A Night To Remember

It’s taken me awhile to finish this post, but it’s finally done :).  My husband and I had such a great night out, and I wanted to share part of the experience with you!

For my readers who are chronic folks, I know you can relate to how challenging it is on many days, just to get into the shower and accomplish getting dressed before it’s bed time, let alone getting “dressed up” for a night out.  All those little things…hair, makeup, perfume, jewelery…etc, that may have once been part of your morning routine, have now become a full day’s event.  Isn’t it ridiculous how much energy it takes to do all these little tasks, all in the midst of dealing with spasms, tremors, pain of various types, and overwhelming exhaustion?

About a week and a half ago, I planned my day out as carefully as possible, in order to have myself ready for our evening, and still have enough life left in me to enjoy myself.  My in-laws were in town visiting, and had offered to watch our little ones, so that we could get away for an evening out together. We don’t often get the opportunity for a romantic evening to ourselves, so I was pretty exciting :).  It was well worth all the challenges that it took to get ready, out the door, and make it through the evening, to share that experience with my hubby.  It was a night to remember!

We began our evening at Parkerhouse Grill & Wine Bar. I was taken away by the ambiance and the beauty of this place.  Even the washroom was gorgeous, and I would have taken a picture of that too, except the camera was at our table :P.  We were having an early dinner (reso for 5pm…early for downtown), and were the only people in the restaurant for the first hour or so, which was really nice.   Our server was really friendly, and we got chatting with her about the design of the restaurant, and it’s beauty.  She was telling us that the owners had put $4 million into renovations!  There are huge pillars with really pretty multi-color tiles that reflect the light. I also loved all the hardwood wall units with glass shelves displaying their collection of wine throughout the restaurant.

Check out this abstract suspended lighting!

Isn’t it stunning?!?!?  It is a creation by a local artist, and there are several throughout the restaurant.  These pretties went for $25,000 a piece.

Cocktails anyone?

I enjoyed a Cosmopolitan, made with blueberry vodka…yum, while hubby had a Rickard’s White.

The chef treated us to a new soup he had just whipped up.  I love trying new things 🙂  Now, this is going to sound like an odd combination of foods, but I assure you, it was delicious!  This soup was made with puree tomatoes and banana, and then topped with yogurt and a deep-fried banana.  Scrumptious!

We ordered a tenderloin & jumbo prawns, with a side of fresh vegetables and pomme compote (mashed potatoes).  It was all so good, and a perfect size portion.

After our main course, I was comfortably satisfied, however hubby was combing over the desert menu, and I couldn’t resist!  We enjoyed a flourless dark chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet…Mmmm

The ambiance, cocktails, food, service, and most of all the company, made the night just perfect in every sense.  It was so nice to get away from everything and enjoy this experience together.  We really need to do this more often!

After dinner, we headed to the theater to see “Grown Ups“, staring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade, Chris Rock and Rob Schneider.  It was hilarious!  Laughter is the best medicine right? Well, I’m pretty sure I overdosed on laughter while watching this movie!  Seriously, the next morning, all the muscles in my abdomen, and even those in my ribcage area were sore.  I’m not talking FM pain (which did take over the rest of my body the next day too), I’m talking good pain that you get from a workout 🙂  If you enjoy comedies, and are due for a dose of laughter, check out the trailer for this movie!

I have some more summer experiences from the last few weeks that I’m looking forward to posting.  It has been a bit of a challenge writing from our laptop which doesn’t have the programs that I’m accustomed to using on our PC.  The most challenging part is editing the pictures I want to post.  So when I have the time and energy to edit some more pictures, I’ll tell you all about our other summer adventures 😉

Thank you so much for visiting and reading at Chronic Connection, and hope you will come back again soon.

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The Liberation Treatment for MS Patients

There is some very exciting news for patients with MS! Saskatchewan’s Premier, Brad Wall, announced yesterday, that Saskatchewan is willing to fund trials of what is being called the liberation treatment for MS.  It is said that Saskatchewan may have the highest rates of MS patients in Canada.

The liberation treatment is a procedure that is being done in several countries throughout the world, but has not yet been available in Canada.  Westmount Square Medical Imaging, in Montreal, has been offering screening  for this procedure, however they have now announced on their website that they are no longer.  They posted a message saying:

“Please note that we are no longer booking the Jugular Vein Doppler for Venous Insufficiency. We have been advised by the college des medecins to hold off on them until they officially rule on the practice of this exam. We regret the inconvenience this may cause however we have agreed to comply with this request and will not offer this service until further notice.”

For MS patients who fear that time may be running out, they have spent tens of thousands of dollars to travel to countries such as Poland and Hungary, just to name a couple, so that they can access this treatment.  Like with any procedures, this one also comes with risks, however may people are feeling that the potential benefits from having this procedure done, far outweigh the potential risks which could be involved.  MS patients who have had this procedure done, are reporting improvement.

Researchers believe there may be a link between “chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency” (CCSVI) and MS.  It is my understanding, CCSVI is a condition where the blood flow within the cervical and thoracic veins is interrupted because of these veins being blocked.  This interrupts proper blood flow to the heart, and causes a reflux, where the blood that is supposed to be flowing down to the heart, is going back up to the brain instead.  Screening for CCSVI is done by a Doppler ultrasound, with enables the person performing the ultrasound, to examine the blood flow, among other things.

The liberation treatment involves inserting and inflating a “ballon” to eliminate the blockage, and enable the blood to flow properly.

For more information, and to watch the story of a Canadian woman who decided to travel all the way to Poland to have the screening & procedure done, please visit CBC News – Health – MS blogger’s surgery journey.

May this bring those of you living with MS, hope for the future in getting an effective treatment!  You never know how this may end up being the gateway to discovering an effective treatment to many other illnesses, and we may all benefit from this one day!

Sending you all a ton of gentle hugs, and wishing you sweet dreams!

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The “Not So” Calm Before The Storm

Image by Nancy @ Chronic Connection

Anxiety started kicking in before I could even figure out why. It’s like my body knows what it’s in for, before the logical part of my brain figures it out.  My body remembers and is starting to pull the alarms.

Later this afternoon, I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold or something. You know, the very first sign that you are likely
to wake up in the morning with a nasty cold?  Big deal, I’ll take some
of my Anti-Viral stuff that works magic, and will kick that virus to
the curb before it can even think about invading. Don’t laugh!  That
stuff really does work!  It is liquid GOLD to me 😛

Over the course of the last several hours since, I now have deep aches throughout my entire body and nasty nerve pain which has gotten worse, as the day has gone on.  My skin hurts just from the light breeze my ceiling fan was creating.  For a split second, I thought how it would really suck to be getting the flu, and that is when the light bulb came on, and I tried not to panic.  This is almost always a tell-tale sign of a bad flare, yet to hit.  The “red flags”, if you will.

“A fibromyalgia flare is like knowing a violent storm is heading straight for you, but you are not allowed to take shelter or head to safer grounds. You are forced to stand there and take the beating.” ~ Nancy @ Chronic Connection

I think that would make almost anyone a little anxious, to say the least. Especially when you’ve been down this road SO many times. What adds to the anxiety, is not knowing how hard it will hit, or how long it will last.  An average day for me is a higher than “manageable” pain level.  As odd as it may sound to some, it is what I’ve become used to, and for the most part, I can keep a grip. When I start to get anxious, it’s the over the top intense pain, that literally makes you hold your breath and curl your toes, and beg for it to end.  Yeah, that’s the pain that makes me panic.  I rarely have “low pain” days, and I NEVER have “no pain” days. I can’t remember what that feels like…to not have constant pain.  I wish I could see how many people are nodding their heads right now, because I know that I’m not alone…talk about a double edge sword.

We take comfort in knowing that we are not alone, yet I personally

also feel guilty (and maybe you do too), for taking comfort in knowing that I am not alone, and that I have so many friends in the chronic pain community that I can turn to for support.  Nobody should have to live with this magnitude of pain…day in, day out. But, you know what?  It is, what it is, and at least I’m in good company! 😉  In all honestly, I have met some of the most amazing people ever, because of the paths our chronic illnesses have led us down.

If I woke up pain-free one morning, I think I’d pinch myself, just to

make sure that I didn’t die and go to Heaven!

********************

Since starting this post earlier, anxiety has turned to panic a couple of times, and I’ve had to stop writing.  Thanks God for anti-anxiety medication!  It’s the only thing that can help me get a grip when I get too freaked out.

Pain is still climbing, and I’m going to get in a hot tub until my night-time meds kick in.  I will be praying for a “get out of flair free” card.  Just this one time!

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Back To Basics

Shadow Dancers by Nancy @ Chronic Connection

The last couple of weeks have gone by so quickly!

My husband took two weeks of vacation. The first week, we squeezed in a couple of appointments that we wanted to get out of the way, did some little outings with the kids, and saved some time for just relaxing at home.

We decided that we wouldn’t go away for vacation, since money is tight, my body is uncooperative, and my in-laws would be coming out for a visit at the end of the first week. Instead we planned to try to do a day trip, and for the rest of the time, we wanted to take advantage of all the great things our city has to offer. Depending on where you live, it is amazing how much there is to do, right in your own “backyard”! There is more than enough to do as a family within our city, and that doesn’t even include all the annual festivals that have yet to happen.  Since I wasn’t able to take part in all the plans, it made it easier that we were staying home, versus going away. This way, my husband was still able to go off and do things with the kids, and I could take comfort in having everything I needed at home.  Had we gone away somewhere, I think it would have been really depressing to hang out in a hotel room by myself 😛

Applying The Spoon Theory came in especially useful during these two weeks, so that I was able to participate and enjoy as much as possible with my family, without landing myself in bed for the two weeks.

My in-laws arrived at the end of our first week of holidays, and have been with us until they left for their flight this morning. We did manage to fit in quite a few more activities while they were visiting. I was in pretty rough shape for the first few days they were visiting, so I had to forgo some of the plans we had made, but I did manage to join in for a day trip and a date night with my hubby 🙂

All in all, it was a good couple of weeks and I think everyone enjoyed
themselves.

Today, the kids and I are getting back to basics. I most definitely
function best when we have a routine established, and that can be very difficult to maintain when people are visiting. So that is my focus for the next few days, to get us back on track 😉  Sadness quickly replaced my daughter’s usual happy morning smile, when she remembered that Nana & Papa left early this morning 😦  I think she’ll be needing a little extra TLC today.  She always finds it difficult for a couple of days after company leaves, to go back home.

I hope that you are all having a good start to your day!

Sending lots of gentle hugs your way 🙂

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Arrrg…

Okay, I’m frustrated!  I’m trying not to let myself get worked up over technical difficulties, or my pain, or my exhaustion, but seriously…it’s getting under my skin now.

Almost 2 weeks ago, our computer died.  Toast!  My husband has been trying to get it working again, and he is usually very successful with major computer issues, but he’s not having much luck this time around 😦  Of course, EVERYTHING I ever need is on the PC….like, EVERYTHING.  I’m trying really hard to be patient, and remain hopeful that in the end, everything will be fixed.  This has really shown me how much I depend on my computer!

For now, I’m on the laptop that runs slower than molasses. It freezes and has to be rebooted more times than I can count, which in itself is enough to keep anyone from wanting to use it unless absolutely necessary.

I have a number of posts in “draft” form, which I have not had the patience to complete… I WANT MY PC BACK!  Oddly, I don’t feel any better after having vented.

A few other things which have taken me away from my regular routine; pain, exhaustion, and company visiting until Tuesday.

I’m ready to get back in the groove of my typical days with the kids, at my own pace, with control over my environment 😉

On a positive note…

My husband took me out for an awesome date night, last night (yes, I’m paying big time today, but it was worth it!).  It was so nice to go out alone with him for the evening.  You’ll have to tune back in for more details, as our evening on the town is an entire post in itself.  My pictures from our fabulous evening won’t upload properly on the laptop, and the post just wouldn’t be the same without pictures 😛

I hope that everyone had a good week (I’m also WAY behind in reading everyone else’s blogs), and a fabulous weekend!

If I’m not around much this week, you’ll know that it’s a combination of everything going on, plus dealing with this body of mine, which has been through too much in the last couple of weeks.

Hibernation is sounding good right now!

Sending you all tons of gentle hugs!

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A Letter To Patients With Chronic Disease by Dr. Rob

Guess where I’ve been hanging out for over an hour this evening?

First…. A huge thank you to a reader here at Chronic Connection, for sharing this link with me today!  (((Gentle Hugs Jennifer)))

For over an hour I have been reading Dr. Rob‘s blog Musings of a Distractible Mind, and I think I’ll probably be reading and cruising around his blog until bed 😉

Please make SURE you read A Letter To Patients With Chronic Disease! You will be very glad that you did 🙂  While you are there, take a look around and enjoy Dr. Rob’s other posts too!

Jennifer, I’m so glad you shared this link with me 🙂

Have a wonderful evening everyone!

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Over 70 Thousand Blogs Disappear

As many of you may have heard by this point, over 70 thousand blogs have had their plug pulled, in the blogsphere. I know that I’m not the only one who backed up my blog today 😉

This afternoon, I was able to locate a press release, intended to set the record straight, regarding the situation. Evidently, all of this transpired, the evening of July 9th, 2010. It seems that it took a little while for this information to leak out to the general public.

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