Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wee, but Hopeful



My husband and are native gardeners. We joined this environmental cause almost serendipitously: to avoid the mowing maintenance of caring for the bland lawn.

At any rate, our entire yard, front and back, is a garden with hundreds of plant species, all native to the area. We enjoy taking photos for our website and for our own personal enjoyment.

The other day, I wandered around with the macro lens on the camera and found a dozen or so tiny snails living in and around our rain garden/pond. I was thrilled! I snapped a few shots with my unsteady hands. After sifting through all the stinkers, this is the one I am calling a keeper.

This tiny little snail is perched on the leaf of a blue flag iris (Iris virginica)
, facing the sky. Although he was only about a half-inch long, he was probably a foot above the water level. He may be small, but he is unstoppable! I want to be him. The snail will serve as my inspiration throughout my lifelong battle with Fibromyalgia. Hm, I should name him... or her. Since the snail is going to represent me, I'll assume it's a female. Her name shall be...Samantha. Samantha the snail, show me the way!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Current Fibromyalgia Treatments

As another base post for my blog, I thought I'd let all my fibro friends know what I'm currently doing and taking to treat my Fibromyalgia symptoms.

Drugs:
  • Pristiq (aka desvenlafaxine; SNRI antidepressant) - 50 mg taken every morning
  • Doxepin (tricyclic antidepressant) -25 mg taken every night
  • Skelaxin (muscle relaxant) - 800 mg taken every morning and every night
  • Zolpidem (aka Ambien; sleep aid) - 5 mg taken every night
  • Tramadol (aka Ultram; pain reliever) - 50 mg as needed (I don't take this often)
  • Naproxen (aka Aleve; pain reliever) - up to 500 mg as needed for migraines

Other treatments:

  • Vitamins (multi, Calcium, C, B-complex) and a BioBeads, a probiotic (for IBS)
  • Daily gentle stretches using the Pressure Pointer Manual as a guide
  • Bi-weekly massages at Massage Envy for back, neck, shoulders
  • Heating pad on my back whenever I'm on the couch
  • Warmed up (microwaved) sock filled with rice for neck, shoulder, or low back pain, especially at bedtime
  • Journaling (no rules in the journal - I'm free to express everything there)
  • Supporting other fibromites online in various support groups or wherever (it helps me to help others, as I don't feel so useless)
  • Walks around the block or in my garden, taking photos, taking time to dawdle, etc.

I have tried quite a few other meds and therapies since being diagnosed, including Lyrica, which dried me out and Cymbalta, which made me so nauseated I couldn't work. I even went on the controversial yeast-free diet for three months with Nystatin powder three times a day. I lost weight on that diet, but it was stressful and actually seemed to aggravate my symptoms. I have since gained back most of the weight lost on the diet anyway. I do eat mostly healthy, with some indulgences for beers and desserts now and then, but without the activity level to even out the net calorie intake, of course I am having difficulty maintaining a skinny figure.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hi, I'm Benia

"Nice place you got here" was the first thing I said to my now-husband when I met him in person at his house. Then I moved in and we got married. I met him online and we'd communicated via e-mails and chatting before I finally decided I should meet the boy. I kind of did the same thing with blogging sites. I'm now officially moving in. :)

I thought I'd use my very first post to introduce myself to my readers. One of my faults is being too detailed, so it's a challenge to sum up my life in a short post. I'm a bit on the pedantic side, so if you catch me using "it's" when I should be using "its" (which I caught myself doing twice in the past couple days), feel free to let 'er rip and let me know about it.

I was born and raised in Chicagoland by Polish immigrants. I'm the third of three daughters, and the black sheep as well. Much to my family's chagrin, I converted from Catholocism to Atheism in adulthood. I'm also happily child-free.

The old Benia died on 9/25/2006 when I was rear-ended at a stoplight. The whiplash/concussion I sustained then triggered the Fibromyalgia with which I suffer today. If you're unfamiliar with this condition, it's difficult to understand, even for doctors, but I've done a significant amount of reading and can conclude the following about it. It is not fatal, but it is a chronic, life-altering pain condition that has its roots in a central nervous system disorder - thereby affecting all systems in the body. It's a bit of a bitch to get used to, frankly, and I'm working hard on trying to live with this beast and still have something of a positive attitude in life. My future posts will uncover whether or not I'm able to do that.

Stay tuned and thanks for visiting.