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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Variations of Fibromyalgia Treatments – What Works and What Doesn’t?

Yesterday was an exhausting day for me. That’s why things were quiet here on The Journey. Today is a bit better so I am baaaaacccckkkkk. Part of the problem is that yesterday were MIchael and Lauren’s final full day of school. I was very emotional about it. I remember each of their first days of Kindergarten and now they done with their final regular day of their senior year. They just have to go a couple more times to take 3 exams they weren’t exempt from. So in addition to working around here between rest periods I decided to torture myself by looking at their baby books. DUMB IDEA!!! I don’t recommend it on a day like yesterday. It’s getting more and more difficult to claim denial now. Their graduation party is tomorrow and graduation is one week away. UGH!!

Ok – enough of that. You came to read about Fibromyalgia. I thought today I would talk about some of the different treatments that I have tried. Maybe I’ve tried something that you haven’t thought about so we can keep learning from each other. Just like the other day feel free to leave comments about things that you have tried – whether they’ve helped or not. What doesn’t help you may help someone else and vice versa. Plus remember that each comment you leave will enter you in the Fight LIke A Girl tee shirt giveaway tomorrow. By the way, the drawing will be in the evening since we will be covered up with a double graduation party most of the day.

Of course I think I’ve tried every anti-depressant and pain medicine available on the market. The combination I’m taking now seems to be working. In addition to Fibromyalgia I also have chronic depression and anxiety disorder. I’m just gonna list the things I can remember that I’ve taken. Here we go: Wellbutrin, Paxil, Prozac, Neurontin, Lexapro, Cymbalta, Lyrica, Ambien, Trazadone, Celexa, Elavil, Zanaflex, Robaxin, Ultram, Vicodin, Percocet, Nucynta, Morphine, Fentanyl, Actiq, Effexor, Pristiq, Zoloft, Darvocet, Xanax, Ativan, Demerol, Elavil, Lortab. Ok I think that’s all I can remember. I’m sure there are more. Sometimes the side effects were too much for me. Sometimes they stopped working so we had to change. Sometimes I just got no benefit from them at all. It’s all part of the “game”. It’s just a fact of life. Finding the right combination can take a while. Just be patient and try what they doctor suggests. If he’s a doctor you trust then all he’s trying to do is find the right magic formula for your system.

I’ve also had various procedures done. I’ve had trigger point injections, which is a lidocaine injection to the trigger points bothering you the most. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works short term and sometime you get a lasting benefit. I’ve had nerve blocks. I’ve had Radio-Frequency Ablation, which is when certain nerve endings are carterized to block the pain signal. The first time I had it done it worked beautifully. Because the nerve endings regernerate themselves the procedure has to be repeated. When I had it done for a second time a year later it wasn’t as successful. I’ve had Botox injections – not for wrinkles – but for the expectation of pain relief they discovered helped people who suffered with headaches.

I’ve been treated by a chiropractor. I’ve had massages. I’ve used electrical stimulation to relax muscles. I’ve gone to rehab a number of times for therapy. I’ve had acupuncture. I’ve done Yoga – which is really nice and does work for me when done consistently.

I’ve used various homeopathic remedies. I’m currently using Advocare – which is really helping a lot. I use Spark and the BioTools products daily. I can tell a real difference in my fatigue levels and pain levels when I don’t use them. I was really impressed with the benefit I got so I signed up to sell it for the discount. I’d be glad to send you some samples if you would like to try it yourself.

Spark comes in 7 different flavors

BioTools – Two products in one package

As I said earlier, it can take a long time to find the magic formula for you. Try not to get discouraged – I know that is so hard. But there is no healing pill you can take and get better. Fibromyalgia is a lifelong battle. Eventually you can get to the point where YOU control IT instead of IT controlling YOU. Don’t give up! Because that’s definitely not gonna do any good. Keep trying until you find the right thing for you. My current medication formula, massage, Advocare and pacing myself is working for me.

Now it’s your turn – comment! Tell us what you’ve tried! What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? I’m taking notes!

Making Fibromyalgia Easier to Live With

Once you’ve learned about Fibromyalgia and helped your family/friends to understand it, then it’s time to find out how to make changes to your life that will make it easier. Some things that I suggest will be common sense and some of them may be things that you might never have thought of. Feel free to leave any suggestions you have when you comment (for the giveaway).

First and foremost you need a doctor you can connect with who really cares about finding a way to help you. It takes a lot of doctors to find the right one. I didn’t really find the right one till about 7 years into my Fibro battle. I had to “kiss” a lot of frogs to get to my prince of a doctor. I found my doctor at a Pain Management office. I’ve been going to Dr. Nwofia for about 9 years or so. Finding a compassionate doctor is not easy but when you do find them hang on tight and work your medical plan TOGETHER! You have to trust them. That means giving up some control. But if they show themselves worthy of your trust that won’t be hard to do.

Medication is a must. Some are helpful and some are not. It’s a long process to get there. What I’ve found is that using certain products available over the counter is crap shoot. You might end up with a perfect score or you might fail miserably and walk away with nothing. On average very few items available OTC help me. But about a year ago I came across a product line called Salonpas. The two items in the line that help me are their pain patches and their massaging foam. I first found them at Walgreens but now we buy them in bulk at Costco. They have large patches that you can cut up and put on different places. The bulk package is small patches. They stick very well. Each patch works for 8 hours. A lot of times Salonpas works when my narcotic pain medicine doesn’t. I use the foam for places that a patch wouldn’t stick – like in my hair line or on my foot/ankle. We all use them around here. They’ve come in handy for the kids for soccer as well.

The last thing I will talk about (even though I could go all day on this topic) is my car. About the time we moved back to Tennessee and I began getting serious about finding some answers I was driving a Toyota Camry. I started noticing that my low back and my knees were hurting badly when I would get in/out of the car. The movement of bending to get in/out was putting pressure on my tender points. We decided to go car shopping. I was on the hunt for the perfect comfortable vehicle. I found it.My Hyundai Santa Fe is the perfect height. I just slide in and slide out. There’s no bending or stretching. A lot of my pain issues have been solved by getting a car that sits up off the ground more and is level with my backside. It takes a lot of pressure off my low back, knees and ankles.

Another product that we bought a few years ago that has made an incredible difference is a Cuddle Ewe underquilt. Oh my word!! It’s like sleeping on a cloud. That morning stiffness you have that takes at least an hour to shake off – GONE! Sleeping is much more pleasant. It is incredibly comfortable. They aren’t cheap but worth ever red cent you have to scrimp together to buy it. I wish we had discovered it much earlier.

My next goal to solve some of my real issues is to buy a house with no stairs. When we bought/built this house 6 years ago the stairs weren’t really an issue. But in those few years they truly have become a problem for me. I can see in the future that they will only be more problematic.

I’ve also discovered that using a laptop instead of a desktop computer is easier on me. I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that sitting at a desk is very hard on my back. With a laptop I am able to sit comfortable to work.

Now I’m ready to hear some of your ideas. Don’t forget that leaving a comment enters you in the drawing for a free purple Fight Like A Girl tee shirt on Saturday. Pass it on – this is information everyone could benefit from.

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.

 

Review and Giveaway for a Glass of Energy

I would like to thank my friend Karen for reviewing and hosting a giveaway of the most popular Advocare product in the health and wellness product line, SPARK! I have written about Spark before. But just as way of reminder I discovered (through a friend) this product in May. I have used it every single day since then and honestly (and that’s the only way I’m gonna be about my Advocare venture) I feel like a different person. Yes, it helped from the beginning. But I must say that the benefits I got at the beginning of using it, though I thought they were great, were marginally compared to the how much better I feel now after almost 3 months of regular use. I have even had bronchitis all summer. And I can still say that Spark has helped me feel almost normal again. I am considering asking my doctor to not renew one of my meds tomorrow when I go see him because I think I can do without it.

The way to get the word out about Spark is via word of mouth and social media. If you have tried it I would love to hear about it. Send people my way. You can find my Advocare website at this link. Keep in mind that the longer you use it the better you will feel. Like I said above I just thought it made me feel better in the beginning. Now I can see that was just the beginning. Consistent use makes all the difference in the world.

Thanks Karen for reviewing Spark and hosting this giveaway on your site. I look forward to reaching new people who need a Glass of Energy! Readers, swing by Karen’s site and enter the giveaway. You will also find a LOT of other good giveaways that she hosts. You can get there from here!

“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!