2ND QUARTER UPDATE- MY GIANT MUST FALL

Okay so I know this is a little late, but here is my 2nd Quarter Update.  Since the end of May I have been in kind of a slump.  It started with a nice vacation to the beach, a wonderful week off from work.  When life returned to normal I couldn’t get motivated to do anything.  It rained for about the next two weeks and my joints were hurting bad.  I didn’t want to write, go to Yoga and I abandoned my 100 day project.  I didn’t have energy for any activities which I feel I should be doing almost daily.  After a few weeks I decided I needed to snap out of the slump.  I picked up a book I had purchased back in December and started to read.  It is called “Goliath Must Fall, Winning the Battle Against Your Giants” by Louie Gigilo.

The book discusses how we need to focus on Jesus in order to win the battle over the giants of fear, rejection, addition, anger and comfort.  Comfort.  Well that battle sounds familiar.  Is that what I have been experiencing recently?  It is much easier to just sit and watch TV every night after work that it is to be productive by writing in my blog, reading the Bible or exercising.  It is understandable that during the times I have flair ups of my illnesses that I would stop certain activities to conserve energy.  The problem is not being able to go back to these activities when the flair up passes.  That is where I am right now.  But, if I stay in this place of comfort I am not following the purpose God wants me to fulfill.  By not taking care of my body, I am not allowing myself to function properly.  If my body is not functioning properly, I am not motivated to write in my blog which helps others.  I also am not studying God’s word to share with others or praying for others needs.  In order to help others I need to care for myself first; therefore, I need to step out of comfort and be aligned with God.

An idea I came up with was to make a vision board.  The board will display all the goals I have for caring for myself which in turn allows me to help others.  By having a visual tool, I will be reminded constantly of the key concepts I wish to accomplish.  Hopefully the motivation to actually do the activities will follow.  What tools do you use to motivate yourself?

Here are some photos of my vision board:

Board

board2     board3

 

board4

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MY TOP 10 FAVORITE THINGS!!! (for living with Chronic Illness)

Life is a little different since I have developed multiple chronic illnesses.  Some daily tasks can be tiring and difficult to maneuver. Here are some of my favorite products I use to help me function better and provide some comfort while living with chronic sickness:

1.  Bamboo bed sheets:  These sheets are soooo soft!  They are great when my skin is sensitive to the touch due to Fibromyalgia.

Home Environment Queen Sheet Set, Grey Charcoal, Rayon from Bamboo

2.  Contour pillow:  Again this helps on days when my skin is sensitive.  When sleeping on my side, the pillow rests between my knees so they do not touch.  Fibromyalgia causes Allodynia, pain following a normally non-painful sensation.  I experience this when the Fibromyalgia flares up.  When my knees brush against each other, I feel intense pain.  This pillow eliminates the touching,  It also helps alleviate pressure on the back to help with my spine issues.

Contour Memory Foam Leg Pillow Cover Ecru

3.  Wedge pillow:  This serves two purposes.  The first is I can put it behind my head to elevate my torso while I am reading or writing in bed.  Second, I can turn it around and put it under my knees to elevate my legs when they are swollen from Psoriatic Arthritis.

Brookstone 4-In-1 Bed Wedge Pillow In Grey

4.  “Lush” Avocado Co-wash Shampoo Bar:   Yes, shampoo in a bar form.  This is great because sometimes I have issues squeezing plastic bottles due to Arthritis in my hands.  On some days it is tiring to wash my hair due to fatigue from my illnesses.  Since this particular bar is a shampoo/conditioner combo, I only have to wash once!

Avocado Co-Wash

5.  Dry Shampoo:  Speaking of fatigue, there are times when I do not want to wash my hair at all!  Dry Shampoo to the rescue!  It freshens the hair without having to exert too much energy.  It is the most amazing invention!

sHAMPOO

6.  Dr. Teals Epsom Salt Soak and Lavender Foam Bath: These two products work amazing together!  The Epsom Salt Soak helps relax soar muscles and reduces swelling.  The Lavender Foam Bath provides a bubbly, soothing aromatherapy experience while softening the skin.  Take me away!

Dr. Teals Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution - Natural Beauty & SkinDr Teal's Soothe & Sleep Lavender Foaming Bath - 34 fl oz

7.  Essential Oil Diffuser:  Speaking of aromatherapy, an Essensial Oil/Aromatherapy diffuser is a wonderful tool!  I love using it about a half an hour before I go to sleep.  It helps me relax and meditate so I can clear my mind before falling asleep.  It is a great stress-reducer!  It also works as a night-light.

PureMist Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser - SpaRoom, Silver

8.  Bamboo bathrobe:  Again, bamboo is soooo soft!  This bathrobe feels fabulous on days when my skin is sensitive and wearing clothes bothers me!  It is so soft and keeps me warm.  I have even worn it to bed a couple of times.

 

9.  Switch Stick:  I don’t have this particular product but I own something similar to it.  It’s a cane with a seat!  This works great for when my husband and I go hiking.  When I get tired, I just open it up and take a seat!

Switch Sticks Walking Stick With Seat, 2-in-1 Folding Walking Stick Seat, Bubbles

10. Journal:  My other favorite things comfort my body but what about comforting the mind?  Writing in a journal is a fantastic way to unload one’s troubles and reflect on one’s thoughts.  It always helps me clear my mind of worries and conflicts and brings me closer to my feelings and spiritual side.

Markings by CR Gibson Twin Wire

Well those are a few of my favorite things!   Hope you enjoy using them too!

TAKE 10 PLAN

For those who live with chronic illness it is sometimes difficult to accomplish daily activities such as cooking, cleaning etc.  With Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, my body cannot take too many events in the same day.  One technique that can be used is Pacing.  For me this means limiting the number of deeds done in a day.   For instance, if I know I am going on an outing with my husband I will cook the day before so I don’t have to cook after the outing.

This has lead me to the idea of the Take 10 Plan.  If one breaks down activities into 10 minute increments it makes one more productive.  Instead of cleaning the whole house in one day I concentrate on a room per day.  I will take 10 minutes to clean the bathroom sinks then go back later and take 10 minutes or so to clean the shower, etc.  By splitting up the tasks it helps prevent my body from getting worn out while still getting chores done.  I apply this to washing clothes as well.  I put in a smaller load of laundry so it takes less time to fold the load.  This means I have to wash more loads but it lessens the movement I need to do at one time.  This allows me to rest in between creating more rest time but still allowing productivity.  I think this technique is an excellent way to get things done without sacrificing health.

What can you do in 10 minutes?

 

1st QUARTER UPDATE 2018

Image result for blogiversary

Well, here we are finishing the first quarter of 2018.  Things are so good so far.

Sorry I have slacked off on blog posting this year.  Speaking of the blog, today is my four year Blogiversary and last month was my 100th blog post.  I can’t believe I have maintained this task for so long!  Usually I will start a hobby and after a month or so I pass on to something else.  I think though the blog is more than a hobby, it is therapy to me.  Initially I thought this blog was going to be about the more medical aspect of my illnesses but it has become more about the emotional part of dealing with chronic illness.  It has helped me explore my true feelings about my life and helped me embrace my challenges.

Some people may wonder why I want to share the somewhat intimate details of my health issues with everyone on the Internet.  I think it is important to share one’s experiences with others because being open with ones’ struggles can help others going through similar situations.  It creates a support system to engage the people with the issues to take action regarding their condition.  In addition, I think sharing with others educates the public on how issues affect inflicted individuals.  This is not to gain pity but to gain understanding of the difficulties others face and encourages people to help each another.  God created man and women to create a community.   Though community we can support each other to overcome any adversity.

In a recent blog post, Maintaining Sanity after Psychosis, I shared about my Depression with Psychosis.  I was afraid I was about to break down again.  Since then, I have focused on staying engaged in activities so I started taking Yoga classes.  By keeping myself involved in activities I have gotten past my feelings of a breakdown.  The last couple of weeks I was sick and then I was out of town so I missed a few Yoga classes.  I actually felt sad about not going.   This week I am back to my schedule and I can’t wait for the session tomorrow!

I have discovered that writing these quarterly updates keeps me more focused on my goals.  It allows me to see my progress.  For quite a while my goal has been to incorporate regular exercise in my daily activities.  I am looking forward to next quarter as I move towards attaining that goal.

 

SUNDAY SUPPER – SMOKED SALMON BRUSCHETTA

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • about 1-2 ounces/50 grams feta cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • black pepper
  • 4 slices of flat fresh Italian or similar bread e.g. bruschettini
  • thin slices of smoked salmon about 2.5 ounces/70 grams
  • a few fresh salad leaves I used a mix of rocket/arugula & baby spinach

Instructions

  1. In a medium dish, mash up the avocado then crumble in the feta and grind in some freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon juice to taste. Give it all a final mash and mix.
  2. Toast your bread in a toaster, then top with the avocado-feta mixture, a slice of salmon (fold it a little if necessary), a few salad leaves and a small slice of lemon.
  3. Squeeze another bit of lemon over the top if you like and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

You can easily replace the salmon with prosciutto … mmmm!

A RELATIONSHIP WITH MY CHRONIC BODY

I recently read the blog post “How to Have a Healthy Relationship with your Body, Even with Chronic Illness” written by Sheryl Chan of The Chronic Voice (https://www.achronicvoice.com/2018/02/05/healthy-relationship-body-chronic-illness/).  Sheryl explored the idea that the relationship we have with our bodies echoes the relationship we have with other people.  This gave me a new perspective on my journey of maintaining a balanced life with chronic illnesses.

As I recall from a Human Development class I took in college, the components of a healthy relationship are:  trust, open communication, intimacy, commitment, and respect.  These factors can be applied to how the conscious mind works with the physical body.

  1. Trust – This is a difficult element for one with Chronic Illness. For example, in a normal body when one eats carbohydrates the pancreas secretes insulin to off-set the increase in blood sugar to keep the blood sugar stable.  In my case with Diabetes, my body does not secrete insulin.  I need to inject insulin in my body so my blood sugar will stay stable.  Therefore, my body is dependent on me to supply its needs.  My body needs to trust I will give it what it needs and I need to trust myself to provide it.  Taking all of my medicines regularly will ensure my body functions to the optimum level.

 

  1. Open communication – With Psoriatic Arthritis I need to pace my activities in order to prevent a flair up of pain. If I am not doing well when I wake in the morning I need to limit my activities for the remainder of the day in order to decrease the pain level.  To add another example in regards to Diabetes, when I don’t eat my blood sugar goes down.  If it goes too far down I can pass out.  It is important for me to eat to maintain normal blood sugar.  This means it is crucial for me to listen when my body sends me warnings.

 

  1. Intimacy – Wow! I definitely am intimate with my body.  I know every part of my body and what causes me pain.  I can identify when new ailments occur which helps in preventing complications of my illnesses in the future.

 

  1. Commitment – I need to be committed to giving my body the proper nutrients and limit sugar and carbohydrates to keep it functioning well. In addition it is important I keep moving my body (exercise) in order to prevent further deterioration of my joints due to Arthritis.  Furthermore, I need to be committed to taking my medications regularly to prevent further difficulties in the future such as taking my antidepressants to avoid a Depression episode.

 

  1. Respect – This ties into communication, listening to the signals my body is giving me. I understand that my body can no longer function in the same way it did before I developed the chronic illnesses.  I need to respect my body’s boundaries.

 

This new outlook has opened my eyes to how much mind does control matter.  I am much more aware and in tune to how my behavior affects my overall health.  I feel this will make a significant difference in how I approach taking care of my body.

A LOVE LETTER TO MY BROKEN BODY

Dear Broken Body,

Since it is Valentine’s Day, I am writing this letter to make amends with you.  Through the years I have not been completely supportive of you.  I am sorry and would like to move forward.

Several years ago you started beating yourself up with Auto-immune disorders causing high blood sugars (Diabetes) and an imbalanced metabolism (Thyroid disease). I found medicine for you.  You were happy but we would fight when I would forget to give you the medicine or when you didn’t like the food I gave you.  Then there came a time when even though I was doing everything right we still fought.  This confused me and I got depressed.  It was such a dark time for me that I didn’t know what was real anymore.  But thanks to our God I was able to think clearly again.  I found the right treatment for you, got help myself, and I learned what was needed to make you content.

Things were okay for us for a while but then you started abusing yourself again now causing Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia.  I said to myself, “Oh no!  I thought we were happy but things are out of control again.  Why are you doing this to us?  I don’t understand!  It makes me angry and sad!”  It turns out you were never totally pleased with me because our communication was not open.  But, after more therapy, I understood what was causing your pain.  I wasn’t treating you properly.  I ignored your needs, talked negatively to you, and didn’t nurture you enough.  Now I realize that you cannot do everything I want you to do and I am okay with that.  I accept you for exactly the way you are.  I will take care of you better in the future and I hope we can live in harmony.

With love,

Your Conscious Mind

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