Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm back.....for now :P

So, after being away for sooooo long, I thought I'd drop by and say HI. HI!

As it's Valentine's Day tomorrow I also thought I'd say a few words about how lucky I am to have my husband helping me to dea lwith my fibromyalgia. He helps in so many ways, from the practical (housework, working to pay the bills and massages for my aches every night) to the emotional (he's so supportive and makes me laugh everyday) and I don't know what I'd do without him.

I realise that there are many people out there living with chronic illness that have no-one to help them, to support them and to make them feel loved instead of lonely.
I'm so very lucky and I don't ever take it for granted.

So, whether you have a partner at home or not, I'd like to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day and tell you that you are not forgotten, you are loved and cared about by your fellow spoonies <3

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"PTSD & me" or "I Can Be a Little Slow Sometimes" . . .

I've been dealing with multiple diagnoses for years, and PTSD was my first mental health diagnoses waaaay back in 1991, so why has it taken me so long to figure out that new traumas cause new bouts of PTSD, even when the original bout was resolved? (Okay, maybe I'm VERY slow to catch on sometimes.)

I was washing dishes a bit earlier and having intrusive thoughts about a several month long period a few years ago when I had an AHA moment. I realized that the nightmares and intrusive thoughts (and some minor dissociative episodes) I've been having over the last couple of years were PTSD related to the events of that particular time. Maybe I couldn't face that knowledge until now, when the symptoms have eased tremendously; or perhaps it was simply that survival needs took priority. Now that my husband and I are both working again, and I'm not constantly worrying about how we're going to make the next rent payment, or how to stretch the next check far enough to cover what HAS to be paid; maybe I just have time to NOTICE something other than the pain and exhaustion of the fibromyalgia, the deep depressions of the bipolar disorder, and the migraines triggered by high stress levels.

I'm not really sure about why it's taken me so long to realize what was going on, but I do know that finally figuring it out means it's time to do the work necessary to resolve it and move on. Oh, joy, isn't this gonna be fun? Just what I needed, one more thing to deal with, on top of all the rest of it.

At least I've been here before, and I know what to expect this time. Even though the cause is different, the process will be pretty much the same, and this time I don't have a lifetime of denial and suppression to work through to get to the emotions that have to be faced and accepted. The worst part is that the person I would normally depend on most, my husband, was almost as traumatized by the situation as I was, and isn't ready to deal with it yet.

It's going to be an interesting balancing act, working through my stuff without overprotecting him or triggering something he can't handle yet, but we'll see how it goes. Maybe my processing will encourage him to deal with some of his own stuff; but I can't make that decision for him, or take responsibility for his issues.

Wish me luck, it's gonna be an interesting ride . . .

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Very Late Intro

SarahBear invited me to join her on this blog ages ago, and I really did intend to jump right in, but life got in the way. I got a new job, and it's taken my body a couple of months to adjust to the whole working thing again.

I'm really horrible at the whole introduction thing, I've never been very good at trying to tell folks who I am and what I'm about, but here goes nothing. First the basics - I'm a middle-aged, married homebody who loves to read and write, but is a bit inconsistent because when I'm depressed everything I write comes out as depressing, cynical, or both; and I'm depressed a lot. That's mostly because I have fibromyalgia and bipolar disorder (along with a laundry list of other chronic issues,) and they sometimes feed on each other. The pain and fatigue from the fibro will trigger depression, which messes with my sleep and increases the levels of pain and fatigue, which makes the depression worse, etc.. etc.

It's a vicious cycle, which isn't helped by the fact that I can't afford to see a doctor or pay for prescriptions. Hubby works full time, but half of his check goes to child support and state-ordered health insurance for the kidlet, and I don't usually get more than 26 hours or so at barely over minimum wage. After rent and utilities, food, and transportation, there's very rarely anything at all left over, so I make do with ibuprofen and what herbs and essential oils I can scrape together, along with things like meditation that don't cost anything.

I've been off of all prescription meds for two years now, and being desperate for relief can lead you to all kinds of interesting new options. I've discovered quite a few natural options that help, and have become absolutely fascinated with alternative treatments. I check out almost everything anyone suggests, and experiment with it to see if it works for me, and I frequently pass it on for others (fibromites will usually try almost anything to get relief.) I've had some friends provide me with a few books on herbs, and I actually got interested in aromatherapy (for bath products and skin treatments) years ago, so I already had a good bit of reference material available on that. Between what I had, what I've been given, and what's available on the web (checked, double-checked, and then checked again for accuracy); I've been learning a lot about how to manage my symptoms naturally. (Did you know that many people with fibro have low magnesium levels? Stress depletes magnesium, but soaking in a tub with a couple of cups of epsom salts will allow your body to absorb needed magnesium thru the skin, and the hot soak will relax your muscles and help ease your pain, too.)

When I write, that's mostly the sort of thing I write about. Medical issues, disability issues, symptom relief, and what works for me. I also write about things I've found on the web that might be helpful, or about the properties of various herbs and essential oils. I'm currently working on a series of articles on stress and fibro, with individual articles on various categories of stress reduction methods, although I'm not sure where I'm going to publish them yet. I try to avoid doing posts that are just "blowing off steam," although some of those slip in too, when I'm feeling sorry for myself, or something makes me particularly angry.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hi, I'm Jen :)

You may also know me as JennyBucket on Twitter. I'm outspoken, sweet, kind and damnit, I like myself! (Yes, I watched too much SNL in the 90's ;) )

That said, I have a husband who is so very wonderfully supportive. We have four kids that are just awesome(when they aren't fighting, but ehhh- pretty cool even then,too!)

I have been officially dx'd w/ fibromyalgia for about 6 years, but easily have had it at least 13 years. Just like a 'normal' fms person... I can't even count how many dr's I've seen- both great and extremely ignorant. So far, the dr I have now is pretty decent. I have a pain management guy that is super understanding as well.

I can't even begin to name the amount of meds I have been on over the years. It's ridiculous.

My family is absolutely priceless. They are SO understanding. I wouldn't be able to do it w/o them.

We have four cats that KNOW when I am not feeling well or am emotionally upset. We lost our Choccy lab of ten years yesterday, which was and is absolutely heart breaking. Our other lab, who is only 2 is mourning, too.

One thing that has helped me greatly is twitter. I have met THE most wonderful people on there who are supportive of me. I have been in the deepest depths of hell from pain, and I turn on my blackberry, and there is my #teamgimp! I swear, someone in the Heavens sent me you guys!

I can truly say that I love you all... and I can never ever repay you for what you've given me!


Friday, October 30, 2009


The other day my lovely husband told me that he wished I didn't have fibromyalgia.

It was a really nice thing to say, but since then I've been thinking about it myself, and I'm not sure that I've ever wished the same.
Of course it sucks bigtime to have pain and fibro-fog and a million random symptoms that come with this awful condition, but it is what it is.
If I wished it away, I would be in denial of my reality I think. It's better for me to accept and deal with and try to manage it rather than trying to 'magic' it away.
That's not to say that I wouldn't love to wake up in the morning and be cured - who wouldn't? But unfortunately that's very unlikely so instead I think I will carry on doing research, learning about fibromyalgia and using what I know to help myself.

Besides, if I wished that my life were different, I would be denying myself all of the great things/people that are in my life now. Since being diagnosed, I have met some wonderful, knowledgeable and supportive people online who share my 'fibro predicament' and I have become extremely self-aware and strong-willed, because I have to be. I also have wonderful family and friends, and the best husband in the world! I'm sure that this would have been the case regardless of my fibro, but this way I am reminded of it every single day.

Despite everything, I have decided that although I would love to be cured, I do not spend my days wishing that my life was different because almost everything else about it is pretty great :o)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A little about me

My name is Lisa but you can call me Kitty. I have fibro, DDD, hip dysplasia, and CFS. I have a husband, daughter and 6 cats. (hence, the Kitty nickname.) I was diagnosed after about 2 1/2 years of tests and doctor visits. I don't take any particular medications for my pain problems. I am on social security and medicare so I get by. I feel that health care reform will help those of us who need it the most. I believe that as we talk to one another, we can start a movement towards acceptance of fibro and it's many issues. I'm online alot and have met some of the nicest folks imaginable. So let's talk. Keep the dialogue open so those who don't know what it's like can understand what we as Team Gimp go through.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Introductions - Jessica, fmslife

Hello, everyone! My name is Jessica, but some of my friends call me JessiBee and I'm also known as fmslife on Twitter.

I'm 39 years old and live with my 21-year old son, Christopher, and our 5 cats. I couldn't have any more children after Chris, so I decided to be a mother to rescued kitties instead. It looks like we're getting another kitten this evening. My BFF, Mitzi, calls me the crazy cat lady. She's probably right!

I started having severe migraines when I was 16. I remember having to stay home from school for three months because of one that was so severe, so debilitating, that I had to black out my bedroom windows and stay locked up for the duration. Shortly before that, I started exhibiting symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had a lot of body pains, but it was chalked up to "growing pains" at the time.

When I was pregnant with Christopher, all I could do was sleep. My back and body hurt so much so I would pack pillows around me - at my back, between my legs, behind my legs, etc - just to find some comfort.

When Christopher was a year old, we moved out to Virginia with his father, my then-husband. We were far away from my family and I had no friends, thus nobody to turn to when he started abusing us. I won't go into that much on here.

One morning, at the age of 23, I was up and getting ready for work when, all of a sudden, I couldn't walk anymore. The pain I felt when I tried to move my legs was so intense that it is now what I use as an example of a 10 on the 10 scale when trying to gauge my pain level. I had never felt anything worse, though I have felt it a few to many times since.

My husband rushed me to the Naval Clinic (he was in the Navy), where I was x-rayed and diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis. Then I was given some motrin and told to go home and lay down. That is all.

After leaving my husband and Virginia behind in 1995, I came home and tried to find a civilian doctor who would help me with my back pain. I wen through many who many who accused me of malingering and one who even told me, "Everybody's back hurts!" I found the doctor I have now in 1997. When I told him my diagnosis, he told me his father has the same thing. I cried. Finally, someone understood! He helped me so much and sent me to an orthopedic surgeon who also took care of me. By 2003, I had reached my breaking point with the pain and opted for surgery to repair my spine. It was the best decision I had ever made (besides leaving my husband).

Between 2003 and 2007, I still had pains but the intensity had reduced from a 10 to a 3-5. I was going to the gym every weekday, had an active social life, finished my Bachelor's degree, and started on a Master of Arts in Education. Then, in 2007, I was rear-ended in a car accident and my life changed drastically.

The accident didn't dislodge any of the titanium holding my spine together (thankfully), but it did re-aggravate the area, cause scoliosis in my neck, and gave me a hematoma inside my T2 vertebrae.

Five months after the accident, and completely unrelated to it, my father died and I had a complete and total mental and emotional breakdown.

Since the accident and my father's death, there hasn't been a day that I haven't been in pain. In December 2007, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

Though I could barely move and sitting up was excruciating for me, I tried to work through it. I worked 10 hour days, continued to work on my Master's degree, and came home every night bawling from the pain. The people at work "tried" to understand, but then they just started avoiding me. Like whatever I was going through was supposed to be temporary and I should have "snapped out of it by now." I was in intense physical, emotional, and psychological pain and they were all abandoning me because they wouldn't understand.

So, in February 2009, I stopped going. My doctor filled out my FMLA paperwork, I filed for Social Security, and I just never went back. How could I? They made me feel guilty about being sick and that just made my symptoms worse.

My SSDI was approved in July and I started receiving my benefits in September. Unfortunately, the benefits do not include Medicare. I am currently uninsured because the COBRA payments were too much each month.

So, that is my super-long story in a nutshell - a really big nutshell. This was too long to post as a comment, so I had to post it as a new entry.

I can't wait to get to know everybody better! You ladies have been my saving grace and I will always be thankful to have met all of you.

Love and hugs,