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Archive for the ‘Fibromyalgia’ Category

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

Still posting on Monday. Truly, my goal is to get back to posting on Fridays!

1. Spring has sprung! We finally are seeing sunshine and warm breezy days. I love having the windows open and hearing the background bustle of a small town: machines working on nearby construction, kids laughing and chatting as they walk, ride, or skateboard by the house, the mournful whistle of a train several miles away, and the joyful chirping of birds in our yard. Welcome spring!

2. Iron infusions almost completed – Monday I will have my last iron IV. People keep asking me if I’m feeling better yet and that’s hard to judge. After the first two infusions I felt pretty good but this last one left me achy in my joints with sore muscles and fatigue. My husband and I both have this intense lingering cough and runny noses from an earlier cold so maybe that’s the reason for the fatigue. Or maybe it’s still my fibromyalgia. Or ??? It can take up to three months to feel the full effects of the treatment, so I look forward to healthier days ahead.

3. Time with my daughters – I love having my daughters living nearby. They all live very busy lives so when we can all spend time together I really love it. Monday four of us went to a nearby place to get pedicures.

I’ve had trouble with an ingrown toenail most of my life. My hip dysplasia, (you know that congenital condition I never knew I had until mid-life) used to make me seem loose jointed, so I could whip my foot up near my face and take care of the problem myself. Armed with cuticle scissors, rubbing alcohol, antibiotic cream and a band-aid, I would soak my foot, sterilize my scissors, then painstakingly snip away the offending bit of nail hoping not to make myself bleed. Do you know how sharp the points of cuticle scissors are? Alas, I almost always poked myself in the process and had to apply the antibiotic cream and band-aid after the bleeding stopped. I was not cut out to be a foot surgeon.

Years ago, that poor toe became infected and my doctor had to remove part of the nail. It bled profusely which somehow made me feel a bit better about previously making myself bleed. Maybe it wasn’t my surgical skills as much as my physiology. But still, who wants to anticipate a bleeding toe when treating an ingrown nail?

I wasn’t shocked when the former nail place I frequented made the toe around my ingrown nail bleed – twice. Finally, one of the technicians took care of my problem perfectly so I would ask for her when booking an appointment. She was great! She helped me without causing me pain! And then she moved away. Sigh.

It took me a long time to gather my courage to try a new place. The first time my daughter and I went I had a technician named Kevin, apparently this location’s ingrown toenail guru. After soaking my foot, he gently wielded his scissors and clippers and within a couple of minutes the offending piece of nail was cut away without pain and without blood!

Monday Kevin helped me, three cheerful ladies helped my daughters, and we enjoyed chatting, smooth feet, and fresh spring polish on our pinkies. Afterward we visited together at the local Starbucks. It was such a treat for the four of us to spend that time together.

4. Moving on – A daughter of my heart and her children came over for a final visit before the family moved to the States for her husband’s exciting new position. I have been blessed and encouraged by this dear sister in Christ these past six years and will miss her and our time spent together. May God richly bless and encourage you, dear friend, in your new adventure.

5. Rosy cheeks – It has been almost a year since anyone told me I have colour in my face. These iron infusions must be helping because a couple of people have commented in the past week about me having some colour in my cheeks. Sure beats a sallow cement hue!

 

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On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

So….I did not get around to posting this until Tuesday, but I am trying to get back to writing regularly even if the result is posted later than expected!

1. Medical update – Thank you to all who have been praying for me. I have continued to have some good progress and some significant setbacks in my recovery.

I have a great physiotherapist and after a couple of good weeks last month, we mutually decided to bump up my daily physio / activity to include both in each day. Previously I could do one or the other without extreme fatigue, but not both. I should have gotten out and moved, rested for a period of time, and done my physio, but I misunderstood and did them back to back. Several hours later I began experiencing severe muscle spasms in various parts of my body which precipitated a major flare in my fibromyalgia. Working with my therapist I am again slowly building up activity but am still experiencing the FM flare symptoms.

This week brought some encouraging news, though. I was referred for iron infusion on January 2 due to my iron deficiency anemia. and just heard yesterday that I will have a series of four infusions beginning April 18. I am told it will take up to three months to feel normal again after the treatments, but I am grateful for the help and hopeful that I will be able to run around some with my grandchildren when they visit in July. I’m moving back to my core FM management plan to see if my basic food sensitivity diet and stricter attention to my management plan will bring even more healing, strength and stamina.

2. The spring that will not come – We are not alone in this, but the Edmonton area has had the most snow and cold weather than any spring in many years. Minus 21 C at night is not normal for this time of year! However, with longer days and the sun peeking through, the snow and ice are gradually reducing. I am grateful that the sidewalks and road in front of our house are safe enough now for me to walk across the street to check our mail.

3. Birthday lunch – Three of our children plus our son-in-law have birthdays in March or early April. Good Friday is a holiday here, and after our church service we met for birthday lunch at place that works for everyone’s dietary restrictions. We each thoroughly enjoyed our meal and especially enjoyed spending time together as a family.

4. Pizza night – Our in-town daughters joined us for a DIY pizza night last week. We watched a movie Talbert style – everyone slinging comments and critiques during the viewing which can be either annoying or amusing depending on your viewing preference, but overall lots of fun!

5. Short shopping trip – We returned to the nearby Italian Centre on my husband’s day off and took our time to “poke around.” They carry so many items that we recognize from our travels in Europe and many other products that are new to us. We left with some interesting gluten free pasta, clotted cream, specialty butter, various cheeses, my favorite black raspberry spread, and several things on my grocery list.

Hope to have a new FFF for you this weekend. I’m also working on some Titus 2 Thoughts for the near future. Thanks for sticking with me while I still struggle with my health.

 

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On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

Today is a two for one special! First is the FFF I wrote for 11/3/17 but never posted, followed by today’s FFF.

FFF #97

1. Butternut squash soup – Butternut squash soup is a favorite of mine – as long as it doesn’t have nutmeg in it. I like nutmeg just fine, just not in butternut soup. This week I made a batch the soup using some herbs from my herb garden. It was delicious and tasted especially good after cold symptoms swooped down on me Wednesday night. Nothing like hot soup to treat a cold!

2. Check up at surgeon – The check up at the surgeon was encouraging. I have been graduated to full weightbearing as tolerated, but I need to continue using my walker and crutches until I get a few weeks of serious physio under my belt. I have been cleared to drive, which is nice, but when my cold swooped in, so did the snow. It’s been snowing lightly on and off since Tuesday and everything is coated with either snow or ice. The biggest concern I need to watch out for at this stage of my recovery is falling, so dealing with ice and snow just means I need to be extra vigilant, especially during these first few weeks of intensive physio until my leg and hip are stronger.

3. Football game – I enjoy watching American college football, particularly when my favorite team is playing (Go Buckeyes!) Last week the Scarlet and Gray came from behind to pull off a last-minute win over another very good team. It was a nail biter that last quarter and so much fun to watch!

4. Stencils – Some borrowed grandchildren discovered our stack of Tupperware stencils that my kids loved and used decades ago. Because my mom sold Tupperware for 30+ years, we accumulated many of the great, durable toys that TW made during that time. For now, my borrowed grands are loving designing pretty pictures using the stencils, and I’m enjoying their excitement and joy in creating.

5. Answered prayer – Our youngest daughter has been waiting quite a while for the next step in her RN certification process and she finally heard something this week, after about 10 months. The paperwork has been passed on to the next agency who will evaluate her credentials and let her know, what, if anything, needs to be done next. She passed her NCLEX exam on the first try and is certified as an RN in the States, but wants to be certified here in Canada. This approval will allow her to work as an RN here and go on in Canada to earn her BSN. We’re thankful for answers to prayer for part one, and are continuing to pray for the rest. Update: She next needs to take an English proficiency exam. Though her instructors were all North American, and her textbooks all standard US nursing textbooks, the school is located in China, so the approving board requires this English exam. We continue to pray!

FFF #98 12/8/17

1. BBQ – A couple of years ago my husband discovered a BBQ place in a town adjacent to ours. We liked the food, but the setting was not our favorite. Last week my husband offered to bring home BBQ from this place on his day off. Their in-house smoked meats were delicious and reasonably priced. We’re looking forward to take away from there again!

2. London – Three of my daughters just returned from a two-week holiday in London. They traveled with two friends and the five of them could split up or go together to see things that interested each of them. I love how we live in an age where we can be part of that through instant chat, online photos, and other media. Their posts and calls overflowed with excitement at the interesting and fun things they experienced. The five of them were even at Kensington Palace when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement!

3. Therapist – When I started physio in town last month I was assigned a therapist. Kristen is highly qualified and has listened to me and worked with me very carefully these past few weeks. She understands that I am working around fibromyalgia, weakness due to surgery, and currently living without any painkillers after over 15 years on a medication to help with arthritis pain. My progress is slow, but I am progressing! Our health plan provides seven sessions of physio for a hip replacement patient. Due to my history and the severity of my last surgery, Kristen will be applying for additional funding for ongoing PT, which I did not even know was an option.

4. Warmer weather – I had my last check up with the surgeon on November 1. That day cold weather blew in, it began snowing, and it snowed pretty much every day for the next three weeks. Swept away were my plans to enjoy my new freedom to use my walker to walk around our cul-de-sac on our newly-installed sidewalks. Too much ice and snow!  The past couple of weeks have been much warmer, the sun has been shining, and the sidewalks are finally clear. Maybe I can get that little walk in today!

5. Progress – I know some of you have been praying for me and I thank you for that. When we returned from the surgeon on November 1 I was excited to be able to put full weight on my leg (still using a walker.) I had great plans to get out and about in the neighborhood, and to drive to some places in town. Not only did it begin to snow that day, but that evening my ear and throat started hurting and I was set aside by a flu / cold for a whole month. My plans were put on hold as it simply wasn’t safe for me to do what I wanted in my weakened state. Plus the first two weeks of the cold I simply felt wretched.

My main job right now is my physio. I go to physio, then practice my exercises at home, apply heat to specific areas after, and try to gradually increase reps from week to week. Boy, are my leg and hip muscles weak!

Now that the flu / cold is behind me (except for the lingering occasional cough which is part of this particular strain) I have been getting out a bit more, which is nice. My surgeon wants me to focus on sustained movement and activity – if I go out and am active for an hour today (and I’m talking about doing errands or going to church, not snowshoeing or snow sailing), then I should be able to do the same the next day. My practice was more along the lines of go out for four hours then crash for the next two days, so I am working on making that transition. One of my biggest problems is still low stamina. I am exhausted after getting out for two to three hours and pretty much have to take it easy the rest of the day, and my sessions with the physiotherapist leave me exhausted.

I have been graduated to using a cane around the house. My hip area aches a bit less these days, though as physio is added and that area is stretched and strengthened that aching does return as I begin to work on a new area.

So this has been a long FFF. Thanks to those of you who read all the way through. I am more and more grateful each day for the many blessings God has given me throughout this unexpected journey. Blessings of family, and friends, and provision, and safety, and medical help, and so much more.

Hope you have a blessed week!

Here are a few Christmas cards from Purple Grandma Designs i made over the past few weeks (the protective sleeve causes the glare on a few of the pictures.)

 

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On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Dinner out. We had a week-long guest who treated us to dinner last Saturday. It was delicious, and my petite steak was cooked to perfection. I’ve had to learn which restaurants take my food sensitivities seriously and which don’t. This place did, which made dining out a happy experience for me.

2. Shopping. Yesterday my daughter took me grocery shopping. I pushed a cart and selected my own items, something I have not been able to do for the past 4 months. I also graduated to changing a laundry load on my own, and knocked off a bunch of ironing this week. I still need help with many things, but it is wonderful to add to the list of things I can now do.

3. Unexpected generosity. Someone anonymously paid for two weeks of my cleaning helper’s wages. This young lady has been a cheerful and exceedingly capable helper to me as I continue to heal. When she told me of the gift I burst into tears of joy and gratitude. Benefactor, if you read this blog, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

4. Lunch out. After grocery shopping yesterday, my daughter suggested we get lunch out at our favorite restaurant in town. I was feeling quite tired from shopping, and I’m not a spontaneous person, but it sounded like a nice idea, so we went for it. My meal was excellent as usual, and I had plenty for both lunch and supper from that one meal. It was extra-special to spend some ‘girl time’ with one of my lovely daughters!

5. Evaluating I see the surgeon again on Wednesday. I feel my leg is strengthening, but I am still struggling with lack of stamina and overall strength. It will be interesting to see if one leg is longer than the other after this surgery, but it’s hard to tell that until I am walking on it normally. I’m also looking forward to adding more physio to gain strength and balance. Dealing with my fibromyalgia in addition provides an interesting challenge. If I push too hard my muscles are in agony and I am unable to do my physio for several days. If I don’t push enough, my strengthening will be delayed. I need a great deal of wisdom as I go forward, as well as listening carefully to the way my body responds to the exercise.

Photos from the past few weeks:

Vibrant colours

Balcony view

Cattail convention

Mountain corona

Prairie standard

Magnificent mountains

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On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Church – I have been able to attend our Sunday church service the past two weeks. What a blessing to be in personal fellowship with the church family after having to miss for six weeks during my initial stage of recovery from surgery.

2. Doctor’s report – The surgeon gave me a good report and has graduated me to 25% weight bearing on my affected leg. How does one determine how much pressure on the leg equals 25% weight bearing? The physiotherapist gave me a simple formula: gently press down on the scale with the operated leg until the scale registers 25% of your body weight. That amount of pressure is how much you can use when walking. I will still be using a walker or crutches for at least another month.

3. Supplement in town – One of the supplements that has helped my fibromyalgia muscle spasms is now available in my small town. I used to have to drive at least 20 minutes north or south to a supplement store to buy them so I am very glad to be able to get them right here. A bonus is that they are actually a bit cheaper here!

4. Walk to the mailbox – Where we live mail is delivered to super-boxes for a whole street. Our super-box is right across the street from us, but since my surgery, it might as well be a mile away. Since I was a kid I have loved getting mail, and lately have been ordering some cutting dies from China for my card making. It’s so much fun to find one or two of these little packets in our mailbox! Since no one else in my family shares my enthusiasm for mail, I have really felt like I was bothering people to ask them to check the mail. Today I did a trial run out the back door and down the driveway to the mailbox. My husband ‘spotted’ me since we weren’t sure if the incline of the driveway was too steep for me to traverse safely with my walker. Everything went smoothly, and if I go slowly and carefully, I should be able to check my own mail now while getting a spot of exercise in.

5. Messing in the herb garden – Because of my emergency hip replacement surgery and planned slow recovery I have missed most of the outdoor activities of summer. Today I was able to work a bit in my raised bed herb garden, weeding out dead leaves, and thinning out some herbs. I love running my hands through the fragrant herbs, rubbing the leaves to enjoy the unique smell each herb offers. I’ve begun harvesting some of them to dry for use in winter cooking. It was lovely to be outside again for a bit today!

James is one! He was celebrating with my daughter-in-law’s family in the States.

Here are a few of the Purple Grandma Designs cards I have been working on as I recover.

 

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I have been home since Monday evening. I cannot remember a time when I was more exhausted than I was on Monday night. My meager post-surgery strength did not match the demands my body required of me. That night I deeply second-guessed coming home instead of going into rehab. I could barely move, much less properly engage the specific mechanics required of me to consistently keep the weight off my right leg.

My week was filled with focus, practice, adjustment, and caution. I had little to no pain in hospital, but as my previous painkillers worked their way out of my system and I reduced the amount of new painkiller I was taking, my pain increased slightly. Was this a bad sign? Was I doing something wrong? Should I cut back on physio? Increase it? More meds? Less? Not sure.

The surgeon wanted to see me two weeks after my surgery. After returning home I called to make the appointment. I discover that the ortho clinic will be closed two weeks after my surgery, and closed for the entire week. My follow up is now 3.5 weeks after surgery. Will this be ok? Will my dressing last? What about my staples?

As the meds work their way out of my system, I struggle with fatigue, ennui, enervation, and depression. I hesitated to write about this, but it is my reality. When we share what is going on in our lives with the body of Christ, we do not share only the blessings, but also the struggles. The love and prayers of God’s people are a great encouragement in times of struggle.

Slowly I am seeing improvement. I am better able to hop using my walker and keep most of the weight off my injured leg. I discovered I tend to hold my breath when I am concentrating. I need to talk myself through the steps. Remember to hold in my abs, breathe, hold my arms straight, and move forward, keeping my foot barely on the ground for balance. And again. And again.

How did my appliance fail? How did I go so long without knowing it? Did the doctor do something wrong? Was it something I did wrong? Am I doing something wrong now? Is it even possible to find the truth about this?

Why hadn’t my hip itself hurt? The last month before the x-rays I felt crooked and was unable to stand straight. I felt the tightness in the muscles of my back and in the thigh of my right leg, but when I poked the hip area, nothing hurt. I thought it was my fibromyalgia. I now realize that not every muscle pain is fibromyalgia.

I become aware of many others who are struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually, and I pray for them. Sin has touched and cursed us all. We all need Christ and His truth and His salvation. We need to speak truth to each other in times of sorrow and in times of joy. We are family. We rejoice and we weep with each other.

Today as I heal and continue to work to strengthen, I am enjoying some special blessings. My family has arrived from China and I get to hold and talk with my grandchildren, listen to their dreams, join in their imaginings. This morning my grandchildren picked the first of my garden peas to share with me. Well-formed, sweet and delicious, they are consumed with gratitude and satisfaction.

I am abundantly blessed through this ordeal to have my daughters living nearby ready to sacrifice to help in any way possible. God has also blessed me with many children of the heart who visit and write and stop by to help. They bring their little ones, my ‘adopted’ grandchildren, to visit Purple Grandma and hand me sweaty fistfuls of flowers or grasses or other treasures selected just to cheer me.

Truth is, just like many others who suffer unexpectedly, I may never know why this happened. God chose it for me for His glory and my good. I do not understand what that looks like right now or how it helps me and the body of Christ overall. I struggle to rejoice in infirmity. I struggle against self-focus and negative thinking. I struggle to rejoice in the Lord always, but by God’s grace, I am not content to be disobedient.

The prayers and love of God’s people are very precious to me. Thank you to each of you who have prayed for me and continues to pray with me. I pray God will bless you for your love and concern.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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I’ve been sick this past week so this post is quite late. It’s not Friday. But you know that!

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Pictures from the past My mom went to be with the Lord almost 14 years ago. This week a friend sent me some photos of my mom enjoying fellowship at a Sunday School class Christmas party from fifteen years ago. A bonus that I didn’t notice at first was a partial shot of my dad in the corner of one of the pictures. Thank you, Beth. Your kind gesture blessed me and made my day.

My wonderful Mom

My wonderful Mom

Supplement sale One of the supplements I take that seems to help my fibromyalgia is a bit pricey. This week I found it on sale for about half of what I normally pay!

Medication provided Our doctor has put my husband on an expensive new medication, and it is helping him. We were praying about how to come up with the $300 + extra a month to pay for it, and God provided several months’ worth at no charge to us!

Answers to prayer Parenting adults is not like parenting juveniles. We no longer ‘control’ the decisions of our offspring, nor do we want to. But this does not mean we are no longer affected by the burdens and concerns of our children.

This week one of our daughters who has been diligently searching and praying for a better job, had a promising job interview. Is this job God’s answer for her need? I don’t know, but I am praying with eager anticipation, waiting to see how God will meet her need and other needs in the lives of all my children.

On the mend I have been dealing with an exhausting cough for over seven weeks. My primary source of nutrition has been the myriad cough drops and green tea I’ve consumed to try and soothe the persistent coughing fits! However…the last couple of days I seem to be getting better. Yay! I’m thankful for good doctors, helpful treatments, and the Great Physician.

No new photos this week because I wasn’t feeling well enough to go out in frigid temps to take pictures. I found a few more favorites from several months ago as I was organizing and backing up files this week.

Grandson 'modeling" Cows Canada sleeper

Grandson ‘modeling” Cows Canada sleeper

Banff National Park Clouds lifting

Banff National Park Clouds lifting

Banff National Park misty peaks

Banff National Park misty peaks

Banff National Park cloudy cap

Banff National Park cloudy cap

Here are this week’s Valentine cards from Purple Grandma Designs.

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