Step 1 unmanagability and powerlessness

November 4, 2013

Having chronic pain is something I am powerless over and can’t always manage.  I have good days and bad days.  The good days make me feel like I am able to function well, I feel healthy, and empowered to accomplish my goals and build relationships with people around me.  On my not so good days, I see the pain and fatigue show up in my life limiting me from doing what I want, but still able to function overall.  On the really bad days, I feel depressed, get tired of crashing, and seek the quick and often unhealthy escapes.

Powerlessness is what happens physically to my body.  Fibromyalgia has a path of its own that I don’t always understand.  Certain activities and situations can draw me into an overwhelming sense of fatigue and pain that at times can catch me off guard.  Though I can limit this pain to some degree by watching my stress, exercising, being healthy, managing activities, it will always be there ready to be activated.  Sickness and unintended stress can sometimes seem to come from no where, causing me to become more aware of this thing inside my body.

Unmanagability is what happens in my life because of my chronic pain.  When my fibromyalgia is in full force my life can revolve around my pain and fatigue and often other areas get neglected.  The more I try to control it,it can just make it worse as too much activity just wears me down.  When things feel totally out of control, I seek to escape this feeling and don’t always have the capacity to make good choices.  I get really tired and can’t  think straight, and don’t always care anymore to make the needed effort.

As depressing as this all sounds to me, seeing the reality allows me to look for a new solution.  I can be aware of what is beyond my own ability, and surrender this to God, a spiritual power, to the earth, to friends, or something that brings a sense of release.  Then I look at what I can do to keep my fibromyalgia in check as best as I can, and prepare for those days where life seems to sweep me under.  Often for me this is finding my support network, reaching within myself and seeking something spiritual.  If something isn’t working, seeking the truth of it, allows me to search for something better.  May today, I focus on what brings me peace and health, and prepare myself for the darker days with grace, wisdom and compassion.

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Adding in foods and feeling sick

December 10, 2012

I have been feeling sick the past few days.  I have slowly been adding in more foods to my current food plan to see how I react and to start adding in more calories.  I started using a food plan through Medifast where I use only gluten-free products and vegetarian (though I am eating fish), and was feeling much better with this food.  (For more information on the plan you can see my health coach page at the top of this blog or go to http://healthcoachelissa.com/).  Because this is also a weight loss plan, it was time for me to transition to more regular foods and add in calories.  I started adding in more vegetables and fruit, and was having more cottage cheese for my protein option.  Something I added has made me feel sick to my stomach.

The good news about having a reaction is that it clarifies that my body is reacting to what I eat.  It appears that I am not breaking down certain substances in my food.  I am guessing it could be related to fructose found in my fruit and some of my vegetables like broccoli.  I have had a little bit of milk in lattes a few weeks ago (not on my plan) and didn’t react to this.  When I started adding two more vegetables a day, I added more cooked vegetables and started feeling sick.  I felt worse when I had some apples.

Today, I have gone back to what worked before – the 5 Medifast meals and 2 cups of lettuce with some tomatoes and fish.  I also picked up a gingerbread latte with my daughters while Christmas shopping and this seemed to be ok.  I am enjoying my teas and lots of water.  I will try to readjust my body, than add in the cottage cheese this time instead of the vegetables/fruit in about three days.  I will then add in some more vegetables/fruit that are lower in fructose 3-5 days later.   I may also pick up some probiotics.

I have always enjoyed doing research.  I am trying to look at this as my personal research.  This helps me be less frustrated when I can’t have something that I really want to have.  It can feel complicated when I don’t know exactly what is causing the problems, but at least I have found some foods that work for me.  I will just have to learn how to get around the holidays and all the food I want to have, while I am trying to figure out what is happening in my body.  Eventually I may be able to have some of these foods again, but clearly they aren’t working for me now.  I may just have to add some peppermint to my Medifast brownies and pudding for a festive flavor.


Health changes continue – exercise and home products revisited

December 6, 2012

I am feeling energized as I am eating healthier.  My pain level seems to be slowly decreasing, though it is still there.  My back pain is easier to deal with, though I hope to be able to eventually sleep on my back again.  I notice that I am able to make it through a day much more than in the past.  At times I still have bad days, especially if I feel stress or have a cold, but overall every day is so much better than 6 months ago.

I am trying to reduce some of the chemicals and unhealthy products I use each day.  As I run out of supplies, I am aiming to buy more organic beauty supplies.  I bought some make-up from Pure Minerals that feels great on my skin.  I also am trying some organic shampoo and conditioner.  I have noticed that my hairs feels silkier (even before the shampoo change), and perhaps this is due to the extra nutrients and water I take in each day.

This is the first time in a long time where I lost weight in a healthy weight.  Most of my recent weight loss was due to stress or changes in medications.  I have always been happy when I lose weight, but my body still felt drained even though I weighed less.  I enjoy shopping at the discount store for smaller clothes, and not having my stomach hurt in my tight jeans.  I feel lighter and it helps me stay motivated to make other changes.

Being the goal person I am, I am looking to my next step.  I plan on continuing to add back different food into my diet to see if there is any effect.  I am starting back on a regular weight routine with the P90 book to build up my muscle.  My teenage daughter is interested in doing it with me, so it makes it more fun and keeps me accountable.  I also will continue to build my network of friends and support through blogging, reaching out, and health coaching.  I love having people around me for support.  Thank you all who have shared with me.


pause, one step forward, pause, and a little sideways, one step forward….

December 6, 2012

I am beginning to appreciate the phrase “two steps forward, one step back”.  For me it would be more accurate to say “pause, one step forward, a pause, a little sideways, then start over again”.

The first pause is my time of pondering the vision. I love being in a dream mode and the times of reflection are really valuable.  I often start out thinking and planning what I am going to do.  This can be really productive to think about what steps I want to make, and decide whether previous actions were necessary.  Often I find the passion in this stage, that helps me take the next step forward.

Taking one step forward is crucial for progress.  I need to just do something on my action list to move in the right direction.  Though my favorite place is the vision state and planning, when I move forward, I have more opportunity to plan greater dreams.  As I take the time to write regularly, I can envision myself as an author someday, and my blogging will aide me in this direction.  When I take a step towards my health by beginning new exercises, I can see why I have made such a choice and the results exercise has on my body.  Every step forward leads me closer to being more of who I want to be and what I dream of.

What is with the second pause?  For some reason I am finding that in the middle of my progression towards my goals, there seems to be many pauses that slow me down.  Some times this is circumstances such as illness and/or a crisis.  Other times I am feeling overwhelmed or lose sight of where I am going that I can’t seem to gain ground or get moving.

The sideways’ journeys always seem to happen for me.  I get distracted by other things, or become so focused on one aspect of my goal that I lose sight of the big picture.  I start thinking about new dreams and ideas, get lost in the lives of others, or just move without thinking.  Though it feels like this is taking me away from what I want, often the lessons here can lead me more to who I want to be.  It may seem slower, but if I am going sideways there is a reason for it.  The wisdom gained here may be exactly what I needed to better prepare me for my next step.  I also gain new relationships from the people nearby.

As I continue in my inconsistent cycles, insights are gained, relationships are developed and goals become fulfilled.  At times I wish it was a more linear path for me, yet I imagine this would feel too predictable and boring.  As I learn to accept my personal detours, I will be much happier, and incorporate all my cycles into creating a deeper and more meaningful life.  Perhaps in time the detours will become less, as my vision is more clarified.  However, in the mean time I will continue to absorb all of my reality in this journey of life.


Medication free after years of narcotics for pain

November 26, 2012

I can’t believe that I am finally off my medication.  The pain still lingers in my body from fibromyalgia, but in many ways it seems better than what the narcotics did to my body over time.  The pain is more consistent, not fluctuating around my medication doses, where the intensity would increase as my body became reliant on the drugs for relief.  Though I did experience almost pain-free moments, the overall experience currently isn’t that much different from when I was on medication.  Has my body finally started to heal itself?

The psychological part of taking medication is still active in my brain.  I feel this panic sensation at certain times of the day, thinking I forgot my medication and feel fear at the potential for great pain.  It only takes a split second for me to remember that I don’t need the medication, yet the automatic reaction still lingers.  I no longer have to hide my medication when I am out of the house, or spend time cutting up my medication.  I don’t have to concern myself with the stereotypes of opioid users, though the stereotypes still exist with people who have fibromyalgia (including my own shame around it).  It will probably take some time to get used to this new reality.

When I first began to experiment with various medications prescribed by my doctors, I was in a great deal of pain. I couldn’t imagine living my life in this type of pain every day with no end in sight.  I am grateful that my doctors were able to believe me, and give me some relief from the pain.  I have no doubt that I needed something, but can’t understand why today, my pain is less.  Perhaps my body was better able to adapt with less stress, and better eating habits.  Over the years, I have tried many things to relieve my pain, and understand that a magic cure is probably not out there that works for everyone.  If this were the case, we wouldn’t have disease.  I imagine that the process of disease and healing is a complicated one, though there are many things we know help most, there are many things we don’t know.

The beauty of my own ignorance is that I can’t make claims for other people, nor give a clear path to follow.  This makes the process a personal one, each discovering what works best for them.  As much as I would like to help others have greater healing, I am not a healer.  The blessings of a story, is that we can listen intently, and take the pieces that resonate with us.  My story is in a sense interwoven from the stories of others.  Constantly experimenting for greater health, both physically and spiritually.  I hope that as I continue to make changes to my life, that I will continue to have less pain, and perhaps be cured from what ails my body.  However, of greater importance to me is that regardless of my pain level that I will continue to grow in a way that brings me spiritual peace and hope, as well as deeper relationships with those around me.

Blessings to each of you on your own journey….


Now I am a Health Coach

November 19, 2012

I am excited about my own journey towards greater health and being part of this journey with you.  When I began a new food plan in October of 2012, I had three hopes for myself.  1.  To become a health coach as I love coaching other people.  2. To lose 10-15 pounds, as I carry all excess weight in the middle increasing my rate for heart problems (which run in our family).  3.  To reduce my symptoms from Fibromyalgia – lesser pain and greater energy. 

My particular plan consisted of both vegetarian and gluten-free options.  I have always wondered if certain food items could contribute to my health problems.  Though I am not yet sure whether it is the change in the food choices and/or the nutrition in the products, I am certain that it is changing my life.  My energy has increased drastically, and I am on my way to being drug free because of the reduction in pain.  I can’t wait to edit this section with “I am not on medication”.  I have found hope after years of struggles.  I also have lost 8 pounds so far and have about 5 pounds more to go .

I love the simplicity of this program.  I can take things step by step – making changes and learning as I go.  I have never cared for cooking, so the easy meals work.  I have learned how to cook fish for the first time, and prefer this over chicken any day.  My favorite meal is the cappuccino drink once I learned to use the blender to stir the mix with boiling water.  I also enjoy the puddings, the shakes and the brownies.  I eat the cereal for my “to go” food or emergency food, since the bars have gluten in them.  I always liked cereal. 

I have spent the last month trying to incorporate the program into my life.  I strive for a life of integrity, and desire to live out the words I say in my personal actions.  I have read through the book and utilized the study guide to learn some nutrition fundamentals I thought I knew.  I have also enjoyed listening to numerous support calls to understand some of the challenges we face and ways to work with them. I was surprised how the simple things could make a difference, and how much there is to learn.  Fortunately I can take all these lessons step by step, which is the best way for me to make changes.  Much of my hesitation regarding a program switched to amazement at how much wisdom and support was offered to aid me in becoming healthy. 

My biggest struggle is social situations.  I am still learning how to deal with eating around people and managing the peer pressure I feel, or think I feel.  I miss my skim milk and still crave breads and pizza.  Fortunately, these situations are limited, and most of the time I am grateful for my new health, less pain, more energy, and that my jeans aren’t tight. 

More about the program can be found at http://healthcoachelissa.tsfl.com/.  You can also send me an e-mail at bugzy@aol.com with any questions or if you want me to send information your way.  The idea of this program is to achieve greater health through changing your habits.  This could include losing weight, reducing health problems and medications, being more fit, understanding healthier living, learning about nutrition and more.  I have been greatly impressed by what I have learned so far, and am excited to share it with you. 

On a personal note – I have been married almost 20 years and have 2 middle school daughters.  I have a degree in sociology with a minor in psychology.  I love reading memoirs, blogging, learning, planning and researching.  I enjoy traveling – whether camping, visiting relatives or going to Hawaii.  My favorite fitness activities are coaching soccer, racquetball, weight lifting, yoga, and running. 


Medication reduction, pain slightly higher

November 15, 2012

My journey continues in trying to reduce my medication.  My new health habits are giving me more energy and seem to have a positive effect on my pain level.  A few months ago I took a break from reducing my medicine because I wasn’t able to function with the increase in pain, and it made it difficult for me to sleep.  Earlier this week, after spending a few weeks on a healthier diet (and losing 8 pounds), I felt my pain reduce, and was able to cut out my mid day medication (I was taking a low dose of opioids 3X a day).

Today I am starting to increase the time between each dose.  So far I have added a couple more hours in between.  I can feel my hands shake some, and a slight increase in pain especially in my knees.  I am hoping that in 3 or 4 days, I will be down to once a day.

I am surprised by how effective this has been for me.  Unfortunately few doctors I saw gave any information on options for pain control that relates to the food we eat.  Part of this is that it isn’t always covered under insurance to see someone who deals with nutrition.  I have been referred to physical therapists, accupuncturist, chiropractor, sports doctors, pain management doctors, psychologist, neurologists, oncologist, rheumatologist, cardiologist and had numerous diagnostic tests and tried 11 or so medications.  My hope has returned for a cure or at least a low amount of pain without medication.  I am feeling better everyday!


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