Fibro Blogger Directory: Fibro Bloggers and their Stories – Living FULLY Despite Pain

I didn’t get a post written for this week.  I’ve been in a bit of a funk.  However, I did share a post with a wonderful online group I belong to-Fibro Bloggers Directory.  Lee Good, the curator of this group, is sharing “get to know you posts” from the various wellness bloggers living with Fibromyalgia.  In addition, each week, she posts Fibro Fridays where these wonderful writers share their recent blog posts.  

I’ve learned a lot about living well with Fibromyalgia as well as about the way of blogging from this group.  For me, it has been a big support and source of encouragement in my writing and in my daily struggles with FM because they live it themselves.  If you or someone you love has Fibromyalgia, I would highly recommend checking out the weekly Fibro Friday posts.  (I have several of their blog links on my Resources page.)

Click on the below link to read the article I wrote for FBD.  I’ll be back next week with a review of a wonderful, life-impacting book: The Book of Joy.


Fibro Blogger Directory: Fibro Bloggers and their Stories – Katie from Pain…: Living FULLY Despite Pain – Katie Clark’s Story Me portaging a canoe (only a few feet),  during a week-long canoe trip at  …


Thank you for visiting my blog today. 

 

I am committing to posting once a week on Fridays.  

However, as you know, my new normal means that sometimes 

I have to listen to my body and am not able to follow through 

as planned. 

Thank you for your understanding.


Click link Subscribe to Pain FULLY Living Weekly Posts by Email


Soothing Pain Relief with Silky Hemp Cream

In honor of the Aromalief’s birthday,
this week, 7/24 – 7/27/2020 at midnight, 
my readers may use the code HAPPYBDAY15 
to get 15% off any orders.
Anyone with aches and pains is looking for relief.  My aches and pains are continues and move randomly about my body. As I have discussed in previous posts, I have many tools in my pain management toolbox.  When another thing is suggested, I come at it with suspicion.  Especially if they tout pain removal.  Being I’m married to a recently retired FDA Investigator, I have to be extra judicious with what I chose to try.

I have tried a couple other topical, cream pain relief: good ol’ Bengay (eww, can’t take the smell) and a magnesium body butter (great going on but leaves a dried salt layer on my skin which made me feel I had to wash it off).  Both seemed to help.  However, I gave up on them due to the above side effects that I didn’t’ enjoy. 


Why I Could Use a Pain Relief Cream

Opening the box, I was excited to give this my best effort try.  I did not expect miracles, but if it could calm down muscle pain with a discreet cream, then I would be pleasantly surprised. Much of what I do for pain management is time-consuming and not plausible when I’m out and about: yoga, meditation, Epsom salt baths, hot tub, myofascial release with rubber balls and a foam roller, and massage, etc. So, finding something I could carry in my purse to pain as it pops up would be handy.

I’m not going to lie, it would be really nice to have enough of this stuff to slather on my whole body, but that’s not realistic.  Having the 4 fl. oz tube in my purse, though, allowed for me to soothe the loudest spots like my neck, shoulder, hip, or calf.

My First Experience with Aromalief Hemp Cream

Last Tuesday, I was in my office writing. I love to write, but typing at the desk can cause pain to begin, especially when I don’t take the time to stretch. I had gotten the cream the night before, so when my shoulder and neck began to hurt at 9:30am, I decided to give it a try. I was determined to get my post written.


What I noticed first were the creamy color and the scent. I had the Lavender scented calming version. They also sell an energizing citrus-scented cream, a soothing spearmint-scented cream suggested especially for head pain, and a mildly scented cream for those with scent sensitivities.


I found the calming lavender the scent pleasing: the lavender mixed with a touch menthol scent was not overpowering. I do not wear perfume and the lotion I usually use is Aveeno, so I’m not partial to strong scents. As I sniffed it in, I also could sense a bit of beeswax smell which I love. When I checked the ingredients, there wasn’t any honey or beeswax, so it may be due to the almond and hemp oil they’ve added.


The feel of the lotion is what I really loved. It’s rich and silky-smooth which soaked right into my skin, leaving nothing but nourished skin. My skin with aging and spending a lot more time in the summer sun and lake water, has become noticeably dry. This lotion definitely replenished my skin so it wasn’t ashy looking. I soon realized that this was wonderful extra to use when massaging my calf and leg muscles.


But What About the Pain?

I noticed right away the coolness of the menthol working, however, it wasn’t the kind of intense cool that just distracts from the pain. After about 10 minutes, that coolness faded and I noticed that while the ache wasn’t gone, it wasn’t screaming. I put the lotion on again at 1pm, in the same areas plus my calves (massaging in the lotion this time). I can say that I noticed a reduction in my pain in those areas all day.


What Makes this Hemp Cream Special?

The ingredients: Aromalief, a vegan product, is made in an FDA registered facility and each ingredient has a Safety Data Sheet and Certificate of Analysis. We buy only high-quality ingredients from reputable suppliers and do our own internal testing for everyone’s peace of mind. 

  • Hemp (Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil)- Hemp Seed Oil is full of Omega 3s and 6s that can help to reduce inflammation in the body. The hemp in Aromalief products is completely legal and non-hallucinogenic, so there is no need to worry about drug testing.
  • Glucosamine- Your body naturally produces Glucosamine in your joints and acts as a lubricant to help you move joints with ease. Over time or through an injury, you may lose glucosamine in the body and start to experience a “bone on bone” pain. Typical Glucosamine is harvested from shellfish, but the Glucosamine in Aromalief comes through a complex process to extract it purely from botanicals. In addition to being a great vegan alternative, it is also safe to use by those that are allergic to shellfish.
  • Chondroitin- You could say that Glucosamine and Chondroitin are the best of friends. Chondroitin is found in the connective tissue of humans and animals and works in combination with Glucosamine to support joint health. It is great for reducing inflammation and repairing micro-tears in tendons and ligaments, but we weren’t happy with the fact that it comes from shark cartilage. We searched for over a year to find a vegan Chondroitin for Aromalief, and through the advances in science and plant-based processes, we found it. Our 100% vegan Chondroitin gives you all the benefits without harming any animals in the process.
  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)-This rich nutrient that can help reduce joint & muscle pain and lower inflammation particularly in people that suffer from arthritis. As joints degenerate, your movement and mobility may be limited and start interfering with daily activities. The sulfur in MSM has been shown in studies to slow down joint degeneration. It is also great to speed up the recovery process after intense exercise by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Arginine-This little known ingredient is one of the most important in the Aromalief formula and NOT available in most pain-relieving creams. It was discovered by Swiss chemist Ernst Schulz, in 1886 and has a variety of benefits including helping the regeneration of cells to help heal after surgery. For pain relief, arginine transforms into nitric oxide when it enters the body. The effects of nitric oxide are to open blood vessels wider and improve blood flow. This makes it extremely helpful to reduce inflammation, but also to help all the nutrients in the Aromalief cream to deeply penetrate and nourish the body.
  • Menthol- The cooling effects of menthol will give you a refreshing, yet gentle feeling to soothe your tired and stressed body. Unlike other products that smell like terrible, the menthol in Aromalief is mild and used primarily to enhance the sensorial experience of our cream.
  • Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice)-There are few plants out there as versatile and beneficial to humans as the Aloe Vera plant. Known for its properties to protect the skin, replenish moisture, and even help to nurture burns and cuts, this miracle plant has been used for thousands of years starting with the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece. It is harvested around the world and grows primarily in tropical climates.

The business: “Aromalief® is the only vegan pain relief cream that combines anti-inflammatory nutrients with the benefits of aromatherapy to help your body and mind feel better. Women-owned and made cruelty-free in Florida, USA.”

Try it yourself!

Are you ready to give Aromalief a try? Shop here!


Not ready to make a decision? Read more reviews here!



As noted in my disclaimer, this post contains affiliate links. I also want to disclose that I received this product as a gift in exchange for a review. With that said, all opinions remain my own and were in no way influenced by the company.


Thank you for visiting my blog today. 

 

I am committing to posting once a week on Fridays.  

However, as you know, my new normal means that sometimes 

I have to listen to my body and am not able to follow through as planned. 

Thank you for your understanding.


Click link Subscribe to Pain FULLY Living Weekly Posts by Email


Becoming Myself Again! My Experience with Low Dose Naltrexone-Part 2

Today is my 56th day on Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).  I wrote about my initial experience after 13 or so days in.  I won’t revisit that, but if you are at all interested in checking into this pain management treatment, I would suggest you read it.  I get into how to go about getting it, how to start it (and issues I had it), where to find support with good and specific information, and why there are not and will never be many research studies about it. (My Post: Tentatively Esctatic! My Experience With Low Dose Naltrexone Part 1


I now feel that I can safely say LDN is bringing me back to myself or the self I want to be. But, let me take a step back because it’s not been a smooth journey and sure has had its major downturns. 

Early on, I received the advice that I needed to “Go low and slow”. (See Facebook LDN group)  I didn’t fully get it when it was first said. My doctor ordered the 4.5mg capsules, so I felt that getting to that level-the level that has been most researched for Fibromyalgia(FMS)-the soon was better.  I’ve since learned that there is no optimum level that works for every person. 



How LDN Works


LDN blocks the opioid receptors of the brain for a few hours.  When this has happened, the brain feels that there haven’t been enough endorphins created in the body, so it produces more. Research has shown that those living with FMS have lower levels of endorphins in our system.  So, when the brain is “tricked” into releasing more endorphins by the LDN blocking off the receptors for 2-4 hours, it actually is creating natural pain relievers and mood booster. Also, the blocking of the receptors makes them more sensitive to the endorphins that have been created, making them more useable and plentiful. 

LDN Science explains how it works, “Since LDN blocks the OGF receptors only for a few hours before it is naturally excreted, what results is a rebound effect; in which both the production and utilization of OGF is greatly increased. Once the LDN has been metabolized, the elevated endorphins produced as a result of the rebound effect can now interact with the more-sensitive and more-plentiful receptors and assist in regulating cell growth and immunity.”  The site goes on to explain that the Rebound Effect lasts for about a day.  However, being every person’s metabolism is different, it can take different dosages with 3mg to 5mg working for most patients. 

When one has low endorphin production, they will experience:
        • long-term pain throughout the body
        • tender spots that hurt when they are touched
        • muscle stiffness
        • fatigue and low energy
        • sleep problems
        • depression


To combat this, doctors often push endorphin-building exercises such as yoga, swimming, and walking.  I  have felt this distinct change from a raise in my endorphins when I was in physical therapy.  When I showed up lethargic, hurting, and down, my PT would get me on the treadmill for 20 minutes at a rate that got my heart pumping.  Every single time, I found that I had way less pain, my mood was improved, and I had energy.  

And so, this is the effect that I am finding with LDN.  For a good 7 to 8 hours, at the current dose I’m at, I am experiencing a pain level of 2-3, I have the energy to go for walks, swim, do house projects, write, socialize, etc.  I also have clearer thinking and feel upbeat and motivated.

My Experience

However, I have had the complete opposite during these 8 weeks.  After writing my first post, I had a very difficult week.  I was moving up from .5mg by .25mg every 5-7 days.  I had started to take LDN in the morning, upon waking at 7:30am because I had gotten warnings at the medicine causing insomnia which is not something I wanted to experience. 

About two weeks ago, at 1.5mg or so, I had five days in a row where I was depressed (ready to give up using LDN), tired, and my pain levels (6-7) were higher than before LDN. I was so discouraged. I had read of the Rebound Effect that LDN created, but I really had no idea what it meant.  Fortunately, on the 5th day, I saw someone discuss this on the LDN Facebook group.  Her explanation about the blocking of endorphins made so much sense and now what others had said to me about taking it before bed became clear.  I was experiencing the blocked-receptor symptoms during my wake hours, thus causing elevated pain, depression, and exhaustion!

I went off from LDN for 36 hours, starting again with 1.5 at 9:00pm. Ever since that switch, I’ve been doing pretty well, and I’m actually sleeping okay without taking anything else. I’m waking up a couple of times, but I have been able to go back to sleep fairly readily.  I’ve been able to have my granddaughter over and play for much of the day.  Today, in a race with her from our community garden to home, I actually ran three or so blocks without feeling like a rusted Tin Man struggling to move.




Moving Forward

I’m continuing to titrate up at this point.  As they say, I need to find my “sweet spot”.  I’m not fully sure what that will look like, so it may take some back and forth in dosages for a while.  Higher isn’t necessarily better.  Due to metabolism, I need to find the dose that blocks while I’m sleeping and gives me the full rebound effect while I’m awake.  I don’t believe I’m there yet.  If I take too high of a dose for my body, then I’ll be in blocked mode for too long of a time, which will bring on the opposite effect for what I need. 

LDN Resources:


I will continue to update you as to my progress.  I’m not “there” yet for sure and am not sure how long that will take.  Some have reported reaching their personal full results at 6 months or even a year.  They say to hang in for at least 8 weeks, which I have done and certainly am having wonderful results at this point. If you have questions or stories about LDN, I welcome them.  I am not a doctor, obviously,


Thank you for visiting my blog today. 

 

I am committing to posting once a week on Fridays.  

However, as you know, my new normal means that sometimes 

I have to listen to my body and am not able to follow through 

as planned. 

Thank you for your understanding.

Click link Subscribe to Pain FULLY Living Weekly Posts by Email


Only Love Can Do This: Healing the Chronic Illness of a Country


I write today filled with sadness at the state of my country. I had in no way planned to write on this topic (albeit, I did plan to write on the Chronic Voice Link-Up prompts this week). But there’s nothing else in my mind and heart at the moment. I ask that you don’t stop reading because it’s not a post focused on chronic illness. I really believe it is. It’s a post about the chronic illness of a country. And just like the warning signs which my body has given me that something is awry at the core of my being and has to be addressed before it fully takes me over, so too are the glaring ominous events of this past week signs that our country is rotting from the inside out. 


As people with chronic illnesses, our surroundings greatly affect us whether it be the weather, the physical structures’ amenities or lack thereof, or the emotional atmosphere. I know that emotional stress is my biggest symptom contributor with physical overexertion a close second. Reading and viewing the events of these last couple of weeks puts my system on high alert status. As a mom, grandma, and retired teacher, my heart aches for the loss of a young dad, father, brother, and son. As a middle-class white woman, I feel shame that I am a part of the ongoing problem, anger at the utter heinousness of the crime committed by those sworn to protect our citizens-all of them, and despair that this is still such a deep-seated issue in my country that touts its inclusiveness.

SEARCHING

Anyone with a chronic illness is searching: for a cure, for relief, for a way to have purpose, for meaning. A big part of my search has been finding ways to accept my life as is pain and all. When I went through a 10-week pain therapy boot camp last summer (see post), I went through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy counseling. My counselor recommended a few books: Wherever You Go There You Are by John Kabat Zinn (see post), The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, and The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams written about the week of discussion he had with the Dali Lama and Desmonde Tuti.

I picked it up, finally, after purchasing it last year. I’ve struggled to read print in a book and have been mostly listening to books via Audible or Libby. I’m really enjoying the book, but these past few days the words are speaking to me in a different way. The weight of the murder of George Floyd on May 25th and the recent protests have come to bear on everything I’m doing and thinking.

While lunching with the Dalai Lama, Tutu begins to talk about the basest human longing, to be happy. He says, “Everyone wants a happy life-and our individual happy life depends on a happy humanity. So we have to think about humanity, discover a sense of oneness of all seven billion human beings.”

Again and again, the question I wrestle with is why do we draw these lines of hurtful division? What can one individual do against a systemic racism and prejudice that the great minds of our times and history have not been able to dismantle?

HOPING


I have to have hope; the alternative is too unthinkable. However, the fatigue of discouragement comes from knowing this narrative hasn’t changed and since just before the presidential election of 2016, has become more jagged and divisive than ever with the encouragement of our current governmental administration. It is palpable like weights pulling me down. And while I feel like this, I also feel guilty for this because who am I to feel down? I am not having to worry about my son returning home in a coffin after a simple trip to the store. 


One of my friends posted this about white privilege: “You may have had a very difficult life story, but white privilege is when those difficulties are not because of your skin color.” I would go on to add that the color of my skin has actually pulled me out of many of my difficult circumstances (see related post) allowing me to have a life that, yes, I have worked for, but my work was celebrated and strengthened because of my race.

The hope I have is found is in the heart I see in my own children and my granddaughter. Listening to President Obama talk yesterday along with other intelligent, young, black activists who have already been working towards bringing about change, he says, “…I see what is happening with young people across the country. With talent, voice, and sophistication that they are displaying. It makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if this country is going to get better.”

Here’s the link to 

TRAUMATIZING

By now most US citizens, if not the world, have seen the traumatizing video of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer while other officers looked on without intervening. As for me, I couldn’t bear to watch it. What impacted me was the public talk by his brother and then another by his wife with his six-year-old daughter lovingly caressing her mom’s long hair as his she spoke through her tears.

This little girl, so so innocent, had to be told that her daddy died because he “couldn’t breathe”. I can’t imagine this mama having to tell her daughter this. I can’t imagine this little one’s life going forward as she becomes more and more aware of what actually happened.

HONORING


This past winter, I visited a health facility in Chicago (my daughter was attending a conference there), so I was allowed a guest pass to hang out for the day. Besides walking the track and swimming, I wanted to use my time to write. I went into the “senior” room because it had a place I could sit and had electrical outlets for my laptop. Besides not being one-of-the-gang that obviously had been gathering there daily, I was the only white person in the room. I sat at an empty table and plugged in to begin writing. I noticed some quite talking and glances my way. I realized later that I had taken a table that a certain group of women used after their Zumba class.

I couldn’t connect to the WiFi, so I approached one of the women talking at the next table who had her laptop up and working, leaving my things taking up a chair and spot at the Zumba group’s table. I asked the tech-savvy, older black woman if she could help me log on. As she, proceeded to welcome me and then helped me to find out the problem I was having, she indicated that the women were wanting their usual table. I could tell she wasn’t a part of the group and that she thought their predicament was a bit funny. Immediately, turning a bit red, I went and gathered my things and headed towards the door. But this tech-savvy woman invited me to sit with her and her friend. Soon into our conversation, we discovered that we were both retired teachers and spent the next hour or so talking. We had so much in common! And the little group of Zumba friends, checking with me that I didn’t still claim the table, went on to have their daily talk over coffee and bottles of water.

Later that night, I began to think about the uncomfortable feeling I had had in a place where the only thing that was different about me was the color of my skin. I also thought about how that “fish out of water” feeling left me as I totally connected with a kindred spirit despite our difference of melatonin.

To honor that special meeting, I decided to write the poem below. I understand that staying to those who are similar to us is comforting. It’s part of our biologics that we do so. While it’s needed when we’re infants (to attach us to our protective parents), it is not as we grow older. Yet, this segregation that we choose continues. This seclusion leads us then to develop fear. If that fear is not checked, it will lead to anger and hate.

While stepping out to connect with those who are different from what we see in the mirror is a bit scary and uncomfortable, it brings about an understanding that will heal our society. And if we do this, we will be blessed with a richness and vitality that only that type of connection can give. We lose so much by staying in our own ponds.


RESPONDING


So, what can I do from my little dot on the global map? There have been many wonderful resources posted this past week, so I will only include a few. But I encourage anyone who has read this all the way through, to really do a self-check to see, as one friend wrote, “where you are in your anti-racism work”  and then, go forth and do something to heal this nation.

Pink heart on peach background

The format for this post is thanks to A Chronic Voice link-up. This month, the topics were searching, hoping, traumatizing, honoring, and responding. Each writer takes the given topics and gives them their own spin. Check out these wonderful writers at June 2020 Linkup (scroll past the prompts to find the linked up posts).

Thank you for visiting my blog today.

I am committing to posting once a week on Fridays.

However, as you know, my new normal means that sometimes

I have to listen to my body and am not able to follow 
through as planned.

Thank you for your understanding.

Never Let Anyone Else Minimize Your Experiences

There’s no doubt that life presents a fair number of different challenges to all of us. Everyone has things that they go through and struggle with. From health problems to disability to emotional turmoil to financial stress, life can be tough for all of us. However, there are some people who often seem more than willing to try and minimize the experiences of those around them. There are plenty of reasons why people might do this but it’s something that you should never allow. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do to make sure that you don’t let anyone else minimize your experiences.

 Live on your own terms

One of the most common things that a lot of people find in their lives is that they don’t feel as though they’re able to actually live on their own terms. It often feels as though they’re having their lives dictated to them by other people. You need to remember that you have the right to demand that you are allowed to live your life the way that you want to and not the way that someone else thinks that you should.

 Don’t let anyone take advantage of you

 If you’re a person who is in any way vulnerable, there are, unfortunately, quite a few people who are more than willing to try and take advantage of that fact. This is especially true if you’re dealing with any kind of disability. There are plenty of people and organizations who are more than willing to try and get you to part with your money with promises of support. The key to avoiding this is to get some actual support. Working with America’s top disability law firm can allow you to avoid getting ripped off or taken advantage of. That way, you can be sure that those around you always have your best interests at heart.

 Demand to be heard

 Many of us go through life feeling as though we don’t have the chance to speak up. There are plenty of reasons why some people around you might want to try and push down your voice but if you really want to live your life the way that you want, you can allow that to happen. You need to demand to be heard, whether by the people in your personal life or by those in power who make the decisions that impact you and those around you.

 Of course, this is most definitely a two-way street. There’s no doubt that it’s important to make sure that people understand and appreciate your experiences. However, you need to be sure that you’re extending the same courtesy and respect to those around you. We’re all dealing with something and the modern world comes with a whole lot of challenges. Make sure that you do whatever you can to understand and empathize with the struggles of those around you in the same way that you would want them to do for you.

 

Thank you for visiting my blog today.  I am committing to posting once a week on Fridays.  However, as you know, my new normal means that sometimes I have to listen to my body and am not able to follow through as planned.  Thank you for your understanding.

Sharing is caring-as my granddaughter tells me:)