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.

Fibromyalgia-Symptoms.org 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,


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