First of all I owe you an apology last week was a bit crazy and instead of pushing out a not so good post I thought I would look after myself and have a week off. However, here you are so maybe I should explain that I have been going through a lot of self-discovery recently and because of this I find myself looking back as I look forward.
Last Friday was so exciting I went to the Mind Body and Spirit festival which was held at the NEC in Birmingham. It is not too far from me and I was lucky enough that one of my friends Josh and his Mom fancied having a day out there too. I used my wheelchair and Josh was kind enough to push me, there was a lot of walking at the event so I couldn’t have done it!
It was also a very overwhelming event, there were of course a lot of crystals there but also everyone was open and the energy really affected me and Josh. Not in a bad way we could just feel a lot even with grounding and protecting before the event which I dread to think how it would have been if we hadn’t! The day went by so fast and to be honest I did not buy much or look closely at much because I felt overwhelmed by it all. That said it was a wonderful day out with one of my close friends and I would go again now I know what to expect.
It has taken me a couple of days to recover of course, but that was good, it gave me time to think and to come to terms with something I only found out last week! I went to see my GP to see if there was a plan after being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and Ehlers Danlos syndrome (EDS) in April.
My doctor looked at my records and found the letter from the specialist and that was when she told me that I have always had EDS and in fact it is the fact that I have been overstretching and misusing my joints for so long it is actually the EDS that triggered my Fibromyalgia. I did a You Tube video about how this made me feel and where my head has been at since I got this information:
I think I needed a little time to understand what this news meant and how I was going to process it, I mean it makes sense but still the EDS is such a new diagnosis I wasn’t sure how to take it. Now I cannot help but be thankful for good friends who stand by me and my wonderful husband who is always there for me no matter what, I am so so lucky!!
Moving forward my attention is going to the EDS, on protecting my joints and looking after myself I will be working closely with my physiotherapist to get my body stronger and hopefully by using my joints correctly and doing gentle daily exercise. I do most of that using You Tube and if you ever wonder what sort of things I do it depends on how I am feeling on the day but it is always something from this playlist.
I have also learned how to subtitle my videos and it means creating a video takes much longer but it is so worth it when I now know it is as accessible as I can make them. I will hopefully be working slowly through my older videos to get them subtitles but if anyone would be up for helping please just email me for information as to how I need all the help I can get!
My pain is flaring at the moment and I will be honest it is kind of worrying and overwhelming! I am trying to keep my chin up and keep going, I think sometimes pain and fatigue can stop us in our tracks then we find our ways of coping; So when we flare it can be difficult to find our feet again
because we are already running at a much lower pace than most people could cope with!
What is a flare?
A flare is when your symptoms get worse but it is because of something you know and you are sure it will get better, for example after going out for the day or seasonal weather changes.
“A flare is a transient worsening in severity of a disease or condition that eventually subsides or lessens. For example, in many arthritis conditions the joints can flare with worsening of stiffness, pain, and swelling” – medicinenet.com
How do I cope?
I would usually go to see my General Practitioner, but to be honest she is not very compassionate and I do not think she feels Fibromyalgia is a real illness. She also has said many times she cannot give me anything else for pain and to try paracetamol, I did have a little hope when I was referred to a pain clinic…until they wrote refusing to see me because there was nothing they could do!
So the question I ask myself at times like this is how am I going to cope? I know I cannot turn to my doctor and though I am under a long term physiotherapist, I do not have anyone overseeing my whole condition who is a hospital team or anything like that. I think that is why it feels overwhelming because I have nobody to call and ask for help, but if you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you will know I am always looking to be as positive as I can.
Here is the things that are getting me through this flare:
CBD Balm – This stuff is brilliant for putting on the exact area of pain, and right now I am using it a lot on the back of my neck where my spine is very painful.
Heating Pad – Every chronic illness warrior knows that if you have a good heating pad you can use it to help pain so much. You can pick them up quite cheaply and they are brilliant especially for nerve pain which I am using one for right now!
Crystals – These days I can often be found with a crystal on my person and if I am in pain I will hold one against the area that hurts. Different crystals work for different conditions so check out that link for more information.
CBD oil – I have used this before but was priced out of using it for a while, however now my pain has flared I have turned back to it and I take it just at night to reduce my pain and to help my sleep. I also use the crystal Howlite at night to help me sleep and its soothing to hold so I would recommend that.
I would love to hear what helps you at times like this and also I do hope this helps you a little even if it is knowing you aren’t alone while the seasons change.
Well I have been put on antibiotics this week, hence no post on Monday just gone, and I feel awful on them! I am literally sleeping most of the time and to be honest resting leads to guilt, and I have written about this before but the struggle is real!
My husband is not feeling too well right now either so I want to be looking after him, instead I am staying in bed all morning, needing baths to help my pain, and not managing to do my physiotherapy or yoga or any housework! I am literally a lump on the sofa and it is not a nice feeling at all!
Now I try my best to be positive, I make sure I have my God time every morning, I meditate and I practice mindfulness to try and help my chronic illnesses. However, there are times especially when I am struggling with my pain and fatigue, when I cannot control my thoughts and things can turn negative. This is when I need to dig deep and try to use all the tools in my toolbelt to try and keep my vibration and spirits up.
Now I don’t know about you, but I have a few things that help me and hopefully they can help you sometimes and I would love it if you would hop into the comments and share some of yours:
- Meditation: This is a big one for me, I use the Insight timer on my iPad to find guided meditations focused on self love, raising my vibrations and opening to the Solar Plexus Chakra which is connected to personal identity, self will and how much confidence you have. The Solar Plexus is very much related to energy levels, problems with digestion and metabolism so I am working very hard to connect and open this chakra up at the moment.
- Alternative Therapies: There are a wide range of crystals that can help with energy levels, I recently bought a Bloodstone and I am working with this just holding it and meditating with it to see if it helps. There are a lot of things like essentials oils and crystals that have been used for thousands of years as medicine and I think it is important to investigate and try things to see what works.
- Diet: No I am not talking about losing weight, but just paying attention to what you eat when you have chronic illnesses. There are so many diets recommended for different illnesses and it is important to check out bloggers who are living with those illnesses to find recommendations that actually work. I am trying to stay away from fatty and processed foods and to get back to making things from scratch.
- Listen to your body: The main thing I would say is to be in the moment and listen to your body, it will generally tell you when it needs to rest or eat or when there is pain and it is when we ignore these signals when a flare comes!
- Take a bath: I use some lovely Magnesium salts and a bath bomb, magnesium salts can help pain and resting in warm water if possible for you can really help with aching muscles as well as nerve pain. I sometimes bathe in the evening then go to bed and oh my goodness do I get a good sleep!
- Heating Pad: these are a staple of any chronic illness warrior honestly a heating pad can make all the difference, I use mine a lot in the evening for my back pain and they are a must if you are dealing with long term pain.
Now I am currently watching one of my favourite podcasts on you tube and typing this out, but I cannot stop yawning and honestly I just want to be in bed! However, if I had not done this post I would have felt like I had achieved nothing today and that is such a difficult emotion to deal with. The best advice I can give is to remember that as a chronic illness warrior, we are dealing with so much just to keep going and because of this it is so hard to deal with societies expectations anyway so we need to give ourselves a break. I hadn’t really realised I was feeling guilty until today and I know I have dealt with this before, so I know I need to just let that go and try to remember my worth is more than what I do.
I hope you will post the things that help you down below in the comments and I am hopeful that my experiences this week can help you.
Well now I was going to be good, I was trying to be good but then things happened…I stopped eating well…I started trying to do a yoga challenge…and my pain flared! When will I ever learn?
It is so hard because I know what I should do, I know it and I have written about it many times so why is it that I fell off the wagon? Me and my husband were left with fatigue and pain after having a take away pizza, and our diets had run into problems we were not eating the things we knew were good for us.
Everyone has good intentions, we all try our best to eat well especially us spoonies who suffer with increased symptoms if we don’t cut certain things out and add other things. We know it and logically we do our best but then all it takes is one night out where you have a pudding and you start to crave the things that are not good for you.
What makes it worse is that eating badly makes you feel worse, and the worse you feel the less you want to stand a cook! I do have a perching stool which I actually got years ago from occupational therapy, but still if the choice is that or ordering in you know what will win and I know it will be bad!
At least the weather has changed though so we can eat more slow cooker recipes which is such a help, and I love that I can just throw everything in when I feel ok in the morning and by dinnertime it is cooked. Yes I do love stews and soups and things like that they are cheap and easy to make and really nutritious because you can throw a ton of frozen vegetables in.
Of course, my diet isn’t all that fell off the wagon… Yoga with Adriene is how I used to do yoga a year or more ago, every day pushing my body and feeling great afterwards. However, with increased pain and the instability of my joints my physiotherapist said I was only to do low impact stuff. I found Sleepy Santosha and was doing well with her spoonie friendly routines and it was keeping me supple without pushing my body too far.
I was doing well until Adriene came out with a new 14 day yoga challenge to get everyone doing yoga, and I thought it won’t be hard she said it is for anyone! I know I know…by day 4 I was in so much pain and so fatigued I ended up having painsomnia and feeling dreadful! These things together and my body was screaming for me to stop.
The moral of this story is, if you know that doing the wrong thing is going to send you into a flare, be good just be good!
If you have been following my you tube channel, then you will know that I am currently studying to become a psychic. I have found as the course has progressed however that my chronic illnesses are holding me back and it is so frustrating!
My chronic illnesses are Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Spondylosis, depression and generalised anxiety disorder. They work together to make my life interesting by not only affecting how mobile I am, but also making my memory bad, giving me fatigue, shaking, numbness…the list goes on.
I have suffered with many of these my whole life but they started to change things mainly when it came to studying. So I could never get good grades in my schoolwork and I struggled in my nursing course because a bad memory means that retaining what I am being taught can be extremely difficult.
Over time when I gave up work and stopped needing to remember facts and figures it didn’t bother me as much. However, I am extremely interested in learning how to be a psychic, I am starting to get into crystals and I am even learning about the moon phases and I am finding that nothing is sticking and it is so frustrating! On top of that I have the bonus gift that studying makes my fatigue worse so I am so so tired all the time. The extra fatigue makes it hard to balance resting with studying and my housework that I try to do a little every day but it doesn’t always work out now.
I also have problems with grounding, this is a meditation practice that protects you and you are supposed to do it every morning and every night. However, on my left side my numbness is worse, so I cannot feel the ground below me and my pendulum will not work on that side. These might not seem like big problems but they are, right now I am looking into how crystals and essential oils can help but while I look into that I find I am frustrated and struggling.
I am hopeful that as I progress it will help my illnesses, but until then have you been a student? How do you cope with the side effects that come with studying and having illnesses that will not stop? Any tips or tricks gratefully accepted.
Feeling guilt with summer fatigue is so hard, it seems to take all the motivation out of me! I am trying so hard to keep up with things but all I want to do is sleep and it is not good at all!
Here in the UK we are having something of a summer heatwave, and though I am sure a lot of people are really enjoying the sunshine and heat that we are having for a change it is very different for me. I have chronic illnesses that cause fatigue anyway, but when the sun comes out it can make my illnesses unstable and it very hard for me to keep up with the day to day tasks that I need to do.
Strong sunshine that pours through my kitchen is lovely, but if I am in there for longer than a few minutes I find myself fighting back a migraine. In fact, at the moment I have a halo of pain all around my head just threatening to hit me with a migraine at a minutes notice! I am having to use sunglasses just to get a glass of water at the moment and forget washing up where the sink overlooks the window!
Now I have been working hard recently on my mental health, on working with a therapist and with my faith to find ways of being kinder to myself. Things like mindfulness and chanting have made a huge difference to my negative thoughts and I am incredibly proud of myself. However, today I have basically slept most of it away and I feel like I have wasted a precious day I could have done some gentle yoga, maybe dusted the living room, but I have done nothing but watch Great British Bake Off like a Zombie!
Guilt is something everyone with chronic illnesses deal with, either it is pressure we put on ourselves or it is family or friends making comments. The pressure in society to be productive and to work, work, work is why most people now are coping with mental health issues I know this logically but when I am alone I still hear that voice in my head saying I should be doing more. I do hate it and I am trying so hard to be kind to myself and look after myself but I really need a little help!
I am determined to cope though because it looks like this hot weather is here to stay, and though I would love to stay inside like a hermit I have doctors and hospital appointments to get to. So I have been thinking about how best to stay cool and here are some of my ideas:
- Drink more water – might seem obvious but as it is hot I need to up my fluids intake and make sure I don’t get dehydrated
- Listen to my body – I need to slow down everything I do, I am not the fastest anyway, but I need to sit down more and make sure to listen when I need to rest
- Wear sunglasses – Yes even if I need them indoors it shouldn’t matter, I have to protect myself from migraines and keeping my eyes from being blasted by this bright sunshine is a great start
- Make sure to wear suncream if going outside – Many medications can make us more sensitive to the sun, but also I am mainly housebound so I need to remember I am not used to the sun and will burn easily
- Be patient – even people who are well are struggling in this heat so why do I think I won’t? I need to remember that and be patient with my body.
So wish me luck in working on the guilt that comes with not being able to help around the house, and if you have any tips and tricks for coping with this heat let me know down below?
So lets talk about pushing passed anxiety to make your dreams happen and move forward in life. It is something I have been needing to do I have things I want to achieve in life and my anxiety always holds me back and this time I did not let it win!
So I am also a You Tuber and a few weeks ago I messaged one of my favourite You Tubers, Miss Mary Lu and asked her if she wanted to do a video together. I was so excited when she said yes because she is such a wicked cool person and she is someone I look up to because she has more subscribers than me.
However, as the time to upload came up I got scared, I started to doubt myself because my channel is slow growing, I am shy in person and I am not great at promoting myself. So I started to feel like I would look stupid or nobody would want to watch because my editing and lighting etc is not great and yeah it got me doubting myself so much.
BUT!!! Yes there is a but, because I took my time and I kept thinking about it being such a great opportunity and I would regret it if I backed out because of my anxiety. Today the video I posted went live HERE and I am so proud that I pushed through and I have already learned so much from this collaboration and I know that the more I push myself through then the more I will achieve.
My anxiety almost keeps me captive in life and I cannot stand that! I want to be a good blogger, and I want to do well on you tube and help people understand chronic illness and that we are just people living our lives and trying our best just like everyone. So this was a big week and it was hard for me, I realised how much I need to learn and grow and at first it got me down but then I realised that I have only been editing 8 months, I need to be patient with myself and kind to myself.
Now the video is out I am so proud of myself I love what me and Mary produced together and I hope it encourages everyone to go and try new things, and to take care of themselves. Self care is so important it helps both our physical and mental health so let me know down below is anxiety holding you back? And, what is your favourite self care?
So a few weeks ago I was told I had two illnesses and you can read about them HERE, so I have just taken myself a little time to come to terms with them. On the one hand, Spondylosis was not a big shock I have been having a lot of upper spine pain and now I know what it is I am happy. I mean well, not happy happy, but now I know what it is I can look up things to help and get practical about things if that makes sense?
But with hEDS, I am finding a lot of anger and frustration because as I research and read up on this illness the more upset I am feeling. I am finding my being diagnosed fell at the right time because I found out at the beginning of EDS awareness month so there is no shortage of informative articles floating around like this one by the Mighty, or this one by Mystripeylife.com which I am extremely thankful for!
However, the more I read the more angry and frustrated I feel, and I think it is because I have so many of the symptoms and I find out decades after and I want to go shout at my old Drs “I TOLD YOU IT WAS REAL!” I didn’t walk until I was almost two and would drag my left leg when I crawled, my skin is very soft to touch and I bruise very easily, I was in so much pain as a child but when I went to the Dr they would tell me it was simply ‘growing pains’, I have always had balance issues, I had to have a lot of dental work and teeth removed as a child and the anaesthetic never worked as well as it should have…and I can go on!
Knowing I suffered so much to have nobody listen, to know that I just pushed through and forced myself to act like I was fine for so long ignoring the pain it upsets me. But what upsets me the most, is that younger me thought I was being dramatic or I was too sensitive everyone else gets by with these things! On top of that, I had family members make fun of me, and put me down because they did not believe me or understand that it was real…they believed the doctors they thought it was in my head.
Now I don’t want you thinking I blame those members of my family, because I don’t, they were simply misinformed and trusted doctors and dentists who themselves did not see the whole picture. General practitioners can often miss rare illnesses because they don’t get the time and there are so many rare illnesses there is no way for them to know them all. Logically I know this, logically I am thankful to now have answers and to have a way to move forward with greater understanding hopefully from the medical professionals I meet in future.
Yes I think it is legitimate to feel anger and frustration when you find this sort of information out, I need to be patient I need to allow myself time to feel these things. But, as I am a Christian and a Buddhist, I try to refrain from looking back too much and to be in the moment so I guess what I am saying is that from now on I will be updating my blog every Monday again! I gave myself time and I was patient, but this blog means so much to me, like my You Tube channel, it gives me a voice, it is a chance to connect with others and make friends.
So I guess I am incredibly thankful to people in the EDS community for welcoming me, answering my questions and giving me advice when I have asked. I feel so lucky my diagnosis came at the start of the EDS awareness month I am thankful I have a diagnosis that finally makes everything make sense…so yes anger and frustration is there but I am choosing to look at things with a grateful heart.
So as I sit here writing this I honestly don’t know how I feel about having two new illnesses diagnosed. On one hand it is great to have some answers and to have a plan, but on the other I wanted it to be something they could cure you know? However, I wanted to give you all a health update because I feel like you guys know so much that I need to get this out there.
So over the last few months I have seen a headache clinic, and had MRI scans, and seen two rheumatologists. On Wednesday I went to see a new physiotherapist who confirmed that the consultant thought I had a type of arthritis called Spondylitis in my upper spine and neck which is why I get so much pain and stiffness.
She also told me that I have a form of Ehlos Danlos Syndrome called hyper-mobility EDS and will need long term physiotherapy and occupational therapy in order to keep my joints working. I potentially will need a brace for my one thumb and she explained that as long as I work on improving my muscle I should see improvement in the stability of my joints.
I came home feeling overwhelmed and since then my depression has dipped a little and I don’t think it is because of the diagnosis. I mean it is a good thing to know I will be looked after long term, though not by a rheumatologist by the physiotherapist. I don’t know why it has shaken my depression up a bit, I guess it is just a lot to take in to know that I am going to have this pain and these are potentially both illnesses that can get worse.
I think for right now the thing that has upset me the most, is that I cannot do the type of yoga I love or go to yoga class anymore because it will not help my joints. I am feeling down about that, but I will still be doing yoga with Sleepy Santosha on You Tube so that is a good thing! I am determined not to let this news get to me too much so I have things planned to try and keep my spirits up, like getting my hair cut tomorrow and going to my friend’s murder mystery party next week!
So there we are, now you know why I have been a little like a hermit but I am going to be moving forward with a lot of gentle exercise, and working on improving my diet so I can be as healthy as this body allows!
Isn’t it funny how sometimes you take a little break and it totally refreshes you? I have had a daily relationship with God all my life, I have always tried to understand Him and where I stand and for the most part that has been done through prayer. However, after discovering Buddhism a few years ago I have also been using meditation and mindfulness…hence the name of this blog!
However, recently I have been questioning my choices when it comes to my faith and how I communicate with God. I have always believed that there is one God and all the many religions are just human’s ways of trying to understand and to find a way to show our love for them. So to me it doesn’t matter how you worship its where your heart is when you do it that matters and how you live your life.
That is my own personal view on things and though I mainly lean towards the Christian and Buddhist religions I have often questioned things and this has been happening a lot recently. If you read my blog regularly you will know I have been trying to find better ways to treat my illnesses and some of them might be controversial but life is short and I want to try everything that I can.
Now questioning, looking at things like health and religion is in my opinion very normal and human things to do, especially as if you do a quick google search on either of these things you will find millions of websites claiming to have all the answers and they all contradict one another!
So I got a little lost and I decided to take a couple of days off from researching my health, meditating and praying just to be able to step back and see the whole picture. After those days I came back to my faith with renewed sense of being on the right path and that I am going to be heading towards happiness and contentment which is after all what we all long for right? I now have a good sense of the universe and of my place in it and I have come to understand the real meaning of mind, body, spirit and how the yoga I have been practising along with meditation and prayer, and looking at nutrition can really give me the answers.
So though I have been doing the same things for a long time, I have seen them as seperate entities but by focusing on God and taking real care of myself I think I might just start to find myself moving from depression to contentment. I understand talking about faith and the universe and God might make people want to run away screaming, but I started this blog wanting to tie faith and health together, hence the title, and I lost my way a little bit.
So I am here with renewed inspiration and I am excited for the future I hope you will enjoy the journey with me and that I can help inspire you or give you ideas that will help you on your journey!