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The new blog is up and running as of right NOW :)  Can you tell I'm excited!?!?!? Thank you so much for your continuing support!  I can hardly wait to see everyone over at the new diggs :)

I will keep this site open for awhile to redirect any stragglers.

Sending you out lots of love and gentle hugs,


Maintaining Sanity Through A Flare

There is are recent posts over at our new, active location!

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I look forward to seeing you there!

~ Nancy

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Monday Goal Setting

(Image from WeHeartIt)
What's on the agenda peeps?

This week I'm setting a goal for myself that I NEED to accomplish for a variety of reasons. It is one that I've put off for too long, for fear of not succeeding.

For a little background, please refer to a much earlier post this year titled Here's The Situation. Yup, I'm still having issues with this side effect from one of my medication. My body has built up a tolerance to the medication now, so most of the time, I'm giving into my cravings once my meds kick in, and I'm fully aware of what I'm doing. When this first started, I never had any memory of it, so I felt less guilty about it :P So, I mostly crave sweets late at night, and have put back on the few pounds that I did manage to shake, plus a few more :S It HAS to stop!

It doesn't make temptations any easier to resist when my hubby keeps us stocked with sweets. I love you honey, but the sweets have got to go! It's not doing my health (or weight) any favors, and it's certainly not doing the rest of my family any favors. I'm not quite sure when sweets went from being a treat in moderation, to being a daily occurrence, but I think it is time to back up the boat.

The reason I'm making this a goal here rather than keeping it a personal goal to myself, is that it forces me to be accountable for my actions :P I know that if I'm not accountable to someone, at least in the beginning, it will make it much too easy to give into my cravings, and get away with it. Seriously, it's gotten ridiculous, and I need to get a grip on this before I get too far in over my head.

When I got pregnant with my son, I was already carrying extra weight on my bones. Needless to say, after having my son, I was carrying even more :P When I set my mind to it, I managed to shed 58lbs and fit into a size 6. That was a major accomplishment for me! I maintained a healthy weight until I got pregnant with my daughter. Even then, I dropped a lot of the baby weight that was left from my last pregnancy. It certainly helped that I was very active physically. After I got sick, the pounds slowly crept back on, due to inactivity because of my health.

It is not uncommon for those of us suffering from chronic pain and chronic fatigue to gain weight due to medication side-effect and difficulty maintaining a regular exercise routine. That being said, we do have control over the dietary choices we make. It's one thing for someone who is making all the best food choices and still having trouble shedding the pounds. It's a whole different ball game when you can honestly say to yourself that there is lots of room for improvement with food choices (that's me!). It's not going to be easy! If I can do it once, I can do it again, and I think I'm ready to take the plunge! I have less to drop this time, so hopefully that help :D

My goal for this week, is to set the pace for healthier food choices! Unfortunately, this will also involve a discussion with my hubby about what comes into our house. This was so much easier to control when I was able to do all the groceries :D It won't be easy, but it will be well worth it in the long run, for the whole family!

Now it's your turn!

What are your goals this week? Do you have any personal goals that you have been scared to commit to too, for fear of not succeeding?  Let us cheer you on!

Sunday Goal Check

(Image from WeHeartIt)

First, I'd like to wish all our American readers a

Happy 4th of July :)

I hope that each of you have been able to enjoy

the celebration of the day, in some way shape or form.

It's Sunday!
How did everyone's week go? Were you able to fit in all the tasks you set out to do this week to accomplish your goals?

This week was a bit of a crazy one, and I set my goals accordingly. I knew that I had to keep my goals simple and easy in order to accomplish them. Setting goals that are realistic, in my opinion is the key! Some weeks may need to be VERY basic, and other weeks you may be able to chew off a bigger bite. Every week I remind myself to keep it "real" :)

At the beginning of the week, I got my children's chore charts made on the computer. It was only when I attempted to print them, that I discovered I was out of ink...Oops. You think I can remember to pick up a new cartridge? Nope ;) Regardless, during supper on Tuesday, I explained to my kiddies what their chores each morning would be, and that they need to be done before they will be allowed outside to play. We are on day 5 of total success! No whining, no complaints, no arguments, no fuss :) Yeah, I don't get it either, but I'm on top of the world happy about it! They are realizing that it doesn't take long to complete their little (mental) list, when it is maintained each day, and I am realizing that I should have started this morning routine with them a long time ago!

I didn't get as much time to read up and research dysautonomia, as I would have liked.  However, I have begun the process, and like with Fibro, I'm sure it will be an ongoing learning process. In yesterday's post "Fibromyalgia VS Dysautonomia" I explained what may have been causing the low blood pressure all along, and my action plan to deal with it. If you are interested in reading more details, please take a hope back to that post. With any luck, dysautonomia may not be disrupting my life much, or at all in the foreseeable future! Education is key to understanding any condition.  I am a creature who craves learning as much as I possibly can about health issues.  Especially those that impact me and the people in my life both in "real time" and my "blog buddies". I have had the pleasure of meeting some more kind readers in the past couple of weeks, who are living with this condition.  Thank you to those of you who have reached out to lend me some much needed and appreciated support.

One of the most positive things that have transpired as a result of dealing with chronic illnesses, is all the amazing people I have met, and friendships I have made! This is not a journey meant for any of us to travel alone, and I'm blessed to be in such good company ;)

We have a couple of readers here who have been going through an especially difficult week. If you would be so kind to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Dominique @ 4 Walls & a View and Maureen @ Mo is blogging...I think, I'm setting your goals for you this week ;) Please take good care of yourselves and let people help you as much as they are willing. Extra gentle hugs to you both. You are both such inspiring women!

If memory serves me correctly, I believe that Dominique somehow managed to accomplish all her goals in spite of everything that has landed in her lap this week. Way to go chicky!

I think I got a little side tracked :S  It happens alot!

Enjoy the tail end of the weekend everyone!  I'm going to cuddle with my family and enjoy a movie :)

~ Gentle Hugs

Fibromyalgia VS Dysautonomia

(Image from WeHeartIt)

High levels of constant pain VS moderate to high levels of pain with a side dish of overwhelming nausea, light headed, disassociation, exhaustion, etc...you get the idea.  Generally feeding like I'm unwell all the time.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I did find out that all of what I'm experiencing are symptoms of low blood pressure. My doctor diagnosed me with a form of dysautonomia called "postural orthostatic tachycardia" (POTS). I've spoken to others who suffer with this as well. Some are mildly affected and others are more severely impacted by their symptoms. My symptoms have reached the point that unless I'm lying down, I'm almost always feeling like I'm going to throw up and/or pass out.  It has been a very long 7 or so months!

My doctor asked me if I thought a certain medication she prescribed could be causing this, as low blood pressure is a potential side effect from this particular medication. See...I knew all this symptom tracking and note keeping would come in handy at some point! I don't keep meticulous notes regarding my symptoms each day, but they are consistent enough for me to detect patterns. Based on the notes I've kept, it appears that my symptoms started somewhere around the time we added this medication to my pain management treatment.  

Over the last week, I have been weaning myself off this medication, which I take three times a day.  I stopped my morning dose 4 days ago, with some withdrawal.  Today I cut out the afternoon dose, and I'm having mild withdrawal, but nothing compared to other medications I've taken.  I'm hoping try keep the bedtime dose.  It is a slow release medication, so it helps me get through the night, and gives me the best chance of being able to get out of bed in the morning. Also, I figure I won't be aware of any side effect since I'm lying down and asleep.  By the time I wake up, it has very little effect.

The results to date:

- Dysautonomia symptoms have reduced significantly.  I'm relieved, yet at the same time an ounce of me is worried that it's just a coincidence.  The next few days and weeks will tell!  Mostly, I'm confident that this improvement is from cutting back on this medication. 

- Pain level has increased significantly and I seem to be going into a flare.  This was a given, and mentally I had prepared myself for this drawback, however physically, it is kicking my butt!  I notice it most dramatically with the stiffness, hips, knees, and ligaments in the groin area.  I'll be going back to the good old reliable ice packs on my knees and between the legs :P 

Conclusion: I'm choosing to continue living with higher and more unpredictable pain levels and flares, rather than dealing with moderate to high levels of pain PLUS all those other symptoms that have reduced my quality of life even more over the last 7 months. It's interesting that even though this med only decreased my pain by a notch or two, I notice an even bigger difference with it increasing.  A couple of moments during this med change, I was questioning if this was really the solution and if it was a great idea, and was tempted not to go through with it. I'm feeling better now, that I'm making the right choice for myself.  With the med, my pain level was pretty consistent, with less spikes/flares, so I think I had a better idea of what to expect.  That being said, it was still far from what would be considered "effective pain management".

As much as I'm sick of this pain and it has been horribly debilitating over the last few years, it is familiar territory and for the most part, I've developed a "survival" mode that gets me through. Does that make sense? If discontinuing this medication during the day eliminates the nasty symptoms I've been dealing with from POTS, it make sense to me, to ditch it. I can't justify taking a med that make me feel 100% worse than I already do.  Aren't medications supposed to make us feel better?  Yeah, yeah, I know ;)

So, fingers and toes crossed that this resolves the blood pressure issue.  I'm still not feeling "normal" in that department, but I'm MUCH better than even a week ago.  I think I really need to get back to basics.  No more posting at 12:41am would be a good place to start ;)  I hope YOU are all in bed & not reading this until tomorrow, like the good chronic illness patients you are ;)

Thank you are all listening to be through this mess and sticking with me, even when the frequency of my posts have decreased, as a result from all this mess.  Hopefully I can get back to "myself" soon, and plug back into some of the things I enjoy, more often than I have been able to!  It's going to happen...I just have to believe :)

~ Sweet dreams to you all, and gentle hugs!

Gift Card Giveaway!

I'm so EXCITED!!! Welcome to the very FIRST Chronic Connection giveaway contest!

Enter to win a $25 Restaurant.com gift card today!

Entering, for a chance to win, will be as easy as this:

1st: Subscribe to Chronic Connection through the RSS feed or within your favorite blog reader (ie: google reader).

Then: Leave a comment telling us how you plan to get the maximum enjoyment out of the summer. Don't forget to include your first name or a nickname, so that you can be entered in the draw!

And finally: Make sure you check back Sunday, July 11th, 2010 to see who the winner is!


1) You must be 18 years of age to enter

2) This contest is open to US readers only. Sorry! I'm Canadian, and WISH this was available to all my Canadian blog friends too, but unfortunately restaurant.com does not extend there service to Canada! To balance it out, and make it up to all my Canadian blog friends, there will be a "Canadian Only Giveaway" in the future! :)

3) Entries will be accepted up to 11:59pm on Friday, July 9th, 2010. The winner will be drawn by random.org. If you are the lucky winner of the $25 Restaurant.com gift card, your name will be announced here, in a separate post on Sunday, July 11th, 2010. You will have 48 hours from the announcement time to accept your prize, by emailing me privately at chronicconnection@gmail.com, at which point I will send you the information and code you will need to claim your gift card directly from the Restaurant.com website! If the prize is not claimed within the 48 hour deadline, then a new winner will be chosen.

Simple enough? Are you ready?!?!

On your marks...get set...GO! Good luck to all participants!

If you are not familiar with Restaurant.com, you can visit their site to search for participating restaurants in your area :)

~ Lots of love & gentle hugs to you all!

Monday Goal Setting

(Image from WeHeartIt)
I cannot believe the weekend is already over :( The weather was beautiful and I did spend a fair amount of time outdoors, taking it easy. It certainly lifts my spirit to spend some time outside in the sunshine, even if it is only on my patio ;) We have a ton of children in our neighborhood, and they all play in the large green space behind our house. I wasn't lacking any entertainment ;) At least, with being outside right at home, it is easy to just go inside and lie down when I need to. So I could still enjoy the outdoors in small doses.

It seems that almost everyone has started their summer break. My little man still has school today and tomorrow and then he's off the hook for the summer :) Woohoo! No more alarms forcing me out of bed at 7am. No more homework! Yay!

Which brings me to my goal this week :) It is always such a hassle whenever I ask the kids to pick up there rooms and put there stuff away. My son is a bit of a procrastinator and will stretch a 20 minute task out for 2 hours. So summer vacation will be a perfect time to implement a system with some basic chores. They will be bursting to get outside and play each morning, so if I set up a routine that they have a few tasks that need to be done each morning before they are allowed out to play, this is likely to get achieved in record time :) It's amazing how much it truly helps me out, when they do a few simple tasks.

SO, my first goal this week is to create a chart for each of my children to post in their rooms, outlining a few basic chores that must be completed before they go outside.

My second goal is to read up and educate myself more on dysautonomia. I've given myself a week to process my diagnosis and I've be very blessed to have some of you here who have helped me out by providing links to resources to get me started. Thank you so much, again, for pointing me in the right direction!

Living this journey with ALL of you brings be more comfort than I can express.

I appreciate everyone's support and hope you too know that I'm always here for each one of you :)

Now, I want to know! What is your goal this week? Anything on your agenda setting the pace?

Hopefully everyone is having a decent start to their week. May your pain be low and your energy high, so that you can enjoy some of the things you are wanting to do!

~ Gentle Hugs

Sunday Goal Check

(Image from WeHeartIt)

Oh boy...I hope you had more success achieving the goals you set, than I did!

What I got done:

1) My doctor's appointment. Her staff squeezed me in for Monday afternoon. The pharmacy had messed up my meds and left me with a quantity on one of them, that did not meet the minimum quantity that my insurance will accept. So, technically I wasn't out of them, but since the pharmacy didn't work out how they should have been disbursed from the beginning, I couldn't fill the prescription for the quantity I had left. What a pain in the butt!

2) I did get a few loads of laundry done this week, but less than what would average out to one load each day. I'll give myself half a point for this task ;)

3) * This was not on my list, however it very badly needed to get done. In my kitchen, I have a wooden letter/mail holder which was practically busting at the seams. I have a tendency to just keep stuffing things in there so that I get them out of the way, without loosing them :P This week I took the time to sort through all that stuff.

What I didn't get done:

1) Making an appointment with the owner of the pharmacy. I've decided to give them one last try before I go in to talk to the owner, who is also the pharmacist in charge. I think they may have a few new pharmacists working there, and I'm hoping that they have finally gotten every straight with my meds.

2) Merging all the health related information I track, into one simple form to refer to when I need to find information. I really should have gotten this done! My bad! :S

So, that was my week in a nutshell.

How was your week? How did everyone do with their goals? Don't be shy, let us know how it worked out for you this week!

Hope everyone is ready for tomorrow's Goal Setting Monday!

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday :)

~ Gentle Hugs