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Today is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day!

May 12, 2011

It is a day pretty important to me. FMS is a large part of my life though I have tried very hard to not let it be the defining point in my life. I was officially diagnosed about 8 months ago. I think my journey started when I was 14 though. I read an article recently on risk factors for fibromyalgia and discovered I fell into a pretty much guaranteed  group.  I am female, I discovered through research there is a family history of it on my maternal side, I have sleep issues, I have a personality that hates stress and gets depressed easily at times, and I suffered an auto-immune illness in the form of Mono as a teen.  I was a walking bottle of FMS perfection.

So among the beautiful plethora of symptoms/concurrent issues I have the obvious widespread pain. My legs tend to be the worst and I have had that for as long as I can remember. It can be anything from a dull ache to a minor throbbing to an intense burning and can be just my knees or from toe to hip. Over the last few years the pain has spread. In times of stress or when I am on my period the pain can be through my shoulders, from finger tip to elbow, base of by neck, across my forehead, base of my spine, lower pelvis, and jaw. I have been diagnosed with TMJ, which is a lovely jaw issue that can require surgery and means I sleep with a mouth guard to help reduce the pain. I have migraines. Luckily I started meds for those and have been able to go from a couple of days a week to a couple a month if that. I have developed a lovely oversensitivity in the pads of my fingers and toes making certain days very difficult to walk, cook, write, type, touch anything, and I removed my acrylic nails because getting them done became agony. I have the extreme fatigue. Getting one major chore done along with the needed daily chores and taking care of Lexi in a day is a good day! I have discovered that my issues carrying my babies very likely relate to the FMS making the choice to tie my tubes a good one. I can be very forgetful and tend to have lists in my phone for everything as well as all tasks scheduled into my calendar so that I won’t forget. My joints crack regularly and fairly painfully. I suffer from depression. I am obsessive over certain tasks and need order in certain things to reduce my anxiety.

Those are the bad days, lol. Stress increases the chance of a bad day. Over-activity increases it. I tend to isolate myself from situations that could cause stress to reduce the chance of bad days which makes me come off as a hermit. Add that I genuinely love just being with my husband and girls watching movies and i often frustrate others. I promise it is not you. I really just am content in my solitude and much less likely to be miserable so I don’t venture out often. I am on a great medicine called Savella for the FMS and it has helped to make the good days out number the bad days. I absolutely still react to stress and still have days where staying in bed would be lovely if I didn’t have a toddler. I am blessed to have a guy whose response when I apologize for being a broken horrible wife in my worst moments just hugs me and says “You may need a little extra patience and a little extra care, but I would not change a single thing about you!”. He is one of the best things in my life. I am just like everyone else it just takes me longer and some days I am lucky to get to it at all but it will get done eventually. I love as much, I laugh as much, I cherish every moment with my family and I count every single blessing in my life. Fibromyalgia is one tiny part of me, it is not who I am. I am a wife and a mom. I am a writer, a designer, a reader, a cook, a teacher, a lover, a friend. I just happen to have Fibromyalgia.

CNN has great info on FM and you can also learn more at the National Fibromyalgia Association website. Take some time to read about it and learn. It is not in my head. It does not mean I am a hypochondriac. It is a real syndrome that affects millions around the world and each and every one of those sufferers deserves your love, understanding, and support!!!


Contemplating a major undertaking!

May 10, 2011

As most know I recently bought my first gun. We have many family weapons but this one was one I picked just for me. It is a sweet little HK P2000 9mm and I got it for personal protection at home and out and plan to get my concealed weapons permit as soon as I can.  Due to my guy and his career my ideal of living away from civilization is not one we can easily attain until we retire and our current locale is the worst one yet in terms of crime. Yuck!! So I have decided to take my protection and that of the girls seriously.

Most who know me well know I am a researcher and reader down to my soul so when I make my mind up about something I also do a ton of background research and try to get as prepared as possible. Since my decision was to carry a weapon on my body that meant researching the most comfortable ways to do that as well as safety concerns and such. I wanted a female perspective because, hey,  I happen to be female. Women of Caliber, Girl’s Guide to Guns, Armed Females of America, and Cornered Cat all had great info on safety, holsters, and anything else I may want to know. AFA is a bit outdated and I am not 100% behind the political side of it but the educational info was great. Girl’s Guide is awesome. They cover everything from ammo to fashion with humor! Cornered Cat is very no nonsense and great at telling you all the options which I love. WoC is a personal favorite. She is LDS so the most similar to my values and very informative. She also has no problem interacting with her followers which is great. I love a personal touch.

So on to my contemplations, hehehe. In doing my research I found that women being open about firearm use was a heck of a lot smaller group than men. I also found that obviously that also meant that training, info, and gear for women was a lot harder to find. Add that I am a lefty and I am a super small category of girl. If you look at those who shoot and carry concealed you see it is a majorly male dominated field. Kellene of WoC is the highest NRA certified female instructor in the western states. She has the only place I have found aimed at teaching women by women even close to me and it is out of my state. I find that sad. The reason being that women are the biggest victims of violent crime and more would carry, I think, if taught by a woman. I can only speak for myself, but I prefer to get my health care from other women. I prefer to buy my vehicles from other women, my furniture from other women, etc. Not because I am a man hater by any means but because I am more comfortable dealing with another woman. I am 5’4″. Most everyone is taller than me. Especially men. My BIL calls me vertically challenged. When we are out I tend to stay close to my husband or BIL because they are bigger and stronger if something were to come up. I am going to take my CCW irregardless of the teacher because I am determined. I would not be surprised though if quite a few women had decided not to because of the nerves factor.

My considered undertaking is this. I am contemplating getting my NRA instructor certifications. Between the different men in my husband’s family I am sure all of the weapon’s I could be certified on are present and I could get my basic skills from them before taking my courses to qualify. My sweet guy said he knows I can do anything I put my mind to doing. My semi-chauvinistic BIL looked at me like I was bonkers. Part of the concern is that really my exposure to guns has been fairly minimal. I am comfortable with our .22 rifle and I am loving my 9mm but otherwise I haven’t shot many of our other weapons. Part of that is a physical factor and one I have to strongly consider. My fibromyalgia means that certain weapons have a much more physical impact on me than they do on a “normal” person. The FMS coupled with being a lefty was why I didn’t like the .40 I had and switched to the 9mm. The .22 is a rifle with not a lot of kick so it doesn’t physically hurt me. I am sure in each category I could find calibers that would not hurt me but I could also be stuck with what is on hand and that could be hard on my body. Add that being an instructor means long hours standing, shooting, and moving and my FMS could once again get in the way. I love the idea as I think about it but the expense and the physical complications make me wonder. If I could do it I see some pretty amazing benefits for area women. This area has a major crime rate and if women had a woman they could learn from I think more would take the opportunity to protect themselves.


Dark days of the mind.

May 4, 2011

I have been struggling since my last post with a dark weight. It feels as if a dark cloud hovers over me, pouring rain, yet no one else can see or feel it. I hate when I get in this place because nothing can really come along to pull me from it. Time is the only answer. I know it comes on when I feel especially bothered by things that I really can’t change. I am a fixer by nature, a nurturer. In so many ways I was born a mother. I try to always approach an interaction with care. One of the hardest things for me is to know I was the cause of pain or hurt or upset. I avoid confrontation more than I should. It is very rare for me to speak my mind if the speaking could be taken as reproachful of others. I also hate to get after others and it is rare that I do unless it is in defense of someone I love that I see being treated wrongly. That is why it just kills me when people see me as something other than I am, or think I am. I know perception is different for everyone and what I may see as being thoughtful others may see completely different. I especially have a hard time when the person who seems to see me so negatively is someone I genuinely care about or thought I had a good relationship with.  Joey says I need to stop letting the opinion of others affect me so much and I know he is right. I have the love, support, and respect of so many amazing people that it kills me that the dim views of a handful are what I seem to focus on. I am extremely sensitive to negative feelings and as the ultimate people pleaser I want to fix the broken. I obsess over it to the point that my husband wants to lock me in a closet out of frustration. I have let go of a few of those toxic relationships that have been in my life and feel better for it. I honestly should do the same with the others and just breath. I know I can not force anyone to see me the way I hope they would. I can’t make anyone feel what they don’t want to feel. All I can do is change how I take it. I need to focus on that. I need to let time get me through my dark cloud so I can play in the sun again. I need to remember the amazing blessings in my life and let the dark days float past. In the scheme of my life they are but petals on the wind and fleeting in their impact.

A new world is evolving.

May 2, 2011

Right now the news has spread faster than any wildfire. Osama Bin Laden is dead. He was killed by a U.S. seal team yesterday in Pakistan after months of planning and just a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of  9/11. I see many thanking Bush and bashing Obama or bashing Bush and thanking Obama. All are thanking the troops. I have seen news accounts of parties and tears, of grief renewed and faith restored.

To me the downfall of Bin Laden and those like him has always been a given. The world’s peoples will not tolerate being treated like expendable trash for long. The majority population is becoming younger, more able to communicate with one another, and those in countries where tyranny and oppression are a way of life are able to more easily glimpse how their democratic peers live life and have begun to fight for that freedom.  As those fights have spread it became even more inevitable that terrorists would loose their havens. Despite the difference in thought through the major nations of the middle east about the United States and our allies they have all seen that these factions do not help them at all. They want these destroyers of life and humanity even less than we do because these groups claim to be helping cleanse the world while using their religion as a reason.

I woke this morning feeling a lightness in my chest that had settled there last night as I listened to the President make the announcement. That feeling was not because of the death of a man, or because of a firefight that caused it. It was because Bin Laden was more than just a man. To the children of America he was the boogieman. To those of us old enough to process what truly happened on 9/11 he was a destroyer of life. He was the ringleader of an evil empire bent on destroying all that we held dear. He was the reason our airports became a nightmare and our embassies were always well guarded around the world. To a small group he was a banner of purpose, a driving force, a beacon of truth to rally behind as they aimed their hatred and fury towards those they wanted dead. Just by his very breathing they took hope and strength. Now he is dead, his mission is in tatters and while I am sure retaliation will come it will not be what it might have been. He was the arrow that all who hated used to draw their bows. Now the arrow is gone and they have to try to fire their bows anyway. I am sure they will try. I expect there will be small and even large attempts. I doubt they will have the destructive power they once did.

So today as I feel lighter because we as a country have proven that we never give up, we never give in, and we never ever let a bully win I give thanks. i give thanks first to the troops who fight every day to keep us safe. They do so tirelessly and deserve every single ounce of credit. I also give thanks to President Obama, President Bush, and even President Clinton. All three have had to deal with the chaos caused by this man and the villainy he created and each one took steps that lead to this result. It was not any single one but the effort of all and all deserve praise. This is not about their politics. This is not about who you voted for. This is about justice being done.

I saw this on Facebook and liked it:

Now I lay me down to sleep, one less terrorist this world does keep. With all my heart I give my thanks, to those in uniform regardless of ranks. You serve our country and serve it well, with humble hearts your stories tell. So as I rest my weary eyes, while freedom rings our flag still flies. You give your all, do what you must…with God we live and God we trust. Amen.

Do I have to go out again?

April 29, 2011

I am anti-social. I know this. I am honestly not all that sure why. I have friends. I have always made them fairly easy when I put effort into it. I have realized recently though that close friends are a lot more rare in my life. Actually I have only had a handful. Ever. I was the girl in school who didn’t fit in any particular slot. I was friendly with many groups. I went from crowd to crowd easily. Now as an adult I still am not easy to fit into a category. I am not very outgoing. I know that. I honestly am happy to just be home reading. If I am out I like being with my family. I have a hard time just venturing to places by myself hoping to make friends. That has become especially true here. I feel so different from everyone here. I have met women who I share things in common with but none that I know of that mesh with me if that makes sense. I am a stay at home mom who loves to shoot, ride quads, treasure hunt, take scenic drives, play board games, watch movies, read, camp. The list goes on. I am pretty comfortable in my ways and need friends who accept those ways if that makes sense and share my thinking. I have been blessed enough to make 2 such girlfriends but they are both far away which sucks. Luckily we talk regularly. They see all of me and love me. I have always felt like I have to hide pieces of myself with most people. I can’t talk about guns with this person, can’t discuss my religion with that person, can’t watch this movie with this person, can’t cuss near that person. Certain things I edit are out of respect absolutely. I am not going to walk around cussing all the time when I am trying to improve that. I just am extra careful around certain people. I read once how no one really has a best friend they have many friends who fill different needs. I think that is silly though. True friendship is about loving and accepting everything and being everything a friend needs. A shoulder, a helper, a critic, a fan, a push in the right direction, or even someone to hold us back from a mistake. Maybe that is a part of why I am so happy to be at home. I have 2 friends like that. I have a husband who does the same things. With all the drama that has come with my efforts of trying and all the editing that comes with relationships is it really worth going out and trying to make more friends when I have what I need already?

Random Acts Of Kindness!

February 14, 2011

Friday was a busy day for us. We were due in Utah for a family reunion of sorts. For the first time in years the majority of my husbands siblings were all getting together with their families in one place so it was all about packing and driving and going, going, going……. It also was a day about random acts of kindness. A dear friend was celebrating the first birthday of her child. Her sweet girl was born still and to honor her she and everyone that loved her were going to do some random acts that day. Having had my own losses this hit me hugely. My losses had been early and while I grieve them still in moments of reflection I have never really done something purely to honor those lost lives so I took up the call not only to honor my friend and her precious one but to honor mine and all the lost ones. It kind of became almost obsessive. I think my poor brother-in-law had no idea what to do with me. All day as we went about prepping and packing I would ask to stop here or go there as an idea popped into my head for my RAOK. He just kept going. I think he ignored me as a safety because he thought I had lost my mind. I think he also did it because the one I was supposed to help hadn’t come around yet. By evening I was getting frustrated. My sunny disposition was taking on a little bit of an edge as I became more insistent that he help me fulfill my pledge. Then we stopped to fuel up. I decided as we were pulling in that my RAOK would be to fill up the gas tank of someone. I looked around. I saw a minivan pull in and perked up until they pulled to a stop and the door flew open and I saw a woman holding her infant in her arms with not seat in sight. Couldn’t bring myself to want to help there when that lack of safety for such a sweet life made me mad. Then I turned around and in pulled an Explorer. Seated inside was a cute young Hispanic couple and in the back seat were twin infant carseats. He pulled out $40 which I knew would never fill that tank since I drive and SUV and I knew they were exactly who I needed to help. So I asked if I could buy his gas. I know he thought I was crazy but he said okay. As we approached $20 he stopped the pump and tried to give me his cash. I restarted it and told him no. As we hit $40 he did it again and I repeated my step. I explained that it was important to me. I needed to do this for him. NEEDED. I filled his tank to the brim and told him to take his family out for Valentine’s Day. I am sure he thought I was a crazy person but I felt so uplifted and full to bursting with love. Love for my friend and her angel. Love for my little lost ones. Love for life. I also felt so amazingly thankful for my blessings. It reminded me how much I enjoy doing things for others and how truly joyous it makes me feel to see the wonder on someones face when a stranger is kind to them. So make today your day to do a random act of kindness. It can be big or small but trust me it will leave you feeling so amazingly proud!

Embracing a new day!

February 2, 2011

I tend to live in my happy place as much as I can. I try to always find the blessings even in the worst of situations. I face life with the hope that it will be bright and beautiful. I know it isn’t always that way. I have had my fair share of trials and cruddy days. Part of being me are the flashes of darkness before I make the light shine through. I was once asked what I would get for a tattoo if I had one and I had to think a minute before the answer became obvious. My husband and I are very much about there being meaning in something like that so for me it would be a fairy. She would be beautiful, long hair flowing down her back, wings spread as if about to fly, arms lifted and head thrown back with a grin of sheer joy on her face. In front of her is a mirror and her reflection is the total opposite. Wings drooping low, arms crossed over her chest as her head is bowed with tears streaming down her face. I feel like those two parts of me are there every day but I just choose to embrace the happier side. I think we all have the darkness. We all have battles to face, trials to overcome. We have to make a choice. We can let those hard things rule our lives or we can look at them and stand tall and smile and press through to the brighter side. Every day I have moments where I make the conscious choice to push through. I think everyone has those moments. It can be just getting out of bed on time rather than hitting the snooze button. It can be putting the Tylenol back in the bottle so you only take a healthy amount rather than try to dull life away. It can be taking a breath in a moment of frustration rather than letting loose the words that popped into our heads. They seem like little things but in the course of the day all those little positive choices add up until you are living your life in the sun and when those rain storms come you are much more likely to see the rainbows through the clouds!

I have also recently embraced letting go of things that add to the darkness. It is okay to remove yourself from situations that cause hurt. If they can’t be healed to the point that the light can shine through than it is okay to step back and let go. In fact I think sometimes the only choice is to let go. It has taken me a long time to really truly grasp that idea. I am a fixer. I want to fix it even if it hurts. It may take a while because it is our nature to not want to do something painful but I still was pressing on. I was holing on to some negativity and letting it color how I felt about myself and what I was doing with my life. I am going to change that. It may not be as fast as I would like and I know I will still have moments where I step back to that place of negativity but I plan to embrace a new way of thought. I am beautiful. I am smart and willing to learn. I am creative. I am a fantastic wife, a terrific mother, and a dang good writer. I taught myself html. I have a life full of people I love and who love me for exactly who I am.

Who really needs more than that?