JUST ONE Day at a time: A Blog Post for Invisible Illness Awareness Week

indexI wasn’t sure if I was going to create a “JUST ONE” blog post to recognize Invisible Illness Awareness Week. However, today’s event most certainly inspired me to let my voice be heard.

Today, I had my follow-up appointment with the rheumatologist (the one that I saw in May–I can’t remember if I wrote about that or not). Before I go into anymore of this post, I can say that the guy means well. I mean, I like his view on treating symptoms via “going natural” and “alternative medicine” and stuff.

However, I DO NOT like it when specialists only make assumptions based on the outside!

When he gave me the “trigger point” test, yes–it hurt. However, it didn’t hurt so bad that I was going to scream out. After being in constant pain for over 2 years now, I’ve learned to keep it in for the most part. Therefore, he assumed that I really wasn’t that bad off even though I said my pain was a 7 (NOTE: my back has been really achy and stiff for the past few days). That’s like telling a kid that their soup isn’t that hot even though you’re not the one eating it!

Plus, he was even so bold to tell me that if he was the one doing the diagnosing, he wouldn’t have assumed it was fibro since with most of the patients he sees, their cases of fibro involve excruciating pain with the slightest touch (e.g., fabric on skin).

I am JUST ONE case, guy! Everyone who has fibro (or any chronic illness for that matter) deals with different severities and different symptoms. My symptoms aren’t going to be the same as the fibro blogger next door!

Source: blogs.law.harvard.edu

Source: blogs.law.harvard.edu

I did explain that to him, and of course he replied with the dumbfounded nod and “mm-hmm”. Plus, he never addressed my concerns with my increase in burning joint pain at night. However, at least he had the brains to come up with the plan of gradually lowering my dose of gabapentin (since there have been side effects which I’d rather not go into).

So, here I am after seeing 3 different GPs, 3 different rheumatologists, and a neurologist after a little more than 2 years…

…and it seems like the only help I’ve gotten are from the Spoonie Community and doing my own research! (To the Spoonie Community who have helped me out during the ups and downs, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! xx)

When looking at the full picture, I could smack myself again and again in the head (for clear image of me doing that, see Homer pic above).

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However, life is truly JUST ONE day at a time.

I try to focus more of my attention on the things that I can do–not on the things that I can’t.

I do the things that make me laugh and bring me joy–not the things which piss me off or upset me.

I try to find the little things to be grateful for–not the big things which make me wanna rip my hair out.

I try to focus on the big accomplishments that I have made–not on the little failures that try to eat away at my spirit.

Take a moment to stop what you are doing, and really notice your surroundings. Really notice how your body is positioned (whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down) and how it feels. Really notice your breathing pattern.

This is “being in the here and now”. Not the past, not the future–NOW.

And btw, I’m not quoting anything here. This is the knowledge that I’ve learned from engaging in spiritual/holistic research for the past 6 years. πŸ˜‰

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know–1 year later!

Source: airplanefoodcritic.blogspot.com

Source: airplanefoodcritic.blogspot.com

 

Next week is Invisible Illness Awareness Week (Sept. 8-14). Even though I really don’t blog much anymore (since I’ve been preoccupied with other things), I would like to participate by sharing with you the “30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know”. I also did this last year (which you can read by clicking here). If you are a blogger and would like to participate in this as well, click here.

So without further ado, here are my answers to these lovely questions…

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness(es) I live with is: fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: For the fibro, I was diagnosed in 2013. With the CFS, this one is undiagnosed (but my nurse practitioner believes me at least!).
3. But I had symptoms since: Summer of 2012.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Living a ridiculously simple life. Seriously–just by going out and doing my grocery shopping results in me having to rest for about an hour afterwards. Therefore, I need to focus primarily on the simple things that I can do. As for going outside the “usual routine”, I need to rest up before and afterwards.
5. Most people assume: Just because I LOOK okay means that I SHOULD be doing the things an average 27-year-old can do: have a full-time job, hang out and socialize with other people, get involved in extracurricular activities, blah blah blah…
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Getting motivated (wow, I can’t believe I’m saying this!)
7. My favorite medical TV show is: Don’t have one. I prefer comedies…and the new season of “South Park” is starting at the end of the month (woo hoo!!).
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: Make that gadgets! My iPod touch, Kindle, and laptop. πŸ™‚
9. The hardest part about nights are: Dealing with my stupid burning joints. Ankles, knees, wrists, elbows…it’s weird that it’s primarily during the evening when I’m in bed where this tends to happen.
10. Each day I take 3 pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: would love to have weekly massages. I had the experience before last year (a couple of times), and it’s heavenly! I’m also interested in acupuncture and reiki.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: None of the above. I’d rather be healthy!
13. Regarding working and career: I think I’ve finally adjusted to the “not working traditionally”. It really bothered me at first, but I’m adjusting now. Besides, I’ve been crocheting and selling my items online as well as at local events. It’s keeping me happy and productive, so that’s all that matters. πŸ™‚
14. People would be surprised to know: That I can bounce back pretty damn fast. I have my ups and downs (and my moments where I’m really frustrated about things), but for the most part I’m on the up-and-up.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: As long as there’s no cure for FM and CFS, I’m probably gonna have to live this way for the rest of my life. Looking at it egoically, it’s freakin’ depressing! However, I choose not to dwell on that. My focus–family, self-care, and crocheting (oh yes, and funny things which make my day!).
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Be able to be a vendor at craft fairs. I’ve only done one so far, but I survived through (I think) 7 hours! It took me about 3 weeks to fully recover, but it sure as hell was an accomplishment!
17. The commercials about my illness: Are…bullsh*t! I’ve seen Lyrica commercials for FM and they’re all the same: some woman scrunches her face up in pain, holding her neck (it’s ALWAYS her neck!). Then in the next scene, she’s at a carnival with her daughter, playing some game and smiling. Doesn’t work that way in real life, you know!
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Driving myself places. I can’t drive alone anymore (which sucks). However, looking on the bright side, I can still do some driving (just as long as my sister or mom are in the vehicle with me–just in case I deal with a “brain fog” moment).
19. It was really hard to have to give up: The “average 20-something-year-old life”: having a full-time job, my own car, the liberty to do what I want when I want…
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Making Amigurumi dolls! πŸ™‚
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Too bad it wasn’t a week of feeling normal. I would want to go back to Disney World with my family!
22. My illness has taught me: the power of being strong and persistent. With getting my ducks in a row (for certain things), I’ve pretty much had to do it all myself. One year later, some things have finally come into place, making my situation less stressful. Really thinking about it, I’m a lot stronger than I used to be (before I became ill)! πŸ™‚
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “When you get your illness under control, you can ______”. Yes, I can get it under control to some extent, but it’s not that easy! I need to use my energy wisely to prevent any sort of flare-up.
24. But I love it when people: Understand where I’m coming from. My family has become a LOT more understanding of my illnesses.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “Slow and steady wins the race.” I don’t need to rush on things. If I take things in little pieces and I’m patient with myself, I get them accomplished.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Listen to your body. If you feel like you need to lay down and rest, definitely do it! When you listen to your body, your symptoms will be less intense.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: That I haven’t given up on life, and that I continue to pursue my passions (just in a different way).
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: they purchased a pair of wrist splints for me when I was having a very difficult time with my hands and wrists (and I didn’t even know this person before this event occurred–she learned of my situation through a spoonie support group). I really meant a lot! πŸ™‚
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: This kind of thing is very important to me. It’s great to participate in these things to spread awareness that invisible illnesses really ARE visible.
30. The fact that you read this list (in its entirety) makes me feel: like you really do care about this cause. πŸ™‚

 

index

Tips on Surviving Through an EMG (or at least making it more tolerable)

Source: clas.uiowa.edu

Source: clas.uiowa.edu

Yesterday, I had an EMG done. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Before having this procedure, I received different messages from people who have experienced it before. I can break it down into two groups:

1. There were the people who said that it wasn’t that bad.

2. And there were the people who said it was the worst freaking thing EVER!!

Now since I have had one done, I’m going to provide some tips and also bits and pieces of my personal experience…. πŸ™‚

1. Don’t wear any jewelry when you go to your appointment. Wear loose and comfortable clothing.Β 

  • When going to my appointment, I did wear a couple pieces of jewelry. It’s kind of like a security blanket to me. However, by the time I arrived, I did take them off and put them in my purse.

2. If it makes you more comfortable, have someone take you to your appointment.

  • My sister brought me to my appointment. She dropped me off and then picked me up afterwards.

3. When you’re in the waiting room, try to find a positive distraction such as reading a magazine or book, play a game on your mobile device, or bring needlework.

  • I played solitaire while waiting. At least the wait wasn’t too long. Maybe between 5-10 minutes. I’ve waited a LOT longer than that during other appointments!
  • When it was time for my EMG, I was afraid that I was going to be led to a brightly lit exam room where I would have to lie on a cold, hard table. Actually, it was done in the sleep lab where there was a comfortable bed, pillow, and it looked more like a bedroom except with a computer and neuro. equipment.
  • I also thought that for part 1 of the test, I would have a million electrodes attached to me. Actually, in my case, they only worked on one arm at a time, and only attached a few electrodes to my arm. As for the fingers, they did those one at a time.

4. Bonus points if you have a great nurse and neurologist doing these tests!

  • The nurse and I were conversing about crocheting, knitting, and other creative things. It was a little distraction at least…and it made me feel less nervous about the procedure!

5. During the procedure, breathing is key. Before they give you a zap with that device thing (or before they stick the needle in) breathe in. That way, it’s like telling yourself, “Okay, I’m ready! Beam me up, Scotty!” Then you can release the breath while you’re receiving the shock (or when they put the needle in).

Source: cheezburger.com

Source: cheezburger.com

6. Closing your eyes can help out too. Honestly, I didn’t want to see what they were doing. It probably would have fed fuel to my anxiety!

7. On medical websites, they explain that the shock feels like a “twinge” or “spasm”. I can best compare the sensation to the feeling you get when you’re half asleep, having some weird semi-dream, and then your body jolts awake (except the jolting only occurs in the area which is zapped). I’m not going to be a liar and say that it doesn’t hurt though. It is pretty uncomfortable, but that’s why focusing on your breath is very important.

  • During part 2 of the test, I thought that I would have multiple needles in me all at once. Actually, it was just one (I didn’t look at it though–I don’t like needles very much). This part of the test for me was pretty short. The neurologist only did my right arm and poked the needle in a few places. Strangely, having the needle on top of my forearm hurt more than the bottom.

8. When having the needle inserted into your arm, tense up your free arm by making a fist. That way, the arm which is getting the needle is more relaxed.

9. After the procedure, be sure to keep your body moving (even if it’s just gentle movement). You can also take a pain reliever if you experience a lot of pain.

10. Lastly, reward yourself with a little something (whether its a beverage, item, or taking a long relaxing bath when you get home). You survived your EMG, so you deserve to do something great for yourself!

  • After my appointment, my sister got me an iced coffee and a stuffed crocodile.
Β© 2014 "My Fibrotastic Life!"

Β© 2014 “My Fibrotastic Life!”

The good news is that the neurologist told me that I don’t have any nerve damage. However, he did remind me that I need to be mindful and not to overdo it with my hands! πŸ™‚

Have you ever had an EMG done before? If so, what advice would you give to someone that is going to have an EMG done for the first time?

A beautiful thing called Amazon…

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

What’s there not to love about being able to order and/or download things from the comfort of your own home? Plus, you can do so anytime and any day of the week! πŸ™‚

It was 2 weeks ago when I was somehow led to Amazon Prime. I think I was looking for an episode of a TV show online (however, YouTube didn’t have it and I don’t have Netflix or Hulu…I don’t have the money at this time).

When I was led to the Amazon Prime Free 30-day trial, I was overjoyed. Not only was I able to get access to a wide array of TV shows and movies, but I could also add free music and E-books to my Kindle library!

Source: simpsons.wikia.com

Source: simpsons.wikia.com

 

Woo hoo! Free access to music, TV shows, movies, and Kindle books!!

I’m going onto my third week with this free trial, and I think by now I can explain the pros and cons to having this membership…

Pros:

  • You get a free 30-day trial, and if A–you don’t like Amazon Prime, or B–you don’t have the money for the membership, you can easily cancel your membership. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money for membership at this time. Therefore, I’m going to have to cancel a little before the 30-day trial is done.
  • You can instantly watch TV shows and movies on your computer or Kindle. Plus, there’s a big variety to choose from (I was surprised to see some of the shows I grew up with on there such as “All That”, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, and “Animaniacs”).
  • You can add music and pre-made playlists to your Kindle library. When I was working on my crocheting today, I enjoyed listening to Journey. πŸ™‚
  • You can read free E-books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Haven’t done this yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.
  • You can get free unlimited 2-day shipping with any order that you make. Once again, I haven’t done this due to the fact that I don’t have enough money at this time. Too bad I didn’t have a money tree in my backyard! πŸ˜‰

Cons:

  • For every pro, there must be a con. One thing I’m not too crazy about is the fact that the membership is yearly and the payments are not broken down into months.
  • Occasionally, there will be pauses in the middle of a song or a TV show/movie. Or, if the internet speed is too slow, it will take forever before the buffering is finished.
  • They may have a big selection of TV shows, movies, music, etc., but they don’t have everything.

All in all, I’m very impressed with Amazon Prime. I think the best thing is that your first 30 days are free, and that you have a lot of things to choose from (not just one category such as MUSIC ONLY or TV/MOVIES ONLY).

If you haven’t tried the free 30-day trial yet and you are interested, click on the gorilla below. It’s definitely worth a try! πŸ™‚

Source: gloveandboots.wikia.com

Source: gloveandboots.wikia.com

 

My Friend the Neurologist

Source: alemadihospital.com.qa

Source: alemadihospital.com.qa

I don’t know why, but the title of this post sounds like the title of a children’s book! πŸ˜„ Anyway, onto my update…

On Monday, I went to my appointment to see the neurologist. I was nervous as hell because 1. I didn’t know what to expect, and 2. I was afraid that this specialist would be another one of those people who think that nothing is wrong with me.

I have to say, the neurologist I saw was a decent guy. He asked me questions about my fibromyalgia. I also mentioned to him the pain in my wrists and hands as well as the numbness/tingling in my fingers (which isn’t occurring as frequently–many thanks to the wrist splints!). I was grateful when he told me that he would order up an EMG (Electromyography) for me. I won’t be having that done until the beginning of August.

I’m nervous about that procedure, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will find at least something through this test. That way, I’ll have documentation to support my case (maybe not the fibro, but at least that my nerves are messed up).

And speaking of “the case”, I’m still going around in circles with Social Security in regards to my disability application. You gotta love the state and government (and I’m being sarcastic about that)! Each time I call, they give me a different story. The office through the state tells me that they still need documents from former workplaces. The federal office only tells me that my application is still in the office that I submitted it to. Two words to describe this situation: confusing and frustrating!

Source: westernseminary.edu

Source: westernseminary.edu

However, thankfully, I’m getting some additional assistance from Bill Gordon & Associates (whom I discovered through the yellow pages). So far, they’ve been pretty helpful and understanding. I was SO thankful when the associate I spoke with today told me that she could contact the Social Security office next week to get more information on my application and what’s going on. This “going around in circles” thing is becoming old news fast!

Source: quotesship.com

Source: quotesship.com

Β 

Love Miracle Stories?

Β© 2014 "My Fibrotastic Life!"

Β© 2014 “My Fibrotastic Life!”

…Then I would suggest that you keep reading. πŸ™‚

If you’ve read my last couple of blog posts (the last one I deleted, but I’ll explain why later), I’ve been dealing with chronic pain, stiffness, and some weakness in my hands and wrists for a little more than a week. I’ve dealt with it on and off actually during the past few months. However, it’s been more like a consistent thing as of lately.

What scared me most was when I dealt with the tingling and numbness in my hands and fingers. When I did my researching, fingers especially pointed to carpal tunnel syndrome (which I’m not that surprised since I tend to overuse my hands and wrists from crocheting, typing, and using my mobile devices).

On Saturday, I had high hopes that my parents would go through and get some wrist splints for my hands during their shopping trip. However, when they returned home with only groceries, my mom explained to me that she did price the splints and they were too expensive. I felt like I was at the end of my rope. I was losing sleep over the uncomfortable symptoms and I wanted to focus on the solution–not the problem. I couldn’t see how I would be able to manage not agitating my wrists until the 21st when I see the neurologist.Β 

I was so upset and didn’t know what to do. Therefore, I decided to put my situation out there through this blog, my personal Facebook page, and the Spoonie Chat group on Facebook. Yes, it sounded like a “wallow-fest” and yes, I was probably blowing things out of proportion (since I was told that you need to strain your hands and wrists for a long time before any permanent muscle and nerve damage can occur). However, I didn’t know what else to do and I was too mad and upset with my parents. (Oh yes, and I did delete that post because I really don’t like keeping those kind of posts on “My Fibrotastic Life!”. For me, it’s okay to vent and express my feelings. However, when it’s time to release my negative feelings, the same goes for those posts.)

Within an hour, a member of the Spoonie Chat group sent me a message saying that she could donate her wrist splints to me. I asked about the size of the splints in order to make sure that it would fit me. When I learned that they weren’t in my size, it was the most absolute sweetest thing ever when she told me that she could buy me a pair that were in my size! I was so grateful, and the more amazing thing was the fact that we didn’t even know each other before this occurred! I was so happy and relieved that I cried (plus, there was pain and exhaustion there too πŸ˜‰ ).

I just received the wrist splints yesterday, and they work wonderfully! At least the numbness/tingling has stopped, but my hands and wrists have still been hurting for the past few days. While waiting for the package, I would use ice to alleviate the pain as well as do gentle stretches for them. I will continue to do those things along with wearing the splints for when I especially need them (computer work, crocheting, bed time).

The lesson I have learned with this experience is that miracles do happen when you least expect them, and that it’s further strengthened my belief in Earth angels. Not only did I receive the help I needed, but I made a friend in the process. πŸ™‚

Β© 2014 "My Fibrotastic Life!"

Β© 2014 “My Fibrotastic Life!”

July 2014 Update

Source: itworld.com

Source: itworld.com

This post is going to be brief, and if you looked over the comic above you’ll know why.

My wrists, hands, and fingers have been bothering me on and off for awhile now. I thought it was merely the fibromyalgia. Usually it happens when I am working on something where I’m holding onto an object for a period of time. After awhile, I start getting that painful, numb, and tingling feeling in both of my hands. The thought of “carpal tunnel syndrome” crossed my mind perhaps once or twice. However, I replied in my head, “Well, it’s in both of my hands–not just one–so it’s probably just fibro.”

For the past couple of days, though, its been bothering me more. When I did my research on carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), it’s a bad idea to overdo it or else it can cause permanent muscle and nerve damage. In order to prevent that from happening while I’m waiting for my appointment to see the neurologist (I tried getting an earlier appointment, but he was booked), I can’t crochet and I can only spend a little bit of time using the computer and my iPod–which is pretty upsetting because I can’t go out much and these are things which I enjoy doing while I’m stuck in the house.

To alleviate some of the discomfort and to prevent from further agitating it, my mom is going to purchase some wrist splints tomorrow. Boy, I’m going to feel silly feeling as if I’m walking around with oven mitts on my hands! πŸ˜‰

Source: allreadable.com

Source: allreadable.com

“Aaaagh! How am I supposed to turn the pages with these freakin’ things on?!”

In the mean time, I’m just doing things in little bits (including typing this post–which I need to take little breaks in between every two sentences).

I’ll give you a future update after my appointment with the neurologist. I’m hoping that he’ll be a little more helpful than the past two rheumatologists that I’ve seen!

Fits me like a glove!

Source: lionbrand.com

Source: lionbrand.com

 

It all began when I was trying to find a video on YouTube on how to hold an ergonomic crochet handle properly. One thing led to another, and that was how I was led to the video “Proper Posture and Hand Position/Crocheting” (to see video, click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_cuOlxCv3Q ).

It didn’t exactly teach me how to hold a crochet hook properly, but it did provide some great tips when it comes to comfortably crocheting.

I knew the majority of the tips already, but the one I didn’t know about were using the “stress relief gloves”. As Lion Brand explains on their website regarding their stress relief gloves:

These gloves alleviate pain without restricting your movement. They are lightweight and fingerless with the comfort of support to the vital areas of the hand and wrist. Made of a tightly woven spandex/nylon fabric, they help keep your hands warm, enhancing blood-flow and massaging muscles.

I know that for me, excessive crocheting begins to really bother my wrists after awhile. I also learned from the YouTube video that engaging in an activity long-term where you are using repeated motions through your wrists can put you at high risk for conditions such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. A preventative measure that can reduce the risk (if you have an activity which you enjoy such as crocheting, knitting, typing, etc.) are–you guessed it–these lovely fingerless gloves!

I just received my pair in the mail yesterday (which I got from Ebay). I’ve only had them for 24 hours, and they work great! Here are some of the pros of having these stress relief gloves:

  • They help with alleviating (or at least minimizing) the pain in one’s wrists. However, you need to make sure that you get the proper size. If you get a pair that are too large for your hands, then they won’t serve their purpose.
  • They can be used for multiple purposes such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, and typing at the computer. I was really excited about this because I type a lot as well. Therefore, they can be my multi-purpose gloves! πŸ™‚
  • The material is very soft, smooth, and comfortable.
  • If you like feeling like a super hero, these gloves will definitely make you feel like one when you put them on!

However, with all products, there are the few cons as well to these gloves:

  • As pretty strong and sturdy as these gloves are, the material is pretty delicate. When my sister was trying them on yesterday, she accidentally put the glove on the wrong hand and it ended up slightly loosening the hem in the wrist. I’m thinking about trying to fix it myself so then the hem doesn’t unravel even more.
  • You have to look very closely to see which glove goes on which hand. If you don’t, then you might loosen the hems which can lead to a shorter “shelf life”.
  • I haven’t tried these gloves under hot and humid conditions, but as long as stress relief gloves don’t have an air conditioning component to them, I wouldn’t recommend that you wear these when the environment is oppressively hot!

All in all, I really love my stress relief gloves, and they make crocheting and typing a lot easier for my wrists and hands. I would highly recommend these for anyone who:

  • Engages in activities using their hands and wrists a lot.
  • Has a chronic condition which causes pain in one’s hands or wrists.

NOTE: This blog post is not being used for the purpose of marketing products for the Lion Brand Company. The purpose for this post is to provide my own personal review on an item which I have found to be helpful for my fibromyalgia. Also, if you have a chronic condition and you are hesitant about trying these stress relief gloves, talk with your doctor first before purchasing them.

Β© 2014 "My Fibrotastic Life!"

Β© 2014 “My Fibrotastic Life!”

The Spoonie’s Guide for Vending at an Event (Without a Major Crash)

Source: salinesummerfest.org

Source: salinesummerfest.org

 

Yesterday was the day of the flea market that I vended at. The unfortunate news is that I didn’t take any pictures of my table set-up (well, there’s always next time at least πŸ˜‰ ). However, the good news is that it went pretty well and I made a few sales. It definitely took a great deal of preparing though (material-wise as well as self-preparation)!

For anyone who has an energy-depleting chronic illness whom has a desire to create products and sell them at events…this post is for you! πŸ™‚ However, this post can really apply for anyone–chronically ill or not.

Here are some tips which I can give in regards to before, during, and after the event:

1. Prepare and pack a week or so in advance. Come up with checklists and inventory lists. That way, you don’t forget to bring anything. I did this with my crochet items so I could keep track of what was there as well as what certain things sold. I also created a checklist on my iPod of the things I needed to bring. It definitely helped out because–believe it or not–I didn’t forget anything!
2.Β Rest up a few days before the event. This one is VERY important! It doesn’t mean that you have to stay in bed for days. However, you’re going to need to cut back on the things that you normally engage in. For me, this meant that my outings had to be really simple and I needed to do a lot of passive activities such as casual crocheting and watching YouTube.

3. When packing, keep the environment in mind. Bring a pop-up tent, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable clothing if you’re going to be outside. For me, unfortunately, I didn’t have a pop-up tent. I had a huge adjustable umbrella which my dad helped with setting up. It worked out for the most part, but the wind kept on moving it around and it even fell over at one point! As much of a nuisance it was, it did teach me that next time I vend for something outside, I’m going to pitch up a tent instead.

4. Bring a comfortable chair, or a chair with extra pillows and cushions. Mine was the latter–I brought my favorite pillow for my back as well as a couple of cushions to sit on. It definitely saved my back and butt from hurting a lot!

5. If someone is driving you to your destination, spend the ride resting. That way, you’ll have some “extra spoons” for the event. On the way there, I laid down on the backseat, resting my head on the pillow I brought and closing my eyes for about 10 minutes. This was an early morning event, so my parents and I had to leave at about 6:40…something I’m SO not used to doing anymore! I was pretty groggy on the way there, so the mini nap definitely helped out.

6. Have a buddy system (family and/or friends) to help you out. It definitely saves on energy! It was a blessing that my parents were able to drive me there and help me with setting my table up. Also, it was another blessing that a good friend of mine came to the flea market as well and kept me company for a few hours (plus, it’s a great relief to have someone there just in case if you need a bathroom break!). During lunch time, it was just me for an hour and a half until my mom came and helped out during the end. My dad came with the van and we all helped with packing everything up. Believe me, those three were earth angels to me after all was said and done yesterday. I don’t think I would have survived through a 7-hour event without them! πŸ™‚

7. Stay hydrated and make sure that you eat enough to prevent major fatigue, brain fog, and dehydration. It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday at the flea market. However, it got REALLY hot! It was in the 80’s and I went through almost 3 bottles of water and a decaf iced coffee (thank God for the buddy system because I had to use the bathroom a few times!). Despite all the fluids that I had, I still dealt with fatigue and dizziness. Staying hydrated is super, super important to me. There was one time a few years ago where I did a tag sale by myself for a few hours with very little to drink and it was really hot out. Consequences? I ended up with a super bad sunburn and I almost passed out the next morning from dehydration!

8. If you can, balance between sitting and standing during your time there. If you stay sitting, you can become stiff easily. However if you stay standing, it will bring fatigue faster. I did a little bit of both during my time there. I sat, stood, and also did a little bit of walking to and from the bathroom (when someone was there to watch my things of course).

9. Be in the moment. If you feel anxious about symptoms coming on, focus your attention on your surroundings. The feeling of the breeze blowing through your hair, the sound of children laughing and having fun. Engaging in mindfulness helps with calming your body and mind–therefore, you’re less likely to deal with intense symptoms during the time of the event. I know when I was there by myself for an hour and a half, I was getting anxious. It was hot, I was feeling fatigued and kind of dizzy, and I was running out of water. I felt better though when I noticed that there was a drinking fountain. Plus, I did a little bit of crocheting in order to get my mind off of the uncomfortable symptoms.

10. Pack up your things in small increments, and do the same when putting your things away after the event. That way, you’re not expending all of your energy on the mere act of packing your things.
11. After the event, get plenty of rest and keep things as simple as possible until you start feeling more improved. Yes, despite the fact that I was prepared for the event and tried to make things as simple as possible for myself, there’s always going to be that crash. However, the crash doesn’t have to be a long and intense one. Afterwards, I was downright exhausted and kind of crabby. This morning, it took me a couple of hours to finally get out of bed and moving. Plus, it felt as if my kneecaps exploded (the rest of the pain was there as well, but for some reason my knees are in the worst pain). Despite the major drawbacks, the crash really isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. With the help of a little caffeine and some brief gentle walking with my dog, I was able to get moving. Plus, I haven’t dealt with any meltdowns so far. πŸ™‚

Lastly, if you’re at an event and you cannot make it through the entire thing, that’s okay. It’s more important to listen to your body than to push yourself throughout the entire thing and end up paying the consequences for days or weeks. When I was by myself during the middle of the event, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the entire thing or not. I noticed that I was feeling dizzy and fatigued from the heat and also doing more than usual. I was able to turn things around though through the act of “mind over matter”. My motivators were: 1. my mom was coming to help out after work and she was bringing along my iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and 2. there was always the possibility of getting more sales.

In addition, I got to walk around at the end and there were an abundance of FREE THINGS from tag sale tables. In the end, I got some free clothes, slippers, a wallet, and a Shrek doll for Anubis to play with. πŸ™‚

 

Hear Me Roar!

Source: beststockpictures.toinspire.in

Source: beststockpictures.toinspire.in

I’m a fibro warrior–hear me ROAR!! πŸ˜€

 

I have to admit, I’ve been doing a LOT better with knowing my warning signs of when I’ve been doing too much.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been working on creating more crochet items, pricing them, and gathering everything else together for the Flea Market that I’m participating in at the end of the month. For the past few days, I’ve noticed that I’ve been feeling easily flustered and anxious about all of this stuff. Looking over my inventory, I’ve definitely made enough stuff and everything is about ready.

Therefore, I made the decision yesterday that I have made enough things for this event and that it’s now “take it easy” time. πŸ™‚

It’s not easy for me to say, “Okay. I can stop now.” I’m a “recovering overachiever”…I’ve always had the tendency to do too much and pay for it afterwards (even before I got fibro and CFS, I was dealing with this). So, I can say that I’m pretty damn proud of telling myself, “I’ve made great progress. Now, I can put this stuff to the side and take it easy.” Because, seriously, I NEED it before the actual event takes place.

Yes, I’m still crocheting, but it’s just leisurely for now. My current project has been making a crochet Paddington Bear (just started, so I don’t have any pictures at this time). I used to have a Paddington Bear doll that I got for my 10th birthday from my grandma. πŸ™‚

Source: ebay.com

Source: ebay.com

I think this was the one that I had. I always remember the yellow hat. I’m making mine with the black hat though. I grew up watching the very old “Paddington Bear” series from the 70’s. πŸ™‚