Saturday, April 20, 2013

40, Fibro, and Fabulous

I remember my friends and I joking about being 40 in middle school.  I was a pretty clumsy kid and everyone, including myself, thought I'd be in a wheelchair by the time I hit 40 because of how accident-prone I was.  I know now that most of my clumsiness was due to having Fibromyalgia.  I just didn't know that at the time.  The big 4, O is coming up for me in early May, and though I'm not as agile as I used to be, I'm not, thankfully, in a wheelchair as was once predicted for my future. 

Still, 40 used to be this big deal when I was growing up.  I remember all of these women who were my mother's age talking about how they still felt young, even though half of their life was supposedly over.  About a decade or so ago, 50 and 60 became the new 40. Everyone from Oprah and Cher to Madonna was weighing in on that young age.

I personally remember 30 being a big deal to me.  I felt old, but not the kind of old that you may think.  I felt wise, both spiritually and mentally.  It was a wonderful and frightening experience all at the same time.  Wonderful because I was starting to feel comfortable in my own skin.  Not that I was ever uncomfortable, per say, but felt less awkward, and in turn, felt more liberated to speak my mind without worrying so much about hurt feelings.

Spiritually was an all together different experience for me.  I've never been one to profess my faith.  In other words, I don't shout it on the highest mountain for everyone to hear about it.  My faith is something personal to my own being, and nothing more.  I do not force my beliefs on anyone.  I personally believe this as my own truth and not anyone else of my particular faith.  I must stress this because of my actual faith.  I know what I am SUPPOSED to do, but I CHOSE not to.  Some of it has to do with certain entries in the Bible, other reasons have to do with the constant door-to-door religions that I've come across in my own life.  I would never want to bother anyone like that-- especially on a person's sacred day as far as THEIR religion is concerned.  It is not nice as far as I'm concerned.  Conversion should ONLY be done when the person WANTS it-- period.  My opinion-- sorry.  Having said that-- EVERYONE is entitled to their own beliefs-- whether you believe in a higher power or not.  There are many roads in life, enough said. 

But what took me a while to realize about spirituality is that it really isn't a separate part of one's life.  Your body is a temple, just like many religions and bibles state.  If you fuel your body with junk, you can't help others in your life because you will get sick.  If you don't think about yourself, along with the ones you care about, you won't be able to love to your fullest capacity.  You really need to treat your body right in order to feel as balanced as you can-- regardless of your faith.

I remember listening once to a safety video for when you are on a plane and if the oxygen masks come down, you were supposed to give yourself a puff first.  I always struggled with this when I was young.  I would have given the oxygen to my child first-- just me and what I thought.  But they always say to give yourself the first puff so you can be awake enough to administer the oxygen to your child.

It was tough for me to understand until I hit 30. I came to these revelations because I had to change my lifestyle due to my diagnoses of Fibromyalgia.  I look back on my thirties as a period of solid growth, mind, body, and spirit.  And if it wasn't for my diagnoses, I probably would have never have had these feelings of revelation.  I am grateful for the growth in my life.

Honestly, if it wasn't for Fibromyalgia, I would have never been able to find the me I was looking for.  I hid my true self to everyone, including myself, in my twenties.  I thought I had to because I needed to survive. I was at a job I hated, but stayed because it paid most of the bills.  I took a second job because I needed some down time without spending the money.  I settled on a job as a cocktail waitress at my favorite karaoke bar. 

I worked both of these diligently and fearlessly until my body completely crashed.  My breaking point?  I used to work a 6 am- to when they'd let me out at my first job.  Sometimes it was on time (2:30 pm) but that was very rare.  Sometimes it was 7 pm, which was also rare.  Retail is so unpredictable.  My second job, though, was always predictable.  It was from 8 pm- bar closing.  I actually loved that job because of it's predictability.  But that was all that I loved.  There was A LOT I didn't like and most had to do with how some people thought a waitress should be treated, hence, I tended to cater to the regulars.  They didn't tip as well as the ones who wanted a good time, but I TRULY didn't care for that.  I was struggling to find the me, even though it was twinkling at this point.

One day though, I got my wake up call.  I thought I over slept for my first (and full-time) job, when in fact, I was just waking from a nap.  I was disorientated by seeing 6:00 on my clock.  I honestly thought it was 6 am when in fact it was 6 pm.  I frantically called the store and got my boss.  I thought it was weird that she was there already but I figured she was the opener for the day.  Once my boss understood my apologetic banter, she stated plainly, Kim, it's 6 pm, not 6 am.  I knew then that I hit obsessive, compulsive, over-worked, bottom.  It was then that I vowed to lower my part-time hours and reassess what I was doing with my life.  Of course, I didn't completely get there until diagnoses, but my bottom helped.

I hope my 40's aren't as traumatic, as my thirties.  Don't get me wrong-- I like to learn-- I really do-- and sometimes I really need that slap in the face to learn, but I'm tired.  We've all been so bombarded with negativity lately.  Some of us with illnesses like Fibro, cancer, Alzheimer's, or the like.  And others are dealing with abuse like rape, harassment, or worse-- your kids are going through it.  Some of us want to crawl under a rock and don't want to come out until all of the terrorism is over.  I relate to all of these situations, unfortunately.  I've felt them all and try to live past them daily.  It's not easy. 

I honestly want my 40's to be less traumatic so I can focus on all of you, my readers.  I've been trying very hard to publish a few books, some fiction, some non-fiction,  but it's taking a lot longer than I thought due to my crazed life.  I need some time to weed through my thoughts, some time to edit, and some time to format so I can publish my next books for all of you, but my time and thoughts are lacking at the moment due to the life of caregiving.

I'd like to see this blog go into some new directions, BUT, I need your help with that!  Please do me favor for my 40th birthday and leave a comment, or even a personal email (kimberley@kimberleylinstruth-beckom.com), and let me know what topics YOU'D like to see here. 

I'm trying hard to keep this blog as fresh as I can, but I stall sometimes, just like every other writer.  I want these fresh ideas because I'm actually also really close to a short term goal I have for this blog, and that's 10,000 hits a month.  I'm CLOSE!  I average very close to 8,000 right now. 

My last recent post hit an all time daily high of over 500 hits.  I had NO idea that you all wanted me to let you know about my life again.  This is where your help comes in.  My fresh can only go so far.

My other goal is to have 100,000 total hits by my actual birthday (which is May 3rd).  Not sure if I can make that one.  I'm off by a little over 17,000 hits at this point.  But it's still a nice goal/dream to have.  If you'd like to help me with that, please share my blog with someone who may need it.

Having said all of this, what topics interest you?  Are you into how you can train your dog to help you more?  Would you like more posts on pregnancy?  Having a little one?  The dynamic of having an older one and NOT trying to depend on them too much?  More talk on the latest studies?  Medicines?  You name it!  Comment below or email me personally!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Thursday, April 18, 2013

When a Doctor Tells You "It's All In Your Head"

A cord struck with me when I was surfing today and I feel a huge need to post this.  I'd like to apologize to my avid readers because a good part of this post will reiterate things I've said in the past on this blog, and in my books, but after all the current talk about a recent study on Fibromyalgia, and it possibly being a Psychosomatic disorder, I have to rehash this along with a few other things that are new to you.

In the past 40 years of my life I have seen 1 pediatrician, 1 family doctor, and 4 general practitioners as my regular care physicians.  Some of them were very good, some of them were okay, and some of them had such a horrible bed-side manner that they would put House to shame.  To be honest, 50% of the doctors I've seen on a regular basis believed that Fibromyalgia was an actual illness with actual symptoms and 50% of the doctors I saw thought I had some type of Psychosomatic disorder. 

I literally had a doctor tell me that my blinding headaches were "all in my head".  This doctor who had known me as a patient for quite some time based this on a blood pressure and heart checkup and not a cat scan.  Now granted, that might be okay if I had exhibited any signs of a Psychosomatic disorder prior to this visit, but I did not.  Here's why.

I was the perfect patient.  I never complained about anything-- not even to my parents.  Why?  Because I have been bombarded with opposition 50% of the time.  Half the time someone would understand my pain and that I shouldn't have it at a young age, and half the time I'd get, "Well EVERYBODY gets aches and pains-- even at 13."  That was the explanation I got when I said my knee still hurt months after my sprain healed.

At 5 I was asked, "Why can't you just sit still?" and I tried very hard to oblige, but my legs had very poor circulation.  My legs would "fall asleep" and I had a really hard time getting up from a cross-legged position on the floor even way back then.  Sitting in a seat was also difficult.  I felt stiff constantly throughout the day.  I thought this was normal so I never spoke of it. 

Sleep was also another huge problem.  My mother hated trying to put me to bed because I just wouldn't sleep as a baby.  That carried on into adolescence, my teenage years, and adulthood.  During my adolescence and teen years when I was still living with my parents, I'd wake up at least 3-4 times a night.  Sometimes it was because I just woke up, other times it was from a vivid dream or nightmare, and still other times it was because I was sick.  During these times, even if I had a stomach bug, I tried very hard NOT to wake my parents. 

I didn't do this because I thought my parents didn't care, quite the contrary, they were loving parents growing up, I personally didn't wake them up because I knew they both worked hard and needed their sleep.  I figured if I were sick with some type of bug at night, I'd certainly be sick in the morning, and that's when we can both deal with it. 

As far as nightmares, I learned at a young age to deal with those by trying to change the outcome WHILE the nightmare is happening.  It's not an easy process, it takes a lot of practice to do, because nightmares are terrifying, but it is possible to change the outcome.  Freddy Krueger beware.  I, like Nancy, know the secret.

During my college years, I was pushed socially.  I didn't blossom into a social creature until then.  I missed all the high school parties because I was too shy.  A part of my life that I regret. 

At 17, and a Junior in high school, I was invited to an "exclusive" popular party by a friend.  He and I worked together at the same grocery store and he was a Sophomore.  He wanted me to come because he wanted me to be his date.  I knew that, I really did, but I was a chicken in high school.  I didn't want to drink or do drugs and I naively thought that someone would pressure me to do it, so in turn, I ran for the hills EVERY time I was asked to go to a party.

I liked him, though.  I actually really liked him, so I made an excuse that I couldn't go because I'd be in NY with family.  He bought it and probably because he knew I never lied.  I just couldn't do it.  And that was the first time I had ever felt bad in my life about lying.  I have never done it since.  I'm now blunt when I need to be. 

Something happened that night with him and I wasn't there to help stop it.  My friend Jimmie died.  He drank, got into a car, rolled it over three times, and leveled two trees.  His best friend, who was in the passenger side, was ejected from the car and suffered a broken leg, but he lives with this terror daily.

Me?  I live with the guilt of what if?  What if sucks because there is no what if.  I now truly believe that.  If Jimmie was supposed to still be here, he would be.  But he's not.  He left to help me, and many, many other people realize that driving drunk is deadly.

I may sometimes think of the what if, but if Jimmie didn't teach me that valuable lesson at 17, I could have never saved Brian at 21.  Brian was a mutual friend of my bestie, Steve.  Steve and I were inseparable.  We were like Mutt and Jeff.  He was 6'6" and I was 5'5" (actually I'm 5'4 and 3/4 but the DMV made me taller because they don't have the technology to use 3/4 so they gave me the 1/4 of an inch LOL! so I say I'm 5'5).  We completed each other's sentences.  We were that close. 

Brian was his friend and Steve introduced me.  I liked Brian, but Brian liked to drink, and from what I could see, a lot.  But Brian had hobbies.  One was pool.

A girl can tell a lot about a guy who plays pool, just by the way he handles his stick.  If he only hits the shots hard, he's too much of control-freak for you to bother with.  If he's wild, watch out, he may want you to be crazy with him.  But if he can hit a shot with the precise amount of pressure it needs, whether that is hard or light, he's worth getting to know.  Brian was worth getting to know. 

On one particular night, I noticed Brian completely on his game.  He didn't miss a shot until he ordered his last beer and it was the end of the night.  And when he missed that, it was really off.  I could tell.  It was at that point that I asked my bestie to get his keys.  He wasn't driving, not on my watch. 

Brian, as I knew him to be due to his pool, was a perfect gentleman.  He would not search me for his keys.  I'm not saying he went with me blindly, he fought.  He thought he was fine and he knew he needed to be for his Grandma, the one he lived with.  In fact, he fought so hard he angrily asked why I'd do this to him.  You can imagine my reaction.  Yup, went there.  I said, and I quote, "Because I already lost one friend and NOT I'm losing another!"

I drove him home and not only saved him that night, but from what I had learned, a few.  He decided to quit drinking after I drove him home.  He thanked me two days later, and it was beyond sincere.  He actually couldn't look me in the eye.  I know that I struck a nerve with him then, but I unfortunately lost touch, so I can't add to the story here.  It ends.

My life, however, did not.  I've had to deal with a lot more.  I've dealt with more death, abuse, date rape from an almost complete stranger, a car accident, work harassment from a male, work harassment from a female, harassment from two college professors, I've had people steal from me, my mom is sick with Alzheimer's, my Grandma is bedridden due to Polio, I care give for both along with my own kids.  My oldest is dealing with a priest that abused a child (not her thankfully) but it is still traumatic for her. 

I know I forgot some of the traumatic events in my life, I can't remember all of them for this post, and I don't mean to sit here and write a laundry list of what has happened to me to explain my pain away, yet, that's what some people think Fibro is.  They think we can just lift our pains in life away and get better by looking at our pain Psychosomatically.

I don't completely knock that-- don't get me wrong.  I can meditate like a Tibetan Monk and eliminate some of my pain, like them, but I can't do all of it.  I need help, just like the rest of us.  And I refuse to believe that I'm just too much of empathic entity like some of the study hint at, that I'm fighting with my body mentally. 

We as a society can empathize with a cancer patients, someone with depression, or even schizophrenia.  We get it because it's a documented disease.  Something happens to the brain or body where it deteriorates.  But Fibromyalgia, even though it's been documented in the Bible, is looked at STILL in circles, as a "thing in our heads".  And this JUST NEEDS TO STOP because it's not just in our heads.  It's part of us.  We were born this way.  Our DNA makes us suscepitble to this sort of thing-- nothing more.  

We aren't a case for just the psychiatrists to deal with.  We are complex.  We have a disease.  We may need a chiropractor, a psychiatrist or psychologist, a general practitioner, a rheumatologist, and possibly an herbalist.  Why?  Because our disease isn't studied enough at this point to even know which way we should go.

We are no different than the Polio, Cancer, Alzheimer, Depression, or the Schizophrenia patient.  We just happen to have a disease that everyone wants to label as nothing but "all in our head" because they can't fix it right now.  Is that right-- no-- BUT IT STILL HAPPENS.  DON'T think it doesn't.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HealthTap brings the Full Spectrum of Doctors’ Knowledge to Mobile Health



Here's some exciting news from HealthTap:

 
HealthTap brings the Full Spectrum of Doctors’ Knowledge to Mobile Health
Leading mobile health platform unveils results of nationwide Top Doctor Competition, and announces new ways to interact with winning doctors and their insights.

Palo Alto, CA – April 15, 2013 – HealthTap, the only place to immediately connect with 36,000 top U.S. doctors for free, today announced an even easier, more reliable way to find the top and best doctor for you.

HealthTap unlocks the full spectrum of doctor knowledge by providing unparalleled insights into some of the country’s best medical minds through these doctors’ answers to health questions, healthy tips, and health related updates and articles. Furthermore, on HealthTap medical help experts identify the very best doctors, through a national Top Doctor competition spanning 128 specialties in over 3,100 cities across the United States.  

Today’s announcement of the winners of the HealthTap 2013 Winter Top Doctor Competition recognizes some of the world's best and most helpful online and mobile medical experts. Tens of thousands of doctors competed for the prestigious awards, which include: Top Doctor, Top Specialist, Most Influential Doctor, and Thought Leader Awards.  Doctors judged peers based on their demonstrated medical knowledge and expertise, and consumers rated doctors on qualitative factors, such as bedside manner and personality. Winners from the competition include:

Dr. Michael Sparacino, a Family Medicine doctor from Saint Peter, MN who won the National Top Doctor Award for helping over 29 million people!
Dr. George Klauber, a Pediatric Urologist from Boston, MA who won the Thought Leader in Massachusetts Award for guiding the most people to helpful answers through his comments and peer review.


Dr. James W. Ferguson, a Pediatrician in Waco, TX who won the Top Pediatrician in the Nation Award for helping the most parents help their children live healthier happier lives.

Users on HealthTap can easily see what makes these doctors winners, connect with them, and learn from them for free. Through the all new HealthTap Spectrum, now a part of all HealthTap’s apps on mobile devices and online, people can find highly trusted, doctor-created and rated content, including:

·       Concise doctor updates on the latest health findings
·       Daily health tips created by doctors in more than 100 topics
·       Quick, personalized doctor answers to health questions
·       Deep Health posts where doctor share their opinions and insights
·       Transparent doctor-doctor consults and dialogues

“HealthTap is putting care and trust back into healthcare by placing the doctor and patient relationship back at the center of the healthcare experience,” says HealthTap Founder and CEO Ron Gutman. “By giving top doctors a simple way to share their knowledge and opinions and get recognized by their colleagues for their expertise, and by users for their bedside manner and care, we’re creating a healthy competition that motivates the best doctors to stand out and help millions everywhere. In a world where we expect to get immediate, reliable and deep insights on movies and restaurants on our mobile devices anytime anywhere, it’s high time we have an easy way to get the same when it comes to our health and well being. With the new HealthTap Spectrum we’re leading the way to comprehensive, caring, trustworthy and high quality mobile health.”

About HealthTap
HealthTap is the best way to connect with the most trusted health information and doctors. With top-rated web and mobile apps, HealthTap offers immediate and free access to personalized, reliable, and trusted health answers and tips from a network of over 36,000 U.S.-licensed doctors. Sign up today and download HealthTap’s free app for iPhone, iPad or Android at www.healthtap.com.


 

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