Well Being

Do you ever get the feeling after visiting your doctor that you could have very little to do with your healthcare future unless you stand up for yourself? Did you know that you CAN make choices and get involved beyond what your doc is telling you to do? It could mean the difference in how you feel, as well as how you heal.

It’s all about empowerment. Here’s a little exercise:

Say these words out loud:

“I want to learn new ways to feel better and manage my fibromyalgia pain”

VS.

“I am empowered to take ownership of my health, well being, and medical care, because I am in charge of my life”

How did that feel? I would venture a guess that you noticed the phrase “my fibromyalgia” was weaker and less empowering than ” my health, well being and medical care”.

When I was first diagnosed, doctors were purely guessing. My body was literally freaking out as I went from one Neurologist to the next. I honestly think they didn’t know what to tell me. This went on for almost 2 years. After numerous tests, spinal taps, MRI’s and more they “clinically” diagnosed MS. Because my symptoms were progressing so rapidly, they told me I’d likely be in a wheelchair before long. It was very upsetting to say the least, but some little voice inside me said “this is not the whole story”.

I went to one MS support group, and on some level I knew I did not belong there. I walked out of there and said to myself “This is MY HEALTH and after 2 years of being bounced from doctor to doctor, it’s time for me to TAKE CONTROL of my body, and do everything I can to get well”

I rarely mentioned MS and tried to leave it out of my consciousness. I sought out healthy alternative treatments and did all I could to manage the pain. 9 years later I went to be reevaluated at a prominent MS research hospital, and got a “probably not” diagnoses. Shortly after Fibromyalgia became more well understood, and I was diagnosed with that . I realize others with Multiple Sclerosis are not so lucky.

Your body is your own, as are your health decisions. Taking your “case” into your own hands can be very empowering.

**Note** I am absolutely NOT saying to ignore your doctors orders.That is not what this is about.

What this is about is finding additional ways to feel better, that can be discussed with your doctor, staying well informed about your condition, eating a healthy diet, and exercising to whatever capacity you’re able to. Many times you will astound yourself with all the empowering ways you can manage your health, and live WELL with fibromyalgia, lupus, CFS, or whatever you have.

Remember it’s your body, and your life. Don’t let your doctor push you around! Stay educated and make choices based on it. Remember as well to watch your words like “my fibromyalgia”. Your body responds to that, at least that’s what I definitely believe!!

 

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I have been a blogger for some time now, and as I reflect back, it’s probably over 7 years when I add in all the articles and forums I wrote on. It’s been a long time since I have posted here. I took some time and started another blog and got very wrapped up in internet marketing. I through myself into it completely and lived it night and day. It became a true passion. The financial rewards were nowhere near worth (for me) the stress and toll it took on me over a two year time period. It seemed that all the progress I have made with my health came crashing down, and finally, within a few weeks time I was fighting a whole new level of new symptoms. I do believe that many people with our type of chronic pain CAN and do manage internet business very well. My body just cannot handle the stress, and maybe I’ll find something that is far less stressful, but I don’t think it exists.
So it’s been months and months since I have touched my computer. I will go more in depth in another post, but suffice it to say I WAS BURNT OUT, and became very, very sick!
The one thing I DO KNOW… Is that I LOVE TO WRITE.
I am welcoming the refreshing opportunity to blog again and share what’s in my heart. I may make some changes cosmetically to the blog to reflect what I want to express.

With Love Always,
Laura

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A very dear friend and nutritional practitioner reminded me that this upcoming week is “National Women’s Health Week”, May 13 – 19 I thought it would be a great time to revive my posts on this blog, since my health has taken such a good turn in the last 6 months! I can’t begin to express the depth of gratitude I feel for my better health, and reduced pain. It’s a relief and a pleasure to participate in life again on so many levels!

National Women’s Health week speaks to prevention and care for women, not post illness care, medication, surgery etc. More and more women are learning the value of taking preventative care of themselves, over the age of 30, with mammograms, regular self breast exams, blood pressure cholesterol and other tests.

Women are mindful to eat right, exercise, reduce stress, meditate, smile and laugh more, and enjoy their families as a means of a maintaining good mental health. I attribute most positive changes in my health to prevention, and anticipating issues before they arise. The times when I have not paid adequate attention to these things has brought me great grief and physical pain from fibromyalgia.

I went looking for information on National Women’s Health Week and found quite a bit. National Women’s Health Week is this coming week beginning May 13 through the 19th. The details are to follow that I found on a great site called WomensHealth.gov

About National Women’s Health Week

What is National Women’s Health Week?

National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health. The theme for 2012 is “It’s Your Time.” National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:

Why celebrate National Women’s Health Week?

We all have a role to play in women’s health. Women often serve as caregivers for their families, putting the needs of their spouses, partners, children, and parents before their own. As a result, women’s health and well-being becomes secondary. As a community, we have a responsibility to support the important women we know and do everything we can to help them take steps for longer, healthier, and happier lives.

Women can easily take charge of their health, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a landmark health care reform law enacted in 2010. This law gives Americans greater choice and better control over their own health care and includes changes that are especially meaningful to women and their families. For instance, new plans cover vital preventive services, including mammograms, colon cancer screenings, and well-woman visits with no out-of-pocket costs. It also ensures women can see an OB-GYN without a referral. To learn more about the law and your health insurance options, visit HealthCare.gov.

When is National Women’s Health Week?

The 13th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012 and is celebrated until May 19, 2012. National Women’s Checkup Day is Monday, May 14, 2012.

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How is National Women’s Health Week celebrated?

The nationwide observance is celebrated across America in communities, neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties, hospitals, health centers, businesses, schools, places of worship, recreation centers, and online. Anyone who wants to promote women’s health can celebrate. Organizations large and small hold events, such as free screenings and health fairs, give out educational materials, issue proclamations, conduct media outreach, spread the word through social media, and more.

 

 

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Vitamin Packaging

Can it Be.. My Vitamin D?

In the last several years my doctor has taken great care to watch my Vitamin D levels, and many times when they are low there seems to be a correlation to a heightened pain level as well. Consequently, I took some time to do a little research to find out just why vitamin D is so critical in keeping us healthy as chronic pain sufferers.

Recent Research

The role Vitamin D plays in our health has become far more important as recent nutritional research has emerged. The media has underscored reports that have caught the attention of individuals who might not otherwise supplement this nutrient in addition to a daily regimen. The reason for this is that in past years, people got plenty of sunshine, which is the primary source of D, but with the certainly well founded  fear of skins cancers, folks are just not out in the sun, or are using sunscreens. So wouldn’t you think this would have an affect on our vitamin D levels? You bet!! Vitamin D is responsible for many important functions in the body, like cell reproduction, insulin production, heart health, healthy bones and teeth,  and immune function

Research has shown that low vitamin D levels can cause muscle pain, depression, fatigue and weakness, and that 25% of those with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ME, have low vitamin D levels. Supplementation may be extremely beneficial at lowering pain levels over time. One study showed that people low in vitamin D needed twice as much narcotic pain medication as those who were non deficient.

The observed improvement in the overall condition of fibromyalgia patients using vitamin D indicates a strong connection between the disease and the function of vitamin D in maintaining bone and muscular health. One theory I found was that the role of vitamin D in contributing to the development of fibromyalgia is thought to be rooted in its metabolic function. Vitamin D helps in the synthesis of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in the body. The parathyroid hormone serves to extract phosphates, especially calcium phosphate, from the bones. Combined with other factors, a failure to extract adequate amounts of phosphates from bones can lead to fibromyalgia. In case of vitamin D deficiency, the body is depleted in parathyroid hormone and hence an abnormal retention of phosphates in the bones may initiate a march toward symptoms of fibromyalgia.

It’s recommended to take at least 1000 iu per day for a normal dose.  It was originally the FDA recommendation of 400iu, that has been shown to be too low in many individuals. Your doctor can give you a simple blood test, called a “Vitamin D 25-OH Level” to see if you are deficient, and the number should be somewhere between 30 and 100. Just to give you an idea, when I’ve been at my worst in the winter, it can be as low as a 17, so I have to take a prescription for vitamin D to get  my levels up for a short time, and then I take 5000iu per day. Ask your doc what they suggest for you. Buy Vitamin D3, not plain “D” as it is much more potent and complete.

Creative Commons License photo credit: colindunn

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It’s Halloween week, and the gools and goblins are all around. While a positive, grateful and empowered life is my #1 goal, I wrestle a few beasts in my quest to stay well, grow and empower myself and others each day.

It’s makes me think about the dark places that lurk around the corners of our minds, and those 7 nasty mind monsters that can fuel pain and depression, stop you from achieving your goals, ruin relationships, and much more. With some work and attention, we can banish them, or at least tell them they are NOT welcome! The whole key is to consciously invite them to scram, show them the door..and work on positive replacements instead.  To heal anything, it must be acknowledged. Who are these monsters?


1. Guilt
 is one of my biggest “Nasty Monsters” that follows me and makes for more knots in my stomach and pain in my body. Feeling guilty is something all of us are good at in one way or another, and if we are living with a chronic condition in any way, we are probably MASTERS at it. We tend to use our inner guts as punching bags for what we cannot do, should have done, messed up, forgot, and could have done better…need I say more? I can’t tell you how much time I have wasted feeling guilty about so many things I could have, or should have done. Let it go!! The truth is you are doing the best you can with what you have, and guilt is a totally useless emotion that makes you sick! Forgiveness is the opposite of guilt and an be a wonderful healing to your spirit. Every time you feel yourself “beating youself up” say: “I love myself, I forgive myself and I now let it go”.  Give that Guilt monster the boot, show him the door..Baam!

2.Anger. That’s another Monster that when not dealt with can rot your insides, and can hurt you, and your relationships. If left unexpressed, the anger monster knows how to get to into the deepest, happiest parts of your heart, and  rule over them, until you take over and deal with that anger. It is said that anger is nothing  more than hurt deep inside you. Do you think the person who yells and screams is healthier than the one who internalizes everything? Something to think about. If you have anger toward someone, get it out! Your body and mind will thank you for it.

3.Fear. is simply the opposite of love. This monster knows exactly how to stop you from getting everything you ever wanted in life. He’s the most keniving and crafty. He is powerful and will overwhelm you if you allow it. This monster is not always easy to confront, but once you face him, you will never feel so amazing! Walk up to your fear, look him right in the eyes and say “I am NOT AFRAID OF YOU and I will NOT ALLOW YOU to rule over me anymore!, I CAN DO THIS!”

4. Mistrust is a monster that is common with the loners and control freaks of the world. This monster hangs around and convinces you that the world is a tough place, only you can do things the right way or no way at all, and nobody can be trusted to help you. Trusting others means opening up and being vulnerable  to love, and allowing others to see who you really are. You must be willing to ask for help. Sometimes mistrustful people feel they have to take care of themselves, when there are people all around them waiting and willing to support them. Asking for help and giving up some control can free you more than you know. Trust others and let them in if this is an issue for you. If it is difficult for you, take it one at a time, and you’ll see that when you open up to people, your life will be more fulfilling.

5. Envy is the Green monster! He is the one that gets under your skin like a parasite that slowly eats away at you. He tells you that you are not good enough, that others are better, and makes you compare yourself to others. This horrible NASTY Monster must be evacuated and killed every time you even sense a hint of him near. The truth is, there is only one magnificent person exactly like you in the world. You have talents that uniquely your own. How can you compare yourself to anyone? You rock! Be the very best you that you can be. My mom used to say “Don’t worry a minute what others are thinking about you..they are too worried about what you think of them!” She’s a pretty wise woman!

6. Self-Pity is a weak, quiet, and sneaky little monster. She comes in night and hits when you’re down and least expecting it. You are dealing with life and all its complications, and it can be overwhelming. When you allow this monster of self-pity in, it weakens your ability to handle those complications, and dis-empowers you. I know that when I get down, sad, and feel sorry for myself, all I do is stop the flow of positive things into my life. Ideas, circumstances, people that can support me, and miracles of all kinds are slowed down! The GREAT NEWS is changing your mind to self empowerment can be as easy as “flipping a switch” and telling that self-pity monster to HIT THE ROAD! When you DECIDE to be grateful for the good and the bad (yes) in your life, while focusing on the GOOD, being extremely GRATEFUL FOR ALL YOUR BLESSINGS, and feeling the APPRECIATION FEELINGS as often as possible, self-pity will not come around and MIRACLES will!

7. Negative Self-Talk is a monster that is pretty much like a constant nagging little ugly fly that sits on your shoulder. You have to keep swatting it away each time it comes up. He tells you that you “can’t”,  “aren’t good at that” , and makes up many scenarios in your mind to worry about that NEVER come true!  Did you know that 95% of the stuff we worry about never happens? The better you get at POSITIVE Self-talk, affirmations, and grateful thinking, as well as daily meditation  and visualization,  makes this little monster come around less and less!

I went through a severe depression recently and got to know these nasty monsters all too well. It took some serious reflection that living positively, and healing my pain was far more important to me than hanging out with these disgusting, life-sucking maggots. Sometimes when you have a chronic condition, you cannot see anything BUT the monsters.  They will eat you alive if you let them. All I can say is, there IS HOPE. There is a LIGHT at the end of the tunnel, and a rainbow out there. Now, I am in a totally new light filled place and each day I am getting a little bit better. I think one of the biggest keys for me was separating myself from these monsters, and realizing that they were just that- MONSTERS! Just like a child seeing shadows in the closet at night…Dad comes in and flips the switch on to show you “They are not real!” and ultimately you can make the choice at anytime to crawl out from under the bed and ask for a hug. Thank God!

 

 

 

 

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They are everywhere. They are in everything. Not only packaged , frozen, and refrigerated food, but cosmetics, household cleaners and more. What are they? CHEMICALS. Recently my doctor took me off ALL chemicals. You may think this is easy, you may not.

I have had Fibromyalgia (which is really a collection of chronic pain and fatigue symptoms doctors can’t explain) since the mid-80’s. I was first told it was Multiple Sclerosis in the early 90’s because the symptoms were so bizarre. I was drinking Diet Pepsi with Aspartame very heavily when I was first diagnosed. Coincidence?  It was worse than a drug addiction to give up. Drinking the best alkaline water made a huge difference in its place!

Eliminating all chemicals from my diet is helping my chronic pain. So many foods come in a package. As you see with the label on the left, the list can be mind boggling! I am working on it and doing the best I can to eat fresh food at every meal. I am feeling better every day! In fact when you really think about it, were our bodies designed to house and process chemicals in the first place?

It may not be very pleasant to think about, but has it ever occured to you that back in our grandparents era the incidents of cancer, heart disease and diabetes were far lower in the United States? It was even lower in their grandparents time, around the  turn of the Century. Why was this? Food was primarily fresh and NATURAL or “put up” (canned) by hand! Everything they ate came from the ground primarily, which was rich with minerals in the topsoil. The vitamins and minerals in one serving of spinach from the 1900’s was so nutritious, that it would take more than ten or more servings now to get the same amount of natural iron and other nutrients, because our soils are so depleted. Large growing companies have compensated by adding chemicals to the soil and additives to our food to “boost” the nutrition. [click to continue…]

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I am beginning to feel the warm shine and embrace of happiness again. I have not been able to say that for many months. I feel true DESIRE for something positive for the first time in a long time. I want to LIVE, and I want to be WELL. It feels so good to feel a creative spark of any kind right now. Be it little, I am grateful for any feelings of desire to take care of myself and feel deserving of a healthy, happy life again!

The relentless chronic pain of Fibromyalgia and its accompanying depression can take you down into a dark hole. It’s one that you feel like you might not have the strength to ever climb out of.. ever. (most days). After all I have been through since 1988,  I never thought I would get back here, but I did. Over the years, life has been a series of many more good days than bad days, and for that I am eternally grateful to God. I took control of this nasty condition early on, and learned to manage it through the mind-body connection coupled with a host of trial and error natural and traditional methodologies.

I was on the best run of feeling really well for 4 years straight from January 2007 to Fall 2010, and thought I had “turned a corner”. I had found the things that helped me feel better, and the things that I needed to avoid. I still fought with migraine headaches, and a few not so good days, but for the most part I was a completely different person compared to the woman who was walking with a cane in the early 90’s,  and being shown a very bleak future by doctors. [click to continue…]

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There is a field around all of us. This field is an energy field


‘New discoveries suggest that our world is the mirror of our beliefs. What we once believed is about to change!* What would it mean to discover that the power to create joy, to heal suffering, and bring peace to nations lives inside of you?* Are the miracles that we see in the quantum world actually showing us our greatest possibilities rather than our scientific limits?* Could the spontaneous healing of disease, an instant connection with everyone and everything, and even time travel, be our true heritage in the universe?Between 1993 and 2000, a series of groundbreaking experiments revealed dramatic evidence of a web of energy that connects everything in our lives and our world—the Divine Matrix. From the healing of our bodies, to the success of our careers, relationships, and the peace between nations, this new evidence demonstrates that we each hold the power to speak directly to the force that links all of creation.Join Gregg Braden on this extraordinary journey bridging science, spirituality and miracles through the Language of the Divine Matrix.Much of the material presented in the Language of the Divine Matrix is offered in Gregg’s book, Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Belief.”

 

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9.52 - Maui Sunset
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mele☺


On this Labor Day weekend let’s talk about REST..and how VITAL it is in all areas of our life. Most of us live fast paced lives in which slowing down is something we don’t get to do very often, and if we do it takes a while just to “unwind”. We have many projects, responsibilities and goals. It seems even our sleep state can be disrupted by this stress at times. Have you ever been so stressed that you woke up in the morning feeling more tired than when you went to bed?

A life changing example that  I discovered this year during a routine dental check-up was that I was grinding my teeth during the night. This was something fairly shocking to me, and apparently it was so severe that the dentist kindly handed me a mirror and showed me where I had a bone protruding on my gum line.

When I got that news, I was alarmed to say the least. That coupled with a flare up in fibromyalgia  pain were a “flashing sign” or WAKE UP CALL to pay attention to my body and spirit!! I needed rest, relaxation and more time doing absolutely NOTHING.

My days were so consumed with stress and self imposed pressure coupled with a life that was severely out of balance that it added up to the perfect recipe for a life crash. When we don’t pay attention to these signs, our body and our spirit starts to suffer. So needless to say, I have made drastic changes in my life, and continue to look at ways I can slow down, balance, and bring my life back into alignment with source.

Sleep and adequate rest makes a definite difference  in our productivity, effectiveness, mood and the quality of our relationships. It  may not be as highly regarded as it should be as exercising and proper hydration. I know that when I get less then 7- 8 hours sleep I am not as clear minded, so sleep is very high on my list. The longer you do not get adequate rest and sleep, the more it will begin to affect your life. Interestingly enough, getting plenty of exercise coupled with eating right helps you sleep more soundly. Do you take care to get the amount of sleep your body requires?

When was the last time you took some time out to JUST DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?

When it comes to rest…I am not talking about Taking a Vacation! Think about this:

Most people think of taking a vacation from work as taking a week or two off work which involves doing activities in which you are constantly on the go with your spouse and kids. Consequently, the vacation often ends up being as stressful as the job that was left behind.  Some people dread going back to work because they got absolutely NO REST whatsoever! This surely defeats the purpose. In order to get the full health benefits of a vacation, it is paramount to balance the time if possible and to use the time to relax mind and soul; to return home feeling rejuvenated. If you are a very active person who loves the concept of “active rest”, perhaps split the time so that you get a mixture of both activities and doing NOTHING.

It’s a very important aspect of mental health and well-being to simply allow the mind time to do nothing. It is in this process of not being busy that one is free to contemplate, meditate, recharge and generally appreciate the world around them; a world which they are usually too busy to notice. Idleness is often frowned upon in modern society, especially in the U.S.,  yet it is an important part of human mental health. It allows people to gather thoughts, to gain perspective, and to relieve stress. A certain amount of being idle is essential to a happy, fulfilled life. Meditation on a daily basis is a wonderful way to allow your mind to rest in a somewhat active, gentle way. it is only active in that you focus on a word, a sound, a phrase, chanting etc. All other distractions leave you, and your body and mind completely let go into a world of complete relaxation, closer to the source that you came from.In many Eastern countries, daily meditation is part of daily life, such as in India and Hindu religious practice, Asian countries with  Buddhism just to name two.step by step

Americans are looked at as over stressed, way out of balance and not taking that idle time to savor the finer moments in life.  In Europe, the practice of rest is built in to the culture.The Italians call it “Dolce far niente” which means ” the sweetness of doing nothing” as Elizabeth Gilbert describes lingering lavishly in Italy , in her book “Eat Pray Love “. Did you know that Europeans are given 2 and even 3 times more paid vacation time than Americans? Their productivity is sited to be higher while illness and stress is much lower than the United States.

photo credit: AlicePopkorn

 

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So take a little stock in how much idle time you spend as part of your weekly routine. If you are busy and on the go pretty much all the time, you might want to take a look at pulling back a little. Even technology like iphones, ipads and the like can keep up so “connected” that we’re never really unplugged from the race.

Yumtious chocolate caek
Enjoy the Sweetness of Doing Nothing a minimum of once a week. Make your favorite food, put on some music that moves
 you and sit to  watch the sun go down with a glass of your special reserve wine or tea. Take a bubble bath, and a nap. Go window shopping, and have some chocolate!  Life is to be savored and enjoyed…

You deserve Peaceful Rest and Joy!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Commons License photo credit: Rain Rabbit

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Allowing God to handle it-It’s been the one thing that has challenged me for years. It’s like jumping off a cliff. Being out of control, letting go of control, and turning the outcome over to God. Let’s face it..it’s scary!

Why do we feel such a strong need to be in control? Do we actually presume to believe WE can do a better job than God The Universe, our Higher Power (here to for referred to as God, but I respect what you believe).For God to bring us what we want, the ONLY WAY it will manifest is by letting go of our attachment to the outcome!

If we don’t keep our fingers in every single thing going on around us, especially as mothers and fathers, we somehow think the world will come to an end! I have always needed to do it all, and have literally made myself sick by not giving up control. I have come a long way, and consider myself a recovering perfectionist. Deeper than that I have suffered from chronic pain, anxiety and depression for years, and part of the very complicated web that is pain, anxiety and depression,  that grounds me into isolation every time, is the belief that if I can’t do it perfectly, I am a failure. Self loathing is a big part of anxiety & depression. [click to continue…]

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