Blessing After Blessing

I have come to Ohio. It is January. And it is snowing! Ron has gone out of town a for a week+. I was supposed to go with him but he forgot to get me a ticket till the last minute when it would cost too much. So I decided I would just come to Ohio. Of course since I’m coming it decided it was time to snow and get cold because I love it SOOOOOOO much!!! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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As soon as I got here Faith jumped up with dad and they took a nap. She loves it here. She loves me and everything but she loves papaw’s lap for napping and she loves following mamaw around wherever she goes. She does still sleep with me at night. When it comes time to leave she knows it’s time to leave but till then she knows where the treats come from, I have to admit that.

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Monday was my weigh in/measure day (Day 11) of my 24 Day Challenge. I couldn’t wait to get here to use Mom’s scale. I mistakenly stepped on my scale one day last week and the dumb thing said 200 pounds. I was convinced it was broken because I had already stepped on the scale at my doctor last Monday and knew I had passed the 200 mark. So I told Ron and he stood right up, got the scale, took it in the garage and threw it away. I was thrilled!!! Of course now that meant that I didn’t have a scale. But who wants a broken one anyway. He said I could use the one at the doctor once a month when I go to the doctor once a month anyway – which is a good idea actually. Now I don’t feel the draw of the dumb thing when I walk past the bathroom anymore. So this one time I needed it on a day when I happened to be at Mom’s house. I grabbed her tape measure – took my measurements and stepped on those scales. So my day 11 results show that I was down 7 pounds and 13 inches. I was so proud!!

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So now I’m on days 11-24. Those days are easier compared to the first 10 days. I brought my food with me up here. I haven’t exercised yet. I was using the 24 Day Challenge Exercise DVD at home. But I knew I couldn’t use that here. Mom/Dad don’t have a DVD player here. Well, they do but it’s not in a place where I could exercise as well. I started doing some floor exercises that I did before when I was working on losing weight in 2009.

So things are going well actually. Ron and I went to Chattanooga over the weekend to see Lauren and her friends. We haven’t been there to see her any this year. We’ve been wanting to go for so long. I’ve been wanting to go there for so long. She has made so many amazing personal changes. I wish I could share them all here. I’m not even sure I could get them all together to list. She has matured emotionally, personally, physically…she is no longer the innocent little girl in the teenage girl’s body. I have spent the entire school year praying and worrying and praying and worrying some more. I haven’t been the perfect Christian mother – because of the worrying – but I have begged God  100 different ways to help me let her go. I’ve begged Him to help her see His light in her life. Moving from high school to college is never easy. Months ago I told her that the feelings she was having in high school would be totally different to how she would feel for the rest of her life. It’s hard to get a teenage girl to understand that the four years of high school are a simple drop in the bucket of the rest of her life. She is changing now. She’s starting to see that all those feeling she had in high school are long gone. She’s struggling with understanding where they went. It’s just so hard for her. I keep praying. But I do understand how it all plays into her makeup. She is moving forward – thankfully. I can see it’s a hard lesson to learn. She can see that she is moving on and that all of her high school friends are back here in the same situation. But God is good and He has her moving ahead from where she was. It’s beautiful to see. She has a lot more changes to make but she is making them and she is making progress. And is such an incredible blessing to me every day.

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The Weight Is Falling Away

I am currently 3 pounds away from losing 40 pounds. Huh? Did you not catch that? I’ll say it just a little bit louder for you.

I AM CURRENTLY 3 POUNDS AWAY FROM LOSING 40 POUNDS!!!!!!

Did you catch it that time? I thought you might. I have never in my life ever lost this much weight. I’m really kind of afraid to say it out loud – know what I mean? I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you here because it all plays into my goals. When I originally started losing weight in June I really didn’t have a specific goal in mind. I just knew I didn’t want to weigh what I was anymore. My scale said I weighed 232. And I knew that was too much.

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Yep – that was me at 232 pounds. Interestingly enough I never really thought I looked that big. But whatever – that’s what the scale said. So after the kids’ graduation in May I decided it was time to get busy. I work with Advocare and we have a trim line so I decided I would order everything in our trim line, change the way I eat and start exercising. So that’s what I did. The weight started dropping off. I started dropping about 5 pounds a month. I also asked my doctor to change any medications I was on that caused weight gain. She was all for it.

By the time August rolled around and we took the kids to college I had lost down to 209. Not done yet but still pleased and very motivated to keep on going.

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I’m getting there! I’ve continued what I’ve been doing. But for the last 6 months I’ve been pretty much stuck within spittin’ distance of 200 pounds. My first goal was to get below the 200 mark on the scale. I haven’t been below 200 since before I was pregnant with Michael in 1993. When I got pregnant with him I was 170 pounds. So that first goal was to get 199 just to get below 200. Advocare came out with an exercise DVD to accompany the 24 Day Challenge (the full weight loss challenge program). The Advocare 24 Day Challenge started the first half of the year on sale. So I decided this was the chance to overcome my plateau and reach my next goal.

I am currently on day 4 of the 24 Day Challenge. It’s all going smoothly. Smooth as silk. You aren’t supposed to step on the scale till Day 11 for your first weigh in – which is hard because I’m used to stepping on every day – but I’ve done very well. However, I went to the doctor this morning. I noticed when I put my clothes on this morning that my pants fit much nicer. I knew that was a good sign. I decided I would look when she asked me step on the scale. Boy am I glad I did. Not only had I moved off the plateau of the last couple of months but I had also gone BELOW the 200 mark!! I hit 195. I kept saying “that’s a 1…that’s a 1…that’s a 1…” So I hit a goal! I made it below the 200. And that 195 puts me 3 pounds away from 40 pounds. I’ve never lost this much weight! NEVER!!!

My next goal is to drop below the weight I was when I got pregnant with Michael – 170. So my next goal is 169! Anything after that is gravy! I might even taste the gravy – with a biscuit!

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This picture was 7 whole pounds ago but you get the idea!

 

Where Is My Mind Gonna Be In 45 More Years?

I large number of my friends from high school also have Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that is very common to me. I’ve fought it for nearly 20 years. The illness brings so many symptoms with it that I just honestly get overwhelmed by it at times. If it’s not pain, it’s fatigue, or fibrofog. Or it could be one of a million other things that fit into any of those illnesses.

One of my friends posted an article that really clicked with me this week. It really spoke to me. It seems to speak directly to matters that I’m dealing with right now.

As stated in an earlier article, a large percentage of individuals among the at least 10 million individuals in the United States with Fibromyalgia Syndrome experience problems with cognition which have collectively come to have the nickname of “fibrofog”. According to Jennifer Glass, Ph.D., cognitive function involves the ability to conduct intellectual processes, such as thinking, reasoning, remembering, imagining, or learning words. Other areas suffering in fibrofog include attention, concentration, orientation, and speaking clearly. 

We now have some more specific information regarding these difficulties and even how those with fibromyalgia compare with others with rheumatoid diseases. According to Dr. Robert Katz, people with fibromyalgia also have cognitive issues. One of the cognitive issues amounts to what looks like learning disability.

The study referred to compared four distinct groups: one group of controls without rheumatic disease; one group of those with fibromyalgia (FMS); one group of those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and one group of those with lupus (SLE). The four groups took questionnaires about difficulties in reading, writing, body awareness/spatial relationships and oral expressive language.

The results indicated that those with fibromyalgia scored worse reading and oral expressive language scores compared with the controls and worse scores in all areas compared with the SLE and RA groups. These results are probably not a surprise to those of us with fibro.

The results showed that those with fibromyalgia were significantly more likely to have the following difficulties:

– Making mistakes when reading, such as skipping words or lines (FMS 43%; 
controls 0%; SLE 5%; RA 3%).
– Remembering what was read (FMS 59%; controls 0%; RA 11%; SLE 24%).
– Reading the same line twice (FMS 57%; controls 14%; RA 15%; SLE 19%).
– Comprehending a main idea or important details from a story (FMS 27%; 
controls 0%; RA 5%; SLE 14%).
– Grammar or punctuation (FMS 28%; controls 14%; RA 8%; SLE 0%).
– Clumsiness or uncoordination (FMS 41%; controls 7%; RA 10%; SLE 10%).
– Hand-eye coordination (FMS 27%; controls 7%; RA 5%; SLE 5%).
– Self-expression in words (FMS 42%; controls 7%; RA 8%; SLE 5%).
– Finding proper words to say when conversing (FMS 57%; controls 8%; 
RA 11%; SLE 24%).
– Getting to the point when speaking (FMS 43%; controls 7%; 
RA 5%; SLE 5%).

Dr. Katz noted that many of the patients were very challenged in academic situations or have difficulties on the job due to these manifestations of a learning disability. It is important to remember that nobody is asserting that those with Fibromyalgia have learning disabilities. As Katz said, We rheumatologists aren’t ready to diagnose them with that. But we can screen them for that and send them to the appropriate experts. 

It is my hope that armed with this knowledge, some of the treatments and techniques used with those with learning disabilities may be applied to fibromites to determine whether any benefits lie therein.

Respectfully Simone Ravicz.

So while I have considered going back to school or finding a minimal job I realize it’s just not something I can do. My body has been telling me all of the above for years. While I would love to be able to hold my own against anyone I’m just not able to intellectually. I’m not too proud to admit that either. The reason we stopped homeschooling years ago was because I could feel them getting ahead of me. I admitted that when I realized it. So everything above is true. In my head it’s been happening for a long time. Sometimes I can feel it happening quicker than others. But it’s definitely happening. It’s kind of sad. I’m only 45 years old. I still have at least that much longer to live. What in the world is my life gonna be like in 45 more years? Oh my!!

Know What I Mean?

Hello all!

In case you are wondering where I have been I am right here. My fibromyalgia has been acting up something awful the last week or so. I made a promise to all of you a while ago that when my physical or emotions are acting up that I wouldn’t bring it here and share it with you. So that’s what’s happening in my head and in my body these days. I could use some prayers if you have any laying around if you have some to spare.

I hope to be back to normal very soon because mostly I’m just over the whole thing. Know what I mean!

There Are 7 Less Pounds Of Me To Love

A few things have changed around here in the last 10 days or so. Actually it’s about 7 things have walked out the door. They are POUNDS!!!! I have decided I’m sick of eating useless calories and laying around like a beached animal waiting to be thrown back to sea. So last Sunday I decided it was time to make some changes. Here are the changes I made.

I uploaded and am using the Map My Walk application on my iPhone. I have created a walking path on the map and before I walk out the door to walk in the mornings I activate the app and walk out. It keeps track of my distance, my speed, my path and the number of calories I burn. So I have a running total of all of that right on my phone. Oh and she talks to me when I hit 1 mile and tells me how I’m doing. The first time she started talking to me I looked dumb because I stopped on the sidewalk and looked around to see who was talking to me. Hey – the app doesn’t make me smarter!

I also went to my Advocare cabinet to see what I had stocked up in there that could help me with my weight loss journey. I have put together 5 products that are kind of combination that I just happened to already have on hand and started using. Here is a brief run down of each of them including a direct link to the information page on my site.

Carb-Ease Plus – It helps to break down the absorption of carbs and fats that you eat. If you want to lose weight but just can’t say NO to some carbs (like me – I love pasta) then this is a good helper. You can eat a few carbs to satisfy your craving and this will help make it a little easier on your system and your weight loss efforts!

Catalyst – This product is a secret weapon to help you with your workouts. Each morning about 20 minutes before I go walking I take a dose of these. It helps you to maintain your muscle mass when you exercise. And it helps to keep your energy level up and repair/protect your muscles. As someone with Fibromyalgia I can tell you that anything that helps your muscles in any way, shape or form is a good thing. It helps you to retain muscle and reduce fat. Somehow this little product helps your body respond more favorably in your workout routine – even if it’s just walking.

Thermoplus – This is another little gift from God in your weight loss battle. This product helps your body convert fat to energy, speeds up metabolism and suppresses your appetite thanks to the oolong tea and sage extracts. All of our products have all natural ingredients.

Fibro-Trim – This product helps to bind up all those nasty fats and flush them out of your system. It gives you a feeling of fullness so it suppresses your appetite. And an added plus is it helps keep your cholesterol in a nice healthy range and it keeps your intestines nice an squeaky clean. Isn’t that a lovely thought?

In addition to those 4 products I am using the Advocare Muscle Gain Protein Shake. This product comes in one of those big tubs of powder or in individual packets. Obviously buying the tub is a better deal economically. I usually make myself one of these after returning from my walk. This way I’m sure that no matter what I eat the rest of the day I know I’m getting a healthy dose of protein to get me going right. It helps to restore your energy supply you just used in working out. And it has a healthy portion of Vitamins C & B6 and Calcium.

The rest of the day I try to eat low calorie foods with more veggies than I used to and leaner types of meats. Oh and PLENTY of water. Yes you will spend most of the first couple of days in the bathroom if you don’t currently drink much water. But about 3 years ago I made a big change in my life and cut out 99% of the soda from my life (I do occasionally order a Coke or Dr. Pepper if we go out to dinner. But I make sure I hold myself at one glass or less). Since I moved from a diet of mostly soda to all water I have truly seen my complexion clear up. I know everyone tells you that will happen but I didn’t really believe them until the last few months I really stopped to notice. My face has been much clearer in the last few years.

Honestly those are the things I am doing. In 7 days I’ve lost 7 pounds. I can’t believe it either, people. But it’s right there in those little digital numbers on the scale in my bathroom. I’m waiting on a new shipment from Dallas (Advocare) at the moment. I do know it’s possible to lose weight without the healthy herbs and minerals in the Advocare products (because I did it 3 years ago) but it’s really nice to have a little help in those bottles. If it helps me then it will help you too. I’m clearly the laziest person on the planet. But this process is helping me to get up and move. Well, all of these plus some Spark. And that’s a miracle all on it’s own.

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!

Feelin’ Fine and Lookin’ Good

It’s been a while since I’ve updated on the different Advocare products that I’ve tried. The Spark is just priceless. I’ll still be drinking a glass of energy when I am 110 in the nursing home. I am now trying the Pink Lemonade flavor. I’ve been a grape girl from the beginning. But this lemonade tastes EXACTLY like a glass of lemonade. You don’t even know you are drinking something healthy.

Another product I have tried but not reordered yet are the BioTools. I fully intend to get some more though. This product did amazing things for my digestive system. As you are probably aware, those of us with Fibromyalgia most likely also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It ain’t pretty but it’s a fact. When I was taking the BioTools every day I felt like a normal person. I’ve been off of it for a couple of weeks now and am starting to notice my symptoms returning. I deliberately took a break from it when I ran out so I could compare how I felt with and without it. I can tell more of a difference each day.

I have done the Herbal Cleanse a couple of times. You are supposed to do them 90 days apart. However, the first time I took it I was on a medication that counteracted the benefits of the cleanse. So, I did it a couple of weeks later without the medicine and it worked much better. It sparked some weight loss that is continuing for me. That was a welcome surprise.

I have also been using MNS 3. It is a product that pumps you full of vitamins and herbs while it helps to control your appetite. It is designed to be taken after doing the cleanse initially. This product kind of picks up where the cleanse left off. I also give credit to this for my weight loss over the summer.

I got an order in yesterday that I will begin today called CorePlex. It is a type of multivitamin with the benefit of also helping with digestion, boosting the immune system and giving you energy. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Because Advocare was initially made for professional athletes their line of performance products is extensive. I ordered Lauren the Nighttime Recovery. It enhances muscle growth and repair to sustain effective use of muscles. The only problem is that they are “the size of my toe” (according to her). I cut it up into 4 pieces last night. I hope it will help her or else I’m not sure I can get her to take it. She is already using the Rehydrate during soccer games. She says that really helps her to keep going much better than Gatorade or even water.

So there is the rundown on the Advocare products we have tried and/or are using. I’ve been very pleased with it all. It’s well worth the money because you can tell such a difference in your quality of life. How much are you willing to pay for that? That’s really the question.