Things No One Told Me: Fibromyalgia and Having Dreams

Learn how to make your dreams happen despite living with fibromyalgia.

Things No One Told Me: Fibromyalgia and Having Dreams

No one ever shared with me any secrets to achieving my dreams despite chronic illness. It was something I had to learn all on my own. And when I did, that understanding changed everything for me. I assured myself that I could continue to achieve my dreams and work towards new ones, despite the fact that chronic illness was now a part of my life.

Making Dreams Possible

Being chronically ill isn’t easy and it requires constant work and patience, in addition to a willingness to overcome adversity. My chronic illnesses, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, regularly try to pull me away from my goals, but I force myself to stay focused on the things I need to do. Over the years, chronic illness has forced me to question the possibility of my dreams. There have been many occasions where I have asked: How does someone living with illness, daily pain, doctor’s appointments, and medication achieve dreams?

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Fibromyalgia: Three Things You Need to Know about Patient Empowerment

Learn how to take your fibromyalgia healthcare into your own hands and approach your doctor in a more confident, educated way.

Fibromyalgia: Three Things You Need to Know about Patient Empowerment

It is very difficult for patients to do what they don’t understand. Therefore, it is vital to arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to take a more active role in your healthcare.

Patient empowerment allows patients to take an active role in the decisions they make about their health. Moreover, empowerment requires patients to take responsibility through open communication with their doctors, taking medications as prescribed,eating healthy and exercising regularly. It also allows them to create a joint partnership with their doctors where change can actually be long lasting.

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Nine Ways to Cope with Fibromyalgia Brain Fog

Do you have fibro fog?

Nine Ways to Cope with Fibromyalgia Brain Fog

Are you forgetful? Do have trouble concentrating or speaking correctly? Do you often feel confused, fuzzy or detached? If so, you are likely experiencing a cognitive dysfunction that affects many with fibromyalgia. Referred to as fibro fog, cognitive issues can be frustrating to you and those around you.

They affect self-confidence and strain relationships. Fibro fog can also affect your ability to perform on the job and manage your daily life.

Most fibromyalgia patients experience some form of fibro fog. The symptoms of fibro fog are difficult and include being forgetful, feeling confused, being unable to concentrate, struggling with speech and even affect hand-eye movements. Each fibromyalgia sufferer will experience fibro fog differently and the fogs can come and go. Sometimes, you can have them with a fibro flare and other times, without.

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5 Things to Keep In Mind When Talking to Someone with Chronic Illness

 How you can maintain good communication and relieve tension in your relationship.

5 Things to Keep In Mind When Talking to Someone with Chronic Illness

When people we love are sick and in pain, we want to wish them love and encouragement, offer support and motivate them to be hopeful. Unfortunately, our words aren’t always interpreted in the manner we intend. This is because people with chronic illness do not feel like everyone else and rather than feeling supported, they often feel misunderstood. Often times, the lack of communication can permanently affect relationships. And chronic pain, fatigue and other disease symptoms are stressful enough without the added stress created from tense relationships.

Here are five things to keep in mind when talking to loved ones living with chronic illness:

1. They need us to believe them.

Believe it or not, it is not uncommon for chronic illness sufferers to say that they were accused of faking or exaggerating symptoms. When they react to these accusations, they are seen as overly sensitive or believed to have misunderstood a situation. Even statements like “but you don’t look sick,” can strike a nerve because they imply that we do not believe the person. When a chronically ill person says she is hurting or feeling extremely tired, she needs us to believe she is telling the truth.

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When It Feels Like You Have Done It All

Learning to stay hopeful as you experience frustration and exhaustion from living with arthritis.

When It Feels Like You Have Done It All

Living with a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis or lupus, can be very frustrating. There is no one size fits all solution. Even when patients are following doctor’s orders, they can still struggle to manage their disease symptoms. And when treatments aren’t working, patients are left to wonder if they should just give up.

At the End of Your Rope

I suspect that many of you have reached a point where it feels as if you are tired, frustrated and at the end of your rope because the things you are doing to feel better just aren’t enough. Here is a typical comment I hear:

“I am in my 30s (or 40s or 50s), overweight, and living with depression, anxiety and worsening chronic illness symptoms despite proper diet, exercise and medication. I have tried everything under the sun to get my symptoms under control but I have had no luck. I am tired of not seeing results, getting my hopes up and going to all of the doctor’s appointments. What do you do when you feel like you have done it all to no avail?”

Like so many, I have left no stone unturned in moving towards a somewhat normal life where chronic illness does not dictate my actions. There have been times where I, too, have wanted to give up trying to figure out how to get well. And there have been times where I have flat out given up—for a little while, at least.

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9 Valuable Lessons Gained From Chronic Illness

Our advocate Lana shares nine valuable lessons that have shaped her life over the last six years.

9 Valuable Lessons Gained From Chronic Illness

Going into my sixth year living with a chronic illness, I consider myself experienced in meeting the challenges imposed by chronic illness. The term “chronic illness” doesn’t bother me and I no longer see my illnesses as a burden. Rather, I view them as a determinant of who I can become. Further, how I choose to cope determines the lessons I gain and how those lessons shape my very existence.

Here are nine valuable lessons that have shaped my life over the last six years.

Enjoy Life Even When It Hurts

There have been many occasions where I just didn’t feel motivated to follow through on plans with friends and family. But when I forced myself to get out and push past the pain, I was glad I got to enjoy that time and to make those memories. And yes, it is true that we should take care of ourselves — and there will be plenty of plans that do get cancelled — but we shouldn’t make canceling plans the norm. If you are going to be in pain, you might as well do the things you enjoy to help you forget. Trust me, your mind, body and soul will thank you.

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Guest Post: The Importance of Keeping Active as you Age

Just as it is important to keep learning throughout our lifetime, it is important to stay in shape and stay mobile. Just as you spend your evenings reading or doing a crossword, one should remember the importance of walking or riding a bike. To focus on the latter, exercise can simple and easily maintained throughout each decade that passes. Because everyone reaches the age where they need assistance at some point or another, then it is important to maintain the traits of our youth that we can, mobility.

Just as all the systems in the body work together, it is important to exercise and help them function in unison. This doesn’t just help with staying regular but allowing your body to process the energy you get it. As you age, your metabolism slows which adds to weight gain, and discomfort. It is in this downward spiral that mood is affected, and overall happiness is compromised.

If you find yourself in this spiral, I recommend waking up every day and starting the exercise routines slowly. You don’t want to hurt yourself, as this will put you back where you were. Instead focus on doing the exercises correctly and building your small muscles fibers first. Let’s not forget cardiovascular health. You may spend up to fifteen minutes a day, seven days a week at first. But let’s not get discouraged, this is how to build proper endurance.

Make sure you’re getting some rest. There is nothing wrong with staying up with the grandkids, but make sure to get your rest, and wake up with good whole foods that can help give energy and start recovery. As one ages, you’ll find that muscle loss may have already taken effect. It’s important not to overestimate your strength if you aren’t in a regular exercise regimen. Also, by not keeping regular in your exercises it could set you up for a fall.

Let’s consider some exercise that could help with balance and prevent the option of falling. Go outside and start by taking a lovely walk through the park. Make sure to pack a lunch, bring a collapsible cane, and pack a lunch. Stay out and take it easy, find a place to sit and relax if you’re feeling winded. This is the best way to start. Take the next step when you go out again, and use your arms to complete the stride, when you’re ready. You’ll find that now you’re improving cardio and building leg strength.

If you can get some good momentum, you’ll find that your sleep will be improved, you’ll rest easier. You can also find a new self-confidence, and a brighter mood. Like we talked about before, the importance of keeping your brain working, well studies have found that exercise is a positive influence. Just remember that no one is going to look down on you. When you are out on the park enjoying some birds, path, and bikers passing by, you’ll really want to smile, this is where the real world is, and when you are able to spend time with those frisky grandkids, you’ll realize where the real love is.

This article was written by Cheryl Swansong, a long time caregiver with a passion for writing and a strong supporter of human rights. She has been working hard to bring awareness to the ways that a lot of senior citizens and disabled individuals are mistreated on a daily basis. You can read her most recent interview on the subject here:  http://justwalkers.com/how-the-disabled-and-elderly-are-treated-differently-experts-weigh-in

Nine Things Chronically Ill People Want Loved Ones to Know

There are many things a chronically ill person wants their loved ones to know but are hesitant to share.

Nine Things Chronically Ill People Want Loved Ones to Know

Chronic illnesses are debilitating and strike people of all ages and sexes. Loved ones are confused on how to offer help and support while chronically ill patients struggle with sharing feelings. There are many things a chronically ill person wants their loved ones to know but are hesitant to share.

Here are nine things chronically ill people want their loved ones to know:

1. Our Grief is Ongoing

Angie, age 17: “I wish my parents understood that my grief over my health is reoccurring. It is gone sometimes but it always returns.”

Before getting sick, you don’t know the ongoing struggles that force you to continually grieve. And there is a lot to grieve over. You are not as productive as you once were. You have lost friends, the ability to take part in your favorite activities and your independence. Grief comes in waves and sometimes, out of the blue. One minute, you are accepting the changes and challenges that chronic illness brings to your life and the next you are overcome with sadness or anger.

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5 Ways to Manage Arthritis During the Summer Months

Arthritis can be be painful any time of the year — especially during the summer.

5 Ways to Manage Arthritis During the Summer Months

Many believe that arthritis symptoms tend to be more aggressive in the winter months but this isn’t necessarily true. Arthritis can be painful any time of the year. Summer weather can increase swelling and inflammation and the high temperatures can make symptoms even more unpleasant. Further, people spend more time outdoors as the weather warms and will overdo activities and tire themselves out. Travel is more common during the summer months and requires sitting for long periods, resulting in an increase in joint stiffness and a decrease in circulation.

Here are five ways to help you manage your arthritis symptoms in the summer months:

Stay Hydrated

If you are going to be outdoors in hot humid weather, it is important to drink plenty of liquids. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and even heat stroke. If you are taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, it is even more important to stay hydrated because these medications constrict blood flow to the kidneys causing dehydration. Drink about six to eight glasses of water a day, more if you are exercising or planning to be outdoors for long periods.

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How One Family Manages With the Chronic Illness of a Child

Chronic illnesses are most common in adults but they affect people of all ages — including children.

How One Family Manages With the Chronic Illness of a Child

Seven percent of American children today live with at least one chronic illness. That number is a significant increase from 1.8 percent in the 1960s, this according to theNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Raising a child with a chronic illness affects the entire family. Parents may feel guilt and anger while siblings may feel neglected. Depending on the illness, a sick child may experience symptoms of discomfort and pain. Moreover, treatments for the illness may be scary, painful and uncomfortable. Parents may also struggle with watching their child being sick and in distress. Further, illness strains finances and demands time, energy and resources.

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