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.
Leave a Comment » | Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Food, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, exercise, fibromyalgia, goal planning, health, organic, weight loss | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
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.
Leave a Comment » | Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Goals, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, detours, fibromyalgia, goals, journey | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
December 2, 2012
I loved reading My Sisters the Saints. A great spiritual memoir, learning about the different saints and what makes them special. Colleen writes an interesting book, as she shares her own spiritual questions and learning to apply spiritual principles to life’s challenges. I could relate to many of her challenges, infertility, aging loved ones, making relationship decisions, and balancing personal desires when they seem to conflict.
Reading spiritual memoirs is one of my favorite ways to grow spiritually. I love stepping into another person’s life and hearing how they live out their own beliefs and the way they process through them. As she used books to learn about her mentors, I also use spiritual memoirs as role models to learn from. Her book gave me both, memoirs in a memoir – gotta love that! I am blessed to learn from her humility, her ability to dig deeper into the questions, and her desire to follow her heart and her values. Thanks for a great read.
Leave a Comment » | Books, Spirituality | Tagged: books, Celleen Carroll Campbell, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, memoir, My Sisters the Saints, reading, spirituality | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
November 29, 2012
Recently I have been having an inner battle with exposing the darker sides of life in order to reach out to someone who is struggling. Much of the time I feel content in dwelling in the blessings of life and portraying an optimistic viewpoint. I prefer to dream, plan, and encourage others to live in the moment, follow their values and seek meaningful relationships. Talking about chronic pain, mental issues, dysfunction, crazy thoughts I might have, and addictions are topics I would rather stay in the shadows, or allow a slight exposure for a sense of humanity. However when someone is hurting, it is hard to look the other way.
Sharing about the darker side can bring panic and fear. What will people think of me? Will I lose respect from people I care about? Will they use the information to harm or threaten me in the future. Integrating these parts of myself can bring shame and fear of abandonment until full acceptance gives grace. I prefer to compartmentalized and move on losing this part of myself verses taking these pieces as the masterpiece they can become.
Opportunities always present themself in life. Every difficult situation I have encountered has the potential to bring good, especially as I face the truth and find strength to move forward by both digging deeper and taking steps to make necessary changes. I feel this responsibility to offer my experience, my compassion, possible guidance to resources, and wisdom that has guided me along the way. I also need to be open to learn, to hear, to challenge my viewpoint, so I can learn what others have to teach me and to see the beauty in their life. I don’t know if it will make a difference, but I can’t ignore the opportunity.
What I know to be true is that each of us has a unique path – what works for one doesn’t always work for another. However, my greatest growth and wisdom has come from hearing stories, seeking truth and prayer, and finding resources through people and words of wisdom. My greatest teachers have all have different opinions and values in some area, yet can still be a guide for enriching my life and growing spiritually. I have learned to connect more easily with those who come in humility, willingness to listen, gave some hope, cared about me and were able to enter into the darker aspects of both my life and their own. They had an inner strength , compassion, grace and love, and wisdom from their own experiences, yet were open to learning from the experiences of all they came into contact with.
May each of us keep our hearts open to allowing life to unfold in the most mysterious of ways – seeing the light shine in the darkness.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening because of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in our lives.
2 Comments | 12 steps for chronic pain, Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Spirituality | Tagged: 12 steps, addiction, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, relationships, spirituality, step 12 | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
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….
1 Comment | Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Health, Pain Management, Spirituality | Tagged: chronic illness, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, health, opiods, recovery | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
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 email@example.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.
Leave a Comment » | Blog, Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Exercise, Food, Health, Health Coaching, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic illness, chronic pain, coaching, diet, fibromyalgia, fitness, gluten free, health, medication, vegetarian | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
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!
3 Comments | Chronic Pain, Food, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, doctors, fibromyalgia, medications, opiods dependence, withdrawal | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
November 14, 2012
I have been taught to believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I want to trust in Him as my Higher Power and guide through this life. I want to believe He loves me and that through Christ’s death, that my sins have been forgiven. At times however I have doubts and struggle to understand my own beliefs. I have had many wonderful spiritual experiences that have impacted my life. I have also had some traumatic experiences and distorted words that came out of a religious context. I find that my resistance drops when I focus on the Spirit and the relational aspect that I continue to feel each day.
I believe there is a spirit in all things, that something spiritual is at work in this world and in my own life. I believe this spirit is relational in nature, that it has the power to change things around me, that it isn’t something I have ultimate control over. I believe in the purity of this Spirit, that this Spirit has the capacity to bring light, truth and wholeness. I believe the Spirit is above all loving, that it is filled with compassion and grace for all mankind.
Turning my will over to a spiritual power is something not easy to do. I like to hold on to what I believe feels concrete, not something that is less physically seen. At the same time, releasing to a Spirit gives me peace, brings me wisdom, and helps me make better decisions. When I walk with the spirit in mind, I am more of who I want to be, also filled with more love, compassion and grace.
Surrender is about willingness. Willingness to let go of what I know and desire and be open to something different. It is being willing to say both yes and no, and seek love and truth. It is choosing to look at myself, striving for growth, while accepting what is.
When I try to control my health problems it doesn’t work. I can’t completely change my course with my mind alone. I can’t always tell when I am holding on to something, but trust the Spirit will guide me as I keep searching. I do not need to be perfect or to have all the answers. I am not the cause of my health problems and I am not being punished.
I do not completely understand the Spirit. I can’t explain the different religions that have a unique spiritual slant. I see a Spirit at work in a variety of people and places that feels similar to the Spirit I follow. I have many questions that I long to have answered, yet realize many of them won’t be. I trust that my Spirit will be with me, and be a guiding force in my life.
2 Comments | 12 steps for chronic pain, Chronic Pain, Spirituality | Tagged: 12 steps, chronic illness, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, spirituality | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
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…..
2 Comments | Chronic Pain, Food, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, fibromyalgia, gluten free, pain reduction, vegetarian, withdrawal | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
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.
7 Comments | Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Food, Health, Pain Management | Tagged: chronic pain, diet, fibromyalgia, gluten free, health, pain management, vegetarian | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T