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Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday is here!

Yay! The weekend is here! This weekend is a three day affair. Just John and I will be home, Michelle has a camping trip with her friends from her ecology club at school.

I finished a baby set this week. It includes a baby afghan and three bibs. I made a similar one a couple weeks ago for the same Aunt, who ordered them through my Gnomish Gnits business.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Catching Up

I know I'm a terrible blog mommy, but I tend to get caught up in my life and forget to update things.
So to update, let me start with my health. First, brace yourselves, but I've done some serious rethinking about my fibromyalgia.
Through some recent situations and friendships, it occurred to me that my past decisions and attempts to get healthier have been unsuccessful at doing just that, making me healthy. I tried to take a different stance.

First, the prevailing thought path for those of us with this disease is that we should hook up with some support groups. Well, I've found over time that no one really knows any more than I already read in medical research sites about what causes fibro or any consensus on how to address it. Even the little medical advice we get is usually dismissed by anyone who doesn't find immediate relief.

The big thing that caught my eye is the argument I hear that fibro sufferers consider their malady as progressive in nature and doctors don't. At first, I was right there with the others. I felt that I was getting worse as I aged. But, then I realized, I felt worse because I was inactive and my other problems were getting worse because of that. I was gaining weight and losing muscle tone so my diabetes was getting out of control and I was having more muscle pain and neuropathy in my legs. My digestion was worse and I was suffering from boughts of nausea and bowel issues. My blood sugar was all over the place and I was dealing with dizzy spells. But when I tried to find information on how to get active, I kept hearing about how I need to take it extremely slow and careful. Most advice was to only do a couple minutes a day, maybe two days a week. Well, I already know that I don't show any improvement moving that slow. I start, feel gunky because I haven't done any exercise for a long time, get discouraged and stop. Not only nothing better, but it usually is worse along with a huge serving of self loathing. It's then followed up with increases in diabetes medications, the doctor reacting to my exercise flare with more pain meds, then the whole medication side affects and more meds for those, and on and on.

So I got mad, not just frustrated. I was beginning to feel like the whole thing was a set up to get me hooked on more pills. Not only that, but the support groups were starting to feel like pity parties and less like support. So I dropped the support groups and decided to get active.

I began by just getting out more and doing things in our neighborhood and town. Trips to the museums and parks, even though I would get short of breath and have sore legs. I concentrated on my surroundings and less on my discomfort.

As I got out more and with having meetings for emergency preparedness, I realized that I seriously needed to drop weight and get stronger to keep up. I started taking walks. First, I walked 1 1/2 miles to the library and found I could make it, but it was exhausting. I forgot my cane on one of the trips and realized that I really didn't need it. I was using it as moral support, not because it was actually helping me. I stopped using it permanently.

I soon came to realize that I needed to walk more often than an occasional walk to the library, so I bit back my embarrassment at using the exercise room in our apartment complex and started getting on the treadmill there. I started going 4 days a week and walking at 2 miles an hour for a half hour, then increased the speed and time gradually. Yes, I was sore. Yes, I had a fibro flare. Yes, I was often short of breath and thought I was dying.

But, with the help of a good book each day, I was able to distract myself enough to continue. I found that it helped to pick up books about positive energy, how to motivate yourself, and how to increase your happiness.

Then it happened! I started feeling better during the day. Not only was my breathing better and my pain in my lungs gone, but I felt more management over my flares and leg pain as well. I had a flare with my hip when I increased my speed up to 3 mph, but I took an extra day off and started slower when I went back and increased slower. My next doctor appointment went better. My blood pressure was better, I hadn't lost weight and my blood sugar hadn't changed for the better, but my cholesterol was lowered into the normal range.

The next week after that, I increased to 5 days a week. A week after that, the manager put a bathroom scale in the exercise room and I discovered that I had lost 5 pounds. A week later, it increased to a 10 lb loss.

It's been a couple months (I started walking to the library at the end of February and it's mid May now). I'm down 20 lbs now, my blood sugar readings are in the normal range for the first time in a couple years, and I have good management of my fibro pain. I sleep through the night now and I'm finally not dozing off or needing a nap during the day. I can finally keep up with house work and I've been much more successful at getting my knitting business going.

I believe that when we act sick, we actually get sick. You have to stop fighting so hard for the right to be able to be sick and start fighting for the right to wellness. It won't always come to you through the doctor or through medication. Sometimes you have to knock down the walls that are holding you still. I realize that every person with fibro has their own unique set of ailments and diagnoses, but it's up to you to take the reigns of your condition and take control. The doctor's interest is not your interest. I plan to keep digging my way out and I hope you can make a plan to get out also.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Public Shaming Disabled People and Other Thoughts

I have a friend, who like myself, is suffering the effects of having fibromyalgia in a society that doesn't like to face the fact that there are disabled people around them who might need a helping hand. She has applied and been denied disability through Social Security multiple times and has to work in order to support her children and herself and she is getting grief from her co-workers about taking time off when she is ill.

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that when a person feels bad while at work, they are not able to function as well as the other workers. Why is it so difficult for our government agency that is supposed to be helping in these situations to step up to the plate and give these people a little help or let them collect the disability that is there for them? Are we so sure that a majority of people trying to get aid are really able to work and don't need aid, that we are willing to let people who need aid "fall through the cracks" and suffer?

When I talk to this friend, I'm reminded of my own struggle to get help. I had to reapply several times before I finally was able to get disability and then, it was the lowest amount they could award and not enough to support me. I only got awarded, my worker told me, because I had several chronic conditions that aggravated each other, or I would have never been able to get help. Even now, I am scrutinized by the agency continually to make sure I "deserve" to get disability. Every where I go, everything I do, I have to worry if someone is going to decide that I'm not "worthy" or that I'm faking my disability. Even though I know that I need to be parked close to the doors at the supermarket, I have to worry that someone will see me park and get out and walk into the store without a wheelchair or cane and will decide that I'm not disabled (they need to remain around to see me drag myself out, exhausted, after a mere grocery shopping trip to get a load of what I look like when I've used all my reserves on something so mundane). I have people who innocently ask me why I can't work at a business to support my family if I can work from home to do so. I have to patiently explain that most bosses won't allow workers to drop what they are doing and nap mid way through their shift, or spend an hour staring off into space when they should be attending to work. I get asked how I can get laundry done, do dishes, volunteer at something,etc. They feel I need to explain my movements to them. 

To the "nay sayers" I say, "Are you a medical profession that knows my history and case? Because if you aren't then why are you second guessing my doctor's advice to use a parking placard, get in a walk every day, try to stay as active as possible, and be on disability?" What do you know about me and my story that you feel I should be ashamed about what I do during my day? What gives you the right to judge someone else? Do you really think that I want this life? That I looked forward to and worked towards having an aching, sore body? That I want to be trying to live my life while sleep deprived and exhausted? Do you think people chose that? I always hear people say, " and so is really just trying to get attention". REALLY?! I have plenty of talents and abilities that can get me positive attention, why would I seek negative attention?

My advice to you, pay attention to the areas of your own life that could use a little work and stop worrying about what I do. When you are around someone with a disability, attempt to use kindness to deal with that person. They can stand to hear something positive and uplifting and not be shamed about something that they often have no control over. Treat them like you, yourself, would care to be treated. Our world can use a little more positive kindness and a little less negative meanness.

That is all, go about your day...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

More Studies Done on the Good Effects from Knitting

I found another article about studies done on how knitting and other textile hand crafts can improve mood. Not only that, but what really caught my eye on this one is that they say they have found that knitting also helps with inflammation. Since I'm trying to lower inflammation right now through exercise and diet, that is particularly interesting to me.

I've been working on reviving my energy towards my knitting lately. I'm working on knitting up some things to sell on ebay and for members of my little group of family and friends. I started off yesterday by working up some fingerless gloves for myself. I'm having joint pain issues in my thumb again so I decided that I need to have gloves to keep the joint at the base of my thumb warm while I knit. They worked up so quickly that I plan to make a couple pairs to sell as well.

fingerless gloves/mitts in acrylic yarn

I'm also doing some research on how my fibro affects my spirituality or my spirituality affects my fibro. I know that when I'm not fogging out and sleep deprived, I tend to delve more deeply into everything spirtual.
Well, back to knitting and meditating.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Invisible Disabilities

I'm reading an ongoing discussion on one of the facebook groups I'm on for knitters and I just have to say, I think that people who deal with invisible disabilities have to be some of the most resilient and strong people around. They not only deal with pain and suffering from their illness and how to cope with that, but they also have to cope with other people who are judgmental and cruel, who make unsolicited comments and have attitudes that bully and hurt. I know that people will all kinds of disabilities have to deal with that some, but it just seems more prevalent with people dealing with something that isn't immediately obvious to the observer.

Unfortunately,  it isn't usually a stranger, but someone they know well, who lives with them or comes to their home that makes the comments, gives the exasperated expression, etc. As a person who has had fibromyalgia for a few years, I know that I am on the sensitive side and tend to pick up on it way too easily. I have to resist the urge to immediately defend my actions, when I really shouldn't ever have to.

I have to say that I'm really lucky to have the family that I have. They support without judgement and understand that pain isn't something that a person "chooses" to have in order to get attention. They know that I would give anything to be able to work and support myself instead of depending on the Government to support me. They know how important it is to me to be able to do all that I physically can before I ask for help for something and when I do ask, they know that it's my last resort and I don't do it for attention.

Its my prayer that everyone else can have the same support and love from the people that are important to them.

Gentle Hugs

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hand stretching exercises for knitters

I always hear people on the different knitting groups talking about the arthritis, and other types of pain that they have in their hands. There are a plethora of products to help with it. On one of my earlier posts on this blog I put a link to a site where you can buy gloves to help with the problem.

Well, today I actually found some exercises to help with the pain. My own remedy is to take frequent breaks or to switch up to another type of craft or way to hold your needles to give certain muscles and joints a break. When I take a break, I usually stretch my hands and rub lotion into them to help. I really look forward to trying out these exercises.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Latest Attempts at Getting Healthy

I was looking at my daughter and the somewhat morbid thought ran through my head, "What would happen to the kids if I were to die young like their father did" and it startled me. I realize that as much as I love both of them, they aren't ready to go it alone yet. Age is a number only. Even if your child is an adult, there isn't a magical cut off date when they'll be ready to move out on their own. Through no fault of their own, or any fault of Randy and I, they just are not ready yet, either emotionally or psychologically to do it on their own.

So that made me realize, that until they are ready, I need to do what I can to get healthy. That means I need to stop making excuses for why I'm not watching what I eat and I'm not getting regular exercise. No more blaming my lack of motion on my fibromyalgia and arthritis and no more telling myself that it is too hard to eat properly to deal with my diabetes. I just have to get on it.

I went to my doctor last week and let her know that I want to start the Veteran's Administration's M.O.V.E. program for weight loss and exercise. I got signed up on Friday and saw a nutritionist. The put in a referral for my doctor to ok me to visit the gym on the hospital campus and  to go to meetings for weight loss support. I started yesterday officially, but today I went to the park and got exercise by walking my dog. I also got a blog started to track my weight loss and blood sugar and to encourage myself to keep going.

This is me and Shadow at Spanaway Park in Washington (near my home in Lakewood). You may notice that I have my knitting bag on my arm. It goes with me everywhere, and yes, I did stop at one point and do some public knitting.Haha!

So wish me luck. I'm hoping the exercise and weight loss will help me with all my health problems, including my fibromyalgia. I will keep everyone updated on my progress, hopefully without boring everyone to tears with it.LOL