Catching Up

Lately, it’s taking all I can to average one post a week at Chronic Connection.  I don’t know how my fellow bloggers muster up the energy and ability to post daily (or almost).  I’m even having trouble keeping up with reading them all! Lol!  My apologies for being so inactive lately!

This summer has wiped me right out, and the transition back to school has been more difficult on my body than I have been willing to give it credit for.

One week into the new school year, and both my children have been sick since Thursday evening.  It’s official, school has started!  They seem to be feeling quite a bit better now though.  Maybe the herbal tea I forced on them yesterday helped ;).   With any luck, they will both be able to take part in their swimming lessons tomorrow!  I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to have a good reason to leave the house tomorrow…lol!  I think I’m more excited than the kids.

This past week has been so rough, that the only time I have left the house, was to drive to and from school.  I am extremely grateful that the nerve pain that has had me on edge all day seems to have simmered down, FINALLY.  Just in time for dinner and to get into a nice hot shower.  I tried absolutely everything I could think of today to get relief from the intense pain, which oddly was only running through the right side of my body (mostly my lower arm and from hip to knee), with no success.  My system wasn’t able to tolerate the medication I was prescribed ions ago for nerve pain, and unfortunately it doesn’t work as a short term treatment, or I would have been more than willing to endure the side effects today.

My plan for the rest of this evening is to climb back into bed, snuggle up with my hubby, and enjoy some quiet time together.

I hope that you are all doing well tonight, and that you are having a “good” day!

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Thank You For Choosing Me Every Day

Image from WeHeartIt

An 11th Wedding Anniversary’s floral symbol is morning glory, meaning “affection”

Seventeen years ago today, we first met on a beautiful evening.  I think you were as shy and nervous on our first date as I was 😉  That evening marked the beginning of the rest of our lives together.

When I think back to that first night, and everything along the journey we have traveled, that has brought us to today, I’m both amazed, and proud of everything we have shared, celebrated, achieved, and conquered together.  It has been quite a ride 😉

We have both grown so much, as individuals, and as a couple since our journey begun.  I think all of life’s challenges we have experienced to date have ultimately made us even stronger individuals and more solid as a couple.

I never expected that the strength of our marriage, and us as individuals would be tested this early in our lives by the impact of chronic health problems.  It certainly hasn’t been an easy part of our journey, however we continue to rise above all of it together.  I really believe the strengths and values we have built within our marriage, helps us each day, to beat the odds of letting chronic illness get between us.

Not one single day goes by that I don’t think about how blessed I am that you are my husband.  You are my rock whenever I need support.  You give me strength, hope and the will to keep moving forward when my supplies run low.

When I married you, eleven years ago today, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you were the man I wanted to spent the rest of my live with.  You have all the qualities and values I wanted in a husband, and you continue to bless my life, with everything that made me fall in love with you, and so much more than I could have ever imagined.

You are the most loving, patient, understanding, compassionate, and nurturing man I could have ever hoped to share my life with.  I cannot imagine my life without you by my side.

When I look at our children, I am proud that we have had the ability to lead by example and help them become the confident, well-rounded, gentle souls they are today.

Thank you for being my best friend, for loving me unconditionally, for never doubting me and always believing in me, and for choosing me every day, to be your wife.

Happy Anniversary!  I love you with all my heart!

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Back To School Prep

Image from WeHeartIt

The countdown is on!  My son’s school starts back on Thursday, and I’m trying to get the kids, as well as myself back into the groove.

Last week we started backing up the kids’ bedtimes, and this week I’m backing up mine 😉  Adjusting to change can be challenging for any parents, especially if you’re a chronic Mom or Dad.  I need much more time to make that transition then I did before chronic illnesses were a part of my life.  Personal history has proven that establishing a regular bedtime for myself will most certainly help.

Last week my intention was the focus on weeding out clothes that my munchkins have outgrown, and making a list of what needs to be purchased to complete their fall/winter wardrobes.  Life happened, and I didn’t even come close to accomplishing as much as I had hoped to.  This morning, I think I’ll take a quick inventory of what they have, and what they need.  The plan today is to hit the mall, and try to get the clothes shopping done as efficiently and as painlessly as possible.  It’s rainy and cold, and my body is not cooperating.  Between you and me, I’d rather curl up in bed with my heating pad and have a low-key day 😉

I’m also trying to get my mind into gear and thinking back to simple evening routines that can make mornings easier and quicker for us to all get ready.  For most of us living with chronic pain & fatigue, mornings are a major challenge.  Budgeting extra time to literally get our bodies mobile and allow our medications to kick in is really important.  So, any time-saving efforts that can be done in the evening, can make a huge difference the next morning!

A few things that help me:

1) Showers/baths at night, instead of in the morning

2) Clothes are laid out at night

3) Kitchen is prepped for morning.  Anything I need to prepare breakfast is on the counter and ready to use (ie: toaster, plates, bowls, cereal…etc).  The less I have to do first thing in the morning, the better!

4) Son’s lunch is packed and in the fridge.  All he has to do is grab it on his way out the door in the morning.

5) When the colder weather arrives, gloves, hats, snow pants…etc, are all laid out on the stairs near the front door.  This way nobody is rushing to find missing items.

Fortunately, we have the option each spring to pay a flat fee, and all the school supplies are ordered by the school for the next school year.  Because the school purchases supplies in bulk, and do not mark up the prices or take any profit, it saves us money, not to mention energy 🙂  That’s always a good thing!

Are you ready for the school year to start, or do you still have shopping left too?

What tips do you have that can make transitioning back to school easier?

I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you will come back again soon 🙂

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Laughing Matters…

…lift our spirits!

Laughter (noun):

When a smile has an orgasm

It is well known that humor is used by many as a distraction, not only for pain, but for many of life’s stresses.

It gives our mind and body a temporary break from life’s troubles and stresses.  Laughter decreases stress hormones in our body, and triggers the release of a hormone called endorphines, which is our body’s natural painkiller.

Laughter therapy has become increasingly popular.  Take a look at this group of people who are participating in a laughter therapy class.  Their laughs are infectious!

There are so many ways to ensure we get a good daily dose of laughter, and I’d like to share 5 of my comic relief sources.

1) My children :): Children are such natural little comics. They are so unpredictable with the things they say and do, and their perception of the world around them can be so hilarious! I actually keep an ongoing list of the things my children say, that make me laugh, so that I can go back and read it when I need a lift.

2) Good ol’ reliable movies: Movies that I’ve watched recently, that had me in stitches are Just Married and Grown Ups.

The preview for The Other Guys looks hilarious and is on my list of movies I want to see!

I’m also very much looking forward to the fall lineup of TV shows :).

3) Short Video clips: YouTube is a quick way to save and watch clips that make you laugh, or at least put a smile on your face :). Have you seen the Evian Roller Babies? They make me smile every time!

4) Light reads with humor: One of the books I really enjoyed, that had me laughing out loud was Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler.  With that being said, it you are offended by colorful language or vulgarities, you might want to pass on this book 😉

5) Friends and Family:  I’m fortunate to have people in my life that have a really good sense of humor, which I can feed off!  My sister and I spell craziness when we get going, whether it is in person, on the phone, or instant messaging.  More than half of our conversations end in laugh attacks, ending in tears because we are laughing so hard.  I can rely on a couple of hilarious friends who very easily get me laughing even on some of the toughest days 😉

What are your top sources of laughter?  Do you have a favorite movie or video clip that has you laughing out loud every time?

Please share your info and links, so the rest of us can enjoy a laugh along with you!  Another reason I’m missing my PC, for all the funny websites I have bookmarked!  Yes, it’s STILL being repaired (eye roll).

Happy Friday everyone!

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Living In Chaos

Clutter, messes, disorganization, and just chaos in general, stresses me out and drives me crazy.

Before chronic illness became a part of my everyday life, everything had it’s place, I was organized and on top of everything that needed to be done.  I liked it that way!  Our home operated in an efficient manner, which made everything less stressful.

How chronic illness has changed that!  Despite investing what little energy I have to accomplish what was once just second nature, I feel that I can’t even make a dent in what needs to be done.  It all becomes very overwhelming, when I look around and feel that I’m trying to survive in a chaotic environment.

My husband does an awful lot at home for me, and if it wasn’t for him stepping up and taking over everything that I’m unable to accomplish, we’d be in serious quicksand.  That being said, he also has alot of responsibilities that come with his job, and is tired at the end of the day.  There are only so many hours in the day, and the guy needs some down time too!  He works very hard, to keep us afloat financially, and will likely be returning to his second job soon, for a bit of much needed supplemental income.  It can’t help but frustrate me, that he wouldn’t have to pick the second job back up, if he was being paid a competitive wage in his management position. The benefits are great, and especially with my medical expenses, that is the major incentive for him not to move to another company.

I hate that I haven’t been able to work for the last 2 years.  I’ve always worked hard and been able to supplements our family’s income, and took great pride in being a working Mom, who was also able to be at home with my children.  It has been a difficult situation to accept, that I am no longer able to contribute to our family financially.

These past couple of years have been an adjustment in more ways that I can begin to count, and especially in the last couple of weeks, I feel like I am being sucked back into really missing my old life.  Obviously, I’ve missed it all along, but most of the time, I can push it to the back of my mind, and do what needs to be done.  I try not to think about how my being ill has derailed us from the plans we originally had for a bright future, and forced us to find ways to adapt to the road we now walk.  For some reason, I’m having an extremely difficult time pushing any of it out of my mind lately.  I want to go back to work so much, and be a functioning part of society, and do the things I’m good at doing!  I’m not good at being a chronic pain patient!  I’m tired of my health holding me back from doing the things I want to do, and emotionally, I feel like I have taken two steps back in accepting and overcoming it.

So, my dear readers, this post was originally intended to talk about getting organized and what needs to happen to prepared for “back to school”, but it seems that I had other things I needed to get off my chest 😉  LOL

I appreciate each and every one of you who visits me at Chronic Connection, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time and energy to read and comment 🙂

Sending you all a ton of (((gentle hugs)))!

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Rainy Pajama Day

It is so dreary, rainy and cold today. I’ve declared a pajama day!

It’s the perfect day to stay in our pajamas, watch TV, play video games, read, nap…lol. Okay, the last activity was purely for my own benefit :). Unfortunately, both of my children have outgrown naps before I have or ever will :P.

To my surprise, I had 5 straight “good” days from Saturday thru Wednesday. I hesitated to write about my good fortune, as I didn’t want to jinx myself. It is the longest period of good days that I have had in a very long time! Can I attribute those good days to the new med I started last week, or was it just the luck of the draw?

It’s too soon to tell, and as of yesterday, I’m back to having higher levels of pain. I’m holding hope that maybe it will help to enhance my good days, however, I have walked this road long enough to know that it is very unlikely that any pill on the market will be my “miracle drug”.

So far, I seem to be tolerating this medication better than any others I have tried, which in itself is a miracle! My body tends to react very strongly, in a negative way to medication.

I intend to write a more detail post about this medication and my experiences with it, after I have been on it for a longer period of time. It’s much too soon for me to say how well it is helping me in different areas, or to know which side effects will ease after an adjustment period. However, I do promise to keep you posted!

I’ve already taken a nap since starting this post, and I think another one isn’t too far around the corner 😛 Darn heating pad soothes me to sleep.

Wishing you all a good day and a great weekend!

Thank you for taking the time to visit and I hope you will come back again soon 🙂

~ Gentle Hugs

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A Sign Of Hope

“Butterflies are a symbol of metamorphosis.

Fibromyalgia gives us the opportunity to

change, grow, and become stronger.”

~ Author Unknown

This morning, my husband and I sat on our back patio, quietly chatting and enjoying a hot cup of coffee, when this beautiful creature fluttered in to join us.  I was so happy that once it finally landed on a flower, we were able to capture a picture of it with hubby’s Blackberry.

It is so rare that we ever see butterflies.  In my heart I think that this was a subtle, yet positive sign I was meant to observe.

This week has challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally.  The combination of physical pain and feeling overwhelmed mentally, with everything going on with my body, has reduced me to tears more days than not.  I’ve allowed other people’s ignorance impact me emotionally, much more than I normally would, had I been dealing with the same situation on a “good” day.

Yesterday, I was rudely awoken at 3am, with what would be the beginning of an excrutiating day, consumed by the worst migraine I have experienced yet.  For the first couple of hours, I was debating whether or not to get my husband to come home and take me into the ER.  At the same time, I didn’t think I could even endure a car ride to the hospital.  At that point, I couldn’t handle myself, let alone trying to entertain my two children.  The pain was making me violently ill, and was so intense that I started to worry that maybe something else was very wrong.  The biggest fear that entered my thoughts, was that it was an aneurysm.  It truly felt like something was going to burst inside my head.  For those of you who suffer from migraines, you may be nodding and thinking, yup…that’s a migraine.  Fortunately, I have had very little experience with migraines, up until the last couple of months.  I have a very short history to compare yesterday’s event too, however I’ve never felt that magnitude of pain in my head before, and it was really starting to scare me.

I’m someone who typically avoids hospitals at all cost.  As a matter of fact, the last time I went to the hospital for myself, was when I gave birth to my daughter, just over 4 years ago.  For me to be ready to head to the ER, it has to be pretty brutal, and it was, however I waited it out.  By mid afternoon, I was finally able to keep water down, and the migraine was starting to ease.

I still cannot get over how understanding and compassionate my 8 and 4 year old children were yesterday.  They made every effort to be very quiet and play nicely together.  We always make sure that there are easy, healthy snacks that are safely accessible for the kids to grab, when desperate times call for desperate measures.  Yesterday fit the bill, to a tee.  I had thanked and praised them a number of times throughout the day, for being so awesome for me, and they were later rewarded with dinner at McDonalds, curtesy of my hubby 😛

If my children have learnt anything positive about having a “Chronic Mom”, it is that they not only demonstrate compassion toward me when they can see that I’m struggling, but towards each other, and others in their lives.  They are such gentle souls, with an amazing grasp of awareness towards others, and I’m very proud of them both.

When I woke up this morning, the very first thing I noticed was that I had absolutely no signs of a migraine!  Not even the nagging pressure in my forehead that has not let up for the last few weeks.  Inside, I was jumping for joy!

The pretty butterfly that came to visit this morning, was the icing on the cake.  Its timing was so perfect, and seemed to have a purpose.  A few theories have crossed my mind, and they all point to it being a sign of hope.

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