Tag Archives: chronic fatigue

5 Tips That Will Make Trick or Treating With Chronic Pain Less Painful

5 Tips That Will Make Trick or Treating With Chronic Pain Less Painful


Halloween can be a frightful time, especially for the chronically ill.  We may not be afraid of ghosts and goblins, but we do fear the pain and fatigue that we will experience while and after we take our kids trick or treating.  When my daughter was a wee one, I feared not having the strength to walk the neighborhood with her or having my body give out before we arrived home.  I worried about how many days my body would need to recover afterwards.   Done fearing Halloween and the beating my body was in for, I made some changes.  Here are the changes that I made and how they can help you too!


1. Use a mobility aid or drive

So what if you can’t walk your children around the neighborhood?  Use a mobility aid! Because it is Halloween, you can work a wheelchair or walker into your costume, or better yet use something different like a bike or have your family push you around in a wheelbarrow.  Don’t want to use a mobility aid and are worried about how far you will be able to walk? Take your car and park at the end of the streets you plan to visit.  This way if your body begins to wear out you will only have a short walk to your car and can get home without extra pain.



2. Choose a different venue

Walking around the neighborhood isn’t always the best option.  There are many reasons for this such as; uneven or lack of pavement or sidewalks, distance between homes, or having to go up and down hills.  By taking your children to a local church or community held event you will have less walking between stations where candy is being dispersed and a better chance of having a smooth or flat surface to move about on. Your vehicle will also be close by and many local events have areas for guests to sit and rest.



3. Give yourself options

Before my daughter outgrew the need to have her mommy take her trick or treating, I began giving myself options. Not knowing how we feel one day to the next makes it difficult to make plans.  There are some churches and community events that do not take place on Halloween evening.  I marked my calendar with the ones I thought my daughter would enjoy the most and committed to attending at least one.  We attended events on the days that I felt well enough to get my daughter dressed up and both of us out of the house.


4. Rest

Don’t wait until a few days before Halloween to decorate or go costume shopping.  Part of pacing ourselves requires planning ahead.  Don’t listen to your abled bodied friends, it is okay to decorate for Halloween in September! Give your body and schedule a break by making sure you have time to rest before your outing as well as afterwards.


5. Have a back-up plan

Prepare for the worst by finding a friend or relative who would be willing to take your children trick or treating.  I know you would rather be there to watch your children smile or hear them squeal when the receive their favorite candy, but sometimes we just have to accept the fact that we can’t be there.  Don’t worry, your children will still have plenty of smiles and squeals to share with you when they return home with stories of their adventure!

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Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life

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Make Pain Your Bitch

Has your chronic illness stolen the life you had? 

Have you put your dreams on hold?

Does having to spend days, weeks, or months recovering from an outing make you feel like a prisoner in your own home/body?

Are you ready to make pain your bitch?

What are you waiting for?

In my eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life  I share the areas of my life that I needed to take ownership over and the changes that had to be made.  My book won’t cure you, but it will help you recognize what changes you need to make. Throughout the book I prompt you to examine your life, then I challenge you to make changes.

I haven’t been healed. Fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis are NOT curable.  However, my daily pain continues to decrease, as does how often I flare, and the severity of my flares.  I have gone from leaving the house once or twice a month in a wheelchair and having to ride lying down in the back seat, because of pain that was so intense I couldn’t sit, stand, or walk for more than 5 minutes without wanting to pass out from it to living the life I live now.  What is that life?  I no longer need a wheelchair! I still use a walker for all day outings, but how often I need to use it continues to decrease.  I can drive myself anywhere I want!! I am no longer a prisoner of pain!! These improvements were unexpected.  They also weren’t necessary for me to begin living passionately and purposefully as I began thriving long before I regained my physical independence and you can too!

Chronic illnesses are not death sentences.  There is hope and it is possible to live a fulfilling and pleasurable life with less pain.  I began winning my battle with chronic pain six years ago and continue to improve. With that said, all of my physical improvements could disappear tomorrow and I would still love my life.  Why? Because I have learned to live passionately and purposefully no matter what my body throws at me.  I have learned to work with my diseases, instead of constantly battling them.

Do you want to dominate your chronic life?

Click here to download your copy today!

Share this post with your friends and family so we can all live purposefully and passionately despite our chronic pain!


My Stress Relief is a Crock(pot)

My Stress Relief is a Crock(pot)

donna sept

This is the perfect time of year to use a slow cooker! Personally, I’m avoiding turning on the oven because I live somewhere that it’s still ridiculously hot. If you’re starting to feel fall crispness in the air where you live, then using a slow cooker will give you more time to enjoy the nice weather! Also, with school and activities starting back up, we’re all busy, so I love anything that helps me get food on the table easier.

Do you have a slow cooker? I like my 6 quart Hamilton Beach unit.  I love using mine to “batch cook” several pounds of chicken breasts at a time that I can parcel out for quick meals throughout the week. This saves me a lot of stress when I’m trying to figure out what I can have for lunch or make my family for dinner. I follow The Kitchn’s instructions and often double the amount of chicken, using the same amount of liquid and cooking time. I always use water and shake on a bit of salt and seasonings on top of the chicken and into the water. You can also pour on some salad dressing, like Italian or a vinaigrette!

When I’m busy or worn out, I love being able to plop a few things into my slow cooker and know that dinner is covered. Instant stress relief! I have a few favorite recipes for my slow cooker, and one of them is this easy pulled pork. Flavorful and hearty, this is recipe makes a lot! My family of 5 has no problem devouring the leftovers in a few days, but you can freeze small portions after cooking if you need to. You can also halve the recipe for smaller households.

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Donna’s Slow Cooker Pulled Pork                                       

You can prep this the night before, and throw the crock in the fridge. The next day, put the crock back into the unit, and start the slow cooker! To get an idea of the “sauciness”, note that I used the full 32 oz of tomato sauce for the batch pictured. If you don’t like pork, you can sub other meats! Check out the recipe notes below.

24 to 32 oz no-sugar-added, low/no-sodium tomato sauce (amount depending how “saucy” you like it)

½ C applesauce, natural & unsweetened

3 TB maple syrup or honey

1 TB garlic powder

1 TB onion powder

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

½ tsp smoked or regular paprika

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp liquid smoke OR 2 TB Worcestershire sauce

4 to 4.5 lb pork loin roast, pork shoulder, pork butt, OR boneless pork chops – fat well-trimmed **

3 TB flour (whole wheat or regular) OR 2 TB cornstarch

In a large slow cooker (5-6 qt), add all ingredients–except meat and flour. Whisk to combine. If using cornstarch, add in now and whisk well! Place pork in slow cooker; spoon sauce over it. It’s okay if the meat isn’t completely submerged.

Cover slow cooker; cook on LOW for 5-7 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours. Remove meat from slow cooker; shred with 2 forks. If using flour, add flour to the slow cooker now; whisk to combine. Return meat to slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for another 10-20 minutes.

Serve warm on a bun, over slabs of cornbread, over fried or scrambled eggs, on a bed of brown rice/quinoa, or on a baked potato (regular or sweet). Also good on its own with a green salad or steamed/roasted veggies on the side.

**You can sub the pork for 4 to 4.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs… (same cooking time) OR 4 to 4.5 lb. beef (boneless shoulder roast, boneless arm chuck roast, boneless blade chuck roast, or boneless chuck roast – fat well-trimmed). Cut hunk of beef in half before placing in slow cooker. Beef may need more cooking time than pork (LOW 7 to 10 hours or HIGH 4 to 6 hours).

Click here for printable recipe.

READERS: What’s your favorite slow cooker recipe?

Click here to read more from Donna!

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The search for a diagnosis continues

The search for a diagnosis continues

By Elysha

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So I’ve dealt with chronic illness for over 3 years now. So it’s safe for you to assume that I’ve seen A LOT of different doctors!! I’m still going to doctors to try to figure things out. I thought for awhile I can just deal with the pain and stop seeing doctors. I was so discouraged that we couldn’t find anything or we would try a new med and it didn’t help. It wasn’t just the pain bothering me though. Because of the pain along came other things, like depression, giving up, and self hate. I realized that I don’t want to live like this so I need to keep searching. Keep testing. Keep faith that I wasn’t going to be like this forever.


After another ugly flare up that sent me to the hospital my mom talked to her friend that’s a GI doc. He agreed to see me. My mom also works with this guy so she knows he hates to be stumped and will do anything to try to figure things out. So I was excited to see what he had to say.

My biggest problem with seeing new doctors is not knowing where to start!! I start listing a few things, which leads to other things and then the “oh did I mention I lived in Haiti?”, then we look stuff up in Haiti, then they want to know what I did there and it just keeps going.


It can be emotionally draining!! You talk about all these things that never worked, your body isn’t the same, your social life is different, you can’t do as much as you did before, you’re tired, and it goes on. I love talking about Haiti but sometimes it’s sad. It’s the main reason I’m sick. Sorry guys, this is me venting. I really love this new doctor and we’re doing some more testing, but it’s hard sometimes. So hopefully we can find something and try to improve things. If not, I will continue seeking answers and try not to get discouraged. Through this venting I hope you can be encouraged some how. Don’t forget… Keep the faith!

Click here to read more from Elysha

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Flexible Expectations

Flexible Expectations

By: Zeva the Diva

My mommy has several chronic illnesses.  A few of them are psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and abdominal adhesions.  However it doesn’t matter if a chronically ill person has one or more incurable illnesses, what they can expect to do on a daily basis is always changing.

I never know what my mommy will be able to do on any given day.  Unless I have an upset tummy I never wake her up before she is ready.  If I wake up before her I just watch her sleep and wait.  I also know that I have to wait anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes until she is ready to get out of bed to let me out.


Some days mom’s pain is too much for her to do much of anything.  Those days are spent with me by her side either in bed or in her recliner.  There are only two things that will get me to leave her side; a walk with daddy or mealtime!

When mommy is having a good day she takes me for a short walk.  I consider these to be bonus days as daddy takes me on walks every afternoon and sometimes twice on the weekend.  My walks with mommy are about her getting out and stretching her limits.  For me they are just another opportunity to smell flowers and say hi to my neighborhood canine friends and suitors.

While I love routine, with mommy I understand that she isn’t always able to keep one.  That is why I keep daddy on one instead.  If he hasn’t taken me for my walk by the time I am used to I will bark and whine at him until he does, this is something I never do with mommy.

With the chronically ill, their expectations as well as ours have to be flexible.  If they fixate on having a rigid schedule they will come face to face with daily disappointment.  They have to listen to their bodies and do whatever it takes to keep their pain levels from sky rocketing out of control.

Bow wow for now!

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Nikki from Brainless Blogger’s Formula for Fighting Fibromyalgia

Nikki from Brainless Blogger’s Formula for Fighting Fibromyalgia

Today Nikki from Brainless Blogger shares how she treats Fibromyalgia.  Please remember that Nikki and I are not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice.  We are just sharing our experiences and opinions.  Check out Brainless Blogger and be sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

I was diagnosed when I was 20 years old having had been undiagnosed for several years prior. I was born with hypermobility syndrome and the FM developed from that. Treatment, in the beginning, was nothing. The rheumatologist stated I was too young for medication and gave me no advice at all. I am turning 40 this month so you can imagine in the 20 years since I have tried many things on my own. And many things didn’t work well for me. In there somewhere I developed comorbid conditions like migraines, which went chronic. And then quite spontaneously when I hit my mid 30’s I must have become old enough for medication because I was put on Lyrica. It worked moderately. Yay! With quite a bit of weight gain. Boo! The pain clinic doc I now see took me off of it due to the fatigue it causes and put me on a slow release tramadol 200mg in order to facilitate an exercise routine. I also tried Cymbalta and apparently am in the statistically few the warning label ‘may cause suicidal thoughts and actions’ was made for. Since apparently, I am ‘sensitive’ to antidepressants those are no longer treatment options for me for any pain.

Basically, the things I do are:

·         Pace: avoid that boom and bust cycle.

·         Exercise: 10-20 minutes every two days at this point but working my way up! I exercise on a stationary bike, do physio exercises and walk.

·         Mindful meditation: Find it great for stress reduction.

·         Magnesium: Use magnesium oil and Epsom salts as well as liquid magnesium, all the easy to digest magnesium methods. Magnesium citrate does not do well with my IBS-D. (with calcium as I have some bone loss issues)

·         Rhodiola for fatigue: A must mention because it is extremely beneficial. 100-200 mg.

·         Vitamin D 5000 iu as prescribed by the pain clinic, so I take it. No idea if that makes a difference but I am Canadian so can’t hurt in the winter, eh?

·         The slow release tramadol for pain management.

·         Sleep management is very important and my insomnia is well habituated since my FM started in my youth. Right now I am on zopiclone and trazodone in order to sleep half decently.


There has been an improvement in the management of pain… for the fibromyalgia only. As in, coping with the pain. Exercise has been difficult and painful, but I find it is helping with muscle weakening. I hope to continue this process and see if it does help with mood and pain as suggested. The Rhodiola is really helping with fatigue and the mental fatigue that comes with fatigue. I cannot tell about the magnesium yet, but I hope to see a benefit soon. Pacing, when not working, definitely works well. Never exceeding my limits and busting into a flare. When working, well, harder to even stay in my limits (I have other forms of chronic pain to deal with). 20 minutes of meditation is all one needs to help lower pain perception… I am working up to that, but it is very relaxing and does reduce stress. The sleep medication is necessary for me but it is necessary we all manage our sleep to get improved sleep. Whether that is herbal or sleep hygiene. The slow release tramadol takes the edge off the pain to help me exercise at the current tiny capacity I can, but it isn’t that strong and doesn’t work for a flare. It is all they are willing to treat me with and I am fine with that because anything else could potentially cause rebound headaches with the migraines. Like everything seems to with migraines.

For mental wellbeing treatment of all my pain, my psychologist has me doing a journal. In it, at the end of the day, I write in 1 thing I accomplished and 1 goal for the next day. These can be anything and everything. I write 3 things I am grateful/thankful for that day or just overall. I write my fibromyalgia pain level, my migraine pain level, and my mood. And do an analysis of my mood thoughts if necessary.

This is my current fibromyalgia routine. It works moderately well for me. In general, I have substantially more issues with my comorbid like chronic migraines and others adding to the overall situation. Treatment doesn’t quite work so well on that end. And led to depression. I wouldn’t change my FM routine, rather progress with it.

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Click here to read this month’s entire series which includes how I treat this condition.



The day most dread is the day I look forward to


For most, Mondays are the most dreaded day of the week.  It marks the beginning of a hectic schedule.  While my friends and family are complaining that the weekend is over, I find myself rejoicing every Monday.

Long ago prior to living the chronic life, I also despised Mondays.  I looked forward to relaxing on the weekends and hated that they had to end.  But something changed after my chronic illnesses took over my body.  Weekends were no longer a time of relaxation, instead they became the most exhausting period of my weeks, even though the activities really never changed.  Spending time with friends and family, going to church or Disneyland, or enjoying some other hobbies used to be relaxing.  Now they require more energy then I could have ever imagined.  Instead of being bummed that the weekend is ending, I actually look forward to what I call Mellow Monday.


Monday is a day that I don’t have to worry about going anywhere.  Monday is my day of rest.  Sometimes my Monday lasts for the entire week, just depends upon what my conditions have in store for me.

I often dread the weekends in the same manner as those who dread Mondays, it depends on the pain I have experienced during the week.  When my weekday pain is elevated, I become anxious when I think about the weekend.  If I had to be somewhere on a Monday morning, I would have to spend my weekends doing nothing. Gotta conserve what little energy I have.   This is why I try my hardest to avoid scheduling any appointments (social, medical or work related) for Mondays or Tuesdays.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the weekends.  I enjoy the people who are home or around me and what ever we end up doing, but the peace and quiet of a Monday morning is something I cherish.

At first my manic Mondays were replaced with stressful Saturdays.  Will I have the energy to get through the weekend?  If I am able to keep my weekend commitments, how many days or weeks will it take to recover?  If I leave my bed or house this weekend, will I be able to do so the next?  I would become sick to my stomach worrying about all the “what ifs”.

Not too long ago, I replaced Stressful Saturdays with So What Saturdays.  So what if I have to spend the next week or more in bed, I will have the memories of today to comfort me.  So what if what I do today exhausts me and I have to sleep for days, it’s not like I have anywhere to be during the week. So what if I fall behind on household chores, I haven’t been able to keep up with them for 17 years!  Knowing that I have my Mellow Monday waiting for me makes it easier to make the most of my weekends.


My chronic illnesses have done more than change how I feel, they have literally turned my world inside out and upside down.  To be honest, it really isn’t all that bad.  Or at least it hasn’t been since I was able to accept that this is how my life is.  Just as I am unable to predict which part of my body will be in pain or rebel against me each day, I have no idea how long my body will punish me when I do get out.  Thankfully, by being able to blog and work on other projects from my bed, I am able to play harder when I do get out.

Are your Mondays manic or mellow?  Do you look forward to or dread the weekends?  What changes could you make to gift yourself with a mellow Monday?

Wishing you a day filled with gentle hugs and many reasons to smile,

The Disabled Diva



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