Friday, December 2, 2011

“Let me know if I can do anything.”

Before my health began this rapid decline I worked as a payroll and benefits coordinator. I had close contact with the employees and took pride in my job and the relationships that I had built. There is one thing that always amused me; when people were working, they wanted to be at home. When people had an extended time off for medical issues, vacation, etc., they got tired of being at home and wanted to return to work. Are we ever satisfied?
So many times I heard people say they would love to retire, or wish they had enough money to not work, they would love to have the time to do the things they wanted to do.
But what if you had that time, at home, to do all the things you love to do, but were physically unable to do those things? How would you enjoy “early retirement”?
Life happens. Things we can’t control. So many times I have been asked how I manage to hold it all together when I have to deal with so much. There are times when I fall to pieces, but for the most part I keep my eyes on what matters. I try to keep things in perspective. And I have a person who has inspired me. She was an example of how we should react when faced with trials and hardships.
A few years back, when I was still working, one of our employees’ wife was in an automobile accident. In an instant her life changed. Her entire family was changed. Due to spinal injuries she lost use of her body from the waist down. She lost her job, her income, her independence. She lost so many things that you and I take for granted. She was told she would never walk. Never work. Never drive.
She faced obstacles. Her home was not handicap accessible. Her husband works second shift and she needed someone each night to come help her get into bed. She had rehab and physical therapy. But she fought back, kept her head high and trusted in God’s plan for her life. She inspired me then and she still inspires me to this day.
Through her positive attitude, strength she has drawn from God and hard work, she has gained some of her independence. She is now able to drive a van that has been adapted to her specific needs. That van was not cheap. The payment has placed a financial burden on her family. Still she has stayed positive. One of my earthly heros.
When a person faces tough times, rather it be loss of job, sickness or accidents such as this one, we all say these words, “Let me know if I can do anything.”
Daily I face many obstacles. But I have everything I need. And I certainly have not faced anything like what Barbara has faced. Every day she crosses my mind. It is so painful when I walk, sit or stand. But I tell myself, Barbara would love to walk, even if it caused her pain.
Because I have not needed anything that would put a financial hardship on my family, I don’t ask my family or friends for anything. Many of you have said, “Let me know if I can do anything.” Well, I come to you now, asking, letting you know, this is what you can do for me.
Because Barbara has given me so much encouragement and is a daily reminder to me that God will not put more on me than I can bear, I come to you all today and ask you to help Barbara. She needs to pay-off this van debt. Give up a Latte, one dinner out, those new shoes or just include her on your Christmas gift list. She is accepting donations to pay-off the van. No donation is too small. As I would approach the Throne of Grace, this is how I am approaching you all, I pray for great things to be done.
The address is: Barbara Henderson ~ P.O. 182, Pell City, AL 35125
This is the last note she sent to me:
God is so good honey. I have to give him all the praise. Keep your head up and cherish every moment and don’t forget to give God His Glory. Keep in touch and remember you feel so much better when you smile. ; )
Love you and praying for you, Barbara
Is she amazing, or what!?!?!
We are all so blessed. Even though it is our duty to GIVE every day, this time of year is called The Season of Giving. Please look deep within your heart and give to this person who praises God’s name even in the greatest of storms.
Love and prayers to all,

Monday, November 21, 2011

What A Difference A Day Makes

If your days are anything like mine you start off with high expectations. I admit, I’m the queen of post it’s and the master of high hopes. But when you deal with chronic pain illnesses you have no idea what the next day holds. For that matter, you have no idea what the next hour holds.
I remember a few Sundays back. I was really looking forward to going to the morning worship service. Which means that my husband, Tippy, for sure can go because he doesn’t have to babysit me. He sings in the choir and I absolutely despise it when he has to sacrifice what he loves doing because I need someone with me during those times when things are really bad.
And by “things” I mean, the feeling of pain so deep (in my feet and legs) my bones feel broken, my feet are burning, the sheets hurt if I roll over in the bed. I certainly can’t get up and walk on these “broken bones”. At the same time I have frequent jolts of lightning in the veins of my feet and now up into the calf area of my legs. We can actually watch the veins pulsate and then sometimes turn a bluish color similar to an everyday bruise. Not to mention, I stay so nauseous I rarely drive or go anywhere alone.
As most of you know, several months back, my Primary Care Physician diagnosed me with having Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Although he (and I) was certain, he sent me to see a specialist at UAB. I walked in knowing my PCP was right, but had this shred of hope that he was wrong. I was hoping to hear the symptoms were from my back surgery, gone wrong, and it could be fixed.
The specialist confirmed the leg diagnoses, known now as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin). I asked bluntly, will this get worse? Will it spread? He shook his head yes to both questions. And then, palms down, he brought his hands up to his waist and said, “most likely, to here.”
He kept spurting out so many words and names of conditions I finally asked him to write them down. I walked in with a heavy load and when I left I felt that load would squash me at any moment.

The combination of my illnesses and disorders are GIANT factors working against me.
·        Malfunction of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which effects the involuntary actions such as heart rate, digestion, salivation, perspiration, urination, diameter of pupils, breathing and most of the body’s internal organs. The ANS also controls the Sympathetic Nervous System (CRPS).
·        Dysautonomia ~ disease of the ANS most likely caused from having an autoimmune disorder. Symptoms can dissolve over time or continue over the entire course of my lifetime.  Per research the prognosis is not generally good for someone who also has an issue with the body’s nervous system. Symptoms include: (that I am experiencing) lightheadedness, weakness, blackouts or fainting, palpitations, shortness of breath, loss of or excessive sweating, nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, bladder dysfunction, fatigue, sleep disorders, migraines, facial pain, dizziness, changes in heart rate, clamminess, anxiety, flushing, feeling cold all over, cognitive impairment, high BP, noise and light sensitivity, muscle aches, weight loss or gain.
·        Fibromyalgia ~ diagnosed over 10 years ago. Symptoms mimic so many other health conditions it is often hard to diagnoses or find other underlying medical issues.
·        Complex Regional Pain Syndrome ~ a chronic pain condition.  The key symptom of CRPS is continuous, intense pain, which gets worse rather than better over time. CRPS most often affects one of the arms, legs, hands, or feet.  Often the pain spreads to include the entire arm or leg. (In my case, both feet/legs). Typical features include dramatic changes in the color and temperature of the skin over the affected limb or body part, accompanied by intense burning pain, skin sensitivity, sweating, and swelling.
·      Spinal Canal Degeneration and Discs Degeneration ~ The specialist said it is his belief that my spinal issues have exacerbated the CRPS. Therapy for the degeneration issues did not work in the past. Two surgeries later I am still having back pain and problems. He stated that although my spinal column is degenerating, surgeries will likely make the CRPS worse.
·      Immunoglobulin G Deficiency Disorder ~ Treated monthly with IV immunoglobulin treatments @ Brookwood Hospital. IgG are the antibodies that fight viruses, bacteria and antitoxins. This health disorder is another factor in my fight to stay healthy and pain free.
·       Trigeminal Neuralgia ~ is a nerve disorder that causes very painful stabbing or electric shock-like pain in parts of the face. The pain comes from the Trigeminal Nerve which carries pain, feeling and other sensations from the brain to the skin of the face. These episodes can last a few minutes or become constant. Because of the intensity of the pain associated with TN, this disorder is also known as the Suicide Disease. Thankfully, it has been more than a year since I have had an episode.
???? Have I forgotten anything? I know, this is enough, but it seems I always overlook something.
I came out of the specialists’ office with confirmation and additional information. New and upsetting. My heart was so heavy last Friday when I left UAB. My Mom asked me on the ride home if I was OK? She knew I was awfully quiet. Although my heart felt as if it had stopped beating, my mind was racing. I was thinking. Wondering. Wishing. Praying. Questioning.
I cried Friday evening until my head ached. Until I could cry no more…….until the next day began and so did the tears. I felt the winds had ceased and my sails were hanging, useless.
The only thing that was still the same, that I was still certain of, was that I am a child of the King. A masterpiece. His design. Made as I am for a reason. He will use me as He sees fit. All I have to do is trust Him and believe.
We all should do the same. Trust and believe. Have faith when we don't understand. Your outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. I am so thankful to you all. To everyone. Prayer has the power to change what we see as impossible. With God all things are possible. So for that reason, I have not lost hope.
Love and prayers to you all,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yes, I'll Take Those Ugly Shoes In A Size 8 1/2

Some might say I’m not the average woman. Above or below, your call, either way, doesn’t really matter to me. Reasons ~ Unlike most women, not even during that “time” of the month, I don’t care for chocolate. Really! Shopping happens for reasons of totally necessity. I don’t even have a charge card, unless you count my ChevronTexaco. Crazy, huh!?! Once upon a time, I got my greatest highs by pulling weeds from my flowers garden or creating a small landscape project at our home. Ridiculous! I know. What can I say? The small things in life make me extremely happy.
But today I MUST set out on a quest to find shoes. This is no biggie for the average person, especially women who shop till they drop and come home to show off their sassy new heels or totally cool boots. But I have a dilemma. I have to find shoes that, preferably, I can’t feel touch my toes, sole or the top of my feet. Not too much to ask for, right!
My bilateral foot condition, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, causes constant pain in all areas of my feet, and at times knees and upper legs. The simple brush of a sheet or bath towel can cause terrible pain. The swelling prevents me from seeking a shoe with that “perfect” fit. My tootsies need room to swell and the shoes can’t wobble, because I once had a tendency to stand on the side of my foot. That has stopped! But still, I don’t want to fall back into old habits.  A few moments of incorrect posture can turn into the feeling of a broken ankle. Crazy, I know. The sole must have excellent padding because at times when the RSD is in high gear it feels as if I am walking over glass. No kidding. I walk lightly, which is hard to do lately seeing how all of these steroids are making my booty get bigger. So lucky me that puts even more pressure on my feet and therefor that bed of glass I must sometimes walk over seems to be sharper and sharper.
A typical shoe purchase would have few requirements; black, stylish pump that’s comfortable. Done! Bam!
But noooooooooo, I have a list of absolute musts! The shoes must stimulate circulation, align feet, ankles, knees and hips, create or restore optimal foot motion and posture, restore balance and allow my feet to move forward with as little lateral (side to side) motion as possible, extra depth, double or triple depth shoe with high toe box, firm heel counter and a rocker sole. NO PROBLEM! Bet!?!?!
My thinking for now is a pair of Crocs because the “toe area” is wide and I need that feature for certain. Keep in mind I cannot stand to feel anything touch my toes. L
I want stylish shoes, of course. But what are the chances I’ll return home today with shoes that fit the entire bill? So let me just warn you, my shoes will probably suck. If you see me walking around in an ugly pair of orthotics, go ahead and laugh. I’ll laugh right along with you. Sometimes that’s just all you can do, go with the flow.
I’ll head out this morning for what feels like a treasure hunt. Only thing is, I doubt I’ll find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or at the shoe store.
To always find a bright side to my weekly or daily dilemma, I am extremely thankful for two feet that carry me where I need to go. It’s a painful journey, but a blessed one, nonetheless.
Thanks again for your time.
Love and prayers to all,

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
Reflex Sympathetic Disorder, RSD or CRSD for short, is a chronic progressive neurological condition that affects skin, muscles, joints, and bones. The syndrome develops in an injured limb, such as a broken ankle or foot bone. The injury itself may be major or minor.  In some cases, no specific precipitating event can be identified.  The usual pattern of spread is up the same extremity and then may continue to spread on the same side of the body or to the opposite extremity. RSD has been known to spread to a distant site.
The “injured” area develops into various degrees of burning pain, excessive sweating, swelling, and sensitivity to touch.  The skin appears to be very thin and there will be a different appearance in the specific area, such as being red, swollen and warm to the touch.  There should be a loss of function in the area of injury, such as less range of motion, limping, etc.  Some RSD cases involve nerve injury and some do not.   The condition varies in how disabling is it.  To many, it is substantially disabling and to others it is minimally so.
Other names or similar foot conditions:
CRSD Complex regional pain syndrome
Burning pain
Excessive sweating in injury area
Change in coloration of the injured area
Swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch
Signs to look for:
Overgrown and grooved nails
Swollen and stiff joints
Muscle weakness and atrophy
Change in coloration of the injured area
Swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch
Possible Causes:
Appears to involve an interaction of the sensory, motor, and autonomic nervous systems, and the immune system.
It is thought that brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) control over these various processes is somehow changed as a result of the injury.
The information has been compiled from sources available to the general public and referenced below.  Text:,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We'd Grab Ours Back

As many of you already know, December 2010, I was diagnosed with Immunoglobulin G Deficiency.
November 29, 2011 I had cervical fusion and shortly thereafter came down with pneumonia. After being admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL (for years I have had repeated infections and was prescribed antibiotics and steroids) the ER physician went over my medical history and believed me to have IgG deficiency. Viola! He was indeed correct and I was later referred to a Hematologist for additional testing and a plan for treatment.
So my Mother and I make our monthly trek to Brookwood Hospital. She’s driving and I’m in the passenger seat. It never fails, every trip I think the same thing, “Something’s wrong here.” I’m supposed to be driving her to the doctor not the other way around. I feel old and beat down. Should I? I’m only 43!?!
Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) is made of antibodies that have been extracted from blood donations from 3,000-10,000 healthy donors. IVIG is used to treat many autoimmune disorders, idiopathic diseases (disease of unknown cause), and infections. By providing antibodies to patients who have weakened immune systems, IGIV can help reduce the risk of infection.
Prior to my two bottles of Immunoglobulin G I receive IV Benadryl and IV steroids. Super, more pounds!! This go around I also received Phenergan because I have been having terrible nausea and dizziness along with headaches. So, lucky me I was given a pass to sleep through this 5 hour treatment. Yeah!!! Much better than the alternative; sitting in a recliner squirming for the entire time because that nagging stabbing pain in my lower back prevents me from being comfortable for more than 10 minutes at a time.  
As with every medication or foreign matter that’s put into our body we have to get acclimated. At least I have to. So this wonder treatment is not so wonderful for the next day or so. After every treatment there is the standard follow-up of Benadryl and Ibuprofin twice a day for two to three days. So, thanks to the steroids, I’m hyper dwarf for the first day and, thanks to the Benadryl, I’m sleepy dwarf after that.
Let me be perfectly honest, it sucks! But, then again, on the walk back to “my chair” I pass small rooms with cancer patients taking chemo treatments via port/shunt. Their hair is thin or gone. Their skin is pale and their eyes are sunken. They look tired and spent.
So, I could complain about my monthly treatment OR I can be extremely thankful I get to pass those tiny private rooms and plop my fanny in the big room with the six or so other folks like me who are interrupted with what is compared to be a minor inconvenience.
Someone told me recently, if we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back. ………all I can say to that is, AMEN!
Thanks for your time!
Love and prayers to all,
This is how I feel!! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Mother's Love

Everything in life is a result of a decision. For me, I have decided that I will not have a negative attitude regarding the current state of my health. My choice is to remain positive so I will not drag down those around me, those people who love and care for me. It’s not fair to them or me to be sad or depressed. This choice surprises people and seems to downplay to others the severity of my issues and the pain associated with the conditions. But what’s the point of having a negative perspective on the situation? I know that I am being cared for and a gloomy approach to the situation will not change things.
To say I never have moment of sadness would be untrue but those times are seldom and short-lived.
I was reminded in a sermon at church that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Tears streamed down my face throughout the words delivered by our pastor. I had recently been wondering why I seemed to be falling apart if my God is perfect and I was made in His likeness. I am far from perfect. My body and health have failed me but I know that God designed me and I am a treasured possession.
God takes care of the birds in the sky. So why should I worry? His love encourages us to care for His creations. Even the smallest birds that fly are cared for. How many red “nectar” feeders have you seen hanging in yards or on back decks? Many if you live in the south.
People say they witness, in early spring, hummingbirds returning to same spot where a nectar feeder hung the year before. It’s as if the bird is looking for that same feeder. Birds have the ability to “hone in” on a location and return to the same area the next year. This method is not completely understood, say bird experts. John James Audubon, American bird painter and ornithologist, wondered if it was true that the same birds returned each year to his farm in New York. To prove his theory Audubon tied a silk thread to a young phoebe’s leg one summer morning. Come spring the same bird returned and nested in the place it was hatched the year before.
Yearly my mother prepares her feeders and plants flowers to attract hummingbirds that return to drink from her many feeders and flowers scattered on our back deck. Through her patience and loyalty these birds are taken care of during their yearly period of migration. God takes care of the birds through a variety of means, one being my wonderful Mother who is faithful to create a sanctuary for her yearly guests.
Just as God cares for the birds in the air and He cares for me, my Mother cares for the birds and cares for me as well. I have no worries regarding my care. I have my Father and my Mother looking after me.
"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”  ~ Matthew 6:26
 Thanks for your time.
Love and prayers to all,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beach Believer

Let me go ahead and be up front with you now, if you don’t agree with the teachings of Jesus Christ you may not like this particular blog.
I can say honestly that throughout my sicknesses I have not questioned God "why". I have wondered many times what He wants me to learn through my sufferings. Discipline. Trust. Patience. Courage. Perhaps to strengthen me. Constantly I am reminded of this question because my pain never stops. Healing is possible. But if healing is not His plan then I must acknowledge that my pain may be a tool that will touch others. Possibly, through the words of this blog, people will feel more compassionate or have a deeper appreciation for things that they take for granted. Or have a desire to be grateful for their good health or possibly if they are an unbeliever they will be brought to Jesus Christ.
I still believe that God can heal me. But I have to accept what is happening in the here and now otherwise I could possibly fall into depression or lose hope. No matter what, I must trust God’s purposes in the midst of suffering.
"I consider that the present sufferings are not worth
comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." ~ Romans 8:18

The combination of my illnesses have a broad range of symptoms but have one common marker, pain. But God always provides. I have things that some people do not have; Unbelievable support from my family, a doctor who understands and who has been very good to me, prayers from my family, friends, my home church and from what I’ve been told and to my surprise, many other churches have my name on their prayer list.
Even those times when I look away for just a moment and allow myself to feel a bit sad about my circumstances there is always that still small voice that reminds me no matter what my situation is, God will provide.
I recently spent several days “relaxing” at the beach. It was a wonderful trip and a reminder to me that God is with me everywhere I go. Even though I can take a trip away from home my illnesses go with me. As I sat on the beach, my back aching, my feet burning and feeling one sharp pain after another, I compared my bag-of-symptoms to the load-of-sin that some folks carry with them where ever they go.  I can’t run away from my pain but sins can be lifted with a simple earnest prayer asking forgiveness.
Looking at the beautiful white sand and the vastness of the ocean I was reminded just how awesome a God I serve. How wonderful He has been to me and how I am in awe of His marvelous works.
Psalm 139 David speaks of God’s handiwork. He says in verse 17, “How precious to me are your thoughts God.” And goes on to say, “If I could count them, it would be more than the grains of sand.”
If I could rid myself of this load of pain and sickness with one prayer I would. So why would a person carry a load of sin if prayer would remove the burden, lift their spirit and renew their soul?
“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  ~ 1 John 1:9
Thank you for your time, your love and your prayers. I pray that God will “open to you the windows of heaven and pour out so many blessings that you will not have room for it.”
Love and prayers to all,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

“Foggy Family And Foggy Friends”

“Foggy Family And Foggy Friends”  (A follow-up to “Foggy Days And Foggy Nights”)
The response that I have received from the “Foggy Days And Foggy Nights” blog has been overwhelming. Many people have written on my FB wall and many have sent private messages to me. People are hurting, depressed, feel forgotten and misunderstood. I know from experience that after a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia a person does two things, for certain; They seek all information available about Fibro and they hope and pray that their family will have the desire to learn themselves. You never want to push the information on anyone because your biggest wish is that they will willingly ask questions or find information on their own.
This is one example of something they are unlikely to be aware of; Substance P is a chemical substance in the brain. It is a neurotransmitter that essentially works as a pain messenger. Excess levels of substance P can cause pain signals to be sent to the brain even when there is no reason for such a signal to be sent, for example, no injury or illness that might cause pain. In fibromyalgia patients substance P exist in abnormally high levels, therefore may account for the persistent and chronic pain caused to those with FMS.
Being ignorant to the symptoms of Fibro will not change the fact that someone you love has been diagnosed. “Lacking knowledge is choosing ignorance.” ~ Raymond Choiniere II
This challenge is directed to friends and family: To show support for someone you love, educate yourself about Fibromyalgia.
Think of it this way: You have a friend or family member that has been diagnosed with Fibro. You tell them you don’t understand why they stay in bed so much, why they complain of aches and pains, why they take pills, why it hurts when they are touched or hugged too tightly. Why they cancel commitments or aren’t as active at church functions or with family and friends. Work is stressful and little things like the tapping of a pen or jingling of pocket-change are very annoying. You don’t understand how anyone can have so many headaches, why they frequently complain of flu-like symptoms or would rather be alone than go anywhere there will be a crowd.
You on the other hand roll out of bed with a fair amount of ease. You have time to talk with co-workers, have coffee with friends or go see a movie.  You are active in church, are social with friends or participate in community events. You may enjoy shopping, sporting events, gardening or taking a walk in the park. You may watch your favorite television shows, read books or the newspaper. Perhaps you play video games, are a Facebook addict or enjoy, at your leisure, FB games. Your life may be somewhat unaffected by your health so you are able to do the things you love.
Imagine how your loved one feels when they see you doing the things you love but you can’t find the time to learn about a disorder that affects their lifestyle.
Imagine how you would feel if you were suffering and the people you love haven’t taken 15 minutes out of their schedule to read an article about your illness. I’ll tell you; unloved, unimportant, unappreciated and depressed.
To help any person that suffers from Fibromyalgia the first step is to get educated. Education by both the patient and the loved one will decrease the frustration felt by both parties and help improve the odds of better controlling the symptoms. The following link is a great place to begin:
My advice to Fibro sufferers: Control your stress by educating your family and friends, begin a strict schedule to ensure you get enough sleep, be aware of the side effects of your medication which can make you groggy and tired and never take more meds than you feel comfortable with. If you feel unable to do a low impact work-out find some stretching -exercises, which help with the flexibility of tendons and joints. Rest when possible and take part in activities when you feel well. Sitting in the house feeling sorry for yourself will not help!
Print this blog post, open the link above and print that information as well and then give the material to those people in your life that you would like to be educated on Fibromyalgia. Don’t make a big show of it, just hand them the information and ask, “Please, at your convenience, read this information. It would mean a great deal if you would do this for me.” ……..the rest is up to them.
I pray this follow-up will be a useful guide to you, your family and friends.

Love and prayers to all,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who's Worth A Spoon?

As I read a FB post this morning it was a sad reminder that summer will soon be over. My favorite time of year seemed to have slipped away like unnoticed sands in an hourglass. How could this have happened? This season was supposed to be my time to plant flowers, weed the beds, mow the grass, take care of the pool and swim at my leisure. When in reality, I did very little of those things during my favorite smoldering hot months.
I replaced those much loved chores with doctor’s appointments, medical tests, surgery, IV treatments, days in bed due to pain, naps due to medications that make me groggy and days which I could not swim because my immunoglobulin IV treatments drop my core temperature and I am unable to enjoy the warm water of our pool.
It’s a harsh reality that due to my illnesses, unless there’s a healing miracle in store for me, my life will never be what it once was.
I was reading the following link which reminded me that if I have only a handful of “spoons” each day, then I have big decisions ahead of me. It involves every family member and friend. If each comprehends this analogy then they are proving their love for me and their understanding of my illnesses.
I don’t have an unending supply of “spoons” like most healthy people, so I must only give my spoons for special events and to special people.
Those people who love and care for me will be getting my spoons. You know who you are. The people who drive me to appointments, run my errands, keep the masses updated when I have had a fall or am sick, those who call or send me thoughtful notes or cards, those who look me in the eyes and tell me you pray for me, those who bake cakes, cook dinners for me, and sometimes even serve me when I’m too tired, sick or sore to get out of bed.
With each diagnoses, I lose spoons. So I don’t have many when I start each day. I know that God will provide for me, He already has with all of those people I have listed above.
Thanks to each and every one of you. And thanks to those who care enough that you use your time to read my blog. It means more than I can say.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In everything give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Love and prayers to all,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm watching God's love grow, heart to heart.

On this day, twenty-three years ago, I experienced the most horrible pains that I had in the past twenty years of my life, child birth. Little did I know the pain on August 30, 1988 was just a drop in the bucket compared to what lay ahead. And little did I know, twenty-three years ago, that God had given me a gift so amazing that it would change my life in so many wonderful ways.
It’s so hard to believe that my 9 pound 5 ounce bundle of joy is now 6 foot 3 inches tall and quite a bit larger than his birth weight. He has a heart bigger than all outdoors, a remarkable love for all living creatures, and the ability to sing so pure and sweet that every time I hear him sing chills run down my spine and tears run down my cheeks. He’s full of facts that are totally useless to the average person (sort of like having our very own Cliff Clavin from the TV series “Cheers”). He can have a short fuse at times (like his mother) and has a helpful and giving spirit (like his dad). He thinks his brother got all of the “funny” genes. But trust me, Zayne is funny and just as full of life as his brother and partner in crime, Zakry. Not to mention, Zayne has a surprisingly funny giggle for a guy his size. It’s hilarious!
Zayne and I danced to a song at his and Irish’s wedding that seemed to have been written just for us. The song is, “Heart To Heart” by Toby Keith. It reminded me of the time when Zayne was three years old, sitting in his high chair and threw a bowl of cereal, milk and all, at me because he “thought” I would laugh. When in fact what I did was quite the opposite of laughter. From the mention of Zayne’s exact height, to our face to face disagreements, to our hugs, kisses, laughter and the fact that he is in fact a “chip off of the old block” and a momma’s boy, this song was perfect. It’s sung from the prospective of the dad who has watched the mother/son relationship evolve over the course of the son’s life. I couldn’t find a good video link and I really wanted you to hear this song. As a very poor replacement, I have typed the lyrics as a birthday tribute to my eldest son, who will always have my heart and my unconditional love.
“Heart To Heart” lyrics: I watched him throw his oatmeal bowl halfway across the kitchen floor. His momma said don't let me see you do that anymore. And he let loose with a cup of orange juice right down the back of her dress. Without a doubt she lined him out then cleaned up the mess. Now he is just a chip off of the old block, just like me, we keep her on her toes a lot. He'll grow to be six foot three, yeah he's gonna be just like me. He'll be tall and play football but he'll always be a momma's boy. ~ And when he cries she'll match him tear for tear. When he laughs she'll grin from ear to ear. When he's wrong they'll stand there face to face. She can put him in his place. Side by side and hand in hand, she'll talk with daddy's little man. He knows that she's done her part. I'm watching God's love grow, heart to heart.
Just like the lyrics in that song, when we laugh our Father is happy, when we cry our Father cries. He holds our hand and he loves us with all His heart.
Thank you God for giving me such a wonderful gift, August 30, 1988. Happy Birthday Zayne!!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” ~ James 1:17
Sometimes we have struggles that we don’t understand and we may wonder why me? But at the same time we must remember that God has blessed us with so many gifts we don’t deserve. I have been granted more blessings than I can count. One of those was given to me 23 years ago today.
We can focus on the pain and strife or we can focus on all of the magnificent love that our Father bestows upon us every day. We have decisions to make, decisions that map out the journey of our lives.
"When faced with a decision, many people say they are waiting for God. But I understand, in most cases, God is waiting for me." — Andy Andrews
Love and prayers to all,

Monday, August 29, 2011

“If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise”………

Today began my beach-count down! What a great way to start a week, counting down the days for a much needed trip to relax on the beach for 12 days!! No doctors, no needles, no tests and no IV treatments. Just me, my tag-team support group, a few books and sand & sun! (Well really shade under the umbrella. But you know what I mean)!! :-) Of course me being me, before I could stick my toes in the sand, I had to throw in an unexpected trip to see my favorite doctor!
Since my neck surgery, November 29, 2010, I have had issues with my bladder. Not the leaking issue some women experience. That problem, the one that makes you fear sneezing or laughing too hard! No, that's not the one. My problem has been the opposite. I have to make myself go and then sometimes I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas, wondering if it will ever arrive! So, all of that waiting and wondering caught up with me, an infection. Yippee, antibiotics, an Rx for 5 days. Actually I was on a pretty good run there for a while. Since starting my IgG blood treatments I haven't had an infection or needed antibiotics. So I'm thankful for the “antibiotic-free” 7 month stretch.
I was also there to see the doc because I have the sinus crud. Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head and the whole bit. Since he knows that I just love rinsing my nose out with one of those blue booger-getters that’s was he suggested I do, along with a recommendation to rid myself of the Mucinex Man. "Mucinex In, Mucus Out". Right, well, we’ll see. For twenty bucks he had better pack his bags and get out!! On second thought, I think that he or his raven haired nurse through a nasal spray sample in my purse. I’ll have to check that later…….
To make matters worse for the beginning of my count down week I’m dealing with my RSD. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to please read the blog titled “Wake Up ...... It's Time To Take A Nap.”)
The bone crushing feeling in my left ankle began last night and has gotten worse throughout the day. I hobble in on one foot and tell the nurse I’m there because my nose is running and my t-t’s not! Ain’t that a hoot! Well, it would have been if I had been up to hooting. But trust me, there’s just something about feeling like your foot is broken to pieces that makes a person not feel like hooting!
As I stumble and stagger my way into Walgreen’s I was thinking that I would skip the Rx, the booger-getter and the Mucinex and buy me a cast for my foot.

As my sweet Aunt Lois always said, “If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise”………this chick is going to the beach Friday!!

Love and prayers to all!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Foggy Days and Foggy Nights......With Fibromyalgia

As I journey through life I am constantly learning things about myself and others. If I take time to pay attention, take in what I see and hear and watch people around me, then everything can be a learning experience.  I have realized that sometimes, based on an outward appearance, I have given too much credit to people that I thought were wise and could give me sensible advice. On the other hand I have overlooked people who have made thoughtful gestures and were kindhearted and selfless. These people are often overlooked because they are most often the humble, quiet types. They take the focus off themselves and make certain others are cared for. My point is, what we see is not always what we get.   
A person who has Fibromyalgia LOOKS fine but often feels horrible. I can remember many times going to work, or church or out to dinner with my family when I looked “fine” but felt like I had the flu. My body would be so sore that it hurt to feel my clothes touch my skin. My head would throb until I thought it might explode. But it was pointless to say how I felt because I looked fine. It took several years of doctors visits, blood work and medical tests before I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It was in 2001, I had just explained how I was feeling and the doctor and I were going over my latest tests, which were all negative. As I was standing up to leave he put his hand on my neck/shoulder area and gave a little squeeze. At the same time he said the sincerest comment, “Don’t worry, we’ll figure this out.” At that time I closed my eyes and made a sound, which he recognized as pain. He asked if that area hurt and how badly? He then realized that I was hurting because he had squeezed a “tender point.”
Tender points are pain points or localized areas of tenderness around joints, but not the joints themselves. These tender points hurt when pressed with a finger. The actual size of the point of most tenderness is usually very small, about the size of a penny. These areas are much more sensitive than other nearby areas. In fact, pressure on one of the tender points with a finger will cause pain that makes the person flinch or pull back. There are 18 tender points important for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Tender points are scattered over the neck, back, chest, elbows, hips, buttocks, and knees.
I truly believe that lots of people get a diagnoses from their doctor because the doctor is tired of dealing with them. That makes it tough on those who are truly suffering. At the same time, a person might suffer for years before getting a diagnoses of Fibromyalgia. The only person who knows and understands their pain is that person. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you are not hurting. I have read so many horror stories about people who lived with chronic pain and ended their own life because no one believed them.
(Fibromyalgia medical facts were found at Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain of the muscles and connective tissue and accompanied by allodynia, which is a heightened and painful response to pressure or light touch. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness, numbness and tingling of skin, and cognitive dysfunction (known as fibro-fog), confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Other symptoms include prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, nerve pain, muscle twitching and chronic sleep disturbances. Although fibromyalgia is classified based on the presence of chronic widespread pain, pain may also be localized in areas such as the shoulders, neck, low back, hips, or other areas. Many sufferers also experience varying degrees of myofascial pain. Myofascial pain can occur in distinct, isolated areas of the body, and because any muscle or fascia may be affected, this may cause a variety of localized symptoms. More generally speaking, the muscular pain is steady, aching, and deep. Depending on the case and location the intensity can range from mild discomfort to excruciating and "lightning-like" pain. Knots may be visible or felt beneath the skin. The pain does not resolve on its own, even after typical first-aid self-care such as ice, heat, and rest. Neither degenerative nor fatal, the chronic pain of fibromyalgia is pervasive and persistent. Most fibromyalgia patients report that their symptoms do not improve over time.

The medications that I take affect chemicals in the brain that send pain signals across the nervous system. The meds make me sleepy and my mouth very dry. Other possible side effects are blurred vision; dizziness; drowsiness; gas; headache; increased appetite; lightheadedness; stomach pain; trouble concentrating; weight gain.
And for goodness sake, why does practically every drug have a possible side effect of weight gain? WHY?!?!  J Just sayin?
A number of factors can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. They include:
·         Anxiety
·         Changes in weather -- for example, cold or humidity
·         Depression
·         Fatigue
·         Hormonal fluctuations such as PMS or menopause
·         Infections
·         Lack of sleep or restless sleep
·         Periods of emotional stress
·         Physical exhaustion
Because infections are a reason for Fibro “flare-ups”, in my next blog I am going to write about my history of frequent infections caused by, what I was diagnosed with in December of 2010, Immunoglobulin G Deficiency. A blood disorder for which I am now being treated with monthly IV treatments at Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham, AL.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. It reassures me that I have family and friends who care enough about me to gain knowledge and understanding about my health. Your time is precious and each time you read my blog you have given me a gift. And I want to thank you!!
Love and prayers to all,
The fibro-fog is one of the worst symptoms for me personally. The pain is horrible, don't misunderstand. But the inability to think or concentrate and times trouble finding the right word you are looking for drives me crazy. And please, for goodness sake, don’t interrupt me, it might take me a few moments or minutes to remember what I was saying. ....and I know what you're thinking, ..."I do that!" But trust me, fibro-fog is forgetfulness to the extreme and is very frustrating!!