Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

Monday evening my good mood was stolen from me by the person who broke into my house…it was taken along with my iPad, a cellphone, and a weed eater. I called the police and reported the items stolen and while I waited for the police to show up I called Apple Care. They were able to provide me with the iPad’s serial number (which was also on the box had I thought to have checked) and with the Apple locating software. Unfortunately, since it was a wi-fi enabled device only, it would not show me where the iPad had disappeared to until it was connected to wi-fi…in other words, it is long gone.

I made sure that the device was locked and that once turned on my phone number will show up along with a message to call me. Hopefully that will be enough for it to be un-pawnable (I don’t think that is a word…it will make it impossible to be pawned). I also made sure that the police got all of the information that he needed for his report. For the rest of the evening I was emotionally numb.

Tuesday I stayed home all day making phone calls to see if the iPad was going to be covered under the insurance I pay for every month to the store I’m buying it from (yes…I said buying…in many expensive payments I might add). I was told that they wouldn’t know until they had the police report and then they would call the insurance company to find out if it can be replaced. Hello!?! IF it can be replaced!?! The cellphone that was stolen (which M was going to inherit from me) ended up not being covered under the insurance because the line was not active at the time of theft. Problem was, he still needed a phone upgrade. I was remained somewhat numb that day, but also scared that the robber would come back for the TV and other things he didn’t take. So scared in fact that I refused to even take a shower until M got off work.

Tuesday evening my brain finally began to function and I started weighing my options. I could file it on the store’s insurance and continue to pay exorbitantly high payments for a refurbished iPad 3 that might or might not be replaced within a week (anyone who knows me knows that I LIVE on that thing…I hardly ever use a laptop anymore…so a week just wasn’t going to cut it for me. Or, I could go back to Verizon Wireless and purchase a brand new iPad Air (a.k.a. iPad 5), also in payments but without the crazy interest charges, and it would have wifi and cellular data service. As a matter of fact, the new one would cost me less than what I had left to pay on the old one…it was a no-brainier!

Wednesday after my therapy session I took a trip up to Verizon to make sure I qualified for the payment plan. I did! Like I mentioned before I also needed a new phone for M. They had the 5s on sale from $199 to $99, the 5c on sale from $99 to $49 and the 4s was free. He had asked for the free one. Well, when I said that I was interested in the 4s, the manager came over. She wanted to know why I had opted for the 4s (which still runs on the 3G network) when the newer 4G network phones were on sale. I told her it was simply because he had asked for the free phone. She asked if I would be interested in the 5c if she could get it for me for free…uh YES! So the manager worked her magic and I was able to get the iPhone 5c for M for free!

Needless to say, I totally took my bad experience of a burglary and turned it around. I made lemonade from the lemons I was given. As a matter of fact, I am actually going to be breaking even money-wise. Before, I was paying close to $140 per month for the iPad payment and another $60 per month for my prepaid phone bill. That comes out to $200. My new bill for three lines of service, insurance on each device, and the iPad payment will be about $220. I mean really…you can not beat that! I may have lost my new happy self for a couple of days, but boy am I back!

Another Great Week!

This past week has been a hard one, but a great one! It was hard because of physical therapy. This time, even though I felt ok immediately after PT, the soreness of the next day has lasted me most of the week. I suppose that’s what I get for telling my physical therapist that the week before was a breeze…I won’t make that mistake again. The manual work she did made it feel like I had done a two-hour workout, which anyone with a chronic illness knows is a no-no. It brought on a flare that I am still dealing with. I am hoping that it will get better soon.

It was a great week because I celebrated my birthday a month early. How did I celebrate, you might ask. Well, I have been having problems with my cellphone which was an Android. Being that I am an Apple lover and have a MacBook laptop and an iPad, and previously had an iPhone until I washed it in the washing machine (oh yeah- I did that) the Android was truly a let-down. I was unable to sync my calendars between my other devices and my cellphone, I was uncomfortable with the operating system, it had no memory (well, it had 2GB which is basically nothing), and it kept rejecting my SD card. So, even though I have been trying to stay away from a contracted phone service, I broke down and signed up for a two-year contract with Verizon and got the new iPhone 5s. The best part? The normally $199 phone was 50% off, so I ended up paying only $99!!!

I am in love with my new cellphone! I hadn’t realized how much I missed the iPhone until we synced everything up (simply by signing into my iCloud account) and all of my contacts, appointments, and apps were automatically part of my new phone. YAY! This will make my life so much easier! Plus, the phone service I had before didn’t work where my sister lives. I would have to make calls using her WiFi. Verizon’s service so far has been outstanding here where I live and where my sister lives (thanks to a trip I took yesterday)…everywhere except for in my house. That is the only downside I have found so far. Trying to have a conversation while inside is a bit of a chore seeing as how I only have one bar and calls keep getting dropped. Oh well- it is SO VERY worth it to have a phone I don’t hate.

So, all-in-all a great week…another HAPPY week. I am loving this “happy” trend I have going on. Here’s to wishing for many more great weeks to come!

One Year Anniversary

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Today is my one year anniversary with WordPress…and what a year it has been! I started this blog as a way to vent about my medical issues and hopefully help other chronic pain patients at the same time. I believe that I have accomplished what I set out to do. I wrote a lot more towards the beginning of my time with WordPress, but I just had so much to say back then. There was a lot of catching everyone up on my issues and informing you guys about adhesions. Since doing that, my writing has slowed down quite a bit, but most of you have stuck it out with me. Also, welcome to all of my new followers. I have met some truly amazing people and made some very good friends…all in all a complete success if I do say so myself :)

This week has been great. I am still feeling better from the increase in the corticosteroids. Not quite as well as I did those first three days, but much better than I have these past few years. Just to show you how much better I have been feeling, I will use cleaning as an example. Since my adhesion symptoms worsened a few years ago (but especially since the start of the Fibro fatigue), mopping and vacuuming have been pretty much impossible. I could sweep on occasion, but definitely not as much as one should…especially being a fur-parent. The other day I found a small, lightweight vacuum cleaner and a steam mop (both for $30 if you can believe that!) and I have been able to vacuum the carpet in my bedroom. Today I vacuumed the hardwood floors in the living room/dining room and steam mopped them! I am exhausted at the moment, but it feels so good to have been able to get it done. The steam mop ended up being heavier than I expected (harder to push and pull) but I was still able to get it done. For the first time in a long time I feel as if I have accomplished something big…and I suppose I have.

Physical therapy started this week. I will be going once a week to a new physical therapist. So far, I think that she and I will work a lot better together than the therapist I used after mine moved to a new clinic. She is more “hands on” like the first therapist was and even uses a technique I’ve never seen before. I believe that I might start to see results soon, and that’s great since the second therapist I used never really helped much at all. She would just watch me do my “at home” exercises…what’s the point in that?

The last past of my great week was winning a contest! Michael Fernandez at MigraineDiscussions.com had a contest in June for Migraine Awareness Month. There were two grand prizes for two winners…a pair of Axon Optics sunglasses. Axon Optics specializes in glasses for migraine sufferers. I entered the contest with a post I wrote for Migraine Awareness Month entitled My Migraine Story. Michael announced the two grand prize winners with a You Tube video and it shocked me to hear him say my name! He had two pairs to give away. One was a pair of “cats eye” women’s sunglasses and the other was a unisex pair that can be worn over prescription eyeglasses. Guess which one I won…yes, I won the pair that can be worn over my own eyeglasses! They came in the mail on Friday and I wore them all day yesterday as I was doing a bit of running around (the all day long kind of running around). I was amazed at how lightweight they were. They didn’t make the bridge of my nose start to hurt until the afternoon. The pair I was wearing before would start to hurt after only about an hour at which point I would have to take them off. These new ones I was able to simply reposition and keep going. I will write a review of them after I’ve had a few weeks to wear them, but so far so good! Here are pictures of me with and without the new sunglasses:

Without Axon Optics

Without Axon Optics

With Axon Optics

With Axon Optics

So, I rounded out a not-so-great year with a wonderful week! I will try to get back to writing more often again. I just wanted to thank all of my followers, new and old, who have stuck by me throughout this year and more often than not have been my support when I had none. Thank you for listening to my rants, my tears, and my triumphs, and for being my shoulder to lean on. Here’s to another year of blogging and many more new friends to be made!

A Couple of “Normal” Days

 

I have had a busy couple of days. Of course, I normally do the first of the month. I always have a lot of running around and bills to get paid. This month though I had two busy days instead of just one. Yesterday, the third, I had my normal amount of running around plus a doctor’s appointment and a hair appointment.

I told the doctor about my reaction to the steroids and how they actually made me feel normal for the first time in about three years. He said that his only concern would be that my good reaction could be a sign of an immune system disorder and that’s why the Prednisone made me feel better. He wants me to try to get back in with my rheumatologist to discuss that possibility. In the meantime, he increased the amount of steroids in my inhaler. He said to give it a couple of weeks to work. If I get the energy from it, then it will probably be a sign of an immune system problem and he will let the rheumy handle it. If my energy still doesn’t increase, then he said that he will consider some sort of stimulant medication to help with my quality of life. I really don’t want to have to take a stimulant, but if it gives me some semblance of life back, then it am willing to take it.

After the doctor’s appointment I did my normal running around and then I had an appointment to get full highlights. I decided this time to go blond. That’s a big change for me because I have used red for so many years. I hope to put a picture up soon for you guys to see. It has taken a little bit to get used to because it’s such a big change, but it’s starting to grow on me. It was my present to myself for the 4th.

M has been sick all this week, so today I spent the morning with him at the doctor’s office. I was shocked at how long it took considering that there were no people there. I suppose I’m used to my doctors who stay busy and try to see people as quickly as possible. It took like 3 hours to be seen for a sore throat. Crazy! Then because he was sick and my car is the only one with air conditioning, I drove him around all day while he looked for tools for work. One good thing I got out of it was a new vacuum cleaner. It is lightweight so hopefully it will be easier for me to use than a heavier one.

So right now, I am listening to the sound of fireworks while my head throbs and every inch of my body aches. I know I overdid it these two days, but days like this when I’m able to push myself is really the only time I feel alive. I spend so much time in bed trying not to wear myself out that the pain from doing too much is almost worth being able to act normal for a while. Tomorrow I will rest. I will have to.

Lastly, I start physical therapy again next week. I will be trying out a new physical therapist this time. I wasn’t too impressed with my last one. I’m kinda excited to start back. I even bought a couple of workout outfits to wear. So for the rest of the holiday weekend I will be resting up so that my body will be able to take the abuse from physical therapy. I hope all of my US friends have a great holiday weekend, and the rest of you guys have a great regular weekend. Oh, and a very special friend is getting married this weekend, so I want to wish him all the luck and happiness in the world. I am so glad that he has found happiness and joy with a loving partner.

 

Before

Before

 

After

After

Happy Again

So, before I tell you guys why I’m so happy, I am going to update you a bit on my medical issues.

I went back to the rheumatologist and they re-did my bloodwork because last time it showed high levels of inflammation. Luckily though, it was negative for lupus and the other diseases they are able to test for. The results of the new bloodwork still showed high levels of inflammation, so the doctor started me on a medicine called Plaquinil. I will take it once a day and they will recheck my levels at my next visit. I am excited about this medicine because I am unable to take medicines from the NSAID family which is what they usually use for inflammation. I didn’t know there were other options. The only thing is that I have to make sure to get my eyes checked every year while on this medicine.

Secondly, I have had a really bad cough for a while now. After starting a new medicine called Symbicort the cough still hasn’t gone away. So the other day the doctor gave me a shot of a steroid and prescribed a course of Prednisone to help clear out my lungs.

This is where we get to the happy part. Somewhere between the Prednisone, my thyroid medicine and the Plaquinil, I have actually had ENERGY! For someone with fibromyalgia and chronic pain, this is a big thing. I am always extremely fatigued, so having a bit of energy has felt great… I feel almost normal. It is so exciting! Add to that the fact that it has actually been peaceful in my home for about a week and that makes one happy Joy. If it could only be this stress-free all the time! Lastly, I treated myself to a pedicure the other day so I have beautiful feet! I am thoroughly enjoying the peace, my energy, and my pedicure.

Too bad I can’t stay on this medicine all the time. That would be nice. It has been so long since I have felt normal. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the chronic pain, but my energy level is definitely better. I only have a few days left of the Prednisone, so it is very possible that my newfound energy stops with it. However, I intend to enjoy every minute of this feeling. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this good, so I will cherish every minute of it. Don’t worry, though. I am trying to pace myself to where I won’t overdo it. Today has been a day of rest except for a quick trip to the store.

I hope all of you are as happy as I am right now. Oh, and do something nice for yourself. You’ll be amazed at how great it makes you feel!

A Veteran with Cluster Headaches About to Lose his Home

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joynpain2:

 

 

In honor of migraine awareness month, let’s help out a U.S. Veteran and migraine sufferer. Read the entire article for more details.

Originally posted on Migraine Discussions:

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If you read the news you know the Veterans Association has been under a lot of scrutiny lately for how it has been operating and taking care of our veterans. It’s so bad the head of the VA is actually fighting against requests for him to resign which I think he should immediately. The way our veterans with chronic illness, especially neurological disorders gained during their tours of duty is egregious. There’s just no way to justify the neurological stigma that has seemingly penetrated the VA!

I want to tell you a story today in honor of Migraine Headache Awareness Month and our veterans about the VA’s ignorance. You might know Cluster headache and Migraine advocate John Beebee if you’ve ever been to Headache on the Hill. He can often be found laughing and doling out hugs amongst his friends in the Cluster Busters advocacy group which I was a…

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Reblog: A Perspective of Suicide

I have written before about chronic pain and suicide (here). However, here is a post that way better explains this phenomenon. Please give it a read. It makes you rethink the way you see suicides by chronic sufferers of physical or emotional pain.

A Perspective On Suicide

My Migraine Story

In honor of Migraine Awareness Month and my friend Michael Fernandez (a migraine sufferer and patient advocate) migraine discussions.com, I have decided to share my migraine story.

My migraines began around age 17. I had many triggers back then, but the one I remember the best is pepperoni. If I ate it cooked (like on a pizza) I would get a terrible migraine, but if I ate it raw (like they sell it in packs at the store) I wouldn’t. I never could figure out how that worked. Anyway, I tried many medications, but the one that helped the most back then was the sumatriptan injections. Back then the medicine was new and cost me a hundred dollars for two injections. Luckily I worked at the time and could afford them. At one point, though, I was having up to three migraines a week. I even went to the ER because of them on a couple of occasions. Literally anything would set them off.

At age 19, I had gastric bypass surgery and the migraines mysteriously stopped. I might have one once a year or once every two years, but nothing compared to before the surgery. Since the timing was right, I thanked the surgery for curing me, but later found out that it was just good timing.

In 2011 my migraines returned with a vengeance. I went to see a neurologist and I was told that sometimes migraines will go into remission for a while, but they usually end up showing back up sooner or later. This time, though, I seemed to have only one trigger…the sun. Anytime I went outside that summer I would get a migraine. I tried sunglasses, but just couldn’t find ones dark enough to shield me from the UV. Luckily after that summer the migraines eased up a bit, and I could go out in the sun, but if I stayed out for a good length of time the migraine would set in. My new neurologist started me on preventative medications that first summer that really seemed to help by the time the second summer rolled around. I also began using a medicine called Maxalt for when I would get a migraine. I still use it to this day if I think a migraine might be coming on. As soon as the headache starts I can take the Maxalt and it keeps the migraine from getting too bad.

I still get migraines now, but they are much weaker than before. Sound and light still bother me, but it is out of the ordinary these days for it to get bad enough to cause the nausea and vomiting that it used to. I would still love to find a good pair of sunglasses to help me with my sensitivity to light. I wear prescription eyeglasses, but after asking around found out that when the optometrist puts the UV shield coloring on, it really doesn’t get that dark. If I could find a pair of glasses that truly helped, I might look into wearing contacts again. I had to stop at one point because I take so many medications that my eyes stayed too dry to allow me to wear them. I would love to find some glasses that could be made according to my prescription strength, but I’m afraid to think of how much they might cost. Another problem I’ve run into is finding frames that cover enough of my area of vision. Usually the sun still seeps around the edges of the frames.

Even though my migraines have gotten better thanks to the preventative medications, I’m always scared of the day when they might return again with the same intensity as before. Here’s to hoping that the meds keep them at bay.

Bye Happy Joy

So, happy Joy didn’t last very long…as usual. I’m so frustrated. So tired of having no support system. Tired of being made to feel like I’m worthless and some kind of druggie because I am sick and have to take medication. I woke up this morning to a barrage of insults about how nothing is ever done around the house…about how I just stay in my room (hell yeah! It’s the only room with AC) and take medications and smoke cigarettes. How can he say anything when he smokes and takes medications? How is it possible that he doesn’t understand that I didn’t choose to be sick? I didn’t choose to have to take medications, and I didn’t choose this life. All of this was chosen for me by a higher power.

So, as of now I have adhesions, fibromyalgia, prediabetes, hypoparathyroidism, and now hypothyroidism. It seems my body is attacking itself. The first to go was my thyroid. What will be next? Hopefully the rheumatologist will be able to figure out what kind of autoimmune thing is going on when I see him next week. But all in all it really doesn’t matter. I will still be seen as a lazy, good for nothing druggie. Sometimes I wonder how different my life and illness would be if I had a support system and less drama. I think it’s time for another trip to my sister’s. I really don’t want to be around any of this right now. I shouldn’t have to put up with someone trying to judge me and insulting me.