Can a speckle of medication really make that much difference?

November 9, 2012

Because I have been doing so well with my nutrition plan, I decided to once again try to cut out my mid-day medication.  Over the summer I have reduced my medication to the point where I am taking really tiny cut up pieces that I take 3 times a day.  The last few days I reduced my middle of the day to almost a dust of medication.  This afternoon I thought I would cut out this dose since it is so small.  In the afternoon it wasn’t too bad, but as the evening progressed I could feel my eyes burning and my body pain increase significantly.  These are similar symptoms I had when reducing my medication over the summer.  I can’t believe the reaction I am having over such a small amount of medication.  It reminds me of how powerful narcotics really are.

I am hoping that tomorrow, my body will continue to adjust during the daytime and my pain will be reduced.  For now I will take a hot shower, and take my evening dose an hour earlier.  I love the idea of going back to two doses each day, as I don’t have to worry about taking medication with me when I am out.  I have two weekends of soccer tournaments, so it would be great to have the lesser pain and the lesser medication.  I would be happy to go off meat and gluten products in order to be medication free.  I trust I can learn to supplement other great food products for my favorites like pizza, barbecued hamburgers, and breads.  Something else to explore…..

 

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Pain is decreasing….

November 7, 2012

I have been experimenting with my food a bit, trying to eat more healthy and focus on a vegetarian and gluten-free diet.  I am filling up a water jug each morning of 64 ounces of water, and most days I drink all of this.  I decided to try this for a couple of reasons.  One was that I am planning on becoming a health coach in December to help others in their health and wanted to try out the food, and second I wanted to see if my food might make a difference in my health.  Hearing I would lose some weight didn’t hurt either.

I was skeptical.  Actually I am still skeptical.  Years and years of trying different things to reduce my pain level, and give me more energy.  Many things help – such as exercise, ice and heat, yoga and reducing stress.  I even was able to reduce my medication this summer to about 10% of the dose I was given.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to cut it off completely, and any reduction caused too much pain.

So far the past week and a half I am feeling more energized.  My body is still tired, yet I am so much more alert.  I feel like I have an extra hour or two each day.  I am still stuffed up, which is probably due to dairy which I haven’t cut out.  My pain has also been reduced some, so I am reducing my medication a little more for the first time in months.  I can feel more discomfort in my knees when I walk, and sensitivity in my hands (the tingling sensations are greater).  The pain in my body and back are less, and I am still able to sleep at night.  I have also lost about 6 pounds, so my clothes aren’t so tight – always a good thing.

I am learning a lot.  I feel like I am understanding more what my body needs.  I don’t expect a miracle, yet it is great to see some hope and improvement.


veggie and gluten free experiment continued…

November 2, 2012

I have been trying a veggie and gluten-free plan this week to see if I have any allergies related to gluten and if certain foods might reduce my symptoms.  So far I am feeling a little less pain, but more fatigued (probably because I am eating less).  I don’t have the stomach-ache I was having earlier, and do feel healthier overall.  Because I still feel somewhat stuffed up in the morning, I doubt I have allergies to gluten, so grateful for that.  I have also lost about 3 pounds, so my jeans don’t feel so snug.

I will continue with what I am eating for the next week, and then start adding back some gluten products.  I don’t care that much for most meat, so will wait on adding meat.  I also might try reducing my dairy intake.


writing on pain

October 26, 2012

I recently took part in a writing study on chronic pain.  My understanding of this study was that we were supposed to write about our chronic pain experience from a compassionate perspective.  It seemed that the hope was that by taking the time to reflect kindly on our symptoms, it might reduce our pain and change our thoughts about our pain.

Unfortunately for me, I realized writing directly about my pain can actually make me feel worse.  I prefer to write more indirectly – what things help me, goals I have, and more random thoughts, than writing directly about all the losses associated with my pain.  It is important that when I dive deeply into more of the emotional pain, that I find ways to bring myself out of the emotions.  Perhaps this is why I appreciate reality humor.  It is a way of looking directly at something, yet finding the humor in it, even if the humor seems rather dark.

Writing a blog about pain, has a way of connecting me with others in similar situations. It is more than just writing about my pain.  I love hearing the stories, the thoughts, and emotions of other people.  It brings my own truth to light, in a way I might not normally see it.  I come away from writing on a blog feeling lighter, freer and with more hope.  Perhaps the key is taking the words and using it as a bridge with others.  When I write to myself, it is still valuable, but can leave me feeling more alone.  When I share my words in the cyber world, I find other fellow bloggers who join with me in our cyber community of pain with hope.  Thank you all for making my days a little brighter.


New food plan experiment

October 26, 2012

Next week, I am planning on trying a vegetarian and gluten free plan to see if it affects my symptoms in any way.  I have heard various people share of miraculous recoveries because of a particular diet plan, yet have been skeptical.  Even though I don’t expect drastic results, I believe I will feel better if I make some improvements in my food choices.   Anything that has the potential of helping me, especially with little cost, is worth trying.  I have most of my food ready to go!

I have been continuing with the 15M plan most days.  I have been able to do some form of exercise each day for at least 15 minutes.  Most days I do more than this.  On the days that I have really struggled, I utilize Netflix to watch something of interest.  I do best being consistent when I schedule something with a friend, other days I have to result to more procrastination tactics on my part.

I am also trying to make my top 5-8 items I need to accomplish each day.  I find it is really important for me to feel a sense of progress, especially when life feels more routine.  The check-off sheets remind me that I am doing well, making progress, even if I can’t do everything.


Exercise for people with fibromyalgia

September 17, 2012

It seems that many experts on fibromyalgia do not recommend intense cardio exercise.  Perhaps the assumption that more jarring on the muscles will increase the pain.  This may be the case for some people, but has not been my personal experience.

In general my favorite ways of exercising have been running, weight lifting and aerobic classes.  When I began experiencing chronic pain I tried yoga, more walking and swimming.  Before chronic pain, my philosophy was to make the most of my time and the more intense the cardio the better.  When doing weight lifting, I would lean towards less reps and more weight, versus a lighter workout.  I was surprised that yoga was not as relaxing as I had envisioned, much more physically demanding when my body wasn’t prepared for it.

Regardless of what exercise I do, if I push myself beyond my fitness level in any capacity I will generally experience pain later on.  I have experienced this with running, walking long distances or with lots of hills, light or heavy weights, yoga, or even gardening.   When I didn’t have fibromyalgia I would also ache the next day, but it feels more intense when I have fibromyalgia.  My body can take longer to adapt to new exercises.

The advantages of doing a higher aerobic exercise is that the endorphins also help in reducing my pain.  I have noticed that many times after a run my pain is drastically reduced for the 3-5 hours.  I also have increased energy to do other activities and my mood is elevated.  I have started to add some sprints into my run to produce more endorphins and raise my fitness level.  Sometimes the increase in exercise may bring a crash if I overdo it.

Personally I prefer a variation of exercises to keep myself fit.  I am trying to increase my higher aerobic exercise to keep the endorphins kicked in.  Currently I am aiming for 5 days a week of running or racquetball (15 minutes at a higher intensity), as well as other strength training like weights and yoga.  I find that warm up and cool down are important as well as icing and heat to calm the muscles.  Lots of walking and stretching seems to help prevent more pain later.

Last week I checked out a book, Bring It, by Tony Horton on the P90X exercises.  I have the videos on hold at the library, but it could be another 6-9 months before my turn comes up.  I have heard many people rave about this program, and figured it could be helpful since the beginning routines are geared at 20 minutes of exercise at home.  They have cardio, resistance and yoga routines.  They have some great exercise routines for all levels of fitness.  Though according to the quiz in the book, I am more intermediate, I thought it would be better to start at the beginner routine until I can develop the consistency.  This is a great book for anyone as it gives great illustrations on different exercises and routines to follow.  I put the page numbers for the exercises on a sheet of paper (don’t know them all by name yet) so I can quickly go through the routines.  Having a book allows me to go at my own pace (longer or shorter) and tends to be more relaxing than a video. If an exercise is too painful I can modify or skip it entirely.  I will eventually purchase the book for my own library.

Well I think I am awake enough now to attempt some exercise.  I will start with a run/walk then maybe do some resistance training.  Eventually I will need to find some time for the laundry piles and mopping the floors.  When I figure out how to keep the house clean and exercise I will let you know.  There is always tomorrow :).


Step 1 writing on chronic pain

September 12, 2012

Today I decided to start writing a narrative of my pain story that I hope to share on the blog.  I have been putting this off because it is time-consuming and can be painful to look back at the difficult periods in my life.  I am including information about periods of my life when I had physical and emotional pain and my thoughts around it.

I am surprised at how helpful this has been.  I am able to see some links that I didn’t really think about before.  Initially I was thinking I didn’t have much pain as a child, since I rarely missed school.  As I started to write more, I can remember several situations where there was both pain and shame around the pain.

The thought of writing and sharing a personal story can be terrifying.  I can feel the vulnerability of sharing such personal information.  Even though I have been less specific in situations where it involves other people, I am sharing honestly my own thoughts and feelings.  I do believe that the healing comes from looking at the truth of a situation, and being able to think and talk about it without shame.  I hope that each of us can learn to honor and even love the parts of our stories that make us uniquely us.


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