Friday, February 22, 2013

Don't You Just Love Doctor Days?

(Artwork By Kelly Watts 2009)
Getting a handle on the pain is essential when dealing with Fibromyalgia.
That is why the Doctors tried me on so many different medications.
As you know, this didn't work out so well for me.
After experiencing all the side effects imaginable I decided I needed to get off of every pain/inflammation drug they put me on and try going natural.
So, I requested a new Doctor at the Chronic Pain Clinic to discuss my options.
It was a three hour long appointment in the most uncomfortable room available (why do they make them so uncomfortable, I mean, it's a CHRONIC PAIN clinic... HELLO????)
Here are my options:
They suggested I talk to my family Doctor in regards to getting an IUD put in.
That's a funny suggestion isn't it?
Well, in my case it's actually a very smart suggestion.
I am deeply effected by my menstrual cycle for 10 solid days per month, the pain is completely unbearable.
So, their suggestion... stop my menstrual flow.
I have never used an IUD before.  I do not know much about it.  I will have to research it with my family Doctor.
Stopping my menstrual flow should help me with some of the pain.
My only concern however, is that I may have an adverse reaction to an IUD. 
In the past the Doctors have tried to regulate my menstrual flow with Birth Control pills.  It turns out my body does not handle them well and instead of regulating my cycle it increased my cycle so that I bled all month long.
The same thing happened when a Dermatologist tried to help me with hormonal acne... he put me on water pills and it made me have my cycle 4 times during the month 5 days at a time.  Crazy.
So, I have much to discuss with my Doctor in these regards, more than likely he will refer me to a Gynecologyst.
Secondly, their next suggestion. 
The Doctors at the Chronic Pain Clinic discussed with me my options in regards to medications and or medicinal marijuana to fight the pain.
It turns out there is a pharmaceutical brand called Cessemet that is supposed to help with the pain.  I am going to discuss this with my Doctor as well.
The pain has been very high these past few months since going off of the Lyrica, Baclofen, Tramadol, Codeine etc...
Cessamet should be a viable solution for me and I am willing to give it a try.
I will let you know my progress as it happens.
Have any of you been able to successfully stop your menstrual flow or considered it?
Have any of you used Cessamet and experienced relief?
I would love to hear from you in these regards.
I pray for a pain free day for you.
Many hugs and many blessings Dear ones.
Kelly Watts

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oops, I Did It Again!

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2012)
Yesterday was a crazy, crazy day!  I had not slept well the night before and then I had to get up early for a Doctors Appointment.
As I was driving with Hubbub downtown to the Chronic Pain Clinic I realized I had forgotten to take my morning medications.
Do you ever do that?  Chances are... you do.
When that happens to me I usually end the day in tears because of the emotional rollercoaster not taking my meds creates.
I am on Effexor, have been for almost 16 years.
I noticed with this medication it really makes a huge difference if I miss a dose.
I have weaned myself down to 37.5mg in the morning and 37.5mg at night.
Even with that small dose, if I miss it I know I am going to break down in the evening... I don't usually realize that I have missed the dose until the tears start flowing and then AHA! it comes to me!
Missing a dose was really only a small part of my day yesterday.
My Doctor's Appointment at the clinic went very well, the Doctor's were really nice, they gave us the information we had requested, let us know our options and went through all the information we needed to know.
The problem was in my expectations.  I always place high expectations on Doctor's appointments figuring I am going to leave the appointment with relief in hand.  Man do I ever set myself up for disappointment!
I do it to myself everytime!  It isn't the Doctor's fault; they are not all out to get me and make my life miserable.  They are just doing their job.  In the end it's our job to make sure we have done our research, have taken care of ourselves to the best of our abilities to help with the disease/illness we have.
I know they are there to help us deal with the symptoms of our illnesses.
I guess I would rather them have a "magic" button to take all the symptoms and the disease away!
The only one with that 'magic' button is God.  I need to lean on Him for my relief.  I need to not forget to breathe.  I need to put things into logical perspective and I need NOT to think 'worst case scenario'!
I have a wonderful friend who helped calm me down last night when all I could think was the worst!  Thanks Rhossana for being there for me!
Yes, this illness is hard, yes, it's painful.  I can do it with God who strengthens me and so can you!
He has a plan for our lives... Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Many hugs and blessings for your day.
Kelly Watts

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stress and Chronic Illness

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2012)
Lastnight as I was lying in bed preparing myself for sleep I began to have sharp pains in my left arm.  My Husband became worried and I am sure he thought it was a heart attack or something.  After a few minutes the pains went away... then my eldest son came in the room and wanted help preparing his Facebook birthday invitations... the pain came back.  Then my other son came in the room and was coughing... the pain worsened as I began to worry about him.
So, after that my husband and I prayed to God for help... my husband then knew it was stress related.  We prayed that God would show me what I was truly stressed about and that I could give it over to Him.
There were and are so many things... and stress = pain for me.
I do not mean to be this way but I think and believe that I am a chronic worrier.  Inside my brain is a little old lady sitting in a corner just worrying and worrying away (maybe if I art journal a page of what she looks like and what on earth she's so darn worried about I can finally let her go?)
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

That last question/verse... "Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"  makes me think a lot!  I would say that the majority of things I worry about are completely out of my control!
Will worrying about my Son's birthday party make the work of it any less? No.
Will worrying about my Doctor's appointment make it a pleasant experience? No. 
Will worrying about my husband putting his back out take his pain away? No.
It goes on and on and on and on...
Why do I worry so much?
Worry=Stress which = PAIN for me.
Is it that way for you too?
Let's for fun take a look at the word STRESS.
According to this is the definition.
STRESS:  importance attached to a thing. 
significance, meaning, emphasis, consequence; weight, value, worth.
Stress is the importance WE attach to things... hmmm....
So when we attach importance to specific things and worry about those specific things, until those things are accomplished/achieved... we are stressed?
That's what I am getting from it anyway. (Just thinking while I am typing this out)...
STRESS tenses up our bodies, our muscles, our joints...  when this happens our bodies sieze up.
When that happens PAIN happens!
So to sum things up:
I'm so smart;)
So in all my smartness I am going to work on not being so darn STRESSED out!
I hope that you will join me in the effort!
Many hugs and many blessings fellow spoonies!
Kelly Watts

Monday, February 18, 2013

Are You A Spoonie?

So as most of you know I have been spending a lot of time on instagram looking at posts from individuals with FM and/or other Chronic Illnesses and I have noticed the hashtag #spoonie under a lot of their posts.  I finally asked one lovely lady (Jill) what #spoonie meant.
She told me to Google "Spoon Theory" and that brought me to Christine Miserandino's site called
Here she describes how the "Spoon Theory" was born and what it meant.
Basically, she was trying to describe to her friend what it was like to have Lupus.
Her theory makes so much sense and it explains what life is like having any Chronic illness.  Her information is copyrighted and I do not want to post it without her permission so please go and check out her post here
What I learned is that I am definitely a spoonie and if anyone asks me what it's like to live life with FM and other Chronic Illnesses  I am going to go grab a bunch of spoons!!!
When I read this information it was an 'aha' moment for me, I hope it will be for you too!
Many hugs and blessings to you.
Kelly Watts

Friday, February 15, 2013

Why I Am An Artist

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2011)
God has made me a creative spirit.  When I was a young child I used to watch my oldest sister drawing faces and I wanted to be just like her.
Now, she doesn't draw (I don't know why) and I can't get enough of art.

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2010)
What does being an artist have to do with my Fibromyalgia/Depression/Anxiety/Joint issues?
Well... for one thing God brought me TO it so that I could heal...
then he brought me THROUGH it so that I could share the comfort He gave me to help others heal.
When I was in the midst of Depression and anxiety God showed me a way to relax by doodling and art journaling.  I used it to vent those deep seeded emotions that I couldn't handle.  I still use it as a coping mechanism and find it incredibly healing.

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2012)
2Corinthians 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
Today, I use it also as a great distraction from the physical pain and sometimes as a diversion from negative thoughts.
Most of my artwork is made from the comfort of my bed, if not, then I am propped us in one of our recliners or on the couch.
Last year I had "Issues" dealing with a lady from my previous health insurance when trying to get on long term disability.  She pointed out that since I was able to create art work and blog about it I should be able to work!
You and I see the foolishness of that point right?  I do not think there is a job in this world available where I can work from the comfort of my bed, that does not include stress or straining my brain (brain fog).
Artwork is my life-line to accomplishing what God has made me to do.  It does not mean that I am not in extreme pain when I do it, or that I am able to accomplish more because I do it!  It is a blessing because it is the only thing I can do right now!
People without Chronic Pain have a hard time understanding that!
I pray that you all find or have something that can make you feel accomplished, that can be a wonderful distraction or diversion from your pain.
You are deeply loved and understood by me:)
Kelly Watts

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Days Like Today

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2011)
It's days like today (Valentine's Day) that my depression rears it's ugly head.  What I want and what I can do become two separate entities and I battle between them inside my head.
This week has been rather a tough one... I fell down the last four stairs of our stairwell last Saturday and hurt my knee, hips etc.  So I was in a great deal of pain.  My lovely monthly visitor was visiting all this week, which brings it's own kind of pain.  And my oldest was home from school with a viral chest infection.
Then we add the normal everyday pain of Fibromyalgia and Joints...
So, here comes Valentine's Day and I am hurting.  I look on instagram and facebook and see all these couples celebrating the lovely "Love" day and I am stuck in bed feeling all mushy lovey... I told my Hubby we could celebrate next week when I am feeling better... but I am depressed that I cannot celebrate it today.
One difficult thing of having a Chronic Illness is that it is hard to make plans.  Everything has to be dependent upon how I am feeling every day.  I hate living like that, but that's just the way it is.
So I need to swing things around to a positive note and see Jesus through my depression today.
Jesus, you have blessed me with the most wonderful man to be my Husband.  He loves me, he cares about me, he takes care of me and he see's me through your eyes.  He looks past my illness and see's me, the woman you made me to be.  He doesn't care if we celebrate Valentine's Day today, tomorrow or next week, or even if we can't celebrate it... He loves me when I'm sad, when I'm hurting, when I am crying or I am laughing and I do not give him enough credit for doing that!
So Jesus, I just want to thank you for sending me my Husband who loves me no matter what!
And thank you Jesus that YOU love me no matter what!
I love you Jesus.
Many hugs and blessings to all of you out there today, whether you are single or not please know that you are deeply loved by the Father, the King of Kings and He see's you as a precious child.  You ARE LOVED.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Kelly Watts

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A "Heaping" Load of Guilt

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2011)
Do any of you have this problem?  I am talking about the 'feeling guilty' problem.  When you have a Chronic Illness you can't help but to feel guilty; life is happening all around you while you are more than likely stuck in bed.
Guilt is not a nice feeling, it sucks actually.  I feel guilty because most days I am in bed.  I feel guilty because I cannot make my teens breakfast in the morning and get up with them to see them off to school; I can't do all the piles of laundry piling up; I can't do the dishes every day and vacuum the house; I can't work; I can't make my family dinner every night; I can't handle stress... I feel guilty for this and so many other reasons.  I can't... I can't... I can't...
I have learned to set boundaries; to read my body; to know when I am overdoing things (with the help of God and my Hubby knowing me really well).  Even my boys know when I've had enough.  But them knowing I am sick, them knowing I cannot do everything that normal moms can do, them knowing that their Mom just can't... well... it doesn't alleviate the guilt for me.  It's still there.
My Husband calls me beautiful all the time; he tells me he loves me so much; he tells me I am his soul mate and that there is no other woman on the face of this planet that is made for him like I am.  I ask him if he would rather have a 'normal' wife and he loudly proclaims 'NO WAY'!  He says there is no-one more capable of making him laugh than I am.  He see's me through different lenses than I see myself.  I wish I could see through his eyes, through Gods eyes too.
If I look at my life realistically (without all the distortions from the world) I see that there is not much in my control when it comes to what happens in life.  God is in control.  Even though I do not understand why God allows things to happen, why there is so much suffering... I know that He is in full control.  I know that bad things happen to everyone in this world because we live in a 'fallen' imperfect world.  That is the way it is. 
Yes, I have Fibromyalgia.  Yes, I have depression (not as much as I used to that's for sure).  Yes, my joints hurt most days.  All of these are facts about my life... but they aren't all the facts.  I am a Mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, an auntie, a niece and I am beloved by God.  Yes, I feel guilty that I can't be the same as the 'normal' Mom's out there... but then, whose 'normal' anyway? 
I am not completely useless... I mean... I'm writing this blog so that someone else out there will be able to relate to me and not feel so alone.  I create my art so that others might be touched by the messages in them.  God still uses me and I am very blessed.  Life may not be easy or guilt-free, but life is good.
I pray that you will take that guilt inside of you and put it aside, look at your life through the eyes of those who truly love you... then see if that guilt needs to have such a strong hold on your life.
Many hugs and blessings loved ones.
Kelly Watts

Monday, February 11, 2013

To Remember Her

(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2010)

To Remember Her
Beat, beat, beating... one more hour... one more day,
unaware of rain or sun, or ever second ticking,
laying still in darkness, drip, drip, dripping,
endless faucet filling,
storms crashing through terrain,
movement bringing only pain,
sending signals to the brain.
Lay here staring up, staring down
changing nothing, not a sound.
Not one more second will eyes open,
fingers extend reaching always to depend;
too dependent is what I am.
There is nothing left to give; to live; to breathe,
nothing left of me to love,
not clean air or sunshine,
summer rains, temperature rising,
no flying off to another place
with lightness of feet and no disgrace.
Nothing will take away the pain,
the loneliness; the bitter shame.
Always wanting, never to give
to those who wish
that I should live.
But live I do,
though inside dying,
smiles on outside,
but inside crying.
Chasm empty, dark, afraid
but calls my name again and again.
Today it ends.
Mother, daughter, wife, friend...
once thought forever...
now... now never.
By Kelly Watts 2010
In 2010 we got word that one of the men's wives from Church had taken her own life.  She didn't go to Church very much.  Later we learned it was because she struggled immensely with Fibromyalgia and depression. 
As soon as I learned of this I took out my art journal and began to draw the above face.  I was consumed with grief... had I just known... maybe there would have been something I could have done; afterall, I was going through exactly the same thing she did.
The face turned very sad and I drew dead tree branches over it, the depth of darkness I was feeling cannot even be explained.  The poem that went with it just flowed out of me as it expressed not only what she was going through but what I struggled with (and continue to struggle with) every single second of every day.
I have HOPE in the Lord; I have STRENGTH in the Lord; I have PEACE in the Lord.  I know that God will NOT give me more than I can handle. 
This lady did not win that battle and it saddens my heart each time I read the poem and see the journal page that came out of it!
WE ARE NOT LOST - WE HAVE HOPE!  If we camp on the Word of the Lord, He is our STRENGTH, HE and HE alone will carry us in the shadow of His wings.
On my 'bad pain' days I say in my head "God will not give me more than I can take, so obviously... I can handle this".  Then I remind myself that this is just one day, tomorrow is a brand new day... and if the pain carries over to tomorrow well there is a brand new day after that!
I will not give up this fight!  I am STRONG in the Lord and so are you.
We can make it, we can run the good race and finish with complete victory because Jesus has already won this battle!
I pray that you think on these things when you feel hopeless, when you feel lonely and lost and desperate.  God will never give you more than you can handle and even though it may not feel like it right now... YOU are HIS beloved.
Many hugs and many blessings fellow FIBROFIGHTERS, Chronic Illness sufferers!
I'm here, right here if you need me.
Kelly Watts

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Roller Coaster of Moods

(Art work by Kelly Watts 2013)

Isn't being a woman fabulous???  I cannot say that every day, especially when my 'Monthly Visitor' overstays her welcome!  (Not that I ever 'welcome' her)

I have discovered that having pain 24/7 messes with my moods and irritability, when my skin is so sensitive that even my clothes hurt me... yes, I become this irritible monster.  I do not mean to.  Sometimes the pain of FM and joint issues creep up on me and I do not even realize that I am over my pain thresh hold of what I can stand... then it really, really gets to me.  At that point not much can help me with the pain but laying in bed and being very still.  My moods are not very nice when this happens but I try really hard to keep them to myself.

This is when I say in my head, "Be still and know that He is God".  I usually say that over and over again until He calms me down. 

Another verse that tends to really work for me is 'The Shepherds Prayer - Psalm 23'. 

The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not want
He makes me to lay down in green pastures
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me on the path of righteousness
for His namesake.
 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
for You are with me.
Your rod and your staff
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil
my cup overflows.
Surely good and love
will follow me all the days of my life
and I will dwell in the house of
the Lord forever.
If I say Psalm 23 slowly in my head and think about each and every word, by the time I am finished this Psalm the Lord has blessed me with His peace and comfort. 
Mood swings are very common for me.  I have dealt with them since I hit puberty (which most girls do)... but I have always been an individual who dealt with stress and trauma by locking my emotions inside my head instead of dealing with them head-on.  This means I am usually a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.  I'm working on it with the Lord's help.
In 1997 I blew the lid off when I had post-partum depression with my second born son.  Depression is (Hell on Earth) or at least it feels like it.  It is as though your emotional self is trapped inside of your body and someone else takes over (invasion of the body snatchers).  Some days you are sad and lonely, some days you are manic and rushed full of adrenaline, other days your moods are all over the place that you can't even keep track of them. 
Anxiety is a mood in itself.  I remember feeling it physically as adrenaline coursed through my body and made it so that my hands and legs could not stay still ~ but also my thoughts became paranoid and strange. 
During my Menstrual Cycle I know that I am going to be irritable, I know that I am going to be sad, I know that I am going to be hurting so bad the first few days... so I try to prepare myself for the mood swings that I know will be hitting me in waves.  My family is used to this time of month too... they can tell when it's coming!  I usually stay in my bedroom when it gets really bad.  My poor Husband gets the brunt of my moods as he tries to take care of me - I love him so much.  He is a gift from God that has lifted me up on my darkest days. 
It's ridiculous how many emotions I can experience in one day...
As I said, isn't it fabulous being a woman? 
Many hugs and blessings to you Dear Friends.
Kelly Watts
(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2013)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sleep Disorder

 Photo: I created this piece last nights while waiting to pick up Ben from work.  "Give Me Wings To Fly".  #art #artjournal #artjournaling #doodle #drawing #doodling #give #me #wings #to #fly #FM #fibromyalgia #fibrofighter
(Artwork by Kelly Watts 2013)
I am laughing-my-abs-off right now!  I am really laughing at myself because I am laying beside my husband (whom I forced to have a nap) and I am getting mad at him inside my head because he is snoring and my eyes are wide open staring at the ceiling!  How come I am mad at him that his body is able to sleep and mine is not?  That's crazy talk right?  
When I was a little kid I would sneak off to hide from my family to my bedroom closet where my chair awaited me.  You would think I was planning to go to an imaginable world filled with fantastical creatures... but no... I was going there to sleep.  I used to be a sleeper, able to fall asleep in the blink of an eye, or the closing of them.  Aaaahhh... I miss those days.
When I got pregnant with my first child that blissful sleep alluded me.  I thought, that's okay, I've read about this in all the baby books - it means my body is preparing me for when the baby comes into the world... right?  Almost nineteen years later I have one question... Is my body still preparing me because... ya... um... my Baby is almost 18 years old and I'm still not sleeping!!!  What's up with that?
What does it mean, sleep disorder? Well, according to Wikipedia...
A sleep disorder, or somnipathy, is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning. Polysomnography is a test commonly ordered for some sleep disorders.
Disruptions in sleep can be caused by a variety of issues, from teeth grinding (bruxism) to night terrors. When a person suffers from difficulty in sleeping with no obvious cause, it is referred to as insomnia.[1] In addition, sleep disorders may also cause sufferers to sleep excessively, a condition known as hypersomnia. Management of sleep disturbances that are secondary to mental, medical, or substance abuse disorders should focus on the underlying conditions.

According to me... it is obviously not being able to fall asleep for hours and hours, having thousands of thoughts racing around my head making it very difficult for my brain to allow me to sleep; and it is also, not being able to stay asleep but waking up many times throughout the night for numerous reasons.
Sometimes it is due to the pain I experience with Fibromyalgia; other times it is because I have become such a light sleeper that the faintest sound awakes me (even when I wear earplugs) and other times it is because I simply toss and turn and cannot get to sleep! 

I was not made for this, as I said before, I used to be a sleeper!  It's so not fair!!!  I could go on complaining or I could do everything I can possibly do to help my body sleep!

So... out comes the research on sleep.  What have I learned? 

Sometimes you can control things and sometimes you can't... sometimes your body is able to make changes to help you... and again, sometimes it is not able to. 

What do I mean by that?
I was involved with the Chronic Pain Clinic in my City and I enrolled in the "Sleep Disorder" class thinking 'okay, I can do this!  Maybe it will help me...'
I went with full intentions of getting help, I was psyched!  First day in class they ask me to record every time I wake up in a sleep journal!  Right there, my thoughts scream out to me, "What?  How can I do that?  If I wake up enough to write something down then I won't fall back to sleep!"  Then they wanted me to add up my sleep time separately from the time that I am laying in bed, then divide that time by the over all time... and blah, blah, blah  (I am hearing the Charlie Brown teacher at this moment).  They loaded me down with all these numbers and expected me to do math and this was supposed to help me?  I could barely think my head was so foggy! 

This was the wrong time to go to a 'sleeping' class!  For one thing I was still trying to find medicine to help me with the FM pain and my head was foggy and just crazy and my body was adjusting and well it was just the wrong time.  There was NO way that I could put into practice anything I learned from this group at that time, NO WAY. 

I LEARNED that I have to try and get help when my body is not dealing with all these other things that are out of my control.

Now, I am off all the crazy pain pills they put me on and consequently I had to wean off of due to the awful side effects (but that's another story for another time)... and I am ready to put into practice some of the strategies taught during the class and other research I have done on my own.

1.  The BEDROOM should be for sleeping and/or "intimate time with your spouse" only.  Do not read in bed, do not watch tv in bed, do not draw in bed, do not crochet in bed... Use your bedroom as your bedroom, not your entertainment room. 

              (This is just what I have learned and I am now passing on to you...
           it does NOT mean that I have put it into practice *insert embarrassed
           face here - but I am trying and that is what counts right?)

2.  Place a journal and a pen beside your bed.  Before shutting off the light (because it's really difficult to write in the dark unless you have a glow in the dark pen)... write down every thought that goes through your head for five minutes!  Seriously!  It works!

           (This particularily works if you are known as a "Worrier"! I do not
            know why we do this when God is in control and we CLEARLY are

3.  Before going to bed create a night time routine that will prepare your body for sleep (for example... heat up a small glass of milk and listen to some soft relaxing music for 10-15 minutes.  Brush your teeth and wash your face and do whatever other night time grooming things you need to do.  Get changed into comfortable sleepwear.  Make certain that you have all the bases covered according to the weather and time of year (for example:  in the summer - make sure that you are not going to be too hot, turn on a fan, use an ice pack to cool you down on particularily hot days; in the winter - make sure that your are not going to be too cold, place an extra blanket on the bed, turn on the mattress pad heater, lotion your skin that could be extra sensitive due to the cold weather so that you do not get irritated during the night)  Have a glass of water beside the bed so that you do not have to get up out of bed if you become thirsty. 

4.  Do not drink any liquids after 4pm if possible.  This will help you to not have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (especially important for those of you with small bladders).

5.  A sleep journal can be useful to track your sleep time and the time you spend in your bed.  Why is this important?  Well, from what I have learned it helps you to recognize patterns in your sleep (for example - it will show you when you sleep for only an hour and you are awake in your bed for one and a half hours later).  At the clinic, they taught me that if I wake up in the night I should not stay in bed awake longer than 15 minutes.  Once it comes to 15 minutes and I do not think I will immediately fall asleep I should get out of bed and wait until I am sleepy enough to actually sleep.  This trains your body to sleep when you are in bed and not be wide awake. 

6.   Regardless of how many hours you have slept you should try to get up around the same time every morning. 

                (Once again, I am just putting it out there... this has been a
                 very difficult step for me, one to which I have yet to conquer
                 because my sleep is so up and down all the time - but I hope
                 to get here one day soon:)

These are just a few strategies I have picked up a long the way, I am not saying that they are perfect, that they all work or that I have perfected any of them.  I am not a Doctor and do not claim to be one, I am just passing along the information so maybe it can help one of my fellow "Lack-of-sleepers". 

I personally, at this moment, am on three medications to help me sleep.  One helps me to fall asleep, one helps me calm my racing thoughts down and the other, which is a natural vitamin, helps me to stay asleep longer.  I suggest you talk to your Doctor to help you find the right medication should you choose this path. 

I pray and hope you find this information helpful.  If you want to share what has worked for you please leave a comment and I can send you my email address if you choose to share your story.

Many hugs and blessings to you.

Kelly Watts

Thursday, February 7, 2013


(Artwork By Kelly Watts 2013)

Hello again lovely people unfortunately suffering with Fibromyalgia and/or other Chronic Illnesses.
Yesterday I began sharing with you my journey with pain which started off with joint pain later diagnosed as Hypermobility of my Joints.
Today I will share with you some of my journey with Fibromyalgia, but first the definition and a little explaination as to how it effects the body;


Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety.

Here is an image showing the 18 trigger points on the body in people who suffer from FM;
I am affected in all 18 points.  It is difficult to describe the pain involved with FM, it is a radiating pain at times that travels up and down my arms, neck, back and legs. Other days it is a pain so deep it goes into my bones ( and nothing so far has been able to relieve me when it does that).

There is a strange fatigue that often accompanies FM, a weakness would better describe it.  Things like walking up and down stairs, or simple grooming, getting changed, putting groceries away and/or simply going for a small walk all seem like difficult tasks to accomplish.  Some days I am able to hold a book to read and other days I do not have the strength to even do this. (My husband has bought me a Kobo E-reader so that when I am lying down I do not have to hold onto a book but merely prop it up so that I can read). 

The fatigue is usually called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; 

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that causes extreme tiredness. People with CFS have debilitating fatigue that lasts for six months or longer. They also have many other symptoms. Some of these are pain in the joints and muscles, headache, and sore throat. CFS does not have a known cause, but appears to result from a combination of factors.

As with Fibromyalgia, there is no known cure for CFS.

Doctors like to treat the symptoms of both with medications. 

I have been down that road with Effexor, Vioxx, Celebrex, Baclofen, Tremodol, Lyrica... my conclusion... the side effects were worse than the pain, although the pain is bad that is for certain, the side effects were horrible.

I am in the process of weaning myself off of Effexor (which is a slow, slow process) and weaning myself off of the other medications... well, some of them such as Baclofen and Lyrica were a nightmare!

When I was diagnosed (officially) in 2010 by a Rheumatoid Specialist with FM and CFS I was at a very desperate point, the pain was so bad all I wanted was a magic pill to take it all away.  This never happened.  In fact, as stated earlier, there is no known cure for either and Doctors can only treat the symptoms, which means they will work with the greatest symptom first and subscribe a pill for each symptom.  It is an endless process I have found.

Since being diagnosed I have done everything in my power to research these Chronic Illnesses trying to find anything and everything that I could change in my life to alleviate the symptoms even if I had to change my life upside down to do it! 

I looked up all the food irritants that were natural inflammatories and slowly worked to cut them out of my diet (Diet Pop, Any pop, Peppers, Starches such as potatoes and corn, rice and pasta, I limited my red meats and stayed away from sugars both natural and artifical sweeteners)  I went gluten free for awhile and decided to try colonics through a natural path.  All these things helped but the pain was still there. 

Now I am trying 'Juicing' and have been doing so for just over a month.  Three times a day I juice vegetables and once every few days I juice fruits such as apples, mangos and pineapples.  This has not taken my pain away but it has helped my body feel healthier in general.  And, bonus, I have lost 10-12 pounds (it fluctuates).  At first I only did the juicing and found after around 20 days my body needed more so I added some whole foods with natural proteins such as whole Greek yoghurt, kalamato olives, almonds, pumkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, home made hummus, beans, almond butter and apples.  Again, the pain is still there but my energy level has increased and I feel healthier overall.  I also pay attention to my caffeine intake, I should not have any but I limit myself to one tea per day. (Hey, you have to have something to look forward to right?)

Exercise... when I am feeling well enough to do it I will get on my treadmill for 15 -30 minutes.  It is important for overall health and is known to really help FM although it is difficult to get to this point.  In 2010 I joined the Chronic Pain Clinic in my town and the Kinesiologist/Physiotherapist started me on a walking program at 15 minutes per day.  I continued this until I was at 50 minutes per day (gradually increasing your minutes 3 at a time every three days)... the only problem is that no one taught me to stretch and I ended up pulling a hamstring and this set me back 21/2 months.  I learned at this point that it takes longer for someone with FM to heal than it does the average person.  The exercise felt really good and I was looking forward to it everday but my legs, thighs, hips and back ached at night so this is when they added the Baclofen to my Lyrica along with all the other meds.  On medication I could exercise that was the good thing, off meds it is not as easy.  I am taking it one step at a time but this time I am trying to go naturally and I know the importance of stretching now! 

As I begin to post more on this subject I will also post things that I have found helpful, share the things I have learned and hopefully get others to share their stories.  I really want to work together with everyone to have the best lives that we can possibly live because each day is a struggle but I know that 'With God all things are possible'. 

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Kelly Watts