article got me thinking.

Everything in the article is wonderful.  It has great tips for people dealing with this beast that can be a pain in the neck when it comes to sex.  I've been advocating having a healthy sexual relationship with your partner ever since I was diagnosed too.  There's just one thing that keeps bugging me and that's the fact that some people look at their medications as a reason not to have sex.

Yep, it's a sad state.  There are a ton of people walking around in this world putting up with medications that have lousy side effects because they feel trapped.  These medications may help with the physical pain, but they certainly can't be doing much for the emotional neglect and pain that one feels when they have no desire to be intimate with the one they love.

I know exactly how these people feel because I was there too.  I felt completely trapped.  I thought there was no way out for me or my husband.  But that changed once I started to open up and communicate to him and my doctor.

Opening up the discussion about sex with your doctor can be tough.  It can be embarrassing and can reek havoc on your self-esteem.  But it's still a topic you should delve into with your doctor since they also want you to be as healthy as you can be.  This video from proves that sex is a healthy desire to have at any age and it's also an issue that many providers can help you with.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Journal Writing

Journal writing is a wonderful practice.  It is a wonderful stress reliever and it also can help track your flares and symptoms.  This is something I've been advocating since I was first diagnosed.  It really helped me become as flare-free as possible and I know it can help any of the newly diagnosed, as well as some veteran sufferers.

Today in my Goggle alerts I came across this article that is putting a spin on journal writing.  It's now on the internet!  I guess I can truly forget about the ancient pen and paper now LOL!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Angela Segal Glazer, Ph,D on Importance and Needs

I don't get a chance to vegetate very often.  My dog, cats, fish, kids, hubby, and grandmother don't leave me much wiggle room.  Some days I tend to call it an early night and crash before I've even had a chance to relax.  Every mom out there goes through this, I know.  You work through breakfast and lunch and then wonder why you are so hungry.  It's utterly crazy what we put our body through and really should be no wonder why it threw up and gave us Fibromyalgia!

Mothers seem to be the most ignored and neglected people on earth.  Let's face it-- people take our talents, energy, and time for granted.  And most of us tend to just sit there and take it.  Why?  Because we aren't very good at expressing our importance or our needs.

I came across a gal by the name of Angela Segal Glazer, Ph.D who created Whole Soul, a site about living raw and real.  She believes we all should be true to ourselves.  You can find her Facebook page here

One of her mantras is I can assert my importance and needs in a healthy way.  I truly believe this is a beautiful statement to live by.  I'm not one to assert any of my importance or needs.  I tend to say nothing at all.  I know this isn't a good concept because I'm not a nothing, I'm truly something.  Every fibromite should take this mantra to heart and learn to assert your needs because we are all truly somethings!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Retirement, Edge, and Deep Thoughts

Wrestling is not a subject I talk about often on Fibro and Fabulous.  I enjoy the entertainment side of wrestling very much.  My family and I watch RAW and SMACKDOWN faithfully and I've been a fan since childhood.  Something happened this past Monday on RAW that lead me to tears and I don't cry very easily, but this really hit home...

Edge (Adam Copeland) is my age and he had to retire from something he loves.  It hurt to watch his speech because he's too young to have to be dealing with a tired, worn-out body.  It's sad to hear him say that he feels he's let his fans down and that he's mad at his body quitting on him.

This wrestler may not have Fibromyalgia-- and really-- let's not spread any rumor of that sort, but he most definitely is going through all of the same emotions that every Fibromite goes through when they have to come to terms with the fact that they can't do what they once did.  I know I went through it.

You blame yourself first thinking you were weak and couldn't hack certain tasks.  You compare yourself to others thinking they do more than you and you have to keep up with them.  After that, you blame your body and then you feel guilty for letting everyone down.  Sound familiar?

This is tough to go through and it's tough to get through, but you have to because people depend on you to be you.  Yes, you heard me right-- people depend on you to be you.  Your disability does not define you.  You define you.  And the best way to help yourself through this hard road is to remember that your life has many facets and each one of those facets makes you shine as a person.  Not just the one you can't do anymore.

I remember the day I retired from my 18 year career at retail.  Yeah, it wasn't the best job-- I always wanted to write for a living, but retail allowed me to help people and it paid the bills-- something writing didn't do for me.  That day was a sad one because I had to say goodbye to everyone I grew up with.  I had to leave everything I knew.  It was scary, actually.

But then something wonderful happened, day two.  On day two, I took a deep breath and thought about my life.  I realized that things weren't as bad as what they seemed.  I had a roof over my head, the world didn't end, and for the first time in almost 20 years, I was looking forward to the summer.  I realized that I was looking at myself in the wrong way at that point and I needed to reinvent myself.

Madonna and Cher made a mint off of reinventing themselves, but you don't have to make a mint, an idea will do.  Look at all of your good qualities and reinvent how you see yourself.  I guaranty that people see you differently than you see yourself because you are beautiful and fabulous.  Let the fabulous facets shine!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Monday, April 11, 2011

Down by the Willow Tree

I've been in the process of writing some fiction when it comes to Fibromyalgia.  Yep-- you heard me right, fiction.  I'm not talking about the kind of fiction that some doctors have told sufferers for ages (stating that the pain is all in our head).  No, I'm talking about an actual novel about a gal who struggles with the disease.

The novel, which is based on some facts in my life, shows a person's transformation from being newly diagnosed and depressed to finding out how to feel fabulous.  I couldn't make this novel historically factual.  All of the names have been changed to protect the innocent victims of this disease.  There is however, a lot of love, romance, fun, and tragedy all rolled up into one book.

I'm still in the stages of revision with this novel, and, God willing, an agent will be looking at it at the writer's convention I'm attending in May.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, and if you can, send some good thoughts my way. 

Regardless of the publishing process, be it via an agent, or I go free agent again, you, my dear readers, will be the first to know of Down by the Willow Tree's publishing date.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Friday, April 1, 2011

Though the above link only touches on Fibromyalgia in the sense that its symptoms mimic Lyme disease, I wanted to share it all with you.  This link discusses film makers that are trying to put a human face on a search for a cure of many now well known diseases. 

Lyme is discussed because this particular disease, according to the documentary Under Our Skin, has been subjected to insurance companies wanting a profit as opposed to allowing patients' doctors to treat their disease.  This is nothing new.

Illinois just settleed with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to allegations that the large insurance company moved some of their sick child care claims to Medicaid and denied some claims all together.  Blue Cross settled by paying out 25 million.

Surprisingly or not, it's not just the health insurance companies that are denying claims.  An article appearing in The Policy Holder Perspective discusses how certain big name Auto and Home insurances were able to deny coverage to Sexual Abuse claims.

I could go on and on about how insurance companies have been keeping our money from Hurricane Katrina to a 17 year old dying before her liver transplant was approved.  One article even explains how these companies are getting crafty when it comes to denying claims.

It's a sad state that this world is in when we are putting profits before people, a coin phrase used by Richard Blumenthal when he ran for our state Senate seat.  I'm not sure exactly what all of us can do to change the way these companies are treating us, but I truly believe something should be done.  Honestly, I think the only way these companies will change is if we attack their wallet by refusing to pay them if they refuse to service us. 

There are just too many policies out there protecting the big rich companies and us little people are allowing them to do so.  I'm a firm believer that EVERYONE deserves health care.  There is no reason why anyone should be denied care.  I'm not saying that doctors shouldn't be paid, but I am saying that these companies who have had power over our purse strings need to be put in their place. 

It's okay to have a little profit-- after all you need some kind of profit to pay for a roof over your head.  But if an insurance company is making so much money that they legally need to shell out millions of dollars in a settlement, well, they aren't making a small profit, they are just greedy!

There are ways to beat these greedy companies legally and if you believe that you've been a victim of claim denial, than by all means, pursue it legally.  CNN actually put out an article on how to effectively battle your insurance company in 2007.   Many Fibro patients have had a ton of out-of-pocket expense when it comes to battling their disease.  I'm one of those victims because insurance companies will vary drastically when it comes to coverage.  I hope CNN's article will help you as much as it has helped me.

Stay Fabulous!
Love and Friendship,


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You're A Person Not A Machine

You're A Person Not A Machine

I just recently took a listen to this particular snippet from Wonderful Web Woman about the Australian Swimmer Shelley Taylor-Smith. In this short interview, Shelley discusses how one can realign their core values and feel like a person again as opposed to determining your self worth by your to do list.

I found this interview fascinating because I related it to Fibromyalgia. Many of us when newly diagnosed determine our worth by comparing our newly diagnosed selves with our old healthy ones. It's something that's simply not fair for us to do to ourselves because there is nothing to compare things with.

Our old life is gone. We can't get it back completely, but we certainly can incorporate "core values" back into our new life. All we have to do is redefine ourselves into who we are, not define ourselves by what we can do. A champion is constantly redefining themselves because they are determined to win.

If we start to think like a champion, we will then hang around with them, read about them, and even mimic them. It's a good practice to have because champions are positive people who won't suck your life essence from you or discourage you from making your goals. It's important to have positive people around you when you are newly diagnosed. You will need that encouragement while you try new things to help you with your illness.

Champions are also determined people who tackle their mental and physical obstacles daily while they play to win. As a Fibro sufferer, we may not want to play around with our disease, but we sure do want to win our life back! In essence, we Fibromites are champions when it comes to dealing with our disease because we tackle our symptoms mentally and physically every day.

These thoughts are not something new. I actually discussed them in my first book, The Fibro Hand, but I thought I should stress them again because being called a champion is good to hear and it's never said often enough to anyone with a disability!

Stay Fabulous!
Love and Friendship,


Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Spices of Life Should Be In Your Medicine Cabinet

I haven't touched on the subject of herbs in almost a year and I find it appropriate to talk about them now since Spring has supposedly sprung on the calendar.  Of course, you'd never know that if you looked outside this morning in New England-- we got more snow!!!  All kidding aside, this is the perfect time to start your herb gardens.  I've had my seedlings growing indoors for about two weeks.

Herbs can pack quite a punch to your meals, but did you know that they can also aid you in relief of certain aliments and disease?  Common herbs like chili, thyme, basil, and sage have been known to do just that.  In fact, Bharat Aggarwal, author of Healing Spices, lists 50 common spices that can be used in a healthful way to help with your conditions.

The art of using herbs to aid in healing is not new.  People from all around the world have been using herbs for centuries.  It is not known exactly when man's interest in herbs started, but we do have a recording of a Chinese Emperor named Chi'en Nung.  He studied many herbs and recorded the results in a book entitled Pen Tsao, published in 3400 BC.  

Aggarwal, a native of India, remembers his mother using the herb turmeric to help with his colds as a young boy.  Turmeric, one of the main ingredients in curry, is now being researched for its potential to help with diseases like Alzheimer's, psoriasis, cystic fibrosis, and even cancer.

Another spice Aggarwal discusses is chili.  The chili pepper contains capsaicin, a compound that gives chili its heat.  This compound is believed to make the brain release less of the neurotransmitters that carry pain sensations, which could be a plus for Fibro sufferers.

It is believed that the herb can help by being consumed over time.  There is little study on this and most studies include the topical cream containing capsaicin.  One was done by Oxford University with 1600 participants.  41% of the participants that received capsaicin cream experienced relief of symptoms as opposed to 26% who had the placebo. boasts that the chili pepper may have saved the day when it comes to some findings in Texas.  "Researchers at San Antonio's University of Texas (UT) are grateful to the chili pepper for helping them find a way to stem pain at its source. A report of these discoveries has been published in the April 26, 2010 Journal of Clinical Investigation."

Having said that, chili may be on my menu more often!  But chili is not the only one that may help.  It is said that basil helps with inflammation and may also relieve stress.  This is a plus for me because I tend to have inflammation with my Fibromyalgia symptoms and I'm also always stressed.   Sage is said to improve memory, which would really help me out during my Fibro Foggy days.  And rosemary can help with headaches, yet another symptom of my Fibromyalgia.

These common herbs seem to really be able to spice up your life in a healthy way, but as with anything, though, you should take care in consumption.  Certain herbs can hinder your health if you happen to have particular aliments.  For instance, it is not recommended to take a rosemary supplement if you have high blood pressure.  Garlic, another healthful herb, could spell disaster for patients with certain blood conditions because garlic is an effective blood thinner.  Consult your doctor about any supplements you might want to take, as well as any change in your diet.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Friday, March 4, 2011

Taking the 'T Out of Can't

Can't, I've been hearing that a lot lately and it usually has to do with Fibro pain.  I've heard it all, but the saying usually goes something like this...

I can't do A because I'll come down with symptom B.Yes, that could happen, but have you ever thought of C? 

I was never that great in math.  And science always had me confused, but in general, C is the outcome that happens when you ignore A and B.  I found this out recently while testing my limits during a Girl Scout sleep over at a local aquarium.

Now, you may be thinking I'm off my rocker because limits are the first thing that I tell everyone to set when they are newly diagnosed.  I've written about this time and time again in blog entries, articles, and even my books.  So how could testing them be such a good idea when limits are good to have for Fibro sufferers?

Any mother will tell you that kids and commitments tend to stretch these limits, and sometimes, they even break them.  Let's face it, certain things in life will throw a monkey wrench into your Fibro journal of do's and don'ts.  You can't always keep yourself in a shell, you sometimes have to come out.

I recently went with my oldest daughter to Mystic Aquarium for her Girl Scout Troop Over Night Outing.  The experience was wonderful and I would have missed it if I kept to my Don'ts list.  Why?  Because sleeping on a cement floor-- even if it's next to creatures of the sea (I love aquariums)-- is not exactly a comfortable place to sleep for someone with Fibromyalgia.

I honestly fretted for the whole month of February because I was worried that I'd be tired for several days later, or worse, in a ton of pain.  The day came and Brittanny and I had fun dissecting a squid, as well as, touching starfish. 

Once night hit, we got ready for bed as usual, or as close to usual as possible since 11pm is WAY passed either of our bedtimes, and we tucked ourselves into our respective sleeping bags.  I'm not going to say that I slept right through the night, nor am I going to say that I felt completely refreshed after a long night on the floor.  But I will say that I felt pretty descent during the day after and I was also okay on day two and three. 
My pains were pretty minimal and I really wasn't anymore exhausted than usually.

The moral I learned here is not to be so rigid about my list by taking out the T in CAN'T when I can.  Stretching your limits can be done anytime you'd like but here's a few pointers if this will be your first time doing so...

  1. Pick a day for your activity during a time where you have little going on for the week.  My activity was on a weekend, Friday and Saturday, that gave me Sunday to recoup before my dreaded Monday morning hit.
  2. Go easy on yourself.  If things don't exactly turn out the way you thought they would, relax.  The worst thing you can do is stress over the details of where you should park for your concert outing or whether or not your choice in dining out will make you late for your movie.  Stress can lead to a flare and that won't bode well for the Fibro sufferer.
  3. Be with the ones you love.  This one sounds like a no-brainer but there are always times when you wind up going out with that acquaintance that tends to be a Negative Nellie.  Those Nellies can suck the life out of you and killing the evening.  This in turn could possibly cause you to have a flare.  If you surround yourself with Positive Paulas you won't feel the Nellie Negativity as much.

These are just some of the things you can do to make sure your stretched limits go a little further.  Hope you test them out one day soon.

Stay Fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bathroom

It's my least favorite room in the house because I'm the one that has to clean it.  I don't mind the toilet because crap doesn't talk back, and well, frankly I don't have to bend my body into a pretzel in order to clean the gosh darn thing.  The shower on the other hand is my most hated chore.  I've tried hide the dirt by covering the unsightliness with a very pretty shower curtain, but alas, it doesn't work.  I know the dirt is there.

That dirt toys with me, you know.  It FB pokes me in the middle of the night-- I swear!  It wants me to give it some attention, I know and I try-- really I do because this neat freak NEEDS to.  But when I'm flaring, it's different.  Flares suck, let's face it. 

We all flare differently, but in the end, all we really want is a fast way to clean the bathroom while in one.  So here goes...

First off, those all purpose Clorox Wipes are a God send!  Use those to clean the sink, toilet, and floor.  Clean the floor around the seat and then pay attention to the corners of the floor that collect dust.  Use the wipes to also clean your shower head, shower nobs, sink nobs, and anything else that may need a dusting (like the lights for instance).

Next, clean your stall with a good reach.  I used to love that Mr Clean Magic Reach.  It was great because I didn't have to stretch too much.  The pads are becoming very hard to find so I made a micro-fiber pad to fit one so I didn't have to give it up.  The same can also be achieved with an old broom, though.  Place an old towel over your old broom and you instantly have a new cleaning tool for your shower.

The last things that need to get cleaned are your curtain liner and mirror.  The curtain can be washed with a damp cloth until it becomes so soiled that it needs replacing and the mirror can be wiped down with glass cleaner.  This all should take a matter of 10-15 minutes for a relatively small bathroom.  Allow a little more time for a larger one.

Stay fabulous!

Love and Friendship,


Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Power of Prayer

Dr. Oz recently aired a show about a Roman Catholic practitioner being a healer for those who are sick.   Being a sensible journalist, I don't want to go out on a limb and compare Dr Nemeh to Jesus, but he's intriguing.  You can find a link to his website here....

The reason why I'm intrigued is because I truly wonder about faith and its role in how well we Fibro sufferers tolerate our every day pains.  I by no means want to get religious on any of you.  You all have your faiths.  I'm not here to brag about mine or try to convince you of anything.  I merely want to have a discussion that makes you think.

Faith is an interesting concept because we all have faith in the fact that when we go to sleep, the sun will rise when we wake.  We have faith in the fact that our cars will run so we can drop our kids off to school and go to work.  We also have faith in the fact that we Fibro sufferers have good and bad days.

Why do we have that?  What makes us keep on keeping on?  I believe we do because of the fact that we all have an innate nature to be positive.  I think a positive attitude helps us with pain.  It leads us to look on the bright side of things. 

I look at my Fibro disease in a positive light.  I have since day one of diagnoses.  Why?  Well, Fibro isn't a death sentence, it can help you to determine your limits with life-- i.e. your pain tells you when you've done too much for someone or something, and it even helps you make decisions about your life.  

To me, this can't be all bad, in fact it's great!  I'm one of these people that tends to over work myself.  I do it for the sake of others because it's in my nature to do so.  My Fibromyalgia helps me to realize that I should think about myself. 

I am a being that has limits because I'm human.  I tend to forget the fact I'm human because I have kids.  I do all and I'm being all for them and hubby and tend to forget I need things for me.  It happens.  Fibro, however helps me to realize that I need a hot shower or rest on occasion and I think this is positive because it gives me the balance I need in life.

What do you all think?

Stay fabulous,
Love and friendship,


Saturday, January 29, 2011

We Are Not Alone in the Fibro Battle

With 2-4 percent of the human population being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, it's no surprise that there are celebrities dealing with this beast.  What's a little surprising is the fact that some are now talking about it in the open!  Below is an article from Celebrity Health that discusses 5 celebrities doing just that, and some of the ones diagnosed may surprise you.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Friday, January 28, 2011

Kids+Toys=Fibro Flare Stress

I used to think it was only me who struggled to find matching socks in the room I dubbed The Abyss, otherwise known as my daughter's room.  I felt like I failed somehow or somewhere along the line, embarrassed by the toy-garnished floor.

My childhood life, so my dear friend always says, was COMPLETELY opposite of what others go through.  Growing up, I was a neat freak.  Everything had a place.  On Saturdays, I'd spend hours dusting my room and rearranging the few figurines and collectibles I had.  It was fun for me.  My Mom was no different.  I grew up with a Mom that would put Adrian Monk to shame-- seriously!!!
My Mom always had everything in its place.  The house was unbelievably clean and VERY white.  White curtains, white walls, counters, appliances, the place looked (and smelled) like a hospital.  There were days when I thought Lysol was my Mother's choice of perfume.

Despite my upbringing, I've managed to relax my Vulcan Death Grip on the house-- for Fibro's sake.  It wasn't easy.  I liked things orderly because it made winter boots easy to find.  This kept my stress levels in check.  But after a few fibro flares, two kids, and several pets later, it got harder and harder to keep up with the growing toy population.  Man those suckers like to multiply!  I swear they're like guppies!

Tons of toys can make any parent want to put some caution tape over their kid's room.  It also can lead to a ton of stress when you have 20 minutes to get somewhere and can only find one shoe in your three year old's room.  Stress for Fibro sufferers isn't good.  It can lead to flares.

But how can the overly scheduled moms of today have less stress with the land of The Abyss?  Simplify your life.  Have your child get into the habit of giving away toys to the less fortunate.  It's never too early to start.  My 3 year old helps me give her out-grown clothes and toys to the Good Will.

As a family, we also dedicate the months of January and February to clean out our closets and storage areas of any unwanted or unused stuff.  These months tend to be the best because life seems to slow down enough after the holidays to accomplish this.  Another bonus is that the house is de-cluttered for spring cleaning, making it much easier on fibro-tender muscles to dust and vacuum all the cracks and crevices of the house.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


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