Am I Strong Enough?

Two weeks ago, I was pulled over.  I was on my way to meet a friend for coffee at a Panera Bread about an hour from my house.  I had noticed a black SUV behind me a couple of times as I drove down the four-lane artery that leads from my small town to the big city.  I was just approaching the strip mall area anchored by a Best Buy when I saw red and blue lights swirling on the black vehicle behind me.

Immediately, my heart began to race.  It was obvious that the lights were for me, but I couldn't figure out why.  At the light, I went into the left lane and turned on cue, pulling into the back lot behind Best Buy.  As I turned off the motor, I noticed a lone car that was parked contained a man who was now staring at me.  The police car pulled behind me. I sat massaging my left shoulder- waiting, feeling pretty confused and anxious.
The officer strolled to my window bending down to peer in at me.  "Hello, mam.  I pulled you over because you were swerving in your lane a bit.  It…

Knock on Wood!

*Word/Phrases of blue and underlined are links to further information on the topic.
I don't view myself as superstitious. But, I've been known to say, "Knock on wood," now and then when I want to stave off something bad after declaring something good.  As I've explained, my mom who had bipolar drilled into me at an early age that just as things are going well, life/fate will slam you with something equally not good. When I was a child, and actually now and then still now, I felt that there was someone watching over me, guiding me.  That inner voice of mine always letting me know the choices I should make. Writing this blog comes from that inner voice, and I feel it's there that my resilence through hope began.

Last Saturday, as my husband and I sat and ate our dinner out on the deck in unusual peace, he brought up that he noticed I had been doing really well the past few weeks (not pleading for massages or whimpering in bed).  I agreed.  As written about in m…

Times They Are a Changin'

Bob Dylan was right. The times are continually changing whether small or major.  Change is a part of life.  However, change, whether good or bad, brings a certain amount of stress, and that stress can bring on a flair for those of us with chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia.

Since November of last year, it's felt like one pretty big change after another in my family: changes in health, changes in jobs, changes in homes.  My first reaction tends to be a pulling back, in my mind and body.  I stiffen, literally, as if to strengthen or to push back on the change. This can lead then to tension in my shoulders and chest which triggers in me a sense of anxiousness. 

What I'm purposefully working on is leaning in.  Leaning into the change like a trust fall.  Breathing and being present in this moment, reminding myself that I'm safe, secure, and supported.  That my family, we are in this together, and we'll all be all right as long as we stick together.  This means that we…

Just Breath and Other Ways to Rewire the Pain-filled Brain

Blue and underlined words are live links to further info on the topic.
I believe my form of Fibromyalgia stems from a nervous system that has been chronically in overdrive (fight or flight) mode for all of my life. At 54, that living on adrenalin came to a screeching halt when I could no longer function, forcing me to leave my teaching job and to spend the next few months largely in bed.

As a firstborn to a single mom who suffered from undiagnosed Bipolar and Schizophrenia, I know life was tense and unsure right from the get-go.  After living with my single-mom and her parents for the first 6 months of my life, my mom got married to a well-meaning man who had lost his first wife to cancer.  He had a 13-year old daughter at the time of their marriage.  My mom's emotions were intense.  During one fight, my mom punched her fist through a plate-glass window, cutting several long cuts, needing stitches.  (My mom told me the story when I asked her about the long, smooth scars she had on…

Lessons Learned in Mother Nature-Overcoming My Fibro Symptoms

My husband and I agreed to be volunteer chaperons for a week of rustic camping at Pictured Rocks sometime last year.  I really had thought I'd have this Fibromyalgia beat by then-ha! Ha! My daughter runs a program called Parks in Focus that gets 14 teens into the wilderness through the use of photography.  Kelley and I have always been outdoorsy, so a free trip to the UP of Michigan sounded like a great deal.

The weekend before the trip had been a really rough one.  I was still dealing with what seems to be the last throws of Cymbalta withdrawal: a weird headache and nausea, besides the pain being more intense, insomnia, and at times a deep sadness.  My resolve to stay off of Cymbalta for at least two months past withdrawal was waning fast. The night before, Kelley said that he could go and I could stay home, but I just didn't want to be left behind.  So, I got up, really out of it, and plopped my bum in the car ready for the six-hour drive to Pictured Rocks National Shoreline

Fibromyalgia Has Forced Me to Look Inward

Fibromyalgia has given me a gift.  It has pushed me to reflect, evolve, and break up a solid foundation of untruths I've lived by.  Trauma happens to all of us, at least that is what I'm finding as I share my story.  We all have things we need to work through.  Some do it sooner than others.

Childhood Trauma is being found to be linked to the development of Fibromyalgia. “'I think what we’re starting to appreciate is that when you have traumatic experiences as a young person, it rewires you. And the way in which you interpret physical symptoms is changed forever,' said Steve Passik, PhD, a psychologist and Vice President of Research and Advocacy for  MillenniumHealth." 

One way I have always gone through life is playing the "mother figure".  From a very young age, I remember peers and elders saying things like "Katie is the mom of this group" and "your an old soul".  I remember being 10 years old, my mom cemented to the couch again.  I…

Down The Rabbit Hole: Could Medical Marijuana Help?

When I was 12 years old, the summer before I started 7th grade at Harrison Park Junior High in Grand Rapids, my mom gave me two books to read: Go Ask Alice by Anonymous andThat Was Then, This is Nowby SE Hinton.  Both were life-impacting books for me.  At that tender age, I vowed to myself that I would never get into drugs.

As an adult, I do not like ever not being in control of myself.  I also hate a foggy, unclear brain.  So, I never really got into drinking or drugs.  I won't say that I don't know what it is to be out of my head; Kelley and I tried mushrooms one time when we were camping. His roommate had sold him some.  Mushrooms are from nature, right?  Well, while that is a very interesting story I have told very few people; it's not one we ever visited again.  I also know what a hangover is like.  I'm definitely a light-weight and after my three maximum drinks in an evening, I will be laid low for the entire next day if I have more, so I don't do that.

As I…