A Correct Diagnosis

I saw this graphic on twitter from Dr. Margare Aranda and thought this pretty much sums up my #currentsituation so I wanted share. Sometimes you really have to fight for your diagnosis.

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I wrote about trying to get a diagnosis for this chronic pain I have had off and on for a few years now in my last very lengthy blog post. Tests, procedures, scans, second opinions, third opinions. I have one more appointment tomorrow morning. My binder is ready with all of my recent exams. My fingers are crossed. And I have hope.

“At the end of the day all you need is hope and strength. Hope that it will get better, and strength to hold on until it does.” ~ Jazmin Whitmore

I think for many people suffering in pain, just knowing they aren’t crazy and that there is some logical, medical explanation for what they are experiencing gives a profound sense of relief and peace of mind. Getting to the correct diagnosis should get you on the proper road to recovery. As Gandhi said, it’s 3/4 of the remedy!

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Have you had challenges getting a chronic condition diagnosed? Do you have any lessons learned that you can share?

Cheers!

Cynthia

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Lessons Learned in Diagnosing Chronic Pain

“Sometimes the curiosity can kill the soul but leave the pain.” ~Alice

Perhaps that title should read “Lessons Learned from Attempting to Diagnose Chronic Pain” since I still don’t have answers…  I haven’t written much lately due to some chronic neck pain/shoulder/arm that has been plaguing me for months. I come home from work exhausted and drained, and spending more time in front of a computer is the last thing I want to do.biscuits

Down the Rabbit Hole

Do you ever feel like the hassle and expense of getting to the root of a medical problem might outweigh the benefits of finding out what the problem is? For the last several months, I feel like I have gone down the proverbial rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland”, where everything is not as it seems!

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How to Sleep Better

“Sleep is the Golden Chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

I fully intended to get this blog posted back in May during Better Sleep month but, as is often the case, life got in the way. I have struggled for years with getting good quality sleep. There are nights where I just cannot fall asleep, and others where I just can’t stay asleep. While the ideal amount is between 7-9 hours for most, I still average about 6 hours a night. More than 7 hours of sleep, and I feel out of sorts. Lately I have been much better about sleeping through the night, since incorporating some simple strategies.

Those who suffer with fibromyalgia syndrome know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleep disturbances are one of the common symptoms associated with the condition, which then compounds the daytime fatigue. But allowing the body to rest and recharge at night is so critical to everyone’s physical and mental health, not just those with fibromyalgia.counting-sheep-1

“Sleep is the Golden Chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

~ Thomas Dekker

Health Benefits

That old saying “early to bed, early to rise makes your body healthy, wealthy, and wise” is more than just an old wives’ tale. Here’s a list of health benefits from getting adequate sleep:

  • It can help you fight off diseases
  • It can help improve your mood
  • It can lower your risk for obesity and help you lose weight
  • It can decrease inflammation
  • It allows the body to repair itself from stress and ultraviolet exposure

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”
Arianna Huffington

Getting those Zzzz’s

While you sleep, your body is working to heal itself, build up your immune system, and recharge your brain cells. Now the struggle is that people with fibromyalgia have trouble falling and staying asleep. We often don’t reach that deep sleep stage required for all of the restorative health benefits. There are a myriad of underlining conditions that could be preventing you from getting a good night’s rest:

  • Health Issues such as allergies, sleep apnea, asthma, narcolepsy, or hormone imbalance
  • Physical Issues such as chronic or acute pain, or certain prescription drugs
  • Mental Issues such as depression, stress, or anxiety
  • Environmental Issues such as too much light in your room, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or performing shift work

So assuming you don’t need to have a medical condition checked out, how do you improve your sleep, to reap those benefits? Getting into a routine helps. Here are some simple strategies that might help you establish that routine:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Set a regular bedtime routine.
  • Curb the electronics in the bedroom, that is no TV, iPad, etc. before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom comfortable, quiet, dark and cool.
  • Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime, and don’t eat 3 hours before bed.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Do not use tobacco.

“Golden Slumbers fill your eyes. Smiles await when you rise.” ~ The Beatles

Bedtime Routines

As we age we need less sleep, but we still need good quality sleep. Uninterrupted sleep. One of the best habits is to take a warm bath or shower before bed. This raises the body temperature, and then allows it to cool down faster, which helps you reach that deep sleep. Couple that with some aromatherapy, and you should feel relaxed and calm for bedtime. I developed my routine after reading Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive that discussed redefining success and details her wake-up call. She has another book called The Sleep Revolution that undoubtedly has more information on the subject of sleep as well.

Here are some of my favorite bedtime and bath aids:

So go draw a bath, sip some tea, rub some lavender oil between your toes and get a good night’s sleep. These are my tried and true methods. You’ll thank me in the morning!

For more sleep strategies, visit the National Sleep Foundation,”The F Word” blog and Sarah’s Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles series, or listen to JJ Virgin’s podcast with Arianna Huuffington – two big proponents of sleep!  Do you have other sleep strategies you use?

Cheers!

Cynthia

Share Your World

I rarely do these challenges, but I really liked Cee’s Photography’s “Share Your World – June 12, 2017” post. I am a little late to the game this week because I was traveling, but I thought I would play along and share a little bit about me.

What do you do when you’re not working? If you are retired, what do you that is not part of your regular daytime routine?
Well I work a lot! However, my free time is spent volunteering – I am on the board of a local food pantry Good Samaritans of Garland (we are currently trying to raise funds for much needed building repairs) – and I volunteer for my leadership alumni group. I also enjoy working out, photography, blogging, reading, cooking, gardening, and traveling.

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Garland Gives Day 2017 at Good Samaritans of Garland

What would you do if you won the lottery?
First, I would splurge on a new computer and camera! But first and foremost, I would get our finances in order so that my daughter’s college was paid for and then my husband and I could retire. I will have 20 years at my job in September, so I am eligible to retire then, but my current goal is to retire at 25 years. We would look for a house with some land so that we can both enjoy the things we love to do – gardening, photography, cooking for me; working on cars, forging steel for knives, gardening for the hubby. And he wants chickens so we can have farm fresh eggs all the time. 🙂 And retirement would give me much more free time for volunteering, so I can give back.

What makes you laugh the most?
My husband, my kids, and my dogs always make me laugh. Like Cee, I too love Friends reruns and the nerd in me loves The Big Bang Theory, but my current summer guilty pleasure is binge-watching Bones on Netflix. Emily Deschanel as Temperance Brennan is pure gold.

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What is your biggest pet peeve with modern technology?
As an IT professional, you would think I have the latest and greatest. But my peeve is that technology changes so rapidly, and I like things to last! I use my 8 year old iMac for my blogging, and it has been painfully obvious for a year or so that I need to upgrade! 😦 Where’s that lottery payout?

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I am grateful for the fact that I have a job that affords me the opportunity to travel to conferences for professional development and was able to visit Philadelphia for the first time. I saw some wonderful places I have never seen before, although I had to cut the trip shorter than originally planned. This coming week I am looking forward to some test results. (More on that in another blog installment.)

Cheers!

Cynthia

Reblog: Fibro Friday #128

Loved this quote that was shared on the Fibro Blogger Directory‘s weekly link-up, so I thought I would share it. Sharing is caring, after all. I often link up my relevant blog posts here (although there haven’t been many lately!). You will find many great bloggers who write about fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, et al. I hope you will check them out!

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength
to body and soul.”
~ John Muir

via Fibro Friday week 128 — Fibro Blogger Directory

Cheers!

Cynthia

Quote: Soaring High

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Soaring High

“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”

~ William Blake

I took these pictures while on vacationing in Oregon this past January. We took a day trip to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, visit the Tillamook Dairy factory, and stop by Cannon Beach and the famous “Goonies rock”. This day was special because it was one of the few days we got to explore Oregon — we spent the next two days of our trip snowed in!

Cheers!

Cynthia

Shining a Light on Fibromyalgia

Every day is Awareness Day for those who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Every year May 12th has been designated as “Fibromyalgia Awareness Day” to shine a light on this invisible illness. Most of us who suffer from this chronic condition feel that every day is our awareness day, as we often have to explain what it is to people. Trust me when I say it is more than what you see in the pharmaceutical commercials on TV.

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