Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue

I found out recently that on top of my other chronic issues, I also have adrenal fatigue. That was so helpful to me, because I could not figure out why my fatigue was so bad. The fatigue is severe enough to keep me in bed at least 90 percent of my day. My doctor had ordered an adrenal test that consisted of putting a sponge-type material under my tongue; once in the morning and again eight hours later. The interesting thing is that the directions were to keep it under your tongue for two minutes, then place it in a sterile tube. Because I have very dry mouth, I had to leave it under my tongue for 10 minutes just to get enough saliva!

The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce the hormone cortisol. It’s only one of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol helps to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, among other things. It also helps to protect our cells and keep our body systems in balance.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering what the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are. Bethany Sharp, Mrs. Tennessee 2012, shares her symptoms in a video. It causes fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, waking in the middle of the night, difficulty getting back to sleep, lethargy, decreased ability to handle stress, low body temperature, muscle weakness, and hair loss, to name a few. Dr. Jill Carnahan has a brief quiz on her website to see if you might possibly be experiencing adrenal fatigue.

Dr. James Wilson outlines a diet for adrenal fatigue on his site that includes how to combine foods, when to eat, and what fruits to avoid. He has also written a book, “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.”

My life is utterly exhausting. I’m working with my functional medicine doctor to find the best course of treatment for me. It’s my understanding that most doctors won’t test for adrenal fatigue. For that reason, I highly recommend searching out a functional medicine doctor in your area, even if you have to travel an hour or more to get to one. Perhaps you could show this article to your doctor. I know we often attribute all our symptoms to our current illness, but there are other symptoms that may need separate diagnosis and treatment.

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Keeping It Real

Life is not fair. Chronic illness sucks. Adventure is a distant memory. God seems far off.

Do you feel like that? I am mostly house and bed bound due to the various illnesses that I have. I used to love going to the mall, playing mini golf, actually eating at a restaurant instead of getting taking out, driving…anywhere, cleaning my home, and making bread. All of those things are in my distant past unless God chooses to heal me. Its not that I don’t look forward to whats ahead, I just really miss what I left behind.

Joy seems elusive during these dreary and cold winter months. My heart is longing for Spring and the warm breezes that come with all the newly awakened world. As I get older I find the winters to become increasingly intolerable. I’ve toyed with the idea of moving to Arizona, but I’d miss my kids too much. They’re only 45 minutes away now and i don’t see them as much as I’d like.

I’m a tad sorry that this post is a bit on the feeling sorry-for-myself side, but that’s how I’m feeling these days. I’m usually good at keeping a positive outlook and not dwelling overmuch on my circumstances.

I am aware that I’m in good company with heroes of the faith, such as David. He had no problem unburdening his heart to God, but he always came back around to worshipping the God who knows his heart like no other. Never feel that you can’t come to God with your heavy heart and talk to Him about your body, that no longer wants to cooperate. He is ever ready to listen and comfort, guide and direct, and just hold you close. Feel free to climb up in his lap and let Him father you.

Who Am I – Casting Crowns Let this video minister to you today.

What are you struggling with these days? Feel free to leave any comments. I read them all.

Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas Gift Ideas

This holiday season, I would like to share a list of things that those of us with fibromyalgia would appreciate being given for Christmas. These are items that truly would make our lives easier and a bit more fun.

General items or services

Pajamas: Anything soft and tagless. Something that looks less like pj’s and more like loungewear. Amazon has some great choices. I know a lot of us women live in our pj’s, so it’s super-important that they be soft and comfortable.

Massage: Give a gift card for a massage, preferably with massage therapist who is familiar with fibromyalgia. Getting out all those knots, being able to just relax, and allowing someone to relieve some of our pain is priceless. Check out the places in your area.

Gift cards: The list of the kinds of gift cards you can give probably is endless — pharmacies, restaurants, hair or nail salons, gas stations, bookstores, grocery stores, and more. It helps us not only to save money, but also allows us to do something fun that our budget otherwise would not allow.

Time: It’s such a precious gift to give. Perhaps you could help with cleaning, driving to an appointment, driving to the grocery store, and helping put away the groceries. Be a mama’s helper, offer to babysit for free, or bring a movie and popcorn to enjoy together. I understand that giving time costs you, but the dividends are priceless.

Physical help: Offer to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, shovel the snow, clean the bathrooms, carry Christmas decorations from the attic, or pack for those who are moving. When you are healthy, these things are no big deal. But for those of us struggling with chronic illnesses such as FM, these are mountains that we just can’t climb.

Unique items

A cane with spikes for walking in icy weather.

A long-handled dustpan to make sweeping easier.

The Meebie, which is a unique toy to help your child express their feelings. A lot of people with FM have young children, and their illness and limitations may be confusing for a child.

Joint Mints are a natural homeopathic remedy to help decrease pain and inflammation.

DripDrop is an electrolyte powder you mix in your water bottle to keep you hydrated. It also reduces the need for intravenous fluids.

Dreampad is a pillow that plays music using gentle vibration, which signals the nervous system’s relaxation response. It’s great for those dealing with anxiety.

Hemp massage and body oil contains coconut and hemp seed oils. It starts with a warming sensation, then a cooling, relaxing sensation.

A heated throw blanket is a great gift idea. Whether you’re lying on the couch or in bed or sitting in your favorite chair, this will help you stay warm on those cold and painful winter days.

Coloring books and pencils make great gifts. They roll up to make it easy to take with you on appointments or if you’re just bored and need something to do.

An adjustable height laptop cart and notebook desk is so versatile, and you can use it while in bed, on the couch, or in a chair. The surface for a laptop is vented for cooling and can swivel.

The hands-free hair dryer holder is a godsend to those of us with FM. It’s a monumental effort to even consider holding a blow dryer and lifting our arms to dry our hair. This is a great solution!

Shower replacement wipes help us remove dirt, sweat, and body oils. Let’s face it, taking a shower is an exhausting ordeal. This product will help on those days when we just don’t have the energy to shower.

Dry shampoo helps revive and refresh our hair on days when we’re in a rush or just don’t have the energy to wash and dry our hair.

Take Them a Meal helps friends and family coordinate bringing meals. It’s a precious gift to get meals when we don’t often have the energy at the end of the day to cook a nutritious meal.

I know there are lots of other gifts that would improve our physical and emotional quality of life. My hope is that you would feel comfortable sharing this list with those who love and care about you during this holiday season.

Never Give Up Hope

Never Give Up Hope

Hope, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “to expect with confidence.” I believe it’s important for anyone with a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia, to hold onto hope. Expect with confidence that tomorrow will be a better day — that someday there may even be a cure.

You’re probably asking how on earth do we even do that? One way is to find a renewed sense of purpose. I personally did that in two specific ways: I created a group for other chronically ill women, and I started writing. Your new purpose may entail keeping a prayer journal and praying for those around you. Perhaps you like to knit or crochet and can make blankets, hats, or mittens for the homeless. Write down all of your interests and hobbies, and from that you can carve out your new sense of purpose.

Hope helps you to stay positive when your fibromyalgia pain or other symptoms are threatening to pull you under and drown you. When you are able to accept your diagnosis and your new limitations, you will begin to make room in your heart for hope. I know acceptance is not easy, but I believe it’s vital for you to enjoy your life.

You should celebrate all the tiny improvements and steps you’re taking on this FM journey. Instead of berating yourself and remaining discouraged about your challenges, try some positive self-reflection. Think of all that you’re currently able to do: take a quick shower, go for a short walk, cook a simple meal, send a note of encouragement to a friend, brush your teeth, make it through a doctor’s appointment — even if it’s by the skin of your teeth. Doing this will water hope so that it grows and blossoms.

Hope is like having a map in your possession with a destination in mind while staying open to all possible roads that can lead you to your desired destination. Hope helps you push past the pain and the obstacles along the way. It’s believing that your struggles and despair WILL pass, even if it’s only for a day, and that better times are truly possible — sometimes against all odds.

As Anne Lamott has said, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” To add to this, I would say, “Just do the best you can in any given moment on any given day.”

You’re unique and amazing just the way you are. Never, ever give up hope!

Fibromyalgia and My Faith

Fibromyalgia and My Faith

I know this column may not apply to some, but I would be remiss if I didn’t write about how my faith impacts my fibromyalgia. Faith actually impacts every area of my life and has done so for more than 45 years. If this subject bothers you, feel free to skip this column.

I’ve been ill with various things, including undiagnosed fibromyalgia for more than 20 years. I grew up in an abusive home where I was never shown or told I was loved. When I was 16, I became a believer in Jesus through a Billy Graham crusade. It astonished me to hear that I was loved.

No matter what I’ve gone through, my faith has been my rock. FM, like all illnesses, is a difficult disease to live with. It’s so daily and so unpredictable. Because of that, I’m thankful to have some comfort and predictability with my faith.

Whatever my day brings, I know that God has a plan and a purpose for my life. I surrender my suffering, my expectations, my limitations, my desires and my dreams to the one who created the universe, yet cares deeply for me. There is a joy, peace and contentment I would not otherwise experience.

There are those who say that I lack faith because I am not yet healed. To those people, I say that I trust God’s plan and timing. Faith has given me a compassion to care for and reach out to others who also suffer from fibromyalgia. It’s my joy and privilege to do so.

Faith for you may mean something completely different, and that’s OK. I’m certainly not here to judge or decide what others should believe. My heart reaches out to all who suffer. I still get frustrated, sad and angry about being sick and losing the ability to do the things I used to enjoy. But overall my life is defined by one of trust.

When I’m really struggling, I find that some great worship music goes a long way in bringing me peace and drawing me closer to the heart of God.

I’m hopeful that you see this is my heart, belief and journey. It’s how I’m able to accept my fibromyalgia. I believe in healing, but I’m also OK if that doesn’t happen in this life. If you completely disagree, that’s totally OK. This is just another way for me to share a bit about who I am and how I deal with my fibromyalgia within the context of my faith.

 

Triggers That Can Worsen Your FM Symptoms

Triggers That Can Worsen Your FM Symptoms

Triggers are those things in our environment that increase our fibromyalgia (FM) pain, and they are not our friends. Some triggers are unavoidable like changes in weather, and some triggers can be avoided or changed, like the chemicals we use to clean. Let’s look at a few of these triggers for FM.

Weather: I always seem to know when bad weather is on the way because my pain increases, sometimes it increases very dramatically. Personally, it is the cold, snow, and rain that wreaks the most havoc with my pain and fatigue levels. Those are the days I get out my heated blanket and take more pain meds.

Chemical Cleaners: Many years ago I switched to natural cleaners because the smell of products such as bathroom cleaners, dusting sprays, floor cleaners, etc., really bothered me!! I couldn’t deal with the smells. Natural, citrusy-smelling cleaners were pleasant, as well as effective. Even my bathroom spray is a natural orange-scented spray. J.R. Watkins makes great cleaning products that work well and have a mild fragrance.

Perfume: I purposely stay away from those stores that spray you with perfume when you walk in. Ugh! Strong perfumes and aftershaves just make me nauseous. I haven’t worn perfume in many years because of that.

Overexertion: Why is it we push ourselves to do things that we know we will pay for? Overdoing it is never good for us, but it’s hard sometimes to listen to our bodies. Walking too far at one time, doing too many errands in one day, doing too much on those days when we feel pretty good. All of those are triggers to more pain and exhaustion. It’s really not worth it.

Food: I know this is a touchy subject, because let’s face it, who wants to give up certain foods when we already give up so much, right? But I find certain foods caused me more pain, and maybe they do you, too. Foods such as: Gluten, MSG, sugar, dairy, simple carbs like cookies and some breads and crackers, food coloring, corn and other starch vegetables, nightshades like peppers, potatoes, and mushrooms, processed foods, caffeine, and fast foods to name a few. Be aware of how your body responds to what you’re eating, and be sure to drink lots of water.

Lack of Sleep: One thing I’ve found helpful for me is listening to quiet instrumental music at bedtime. I put it on a sleep timer on my phone and listen to it for about a half-hour. Or I listen to an audio book and put it on a sleep timer. It really relaxes me so I can fall asleep. Lack of sleep is definitely a trigger that needs to be addressed. Pain can keep us tossing and turning. Talk to your doctor about possible sleep medication, and increased pain meds at bedtime if you feel you need them to get a better night’s sleep.

Sensory Overload: Loud noises, bright lights, too many people talking, and strong odors all can be triggers. They can bring on cluster headaches, and just plain make me feel overwhelmed. I can’t stand the smell of nail polish, gasoline, or strong scented candles. I use lower wattage lightbulbs or dim the lights. I enjoy using essential oils in my diffuser as they can be calming as well.

What are some of your triggers? What changes have you made to accommodate them? Please share so others may benefit.

 

This was originally posted on http://www.fibromyalgianewstoday.com

My Chronically Ill Network

My Chronically Ill Network

I have made so many amazing friends on this chronic illness journey that God has entrusted me with. Would I have chosen this path? Absolutely not, but I trust the plans and purposes of my heavenly Father. We all need a network of people who understand our struggles and just plain get us.

I am involved in a few groups and found some great online sources, I’ll put some links here for you still that you can check them out. My hope is that you’ll find one or more that really resonate with you.

Resources:

Coping to Cash Flow

Fibromyalgia News Today

Fibromyalgia Night Owls 

Counting My Spoons

The Spoon Theory

The Chronic Illness Writers Group

But You Don’t Look Sick

Rest Ministries

Sick and Sick of it

My Restored Health

Seeking the Gifts of Fibromyalgia

Fed Up With Fatigue

 

Follow these people on Instagram:

@hurricaneinheels

@countingmyspoons

@lane_pietrylo

@kimfrederickson

@chronicblogs

@chronicallyboxed

@crazyspoonielife

My Facebook groups:

In Spite Of My Illness

The Konmari Method for the Chronically Ill