Monday, October 28, 2013

Fibromyalgia Might Be Harder on Younger Patients

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fibromyalgia solved; A pathology, not in the mind

Fibromyalgia solved; A pathology, not in the mind

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fibromyalgia and the Workplace

Having a great work ethic is a wonderful trait to have.  It makes you a great asset to the company and can even lead to better promotions and pay.  But just how much is too much of a good thing?  Especially when one has Fibro?

Before diagnosis, I used to be a workaholic and spend every waking moment at my job.  And sometimes those moments were sleeping ones for my boss.  Yup, I used to be asked to stay over-night so I could get things done.  This was especially true during the Christmas set-up season.  I stayed and really didn't complain.  Why?  Well, for the same reason that most have, I was afraid of getting fired or being looked over for a promotion.

These hours didn't bother me so much in the beginning.  In fact, I used to pride myself into thinking that I could do more than the average person since I didn't require as much sleep.  But after about 9 months of only sleeping 2-4 hours a night, my body get ticked off.  What can I say?  I was young, fresh out of college, and I thought I could do it all.  Well, I couldn't and I blamed myself for it.  But was it really just my fault?  Actually, no, it was not.
Some people just don't have proper work ethics these days.  I personally found this to be true with people who held a position of authority.  And even though they were only doing what they thought was following orders, it wasn't, and pardon me for quoting Triple H, what was best for business. Part of a manager's job is to manage their time along with their employees.  If you are finding it difficult to do that, you need to find out why it is happening.  If you have the answer and you resolve it to the best of your ability, great!  But if you feel that the resolution should be to have employees work over-time, you may be wrong. 

Over-time is a great thing for the employees.  They love it because it's extra money in their pocket, but if they are constantly being asked to do over-time, a manager should be coming to terms with the fact that more help may need to be hired.  Either that, or the actually task may not be necessary.  

I remember a time where we had to do a remodel of one department and set up Christmas in another.  I was in charge of both and I had 4 people under me to help with these two gigantic tasks.  The remodel took forever.  Why?  None, I repeat, NONE of the bosses could agree as to what should be displayed first according to the floor plan.  As a Store Manager, Regional, Vice President, or CEO, you have decisions to make, I understand that, but if one Vice President fails to talk to the other Vice President with a simple remodeling move, you are going to have a ton of problems, and one of those problems is a costly one.  Your payroll is going to go through the roof!  And that's something the Store Manager should have talked about during this very large and costly mistake. 

In these cases, the bosses have a poor work ethic.  I know that some may disagree with me, but it's very selfish to think that a co-worker/employee should be available to you 24/7 for something as trivial as remodeling a department that was redone 3 times in three weeks.  It wouldn't have been so bad if these remodels could be done during the day, but they could only be done at night.  We were moving very heavy objects that could not be moved while the store was opened because we may risk injury to an employee or customer. 

Now since I wound up working nights instead of days, that meant that my days were shortened and that caused me problems with the Christmas set ups.  That then meant more over-time for me and the employees.  I find that rather silly and a waste of payroll, something a Vice President should have picked up on, yet he did not because my immediate boss didn't have the sense to tell the guy that we had already done it three times according to the Regional and other Vice President's specifications. 

Now, I'm sorry to say this, but that's poor work ethic on all of their parts because nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is SO important where it can't wait until the light of day because nothing is more important than your health.  A boss should know that!  Especially considering it would have cost them even more money if I wound up with a work injury or illness from lack of sleep. 

And let's face it, NOTHING needs to be SO perfect that you have to change it 3 times on a customer.  Most were already acquainted with the floor plan and stopped shopping us because they couldn't find anything.  We lost a lot of business those couple of months due to the huge mountain of mistakes made by management.  It honestly could have all been avoided if someone had stopped thinking they were better at something then someone else.

Now granted, I had gone through all of this before being diagnosed, and I managed to get through it.  But if you are suffering through a flare and you are one of the unlucky few that have bosses like these, it's even tougher to deal with all of this frustration.  The best thing you can do is to look for a boss and a company that has a good work ethic and put in your resignation with the lousy one.  I personally feel it's the only way you can avoid persistent and constant flares.  And if your boss ever winds up faultering on work ethics, kindly remind them of a proper one.  You can even give them this story as an example of what poor work ethic will cost them LOL! 

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Obituary: Dawn A. Marcus / Area neurologist devoted to helping people manage pain

I thought I'd share this to let everyone know about this wonderful neurologist that dedicated her life to helping people in pain.  She helped many, including people with Fibromyalgia.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Art of Housekeeping While Having Fibromyalgia

Housekeeping, or rather, clearing/picking up the clutter is a very daunting task for the healthy, but it's about 50 times worse when you have to do it with a disability.  Seeing everything in disarray can, at least in my case, cause Fibro Fog, flares, and even panic attacks.

Before my diagnoses I was a neat freak and could probably keep up with Adrian Monk.  I was obsessed with things being orderly, because frankly, it just made my life much easier.  I didn't have to wonder where the kids' mittens were because they had a place, just like the flatware does in the kitchen.  But over the years I've had to let go of things because of my illness.  It was hard.  I used to have a Vulcan Death Grip over the house.  I've gotten a little better, but not much.

Housekeeping is such a touchy subject with us Fibromites because we NEVER want to be compared to someone who is dirty or lazy since we are neither of these kinds of people.  We have this notion in our heads that our place can be just as clean as a neat freaks.  We just need a little more time than they do.  But is it really just that or is there something more?

I know that I used to do all of the housework before I was diagnosed.  My husband really didn't have to lift a finger when he got home because I had already done it.  And I used to do these things so he'd have a wonderful gift when he got home, the gift of rest.  Now, of course I wasn't thinking too much about myself.  I never really rested (still don't due to Fibro LOL!).  But thinking about myself was literally the last thing on my mind because I figured I could always rest later when there was nothing to do.  Well, that was a silly notion on my part because there is ALWAYS something to do.  ALWAYS.  But I didn't realize that in my late 20's and early to mid 30's.

After that realization, I decided to tackle things a little differently.  I talked to my family and I explained to them that I couldn't do all the chores anymore.  They helped to pitch in where they could and they do it because they love me.  It's not perfect.  Things will get misplaced like the socks from the laundry baskets or the measuring cup in the kitchen.  And there are days when I feel like I'm the only one who cares about clean, but they do try very hard to pitch in, even when they really aren't sure as to how to help.

Enlisting family members to help you with the house can be a great thing, but it's not your only arsenal when it comes to keeping things tidy, especially if you have little ones.  I find having a plastic bin or tote in high traffic rooms like the family room, is a great help.  I will place all of the kids' toys, shoes, and anything else that wound up on the floor in that tote, and once I'm done clearing the room, I bring the tote to their room.  They know to go through the tote, but if they can't get to it right away, it's at least contained in a box where it won't clutter up their room any more than it already is.

Another trick I have is too take any junk mail from the mailbox and stick it directly into the recycling bin while I'm looking at it.  And I consider junk mail anything that I won't use that day.  Even if there's a coupon to a store that I really want to go to.  I do this because I know that if I save that coupon I really like it will sit on my desk with a ton of other coupons and papers that I thought I should keep and I won't find the coupon until it's already expired.  We all want to save money, and that's a good habit to be in, but most of the coupons that you receive in the mail are usually duplicated at the department store anyway.  I know that I never have to carry a JCPenny 10% off if you use your card coupon because they will offer that at the cash register if you don't have it on you.  As for the extra 10 bucks off, well again, if I really want that, I'll shop that day.

Dishes are a continuous task at my house.  In fact, the only time I see an empty sink is when I'm the only one in the house.  I just can't seem to avoid it, but just because the sink is full, it doesn't mean that the emptying of the dishwasher has be just as tedious as the full sink.  When I load the dishes, I will put likes together.  Small dishes and bowls go on one side, large plates, pot lids, and cutting boards on the other.  I also group forks, spoons, and knives together in the tray to make it easier on myself when I'm putting things away.

I don't know about your fridge, but mine has grown a couple of science projects every now and again.  I try to avoid this as best as I can by throwing out all the leftovers right before I go food shopping every week.  I also wipe down the shelves and place paper towels into the produce bins so I can catch any spills before they get to be a mess.

Laundry is another one of those continuous tasks and I use the same idea with the clothes that I do with my dishes.  I will fold everything in the basket according to where it goes.  All the shirts, undies, socks, and pants get folded together so I can put them in their respective drawers.  I also use separate baskets for each person, as well as, one for the linen closet.  It just makes putting things away much easier.

Another thing that I do is to fold things as best as I can so there will not be any wrinkles in it when I want to wear it.  I don't iron.  It's something that I just can no longer do.  It hurts too much.  Folding is another hard task, but it's not as unbearable as ironing.  Again, I worked retail, so I was taught how to fold clothes and bath towels where they not only looked pretty, but there also wasn't a lot of wrinkles.  Wrinkles aren't pretty and most customers would have put the clothes back on the table if it was.  One of these days I should do a Youtube video so you can see what I mean, but for the purpose of this entry, pay attention to the creases you see in each shirt, jeans, or towel you buy off of a table in the store and see if you can mimic it.  But I will do a video soon for you all!

The medicine cabinet is one of those pet peeves of mine.  I like having fever reducer on hand if my kid gets a fever at 3 am, but those fevers are now so few and far between that the medicine has usually expired by the time I actually need it.  And then there's all of those almost used cold symptom ones that keep hanging around my cabinet, chatting it up with the full bottles.  I know I'll probably NEVER use them because I'll never have the same exact symptoms the next time I have a cold, but I've kept them, just in case.  That just in case turns out being never and the only time those almost used bottles see the light of day is when I'm cleaning out the cabinet.  Now, I only stock my medicine cabinet with a minimum in mind.  I have fever reducers, bandages, ointment, and sun block.  Any other medicines get cleaned out about once every month or two.  I do the same thing with my beauty aides.  

My biggest pet peeve about clutter is bulk buying.  I don't do it.  And I don't do it not because I get tired of trying to lug it or find a place to store it once I'm home, I don't do it because I know it will sit there and sit there on my shelf until I forget it's there and I'll only realize I have it once I go out and buy more.  I have worked retail for about half of my life and one thing I came to realize in the stock room is that things sit.  They may not sit intentionally, but they do sit, and sometimes they sat for so long that it either when bad (like paint), or it became discontinued to the point where we had to ship it back to the manufacturer because it was worth nothing at the register.  I noticed this kind of thing happening in my house with the laundry detergent, toilet paper, napkins, paper plates, and paper towels.  These things sat so long at my house sometimes that I honestly had to dust them off before I could open them.  I found that rather gross because it was a little redundant to clean the cleaning products.  So now I only buy what I need for a week or two this way my shelves aren't busting at the seams and my feather duster is also happy because its not cleaning the fellow cleaning products.

I'm not saying I have all the answers because there are days when I think I am merely existing to clean, but it doesn't have to always feel so overwhelming.  If you go with the mantra, when in doubt, throw it out, or maintain a less is more lifestyle, you have won half the battle.  Part of the cleaning process is to help you to mentally clear your mind so you remain as healthy as possible.  So here's to hoping that you next cleaning day is easier!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Monday, October 14, 2013

Falling with Fibro

I must admit, this is not a topic I really wanted to discuss.  I get embarrassed about it because I feel I should be more careful, and yet, it happens.  I am a danger prone person.  I sprain, strain, and bruise myself quite easily.

The falling is probably the worst because I tend to trip over my own two feet.  I fall down the stairs.  I fall on ice.  I loose balance and can even trip while walking on level ground.  I have sprained everyone of my fingers by doing various tasks or sports.  I've thrown out my back and hamstring dancing and in gymnastics.  I've even sprained a toe and given myself a black eye at work.

Why?  I think I'm a klutz due to my Fibromyalgia.  I get tired and when my muscles feel weak, or I'm in a Fibro Fog, things happen.  I've been danger prone all of my life which is why I believe that I've had Fibromyalgia all of my life and why I truly believe it is a disease and not a syndrome.  I believe the disease does become progressively worse as we age, as well. 

Now, please don't misunderstand, I think you can feel MUCH better when you have specifics in your lifestyle, like stress reduction, gentle exercise, tons of fruits and veggies, and a lot less of the junk.  By junk I mean processed foods, household cleaners with too many toxins, and even people can be toxic too.  All of this junk should be removed from your life so you can heal.  But doing these things does not mean that all of your pain will go away.  It also doesn't mean you won't ever slip up.

I slipped up recently for the past three months.  I've been playing taxi for my two children daily and nightly for their various appointments and activities.  And since I've been doing this, I haven't been watching my stress levels, nor have I eaten or exercised as I should have.  I even allowed certain toxic people to get under my skin.  All of this "junk" and neglect culminated into me falling down the stairs again last week.  I didn't break my ankle, but I sure did bang it up pretty good!  I truly believe that if I was more careful, I would not be in an Aircast right now.

So, having said all of this, I wonder, has this ever happened to you?  Do you fall with Fibro?  It probably has.  Think back to a time when you felt stressed or overwhelmed.  Did you suffer an injury on top of your flare?  If it has happened to you, the best medicine you can give yourself is time to heal.  And then when you are able to stand on your own two feet again-- get rid of ALL of that junk!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cindy Stewart Author of Your Fibromyalgia Diet: Eating Your Way to Better Health

This blog posting is on an interview I conducted with a great gal who also suffers from Fibromyalgia.  Her name is Cindy Stewart.  
She was a nurse practitioner and licensed massage therapist for most of her career.  Now, after retiring, she inspires health conscious individuals.  She currently has a new book out for Fibro sufferers entitled Your Fibromyalgia Diet: Eating Your Way to Better Health.
 F&F:  What made you decide to write the book Your Fibromyalgia Diet: Eating Your Way to Better Health?

Cindy Stewart: Since there is still no known cause or recognized treatment plan that works for everyone, many fibromyalgia survivors have turned to diet as a way to relieve some of their fibro symptoms. Studies have proven that diet plays a significant role in treating fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, it's not the same diet for everybody; not everyone is helped in the same way.

There is little evidence to support any single diet as a way to deal with fibromyalgia. The variety of dietary approaches for fibromyalgia is so diverse it's hard to imagine they’re all aimed at treating the same illness. You may have heard some for the following: “All fruit is good. Some fruit is bad. Sugar is bad. Sugar has no impact. Avoid meat. Eat more whole grains. Don't eat any whole grains. Tomatoes are healthy. Tomatoes are harmful ……”

Since fibromyalgia is not a specific illness and is more like a symptom complex, what treatment option works for one person very frequently does not work for another. And this includes dietary measures.

I know that I was initially confused and frustrated. I figured that others suffering from fibromyalgia were probably confused as well. It was then that I started researching and experimenting with many different dietary approaches.

Experts say that diversity is another hallmark of fibromyalgia. So what I ended up with was a compilation of best dietary practices infused with foods that have helped me with my fibro symptoms and a simple plan to help incorporate good nutritional habits into one’s daily life.

F&F: When were you, yourself first diagnosed?

Cindy Stewart: In 1992, after presenting my symptoms to my doctor, he ran many tests, mostly to rule out lupus. One of my blood test came back with a positive ANA, which can be indicative of having fibromyalgia.  But after other screening tests, both lupus and RA were ruled out and I was diagnosed with fibrositis (fibromyalgia was not used as a term for the illness back in those days). I was also diagnosed with Raynaud’s, as I had severe peripheral circulation problems in my hands and feet.

It wasn’t until 1995, after a head-on car accident (and not recovering from my aches and pains) that I was sent to see a rheumatologist. After many inconclusive blood tests, I was officially given the diagnosis of fibromyalgia along with a new diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  As you can see, I have spent decades trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t for my particular illness.

F&F: What makes treating Fibromyalgia Naturally optimize the sufferers' health?

Cindy Stewart: Not too long ago, the FDA approved several medications such as Lyrica for fibromyalgia patients. Many of us are thrilled that the medical community is finally recognizing our struggle. But I have to say, I think that those of us with fibromyalgia deserve more than a prescription for their pain and suffering.

This is especially so since the initial FDA reviewers of many of the current medications used, felt that the treatment results were not that impressive. On top of this, some of these drugs along with taking pain meds that are often prescribed for us, have some unappealing side effects including weight gain, swelling, dizziness, and drowsiness (the last thing a person with fibromyalgia needs).

It may come as a surprise to some, but people do recover from the debilitating effects of fibromyalgia. A case in point, is that I have not missed a day of work or a scheduled event in over 7 years as a result of being incapacitated by my fibromyalgia symptoms. I mention this to give you hope that you too can build your arsenal of effective coping strategies over time.

You can improve tremendously by learning how to nurture your body from the inside out. I see this as a condition that strikes at the very core of our being, where there can be many underlying issues to uncover - from sleep and diet, to viruses and bacterial infections, to how we think and feel.

It is often a difficult road to travel. But we can feel good again, if we’re willing to roll up our sleeves, do some digging, and learn some new ways of being. We all need to take a closer look at fibromyalgia and our options for feeling better naturally.

F&F: Looking at the cover of the book, I see skewers wrapped in what looks like bacon.  Is that bacon?  Meat has been somewhat of a taboo with some Fibro diets.  Can Fibro sufferers look forward to meat in their diet?

Cindy Stewart: No not bacon, only grilled lean chicken breasts and onion on a bed of greens. As I mentioned earlier, not one diet approach fits all.  For some, small portions of fish and poultry can be a healthy option.

F&F: What are some of the benefits that a Fibro sufferer can look forward to immediately from eating naturally?  What are some down the road?

Cindy Stewart: I would encourage your readers to pick up a copy of Your Fibromyalgia Diet and discover both the benefits and great tips of eating more naturally. 

Wonderful information and a definitely great book to pick up!  Thanks so much for stopping by Fibro and Fabulous to say hello, Cindy! 

Thanks Kimberley!  I’ve recently begun sharing my insights and experience about how I have been able to better manage my fibromyalgia.

Coming from a health care background in nursing and massage therapy, I have always tried to find natural ways to deal with my fibro flare-ups, fatigue, and irritable bowels.

This prompted me to write a book about how to eat healthier, so as to minimize the frequency and severity of some of the more common fibro symptoms.

I would like to offer your readership an opportunity to pick up my latest ebook for free on Wednesday, October 9 for a limited time before it goes on sale.


To pick up your copy of the eBook “Your Fibromyalgia Diet” visit Amazon at:

For additional great how to articles visit Cindy’s blog at:

Check out the latest how to videos from The Fibro Gal at:

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