career · health

Fibro Friday – Real Talk About Telework

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m in the midst of updating my routine to reflect the inevitable season change that is right around the corner (and that I’m feeling already!) so I’ve been laying low. That being said, I created a video a while ago about telework. I’ve meant to write about telework over here before, but I never quite had the words . . . Then I realized that some stories are best told via video. So that’s what I did.

As someone who had fragile mental and physical conditions, I did feel a bit of discomfort sharing how vulnerable I felt during the worst of my fibro experience. But if my story can help someone else feel less ashamed of their journey, then I’m glad to share it.

That’s all for today. Continue taking care of yourselves, and enjoy your weekend!

health · relaxation · travel

Fibro Friday – How I Created a Flare

Happy Fibro Friday! After an emotionally intense few days (I didn’t mention it in previous posts, because I like to focus on joy and ease in this space), I’m feeling so much lighter and happier! As today is Fibro Friday, I wanted to share a story about how I created a fibro flare right before my travels in June.

The excitement and stress of preparing to travel created the first real “flare” that I’d experienced in a while. I’d had achy or uncomfortable days, but I hadn’t felt like I was in a true “flare” in quite some time. So I was surprised when I noticed I had all of my typical flare symptoms: achiness all over; pain in my neck, back, shoulders, wrists, and forearms; brain fog; exhaustion; queasiness; pins and needles in my hands and feet; skin sensitivity, sore throat and dizziness. It has been a LONG time since I had this many symptoms at once, and it was not fun at all!

After noting that my normal activity caused leg soreness, and seeing that the transition to warmer weather was making me more uncomfortable than I’d normally expect, I did a checklist of what may have been wrong. My first thought was COVID, but I knew that my chances of being exposed were minuscule. I had the realization that I was the reason behind my most recent flare – well, me and the stress of traveling, that is – when I rested a bit and some of the brain fog and exhaustion eased up. I allowed myself to get more stressed than normal because of all of the little things that were within and beyond my control: I was so worried about what travel looks like in a post-COVID world, how much tidying I needed to do before I left, checking and double-checking my travel plans, etc.,.

Stress is such a huge trigger, and it can be triggering us behind the scenes: I wasn’t actively feeling stressed but it still affected me. However, awareness and immediately implementing self care helped shorten the flare and made such a difference. Here is the video I made discussing my flare:

That’s it for today. Please continue to take care of yourselves, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – How I’m Getting Better Sleep

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I hope you all are having a great week and, if not, I hope your weekend is full of whatever you need to feel better.

This is a brief post, because I’ve already discussed the three biggest things I’ve been using to improve my sleep over on my Youtube channel. Anyone that has fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness or chronic pain condition, knows that sleep is necessary to restore ourselves and to feel as good as possible. We also know that being in pain often means that sleep rarely makes us feel refreshed. So, anything that can improve the quality of our sleep can make the difference between feeling amazing and feeling awful.

The three things I’ve used that have helped me get deeper, more restorative sleep are weighted eye masks, magnesium supplements, and turmeric supplements. I’ve talked about magnesium and turmeric supplements (I’ve reviewed turmeric here and here) on this blog before, but I’ve never discussed eye masks. I’ll post my videos about each tool below, but if you’re short on time, here is the TLDW version:

  • Weighted eye masks help block out light (obviously), and the weight of it acts similar to weighted blankets: it provides a cozy feeling that helps with sleep. (I use the one by IMAK)
  • Magnesium is a muscle relaxer and a sedative, so it helps reduce pain while also giving you deeper sleep. (I use Nature’s Bounty magnesium supplement).
  • Turmeric supplements reduce inflammation and I take it at night, so it can do its work while I’m resting. For me, less pain means better sleep. (I use turmeric from Doctor’s Recipes and VitaBreeze: I alternate between the two).

More about weighted eye masks –

Why I use magnesium at night –

My daily turmeric and collagen supplements, and how the two I use measure up against each other –

These three things are the building blocks for improving my sleep, and I’m recommending these in hopes that they will help you, too! If you’ve tried any of these, or if you’re curious about any of them, please let me know in the comments below. Take care, and have a great weekend!

health · international · life curation · travel

Fibro Friday – Travel-Sized Flare Kits

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! We made it through another week, and I’m excited that I get to share with you some tips that served me well when I traveled several weeks ago.

Because I was traveling for a few weeks out of the country, I had to be mindful that my normal conveniences *may* not be available. The reality of traveling anywhere is that, if you have chronic illness, it’s imperative to have things you need, in case your symptoms flare up.

I was fortunate that I didn’t have any flares while traveling (yay!) though I did feel ill upon returning to the States. To my credit, I prepared well and that probably created enough energetic “relief” that I was avoid a flare due to stress. Part of my preparation included packing a travel-sized flare kit.

I mentioned my self-care kit a while ago, and I added things to the kit to make it suitable for treating my emotional as well as my physical health. I took an abbreviated version of this kit with me on the road. The contents of my travel kit were as follows:

  • ginger mints and ginger tea
  • journal and pen
  • resistance band and stress ball
  • pain relievers
  • dream water
  • room spray
  • aromatherapeutic oil

I discuss the kit a bit more in this video:

Have you ever prepared a mini flare kit when traveling? What items do you recommend that I add? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

health

Fibro Friday – Addressing My Wrist Pain

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Fibro Friday post, though I’ve been posting fibro videos over on my YouTube. Last month, I started physical therapy for my wrist pain that I’ve suffered from since 2018(!). I recall when I first had pain in my wrist, which was so intense that I went to the emergency room. The pain made it impossible to write more than a page in my journal at a time. Being unable to write with the same fervor that I used to was a heartbreaking experience and, while I wanted to get relief for the pain, I had far more pressing issues to address (like my other fibro issues). So I shelved the wrist treatment until recently.

So I started physical therapy. I posted this video on June 10th, and I’ve done some therapy sessions after filming this video. In fact, I’ve completed my series of sessions, and now I get to do the work on my own to continue rehabilitating my wrist. So I’ve seen even more progress since I filmed originally. Here’s the video discussing my physical therapy:

Now that I’ve completed physical therapy, I have a much better understanding of what my wrist needs to be its healthiest and strongest. I need exercises that both relieve stress as well as strengthen the muscles. The strengthening is the key point for me: the pain kept me from moving my wrist in a normal way, and due to this, I lost a lot of my original strength. Restoring my wrist strength is crucial to my healing journey. That, along with exercises to help with the flexibility and grip function, will help me to get back to my former glory.

I’m looking forward to giving you all updates in the months to come, as I progress in my healing journey. I’m excited to see how things go!

Anyhoo, that’s it for today. I hope you all have a great weekend. Talk to you all soon!

Uncategorized

Fibro Friday – Make A Fuss For Your Health

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all are doing well! I apologize for the premature postings this week: I’ve been concentrating on Vlog-A-Day-In-May and hadn’t gotten a chance to do much writing over here. Rest assured, the prematurely posted blog will be fleshed out and reposted soon.

Today, I’m sharing a vlog that I posted several weeks ago. In this video, I discussed why it’s important to “speak up” when it comes to your health, especially those that are dealing with fibromyalgia. So many times, our voices are silenced because many medical professionals misunderstand or minimize our experiences. Also, when you suffer from chronic pain, it can be difficult to accurately relay your experiences to medical professionals, which makes it challenging to get diagnoses and treatments.

However, we should always continue to “make a fuss”, sharing how we feel with our care providers and the specialists that we work with. We must persist until our concerns are heard, and we get the treatment that we need.

health

Fibro Fridays: Morning Routine for Relief

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m glad that we’ve completed another beautiful week, and I’m hoping that all of you are feeling refreshed and relaxed.

On this fibro journey, one thing that I’d been resistant to was routine. I enjoy doing things at the spur of the moment, and I used to feel that routines kept me from living a fun and spontaneous life. As it turns out, routine has been a saving grace for me. Between getting into the regular habit of taking certain prescription medications, having regularly scheduled visits to physical therapists, and creating better sleep hygiene, I can see where routine is critical to my pain management strategy.

I noticed that I had morning, mid-day, and evening routines that have helped a lot with minimizing my pain and discomfort. So, I took note of my current practices and decided to film my lists. For this week, I filmed my morning routine. You can watch the video here:

The four things I’m currently doing are as follows:

1) Drink 8-16 oz of room temperature water upon waking. I’m always so thirsty when I first wake up, so this is crucial to helping me gently start my day.

2) Complete 5-10 minutes of bed yoga and stretching. Again, starting my day gently is vital: part of keeping my nervous system calm is to avoid overstimulating routines, such as hopping right out of bed and throwing myself directly into the activities of the day. Gentle stretches warm my body up and get me mentally prepared for the day.

3) Moisturize my skin thoroughly. For me, a hyper-sensitive nervous system has meant more sensitive skin. Fabric that was once fine is now uncomfortable against my skin, but I notice that this discomfort is minimized if I’m well moisturized. I use a body butter formulated by one of my friends, but prior to that, I used a light layer of petroleum jelly. It works great and it keeps my skin from getting dry throughout my day.

4) Consume mostly liquid supplements. When I start my day, I’m not usually in the mood for solid or heavy foods. Likewise, I am almost never in the mood for pills or other supplements that cannot be sipped or added into beverages. I try to make most of my morning supplements some sort of liquid: I find these easier to digest and much more effective for me.

This additional point is something that I’d like to try in the upcoming weeks. I have noticed a little more tooth sensitivity than normal, so I’m going to try using a desensitizing toothpaste (like Sensodyne) to help with that. I’ll try it for a few weeks and I’ll follow up to let you all know whether it’s something I’m going to keep in my rotation.

So that’s my morning routine in a nutshell. I find that these steps help me to have a smooth, gentle and effective start to my day.

That’s all for today! Have a great day and a fantastic weekend, and I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care!

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – Let’s Talk About Soursop

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all have had a great week. I’m recovering from a mild flare and I’m finally coming out of it, which makes me happy. This is one of those unavoidable things that comes with fibro: even when you’ve done your best to manage your symptoms, you may still have occasional flares. My flare was triggered by inconsistent weather patterns, because when the air goes from hot to cool to warm to cold, my body goes haywire.

Part of what really helps with my flare is getting enough rest, but, as you all know, rest can be challenging when you have fibro. One of the things I use to help get deeper, more restorative sleep is soursop leaf tea. There are a lot of benefits that you can reap from drinking soursop leaf tea, because it’s a highly nutritious plant. The fruit of the soursop plant is delicious and there is a strong case for it being antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic. But we’re not talking about the fruit: the leaves are what interest me most (when it comes to fibro).

I first learned about soursop leaf tea from Debbie over at The Jamaican Cooking Journey. I’m inserting her video about soursop tea for your convenience:

When she mentioned that soursop tea is good for your nerves, I knew I had to try it! So I did, and I’m so glad that I took a chance on it. It helps me to sleep like a baby! Remeber, fibromyalgia is a neurological issue, not a musculoskeletal one, so by address nerve dysfunction, you can reduce or eliminate most of your symptoms.

Because I love science, here are some articles about soursop (graviola) that are worth checking out: WebMD article; Anti-microbial Efficacy of Soursop Leaf Extract (Annona muricata) on Oral Pathogens: An In-vitro Study; Anticancer Properties of Graviola (Annona muricata): A Comprehensive Mechanistic Review. I believe in doing due diligence and seeing what the science says, and I encourage you all to do the same.

I am posting my video that I did on this topic, and in that video, I share my results from consuming soursop leaf tea:

Please note, I am not a doctor and I’m not offering medical advice or solutions. That being said, I’ve enjoyed using soursop leaf tea as part of my regimen to encourage deeper and more restorative sleep. Try it and let me know your results!

health

Fibro Friday: Managing Inflammation with Turmeric

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope your week was great, and I hope your upcoming weekend is even better!

Over the past few months, I’ve been keeping close tabs on my fibromyalgia: I’m looking out for new (or recurring) symptoms, any difficulties in recovering after flares, or other changes that may be worth noting. I keep up with these because I stopped using prescription medication a few months back, and this is my first time – since my diagnosis – observing how fibro shows up in my daily life when managed through other methods.

As part of my symptom (and overall health) management, I’ve been incorporating supplements that promise to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. While fibro is not an autoimmune condition, nor is it a condition that is typically associated with inflammation, my research confirmed that inflammatory conditions exist in most people’s bodies, and most of us benefit from the reduction of inflammation. For this reason, I decided to add turmeric into my daily supplements.

I opted for a liquid supplement, and, since my flexible spending plan covers glucosamine and chondroitin products, I got a glucosamine supplement that also included turmeric (2 for 1!). I have thoughts on glucosamine products that I won’t share today, but I’ll touch on that in a future video. Anyways, back to turmeric: I decided to use Tropical Oasis Joint Complete Premium Plus- Liquid Joint Support Supplement w/Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Plus 800mg Turmeric Curcumin. I took this product for more than 30 days, and I did this consistently, just so that I can confirm whether I have gotten any results.

Here is my YouTube video discussing fibro and inflammation:

And here’s a YouTube video that I posted earlier today, discussing the outcome of my experiment:

I have to conclude that, while I didn’t notice an immediate or drastic difference in how I felt, I compared the way I felt to how I usually feel in the winter season and I took note of what symptoms were present, missing or mitigated. In previous winters, I am extraordinarily achy, tired and suffer from mild flu-like symptoms, even while taking prescription medication. However, this year, I only felt a little tired and very few aches. I only noticed flu-like symptoms when I actually had the flu (you can read about that ordeal here). So, comparing this year to prior years is the best metric I have, and I can confidently that adding turmeric was a good move for me. I didn’t feel the normal winter “slump” that I usually experience, and I found myself needing less down time when I felt a little tired. I also started adding another supplement into my rotation (more about that next week) and that has been making a difference, too, though I only added that in toward the end of the turmeric experiment, well after I determined how effective the turmeric was for me.

I’m also considering adding in a different turmeric supplement to see if I have different results. I’m thinking I’ll choose between Qunol Liquid Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper, Dr. Mercola Organic Fermented Turmeric, Turmeric Gummies for Adults & Kids with Ginger & Black Pepper Extract, or I may try something completely different. You’ll just have to stick around to see what I choose!

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

*This post contains affiliate links.

health

Fibro Fridays – My FluRona Experience

Happy Fibro Friday! A few weeks ago, I published two videos over on my YouTube channel, discussing how I had both flu and COVID simultaneously, and all of the shenanigans involved with that experience. I figured I’d share the videos over here, because you all may have missed my story.

So, let me tell you all how it started. I fell ill right after New Year’s Day, and it took several days for me to get tested (there was a huge demand for COVID testing post-holidays), and I couldn’t get examined for nearly a week after I first started showing symptoms. When I was finally able to get tested, it was confirmed that yes, I had COVID, but I also had the flu (yay me). More about that story, as well as my symptoms are in the video below.

A couple of weeks later, I went back to the doctor’s office to make sure that I was not contagious. I received a rapid test and a flu test, which confirmed that I was no longer sick with COVID, BUT I was still showing as positive for the flu. I was so confused: I should have been done with both viruses at this point. But, the fact that I was still showing as flu-positive opened the door to considering some additional things that were specific to fibromyalgia. Here’s the video discussing that, and I have a few takeaways that I’m going to mentioned after the break.

Here’s the thing: having any chronic health condition means that all of our internal systems are compromised, even on a minute level. But, as we all know, small leaks sink ships. Little “glitches” in our bodies, such as being in a slightly immunocompromised state, often mean that we get unusual results when we’re sick. Unusual outcomes include extended illness, unexpected side effects/symptoms, and biological/physiological damage that cannot be reasonably explained. Sadly, a lack of compassion when sharing our experiences with others is also something that we have to face when we’re recovering from sickness.

So, that’s the sum of my FluRona experience. I’m glad that I’m *finally* over it and feeling great. And I’m really happy that I get to share my experiences and, hopefully, give a little insight to someone else.

That’s it for today: I hope you all are doing great! Have a great weekend.