Online friendships? as good as real?

Joining Facebook was exciting for me.  I love new technology and the chance to reconnect with so many childhood friends was wonderful.
Once I started having health problems I began searching for information which led me to slowly start joining support groups.
I spent time reading others posts and eventually would start to ask questions looking for anything that could help with the pain, sleeplessness, depression, the all life changing symptoms.
It was so reassuring to meet so many people who understood how I was feeling and what I was experiencing.
I started spending more time talking with my online friends.
It isn’t that my non-fibro friends wouldn’t listen or empathize but like any other thing in life if you yourself have not experienced it you really can’t possibly understand.
After joining several groups and reading their posts I began to form real friendships.everybdy needs a friend
We were learning about each other, where we lived, our families, our ailments but mostly we were there for each other on not only our bad days but our good ones.
Our closed groups become even more personal. We can share information there that we would not even want our families to know.  There are times when we need someone to listen that have experienced similar situations.
I was asked how can you trust these people who you have never met.  What if they are serial killers?  You haven’t met these people how can they be your friends.
I looked up the  definition of Online friendships.  It stated that online friendships can be a bonus in your life, but only if you also have face-to-face friends to spend time with and be there for you. In terms of friendship, you cannot replace the human connection.
Trying to find the time for that person to person human connection can be near impossible.  If your life schedule is like mine and my friends it is near impossible ti find time in our busy schedules to get together.  We have to pencil mark in a coffee break, swimming or a phone call.  Our main time together is on the way back and forth to work.
I personally don’t feel I need to physically see these people I have met to be considered my friends.  I have family and friends that I see only once or twice a year.
Those of us with our laundry list of health conditions have a harder time getting together face to face with our friends.  There are so many things to consider.  A few of them are what is my current pain level, the time of the get together, how long it will be, how far of a drive it takes to get there. If I am feeling well, I feel that I should spend time cleaning my house or working on the outside ~ they both get neglected.
My online friends are available almost 24/7 and they don’t care if I am in my sweat pants with no make-up and my hair pulled up.  I can be doing my house work and still be visiting with them.   I can find 5 minutes to talk to them while waiting in line at the grocery store, the post office, the gas station and as I am winding down for the day.
Another definition stated that a real friend is one who is there always for you in good times and in bad. A real friend is there to comfort you when you’re hurting and celebrate with you when you’re happy. While online friendships can serve a place in your life, they aren’t the same as a real friendship.
Yes,  Real friends and family can never be replaced.  They can and will be beside you physically in your time of need.  They will be the ones to visit you in the hospital, show their support for you at a funeral, and share a lifetime of memories.
But I disagree that you can not get the comfort and support that you need from online friendships. I have been in my greatest of pain and not able to sleep in the middle of the night I go to my phone to see who is online.  I have received amazing support from my online friends.  They offer suggestions, prayers, and their concerns day and night.
I know that my family and non-fibro friends love and care for me as well.  However, I am positive that they  would not appreciate me calling them at 1 am to tell them I can’ t sleep, have a headache or trigger points making it impossible to get comfortable.
I am grateful for all of the friends I have made both in person and online.
I am very lucky to have found the support that is needed to deal with what life has dealt me.

I am a Fibro~Warrior Living Life!


4 paws?.. Repost with the next chapter.

4 paws or not 4 paws? … that is the question.purple puppy paws

In my former Fibro life, I was a Dog person, in order to really understand I have to start at the beginning. My husband of 15 months at the time wanted a hunting dog. I was raised a cat person. However, I knew how important it was to him. So I found an ad in the paper for a litter of Choc. Labs. We were there to get a big strong male puppy. The female runt of the litter was there to pick me. She kept running over to me. Needless to say, the female won and she came home with us. We had to stop by a store on the way home and get the needed supplies.  We were so unprepared.

Here I was a Cat person – now with a Dog. It was decided that if we were going to have a dog, she would need training. We signed up for the local puppy class.
That did it. I was a changed person. Our dog Mariah, met her best puppy friend (Maggie), a whippet/boxer – and I met my new best friend (Jan) – (Maggie’s Mom) and  my “partner in crime”. The puppy class turned into obedience. Following obedience – she had to go to hunting classes. After all that is why we got her to be his hunting dog. I went to those classes and continued to take obedience classes, learned about Flyball (oh so fun), and Therapy Dog class.
Finally, it had come to the point where my Husband wanted HIS hunting dog back and I had to get my own. I had remarkable luck and fortune to know the right people at the time who hooked me up with the most wonderful breeder of Border Collies and a Star was born or rather a “Blazing Starr”. The pattern continued.. Puppy classes, obedience classes, therapy dog, sheep herding, conformation, agility ( I stunk – she could have been great). My sister and I built basically the entire agility course. My entire back yard was a dog play yard. Jan and I took over the Flyball team. I was doing at least 4 days a week some kind of dog activity. Even when our Daughter came along – I kept up the classes not as many but she tagged along to as many of them as she could and I continued to drag my husband along with me.
By the time our Daughter entered 1st grade I just couldn’t keep the balance of being a working mom, wife, Girl Scout Leader, school volunteer along with my dog activities. So with great heartache and many tears I left my dog life entirely. I even gave up my dog friends with the exception of Jan. It had to be cold turkey. We lost our Mariah first. She ended up with bone cancer. Our Starr died a year and a ½ ago. I wanted everything gone. I didn’t want any thing to remind me of her and what we had lost. Here we are now… the present – Dogless.
My family and Jan went to visit our dog friends at a Flyball tournament. I knew it was going to be one of the hardest things I would have done. Our Daughter walked in – seeing all the border collies and started to cry missing our Starr. I walked in seeing my former teammates and friendly rival teams. We watched the competition and our daughter helped out the team. I referred to this visit as if I were a drug addict. Here I was in the back alley with everyone offering me a “hit” of my drug. Before I left I had 3 puppies offered to me. We had been invited back to other tournament.
Afterwards, I was asked by friends and family how my visit had gone. How do I describe it? It was terrible – it was terrific. It was awful and amazing. Get a dog? Don’t get a dog? It is a well balanced see-saw. Level – waiting for something to be the deciding factor. Isn’t that the same with anyone making a decision to get a pet? The time it takes to take care of them. Always being tied down – either having to take them with you or find someone to care for them. The expense. The mess. No, it’s not the same.  There are many other factors for me consider. Financially – I am spending more and more each year on medication/supplements.  As for the time, I am just busy as every other working parent – the difference is I have to spend more time sleeping and swimming.  Do I have the energy to get up with the new puppy like a new born? The walking, training, etc..  There are days that I don’t want to get out of my chair. I have heard from both sides of the fence the reasons that I should or should not get a puppy. How can you take care of a puppy when some days you can’t take care of yourself? Remember how much joy and happiness a dog brings to you.  How many times have you said what Starr could do for those in pain?
I have been looking at puppies available off on and – totally torturing not only myself but my daughter. I have reconnected with the wonderful woman that I got Starr from and she has helped fuel the fire.  I even put the puppies pics as my wallpaper on my phone.  I am sad to see the puppies that I have been following be placed in another’s home. I am also not sure if I am ready to take on the challenges of a new puppy. When trying to explain to my Mom and Husband how much I miss my dog activities – I likened it to if they could never go fishing again.   I made the choice to stop for all the right reasons – and I have to be the one to make the decision again.
g I recently read an article called Fibro and Fido – The Healing Power of Pets by Wendy Whittingham She writes about the positive impact a dog can have on a person with Fibromyalgia.  I encourage you to go to her link and read her article.  It reminded me of exactly how I felt and what I have told others about having a dog. I decided to search for any other articles on this topic. I actually put in the search for why a Fibromite should not get a dog.  I couldn’t find any. I did find another wonderful article explaining the benefits of a Fibromyalgia Service Dog.
THE NEXT CHAPTER ~ emotional support dog tag
TODAY – July 3rd, 2013
Three weeks ago I was online and saw a picture of a puppy.  My heart raced.. until I found out that she had already been placed in a home.  A week later, she became available again.  Here I had decided I was under no circumstances going to get a dog.  I asked about her personality, parents, etc.  It all seemed to be what I was looking for in a pup.  The final straw – her given name was Ewe bet I can – “BET”.
How could I not see the sign?  I have been daily telling myself and other Fibromites to tell ourselves – Yes, we can do it.
It was meant to be.  It was decided we would go get our new family pet.  My daughter and I would do obedience then I would get her trained to be a Therapy dog.  The most I would to show in the obedience ring and do some herding.
This “Family” dog has bonded to me without me trying.  Since being diagnosed I strongly believe all things good or bad happen for a reason.
She looks great in her purple collar – and as a special note it in NO way is for the Vikings (My family is dying with the purple color).
I have Fibromyalgia and 12 evil sidekicks;  it has given me a life purpose.  Bet came into our lives at a time that I not only need her but am ready to continue this new path I am on.  It no longer is a concern of how can I handle the care of a new puppy.  She and I will be starting a new journey together.  She is going to keep me going and I am going to train her to be an amazing Emotional therapy dog.  We will visit Nursing Homes & Hospitals and we will educate others on the benefits of animals in the well-being of Fibromites.
“Ewe bet I can ~ I am a Fibro-Warrior Living Life”