Posts Tagged ‘Pain’

Coloring my World

It’s hard to live your life in color, and tell the truth in black and white. (Gregg Allman)

The Eastern Bluebird!

Backyard Birding in CarolinaI don’t think nature gets better than in the beauty of the Eastern Bluebird!

The little one in the above photo showed up in my yard with four or five more of the pretty blue beauties.  I reached for my Canon right away!

Differentiating between the male and female is somewhat challenging to me.

“Marvelous birds to capture in your binoculars, male Eastern Bluebirds are a brilliant royal blue on the back and head, and warm red-brown on the breast. Blue tinges in the wings and tail give the grayer females an elegant look.”  (Eastern Bluebird, Identification, All About Birds – Cornell lab of Ornithology).

Once in a while, when I have the energy, I practice photographing my winged friends in flight, which is a fun challenge, but not one I’ve mastered.

Eastern Bluebird landing on feeder

Winged in Blue, at the favorite feeder.

Fatigue has been a consistent companion since I moved to town in the beginning of 2014.  Taking photographs and uploading them to my computer meet my current energy limitations, but I enjoy browsing through the pictures.

I also enjoy recalling how I felt while taking a particular photograph.  The Eastern Bluebird’s backyard visit was exciting.   Watching them is a special time when nature is coloring my world.

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds foraging in grass and leaves.

Blue-Winged, Backyard Beauties!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at the Eastern Bluebird from my wild corner of town.

Thank you for visiting my blog, dogkisses!

Green Healing ~ The Feeder

I think I’ve said this before in my blog, but I can’t believe the beauty that one bird feeder has brought into my daily life!  It is a blessing, for sure.

Life has been hard lately.  Pain has been nearly constant and my level of fatigue has been off the scales.  I am truly, exhausted. 

Honestly, I don’t feel much like talking (or writing) about my level of pain these days.  It is rather depressing, but when things get better, I look forward to saying, I made it! 

Now, about the feeder and the beautiful wild fliers that have come to visit.  (See the photo gallery at the end of this post).

I’ve started to recognize the sounds of a few birds, particularly the Red-bellied Woodpecker.  I love seeing that bird!  I think I may have seen some little ones today and they were mighty cute little birds, but I’m too exhausted to identify my beautiful feathered friends.

The finches are easily recognized and lots of fun.  They are the least afraid and let me get pretty close to take photos.  They look at me too, which is pretty cool. 

The one bird I can’t get a good photo of is the Cardinal.  They fly away as soon as my hand goes for the camera.  There are two males having much fun chasing two females.  Their red wings are magical when they swiftly breeze by into the wooded areas.

There are so many birds around here that I can’t begin to name each one.  I’ve practiced watching them, without trying to get a photo.  This was hard at first, because of their beauty and my wish to share it with the world, but there is something to be said for the act of being still and observing.

The Mourning Doves are also not hip on me and my little Canon.  They’re also always the same color of nature, which makes getting a sharp photo a challenge.  I love to hear their soft call and the two of them are quite the pair.  One is always looking out for the other.

Aside from watching the pretty birds in my yard, being outside more often means spending more time with my sweet dog, Ruthie.  She is very happy about this.  She’s had some sad days since our Tiny boy passed on, but today she was happy. 

I took her to the dog food store recently.  She met a boy dog she liked, got a true dogkiss, and moved on to choose a Bully stick to chew on.  The store obviously puts them on the low shelves so the dogs can smell around, choosing the one they want.  I love letting her choose a chew.

She smiled so big at the excitement, which of course included a pet from a few humans.  Oh, I was glad to see her happy, but in a way, I also felt sad because I realized that she hadn’t been smiling much lately. 

Ruthie knows I’ve been sick, and my son has struggled too, so of course, being such a sensitive dog, she has also felt the pain.

Ruthie is like an angel.  She helps people.  She knows when people are in pain or sad and she goes right to those people.  She wants to help.  It is simply her nature.  Ruthie is a blessing, which I’ve also probably said before.

Sitting on my favorite bench, surrounded by trees and bright green moss, watching the beautiful birds, listening to their warm weather excitement and seeing sweet Ruthie smile, all made for a good Easter holiday and, a Green Healing experience. 

I’d like to share a few photos of my backyard beauties!  I hope you enjoy the virtual view.

Thank you for visiting DogKisses!  Please feel free to leave a comment.

Peace and Blessings.

Pain, Fatigue and Dogs

dogs know how to fight fatigue, just look...

Sometimes I think I forget or am in denial of having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.  I go and go and go and then I crash.  I try to keep a balance, but some days life demands things and I do more than I should.  That’s the way it’s been lately.

I have a pretty bad infected foot, which I thought was fibromyalgia pain, until I pulled my little toe away to look.  I saw what was NOT fibromyalgia.

A month or so ago, I bought a pair of boots.  I wore them around the house, just for fun, and also to take the dogs out in the mornings.  My foot began hurting after several days.  I’ve had foot pain before after wearing a new pair of shoes, which is why I didn’t do any close inspections of my foot, especially beside my little toe.

Well, it sure didn’t look good so off to my doctor I went.  He gave me antibiotics and cream, made a joke about me wearing boots around the house asking if I thought someone was going to come by with a camera and did I want to be ready.  Very funny while my foot was swollen and infected, but I’m used to him.  I like him.  I don’t like that sometimes I think he lets things go, like my foot!

It only got worse.  A round of antibiotics started to help and here’s where I went wrong, I guess.  I missed a few doses.  Now, I have a hole in my foot.  I went back to the doctor.

“Do you think I need some more antibiotics?” I asked him.

“No,” he responded confidently.  I would like to send you to a podiatrist with your permission.”

Well, duh.

So, off I went to the fancy foot doctor who didn’t have any manners at all.  I don’t know where he’s from, but I bet it ain’t North Carolina.

I told him how I had thought it was fibromyalgia for the first several days of pain.  Maybe that’s why he had a dismissive attitude towards me, but then I am so tired of trying to figure out why people who act weird act that way.

He kept saying what I hadn’t done or what I was doing wrong.

He sent me to the x-ray room where they took several images of my foot.  Fortunately, those looked good.

“How long have you not been taking antibiotics?” he asked when I returned.

“Since I finished the ones my doctor gave me,” I told him.

“You do know you have a hole in your foot don’t you?”

I told him that I most certainly did.

“I’ve been to the doctor twice already.  I would have gone to the emergency room if I hadn’t known I was coming here.”

“You’re wearing closed shoes first of all,” he said in a tone that I didn’t like.

It was cold outside.  My family doctor had complimented my shoes.  Why had he not put me on another antibiotic I wondered.

The foot doctor explained how serious the infection is because of where it is and I’m too tired to describe it, but I took heed!  It can go up and into my leg if it gets worse.  He says if I do everything he told me to do then it should be getting well within a week.

So far so good.  Ten days of a very strong antibiotic.

I’d told my family doctor how my son said I was going to lose my foot and later, my leg when he saw it getting worse.  The doctor joked again saying not to let him get near any knives.  From what the foot doctor said, my son wasn’t far off from being right.

The good news is that hopefully, the antibiotics, along with soaking it in vinegar water will heal it.  The soaks hurt like crazy.

I dislike antibiotics very much and this one is kicking me down like a sick dog.

Tiny love hereSpeaking of dogs, mine are once again being very good nurses.

Yesterday, when I finally returned from the hospital, I lied down and put my foot up.  I know they felt how stressed I was.

Our big guy, Tiny, (the cutie with the big head) whom I’m going to write about soon, well, he crawled up beside me on the sofa and lied down on barely enough space for his wide body and put his head on my belly.  That’s what he’s been doing for the past few months whenever I don’t feel good.  He lies there looking at me with his big beautiful hound dog eyes.  Yesterday, just for extras, he gave me a kiss.  He doesn’t give many.  I felt very special indeed.

My pretty little girl curled up at my feet in her soft ball of silky fur.  She is absolutely the softest dog I’ve ever petted in my life.  Absolutely!

Dogs Rule!!!

They were incredibly sweet with both of their heads resting on me and their eyes saying, “OH WE LOVE YOU!”

cooking for mom

I’m also grateful to my son for the many meals he has cooked for me lately. I’ve gained a few pounds, which is a very good thing.

However, he is staying with me and it is driving me a little nuts.  I’ll be glad when he wants to go back to his apartment.

Just the truth.

I’m going to give in to the fatigue for a little while, which means I’ll have to be alone.

I think I’ll finish a good novel I started weeks ago, The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler.

I’m tired.  Too tired to think much.  I’ve been writing, but have nothing ready to click publish.

With that said, I’m offering a few links of interest I found today about pain.

I am here to tell anyone who suffers from pain each day, whose life is circumscribed and whose goals are slipping out of reach, that you are at last being heard. We are in a pain renaissance.”

Read more: “The End of Ouch” –TIME


–“an adaptive mechanism in which severe pain in one area of the body inhibits pain in another is impaired among women with fibromyalgia. Normally, this system works as a check on the amount of pain the brain can handle; if your arm is sore and someone steps hard on your toe, your arm will temporarily feel better as all of your brain’s pain attention is focused on the new insult. In chronic-pain patients, this mechanism is faulty or nonexistent.”

image of sleeping dog via OLX, Tiredness Disorders



we love mom
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Perspectives on fibromyalgia

Центральная нервная система-Central nervous system

Image via Wikipedia

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about fibromyalgia is that it’s been a long road of pain and fatigue that gradually worsened over time.  I don’t fully understand when I hear that it isn’t a progressive illness or disease, since over the past seven years I’ve gone from saying ouch while bending over in the garden, to having many days (possibly years worth) of being completely debilitated by pain and fatigue.

Is it a disease or a syndrome?  Illness, disease or syndrome?  I think it may be all of those.

Fibromyalgia is a pain filled life changing experience.

Fibromyalgia is often misunderstood, stigmatized and people who suffer from it are wrongly judged.

Sometimes I feel like I understand what I’ve learned about fibromyalgia, particularly that it’s a central nervous system disorder, and other times, when I’m deep in the throws of severe pain or terrible fatigue, I question what I thought I understood.  During these times, I wonder if the doctors have missed a rare disorder or another disease more understood than fibromyalgia is.

Some days I fully accept it and other days I wonder if it even exist, and again, wonder if the doctors have simply missed something that would clearly explain all the pain, the fatigue and the myriad of other symptoms I have.

I’m afraid of fibromyalgia.  Not all the time but some of the time.  I’m afraid of getting older and adding an aging body to an already painful weak one.

I believe we are human.  I do not believe that pain, sickness, illness and diseases are a result of karma, sin or character issues.  I believe humans are susceptible to diseases because we are human.

Disease can be caused by chronic stress but this cause doesn’t make it any less real.

I believe fibromyalgia is a medical entity that causes great suffering and drastically changes lives.

Fibromyalgia is not the same for everyone.

Treatment for fibromyalgia is not the same for everyone.

The view that fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder, Central Sensitivity Syndrome, (CSS), makes the most sense to me.

The first time I heard about CSS was when I met with a Rheumatologist, Dr. John B. Winfield at UNC-Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  I had an appointment with him the day before he left his position and moved to the mountains.  I wouldn’t have been able to see him again anyway because UNC-Hospitals would not allow him to see a patient for fibromyalgia more than once.  (Politics…)  I don’t think this helped him help his patients.

As I write, UNC-Hospitals doesn’t have a doctor who specifically treats fibromyalgia.  They have the department of Rheumatology, but they refer fibromyalgia patients to a family physician who often refers the patient to a Rheumatologist.

My visit with Dr. John B. Winfield remains one of the best doctor’s visits I’ve ever had.  I spent over two hours with Dr. Winfield that day.  He told me I would see his research in a few years but at the time that seemed like forever.  Now I see his research.

Finally, I hear doctors, or at least mine, talk about CSS.  Finally.

“Central sensitivity syndromes: a new paradigm…” Yunus MB, (PubMed.gov)

Excerpts from an abstract summary of the article (above link) —

“Such terms as “medically unexplained symptoms,” “somatization,” “somatization disorder,” and “functional somatic syndromes” in the context of CSS should be abandoned. Given current scientific knowledge, the concept of disease-illness dualism has no rational basis and impedes proper patient-physician communication, resulting in poor patient care.

–“The disease-illness, as well as organic/non-organic dichotomy, should be rejected.”

After having caught up a bit on the latest articles, which I find to be tiring to my brain, I’m somewhat confused.

I understand that  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is part of fibromyalgia.  I guess you can have one without the other, but I’m not sure.  I was diagnosed with CFS before fibromyalgia.

I had Lyme’s Disease in 2003, which caused my joints to protrude and hurt very badly.  They got better except bending over never did stop hurting.

I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in 2005.  I didn’t get treatment for six or seven weeks. My wrists joints were protruding again.  I was severely ill. I was finally diagnosed and took Doxycycline.

The fatigue continued.  I began to have severe low back pain.  Neither went away.  I was referred to immunologists.  They said I had Post Infectious Disease Syndrome and wrote on my records that I have CFS as a result of RMSF.  They said the disease stayed in my system so long that it caused a systemic infection that could last, possibly, the rest of my life.

I saw Dr. John B. Winfield the next summer, in June, 2006, who diagnosed me with Classic Fibromyalgia.

He spent a lot of time with me, several hours, educating me about fibromyalgia and talking with me about how to live with the stigma around the diagnosis, particularly as it is considered an invisible illness.

I don’t know where to draw the line, or if there is one, between fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I have all the symptoms of fibromyalgia and all the symptoms of Chronic Fagtigue Syndrome.

I could benefit from another two hour visit with Dr. Winfield.  He did mention that me doing things like taking trips to the mountains, along with a few other activities I shared with him that I enjoy doing, would be good for fibromyalgia.

Update on August, 27, 2010 —

Please see the comments on this post for several excellent links (from George) for recent new findings/ research about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Thank you George.







Fibromyalgia misunderstood.

my magic bike

“He said you are very sweet,” the physical therapist said during my assessment.  I missed some of her words, due to a language barrier, but I heard the last part of the sentence when she said, “but he said you have not shown much improvement.”

I felt insulted.  Waves of emotions swelled up inside of me.  I’m sure she did not intend to insult me but I felt it anyway.  I had improved! Wasn’t that in my records I wondered.

I’ve had treatment for fibromyalgia pain there twice.  The first time I went to the warm therapy pool for a couple of months and they are right, I did not “improve,” at least not in the way my insurance company wanted me too, which I guess meant that I was cured.  I did have a great couple of months but insurance companies do not count this as improvement.

The second time I went there for fibromyalgia pain was about six months ago. My therapist and I decided together to do dry-land therapy instead of aqua-therapy, even if it meant me tolerating a bit more pain for a while.

I began to see a pretty big difference in my level of pain around the fourth week of doing the exercises.  My therapist is great, especially because he is well read and current in his knowledge of fibromyalgia.  He does not believe in causing pain.  I like that.

As my pain level went down my mood went up.  I really liked that!  Suffering from depression all the time is depressing.  I began to feel hopeful, feeling like I had some control, like there was something I could do to make things better.

Deciding I was ready to do my exercises at home my therapist gave me pictures and the long rubber bands to take with me.  I did well for several weeks.  I did my exercises, got in time on my magic bicycle and of course walking my dogs.  I could see muscles forming on my somewhat stringy arms and legs.  I was getting stronger.

Then I had a setback in life.  A really hard setback.  One that caused me so much grief I stopped doing my exercises.  It didn’t take long before my pain level was rising and my muscles were disappearing on me once again.

But what about the months I did so much better I was thinking while I was in the physical therapy assessment the other day.  What about the fact that for a while, I did improve, which means that I can improve?

After talking with her a couple more minutes I realized she didn’t know why I was there, which was because I hurt my arm and shoulder when I fell off my magic bike on Halloween.  She thought I was there because of fibromyalgia, again.

I explained this to her but she asked me three times if the pain was from the bike fall and not fibromyalgia.  I wondered about that.  I thought me telling her one time, along with the fact that she had a referral from my family doctor as to why I was there ought to be enough.  Did she think I was making up the accident? I pulled up my sleeve so she could see the gash in my elbow, which apparently convinced her.

The other therapist had never sent me out of there in pain.  This woman did and I hurt for two straight days.  I felt like she did not believe I was in the amount of pain I was in.

Presently, I can only lift my arm halfway up from my side.  Doc says this is from the, “tendon adventure,” I went on.

Many things she asked me to do hurt.  My family doctor had examined me and discovered gently without causing me pain which tendon and ligament he believed to be the ones that went on the “adventure.”  Each time I said, “that hurts,” he stopped.  But the PT I saw would just look at me when I said that hurts as if she did not understand.

It was a frustrating experience.  I was upset when I got there because of the crazy guy I had a crazy relationship with.  She blamed my nervousness on fibromyalgia but I knew what was wrong with me.  It might make the fibromyalgia worse, in fact I’m sure being upset does, but it wasn’t fibromyalgia that had me so upset.

“You are nervous.  You can’t relax,” she kept saying as she held my arm in positions that were really hurting me.  Well, no shit!

Finally she said she would end the session with the machine that sends electrical stimulation to the nerves.  I’d had it on my neck and back before and never had been impressed but also never felt any pain so why not I thought.

That thing felt like knives stabbing in me!  I was surprised and so was she.  She also laughed just a little when my legs came up against my chest after she had turned it up a notch.  I however did not laugh!

I became more distressed.

I told her I wanted to have aqua-therapy again.  I knew my therapist would be in the pool.  I also asked her if she would consult with him.  I’d already decided I was not going to come back and have another session like that one.  She was nice and when she came back from talking to him she had papers for me to sign.  He had agreed with me on the no pain part and that the warm water exercises would be a better approach since I am in so much pain.

Thank God for the few good doctors.  Thank God for the few good medical professionals who study and keep up enough to know they cannot assume they fully understand fibromyalgia.  It is the doctors and other providers who realize this who are the best ones.

Medical professionals who think they understand and have all the answers regarding fibromyalgia, while the smartest scientists are still scratching their heads,  are the ones who I am leery of.

I didn’t like it when that physical therapist, even though she was nice, kept on blaming my upset that day and the pain in my arm on fibromyalgia.

“You have fibromyalgia,” she said, “so you cannot relax.”

I had a boyfriend who was a narcissist I thought to myself and that was why I couldn’t relax that day.   I had spoken to him only hours before!

She was also pulling my injured arms in ways that was causing pain, which was not causing me to feel relaxed.

I’ve had many things blamed on fibromyalgia that shouldn’t have been and had fibromyalgia used to explain other things that are not fibromyalgia.

It’s a crazy world sometimes!