Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fibromyalgia and Holiday Festivities

I really hate the word diet.  It's constricting and has the negative connotation that you'll have to avoid all of your favorite foods at your Aunt Lucy's because she tends to cook everything from a box.  The holidays used to scare me. And for a good amount of years after being diagnosed, I tended to take on the burden of hosting the festivities simply because I didn't want to feel silly or starved at a family function.

Food sensitivities aren't fun.  In fact, they can down right suck for the sufferer.  They make you feel isolated and guilty because you feel people may have to go out of their way to cook something suitable for you to eat.

There are a few things, however, that you can do to make the holidays a little more bright and merry for everyone involved-- including yourself.  First, offer to bring at least one dish so you know it's something safe to eat.  Some Fibro sufferers can handle a few chemicals or preservatives if they eat them in very small portions so having a stress-free dish always helps.

Second, avoid any of the normal foods that might trigger a flare.  Dairy and wheat are two big flare factors for many sufferers, where as oven prepared meats like turkey, are not.  Filling up on veggies and meats may be your best bet in avoiding the day after flare.

Third, if you plan to drink alcohol, keep hydrated with plenty of water.  Alcohol doesn't have to be completely avoided if you typically don't flare from it.  However, the holidays should not be the time to try something new.  Stick with an old standby like an ale if you are not gluten sensitive or a white wine.  White wines have less silicates and tend not to cause migraines like reds can.  But be careful.  Some whites may cause headaches depending on the wine brand.  If you haven't had the brand before it could spell trouble.

If you are a tried and true reds fan they don't have to be avoided all together-- stick to a brand of wine you know and like if you have your heart set.  However, certain red wines can cause adverse reactions in people. The studies on this are not completely clear, though.  In one study, some people got adverse reactions to wines from South America that have low tannat, while others were perfectly fine.  Merlot and Cabernet have lower tannat, and therefore, they wanted to see in Brazil if these wines cause less migranes.

I'm not as fortunate as some of the study goers.  I know I can develop a serious reaction to certain brands of Merlot, Cabernet, or even white wines.  I even have, on one occasion, become violently ill after one glass. At other times I've woken up with a severe migraine.  Blends work better for me personally.  I tend to gravitate towards a White Muscato, Zinfandel, Chiraz, Melbec, or a Sweet Red like Moscato because I don't get headaches or painful flares from them. 

Another thing to keep in mind during the holiday season is your intake of baked goods.  Processed sugar sometimes is not a Fibromites friend.  Stick to deserts that are on your personal good list.  Refrain or consume very little of the ones you are not sure of.

Lastly, have fun.  Stress triggers flares.  Don't worry about the food or anything else.  Enjoy your family and friends and have a great as flare-free as possible holiday season!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GMO – One Thing All Fibromyalgia Sufferers Should Avoid

GMO – One Thing All Fibromyalgia Sufferers Should Avoid

Fibromyalgia and the brain: New clues reveal how pain and therapies are processed

Fibromyalgia and the brain: New clues reveal how pain and therapies are processed

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Migraine

The holidays drive everyone nuts.  You've got those special relatives and/or friends that spout off their laundry list of gifts they expect you to buy, the lines are long, people are cranky, you can never find a parking space, and then there's cleaning the entire house and making the seven course meal that will be devoured and forgotten about in five minutes.  I must admit that I tend to get loopy and start to sing strange versions of Christmas songs to keep my sanity-- hence the title of this blog entry.  I'm also guilty of making oddly shaped Christmas cookies that aren't "G" rated, and a glass of wine also has never hurt me during this season.

On top of all of this holiday cheer, you've also got to make sure the kids get to soccer, basketball, hockey, dance, karate, and/or whatever else they are into, figure out and do the school science project, make erupting volcanoes for the minor science project, research family trees that need Ancestry.com to complete because you discover that your grandfather really was the black sheep of the family, try to decipher math because it was never your strong suit, and pray to GOD that the only Spanish you know to help your daughter through her non-book class that was learned from Dora the Explorer will be enough for her to pass the sixth grade.

Then there's the lovely neighbors who seem to have all the time in the world to criticise you and your leaf-filled lawn that hasn't been mowed since the weather turned to a cool 80 degrees, the walls in your grandmother's house (that you are living in) haven't seen a coat of paint in 50 years, and it shows, the carpets need to be pulled up because they are old, and the bathroom shower needs to be renovated with new tile because the white subway tiles have now turned black in certain spots.

Now I know that I can't solve the theory of relativity, heck, I don't even think I could understand it-- math's not the strong suit.  But what I can tell you is that you may have to dust off one word in your vocabulary that's known in every language.  No needs to be used, and often with Fibromites, especially during this time of year.

No may not be a great word for teachers and principals to hear, but from my experience, it should be said even to them.  My child is just starting middle school so I only have my past to compare, but I have already seen a lot of waste with time and resources.  And if this is any indication as to what my child is in store for her for the rest of her middle school days, I can truly say that I'm disappointed.

I don't want this entry to wind up being a sound board for how I see where our nation is slipping in education-- that's not my intent-- but I must make my case because I think this is important.  Many of us parents go along with what the teacher wants because we want our children to have a good grade.  We'll go on Ancestry.com if they need birth and death dates if we have to.  But, if we as parents are doing all of this for our children who aren't old enough to do this themselves, something winds up getting lost in all of this, and that's the child being able to learn how to do the project on their own.  I'm sorry teachers, but once the parents step in it's no longer the child's project, it's the parents' and that's not learning.

This issue isn't right on so many levels for the child because it hinders their learning process on how to research things on their own.  There are other things that it hinders, but I'm only dedicating a short blurb to this since my blog is on Fibromyalgia.

A child who is not 13 can not be expected to generate an account on a social networking site to look up family information.  It's stupid and illegal to think otherwise.  It also isn't right to ask parents who may work, or tend to sickly family members, or are ill themselves to pick up the slack in the project.  I'm sorry if this sounds rude but we as parents have already graduated and when we were in sixth grade (at least for me and my husband) we did our own work thank you very much.  And that work was appropriate for our age group-- sorry teachers!  Now, I must say I am a Religious Education teacher and I can appreciate teachers' hard work, but this busy work has got to stop!

If you are ill with Fibromyalgia, or anything else for that matter, and these types of projects are taxing, it is best to talk to the teachers and the principal respectively.  Sometimes they don't actually see what they are asking for is over the top until a parent complains.  And if they don't understand why this is an issue, take it up with the school board.  Education is important for the children NOT the parents who have already been schooled.  Period.

No works for the neighbors too.  Some of them just don't realize that you just don't have the time or money to do the things you know you have to (or even like) do.  If they are nice neighbors they will be happy to help pitch in.  If they aren't, well, a wise writer once said, "Fences make good neighbors."

Relatives can be a touchy subject when it comes to no.  Some of them are sensitive while others can be psychotic.  It's tough to deal with them, I know,  I have a few black sheep grazing the family tables myself.  I tend to either bide my time with some of the stranger ducks because I know they'll only be around for a day and then they're gone until the next major function, or I'll plan my event around their drama.

I was never a dramatic person.  I'm an action, scifi, paranormal, or horror movie kind of gal.  Overly dramatic people turn me off.  But since I'm a writer, I can find some nice ways around the outcomes of dramatic meltdowns.

If you know the scenes from past experiences and have memorized the outcomes, try to make those work to your advantage.  If Aunt Sally is always an hour late to dinner, then make sure you tell her that dinner is an hour earlier than you plan.  She'll be on time, the food will be warm, and you won't feel like a heel for having the rest of the guests wait.  If your mother in-law likes to plan the holidays at the last minute at your house, always make sure you are ready.  I start a month in advance around here by getting all my "good" glasses washed, I vacuum the drapes, carpet, and other textiles, and then try and keep up with the daily "drops" of clothing, food, and paperwork.  I also cook and freeze all my desserts and sides ahead of time so I'm not scrambling at the last minute.

The last thing I do is plan out my shopping excursions carefully.  Every retail facility-- be they food or clothing is packed from the day after Thanksgiving to New Years and it's frustrating to anyone with time limits.  I've said this before but it's worth repeating, Tuesday is the slowest day in retail, and therefore the best day to shop.

Many stores, including your food stores, will have caught up on empty shelves by Tuesday.  Shipments also typically come in on Tuesdays due to the fact that it common knowledge in the retail industry that Tuesdays are slow.  They all know it's a good recoup day.  Try to shop on that day if you can.  If you can't, Wed, Mon, Thurs, and then Fri, respectively, are your best bets.  Also try to shop early in the morning or about an hour or two after the typical dinner time.  These should be the best times to avoid a rush.

I know I have a problem shopping in a busy store.  I tend to get confused very easily due to my personality AND Fibro Fog.  I don't like to be in anyone's way personality wise.  I just don't want to be a cause of frustration for the busy people.  But because I am this way, I tend to avoid busy isles and I won't wait to grab the things I need because I forget to.  I'm too busy trying to make everyone else's shopping experience nice.  It then becomes too hard to remember what I need.  At that point my Fibro Fog will kick in and then I'm completely confused and it becomes difficult to even read a label.  This is why I avoid a busy store all together.

Avoid your migraines this holiday season so you can have as stress-free as possible holiday.  You deserve that in your life!  EVERYONE does!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Weaning and Medication

Weaning off of medication is something that many Fibro patients find themselves thinking about.  Some decide on this because they like to have a family while others feel they would be healthier to do so.  And sometimes, you or your doctor may feel that it's time for you to wean.  If you are finding that you're considering going off of your pain medication(s) for any reason there are some things you should think about before you decide to take the med-free road.

  1. Talk with your doctor.  You doctor is your best ally on your med-free journey.  He or she can suggest your best course for weaning, especially if you are on certain kinds of pain medications.  Certain pain medications are actually narcotics and opioids and even though they are by prescription, the side effects you may have can be the same experience drug addicts have from illicit drugs.  Going "cold turkey" is not something that is suggested by doctors if you've been taking these types of pain killers because the side effects can be severe.  Some of them include increased levels of anxiety, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and headaches.  It is best to seek the counsel of your doctor so he/she can help you plan out a safe weaning process.
  2. Have patience.  First and foremost, going med-free is scary if you've never done it.  I don't care how long you've had Fibromyalgia, it doesn't matter.  The pain level you had prior to your meds will always be a vivid memory, always.  And that's scary for us all.  No one wants to take a step (or twelve) backwards.  It's a huge fear.  It's one that I even had and sometimes still do.  If my lifestyle changes slightly or my stress level has gone up for any reason, I get worried.  When fears are flying, have patience with yourself.  Rome was not built in a day and neither is confidence in yourself or your pain.  If you are doubled over because you have been folding laundry for a half an hour it is completely okay to allow yourself some relief via a pain pill.  Do not beat yourself up for what you may need, that's not your goal.  Your goal is to feel healthier in your mind, spirit, AND body.
  3. Have a goal in mind but don't make it concrete unless your doctor is involved.  Concrete goals are great.  They can make people realize their dreams but they can also hinder you too.  I'm goal orientated, but to a fault.  My father was very goal orientated but he was laid back.  Things he wanted to accomplish in life looked easy to me, the bystander, because he never seemed to let his stress rule him.  My mother was different.  She suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and she made Adrian Monk look dirty-- really she did!  LOL!  Growing up I had two extremes and I've been trying, REALLY trying to find a happy medium for myself.  Goals are tough when you don't make them.  Set ones you think you can make but if you don't, just remember it's still okay.
As always,
Stay fabulous!

Kimberley

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