Persistent Pain vs Persistent Purpose

It’s so easy to want the results without putting in the work. I’ve fallen victim to this over and over. Every morning I get up with the intention of making strides to moving toward getting fit, but by mid morning it wanes. This is partly due to the pain that plagues me all morning and hoping it will subside before doing any sort of workout. By the time it does, my mind is tired and my ambition is nil.

Yesterday, I was able to do a half hour walk in the house (it had been another day of rain here) and get some yoga in. But, the entire time, I kept mulling over what I needed to do to get myself to get past these hurdles and the self doubt that I could work through the pain. I decided last night to make myself a inspiration/vision board and use it as a background for my phone.

I must admit it was a motivational way to get me to my mat for a Pilates workout session this morning. But, I was dealing with some immense myofascial pain in my ribs, so I needed a bit more of a push. About 5 minutes into my routine, as I struggled, a thought came into my mind. Where is that bracelet I bought? I should wear that as a reminder to keep going. So, I clicked the pause button on the DVD and started rummaging through my jewelry. It took me over 10 minutes to find it, but was well worth it. It was a splurge buy that popped up on the internet one day, and I was drawn to how much it resonated with me. It’s not some fancy bling, but a mere reminder to “Be stronger than the storm”.

DVD restarted and away I went; thirty minutes of stretching, breathing, and muscling my way to feeling better. It worked! All of it! The motivation, the dedication, the movement, and the breathing, all helped decrease the pain and put me in a better state of mind. I ended the workout with another 30 minute walk around the house. (yep, it was still raining)

I wish I could imprint this feeling on my brain everytime I doubt my ability to work out. Or try to use it as an excuse. I honestly feel a bit better. Pain free? Absolutely no. But the positive vibes and self confidence has spilled into my being. That is something I can utilize during the small storms I’m dealt with for the rest of the day.

So, here’s what to take from this. Move. Just move in the direction that will provide you with what you ultimately desire. No matter how hard it is, how big the storm feels, you can move beyond it. If it is a desire, a dream, a goal, a wish, or need, push beyond those negative “I can’t because” reasons. You may have to alter it or tweak it, but don’t avoid it. That will not get you closer to what you are reaching for. And it may leave you more frustrated than dealing with the pain does.

Fellow fibro /chronic friends…Do it! Find that form of exercise that is right for your body in the moment, and do it. Not in despite of the pain, but because of it.

Wishing you well power .

See you on the healthier side of life.

A jounal, a blog, a destiny unknown.

Oh my, you guys. Ya’ll. Whew, I woke up to the stark reality of how slow this process is going to take. My muscles are screaming at me.

I did a bit of yoga yesterday, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I took it easy. However, since I do love kettle bell routines, I decided to just grab a light weight hand weight, a mere 3 lbs, and do some “round the worlds”. I also did a bit of upper body work with them and figured I could try to get back into doing push-ups. I only did 5! My body was just not liking it.

It hates me even more today. The pain under my clavicle is horrible and my whole upper-body is in searing pain. I’m sure some of you can relate to that burn after a workout from lactic acid buildup. Well, us fibro peeps are unable to break lactic acid down. It has to do with mitochondrial dysfunction. It can take hours or days to recoup after physical exercise, repetitive movement, and many various tasks.

So, it’s just another reminder that I need to listen to my body. Today, I will focus on stretching and some light yoga, avoiding anything with too much upper body work. I’m thinking I might need get a foam roller to release my fascia between workouts. Listening to my body is certainly going to be essential. I just don’t want to do too much, too fast and set myself back for days at a time. With chronic pain it isn’t a one workout at a time thing. It’s a one movement at a time. Gauging when we have pushed it a bit too far and backing off is imperative. Most people work out to a point of muscle exhaustion and to where each rep becomes a bit more laborious. This is not beneficial to those with fibro, as it may place them into a flare up or keep their pain levels high for days. That does not put anyone in a mental capacity to want to continue with any further workouts.

Yep, I’m backing off, but not backing down. My journal says I can’t. Every day that I can, I write 3 dreams in it. (said journal is not something I’m not committing enough to and should be) Everyday those dreams may be different or similar to the previous. One recurring journal dream is obvious: become the healthiest version of me. I’m not sure what that looks like, but I think I can imagine what it won’t feel like. It won’t feel like defeat and giving in to pain and a host of other symptoms every day. It will feel like success! It won’t feel like being out of control. It will feel like freedom! Handwriting that dream onto paper helps seal it into my reality. It will happen. It must.

This blog is another way to place this dream into real life. It has been a slow pulling and pushing out of the darkest, barricaded corner I’ve ever placed myself in. I still have further work to do to move from it and toward better, brighter days. Although I have mostly come to terms with the physical part of my journey, I have avoided the mental.

One thing I did for that mental need today was change up the style of this blog. Did you notice? I wanted to be sure it was a place I was happy to come back to. I didn’t want it to become a painful workout that I resent and avoid. Like that flower, I want to put my face to the sun, feel the warmth of life, bend with the wind, and enhance the path forward.

On my wellness way. At my pace.

(That lil guy at the top of the page is one of my grandsons. My dream and desired destiny includes many new adventures with my grandkids. Here he is digging his toes into some of St. Thomas’s Magens Bay sand.)

Why get fit? Why now?

Howdy, friends! I thank you for following me this far on my wellness journey. I thought I’d take some time to explain what brought me to here. Not blogging, because a have a couple of those that I write as a hobby. But to blogging about striving to get well and to live in most fit body fit ever.

As for the getting fit part, that’s easy. Who doesn’t want to feel good in their own skin and not have clothes tug and pull across unwanted weight. Or to constantly be changing out your wardrobe because you keep changing pant size. I once had the goal to bit a fit mom of four at 30. Then it was the goal to take time for me since my boys were becoming independent and to be fit by 40. That then led into wishing to being a fit and fab grandma at 50. I kept falling short. I stayed trim for the most part. But I wasn’t my healthiest. Now I’m three rambunctious grandboys in, and I want to be able to keep up with them. And instead of being 55, fit and fabulous, I have tipped into the overweight realm and my fibromyalgia symptoms are piling on. And I am also noticing more of this bloated, swollen feel throughout my body. It isn’t at all pleasant.

I have never been a yo-yo dieter. Food has never had a lot of control over me. I have always tried to be conscious of the amount of food that goes into my body. This is where most of my willpower lies. If I get an extra portion of that yummy supper, I can’t have that chocolate candy I love. If I have a sweetened tea or wine with my meal, I have to adjust my food intake to offset the calories. Now, that is not to say I was always eating the healthiest versions of food, because I fell victim to the ease of fast meal prep by using boxed and frozen meals. I often made homemade meals, but there was always plenty of mac and cheese types of boxed foods within reach. Those preservative filled foods were not removed from my life until about 2003. I think that is what has helped me keep my weight in check over the last decades.

Now when it comes to exercise, this is where the yo-yo was apparant. I could keep on track for months at a time with an exercise routine, but then suddenly something would crop into my life and I’d be off track. My weight changes weren’t crazy, but would fluctuate 5 to 10 pounds. In 2018 I was taking care of my grandsons 5 days a week, and was sometimes too tired to work out. But I always kept on the move and got plenty of steps in to at least maintain my weight. By late that year, we sold our house in Virginia and moved into a hotel. I was still watching the grandsons, but since there house was smaller than ours, the steps I completed each day dropped considerably. My pain levels were on the rise, as was my weight. This despite the fact our hotel room was on the fourth floor and I rarely used the elevator.

This is just a couple of months ago. ( I am on the far right. The other two beauties are my daughter in laws) This was me was before I hit my overweight mark and when, in seeing this photo for the first time, I understood why I wasn’t happy, and how much bloating was going on in my body. I was feeling trapped and chained to a dissatisfied lifestyle and self image. I needed to make a change. Sidenote: I actually sent this photo to myself in an email labeled “fat photo”. In actuality, I should have called it “unhealthy photo”. It’s time to make that healthy change. No better time than now.

Since the end of 2019 we have been staying with my son and DIL in North Carolina as we seek a new residence. My pain levels have become as such that I rarely have the energy or ability to workout as I’d like. But since, I am no longer helping out with my grandsons, there is absolutely no excuse to not get myself back on the right track.

And this is the perfect time to do so. Why? Because I am currently in limbo. I am no longer taking care of the grandsons. I don’t have a house to keep up with. And my time can be me own if I only let it. I am a person who loves to help others, but often with the mistake of neglecting and depleting myself. I’m sure a lot of you can relate. But this is the perfect time to prepare myself for what lies ahead: the grandsons hopefully moving closer, so I can be chasing them around more often, a new home to keep up with, and hopefully more travel abroad.

At 50 I was on track to be the fittest I had been in my life. I was losing fat and gaining muscle. I had never been able to gain muscle. But a change in diet changed that. However, just as I had time after time, I wasn’t consistent. Life and pain got in the way. I know I can get back to this. And plan to push further than what I accomplished back then. This blog, being accountable for keeping you along for the journey, and hopefully inspiring you to become a healthier you, my drive to be able to decrease my pain, being able play more with my grandchildren, and traveling without constant “what ifs”, will help keep me from deviating from my goals.

I am taking this slow, because I have to be realistic. Fibromyalgia is not that forgiving, nor is muscle pain something I want to aggravate. I am no longer placing a marker for when this goal has to be accomplished. I’m just planning to, as Mel Robbins says in her newest free program, make this my “Best Decade Ever”. And the changes will be multifaceted, from continuing to find new healthy recipes, focusing on eating the best for my body, moving and exercising according to how my body tolerates it on a given day and in a given moment, finding balance in peace, elimminate things in my life that don’t serve me, and making sure time for me is a priority instead of a last minute ditch effort to make up for all the suffering I have put it through.

Breaking old habits is key. Case in point, I am writing this without having yet done any form of exercise. I have done 4 loads of laundry, nearly finished this blog post, and finished making supper. So, I guess this is my moment. I’m off to commit to me and my goal.

Until next time, ponder this…

What does your best decade ever look like?

Weekend Woes

I actually wrote a blog post in the midst of one of the worst weekends I have had in a long time. It was a mental post that I’m not sure will ever be placed into blog world. But then perhaps it would be cathartic. Maybe when I am in a better mental state and can more clearly present it. Until then, here’s my watered down version.

Saturday started out pretty well. I had a bit of shoulder pain and some lower back pain. Hubby and I had been working on a puzzle, so although it was painful, I pushed through since we were so close to completing it. I was hoping if I just kept moving it would work itself out. So, I swept and mopped the hallway and our bedroom. And then set out to clean the bathroom (it was long overdue). By the time I was halfway through, I was starting to feel the pain spreading throughout my entire body. Despite that, I completed the task and decided I’d utilize the heating pad and just take it easy. However, hour by hour, the pain became deeper and deeper. I ended up in bed the rest of the day and had absolutely no appetite. Smelling of muscle rub, wrapped in a heating pad, weak and frustrated beyond words, I tried not to mentally lose it.

I struggled to sleep throughout the night and by morning, I was feeling things becoming worse. I knew I was on the cusp of a migraine, so I attempted to do my best to relax. Nothing worked. By mid day, I was writhing in pain and the migraine took hold. I tried to at least to get something to eat, but that wasn’t to happen. I laid there in a puddle of tears and pain drool, and wished myself to just pass out. My DIL brought me meds; my hubby tried to massage my muscles and soothe me. I couldn’t even stand to lie in bed as the pressure of it on my muscles was excruciating. My pillow felt like a rock. By late that evening, the pain started to lighten up. I was in a mental stupor, but glad to have the pain no longer trying to push me over the edge.

Today, is a day of recuperating. I’ll have lost almost 2 and half days and that bums me out. But, lesson learned again: mental energy does not equate to physical capability. . Oddly, this is not the first time that I have had this issue after the cleaning the bathroom. Seriously! I think between the bending and twisting, and the cleaners, my body can’t tolerate it. It is one of reasons I was glad to be living in a hotel for just over a year, bathroom duty didn’t belong to me. And as for future bathroom cleaning sessions? That task has been relinquished to the hubby.

This has already meant a slow start to my week. And exercise won’t be happening until I regain my footing. But I remain determined in my goal. My willpower remains strong. The power of wellness will not elude me. I think some light yoga will be my go to as a restart.

Month two of working toward well power.

Tomorrow will mark my two months of adding Plexus products to my bags of tools to help me along on my journey of turning my willpower into well power. I thought it would be a great time to take a real look at what changes I’ve seen and feel. I am going into this with an open mind and without expectations of “a cure”. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, IBS, and Myofascial Pain. After nearly 16 years of dealing with chronic pain, I know it is not realistic, nor beneficial to my mental state, to believe there is a magic potion out there to make all the symptoms go away. But I am confident there are ways to decrease the intensity of the symptoms and increase my quality of life.

One of the very first positives I noticed was a decrease in inflammation. This is especially true in my hands, as this where I can visually see it. Most morning my hands are swollen to the point of being unable to bend them. This may or may not last all day. However, I have only had about 3 mornings of swelling, since about 3 weeks into starting Plexus. Physically I can feel less swelling throughout my entire body.

The second thing I have physically noticed, is a bit more energy throughout the day. I usually hit a wall both physically and mentally about 2 p.m. each day. Most days, I would be ready to crawl into bed for the remainder of the day. Every task beyond that bewitching hour was grueling and draining. I now have found I can sometimes have the energy to make dinner. Although pain still makes it difficult to do it at a “normal person” speed, I am grateful that there is a bit of stamina left to keep me moving through it. Having that bit of energy alleviates some of the daily frustration and in turn, gives me small snippets of actual happiness, rather than the “don’t let them know you are struggling face”. It’s a genuine feeling that I thought had forever eluded me.

I actually enjoyed cooking last night! It is chore that is usually spattered with expletives because pain persists and brain processes perish. But I actually enjoyed making these two new recipes and felt quite pleased by my sustained energy levels, as well as how delicious they turned out. The hubby said they are “must keep” recipes. I totally agree. I have shared the recipes at the bottom of this post

Left photo: Warm Potato Salad with Hummus and Arugula Right photo: Maple-Dijon-Cider Pork Tenderloin (Sauce not shown- But I did make it and it was delish!)

I started changing my diet about 15 years ago when my IBS was starting to get out control and I was noticing sugar and gluten increased my pain. I also had to focus on keeping my weight in check, since several doctors have warned me that a higher number on the scales equates to higher pain levels. I started eating clean and have rarely eaten processed foods since that time. Sweet tea is one of my weaknesses, so I limited that to once or twice a month. These choices, along with trying to get some type of exercise when my pain levels allowed, kept my weight in check. However, since hitting that 50 year old mark, my weight has been creeping up each year.

By the middle of last year, I had tipped into the overweight group. So, although my original intent was in alleviating other health issues with Plexus, weight loss would be an extra perk. To date, I have lost 5 1/2 pounds. I have not altered my diet. But I have had less cravings for chocolate. I used to literally wake up in the middle of the night and crave it. The only additional thing I have added, is walking each day. And I am able to do this because of my increased energy. It is no where in a normal range, but it has improved.

In terms of pain, there is a slight, but noticeable decrease. I still wake up nightly with pain, but I am moving more throughout the day, so that is something I expected. I hope over time this will diminish. Pain in my tender points has been less severe, and searing pain and tingling in my arms and chest at night are occurring about a 1/3 of the time now. I have also noticed I recover a bit more quickly after taking a shower. Yes, I said, a shower. It is one of those strange things that occur with fibromyalgia. I usually take showers or baths at night for this reason. Everyday task like that can be exhausting, and it is a good way to gauge levels of improvement.

A huge improvement for me both in terms of digestion and mental strength is that I am not facing severe repercussions for consuming gluten or even enjoying a few morsels of a non gluten free food. I have also been able to eat regular portions of foods like broccoli, mushrooms, pineapple and such, that used to once have me making quick trips to the bathroom if I ate more than my system could tolerate. I’ve also noticed decreased bloating. I now no longer look like I am 4 months pregnant after eating certain foods. There is still slight bloating after eating the occasional gluten free bread, but it isn’t something I like to indulge in much anyway due to preservatives.

The one fibro symptom that many night be aware of, but that is a huge issue when it comes to self confidence and self worth, is what is called brain fog. It brings much frustration and despair to daily life. The inability to remember words, finding it difficult to process thoughts quickly, and merely following common directions like a recipe, can become overwhelming. The many ways it decreases self esteem and worth feels never ending. In the past month, I have seen more windows of mental clarity throughout my day. Of course, when pain levels are up, this can feed into that difficulty of processing things mentally. But, even without pain, brain fog can be debilitating. I would love to see this disappear!

So, overall things are ticking in a positive direction. Since I have been plagued with pain for years, I know this is going to be a slow process. But, I am not moving backwards and that is a good thing. I could never go back there! It was a horrible time in my life. And I refuse to stay in the state I in as it is still not the happy and fulfilling life I want. This why I am seeking change. But I am still garnering all the willpower I can and am grateful for these small grains of healthy change. It is mental morsels that keeps me optimistically pushing forward.

I’ve unpacked my products and am ready to delve into month three.

Recipes:

Maple-Dijon-Cider Pork Tenderloin

Warm Potato Salad with Hummus and Arugula

Ain’t no mountain high enough.

This past weekend’s weather opened up another perfect opportunity to hike. I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. As I stated in my last post, hiking is my preferred way to get exercise and keep my body moving toward better health. It wasn’t as strenuous of a hike as the previous weekends in terms of steepness, as the the bulk of the inclines were walkways rather than a series of stairs, but my heart and leg muscles were getting a great workout. We probably did almost 3 miles by the time we tweaked the original trail of 2.8 miles we started out on.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

I also took my hiking poles on this trip, so there was more upper body work as well. I enjoyed every step despite the mental battle to keep going when my body was ready to give in. Concentrating on breathing deeply for optimal oxygen intake was essential. As was reminding myself of one thing on my vision board: to one day climb the steps of Machu Picchu.

I wish I could say I woke up feeling relatively “fibro normal” as I did after last weekend’s hike, but that was not the case. I was up in the middle of the night with searing pain throughout my entire body. And today my energy levels are low.

I won’t call this a step backward, however. Last week was a productive week for me and my energy levels remained at a place where I felt more in charge of my life. And to then to also fit in a hike at the end of that busy week was a huge win! Although today it is expected to be nearly 70 degrees today and it will take all I can to muster a walk through the neighborhood, there “ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough” to deter me from doing so.

Dear well power,

Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Remember the day I set you free
I told you you could always count on me darling
From that day on, I made a vow
I’ll be there when you want me
Some way, some how
(lyrics from Martin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough)

Always here for you,

Willpower

Relearning What I Learned

On Sunday I did a 2.8 mile hike with my hubby, son, and daughter in law. I must admit it was a bit ambitious, as it was a hike to a waterfall, so there was an abundance of steps. And treacherous ones at that, because they were quite step and those closer to the top of the mountain were covered in hidden ice. But if I am going to deal with pain, hiking is one of those things that are worth it to me. Even if that means, I am always behind and there is a slim chance I will catch up.

I took my time and rested as needed. I also focused on relaxing my muscles and breathing through each step so I kept getting plenty of oxygen to my muscles. There was as much mental work as physical going on. But it was all worth that huffing and puffing and moments of despair that crept in when I felt like heading back down that mountain.

I tried to stay in the moment and look at all the breathtaking scenery around me. I focused on the rush of the water in the river, and used its power to propel me. And it worked! I made it to the top and reveled in the immense spill of the waterfall. The mist coming off of it was cold and exhilarating. I learned and relearned that I can partake in these rewarding paths, despite the trials of taking the rougher trails.

I was surprised the next morning that my stiffness and soreness was no worse than most mornings. My calves just felt a bit tight. I was ready to start my week off on a positive note, so I began working on a post for this blog. Here is where I started making some wrong decisions.

It was a rainy, dreary day, so it was perfect for snuggling up on my bed and typing away as I listened to the rainfall. Unfortunately, I wasn’t listening to my body. I worked on writing and researching. I took some time to pay bills and gather tax information. I sorted through mail and paperwork. But I didn’t take the time to do yoga or any type of physical workout. And what a mistake that was.

My sleep last night was so sporadic. My pain had increased. It is as if I have spent a day wrapped like a mummy and curled inside a small box for hours with no room to move. I know this is what happens when I don’t move enough. That’s the thing with fibro, you can either move too much, or not enough. Balance is important. I’ve learned this, I know this, yet, from time to time, I have to relearn it.

There is something else I relearned. I have to be authentic. I enjoy writing, but there was no real joy in yesterday’s writing. It wasn’t totally coming entirely from my voice. My style. So, even though it was an accomplishment, it was also a lesson. Not only was it too long for me to sit and write, it likely was too long to read. I’m not even sure it was as coherent as it should be. But, I am better for having written it. Just as I am better by having hiked that mountain.

Mighty magnesium

Did you know that magnesium deficiency is common in the US general population? Did you know that such a deficiency can cause symptoms such as muscle cramps and contractions, numbness and tingling, and abnormal heart rhythms, just to name a few? Did you know that diseases such as Crohn’s and chronic diarrhea can lead to such a deficiency? And, did you know that has been found those with fibromyalgia are often found to have this deficiency?

I could spew all sorts of medical data about magnesium and diet, but since I am certainly no medical expert, I will explain what I have found with it in my own experience. If you want a bit more info about magnesium here’s a place to start: National Institutes of Health

As I mentioned, a magnesium deficiency can become an issue if you deal with chronic diarrhea. For years I was plagued with constipation and was diagnosed with IBS/C (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation). But within a few years of my fibromyalgia diagnosis, things were spiraling out of control. I was dealing with diarrhea 3 or 4 times a month. I had been tweaking my diet for years to maintain my IBS, but suddenly I couldn’t get control over this newest issue.

Within that time period, chronic vertigo and migraines ensued. My body pain was becoming deeper, with new pain symptoms emerging. Over the next couple years, I would tick of new fibro issues one by one, until my body and mind were reeling out of control. From the onset of my diagnosis, and especially during that time, I was constantly researching ways to decrease my symptoms. The benefits of magnesium for my pain kept coming up over and over. And I have taken it for years now.

I didn’t only rely on supplements, I tried to introduce magnesium into my diet as much as possible. Spinach was one of my favorites. I’d blend it into my morning smoothie and mix it into my salads. Despite all my efforts, I couldn’t eliminate these bouts of loose stool.

I often realized that some foods would exacerbate it. Especially when I had accidentally taken in too much gluten. (something I had eliminated early on in my fibro diagnosis) I also did an elimination diet called FODMAP and found that there were other foods that were causing me issues. But honestly, I was finding this ridiculous!

Here are some odd things I found…

I couldn’t eat mushrooms. I’d be running to the bathroom within an hour.

Same thing with celery! What? I’d finally just started eating it as it was one of those things as a did that I detested. But, what was this healthy good acting as if it was a virus once it entered my digestive tract?

I could only eat 3 pieces of broccoli. Yep, 3. Eat 4, and the above issues would occur.

That is what the bulk of what this diet brought to light; what I couldn’t eat and what was the limit of some foods that my system could tolerate. The list just kept growing. I was exasperated and stopped the diet.

I just couldn’t keep on like this. I was eliminating almost all the foods on the pyramid. I was once told by a nutritionist that I wasn’t eating enough grains. I explained that I ate those I could, but with my gluten sensitivity, I don’t eat breads and such. He said, “there are plenty of gluten free items on the market”. Yep, and a lot of them are processed! I refused to eat those. And even gluten free oats make me bloat and miserable.

So, here’s the good thing about magnesium, it helps keep the bowel regular. Now, I have been regular for years, so you’d think that wouldn’t play a part in my issue, right? Wrong! And that would just make my bouts of diarrhea occur more often, right? Wrong! At least, I have not found this to be the case. I mean, is having chronic diarrhea regular?

You see I started taking Plexus BioCleanse back in December 2019. Since then, I have eaten as many as 3 stalks of celery in one sitting. I can eat more than 3 pieces of broccoli (I love it in stir fry). And I have been able to eat foods with small amounts of gluten. However, I have decided that although I don’t get the bowels issues with small amounts of gluten, it did cause skin issues and mouth sores. So those are staying off the (food) table for now.

So, why is this working? My take on it: gut health. I have felt for years that my issues have come from gut issues. And those issues stem from a build of toxins due to the years of constipation, past prescriptions I was using, and stress. Good gut bacteria is essential and mine has been losing the battle for years. My body was becoming sicker and no matter how much diet change I tried and probiotics I took, my gut health was barely improving. I’ve been at this for 15 years and have appeared to be at the “as good as it gets” level for the past year. But I am not willing to accept that level. That is my reason for trying this path of Plexus.

The BioCleanse makes sense for what my body has been telling me for years. I guess we are not only what we eat, but also what we do or do not shit. 😉

As I said before, I am not part of the medical field, so don’t take what I say as scientific proof. But, I do have daily personal experience. And I am an expert in what my body as been through and is going through. So, why do I think this is working? Bio Cleanse helps eliminate the harmful microbes that I believe may have not been allowing all those probiotics that I have been taking over the past few years take affect. My gut just wasn’t able to properly digest all those foods, saw them as foreign toxic issue, and eliminated them out by the means of emergency trips to the bathroom. And guess what, those with Chron’s and chronic diarrhea tend to be deficient in magnesium. And magnesium is said to be a deficiency that causes some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. .

Here is the Plexus description of what Bio Cleanse does:

BIO CLEANSE: THE MIGHT OF MAGNESIUM
Bio Cleanse is a specially formulated, gentle formula that
contains a unique combination of magnesium and bioflavonoids
that helps you manage those days when you feel unbalanced
and uncomfortable. Magnesium ions draw water into the
intestine, increasing fluidity and essentially having a gentle
stimulation effect. This helps remove unnecessary or harmful
substances.*
PLEXUS BIO CLEANSE PRIMARY BENEFITS
• Helps cleanse the gastrointestinal tract*
• Reduces gas, bloating, and discomfort*
• Helps promote regularity*
• Helps remove harmful microbes and substances*
• Relieves occasional constipation*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Along with the help of ProBio5, my gut feels as if it is being filled with good stuff. My bloating has decreased and I have had only one day of bathroom emergency in the past month and a half. The appears the magnesium in the BioCleanse has helped to also decrease the tingling and numbness I experience. Especially in my arms. I normally have this every morning and night, and can experience it throughout the night. To date, I have only experienced one morning (beginning about 3 weeks into my Plexus regimen) of tingling and twice during the day.

These are slight, but very promising changes. And they are a very welcome stepping stone in gaining some daily physical and mental well power!

What a pain, pain is.

This totally feels like it’s going to be perceived as a whining session, but I am seriously not. And it certainly isn’t about getting sympathy. My hope is to make others aware of the scope of what my body does to keep my living life as I once could. I have not absolutes on why it happens, I can only explain what I endure. Because there is mental and physical aspects to it, I want to present it in small chunks. Therefore, for this post, I am going to focus on the physical pain portion of it.

Two years after a fall, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and myofasical pain syndrome. There are a lot of details and experiences wrapped in those two diagnosis, but for sake of time, and perhaps your sanity, I’m going to refrain from telling those stories now. I may share them in a post at a later date.

Here is the Mayo Clinics definition of fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”

Now here is my best explanation of what that pain feels like:

Tense your entire body as if you feel like something you fear is about to happen to you. Tense everything from your leg muscles, your facial muscles, the bottoms of your feet. Everything. Now imagine never allowing those muscles to relax, yet you must carry out your day.

Now imagine your muscles are being twisted, over and over, until there are twists atop twists.

Okay, muscles tight and twisted? Now focus on your bones. They are being repeatedly assaulted by a sledgehammer. Blow by blow they feel as is they are being splintered. The pain is severe and deep; it hurts to the very core of them.

Next, the underside of your skin is on fire. Your feet burn, and it goes deeper with each step you take. In some places, your outer skin is afire, as if someone has suddenly touched you with a hot iron.

You know that feeling when you hit your elbow? That radiating stinging and tingling that courses down your arm? Imagine it occurring throughout your entire body. No specific place or pattern, just randomly showing up and lasting for minutes or hours.

Fibromyalgia is also marked with what is called tender points. I’ll throw this last little explanation in with the help of Healthline: “Tender points” on the body are one hallmark of fibromyalgia. When you press on these spots, they feel soreTender points can be located on the back of the head, elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips. There are 18 possible tender points in all. I have all eighteen. Always the overachiever. 😉

Image result for fibromyalgia tender points

Now keep all those things going at once; this is the height of a bad flare up. But, it can show up in when you think you’ve got things under control and are sitting in a movie theater or on that vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months. No warning, no reason. It just arrives uninvited. You know you certainly didn’t pack it in your suitcase. Who would?!

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. Perhaps none of those symptoms are not visiting you on a particular day. Maybe, it is just a bit of muscle tightening. But suddenly, you can’t walk without being drained and exhausted. Your body feels like lead and you are walking through muck up to your chin and into a head wind. Yesterday you might have bounded up the steps, but now you are winded by going up 4 or 5 and need to stop and catch your breath.

All of this can happen individually or simultaneously throughout a day. One day you can run a mile or hike 3, the next day you can barely get yourself to the bathroom. It can be exacerbated by lack of sleep or sleeplessness, overexertion, not moving enough, cold weather, change in barometric pressure, diet, illness, stress, depression, anxiety, and hormonal changes. That, in a nutshell, is the physical infliction of fibromyalgia.

Myofascial Pain:

Mayo Clinic explanation:  “Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In this condition, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in the muscle and sometimes in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. … This syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively.”

So, remember that muscle reaction to fear I had you mimic earlier? Imagine all that contraction going on. Each of those are now being plagued with the possibility of myofascial pain, if I cannot remain in control and keep them from tensing. Unfortunately, many movements used in daily activities cause them to contract and remain so. Thus, calling in in myofascial to over react.

The fascia is like that thin membrane you see when you eat chicken. It lies between the flesh and the skin. Here’s the medical description:  A fascia (/ˈfæʃ(i)ə/; plural fasciae /ˈfæʃii/; adjective fascial; from Latin: “band”) is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.

Here’s is my explanation of what happens physically with myofascial pain: I call it my push me- pull me pain. Basically a group of muscles react as if they are overused. This tends to be the group of muscles I originally injured. In order to protect themselves, they attach to the fascia. Now because that fascia is wrapped around and through so many muscles, it literally tugs on them with each movement. Now, my body subconsciously, or I consciously, start to use another set of muscles instead. Those then become fatigued and grab onto a big of fascia. Between me trying to use various muscles and those muscles now attached to fascia that is pulling across other muscles, it is an all out war: my push me- pull me in action.

So, therein lies my wish list of things to lessen or eradicate. It is almost 19 years in the making, so I know it will take time to pick it all apart. I have done much in the way of that in the last 16, but I’m determined to do better.

Thanks for following along on this journey. I’m hoping and striving for epic changes and improvement.

If you deal with any chronic or life altering setbacks, please share. It’s always good to know we aren’t alone in them. Finding mutual understanding without humiliation is key.

Forward from here.

I’ve been reluctant to start this blog. Just as reluctant as I was 18 years ago to accept I have a chronic issue. I couldn’t name it aloud, because I refused to accept it as part of my life. It, in my eyes, showed weakness. And never would I allow anyone to see me as such. This has been my curse since a child: to be perceived as weak and to do my damnedest to prove to the world otherwise.

I know some of the graphics and titles on this page might make not sense to you at all at the moment. Because in the context of this blog narrative, they don’t. I’m a perfectionist by nature, and although that might often serve me in certain situations. In this one, it hinders me. Therefore, I decided to forego making the blog all pretty and organized at the onset, and, instead delve into writing. It will all meld given time. A commodity I also often deprive myself of.

So, here I am, nearly 56 years old, and owning up to a weakness in my body. Which has ultimately crept into my mind, my well being, my day to day life and my personality. But, I have grown to see within it, my strength.

Today’s strength is writing despite my fear of failure, my current pain levels, and my reluctance to show such a personal side of myself. Cocooning my true self is truly safer than what might transpire here. However, I propel myself forward with the hope it won’t be as scary as what I’ve convinced myself of.

So, why this blog? I have been working to find answers on my own for so long, and I have come across so many others trying to do the same thing. I’m not so sure how parallel our symptoms might run, but I do see the mental struggle is. Therefore, maybe as I share a new perspective, idea, answer, to one of my issues, perhaps someone else will find something that they can utilize to alleviate or lessen theirs.

I’m trying to move out of my cocoon, where I feel alone in my suffering. The hope is to transform. To move, along with others, by utilizing this long standing willpower within us, and use it to create well power: the power of being a healthier version of ourselves, that lends itself to living within the power of stronger well being, both mentally and physically, to reconnect with the person we were before our bodies were besieged, and to living out dreams long left abandoned.

I’m committed to this desire . I need to be. It has what has gotten me this far. But I need to keep reaching, because the longing for it festers as deep as the pain. I’m in it to win it. And, I hope you will be, too.

You deserve to be well. You deserve to be understood. You deserve to bring back those dreams you thought were gone forever. You deserve to watch, and feel, and revel in them coming to fruition.

Let’s do this!

(And, bam! Publishing before I tweak, re-tweak, and self doubt comes a knocking.)