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Archive for the ‘Fibromyalgia’ Category

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

1. Family time – Since our family from China is with us for such a short time each year we need to pack in a lot of togetherness in just a few weeks. Family brunch, kiddy pool, and games day made for a lovely gathering this week.

2. More family time – Our daughter and son-in-law hosted a family BBQ last week for his family and ours. It was so nice to touch base with Tim’s side of the family again and to spend a few hours together.

3. Garden joys – Because I came to gardening quite recently I am still learning much about making my garden flourish. This year besides my herbs, I planted kale for my smoothies, and a small amount of zucchini, onions, green beans, and peas. We have a couple of deck rail planters for flowers and a small ground level triangular bed near the confluence of two sidewalks. Sadly, I cannot get down to weed that bed at this point, so I rely on others to help with that bed. However, the raised beds and rail planters are easy for me to access and I have learned more about pruning and deadheading this year which has resulted in a more verdant garden. I have not yet cooked any of my delicious peas. By the time I pick them and shell them with my grandchildren we have managed to enjoy every single sweet pea that we have picked!

My beloved built me raised bed planters which allows me to tend to my garden even with my limited mobility and this week he and my son and daughter-in-law finished a third planter for me. It’s a bit late for planting up here in central Alberta but my husband went out to nurseries and home centers on a quest to rescue some end of season vegetable plants. After much searching he found some dilapidated tomato plants and our plant rescue project has ensued! We’ll see if together we can nurse them back to health and encourage them to produce some tomatoes.

4. Kids and grandkids – I am exceptionally blessed to not only have wonderful children, but also an amazing daughter-in-law and son-in-law. They are as dear to me as my own children and I thank God for joining them with our family. Our grandchildren are pretty special, too, and I love spending time with them and hearing their thoughts and dreams and observing the uniqueness of each one.

5. Health networking – It has been somewhat frustrating to try and figure out what I’m doing or not doing that has recently stalled my recovery. One element I never accounted for in the past was the gluten free aspect which has been part of my life now for over five years. Identifying and addressing food sensitivities five years ago made a huge difference in managing my fibromyalgia. Though I am diagnosed as gluten intolerant and not celiac, I have connected with the celiac community and share observations and discoveries with my fellow GF friends.

Recently a celiac friend asked me if I have trouble with raw veggies. I was surprised and relieved that I was not the only one with the GF / raw veggie digestion issue. I do pretty well when my raw greens are whirred to oblivion in my Ninja, but not so great when eating them whole or in a salad. They just do not seem to digest properly if I ingest quantities of raw veggies. Part of the problem is that I am exceptionally sensitive to the preservative that is used on most packaged and store-bought lettuce and several times have grown violently ill after eating salads made from packaged lettuce, so I avoid lettuce completely. In the summer I grow and use my own kale and in the winter I buy organic kale or organic spinach and manage that just fine. My physiotherapist mentioned using a grow lamp / hydroponics system to grow veggies inside during the winter. I’ll have to investigate that option for the future.

 

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

I’ve missed several weeks due to a busy schedule and ongoing fatigue and issues with my fibromyalgia. Thanks for sticking with me.

1. Family – Our family from China surprised us by arriving a week early for their annual time with us. We had no inkling this was the plan thanks to some sneaky familial assistants on this side of the world. It is an incredible blessing to be able to spend time each year with family who lives and works so far from us.

2. Health update – Last year at this time I had just gotten home from hospital after emergency hip replacement revision surgery. Though I have had quite a few setbacks over this past year, I am doing far better than I was a year ago. I am still dealing with some fatigue and low stamina and have been surprised to realize that social interaction absolutely wears me out. My doctor is working with me to try and eliminate any obvious reasons for this tiredness. I’m not quite three months past my iron transfusion treatments so perhaps I just need a little more time for that to fully take effect.

My one-year post-surgical checkup went well. The bone grafts and range of motion look good. I still need to do physio and was warned that a revision surgery means the joint will never be as stable as the original so lifelong strengthening and caution are both necessary to help avoid another revision.

There are several other health issues that cropped up during this past year and one may require surgery. After this long year of many health issues I am willing to try almost anything to avoid surgery again. We’ll see how the surgical consult goes first. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which health issues are simply age related. A friend recently mentioned she was having age-related health problems. She told me that aging isn’t for sissies. Yep. We’re a brave lot, and not always because we want to be.

3. Infused water – While attending a conference last month I was introduced to infused water served in those lovely glass dispensers. The fruit and herbs look so pretty in the dispenser and the water is flavorful and refreshing. For my birthday my husband got me a double dispenser with a nice wrought iron looking stand. My herb garden provides the perfect source for delicious and interesting ingredients for a variety of fruit and herb infused water combos. I’m having fun with both the experimenting and the delicious water.

4. Rural living – Though we live in a small town just outside a major city, we have to drive past fields of crops regardless of what direction we go when we head out of town. I love observing the various stages involved in planting and harvesting each year. Currently the canola fields are that trademark cheerful sunny yellow. Pretty soon the flowers will disappear, and the stinky sock stage will be upon us. Don’t you love my technical terms? Canola has a stage in the growing cycle when the plants indeed smell like dirty gym socks. Don’t you wonder who ever had the idea of using the seeds from this stinky plant to produce an oil you cook with?

5. New restaurant – This week we tried a delicious meal at a Brazilian steak restaurant. The salad bar had little placards above each item listing all the ingredients and indicating whether the food was nut, dairy, or gluten free. At lunchtime there are six meats offered and special servers move from table to table providing portions of meat cut from a long skewer. Each place setting includes a small set of tongs which diners use to hold the serving of meat while the server cuts it off the skewer. The meat servers brought by three kinds of beef, one of chicken and two of pork. Our server urged us to try the Brazilian cheese buns, a Yorkshire pudding style popover made with cheese instead of pan drippings. I told her I could not have any since I had to eat gluten free. She broke into a big grin and told me the cheese buns were gluten free and eating them would “change your life!” While they did not change my life in any significant way, they certainly were absolutely delicious!

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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!

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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