Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thank You Note

As we close out July and my first month of blogging, I wanted to take a minute to write you a thank you note.  I'm really bad at writing real thank you notes, but it has meant so much to me to be able to share this piece of my life with you.

Thank you for reading.

I pray that you are inspired to take some steps towards healing as we walk this journey out of the fog together.  I hope it helps to know you are not alone.  I pray that God will continue to lead me in what to share and that He will touch your life.

I also want to say thank you to Chad.  Without your endless love and support there is no way I would be able to do the things I do, including write.  Thank you for being there for me, being patient with me and being real with me always.  I love you so much and am a blessed woman to have you as my husband.

Bekah :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rest – Required

Last night I took a nice hot bath, soothed my aching muscles with the heat after a busy weekend getting ready for the first day of school.  It’s something I don’t do very often.
(I forget why?)  I threw in some lovely aroma therapy oils, kept the room dark and just relaxed.  That is until a happy little 2 year old skipped into my room and decided to hop in with me (oh yeah, that’s why).  Not so relaxing when you end up with grapes floating around in the water and get splashed in the face.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing though, I know these moments will soon be memories.

I must admit, I have always had to take extra rest, even before I developed fibro.  I’m an introvert and it always has made me very tired to go out and do anything, including being with other people (yes even people I love).  I need to have some peace and quiet and alone time to feel restored.  Having this syndrome has made me much more aware of this and from what I hear from others, it is necessary for us to recuperate after even simple everyday activities like grocery shopping or going to a lunch meeting.  Problems arise when we don’t take this time to rest.  Pain, more fatigue and brain fog are quick to creep up on us when we push too far.  The longer the activity, or more energy exerted, the more rest we need.

There are different types of rest described for us in the Scriptures.

Sabbath rest
Future rest in God
Rest/peace for the soul

We as humans need them all!  But I’d like to focus on a few verses that speak about rest/peace for our souls.  These are the verses we can cling to when we know we need rest and can be encouraged that God will provide it for us!

Jesus speaks right to us in Matthew, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:28-29.

He promises rest and peace from anxiety, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

Sometimes we don’t even know we need rest and God provides opportunities for us.  (Oh how He loves us!)  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” 
Psalm 23:1-3.
I love love love Psalm 23 and encourage you to read and study the entire Psalm and find your rest in God today!

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”
Psalm 62:5

Friday, July 27, 2012

Photo Friday!

I decided to share some of my photography with you all each Friday, and encourage you with God's beautiful Creation and His Word.  Something you can meditate on over the weekend.  You are welcome to download and use this photo with my watermark.  Share it on Facebook, Pinterest, or use it as a screensaver. (photos are not to be sold, or used for advertising, please link back to my shop when using photos online)  If you would like to purchase a print without the watermark, visit my shop on Etsy.  Discount prices for Friday Photos!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Running – It’s What I Love

I quit running back in September 2011 because of the horrible pain I was experiencing at the time.  This was before I went to see my Dr. and learned I have fibromyalgia.  I was never a great runner, but I loved it.  I had only started a few years before and worked my way up to running a few 5K races with an ultimate goal of doing a ½ marathon someday.  The Tinkerbell ½ Marathon at Disneyland to be exact.  A lot of my pain in the beginning was joint pain, in my feet, knees and hips.  I was stiff in the mornings and so very sore in the evenings I could barely walk.  When I did see my Dr. in November, he confirmed that I should not be running.  Walking instead would be best.  But when I went to see a Rheumatologist for a 2nd opinion she suggested that I continue to do what I loved, just start slow, build up very slow, pace myself, and listen to my body so I don’t overdo it.  It turned out a lot of my foot/leg pain was Plantar Fasciitis, and I was able to get that under control by learning some stretches and wearing good supportive shoes all the time (very hard for this flip-flop or barefoot girl!  Thanks to my sister-in-law who also deals with this, I was able to find some pretty cute supportive flip-flops by Orthaheel) It took me a few months to try running again.  I wanted to focus on healing my body a bit.

When I first began running I followed the Couch 2 5K Running Plan from coolrunning.  It is a very mild approach of walking/running and building up slowly to avoid injury over 9 weeks.  I loved the program, so I figured I would try it again.  It turned out that trying to run 3 days a week was too much, so I dropped it down to 2.  I have learned a lot about energy management, and for me, this is what I can handle.  I also believe the supplements I have been taking have helped with my energy and opened up more of my day to be able to exercise.  I have to run on days when I don’t have anything else going on, to give myself plenty of time to rest and recover.  Sometimes I have overdone it and suffered for a couple of days after with pain and fatigue.

This was one thing that was worth it to me to try and get back from my life before fibro.  I missed the quiet prayer time with just me and God (and usually my little one ridding in the stroller).  Getting out in nature (well, suburban nature) and feeling the sun on my skin.  It’s always been a great stress reliever for me, and given me a goal to work towards.  So once again I have set that goal of running the Tinkerbell ½ marathon someday.  Currently I am on week 7 of the C25K program although I have been running for 10 weeks now.  I feel great over all.  It has helped with energy, motivation, stress relief and more!

I want to point out that I am NOT telling you to go out and run.  This may not be right for you.  I also understand that I may not be able to do this forever.  You should seek advice from your Dr. about what type of exercise is best for you.  Start slow and build up slowly.  The normal recommendations for people with fibro are
low impact; walking, yoga and aqua therapy.  Even with those
you must build up slowly.
It takes time! 

What do you do for exercise?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Priorities - Where Does Fibromyalgia Fit?

It sure takes a lot of time and effort to revamp your life.  Lots of reading, studying, testing and practicing.  I feel sometimes like this is a new job.  I guess it is.  I have spent hours and hours reading, and talking with others who are living with fibromyalgia, trying to find what God leads me to put into practice in my own life as steps towards healing.  This can quickly take over your whole life,  putting God and family responsibilities on the back-burner!  I KNOW that is not what God wants for me, so where does getting healthy fit into my priorities?
Here is an illustration that shows the Circles of Priority for a Christian Adult according to
Bearing Fruit in God's Family by NavPress:

After talking about this with my husband we came up with the idea that for me, fibro should fall between “Work” (I should point out that "Work" does not necessarily mean a paying job) and “Other."  We’ll call it “Self/Health,” not “selfishness,”  but “Self/Health.”  This is the place to work on getting healthy.  My list for “Self/Health” would include; 

-reading/research on my illness
-healthy eating
-exercise (which for me includes lots of prayer time & scripture meditation)
-Dr. appointments
-resting (which could lead back to God)
-blogging (which could also be helping others)

Maybe you would add massage, chiropractor or acupuncture.  Whatever you do that surrounds your illness and healing.  All of these are important and have a place on our priority list.   Here is my new visual which you can grab, print & customize with your own priorities:


Certainly there are times in people’s lives where health needs to be moved up on the list.  If you are hospitalized, or going through something like Cancer, your priorities may look different for a season.  When your illness has you so down (physically or emotionally) that you can no longer do the things on your priority list, that is a problem that needs to be addressed.  You should seek help to get things under control.

As I spoke about in a previous post, Job - Help for the Hurting, God allows things to happen in our lives for the purpose of bringing us closer to Him.  Don’t let anything get in the way of that relationship!

My point is this.  Let’s not let fibromyalgia (or whatever illness you have) take over our lives to the point where we are ineffective Christians.

Let’s put it in its place.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Habit – Supplements

I hate pills.  Always have.  I’m not one to take them unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Just the idea usually turns my weak stomach.  Let’s face it though; we are not getting the nutrients we need from our food.  People with fibromyalgia are often deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, and may need some help getting our bodies back to the right levels.  It IS necessary.  My Dr. recommended a few for me, and like I mentioned in a previous post, Figuring out Fibromyalgia, one of the things suggested was to take a few supplements.  So I decided to give it a try and see if it made any difference for me.

I began to do a little research on the supplements I should be taking and quickly became overwhelmed.  There are so many to choose from, so many different brands, dosages, different kind of pills, powders & drinks.  I had to walk away from the computer in frustration many times.  I had no idea what the best way to take each one was, the best time of day.  BLAH.  Then one day I was out shopping at Costco & just decided to go get what I needed there, give it a try and then change later if I needed to.  I stood there in the isle with a very unhappy 2 year old in the cart (he hates shopping) and read through the supplement chapter of Figuring out Fibromyalgia on my Kindle.

     2. Super B Complex 
        3. Vitamin D3
Got it!  Now I was committed.  Those Costco size supplements are no joke.  It was around $50 for all 3.  I'm getting close to running out of the Triple Omega now, but the other 2, I still have plenty!  And it's been months since I bought them.  Little tip, keep them in your fridge!  (They keep longer & no fish smell from the omega)

I devoted myself to taking them every day.  And for the most part I have!  I forget some mornings, and there was a month that I stopped as a little test to see if they really were helping, and about a week when I was pretty sick.  Other than that, I have been faithful since January 2012.

Another thing I wanted to try was herbs.  My sister is studying to be an herbalist.  She took some time and knowing what was going on with me, made up a few different things to help.

For me, just doing this small thing with just these few supplements & herbs has made a HUGE difference in my life.  It took about 2 weeks to really kick in.  Taking the Omega Blend has helped tremendously with my brain fog.  I would say I have about an 80% improvement.  The B complex has given me a little bit of my life back.  Instead of heading downhill at around 4pm every day, I’m usually just fine until bed time.  Having more energy is such a blessing.  I would rate it at about 50% improvement (and getting better).  I don’t feel any difference with or without the Vitamin D3, but from what I’ve read, this is worth taking.  And it’s just a little easy pill.  The herbs that I take have helped me with a few other health issues, not necessarily related to fibro.  The more I read & learn, there are probably some more supplements that would be helpful for me.  I have just started taking MagnesiumGlycinate.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

I urge you to talk with your Dr., get some testing done to see if there are deficiencies, and do a little reading for yourself.  It is worth it!  I am VERY pleased with my experience & will continue to take my pills every day.  Hey, it forces me to eat a little breakfast every morning so I can stomach taking the pills.  There’s another good habit.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Job - Help for the Hurting

“so I have been allotted months of futility,
    and nights of misery have been assigned to me.
When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’
    The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.”  Job 7:3-4
“And now my life ebbs away;
    days of suffering grip me.
Night pierces my bones;
    my gnawing pains never rest.”  Job 30:16-17

Sound familiar?  Researching the history of fibromyalgia you will often find references to Job possibly being the first recorded sufferer.  I hadn’t heard anything about this before I began investigating this syndrome, and I have studied the book of Job a few times.

Most commentators agree that Job is the oldest book in the Bible, possibly written soon after the flood of Noah, many years before Moses penned the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible).  Job was a righteous and wealthy man.  Satan approached God with a challenge, that when all good things were taken away from him, Job would blame God and turn from Him.  Satan is given approval to prove his theory and all of Job’s wealth is taken away, his ten adult children are killed and he is afflicted with illness.  Why does God allow us to suffer?  Three of Job’s friends show up to try and make sense of what was happening to this Godly man.  Job never wavers in his faith and worship of God.  Then, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe speaks to Job about who He is.  A Living, Loving, Personal God, active in all facets of His creation.  Job is found to have passed this test and God blesses him, giving him twice as much as he had before.  More wealth, more children, and although the text doesn’t mention his health, the fact that people once again were not afraid to be around him, and the fact that he lived happily for 140 years after these events, leads me to believe he was healed.

As I read more of Job’s own description of his afflictions and looked back to the beginning of the story,   “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.”  Job 2:7, I can’t help but doubt that fibromyalgia is what was ailing him.  In my opinion whatever it was, was horrible and included open sores (boils) that would explain his physical torture.  However, even if Job didn’t suffer from fibromyalgia, those of us that live with pain can turn to this book for comfort, answers and hope.

“There is great news to those who have lost possessions, for those who have lost position and for those who have lost health.  God is near, God is in Love with you and God is in control.  It is a huge challenge, but the truth is that the God who directs each and every lightning bolt is in control of the situation.  Nothing that has happened in a life, as tragic as it is, is a surprise to God, nor was it beyond His capability to stop it.  The good news is that God is so capable that He can not only manage, but also direct the life of each individual in such a way that measured in the eternal scheme of things, a perfect plan unfolds that is best for the person and brings glory to God.  The life of the hurting is in the powerful and loving hand of the Creator and has His laser focus and undivided attention.” (193-194) God’s Science Quiz, Dr. Gary Sutliff.

I invite you to study The Book of Job for yourself and pray that you find comfort in it as I have.

For further study into the science in Job, you can pick up my Dad’s book on the subject!

And watch this video by Chuck Missler - 
God's Science Quiz to Job.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stormy days – Am I a Human Barometer?

Something I have read about, and heard from others, is that weather really affects their fibromyalgia.  Up until recently I’ve been pretty confused about my symptoms and what is going on with me, but it seemed like the weather really didn’t bother me much.  I live in AZ where it is very dry most of the year.  But every summer, mid-July, we get hit with monsoons.  The humidity literally goes from 0 – 60 in a matter of days.  It’s lovely to have summer storms in the desert.  Pouring rain, lighting shows and the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever seen!

 I’ve been feeling pretty good lately.  Tired, yes, but not in all that much pain and my brain has been working pretty well.  :) This morning though, I woke up with a fuzzy head and was sore from head to toe.  I tried to help my husband make some breakfast, but kept forgetting what I was doing, why I had opened the fridge, stuff like that.  I just did not feel right.  Went about the day and we even took the kids to the movies.  While we were there the sky opened up and it poured like it hasn’t all summer!  We’ve had a few good storms, but this one was the biggest.  Rain, wind, hail, thunder, lighting!  We were ducking in and out of stores at our outdoor mall while this was going on.  My hero of a husband braved the storm and went to get our big suburban “Bruce” as close to us as possible.  We all got soaked despite his efforts.
It was quite an adventure.

Once we got home and I sat down to rest (more like crash) I realized that my body had been trying to tell me this morning that it would storm today.  I think I am more in tune to my own body and symptoms now that I have been paying attention to and trying to improve them.  Here is an article from fibromyalgia-symptoms.org on Weather and Fibromyalgia, that explains why the weather effects us!

I really am a human barometer!

Next time, I will listen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Good Read – Educate Me!

I love to read and I’m really picky about what I spend my time on.  I don’t trust just anything, so it was hard for me to choose my first book about fibromyalgia.  I searched, asked in groups, read reviews, and settled on Figuring out Fibromyalgia by Ginevra Liptan M.D.

I bought it on my Kindle from Amazon for $9.99 so I could start reading right away & was very happy with my choice.  Dr. Liptan developed fibromyalgia herself while she was in medical school and has spent her time in practice with fibro patients.
She is the Medical Director of “The Frida Center” in Oregon, where they treat and educate about fibromyalgia.  So I felt like I could believe her.

I like that the book has very current information, published in April 2011.  I also appreciate how fibro is explained.  I really had no knowledge as to what was happening to my body and this book helped educate me to where I can now even explain it to others.  It made perfect sense!  Not only does Dr. Liptan explain the syndrome, but she talks about causes, and then treatment.  The treatments suggested aren’t just “take this prescription”, but really talk about healing your body.  Just what I was hoping for!  Direction!

The 5 main treatments recommended are:




manual therapy (myofascial massage)

reducing the “fight or flight response” (stress)

She also reviews treatments such as supplements and prescriptions, and includes a chapter on alternative treatments that may or may not be worth your time/money (cleansing & detoxifying, acupuncture, magnets, microcurrent therapy, cold laser therapy, bodywork, vitamins, minerals, supplements, hormones, etc.).

I haven’t taken all of the advice, some things are expensive and seemed out of reach (like specific food allergy blood testing), but for me it was a place to start.  I know that God is leading me to become a healthier person and treat my body better.  "Let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God."  2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT.  This book is a great guide.  I started by deciding to focus on the 5 main treatments and add the few supplements she suggested.  I dedicated a week for each one and read and studied and practiced.  I’m not there yet, after 6 months I’m still working at it (diet has been tricky and to be honest I haven't done anything with Myofascial massage), but I can tell you I have had a GREAT improvement in my symptoms.  I have gone from living every day in pain and in a fog, to having good days and bad days and have a greater understanding of what is going on inside.

I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone who has fibromyalgia, or wants to understand it better.

Get it.

Read it.

Do it!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

First Steps to Healing!

I am a follower of Christ.  I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I try to live my life to reflect that.  So when faced with having fibromyalgia I naturally turned to prayer for help.  I would pray (and still do) for healing and guidance on how to handle living with this syndrome.  I wrestled with what I was being told by Dr.’s to be selfish and the negativity I was seeing in other people around the world living with fibro.  I wrestled for months, “HOW do I handle this God?”  All kinds of people of course were there to offer suggestions.  Most wanting to be helpful.  Try this diet, take this pill, read this book.  For me though, I need to hear it from God.  The answers need to come from His Word.  The first place I was led to was the book of James.  I was doing a Bible study with the women’s ministry at my church.  I loved it, even though I was late most meetings.  (It was held in the mornings & I am just NOT a morning person.)  James is a short book, 5 chapters.  Guidance came for me in Chapter 5.  Yup, He made me wait a little bit.


Well.  That’s pretty clear.  I was sick.  I needed to call up the elders of my church and have them pray over me.  So I did.  Next week in church I wrote my request on a little card & turned it in.  Was contacted & set up a time for me to come to a board meeting.  (I would also like to mention that I shared this in my Bible study group and those wonderful ladies gathered around me right then to pray.  We all can and should pray for one another with the authority of Christ.  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16)

My husband came with me that evening, and the board members gathered around me, laid hands on me and took turns praying for healing.  I cried the whole time.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to receive complete healing right then.  I do believe that that is possible!  But I believe God has me on a PATH to healing and this was my first step of faith & obedience.  I left feeling very blessed to be surrounded by people who care, and earnestly prayed for me to heal.  Thank you Mission Community Church! I also left that evening knowing that healing is coming.

Symptoms - What's My Problem?

One of the first things I did when my Dr. suggested that I had fibromyalgia was to read.  (Really we all need to stay away from webmd don’t we, but it’s where I started.)  Other than a few commercials, and being familiar with a couple of people that lived with it, I didn’t know much.   From what I knew at the time, it didn’t sound like what I had.  Muscle pain was what kept coming up, and I didn’t THINK I had much muscle pain.  Aches and pains sure, but not the excruciating muscle pain that I had heard about.  The pain that was bothering me the most was joint pain in my legs, feet, knees and hips.  I found a list of symptoms and I couldn’t believe how much fit me!  Things I hadn’t even thought about as a problem, or things that didn’t seem to fit together, became clearer. 

From webmd:
Common symptoms of fibromyalgia -- also known as fibromyalgia syndrome or FMS -- may include:

Pain - yup

Anxiety - oh yes

Concentration and memory problems -- known as "fibro fog" – the worst!

Depression - yes

Fatigue – oh so much

Headaches  - sometimes

Irritable bowel syndrome - maybe

Morning stiffness – oh yes!

Painful menstrual cramps – getting worse by the month

Sleep problems - yes

Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs - yes

Tender points – ouch!

Urinary symptoms, such as pain or frequency – no

After reading that I was sure the Dr. was right.  THIS is what my problem was.  There are more extensive lists out there which only confirmed for me what was going on.

Here is a long list at healingwell.com.

Take this Quiz to help you determine if this syndrome could fit you.

Just seeing lists like this helped me.   I wasn’t crazy, this was actually happening to me!  Then came the next step.  What do I do about it?

Introduction - Living in a Fog

We all have difficult things that we face in our lives.  Broken relationships, illness, death, poverty.  I have not had to walk a very hard path most of my life, but I have had struggles.  I have faced tough times and been brought through a few fires.  I have relied on my God to bring me through these things.  His grace is unmatched.  I would love to share my story with you and give a voice to what daily life is like living with fibromyalgia and fighting it!

My journey with fibromyalgia began in November of 2011.  After living with severe pain in my legs & feet for over a year, getting worse as time went on, my husband convinced me to see a Dr. and figure out what could be wrong.  I was tired all the time and felt like I was living in a fog.  Whatever was going on was really interfering with my life & my ability to be a parent & keeper of my home.

At the time, I was 33 and stay at home mom of a 13, 10 and 2 year old.  Every day I would wake up and feel like I’d been hit by a truck.  Everything hurt.  I felt swollen and achy from my feet to my fingertips, up to my neck, jaw and top it off with a headache some days.  My joints were the worst.  I could tell what kind of day it was going to be by how much it hurt to walk down the stairs.  On the bad days I felt like my bones would snap as I took one step at a time gripping the railing for dear life.  I would get kids off to school and then sit on the couch and try to wake up for around 2 hours, or go back to bed for a few hours depending on how late my 2 year old would sleep.  Once I actually felt awake around lunch time, I could usually get ONE thing done during the day.  One errand, clean One area of the house, One playdate.  It wasn’t good if I tried to do more.  I often pushed myself though.  Just get one more thing done, or run in the store really quick.  That always led straight to a crash.  I was always forgetting meetings, or phone calls to make, appointments, or some other household tasks, or cancelling plans because I just couldn’t leave the house.  I tried to play and engage with my 2 year old, but more often than not, I couldn’t do much.  I couldn’t even take him to the park.   Just the thought of that made me tired.
For me, when I say I feel “tired” that usually means that my entire body is SCREAMING at me to “Stop Stop Stop!!!  Sit down!  Rest!  You can’t go on!”  It’s an all-consuming feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted.  My mind would fog over & I was done.  Out.

I don’t know how I made it through dinner time most days.  Usually around 4pm I would start to head downhill.  Just in time for the older kids to come home and need help with homework (that I couldn’t do because I couldn’t even think) or be driven to some activity. The pain in my legs was more than I could bear by that time of day.  My husband would come home from work and watch me as I literally cried just standing up & walking some nights.  Forget cleaning up dinner.  I would park myself on the couch after eating and there I would stay until bed time where I would become so stiff and sore it hurt to move.  I was exhausted, yet I would dread going to sleep because I knew how bad I was going to feel when I woke up.

This is how I lived for a year.  Feeling like a failure at life.  Ineffective for ministry.  Wondering if this was just “getting older.”   I was ready for answers.  I was ready to have my life back.  I had hope.  I know that God can heal.  I myself have experienced a miracle in emotional healing.  I just didn’t know how long my journey with this would be.  Would you like to walk out of the fog with me?