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Author Archives: Cynthia Covert

Communication is key whether you have chronic pain, a mental illness, or both

*This post contains affiliate links which support the operating costs of this site.

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Communication is key whether you have chronic pain, a mental illness, or both

Do you or someone you love live with a mental illness?  You are NOT alone!  Depression, anxiety, OCD, Bipolar, and addiction are just a few of the many mental illnesses that millions of people battle every day.  According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), approximately 1 out of every 5 adults in the United States, that’s 43.8 million people, experience mental illness in a given year.  That is more than the entire population of California alone!!! They also estimate that 1 in 25 adults or 9.8 million experience a serious mental illness in a given year that significantly interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.

 

In the May 2018 issue of Women’s Health Magazine, there is an article about mental health and relationships. If we are not careful mental and chronic illnesses can create unwanted distance between us and our loved ones. The article not only discusses the impact that a mental illness can have on a marriage, but also the parent/child relationship and friendships too.  They show both sides of the story as well as offer helpful tips for both people in the relationship.

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One approach mentioned in the article is to develop code phrases.  I applied this strategy to my own life and relationships several years ago.  At first is was to signal how I was unable to think clearly or function because of physical pain from my chronic illnesses.  Later I also learned to use to express when I was struggling with depression or anxiety.

Whether I am struggling with extreme physical pain, anxiety, or depression I find it difficult to leave the house, get out of bed, hold a conversation, express my feelings, or make major decisions.  I lose control over my emotions and the filter between my brain and mouth malfunctions.  Instead of expressing my thoughts and feelings in a kind or practical manner, I blurt out short and often demanding phrases that are hurtful or just rude in tone.  This would frustrate and hurt my husband, children, family, and friends.

My solution was to create a code phrase.  I use phrases like “nobody’s home” or “can’t process” to express that I am not functioning like I should and am not in the state of mind to be able to make major decisions or answer a bunch of questions. These phrases not hurtful and they fully express my current mental and physical state at that moment.  These phrases are not a pass to get out of dealing with problems or issues. Avoidance will only make matters worse. Instead, they give me time to be able to recover from my episode which allows me to think clearly.  This practice has opened deeper discussions with my loved ones and has improved how we communicate.

Honesty and communication are key when dealing with a chronic or mental illness, no matter what the relationship is.  You can learn more tips and coping strategies in the May issue of Women’s Health Magazine (click here for a digital or print subscription) or visit NAMI for tips and mental health support.

Remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! Do NOT allow the stigma of mental illness keep you from reaching out for help, support, and care.  If you are considering suicide, I beg and urge you to contact a suicide prevention line ASAP! Below are a few suicide prevention hotline and online chat resources.

United States:  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

CALL TOLL FREE

1-800-273-8255

CHAT ONLINE

 

United Kingdom: Samaritans  116 123 (UK) 116 123 (ROI)

 

Canada: Crisis Services Canada

CALL TOLL FREE
1.833.456.4566

Chat online

TEXT WITH US
45645
For residents of Quebec, call 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277 3553)

 

 

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Reduce chronic pain and inflammation with this drug-free device.  Promo code DIVA will save you $55.  Click here to learn how this device can help you!

 

 

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Five Benefits of Drinking White Tea

*This article contains affiliate links. The pennies earned from them help offset the expense of running this blog.

 

 

Five Benefits of Drinking White Tea

In my quest to lose the weight I have gained from years of inactivity due to chronic pain from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis, I have obviously had to make dietary changes.  Choosing beverages that are calorie free and beneficial to my health is one of them.

Tea time

Due to having some strange and dangerous reactions to black and green teas many years ago, I stopped consuming tea.  However, a few weeks ago I tried white tea and was pleasantly surprised to not experience any negative reactions to it.  At home I brew the blueberry white tea pictured above.  When I am on the go I swing into Starbucks and order an unsweetened shaken iced white tea.  I love that I have found a beverage that has just enough caffeine to get me through the day, but less than coffee or black tea, and also has many health benefits.

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5 Benefits of white tea

1. Antiaging Properties

As someone who will be turning 50 in the fall, I am all for anything that will help me look younger!!!  White tea may help reduce the risk of premature aging, repair damaged skin, and protect skin against the effects of ultraviolet light.

2. Improves Cardiovascular Disorder

The flavonoids in white tea help to decrease the blood pressure and may reduce the risk of various heart conditions.

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3. Antibacterial Agent

White tea has antibacterial properties which can protect our skin from bacteria and other germs. Talk about a win for those of us with compromised immune systems!!

4. Weight Loss

Studies suggest that intake of white tea may prevent the formation of fat cells.

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5. May Protect Against Osteoporosis

Compounds found in white tea, including the polyphenols called catechins, may lower the risk of osteoporosis by promoting bone growth and suppressing bone breakdown.

If those reasons aren’t enough for you to put down that chemical filled diet soda or energy drink, then check out these articles for even more reasons!!!

10 Impressive Benefits of White Tea

10 Amazing Benefits of White Tea

The Benefits of White Tea Versus Green Tea

 

 

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19492999

https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=f37edea5-f874-47f5-82da-c7fefc405805

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24172310

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20142827

Addressing my symptoms one at a time

*Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. I am NOT issuing medical advice.  I am just sharing how I addressed my symptoms and my experiences.  This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are mine and were in no way influenced by the companies.

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In the fall of 2012 I made the decision to treat my chronic illness naturally and alternatively.  At this point I had been living with excruciating pain from fibromyalgia, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and endometriosis for 12 years.  During those years I treated my conditions and pain pharmaceutically.  I never experienced relief or improvements.  In fact my conditions were rapidly getting worse and opioids would occasionally mask my pain for an hour or two or barely take it down a notch. I was lucky to sleep for 4 hours and most of the time I only slept in 20 minute increments. To add insult to injury, the side effects from my prescriptions, including opioids, were adding more health issues and pain.  In this post I am sharing how I began my alternative journey, what I did, and how I went from being consumed with pain and not being able to walk, sit, or stand for more than 5 minutes to walking 4-9 miles a day and no longer needing a wheelchair.

The first step in taking back my life

My first step was to discontinue my pharmaceutical treatments.  I was able to stop some medications immediately, while others required that I taper off instead.  **Remember, I am only sharing what I did and am in NO way suggesting that you do what I did!**  To my surprise I experienced a few improvements.  This was because I was no longer experiencing the side effects that my prescriptions had been producing. One thing had become clear after I ceased taking opioids, they were to blame for my frequent and extremely painful urinary tract infections. I never had them before I had to take them daily for pain, yet was in the ER several times a year because of how painful they were during the 12 years that I did. I have yet to have another since I stopped taking prescription pain killers.

It was this point that made it possible to know what symptoms and pain I was actually dealing with because of my chronic illnesses.  The symptoms and pain I needed to get under control included: fatigue, brain fog, muscle soreness, muscle spasms, joint pain and swelling, nerve pain, psoriasis rashes, pain in my jaw, feet, spine, hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, neck, wrists, and hands, reactionary pain, abdominal pain from adhesions stemming from endometriosis and surgical scarring, digestive issues, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Besides wanting to rid my body from the chemicals that were obviously not helping me, I chose detoxing before beginning any new treatment in order to not confuse my results.  I wouldn’t know if something was really working if I still had prescription drugs in my system.

My first step in addressing pain

After completely detoxing, I was ready to tackle my pain.  Since there were so many various symptoms to address I decided to focus on one at a time.  Although I couldn’t walk, sit, or stand for five minutes, hold a pen, and would drop everything I picked up I chose not to focus on one area of my body, but instead my first goal was to reduce my overall pain level.  Widespread pain was the result of my body reacting to its pain sources.  The pain that consumed me head to toe was so intense that it was impossible to know where those sources were.  I needed to relieve my body of reactionary pain first in order to know where my true pain sources were located.

I began by using medical marijuana for pain relief.  In the years prior my response to doctors who wanted to blame some of my pain on depression was “I am not insane, I am in pain”.  Although I truly was depressed and it increased my pain, it wasn’t the source.  I knew that in order to address my depression, I had to first experience a significant level of pain relief.  But it had to be true pain relief, not a Band-Aid that hid it or just having it reduced by a smidgen.  Medical marijuana (MMJ) helped tremendously right from the start.  For two years I was unable to sit in the passenger seat and had to lie in the back seat of our SUV whenever I left the house.  Yet, just a few hours after my first dose of MMJ, I was able to ride upfront without crying.  That evening I enjoyed dinner out with my husband and daughter and for the first time in many years it didn’t bother me to sit at the table.  I could hear what my family was saying and converse with them, because my brain wasn’t consumed with pain.  I was calm, not anxious and I loved every minute of it.  After just a month of using MMJ my overall pain level decreased, nightly insomnia was no longer an issue, I needed less naps, and the joint swelling in one finger and thumb had decreased so significantly that I regained use of those digits. An overall lower pain level also helped improve my anxiety and depression.

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Accepting what was and taking responsibility

Although I experienced a few unexpected improvements in addition to reducing my overall pain level from MMJ, I had no idea how long it would take to see more improvements or if I would improve at all.  It was important that I learned to be okay with the fact that I might never improve or regain the physical abilities that I had before.  I also had to take ownership over my healthcare. In my eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life, I share how I came to accept my life as it was, acknowledge changes that needed to be made, and how I made them.  I also issue challenges to help you do the same.  No matter which symptom you decide to attack first, you will fail if you refuse to accept the life you have and your responsibility to make it better and livable.

Tackling minor pains

You may wonder why I didn’t go after the major sources of my pain first.  The reason for this is because they were so severe that they were constantly lighting new fires for me to put out.  I also find it is easier to deal with one major pain, rather than 100 minor pains spread throughout my body.  Although the pain in my sacrum and spine was the worst of my pain at that time, I could find ways to keep it stable when it was the only pain that was nagging me.  The minor pains I addressed where muscle and joint pain in my hips, shoulders, and neck.  Now when I say minor, understand that I used to consider a pain level of 8 as minor.  To get these areas under control I had to experiment more with MMJ and began including CBD products.  CBD products do not have the psychoactive properties that MMJ does.  CBD will NOT get you high and is legal in all 50 states.  I used MMJ edibles in small doses for daytime pain and larger doses at night.  CBD topical oils are fantastic at reducing topical pain at home and on the go.  As soon as I would feel that a muscle was tensing up or was already wound tight, I would apply a CBD oil and poof, like magic the muscle began to relax.  BTW my favorite topical CBD oil is from BioCBD+.  You can read my full reviews here: Capsules, topical oil, and vape.

At this point I was ahead of the game.  Instead of waiting for the rest of my body to react to its main pain sources, I was able to nip them in the bud.  This made the areas that needed to be addressed next even more clearer.

Taking on the big guys

At this point I had eliminated many of the symptoms that had plagued me for years.  I was down to several major pain sources and since I had the other issues under control it was easier to address them.  By the fall of 2016, the major issues I was still dealing with and that were keeping in a wheelchair were pain in my lower spine, sacrum, hips, feet, and abdominal pain from adhesions.  Also included were changes in the weather that would cause swelling around my spine and neck which would render me useless until the weather system passed.

I began addressing everything except the abdominal pain by using icepacks, rubbing CBD oil on them, getting weekly massages to loosen the muscles that were squeezing those bones, and figuring out what types of physical movement increased or decreased my pain.  In November of 2016 I began using PEMF therapy from Oska Pulse.  However, not understanding how much more effective this form of treatment could be if I used it regularly I didn’t experience much relief from my worst pain in the beginning.  Yet, just using it for several hours a few days a week, I noticed that my stamina was increasing, my good days began out numbering my bad days, and I was recovering from flares faster.  By January of 2017 I was able to begin exercising by using my Oska Pulse during and after my workouts and by finding forms of exercise that didn’t aggravate my sacrum or spine.  Prior to using Oska Pulse I had experienced a major ripping inside my abdomen which relieved me from that pain for a few months.

Abdominal adhesions did more than pull and tug at my sidewall and internal organs, they would also strangle my bowels.  The only way to relieve that pain was for a surgeon to go in and remove the adhesions or for me to wait for them to rip and loosen their hold.  This created digestive issues that no amount of dietary changes was going to cure.  Yet, because I had already had 8 abdominal surgeries, my healthcare provider refused to perform another.  Instead they offered me end of life pain management!!  In March of 2017, adhesions took ahold of my bowels once again and this time it was worse than it had ever been before.  While my doctors were ready to allow adhesions kill me, I wasn’t!! It was time to refocus my attention from my spine to my abdomen. After hearing how PEMF therapy could help loosen or prevent more adhesions, I began treating my abdomen daily.  Gone were my days of only using my Oska Pulse for a few hours, I used it from the moment I woke up and didn’t stop until I went to bed.  I still run my Oska Pulse all day, most days, however I am often able to take a day off or share it with another family member throughout the day.

PEMF therapy with Oska Pulse saved my life.  Within days, the hold that adhesions had on my bowels had loosened.  Within weeks, I was able to eat normally.  Within months my belly no longer hurt with the pain that had made my life a living hell for the past 14 years.

A funny thing happened while I was treating my life threatening abdominal issue.  Without realizing it, I had been treating my spine and hips at the same time.  You see Oska Pulse works within a 22 inch radius, so when I had it on my belly it was directly treating those other areas as well and when seated with my legs crossed I was also treating my feet! I discovered this after four months of fulltime daily use.  Suddenly, there was an evening when I realized that my lower back didn’t hurt and that I could walk throughout the grocery store without increasing my pain level.  Since then I spend my days moving my device from one major pain source to the next to keep them all lower than I ever thought possible.  I am not cured, I still experience pain, but the pain I do experience is very low and it doesn’t prevent me from functioning the way I did before becoming chronically ill.

 

 

 

To infinity and beyond!

You might think that my work was done, but it wasn’t.  I was still experiencing some digestive issues and knew that if I ever wanted to get my bad knee fixed, I would need to lose weight.  I attacked and have conquered my digestive issues by changing what I put into my body.  With the exception of when I eat out, I follow a raw and organic diet.  I do try to find organic options when out, but it isn’t always available.  What I found is this: I do not have a problem with sugar, as long as it is in moderation.  I do have major problems with artificial sweeteners, especially fructose syrup, increasing inflammation throughout my body.  I don’t have an issue with dairy, that is as long as it is organic.  Gluten is not my enemy, it is non-organic wheat and other crap that manufactures put into their products.

Eating organically has rid me of diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and unnecessary pain from inflammation. In addition I have amped up my exercise routine and am losing weight.  Exercise would have never been possible if I hadn’t been able to get ahead of the pain game.  MMJ, CBD, and PEMF therapy are what have made it possible for me to exercise not just regularly, but daily.  They are why I was also able to retire my wheelchair in January of 2018.  My pain management plan includes diet and exercise, because the healthier my entire body is, the better I feel, and the more I am able to do.

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Where I am today

I am not cured.  I still experience flares, mainly weather related, but they are not as severe and painful as they were in the past.  They also don’t last as long as they used to and I am continuing to recover faster from them.  Click here to read about my current pain management plan.  The aches and pains from my chronic illnesses no longer hold me back with the exception of my knee which has loose cartilage and bone fragments jamming into my joints and occasional intestinal inflammation believed to be damage sustained from all the years of adhesions pulling and twisting them.  I still take and enjoy naps when my body demands them, but they are no longer a daily activity.  Instead of dreading mornings, I am excited to wake up each day! I love starting my morning with a 4 mile walk.  While medical marijuana gifted me with 8-10 hours of sleep, my sleep schedule wasn’t regular until I added physical activity.  I am only up late when I choose to be and only sleep past 7AM when I have chosen to stay up past midnight.  My pain management plan has made it possible for me to do the things I loved to do before I became chronically ill.  Speaking of MMJ, I no longer need to medicate for pain during the day.  I use MMJ every night and use CBD and my Oska Pulse during the day.

In addition to how I combat pain I had to make some other changes in regards to my life and attitude.  Check out my eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life.  In it I explain these changes and why they were necessary.  I also issue challenges to help you recognize the areas of your life that may be holding you back and give you ideas on how to remove those obstacles.

Click here to download your copy today!

My advice to you

  1. Find a way to reduce your overall pain level.
  2. Accept your life as it is and change the behaviors that are making your chronic pain and life worse.
  3. Focus on one major issue at a time.
  4. Stop rewarding yourself with food! You are not a dog! Nourish your body with real food and your body will reward you!
  5. Exercise.  Movement helps tremendously.  My hips stiffen up when I sit, but loosen after I begin walking.
  6. Be patient.  I began my journey 6 years ago and my most significant changes only occurred in the past year.  Giving up is NOT an option!

 

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My Pain Management Plan

*Disclosure: I am not a medical professional and I am NOT issuing medical advice.  I am just sharing how I treat my chronic pain.  This post contains affiliate links, however all thoughts and opinions are my own and were in no way influenced by the companies.

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If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram you have surely noticed the improvements that I have experienced in the past year.  I have been receiving a lot of messages from followers asking about my pain management plan, so today I am sharing it with you.  There is no ONE thing that has taken my pain levels back to what they were before my chronic illnesses took over my body 24/7, it’s a combination of natural and alternative therapies that work together.

For those of you who don’t know me, I was diagnosed with psoriasis in 2001, fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis in 2003, endometriosis in 2004, reoccurring abdominal adhesions in 2005 due to endo and surgical scarring, and degenerative disc disease in 2011.  I followed pharmaceutical protocols until 2012 when my health deteriorated to the point of not being able to walk, sit, or stand for more than 5 minutes without experiencing excruciating pain.  I was also in the emergency room several times a year for extremely painful urinary tract infections.  By 2012 most of my life was spent in bed.  That fall I tried medical marijuana, liked the relief it gave me, decided that I wanted to go that route, but not until I rid my body from all its pharmaceutical toxins.  A funny thing happened after my detox, I experienced a reduction of nerve pain and never again experienced another urinary tract infection.

Once I had detoxed from all my prescriptions I began creating my own pain management program.  To be clear, I am not suggesting you do the same, only you can decide what is best for your body.

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Medical Marijuana (MMJ)

I began by using marijuana infused edibles.  While they took longer to take effect than smoking, vaping, or using tinctures, it stayed in my system longer which provided longer lasting periods of relief.  Finally after years of not being able to sleep for more than 4-6 hours a night, that was if I was lucky, I began sleeping a full 8-10 hours every night.  The only exception was when pressure from an incoming heatwave or storm increased my pain.  After a few weeks of using MMJ, I regained use of my left thumb and pointer finger.  Those joints had been so swollen that I hadn’t been able to bend them for years.  After a few months I was able to make a loose fist and a year later I could finally make a tight fist.  Nerve pain was no longer a daily issue, instead it only occurred when experiencing an extreme heatwave or storm.

MMJ did something else that was pretty amazing.  Unlike opioids, MMJ didn’t mask my pain.  Instead it eliminated the reactionary and widespread pain I had experienced since the beginning and reduced the pain felt from my pain sources to a tingle.  This made it possible for me to recognize the sources of my pain, know what areas needed to be addressed, and what I should avoid doing to not aggravate those areas.

By the fall of 2015 I was able to drive myself to the grocery store, shop at one store without using a wheelchair, and occasionally walk short distances at Disneyland.  By the end of 2016 I could walk through two stores without needing weeks to recover.  The only condition that I didn’t experience any relief with was with my abdominal adhesions.

I continue to use MMJ to this day. However, unlike the early years I no longer need it during the day and only use it before bed.  While I still like how easy it is to micro dose with edibles, vaping has become my favorite way to medicate.  I do however use various CBD products occasionally during the day to combat anxiety and depression.  I also use topical CBD oils and lotions.

I review various MMJ and CBD products in The Disabled Diva’s Alternative Chronic Pain Fighting Forum on Facebook.  My favorite CBD vape, topical oil, and capsules are from BioCBD+.

Review of BioCBD+ Capsules

Review of BioCBD+ Topical Oil

Review of BioCBD+ Vape

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Food Intake

In 2016 I began recognizing how certain foods were increasing my pain and inflammation levels and began making changes.  The changes I made at first were minor, but helpful.  Last year I began tracking everything I consumed and noted how I felt.  This made it possible for me to recognize even more foods that were causing harm.  I started 2018 determined to get serious about what I ate.  My diet consists mostly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, smoothie bowls, and granola.  I still eat out occasionally, but try to make the best choices when I do.  Funny thing is that by recognizing how certain foods were causing more pain and making sicker, I lost my craving for them.  What I ate was never the cause of my chronic illnesses, but my former diet did make them worse.  I no longer comfort myself with the foods that I used to crave, because there is no comfort in knowing that I am creating more pain and inflammation.  Losing weight is another benefit, again while not the cause of my diseases, losing weight has helped reduce pain and gives my doctors one less thing to blame.

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PEMF Therapy

I was introduced to PEMF therapy in November of 2016.  I was skeptical at first, but even though I only used it a few times a week I still experienced pain relief and increased stamina.  It wasn’t until I heard that my device may be able to reduce the pain and symptoms from abdominal adhesions (they were strangling my bowels) that I began using it daily.  Since the end of March 2017 I have used my device daily and when I say daily I mean that I use it from the moment I wake up and until I go to bed.  PEMF therapy with Oska Pulse immediately loosened the hold that adhesions had on my bowels.  Within four months the pain that I experienced in my feet, spine, hips, and sacrum were no longer a daily issue.  In fact, those areas only hurt when I push too far or from high pressure pushing in a heatwave or storm.  After 6 months I was able to walk farther than I had since the fall of 2003.  By January of 2018 I began walking .75 miles a day, then increased to 1.65 miles a day, to now where I am walking 4-6 miles every day!! I haven’t had to use my wheelchair since January and only use my walker when I am at Disneyland and am going to be on my feet for more than several hours.  Click here to follow my journey from the beginning.  Click here to visit Oska Wellness. Promo code DIVA will save you $55 at checkout.  Full disclosure: I am an affiliate of Oska Wellness, but only because the product truly delivers on its promise of pain relief and reduction of inflammation.  This device is what has pushed my pain management to another level.  My daily pain level is between 0-4.  I experience less flares and the ones I do experience are less painful than before, don’t last as long, and I recover from them faster.

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Exercise

Because of the improvements I have experienced from MMJ, dietary changes, and PEMF therapy I have been able to exercise every day.  I begin each morning with a 3-5 mile walk and end each day walking another 2-3 miles.  I am slowly adding other exercises to my routine and have begun to notice significant weight loss. I am down a pants size and am well on my way to reach my goal to become the weight I was before my illnesses took over my life.  My physical abilities didn’t occur overnight.  It has taken a full year to reach this level of physical activity.  I keep myself accountable and offer support, encouragement, and motivation to others in The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies.

Other helpful treatments

In addition to the four major aspects of my pain relief plan, I also use heat, ice, and massage.  I am always open to trying new things that are holistic, natural, or out of the norm.  I have learned to listen to my body and to work with it instead of against it.  My pain management plan has made it possible to know which areas need addressing on a daily basis.

I have not been healed.  My conditions are not curable.  However, I rarely spend an entire day in bed anymore and I am doing things that my doctors said I would never be able to do again.

I am happy to address any questions you may have.  No matter how you choose to combat your chronic pain, know that there is hope! Don’t give up! Keep searching and trying new things.

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Tired of your chronic illnesses running your life? Take back control and possibly reduce your pain by making pain your bitch! Click here to download your copy today!

Baby steps are better than NO steps!

*This post contains affiliate links.

stop beating yourself up

I posted the picture above in The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies Facebook group this morning, because it is something that I have to remind myself of often.  Whether it be in regards to eating healthier or exercising, lack of progress feeds my insecurities and makes me wonder if what I am doing is really worth the effort.

I didn’t get where I am overnight!

One thing I have to remind myself of daily is that I didn’t get where I am overnight.  The weight I gained came from years of inactivity and comforting myself with food.  Sure, I could easily blame it on my chronic illnesses, but the truth is that fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis aren’t to blame, I AM!  For years I allowed pain and fatigue to control every aspect of my life and as each year passed by, the further out of shape I became.

Getting real with myself

I have struggled with weight since high school.  Prior to my invisible illnesses deciding to pummel my body with daily pain, I was at a healthy and acceptable weight.  It took a year of watching what I ate and daily exercise to reach my goal, so it would be unrealistic of me to think I could shed the weight I have gained since the fall of 2003 in a few weeks or months.  Another thing I have to consider is that I am 15 years older!!! I will be turning the big 50 this fall and let me tell you my metabolism is nothing like it was when I was in my early 30’s.

 

 

Accepting and rejoicing the progress I have made

I began getting serious about becoming as healthy as I can possibly be in January of 2017. Ten pounds is all I lost from that time until January of 2018.  TEN POUNDS!! At first I was pissed off by the number, but then I realized that those were 10 pounds that I didn’t have to lose this year! Not only that, but I developed better eating habits and my body stopped craving foods that aren’t good for it.  I also began craving physical activity.  This is something that I have never done, not even when I was younger.  Overcoming cravings, yearning to move my body, and losing 10lbs is progress that I never expected to achieve, nor would I had I done nothing at all.  So far this year I have lost 5lbs.  That’s 1.6666666667 pounds per month.  I could let this number get me down or I can be proud of myself for losing them.  I choose to be happy, because my eating habits and physical activity are continuing to improve.  While I may not be seeing significant results on my bathroom scale, I am seeing it in the mirror, in pictures, and by how my clothing fits.  I am down a pants size and am no longer embarrassed of having my body photographed.

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Baby steps

I began my fitness journey with baby steps.  I didn’t force myself into following a restrictive diet.  My dietary changes have taken place one at a time.  In time I will be following the diet that is perfect for my body, because I am taking small steps to allow my body time to adjust.  Had I decided to go full speed ahead and overhauled my diet to be what I want it to be right from the start, I would have quit.  Same goes for exercising.  I didn’t begin with walking 4 plus miles a day or using my rowing machine for 60 minutes at a time.  I had to take baby steps and began with 5 minute increments a few times a week.

My advice for you

Consider these three things if you are struggling to find a fitness routine that works with your disease:

  1. Search for physical activities that you are able to do, NOT what you wish you could do.
  2. Listen to your body and do what you can, when you can.
  3. Baby steps are better than no steps! You will never make any progress if you aren’t trying.

And when you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself that:

  1. You didn’t get to where you are at overnight, significant progress will take time.
  2. You’re health is important! Having a chronic illness is not an excuse for not caring for your body.
  3. A bad day is just that, let it go and move on.  If a setback or flare requires that you reduce your activity or dictates that you have to start back from square one, that is okay!!!

Whether you have a chronic illness or not, The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies are here to motivate, encourage, and support you in your quest to improve your health.  Click here to join us.

Finding an exercise program when you have one or more chronic illnesses can be difficult.  I suggest you check out Get Autoimmune Strong, an exercise program created for those who suffer from chronic pain.  The creator of this program is fellow chronic pain warrior, Andrea Wool.  The techniques and exercises she shares in her program have improved my personal routine.

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Tired of your chronic illnesses running your life? Take back control and make pain your bitch! Click here to download your copy today!

 

 

 

How traveling with a chronic illness went from good to bad to what the heck just happened!

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*This post contains affiliate links. I am not a medical professional and nothing I say should be mistaken for medical advice.  All thoughts, opinions, and experiences are mine and mine alone and have in no way been influenced by the products I endorse.

Traveling with multiple chronic illnesses has never been easy.  This was extremely frustrating for someone who loved going on road trips or flying across the country.  Before becoming chronically ill I never had to consider my illnesses which include, but are not limited to, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis.  All I had to do was throw some clothes in a bag and head off to destinations unknown.

Even though I didn’t receive my first diagnosis until 2001, symptoms from all of my conditions began interfering with my life as early as 1998 when a weekend that was supposed to be spent at the beach was instead spent in bed.  In 1999, I spent two days out of my seven day honeymoon cruise in bed because of pain and fatigue.  By 2000 I could no longer drive from Denver, CO to Phoenix, AZ without needing to nap at rest areas and stop to sleep at a hotel for a night. By fall of 2003 I had received all of my diagnoses.  Instead of experiencing any sort of relief or improvements my pain and fatigue levels continued to escalate.  All vacations from that point on until the end of 2015 required more time spent in bed than exploring and they took weeks or months to recover from.  I began to loathe traveling.  What was the point of spending money to travel when all I did was see the walls of my hotel room?

 

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This topical CBD oil delivers on its promise of relieving pain! Click here to read my full review!

 

Things began changing when I decided to make changes to how I planned and prepared for my getaways in December of 2015.  I didn’t have to travel far, we spent 5 days at Disneyland and were only 45 minutes from home. But this trip did require my being able to function for 5 days in a row because I was spending it with my best friend and wanted to enjoy every moment. By listening to my body I was able to spend time in the park with my best friend and her family every day.  I didn’t always last for the entire day, but long enough to create lasting memories.  Had I not obeyed my body I would have been lucky to have enjoyed one or two days out of the hotel.  From that point I learned to accept that I would have to limit my time out of bed and be happy with the time I spent out of it.

Then something amazing happened in the summer of 2017.  For the first time in what feels like ages, I only had to spend one of the nine days we were on vacation in bed.  The rest of the trip was spent laughing with family, going out to eat, and sightseeing.  Nor did I need much recovery time.  In fact I was back to my normal routine within days.  Even better was the fact that not since 2005 had I been able to get through a vacation without the use of a wheelchair, but on this trip I only needed to use it for one day! Thrilled by this experience I excitedly planned our next vacation which I just returned from last week.  This vacation was even better!!! My body did NOT need any days in bed, nor did I have to use a wheelchair.  In fact I only took three one hour naps throughout my entire 8 day vacation!!!  Even more impressive was that I was also able to reach my daily fitness goal of 10,000 steps per day and then some each and every day!! This included the days that we were traveling!!!! If that wasn’t enough, there has been no recovery time needed.  I jumped right back into my regular schedule the moment I returned home and have continued to do so.

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Wondering why this was possible? It all comes down to the changes I have made in regards to how I treat my chronic illnesses and pain early in 2017.  The first change I made was adding exercise to my weekly routine.  I began with exercising 2-3 times per week and increased as my body allowed.  The second thing I did was to add PEMF therapy with Oska Pulse to my pain management plan.  This device reduced inflammation and pain better than anything I had tried in the past and combined with medical marijuana I was able to increase my physical activity.  This year I began making more changes by cleaning up my diet.

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I credit how well I did on this vacation to NOT taking a break from how I treat my conditions, exercising, and following my dietary restrictions as closely as possible.  While away I continued my pain relief treatments the same as I do at home with the exception of increasing treatments when I experienced an increase of pain.  I thought I had sentenced myself to spending the remainder of my vacation in bed after my best friend and I walked 3.4 miles around Tempe Town Lake. I could barely walk or stand that evening, but after running multiple PEMF treatments to my knees, hips, and back along with rubbing my muscles and joints with my favorite topical CBD oil from Bio CBD+, I was up and walking without pain the next morning.  When my body asked for a nap, I gave it one.  To continue with my smoothie breakfast bowls, I packed my Ninja Juicer and went grocery shopping the night we arrived in Phoenix.  I refused to allow being on vacation to be an excuse for eating like crap and gaining weight.  I exercised and carefully selected what I ate each and every day, including our travel days. Before hopping into our car I went for a morning walk, then walked at the rest area and gas station, and  walked again when we reached our destination.  My reward was getting to laugh and spend time with my friends and family.  The memories made, which include dancing at my God daughter’s wedding, have filled my heart with joy. Click here to see my terrible dance moves.

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I am so thankful that I added PEMF therapy with Oska Pulse to my pain management plan. In the years that I was treating my chronic illnesses solely with medical marijuana, I was able to reduce the widespread and reactionary pain to the point of being able to recognize my pain sources. Oska Pulse now helps me reduce the pain and inflammation in those areas. The combination has gifted me with the energy and stamina needed to be physically active every day.

My improvements didn’t occur over night. It took months before I experienced a drastic reduction of pain in my spine, tailbone, hips, and feet. It took a year to reach the amount of distance that I’m able to walk today. I use my device daily for a minimum of 20 treatments each day. Most days I use it from the time I wake up until I go to bed. When I first began my PEMF treatments I often needed to medicate with medical marijuana during the day in addition to before bed every night.  Now, a year later, I no longer need to use anything besides my Oska Pulse and topical CBD oil for daily pain relief.  I still medicate with marijuana at bedtime, because I would never sleep without it, but the amount of medication needed has decreased greatly in the past year.

Don’t give up trying to improve your chronic life, pain level, or vacation experience! Continue seeking new ways to do what you want and always listen to your body!

What have you done that has improved your vacation experience?

Click here to read all of my travel related posts to help you improve your next getaway!

Learn more about Oska Pulse from Oska Wellness by clicking here and as always, save $55 with promo code DIVA. Click here to follow my journey from the beginning.

Does having an accountability buddy make it easier for you to stick to your fitness goals? Click here to join my fitness buddy facebook group!

Join myself and others who are either currently fighting pain alternatively or wanting to learn more about alternative pain treatments in The Disabled Diva’s Alternative Chronic Pain Fighting Forum on Facebook.

 

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Download my eBook “Make Pain Your Bitch; How to Dominate Your Chronic Life” to find out how I took control over my life and challenge you to make the changes necessary to dominate your own chronic life. Click here to purchase your copy today!

 

 

 

 

The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies

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*This post contains affiliate links

If you are like me, you may find it easy to talk yourself out of exercising or find a million reasons for not completing your goal.  While on vacation last week my bestest friend of 37 years and I made a pact to hold each other accountable in our quest to reach 10,000 steps per day.  Since posting about this on social media I have received messages from followers who wish to have an accountability partner.  To help us all I created a new Facebook group called The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies.

The purpose of this new group is to encourage, support, and motivate each other, whether we have a chronic illness or not, in our quest to care for our physical health.  This group is for anyone who has set a daily or weekly fitness goal and wants to have a place to share their success or be uplifted when their health or life circumstances get in the way of reaching it.  There will be no shaming and no goal is too small.

Click here to join today!

Wondering how I went from having to use a wheelchair to walking everywhere in just one year?  All credit goes to my amazing drug-free pain relief device called Oska Pulse.  This fantastic piece of technology has decreased the pain and inflammation I experience from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and endometriosis like nothing I have ever tried in the past.  Click here to follow my journey from the beginning and click here to learn even more about how PEMF therapy may help you.  And as always, use promo code DIVA to save $55 when you are ready to give it a try!

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