Happy New Year?

It is only November and people are already talking about New Years resolutions.
My co-workers said I bet you are looking forward to next year.
I have to admit for a brief second I thought to myself in a very negative tone.
“How can I be looking forward to next year ~ facing the unknown?”  
“What if it doesn’t get better?”
“What if it gets worse?”
While I was sitting beside my Grandmother the last 4 days of her life I had plenty of time to think.
The week before she had been bedridden unable to walk.   Her body had been overtaken by Kidney Cancer.  She needed help to drink, eat, take her medication, and even to move.
I thought of my dear neighbor Cleo.  She lost her battle this year.  In her last few weeks of life she wasn’t able to even out of her chair and walk.  She allowed Fibro and all of its evil sidekicks to not only take over her life but take her life.
This could be in my future if I don’t keep fighting.
I thought about my life as Pre-Fibro and Post-Fibro or “in my previous life” which is before my symptoms went full speed ahead.
In my previous life I was a planner. Rephrase that – I was a committed planner. I would plan on going shopping or scrap booking with my friend, activities with my family, grocery shopping, trips to see my family, etc. and would really do it.
In this stage of my life I soft plan things. I change plans and back out of them way too many times.
I was focused.
Was being the operative word. My thoughts jump from one to another ~ provided I can remember my thoughts.
I worked hard.  Not just at my job but at everything that I did.  Now, I rest in-between working.
I have been in a very low place as of late.
I have a justified reason for being sad. Our family lost so many important people this year.
The most difficult being my Grandmother.
Sadness is to be expected.
However, I can’t seem to find my way out. I have been told that this is life.
That no one lives forever. That I have to “get over it”.
My internal reply; well Life sucks.
I found myself crying the other day that I wish this was all over.
The emotional hurt and physical pain have been to great.
“How can I live to the age of 92 in this kind of pain?”
While writing our families Christmas letter I found myself struggling to find the good  in 2013.
I have worked so hard the past 3 years to focus on the positive.
It is what my Facebook page, support group and my blog have been based.
We as Fibromites need to face the future ready for battle. We have to be Warriors.
A Warrior is defined as “One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause or conflict”.
Sometimes we don’t have the strength to be a Warrior by ourselves.
We then need to have others help us fight our battles with and for us.
As the new year arrives all of my friends are posting their year in review. 
I have decided to not look back with negativity. 
I have chosen to remember the past with fond memories and forward with hope.
I have made wonderful friends because I have Fibro.  My friend Celeste told me to “write a doable affirmation and commit it to memory.”
An affirmation is an intention to a goal.  It should be positive, present tense and doable.  You have to believe it is possible and be committed to reach the goal.
While researching affirmations I found the following;
“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within.  It is there all the time.” ~ Anna Freud
It took some time; but I finally came up with what I wanted to be my affirmation.
i can do
 “I am committed to eat healthy, keep moving and rest when needed.”
“I am committed to being positive and in control of my own life.”

warriorI am a Fibro Warrior ~ Living Life

The Title? I can’t remember it.

A few years ago, my Daughter and I began using a few cue words to describe how I was feeling without having to go into details.  On days when I am in a lot of pain, exhaustion, etc. I will use the word “peachy” and on days when my brain is not clear I will say that the weather is foggy.

I mentioned in a previous blog entry that if I were to list all of the symptoms & “evil sidekicks” that come along with Fibro that for me the loss of being able to plan ahead would be what I miss the most and the “fog” would be the symptom that I hate the most even over the pain and exhaustion.
A lot of our Family, Friends, and Co-workers don’t understand how we can forget things so easily, miss appointments, screw up our words, etc.  I think that it is so important that we explain to them that Fibromyalgia isn’t just pain and exhaustion.  They need to know the long list of symptoms & syndromes that go hand in hand with having Fibro.  One of the most difficult to deal with is Fibro Fog.

Celeste Cooper states;  

Problems with thinking and memory when you have fibromyalgia is called “fibro fog.”The cognitive disturbance, inability to remember or stay focused is a common characteristic of fibromyalgia and is sometimes called brain fog. This condition can be an obstacle to coping.It can cause:

  • short-term memory problems
  • loss in sense of direction
  • difficult finding or forming words
  • dyslexia
  • transposition of letters when writing
  • lose a train of though mid sentence

It can be exacerbated by:

  • hormonal fluctuations
  • sleep disruption
  • non-restorative sleep
  • anxiety, stress or depression
  • mental or physical fatigue
  • diet high in carbohydrates
More information can be found at http://www.sharecare.com/health/fibromyalgia-effects/what-is-fibro-fog
I don’t know about you but talking about the effects of having Fibro Fog is really difficult for me.  It scares me.  I don’t want to lose my job, the ability to drive, and so many other things.  I don’t have it 24/7 like I do the pain, allydonia and exhaustion. However, it seems to be occurring more and more.
brain fog
A friend asked me how often I experience the Fog.  It used to  hit me once a month and last for 1-3 days.  I find that it happens more often and more intense if I am under a lot of stress, have been “pushing” myself too much, or not getting enough sleep.

Fibro fog can also cause episodic disorientation – 30-90 seconds of suddenly not knowing where you are or where you’re going, says Dr. Teitelbaum

I have missed doctor appointments, Girl Scout Leader meetings, forgotten to take medication, use antiperspirants, return phone calls, emails, and text messages, missed paying a bill, lost contact with Friends, and cancelled a lot of get togethers.

 All due to the awful double F word.. Fibro Fog.

I wrote a few of the incidents that have occurred in the last 4 months – well, at least the ones I could remember. LOL!

This past June I had purchased the cards a couple of weeks ahead for Father’s Day. I had them addressed and stamped. I carried them around with me to drop off the next time I drove by the Post Office. I totally forgot that I had them. Father’s Day arrived and I realized when making our calls that I still had the cards in my possession. I mailed them on Monday. Better late than never!

We had an inventory day at work scheduled. I have a long list of things that have to be done before that day. I was putting in extra time and stressing big time about not being ready only to realize that it wasn’t that week. I had been thinking that we were a week later.

My husband has noticed that the last few times that I have been in a fog that my words have been slurred. I sound like I have been drinking. I had not even noticed. I often mix up my words or completely forget what I was going to say.
I was shopping with our Daughter. She was walking ahead of me and I meant to call her name but I said Mark. She said “No, Ravyn”, I did it a second time. Again she said “No, Ravyn”. I found myself scared and embarrassed and lied to my Daughter. I said no, I meant to say that Mark would like this – I know she knew better. I would never call him Mark when speaking to her it would be Dad.
I go swimming on Monday’s before I go to work.  It is easier to put my swim suit on at home so I wear the suit under my clothes.  I bring my underclothes in my swim bag for afterwards.  Once in the locker room after swimming I began to get dressed and found that I had forgotten to pack my panties.  So ~ off to work I went ~ Commando style.  A fellow Fibromite from across the pond calls them “knickers”.  I like that phrase. I have forgotten my knickers more times than I want to admit.
I have been having more trouble remembering where I parked my vehicle when at shopping centers.  I know a lot of people who have this problem.  I try to type in my phone where I parked the car.  I didn’t one day. I forgot.  I had no idea where my car was parked.  I pulled out my keys and used the lock button.  Everytime I clicked on the button my car horn would sound and the lights would flash.  The sound of the horn led me to my vehicle. 
I recently had a rough day.  I called the wrong number two different times, aanswered the wrong lines on the phone.  I was freaking out trying to figure out how I was going to do both my doctor’s appointment and pick up our Daughter from Volleyball practice.  Only to be reminded that their was no volleyball practice.
I had planned a surprise party for 2 of our co-workers.   I had the room decorated, gifts laid out and announced we were ready to go.  Once I got everyone to the door, I looked in the room.  The cakes that were to be stacked to look like a wedding cake were still in their containers and still in the grocery bags.  My MGR said, you didn’t do the cakes? I thought you said we were ready?  My reply;  Nope, I forgot. 
So what can be done about it? Are we destined to a life of forgetfulness.
fibro fog frame
  • Use memory aids. Make lists and put post it notes everywhere.  Keep a notebook with your important passwords, phone numbers, dates and addresses.
  • Keep your daily routine the same. Know your limits. Don’t push yourself beyond what you can handle. Pick the best time to accomplish complicated tasks.  When you do start a task, avoid distractions that can keep you from concentrating.
  • Try and keep your daily routine the same. We know that stress and sleep are big factors in how well our memory will work. Try  to control stress, slow down, rest when needed. Relaxing activities such as yoga, tai chi and meditation can improve problems with sleep, fatigue and anxiety all linked to brain fog.
  • Supplements you can try such as 5 HTP, Omega 3 Samee, St. Johns wart, and Vitamin B.

It is also crosswordvery important that we exercise our body and our mind.  I find that swimming not only helps my pain and exhaustion but helps to clear my mind.  It has been proven that using your mind such as doing puzzles, Sudoku, word finds, and reading will improve your memory.  There are many free online sites that offer memory games.

On my Facebook page I asked others to tell me the funniest or oddest thing they had forgotten due to Fibro Fog the response was incredible.  There were so many stories of what they had forgotten.  It is scary seeing all of the things that should be so easy to remember be impossible to recall.  It is reassuring to know that I am not alone.  Let’ hope I can remember it.   LOL!!!!

I am a Fibro~Warrior Living Life!