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,