And the Winner is…..

I want to thank all of you for reading my blog this week as I’ve written about Fibromyalgia. It’s been a week full of helpful information. I’ve shared some and each of you have shared some. We have worked together as a team of advocates for each other. I hope that each of you wore your purple today. My kids’ graduation party was today and my daughter told everyone to wear purple to honor and support me and ultimately each of you today. I was very touched by it. And each person wore something purple. Here is the purple bunch:

Some didn’t have a purple shirt so they did something else with purple. Lauren’s soccer coach came and she wore a necklace with purple beads. My son’s girlfriend didn’t have anything purple so she painted her nails purple. I was honored!

Ok – all week long each of you have been commenting as entries for today’s giveaway for the free Fight Like A Girl Club purple tee shirt.

I did the drawing the old fashion way. I couldn’t each entry, wrote each name that number of times, cut the pieces up and folded them. Then I put them in a bowl and drew one. I know there are easier ways to do giveaways now but I just haven’t had time to sit down and figure it out this week. So I took a picture of each step and I’m hoping you will trust that I am an honest person. Here’s the process:

Joy, please feel free to email me your size and snail mail address and I will order your shirt for you as soon as I receive your information. My email address is SoccerMomtoMandL@comcast.net

Congratulations! And thank all of you for stopping by this week.

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Helping Our Family/Friends Understand Fibromyalgia

Today’s topic is about what our families can do to help us and how we can help them to understand the road of Fibromyalgia. I realize that many who fight the fibro fight do not have the benefit of a supportive family. That breaks my heart. I have a wonderful support system – from friends to family.

As you found out from me yesterday you know that my Fibro “woke up” after I had my son in 1993. So, sadly, all my children have known is me being sick. That really breaks my heart. I work hard to try to be as normal as I can for them. Somedays that is harder than others. But my husband has always supported me. The key to building a support system is information. Unfortunately, because Fibro falls into the realm of an “Invisible Illness” it is hard for people to really grasp how we feel.

My amazingly supportive husband and children:

 

Some of the ways we can educate our family members is having a family meeting and explaining what’s going on inside your skin and let them all ask you questions. You can send them links to websites that explain the symptoms and what it is like for you living day to day. Be open and honest. If you are having a bad day, tell them. Because they can’t see how sick you are the only way they are going to know is if you tell them. Consider reading up on and following the Spoon Theory. I posted an entry a year or so ago about this theory. You can follow the link to that post. It is a great visual way to let those around you know how you are doing. There are links in that entry that will take you to the original Spoon Theory site – which will provide a huge system of information and support. There are wonderful websites available full of information and ideas about living day to day with a chronic illness.

Finally one way that I wanted to end with is consider writing your family/friends a letter. You can find a lot of sample letters online. But here is a great one. I’ll post the link to the site. But for the sake of concluding this topic I will copy and paste the letter here.

In closing don’t forget to comment so that you will be included in the giveaway on Fibromyalgia Awareness Day Saturday May 12th.

LOVE LETTER TO NORMALS

by Claudia Marek

Here is my letter written to explain to family and friends what it’s like to have fibromyalgia. It won’t work miracles: it’s hard to understand our illness from the outside looking in.  But it is a start and can open the door to important dialogues. You are all welcome to use it, either as is, or as a basis for writing your own.  Remember that you have a responsibility to tell those close to you what is wrong and communicate as clearly as you can how you feel and what you need.  The best time to do that is when you are not upset!

Fibromyalgia isn’t all in my head, and it isn’t contagious. It doesn’t turn into anything serious and nobody ever died from fibromyalgia (thought they might have wished they could on really awful days!!)  If you want to read articles or books about fibromyalgia I can show you some that I think are good. If you just want to learn as we go along, that’s fine too. This is definitely going to be a process. The first step is for you to believe that there is an illness called fibromyalgia and that I have it. This may sound simple, but when you hear about my symptoms I don’t want you to think I’m making this all up as I go along.

Fibromyalgia is a high maintenance condition with lots and lots of different kinds of symptoms. There’s no way to just take a pill to make it go away, even for a little while. Sometimes a certain medication can make some of my symptoms more bearable. That’s about the best I can hope for. Other times I may take a lot of medication and still won’t feel any better. That’s just the way it goes. I can’t control how often I feel good or when I’m going to feel terrible. Lots of people have been cutting new drugs advertisements out of magazines for me and I appreciate the thought, but I’ve seen them too.  Look at the list of side effects and the few symptoms they help in return.  Even in the best studies those expensive compounds didn’t help over half the people who tried them.  No matter how happy the people in the pictures look, there’s still no miracle drug available.

There’s no cure for fibromyalgia and it won’t go away. If I am functioning normally, I am having a good day. This doesn’t mean I’m getting better — I suffer from chronic pain and fatigue for which there is no cure. I can have good days, several good weeks or even months. But a good morning can suddenly turn into a terrible afternoon. I get a feeling like someone has pulled out a plug and all my energy has just run out of my body. I might get more irritable before these flares, and suddenly get more sensitive to noise or just collapse from deadening fatigue. Weather changes can have a big effect on how I feel.  Other times there may be no warning, I may just suddenly feel awful. I can’t warn you when this is likely to happen because there isn’t any way for me to know. Sometimes this is a real spoiler and I’m sorry. The sadness I feel for what my illness does to those around me is more than I can easily describe.  You may remember me as a light-hearted fun loving person — and it hurts me that I am no longer what I was.

Fibromyalgics have a different kind of pain that is hard to treat. It is not caused by inflammation like an injury. It is not a constant ache in one place like a broken bone. It moves around my body daily and hourly and changes in severity and type. Sometimes it is dull and sometimes it is cramping or prickly. Sometimes it’s jabbing and excruciating. If Eskimos have a hundred words for snow, fibromyalgics should have a hundred words for pain. Sometimes I just hurt all over like I’ve been beaten up or run over by a truck.  Sometimes I feel too tired to lift up my arm.

Besides pain, I have muscle stiffness which is worse in the morning and evenings. Sometimes when I get up out of a chair I feel like I am ninety years old. I may have to ask you to help me up. I’m creaky and I’m klutzy. I trip over things no one can see, and I bump into the person I am walking with and I drop things and spill things because my fingers are stiff and my coordination is off. I just don’t seem to connect the way I should. Hand-eye, foot-eye coordination, it’s all off. I walk slowly up and down stairs because I’m stiff and I’m afraid I might fall. When there’s no railing to hold on to, it’s terrifying.

Because I feel bad most of the time, I am always pushing myself, and sometimes I just push myself too hard. When I do this, I pay the price. Sometimes I can summon the strength to do something special but I will usually have to rest for a few days afterwards because my body can only make so much energy. I pay a big price for overdoing it, but sometimes I have to. I know it’s hard for you to understand why I can do one thing and not another. It’s important for you to believe me, and trust me about this. My limitations, like my pain and my other symptoms are invisible, but they are real.

Another symptom I have is problems with memory and concentration which is called fibrofog. Short-term memory is the worst! I am constantly looking for things. I have no idea where I put down my purse, and I walk into rooms and have no idea why. Casualties are my keys which are always lost, my list of errands, which I write up and leave on the counter when I go out. Even if I put notes around to remind myself of important things, I’m still liable to forget them. Don’t worry, this is normal for fibromyalgics. Most of us are frightened that we are getting Alzheimer’s. New kinds of brain scans have actually documented differences in our brains.

I mentioned my sensitivities earlier and I need to talk about them again. It’s more like an intolerance to everything. Noise, especially certain noises like the television or shrill noises can make me jittery and anxious. Smells like fish or some chemicals, or fragrances or perfume can give me headaches and nausea. I also have a problem with heat and cold. It sounds like I’m never happy but that isn’t it. These things make me physically ill. They stress me out and make my pain worse and I get exhausted. Sometimes I just need to get away from something, I just don’t know how else to say it. I know sometimes this means I will have to go outside, or out to the car, or go home to sit alone and that’s really all right. I don’t want or need you to give up doing what’s important to you. That would only make me feel worse.  Sometimes when I feel lousy I just want to be by myself. When I’m like this there’s nothing you can do to make me feel better, so it’s just better to let me be.

I have problems sleeping. Sometimes I get really restless and wake up and can’t get back to sleep. Other times I fall into bed and sleep for fourteen hours and still be tired. Some nights I’ll toss and turn and not be able to sleep at all. Every little thing will keep me awake.  I’m sure that’s confusing to be around, and I know there are times when my tossing and turning and getting up and down to go to the bathroom disturbs you. We can talk about solutions to this.

All these symptoms and the chemical changes in my brain from pain and fatigue can make me depressed as you’d imagine. I get angry and frustrated and I have mood swings. Sometimes I know I’m being unreasonable but I can’t admit it. Sometimes I just want to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed. These emotions are all very strong and powerful. I know this is a very hard thing about being with me. Every time you put up with me when I’m in one of my moods, secretly I’m grateful. I can’t always admit it at the time, but I’m admitting it now. One thing I can tell you is it won’t help to tell me I’m irrational.  I know I am, but I can’t help it when it’s happening.

I have other symptoms like irritable bowel, muscle spasms and pelvic pain that will take their toll on our intimacies. Some of these symptoms are embarrassing and hard to talk about but I promise to try. I hope that you will have the patience to see me through these things. It’s very hard for me too because I love you and I want to be with you, and it makes everything worse when you are upset and tired of dealing with all my problems. I have made a promise to myself and now I am making it to you: I will set aside time for us to be close. During that time we will not talk about my illness. We both need time to get away from its demands. Though I may not always show it I love you a million times more for standing by me. Having to slow down physically and having to get rid of unnecessary stresses will make our relationship stronger.

A Week of Fibromyalgia Information Ending With A Giveaway

Fibromyalgia is a mystery. There are a lot of different aspects to this chronic illness. It is a chronic pain and chronic fatigue illness. There are nearly as many different symptoms as their are cases it seems like. The primary symptoms are widespread overall chronic pain, chronic fatigue without exertion and sleep problems. Other symptoms characteristic of Fibromyalgia include dizziness, migraines, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), tingling, numbness for no apparent reason, skin irritations, Fibro-Fog, stiffness, muscle spasms, painful menstrual cramps, Anxiety, nerve pain, stabbing pain…. The list is just endless at times. A lot of people seem to lump it in the category with arthritis, which really isn’t correct. The way I have explained it is Fibromyalgia is to the muscles what arthritis is to the joints. I call them cousins.

There are just about as many different beliefs on what causes it as there are symptoms. I could list all of them but I’m just going to tell you the explanation that I’ve come to believe is true. There are no tests that tell you you have it. It’s basically a process of elimination. They test you for everything they can think of. When all of those tests come back normal and you still have all the symptoms then they finally tell you that you have Fibromyalgia. What I have learned in my 18 years of battling with it is that it seems to be hereditary. I have a large family on my maternal side. In each case where a girl is the firstborn that girl ends up with it eventually. I believe it sits dormant in your genetic makeup until some traumatic physical event “wakes it up”. And then That’s all she wrote! For a number of people I have come across it has been a car accident, a fall, childbirth (as is my case) or even a traumatic emotional event. It seems to be something that “shocks” the body. It’s like this event occurs and shakes things up physically and the fibro is triggered and becomes active.

Now the medical field has a bunch of different explanations for it but I believe my simple explanation seems to narrow down to a laypersons terminology. It seems to affect women the majority of the time although a small percentage of patients are also men. It’s even known to affect children.

That is all just a brief run down of the tip of the iceberg of Fibromyalgia. There are a whole lot of medical terminology I could tell you – none of which I would explain properly – none of which either of us would really understand. I’m all about the easy descriptions. I’m a visual learner so I like to put things into visual terminology so I can make some kind of sense of it.

May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month. May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. You can show your support by spreading awareness and encouraging further research so that we can get better medications to treat it and bring about clearer answers for those of us who battle it daily. Our support color is purple. So if you see me on Facebook or Twitter you may see my plea for you to wear purple on May 12th to shine a light on an illness little is known about. We appreciate your support.

Throughout this week I will be posting each day a little something extra about the illness. Saturday I will culminate the week by hosting a giveaway. The only requirements for entering is to post a comment each day that you visit – One comment per day please – On Saturday I will pool all the names in “the hat” and draw one for a Fight Like A Girl Purple Tee Shirt. Check out their website. It’s awesome and a wonder source of support and information about a lot of different illnesses. So visit and comment. The more times you comment – the more times your name goes “in the pot” for Saturday’s drawing.

 

A Free Gift For You as A Thank You From Me

I have been challenged to reach the next income level in Advocare! The challenge is to reach a certain number of orders in product by midnight tonight – EST. I have decided to offer you a special gift if you can help me. This will work out for both of us!

This will be a great time to do some Christmas shopping, stock up on your Spark or other products and ask any questions you might have. If you have not heard of Advocare – it is a health/wellness/weight loss line that was originally created specifically for professional athletes in 1993. However, not long after that it came out of the locker room into our homes. Advocare has numerous professional athletes as UNPAID endorsers. We have a full time Science-Medical Board team that works constantly on making products better to help people live healthier lives.

This line of products have really changed my life. As you know, I have Fibromyalgia. The fatigue that goes along with Fibro has been the thorn in my flesh for the last few years. Advocare Spark has all but wiped that out. Spark is full of vitamins and minerals that get me going in the morning and keep me going all day long. Truly – it has made all the difference in the world for me.

Spark comes in 7 different flavors

Another product that has really helped me feel better is BioTools. The BioTools product work on bringing internal balance to your body systems and work on muscle recovery among other things. However, the greatest thing that BioTools has done for me is balance out my gastrointestinal system. Irritable Bowels Syndrome (IBS) is also a physical condition that usually accompanies Fibromyalgia. BioTools has truly wiped out my IBS. I will never go without it. If you’ve ever been grounded to the house because of IBS then you know what a great relief it is to find something to help.

BioTools - Two products in one package

Now for my special gift for you for helping me today – all orders of $25 or more will receive a free Blender Bottle from me as a special thank you.

A free Blender bottle as a thank you

I can’t tell you how much I thank you for your help. This will mean the world to me. You can order straight from my site. Click any link I’ve included in this post and you’re there. Feel free to ask me any questions.

Skinny Shirts

A while ago I posted an entry about how much I disliked visiting a blog and finding a Giveaway. However, after all this time and all the giveaways – and after hosting some of my own giveaways and after winning a couple of them – I’m singing a different tune.  HAHA! I have discovered a lot of really cool products. I have not made it my full time job as it appears to be for some people. But if I come across something really cool I will jump through the hoops and climbing through the obstacle courses some blogs require in order to enter.

One such giveaway is going on right now. And yes one of the requirements is to share it. I usually would just skip over that requirement and opt out. But this looks really cool actually. I’ve never heard of this product and I don’t mind sharing it – even though that would mean it lessens my chance of winning. I know there are a number of women out there like me who have some extra pounds cushioning themselves – which in turn adds to extra rolls in unsightly places. This product seems to be helpful in smoothing those spots out.

I have a drawer full of spanks of various types to hide and smooth and suck in fat here there and everywhere. I would love to add one of these Skinny Shirts to my collection. I’m a clothes hound and have outfits for every situation. This product looks really cool as well. What do you think? Click over to my friend Karen’s blog, Mommy’s Moments,  and check out the giveaway.

“We’ve Let Ourselves Down So Many Times That Now We’re Nearly Hopeless”

This entry is a continuation of quotes from Beth Moore’s book Get Out Of That Pit, which I am giving away here tonight at 7:00 p.m. There are just so many great points she makes in the book that I couldn’t get them all in one entry yesterday. So here is part 2. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready to be blessed and challenged as only God can do – through Beth. Just as yesterday’s post these quotes come directly from her book Get Out Of That Pit.

People can help us but they can’t heal us. People can lift us but they can’t carry us. On occasion people can pull us out of a pit, but they cannot keep us out. Nor can they set our feet upon a rock

Only God can change with us through the length and depth of our need.

He can see straight through {us}. He knows when we’re kidding others. He knows when we’re kidding ourselves. Knowing all we are, all we feel and all we hide, God overflows with love and willingness to deliver us.

Isaiah 30:18 – YEs the Lord longs to be gracious to you;..he rises to show you compassion.

IF you will take God up on what He offers so that you can live in victory, you will find thankfulness in your heart for every person who let you down. For ultimately, their failure set you up for this most ecstatic relationship you will ever experience.

Here’s the deal: God wants everything you’ve got. Uncontested priority. Every egg in one basket. All your weight on one limb. This very moment He has His fingers gripped on your chin saying “Right here, Child. Look right here. Don’t look right or left. Stare straight into My face. I am your Deliverer. There is none like Me.”

He alone must deliver you or you will never be free.

Spit out sins of pride. Nothing contributes more to the length of our stay in the pit. Pride is the number one reason why a person who knows better remains reluctant to cry out to God.

He initiates conversation through conviction, and we answer back through confession.

In our Christian circles, we constantly talk about putting our past behind us. That’s not good enough. It’s too easy for us to turn around and pick it up again. We want our past behind God’s back. That way we’ll have to go through God to get back to it.

For most of us who have failed over and over, our faith nearly disintegrated because somewhere along the way we confused faith in God with faith in ourselves. We’ve let ourselves down so many times that now we’re nearly hopeless.

On day s when you feel down, overwhelmed, or discouraged, get to your Scriptures and pray all the faster. On the days when you want to do it least, do it most. Be onto the enemy’s devices. He knows that if he can make you quit praying, he can make you stay in the pit. When the battle heats up, rest assured that you’re worrying your enemy, and he’s trying to distract or discredit you.

What you do, don’t quite. Show the enemy that if he messes with you, you’ll just call out God’s Word all the more. Nothing does him damage like the Sword of the Spirit {scripture}.

Nobody gets the right to keep you in a pit or to shame you for bailing…The healthier we get, the more we realize how unhealthy we were.

Don’t let the enemy tempt you into developing a prideful spirit because you are out {of the pit} and {someone else} is still in. Pride is the fastest track back.

WOW now that is some good stuff! I love how Beth just tells it like it is, don’t you? “Nobody has the right to keep you in a pit or shame you for bailing” – “We’ve let ourselves down so many times that now we’re nearly hopeless.” – “Nothing contributes more to the length of our stay in the pit {than pride”.” People can help us but they can’t heal us.” That last one was a lightbulb moment for me. God is everything we need in every situation. He is our deliverer. We just have to reach up and take his hand and allow him to pull us up.

If these two days of messages from Get Out Of That Pit has spoken to your spirit I would love to hear about it. If you have questions or needs please let me know. I know that this book will help you in ways you don’t even understand yet. If you feel a tug to check it out that is something within you telling you that there is a message for you here. Stop by and enter the giveaway. It ends tonight at 7:00 p.m. Follow your heart. I bought this book especially for someone for this week. I already had a copy but when I was walking around Lifeway the other day it jumped out at me. The Spirit was speaking to me and I felt I needed to buy it and give it away to someone. He has already picked out who it is going to. I am blessed to be the bridge between you and God through this book.

Are You Wallowing In A Pit?

I am running a giveaway this week for Beth Moore’s book Get Out of That Pit – Straight Talk About God’s Deliverance. You can enter the giveaway here. To give you an idea of what the book is about I thought I would share some quotes with you that I underlined when I read the book the first two times. Beth’s writing style is very easy to understand. And she often writes as if she knows me personally and I have shared every secret of my life with her. I think you will find the same is true for you. So the rest of this entry will be quotes taken directly from the book. I share a piece of my heart with you at the end.

Psalm 40:1-3 – “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

Isaiah 42:22 says that a pit is a place where you feel trapped….you can’t get yourself out.

I beg you to see that your enemy has a tremendous investment not only in digging and camouflaging a pit in your pathway but also, should you tumble down, in convincing you to stay there after you fall in….a pit is a early grave that Satan digs for you in hopes he can bury you alive. Should you fall into it, make no mistake; he cannot make you stay. Ironically, neither will God make you leave. Like it or not, some things are simply up to us.

Grudges…my grudge against people who hurt me only strengthened the grip of my bondage to them…our grudges only work to further entangle and enmesh us with the persons we won’t forgive.

I hate how the enemy uses the guilt over how you got into a pit to trap you into never getting out.

Satan’s definitive goal is to reap destruction, but that’s rarely his starting point. His usual opening is distraction. Scripture has a name for a small distract that become a big distraction. It’s called a stronghold. Anything that become a bigger preoccupation in your mind than the truth and knowledge of God, anything that dwarfs His truth and knowledge in your imagination, is a stronghold.

He {Satan} has no intention of allowing the new focus to remain a simple distraction. The next step is addiction. You see, a stronghold is something we have. A pit is somewhere we live…if only for a little while. An addiction is a highly effective way for something you have (a sin-induced problem) to turn in to some place you live (a sin-induced pit). Defeat becomes a lifestyle.

Addiciton is not his goal. Destruction is. He wants to destroy our lives, our callings, our sense of godly significance, our personal intimacy with God, and every relationship that matters to us. The movement toward destruction is progressive, from one tiny step to the next in little increments that you don’t even notice.

Nothing is more futile or leaves us more fractured than trusting man to be our god.

People can help us but they can’t heal us. People can lift us but they can’t carry us. On occasion people can pull us out of the bit, but they cannot keep us out. Nor can they set our feet upon a rock.

Those are just a few things that spoke to me from the book. This book, along with the Word of God and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit can help us stay out of the pit of strongholds we have allowed in our life. God used this book to change my life. I know He can and will do the same for you. Please enter the giveaway here and take the first step to deliverance from the pit of strongholds that have a grip on you and your life.

I had so many strongholds in my life that I didn’t know if I could live beyond them. I didn’t even recognize them as the work of Satan. My heart truly aches for others who I can clearly recognize as living in a pit and being controlled by their strongholds. Someone very close to me is in that situation right now. I have tried to open their eyes to what they are doing. I want nothing more than to reach down and pull them out and hold them until they realize what they are doing to themselves and their family. But I cannot change them. I think that’s what hurts above all else – knowing that my love for them cannot set them free. At this point all I can do is pray for them. I pray that they will recognize where they are and what their actions are doing to affect every relationship they are in and every life that they touch. If I could just get them to sit down long enough to read this book I think the Lord could reveal to them the things that I see happening. Until then all I can do is pray. Deliverance is so liberating! Waking up every day knowing that you are set free from what has held you in that pit for so long is a feeling you can’t describe. I want to shout it from the rooftops. That’s why I’m shouting it here from my blog and providing a copy of this wonderful book to one who needs it. I have poured out my heart. My desire is to  help others live a liberated life. Believe it..accept it…and win!