Not A Flare, But Chemical Poisoning

I had to go to the ER last week.

For the record, I despise having to go to the hospital. I hate when my symptoms get to the point where they are so out of control, I can no longer cope. I hate fearing I will be judged by the staff when they see my chart, I hate those uncomfortable beds, I hate worrying Scotty.

But I had to go.

Thursday afternoon I took my dog out for a walk and saw a notice had been posted to our door. The property managers were going to be coming Friday to spray for the ants we asked them to deal with back in April. Fantastic. I called our onsite lady to see if we could reschedule as I had a lab appointment and hadn’t had time to make arrangements. She informed me that they had already sprayed outside that afternoon, and no we couldn’t reschedule.

At the time I didn’t think much about it. I had dinner and tried to figure out how to rearrange my Friday as I enjoyed the cool breeze coming in through my front window. After dinner, I went to walk my dog again. I thought it smelled funny outside our door, but didn’t pay it much mind. Halfway through our walk, I started feeling dizzy and lightheaded. My chest constricted and I gasped for breath. My little wonder dog looked up at me and took off for home, getting me back just in time to collapse on my couch. I cursed what I thought was a flare coming, and tried to take it easy. When I started feeling queasy, I knew I needed to check in with my doctor.

I called our answering service, and the on call doctor called me right back. We talked about my symptoms and thought maybe I was coming down with the flu and it had triggered a flare. We agreed I would check in with the nurse the next morning when I went in for labs. As we hung up, she urged me to go to the ER if anything got worse. We didn’t want to risk pleurisy or pneumonia if my breathing got too labored for too long.

Scotty came home from band practice and we talked about how I was feeling. Since I wasn’t feeling any better, we called it an early night and off to bed I went. I awoke around 2:oo am sick to my stomach, gasping for breath, and with a metallic taste in my mouth. I tried drinking some Gatorade, but it tasted terrible. After much trepidation, I woke up Scotty and told him something was wrong.

While we don’t normally turn to Dr. Google, he did look up the metallic taste thing, as it was something I’ve never experienced before. One of the first items listed was chemical poisoning.

And then it all clicked.

The only thing I had been exposed to that day, was whatever they had sprayed outside our apartment. We followed what Dr. Google suggested and called Poison Control. Who promptly ordered us off to the hospital.

Fortunately, my exposure was minimal and the damage was minimal. I’m slowly feeling better each day (though now I think I’m getting a cold, drat!), and there were no sores in my mouth or throat from inhaling the fumes. We got orders from the doctor to definitely NOT let them to spray inside the apartment, and so any further exposure was averted.

I’m telling you all about this because it was something that completely caught us unawares. Neither Scotty or our dog were affected. None of the neighbors had any issues. A few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have had any response beyond wrinkling my nose at the smell.

We spoonies are often warned about germs and viruses and all the ways we can lower our exposure to ensure our compromised immune systems have the best chance. In the last three years of walking this path, not once has anyone warned me that I may be more sensitive to things like insecticides or cleaners. I had no idea that it was something I needed to watch out for.

Now I know. And hopefully you do, too.

Living Better: A Meal Plan

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A while back, I promised Rabia that if she posted her meal plan, I would post mine.

Then life happened and I almost forgot…until I started brainstorming meal ideas for October. See, in our house, we do big shopping once a month, at pay day, and try to make big meals that can serve for a few days to stretch our budget to the max. I do the meal planning, scour the internet and paper ads for coupons, and make the master list. Then Scotty takes me shopping and helps me put it all together.

Even though it sounds like a lot of work, and shopping day almost always knocks me on my butt, doing it this way actually saves me a lot of work and energy. With cooking large batches, Scotty always has leftovers for his lunches, and easy things to pull together for dinner if I’m not up to cooking.

So here are a few ideas we’re looking at for October. Note the extensive use of my crockpot :) It truly is my lifesaver!

Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing served with Roasted Carrots

Garlic Pot Roast and Veggies served with Fresh Dinner Rolls

Crockpot Cashew Chicken served over Rice

Crockpot Loaded Potato Soup served in Bread Bowls

Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole served with Cinnamon Rolls (I’m thinking the leftovers from the casserole could be used to make breakfast burritos to freeze. Fingers crossed!)

I’ll also be doing a batch of Taco Chicken in the crockpot. We’ll freeze half to use later in the month, and use it for burrito bowls, tacos, enchiladas, and/or quesadillas.

What’s on your menu? Got any recipes you’d like to share with me?

 

**”Living Better” is a new Saturday series here. You’ll be able to find recipes/meal plans, tips and shortcuts to make life a little easier, as well as stories from fellow bloggers/writers on how they’re living better. If you’d like to submit a guest post for this series, please email me at becominneurotic(at)gmail(dot)com. 

Ask Away Friday Vol. 13

It’s Friday again and time for a dose of Ask Away Friday!

This week I got to swap with the lovely Jenessa from Mothering {in Real Life}

(I don’t have a spiffy graphic this week cuz I started feeling puny while finishing this post up, and needed to just let it go. Sorry Jenessa, you deserve better.)

Jenessa is a married mom of three who blogs about life, her battles with depression, and her family. She has an honest voice that cuts through the fluff and tells it like it is. She’s not putting any fake flowers on it, this is mothering- in real life. Be sure to pop on over and tell her hi and check out her answers to my questions.

Here’s what Jenessa asked me-

1. I’m glad you have started therapy to learn some coping tools for your depression. What do you find works best for you? What else have you learned from therapy?

Journalling has been a new coping tool that I find helpful. I used to think my journals had to make sense, like my blog or writing. Learning that my journals could be messy, that they were more for freeing my mind, was HUGE. Now I scribble, write, doodle, and make thought bubbles in my journal. Whatever it takes to get the swirling thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

2. I love your recent post “Just one… but so much more“. What else would you add to your list of “I am…”?

Thank you! I wrote that post as part of Invisible Illness Awareness Week, and was really happy with the response I received. I don’t know if there is anything I would add, I think it came out well the first time.

3. What advice would you give to someone living with chronic pain, depression or other “invisible” illnesses?

Be gentle with yourself.

We all have these images of who we should be, and certain expectations of ourselves. When your life gets derailed by illness, it’s hard to reconcile our images of ourselves with what is actually possible. So we berate ourselves for not living up to this picture of perfection, when in reality, we’re doing the best we can within our new perimeters. So be gentle with yourself, be kind. Recognize that you’re doing your best, even if it’s not up to the same standards you used to have.

4. Tell an embarrassing childhood story – it could be about you, your son, or your fiancé.

Oh goodness. I won’t embarrass Scotty by sharing the stories his dad has told me. When Jojo was about three, we had just moved back to my hometown and were living with my parents while we got on our feet. We were all sitting in the living room talking one night, me, my (then) husband, and my parents. Jojo was in the middle of the floor playing with blocks when suddenly the tower he was building came crashing down. Without missing a beat, he uttered “Damnit!” with the same tone of voice as I do. And of course, everyone turned to look at me.

Jojo and I had a nice talk that night about how we don’t repeat the things Mama says.

5. You were a young mother, same as I was. How has starting motherhood young changed your life? (Or motherhood in general?)

I had to grow up. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. Suddenly there was this tiny little human who relied on me for EVERYTHING. So I worked dead-end minimum wage jobs and went to the parenting classes offered by WIC and learned via trial and error. I won’t say I did everything right, but I have loved that little man since the moment I knew he existed, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

6. Share your favorite pumpkin or apple recipe for fall.

Here’s a little secret. I don’t like pumpkin. *gasp* Scotty does though, so I make him pumpkin cookies every fall. Maybe this year I’ll try pumpkin bread instead…

7. I love that your blog is so open and honest. Is there anything you don’t feel comfortable with sharing on your blog?

I try to keep respect for Scotty’s privacy. I don’t share about our personal lives here, no bedroom talk. I also don’t go into too much detail about his life, his work. I choose to blog, he doesn’t, so it’s not fair for me to decide what he shares.

8. I personally loved planning our wedding. What do you love about wedding planning? What do you hate? Does your fiancée help with the planning?

I love all the ideas! And Pinterest is both my best friend and my worst enemy. I can easily get overwhelmed there. Scotty is a GREAT help. I run all my ideas past him and make sure he gets a say. It’s his day too, after all :)

9. Tell us 5 random facts about yourself that you haven’t shared here on your blog before.

* I saw the Newsboys live before they were cool…well, this time around anyway.

* I was once stuck on the side of a mountain road with Nubs overnight. It’s a great story that I’ll have to share one of these days…

* I used to smoke. I quit five years ago for the last time.

* I love panda bears. Big puffy heart love them.

* I used to have my tongue pierced.

10. Fast Ten
Favorite Color: Teal.Turquoise.Aqua. That lovely place between green and blue.
Lucky Number: 3
Time You Usually Wake Up: 7:30ish, but I don’t usually start getting up until 8:30ish
Time You Usually Go To Bed: Anytime between 10:00pm and midnight.
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Sport: Football!
Favorite Flower: Daisies
Favorite Song: Linkin Park’s “A Place For My Head”
Favorite Movie: It’s a tie between Top Gun and Dirty Dancing
Best Memory With Your Kid: The first time he said “Love you Mama”

Many thanks to Jenessa for the great swap. Like I said above, I started feeling yucky, so Ima lay low this weekend and hope this flare blows by. Y’all have a good one!

Ten Things For Which I’m Thankful

Yet another prompt from the SITS Girls, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Yesterday we were jarred awake at 2:30 am by a very loud boom and the deafening silence that said our power was out. Though we were able to go back to sleep, the power was still not back when it was time for Scotty to get ready for work, so he got to shower in the dark. The power finally came back to life right before 11:00 am, right around the time I was starting to panic about the food in my freezer and refrigerator.

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this: You don’t realize how much you rely on things and/or take them for granted until they aren’t there anymore. So here are some things I’m trying not to take for granted today:

*Electricity. The microwave and toaster and TV and my laptop and the router which allows me to have WiFi for my phone. These modern conveniences are vital in my life, and I find I go just a little bit crazier without access to them.

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*Scotty. That man loves me when I’m crazy, when I’m sick and whiny, or when I’m panicky and hysterical over silly things. He calms me down, listens to me rant, and provides chocolate when all else fails. He is my rock, my safe harbor, and I would be truly lost without him.

*Fall. I’m so happy fall has decided to come to my little neck of the woods. Gone are the 90 degree days, and here are days of drizzly rain and cool winds. Now is the time for hot tea and apple cider, oatmeal for breakfast, and soups in the crockpot. This is my time.

My Girls

*Framily. Otherwise known as friends who are more like family. Nolan and Court. Tracie and her family. Teala. Natalie. Cindy-Lou. Fallah. Kerry. Cathy. Cathi. Rene. Rob. Shevaun and her family. Joules. Dawnie. Kristen and Seth. Amanda and John. These people lift me up and inspire me daily.

*My Doctors. And their staff. A medical community that genuinely cares about me. They call to check on how I’m feeling, and answer my litany of questions without any frustration. They help me to live the best life with chronic illness, and that’s no easy feat.

*Blogger Gals. The ladies from Ask Away Friday who have become friends, mentors, and bringers of inspiration. Bloggers I’ve known/followed for a while now who continue to make me want to be a better writer. Please check out the Blogroll in the sidebar to send these lovely peeps some smiles.

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*Jojo. The light of my life. My legacy. His text messages keep him here with me, even while he’s miles away plowing his way through middle school. The fact that he wants to play Fantasy Football with Scotty and I. All the little ways he tells me he loves me, and loves Scotty. His smile which will warm my heart always.

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*Toddy. Our adorable little doggy who loves me to pieces. His tail wags, snuggles, and kisses never cease to make me grin. When he senses I’m not feeling well and cuddles at my feet, like he’s guarding me from the yucky RA monsters. The way he snuffles and barks in his sleep as he dreams of…whatever doggies dream. The little dance he does when we ask if he wants to go for a ride in the car. The sheer JOY on his face when we take him for rides. He is a light in every single day.

*Music. Our extensive music library. The ability to stream music via my phone. That I can sit here and sing along as the words flow. New artists, old favorites, it all blends together to soothe me and encourage me. I close my eyes and let the melodies and lyrics carry me away to a place where the pain can’t quite reach me.

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My beautiful Oregon Coast. This was taken by me, about this time last year.

*Beautiful Photos. Instagram, Tamara’s blog, Facebook. The faces looking back at me from the frames on my wall. They keep loved ones near, show me places I can only dream about visiting, allow me to live vicariously through my friends, and show me glimpses of your lives. They capture memories and inspire me to remember the good, each and every day.

 

What are YOU thankful for today?

A To-Do List For Fall

Yesterday the SITS Girls had Fall Bucket List as a prompt for the day.

A few blogger friends have inspired me to update my bucket list, and that’s definitely coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled. (What a funny expression. And pretty gross when you think about it. You’re welcome.) For now, here’s a list of things I’d like to do this fall.

*Corn Maze. Or is it a Maize Maze? Either way, I want to go wander around in the tall stalks and possibly get a little lost. Scotty and I went to one before I got sick and we wound up covered in mud and wet to the bone. It was amazing fun and I want to do it again.

*Apple Butter. A few years back, I found a recipe on Pinterest for making apple butter in my crockpot. Not only does it taste amazing, it makes my house smell SO GOOD! This year I plan to make a big batch and package some up for a craft bazaar. (And possibly for some friends who’ve requested some.)

*Repay Debts. Last year, about this time, some friends were very good to me. It’s taken me a while, but I will repay their kindness this fall.

*Save The Dates. Scotty and I need to design/print our Save The Date announcements. We’ll be sending them out with/in lieu of holiday cards this year, so we need to get cracking!

*Expand Blog. I have some adjustments I’d like to make around here. I’m looking at reaching out for new guest posts, new features, and ways to branch out with my writing. Tracie and the girls at Ask Away Friday have been BIG helps here, as well as great inspiration.

Where I’ve Been And What I’m Doing

Last week I was MIA.

To start it off, I had my second Remicade infusion. Which didn’t go quite as smoothly as the first. Since I’m predominantly right handed, we decided to try my left hand this time, so I could have a little more freedom of movement during and after the treatment. Well, my left hand didn’t want to cooperate. We had to do four different sticks before we found a vein that would work. And then, in the last five minutes of a three hour infusion, we blew that vein. So my hand looked like a medical glove someone had made into a balloon.

The doctor came in and looked me over, and cleared me to go home, though with strict orders to ice my hand and keep it elevated. No movement for at least 24 hours.

You never realize just how much you use your non-dominant hand until you absolutely can’t use it. It was a nightmare.

I tried to catch up on emails and such on Wednesday, but typing one-handed just wasn’t working for me. Thursday I was able to start light activity, but then our internet crapped out. Clearly, the universe wanted me to take a break.

So even though we had the internet issue resolved on Friday, I hung back from the internet and worked on some stuff around the house. I went to therapy and worked on me. And I rested.

I continued resting all weekend, even while I had a guest post over at The Domain Of The Mad Mommy. I played board games with Scotty and watched football. I ate yummy food.

Today I’m back and feeling the groove. I’ve got some exciting posts coming up, some great swaps for Ask Away Friday, and a few friends will be visiting with some guest posts. So stick around, I promise you won’t be sorry :)

Ask Away Friday Vol. 12

Is it feeling like fall for anyone else? We’re still sporting 90+ degree days, apparently for some reason, summer is wanting to hang around a while longer here. Someone please send me a rain storm. Please.

This week has been a busy one for me. Lots of phone calls and arranging appointments for both me and my future father-in-law. Which means my brain is hanging on by a thread. Lucky for me, it’s Friday, and time for another dose of Ask Away Friday!

If you’re new to these parts, AAF is where I swap ten questions with a fellow blogger, and then we all get to know each other a little better. It’s loads of fun and I’ve met some great blogger friends.

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This week I’m swapping with Danielle from Dancing With My Daughter. Besides having the best blog name ever, Danielle shares tales of her daughter, her love, and yummy food. Be sure to pop on over and get to know her a little better, you’ll be happy you did!

Here’s what Danielle wanted to know about me…

1) I read that you’re getting married very soon (YAY CONGRATULATIONS!), how’s the preparation going? Are you excited?

I’m crazy excited! It’s really wonderful to know that I’ve found my forever someone and that we’re going to have this lovely day where we celebrate with all of our loved ones. The preparation is coming along, we’re currently looking for a venue that fits our needs but isn’t crazy expensive. Which is harder than one would think, apparently.

2) What is one thing about your fiancé that you love the most?

I love his passion for music. Scotty learned to play the guitar at a young age, and has pursued music most of his life. He plays with a humbleness, like he honestly doesn’t know how great he his. And he’s pretty great. He carries that creative passion into our relationship by supporting all of my crafting. We encourage that love of creating something within each other, and it’s one of my favorite things. And if you could see the peaceful smile that comes over him as he plays, you’d melt like I do, every single time.

3) What is your favourite thing to do with your son? Do you bond regularly?

I love movie nights with my kiddo. I love that he still wants to have a giant pajama party with popcorn and snacks, pillows and blankets, and a family movie. Those nights warm my heart every time. Because my son spends the school years with his dad, we don’t get as much bonding time as I would like. But the kiddo can text now, and so we have little conversations throughout the week, and that helps :)

4) What’s the best dish that you have cooked?

Well I would say my white lasagna, but my brother would say my chipotle carnitas. Scotty would pipe in and say chipotle carnitas with fry bread. Since taco night is always a favorite, I wouldn’t argue. I let a couple pounds of pork simmer in my crockpot with beef broth and seasonings all day on low. When it starts to fall apart, I shred it with a couple forks, then add it back to the cooking liquid along with a couple bottles of chipotle sauce. I let that simmer for another hour while I make fry bread. We use the fry bread as the taco shell, piling it high with our favorite toppings like lettuce, cilantro, sour cream, and lots of cheese. And now that my mouth is watering, I’m gonna have to make some this weekend!

5) Is there a book that you can read over and over again and won’t get bored of? What is it and why?

My usual go-to response here is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, but I’m going to be a good girl and pick another book that’s just a single. Envy by Sandra Brown is a top pick. It has a pretty compelling story, with some romance, and a plot twist that I didn’t see coming. The intro to the story is probably one of the greatest I’ve read, especially for a lover of a good mystery. It’s an easy read, but not too easy that you don’t stay enthralled. If you have a chance, check it out.

6) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

There are many places I would like to visit in the world, but I’d only want to live in my Pacific Northwest. We have all four seasons here, there’s such lovely landscape, and the air smells like nothing I’ve ever found anywhere else. I’m surrounded by mountains, I’m a short drive from the Pacific Ocean, and we have some of the greatest food! In my perfect dreams, I move all of my loved ones here, and we spend our days exploring this gorgeous region.

7) Are you excited for fall? What are you looking forward to this cold season?

Fall is my favorite time of year! I love the crisp breeze that belies the bright sun. The colorful leaves mixed with evergreens. I love bulky sweaters and leggings, pretty scarves, and tall leather boots. I love apple cider and baked goods. I love soups in my crockpot and fresh bread rising on my counter. This year I’m looking forward to continued success with my new treatment plan, and the hope that I’ll be feeling a bit more human by the holidays.

8) When you were a kid, did you dress up for Halloween? What’s your favourite costume?

I LOVED dressing up and still do! My favorite costume as a kid was when I was about four. I dressed as Rainbow Brite and my best friend at the time dressed as her horse (unicorn?). They were those vinyl costumes with the plastic masks you couldn’t see out of, but the photo still brings a smile to my face. My favorite adult costume was a few years ago when I went as Medusa. I have crazy curly/wavy/does whatever it wants hair. I wore a silver/gray toga, crazy dark makeup, and had my hair piled high on my head, with plastic snakes poking out everywhere. It was a lot of fun, but I had black circles around my eyes for days!!

9) With the Christmas holiday coming up in a few months, do you have any traditions that you do with your family?

When Scotty and I were first dating, I was working in fast food and not making much money. We agreed that instead of going broke trying to find THE BEST PRESENT EVER for each other, we would just exchange stockings. We made two rules: It had to fit in the stocking, and couldn’t be more than $20. It was so much fun, we still do it every year. Instead of expensive jewelry or electronics we’ll be making payments on forever, we find the little things that have meaning behind them. Each year it’s a great treasure hunt to buy little gifts that tell him what he means to me, that remind us of dates we’ve taken, that will make him smile or laugh out loud. I hope we’ll keep doing this forever.

10) Do you like any sports? If you do, do you get to play it often?

I love football! Love, love, LOVE it! I don’t play- even before I got sick, I was not very athletically inclined. (I’m a klutz. Ask anyone who knows me.) But I love watching football. And Scotty is getting me into watching hockey and baseball.

 

What a great swap! Each week, these girls find things about me that I didn’t realize I hadn’t shared yet. If you’d like to join in the fun, check out the Ask Away Friday Facebook Group. They’re a great bunch who will show you the ropes with all things blogging, so don’t feel intimidated or like you won’t fit in :)

I hope you all have a great weekend. Wish me luck with my fantasy football teams, Scotty and the kiddo are killing me!

Just One…But So Much More

I am just one.

Just one of the millions fighting an invisible illness. Just one in a sea of pain and misunderstanding. Just one to stand up and say: I am more.

I am more than my illnesses. I am more than pain, medications, fatigue, and disability.

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I am a sister. I have sisters with whom I’m building better relationships. We’re working to make memories now, rather than live in our pasts. I’m a sister of the heart. I’ve adopted so many of my dear friends, claiming them as my family, and loving them more than words.

I am a mother. I love my son more than I ever thought possible. Each day he makes me more proud, and I am in awe of his intelligence and strength of character. I look at him and can’t believe that he’s mine. He is my greatest gift, and I am his mother.

I am a daughter. Though my relationships with my parents have been strained over the years, I am still theirs. I am the result of a drunken night, a relationship that never should have been. Still, I am his sole heir, and her oldest. I am their daughter, their blood, carrying on their legacies.

I am a lover, soulmate, life partner, fiance, spouse. I am the promise of a future, and the memory of five wonderful years together. I am dinner on the table, lunches packed for work, laundry washed and put away. I am date nights and late nights walking our doggy. I am the one he gave his heart to, and the keeper of his secrets.

I am a friend. I am care packages in the mail, funny cards, and emails that make us laugh until we cry. I am two hour chats where we talk about everything and nothing. I am a shoulder for your tears, and arms for a hug. I am coffee on a Sunday afternoon, and watching 80s movies while we talk about life.

I am a writer. I share my words, my thoughts, my stories. I come here to this corner of the internet that I’ve made mine every week to share this life I lead. I share to ease the thoughts and voices swirling around in my head. I share so you know you’re not alone. I share because I am a writer, and writers write.

I am a lover of music, books, and movies. I am a true crime fan, a sap for a good romance, and a flower dancing to the waves of sound. I am an admirer of those who follow their passions and are gracious enough to share them with the world.

I am just one. And I matter.

 

You are just one, but you can make a difference. This week (Sept. 8-13 2014) is Invisible Illness Awareness Week. Please take a moment to check out their site and lend your support. Together we can raise awareness for all of us. And awareness can lead to research, to a cure.

I’m Grateful For Love

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared a list of gratitude. I had a lovely chance to reconnect with a dear friend this weekend, and I’m feeling the need to share some positives with y’all. What are you thankful for today?

GratefulMondaysI’m thankful for:

*Friends who ask “How are you?” and want the honest truth.

*Cool breezes in the mornings.

*Donuts and football Sundays.

*Friends who inspire you continuously.

*My crockpot, which makes it easy to have comfort food without heating up my whole house.

*Band members who uplift and encourage my fiance.

*Friends who offer their help when I need it most, no strings attached.

*My therapist, who answers calls on her days off and helps me work out a plan.

*Bloggers who uplift one another so that we may all succeed at our passion.

*Friends who offer grace and love, no matter what.

*Hairdressers who are family, and help you feel human with little makeovers every so often.

*A fiance who works long hours to make sure there’s a roof over our heads.

I’m grateful for the love that surrounds me, each and every day. For the friends and loved ones who keep me going, even when life is hard and the pain is too much. For all the people in my life who make sure I keep fighting.

How about you?

 

 

Ask Away Friday The Spoonie Edition

This short week was long in more ways than one. I had my first Remicade infusion, which went well, but still took a lot out of me. Even though Scotty works on Saturday this week, I’m so very ready for the weekend. And FOOTBALL!!

This week also found me without a partner for Ask Away Friday until yesterday when Christy from Uplifting Families came to my rescue. Christy has lived with chronic pain for a number of years, but has also recently been diagnosed with Fibro. Since we’d swapped before, we thought this time maybe we should do a #spoonie themed swap, then we could pick up some tips from each other, and share some with you!

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A spoonie asks and a spoonie answers…

1. We both live with chronic pain. What is one thing (non-medication) that can always take your mind off the pain? 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Screaming along with some of my favorite rock songs can always distract me from what’s ailing me.

2. What is the best advice someone has ever given you that has really helped you cope?

My gal Dawnie has given me some great advice over the last few years. At a particularly low point for me, she imparted this gem:

Celebrate each thing you do, each decision you make. Because it all counts. Don’t push so hard to be positive, instead be realistic. And when you’re able to do that, be really real with yourself, you’ll realize how much you really do each day.

I try to remember this every day. To be kind to myself when I fall behind on the chores, and still celebrate when all I can manage is to get out of bed and feed myself. Because it all matters.

3. When you’re having a good day, what is your favorite thing to do?

I love thrift shopping. My fiance and I will sometimes take $10 each and putter around local second hand stores to see what treasures we can find. Sometimes we find nothing. Other times we find fabric for one of my projects, or a piece of sports memorabilia for Scotty’s collection. Even if we don’t find anything, it’s nice to just walk around exploring.

4. What are 5 must have items you would recommend to fellow spoonies?

*Hot/Cold compresses. Preferably ones that can be used either way, and used many times. Homemade rice or bean bags are great.

*A stereo, mp3 player, or some sort of music playing device. And headphones so you can listen when everyone else is asleep and pain has you counting sheep.

*Comfort food. I always try to keep a few of my favorite treats around for the rough days. Because sometimes you just really need a bite of chocolate.

*Fuzzy socks or slippers WITH NON SKID SOLES. My feet are almost always cold, unless it’s 90+ degrees outside. And even then, sometimes. Loose fitting fuzzy socks warm my feet without being too constricting. But please, please, PLEASE make sure they’re “no-slip.” No need to have a nasty fall just because you wanted toasty toes.

*Something to cuddle. Whether it’s a kiddo, a spouse, a pet, a stuffed animal, or all of the above, always have something (or someone) to hug. You’d be surprised how much it helps.

5. What new activity or hobby have you picked up since you became a spoonie?

Honestly? Napping LOL. Before I got sick, I rarely slept during the day, I just could never shut my brain off. Now I love naps. If things work out right, I take one every afternoon. Sometimes I also sneak one in before lunch. And on really rough days, I take another right before dinner.

6. I have always been told that you are own best advocate for your health. Have you ever had to push your doctor to figure out what is wrong or to test a procedure or medication?

I’m blessed that my current team of doctors is pretty stellar. They all listen to me and my concerns, and we make decisions together. This hasn’t always been the case, and I’ve had to look for a second opinion or change doctors. Because we ARE our own best advocates, and we should NEVER be uncomfortable with our health decisions.

7. My dogs are a huge blessing, do you feel having pets helps you cope with your chronic illness?

Without a doubt, I know my life is better with my doggy. With recent flares and medication changes, Todd has proven that he was meant to be my companion. He curls up with me and licks my hand when he knows I’m hurting. If I stay in bed, he spends the day laying next to me. When I’m stressed or anxious, he does this cute floppy thing on the floor until I rub his belly. Which, of course, makes me smile and calms my mind.

8. Do you ever feel isolated since you stopped working?

Oh boy. Some days I swear if I have to stare at these four walls any longer, I’ll scream. My social life has gone WAY down, so yeah, there are moments where I feel really isolated. I’m blessed to have such a great online community of friends and family who remind me that I’m not alone, though, and that helps.

9. Do you feel your pain restricts you from doing things you enjoy?

Absolutely. Most days I try not to think about the things I can’t do anymore, because it kinda makes me a little crazy. I try to focus on the things I can still do, like my writing. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss cross-stitching.

10. Do you feel that support groups are a great place to connect with other spoonies and find others who share a similar journey?

I do! Support groups and online communities can be great! There are many out there, so find the one(s) that’s right for you. They can be good resources for sharing tips and information on treatments, as well as a place to find a sympathetic ear for those really yucky days.

 

Thanks Christy for another great swap!

Do you have any tips for spoonies you’d add to this? Or maybe you have a question you’d like me to answer? Leave a comment and let me know! And if you’d like to join in on the Ask Away Friday fun, check out their Facebook group to get started. It’s a great bunch of bloggers who are more than happy to show you the ropes :)

Now…ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?!?!