Thursday, March 31, 2011

Like we need to be even more exhausted than we already are... 

Yet another from the fibromyalgia Facebook page (there will be MANY more as I find the time and energy to post them). This one addresses medication side effects:

When Painkillers Worsen Fibromyalgia Fatigue

I have found that the few pain medications that don't make me puke tend to turn me into a zombie. Neither scenario is desirable. I have been on a new sleep med for a few months now and am disappointed with its effectiveness, so I might ask if I can go back to generic Ambien even though it's not intended for long-term use.

At least part of it IS in your head.... 

Another link from a fibromyalgia Facebook page. This one cites a study of whether those with CFIDS were more prone to headaches:

Migraines and Central Sensitization in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

I am one of those who get migraine without aura. I wonder if there would be any advantage to knowing in advance when it was gonna start?

Ways to stay financially afloat when you're disabled.... 

Found this article through a fibromyalgia Facebook page. It contains links to several useful agencies:

Financial Help

Ironically, in South Dakota, I am too "rich" to qualify for most types of aid, but if I lived in California, I would be eligible. But the cost of living is sky high in California, so I guess that makes sense. At least SSDI is based upon what you have put into it, so I do qualify for SOMETHING.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Too ill to work, yet not qualified for disability.... 

An excellent article from But You Don't Look Sick. This covers the dilemma of thousands with chronic illness:

When You're Not Sick Enough

I did finish up my own article for the site tonight. It's just a quickie book review this time around. I still want to write about caregivers and significant others, but it will be quite involved, and I might not have the energy to work on it until I finish up my physical therapy in mid-April.

Have a TON of articles piled up on my browser that I'd like to share. Just have been trying to get over a post-birthday flare. Hoping to have enough awake hours next week to get those posted.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Inspiration for the Day, March 25, 2011: 

From Cocoon Forth A Butterfly
by Emily Dickinson

From Cocoon Forth A Butterfly
As Lady from her Door-
Emerged-a Summer Afternoon-
Repairing Everywhere-

Without Design-that I could trace-
Except to stray abroad-
On Miscellaneous Enterprise-
The Clovers-understood-

Her pretty Parasol be seen-
Contracting in a Field-
Where Men made Hay-
Then struggling hard-
With an opposing Cloud-

Where Parties-Phantom as Herself-
To Nowhere-seemed to go-
In purposeless Circumference-
As 'twere a Tropic Show-

And notwithstanding Bee-that worked-
And Flower-that zealous blew-
This Audience of Idleness-
Disdained them, from the Sky-

Till Sundown crept-a steady Tide-
And Men that made the Hay-
And Afternoon-and Butterfly-
Extinguished-in the Sea-

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspiration for the Day, March 24, 2011: 

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

~ Dr. Seuss

Monday, March 21, 2011

Inspiration for the Day, March 21, 2011: 

“Life is a gift. Never take it for granted.”

- Sasha Azevedo

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring has sprung! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rave of the Day for March 19, 2011: 

This has been around the internet for quite awhile. There was also a great episode of the original "Twilight Zone" that had a similar premise. This version I received in an e-mail from Pete....

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them. After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," he answered.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

Inspiration for the Day, March 19, 2011: 

“Too many people miss the silver lining because they are expecting gold.”

- Maurice Setter

Thursday, March 17, 2011

All together now....awwww! 

I've seen this on a couple of other people's blogs. I tried to access a widget to permanently attach it to this blog, but I couldn't figure it out, so I'll just post a link here and on my list:

Daily Puppy

Speaking of widgets, sometimes I wonder if I should apologize for the plain appearance of this blog. After all, I once was a graphic designer. But due to my present cognitive dysfunction, I have a great deal of trouble remembering how to do anything technical on the computer, especially if it involves HTML. I probably wouldn't have a blog at all if it didn't come with a WYSIWYG editor.

And the more my ailments sap my energy, the more browser life gets simpler and simpler, with few of the lengthy articles that used to characterize it and even fewer pieces of artwork accompanying posts. But there might be an upside to that. For one thing, I consciously chose a template with a large, easy-to-read font because some of my readers have vision or cognition problems of their own. And my generally short paragraphs are well-suited for those with difficulty with reading comprehension.

Those are my excuses, and I'm sticking to them, heh heh.

'tis the day for sham-rocking.... 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More from fibro blog land.... 

Came across this blog via the ubiquitous fibromyalgia Facebook page. Lots of points to ponder here:

FibroCathy's Blog

I am putting this on my Links list too. It is truly amazing how easy it is these days to find others with chronic illness who blog. It was only a decade or so ago that I figured out how to Google and looked for data on my newly diagnosed ailments. Prior to that, I felt incredibly isolated, even ostracized because of being sick and not being believed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why this phsyician believes we are NOT making this up.... 

Another interesting (but a bit dated) link via the "Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" site. Especially relevant given the recent Lancet study fiasco:

CFS: Psychological or Physical?

The doctor in the article says exactly the same thing I always have about the difference between CFIDS exhaustion and depression: a person with severe fatigue WANTS to get out of bed but can't, while a depressed person doesn't want to get out of bed at all. I just wish more physicians would acknowledge this difference.

Orthostatic intolerance and CFIDS.... 

Ok, this contains old data, but it's still interesting. I got it via a site called "Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", which I got via a Facebook fibromyalgia site:

Further Organic Abnormalities in CFIDS

I managed to somehow pass my tilt table test, but that may have been due to some medication I took for another test earlier that day. At any rate, I am grateful I have never fainted, but there are times I do get pretty wobbly, especially if I raise my arms and stretch right after standing. Don't know if that means anything or not.

Monday, March 14, 2011

If you have CFIDS, you might not want to sign up for gym membership just yet.... 

Another response to the deeply flawed PACE study. Courtesy of last week's CFIDS Association of America's newsletter:

Too Big to Fail: Commentary on the PACE Trial

I wonder if those who conducted the study can fully appreciate just how fine the line is between a therapeutic amount of exercise and an amount sufficient to bring on an exacerbation of the ailment? There are many times then those of us who have it don't even know when we're overdoing it.

Summing up the latest CFIDS findings.... 

Got this link from last week's CFIDS Association of America's newsletter. Good to know there is so much research going on:


I am particularly excited about the Belgian study. Not because I actually WANT people with CFIDS to have cognitive dysfunction, but because I want the medical community to take it seriously. Doctors are VERY disinclined to believe I can have that much trouble compared to when I was healthy.

NOT a product endorsement; just passing along the info.... 

Interesting article from last week's edition of the Celiac.com newsletter. This might not be a bad idea for those who were symptomatic for many years before being diagnosed:

Celiact is a Nutritional Supplement Just for People with Celiac Disease

While my bone density is fine (yayyy!), I have for over a decade taken a high quality B-complex multi-vitamin, and I will definitely suffer if I don't have some form of pro-biotic. Because my stomach doesn't work right, the digestive enzymes are a good idea too.

I think this falls under the category of "been there, done that".... 

Got this from last week's Celiac.com newsletter (no, I am still not caught up on the backlog of e-mails). I don't find the analysis very surprising:

Increased Reflux and Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Celiacs Yields Lower Quality of Life

Having one of these ailments is inconvenient. But having all three (I do) makes one never want to leave the house. Uncontrollable belching, hazardous eating situations and needing to find a restroom quickly in public are embarrassments that can take awhile to adjust to.

Rave of the Day for March 14, 2011: 

Proof that you can rationalize ANYTHING. And I have, especially when it's this funny. From a 2006 e-mail sent by Pete....

I don't do windows because ... 

I love birds 

and don't want one to run into a clean window 

and get hurt.
I don't wax floors because ... 

I am terrified a guest 

will slip and get hurt 

then I'll feel terrible

 (plus they may sue me.)

I don't mind the dust bunnies because ... 

They are very good company, 

I have named most of them, 

and they agree with everything I say. 

I don't disturb cobwebs because ... 

I want every creature 

to have a home of their own. 

I don't Spring Clean because ... 

I love all the seasons 

and don't want the others 

to get jealous. 

I don't pull weeds 

in the garden because ... 

I don't want to get 

in God's way, 

HE is an excellent designer! 

I don't put things away because ... 

My husband 

will never be able 

to find them again. 

I don't do gourmet meals 
when I entertain because ... 

I don't want my guests 

to stress out over what 

to make when 

they invite me 

over for dinner. 


I don't iron because ... 
I choose to believe them 

when they say "Permanent Press". 

I don't stress much on anything because 

"A Type" personalities 

die young 

and I want to stick around 

and become a wrinkled up crusty ol' woman!!!!

Inspiration for the Day, March 14, 2011: 

“Freedom lies in being bold.”

– Robert Frost

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why PACE is NOT the final frontier.... 

Got the link to this excellent article from Dominique, one of my Facebook friends. It's about how a recent study on CFIDS may do more harm than good:

PACE Study May As Well Say Cancer Is All In Your Mind

Believe me, many in the psychology community were already convinced that CFIDS is nothing more than a convoluted somatoform disorder. For every supposedly scientific study that suggests exercise, I want to add in capital letters the term "TO TOLERANCE". For a person who is bedridden, their tolerance level might be limited to lifting their limbs from the bed, or maybe even less than that.

The day when CFIDS is easily diagnosable through standardized testing cannot come soon enough.

Rave of the Day for March 13, 2011: 

I had a hard time deciding whether this was a Rave or an Inspiration. I guess it's a bit of both. Courtesy of Joan circa 2006....

Great Advice to Live By

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

Inspiration for the Day, March 13, 2011: 

Got this today in an e-mail from Linda:

The Knots Prayer

Dear God:
Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind.

Erase the will nots, may nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all, Dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the 'am nots' that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough.

- Author Known To God

Valuable ME/CFIDS links.... 

Got this page from Dominique, one of my Facebook friends. This list contains some good reference material:

Medical Information - Rachel's Personal ME/CFS Info

And one article from this list needs to be read by everyone who has gone on or is considering filing for disability:

ME/CFS as a Mitochondrial Disease

When I was forced by my long-term disability insurance company to do a functional capacity physical exercise exam, it was only the one-day type, so they did not see how completely incapacitated I was the following day. I could not even walk without assistance, and the resulting flare was only alleviated by high-dose prednisone. Not an indicator of a healthy and/or malingering person. But of course the insurance company ruled I was not disabled.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rave of the Day for March 12, 2011: 

A quick giggle. Another gem courtesy of Joan circa 2006:

"Grannie, do all fairy tales begin with 'Once Upon a Time'?"

"No, darling. There is a whole series of fairy tales that begin with 'If Elected I Promise'."

Inspiration for the Day, March 12, 2011: 

"I tell you a mystery:
We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed."

- 1 Corinthians 15:51

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why CBT is a double-edged sword for those with CFIDS.... 

Another thought-provoking article courtesy of last week's CFIDS Association of America newsletter. A reporter comes "out of the closet" and reveals he has CFIDS:

John Falk: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Psychotherapy

I agree that the vast majority of mental health professionals don't know how to properly help a person with CFIDS unless the patient happens to also have depression, anxiety or something they are trained to treat. When I still lived in Denver, I did luck out once and find a licensed clinical psychologist who was experienced in counseling chronic pain patients, but she was the exception. I was burned IRREPARABLY by other so-called professionals who tried to blame my physical symptoms on a mental illness that I did not have.

Is it all in a name? 

Another article via the CFIDS Association of America newsletter from last week. What we now in the U.S. call chronic fatigue syndrome may go back at least 150 years:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, an Illness That's Hard to Live With - Or Define

It's a shame that the name for the ailment is already so entrenched in America, because the name doesn't even hint at all the other associated symptoms. It's a bit like considering someone with severe clinical depression to be a little sad.

How can we fix it if we don't agree on what exactly it is? 

Got this from last week's edition of the CFIDS Association of America newsletter (my e-mails have kinda been piling up). It explains why many are disputing the recent findings in the "Lancet" report:

Troubles of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Start With Defining It

If the only description you had for CFIDS was unusual fatigue, half the population would fall under that category. Perhaps other countries should take a cue from the Canadians and include neurological, cognitive, endocrine and perhaps immune symptoms before conducting a wide-ranging study.

Rave of the Day for March 11, 2011: 

Got this in an e-mail from Joan in 2006. Sometimes cynicism can be doggone funny....

A Cynic's Guide to Life:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt 
and a leaky tire.

I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.
 And a foundation leaks and a ball game gets rained out and a 
car rusts and...

Follow your dream! Unless it's the one where you're at work in
 your underwear during a fire drill.

Always take time to stop and smell the roses... and sooner or 
later, you'll inhale a bee.

Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of 
me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just
 leave me alone.

If you don't like my driving, don't call anyone. Just take 
another road. That's why the highway department made so many of 

If a motorist cuts you off, just turn the other cheek. Nothing 
gets the message across like a good mooning.

When I'm feeling down, I like to whistle. It makes the
 neighbor's dog run to the end of his chain and gag himself.

It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal
 the neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

A handy telephone tip: Keep a small chalkboard near the phone.
 That way, when a salesman calls, you can hold the receiver up
to it and run your fingernails across it until he hangs up.

Each day I try to enjoy something from each of the four food
 groups: the bonbon group, the salty-snack group, the caffeine 
group, and the

Into every life some rain must fall. Usually when your car
 windows are down.

Just remember... You gotta break some eggs to make a real mess
 on the neighbor's car!

When you find yourself getting irritated with someone, try to
remember that all men are brothers... and just give them a 
noogie or an Indian burn.

This morning I woke up to the unmistakable scent of pigs in a 
blanket. That's the price you pay for letting the relatives 
stay over.

It's a small world. So you gotta use your elbows a lot.

Keep your nose to the grindstone and your shoulder to the 
wheel...it's cheaper than plastic surgery.

This land is your land. This land is my land. So stay on your

Love is like a roller coaster: when it's good you don't want to 
get off, and when it isn't... you can't wait to throw up.

Inspiration for the Day, March 11, 2011: 

These are the lyrics to a song whose lyrics were written by a member of my congregation. We sang it during last Sunday's service:

Just As I Am

Just as I am, I come to you.
I look to your life, in all I do.
I hear you calling to love anew,
Oh Source of Love, I come, I come.

Just as I am, I wrestle about
With fear, apprehension, wavering doubt
I surrender them all, now cast them out.
Oh Source of Faith, I come, I come.

Just as I am, impatient to be
The fullness of all you've breathed in me.
Open my heart, my eyes to see,
Oh Source of Life, I come, I come.

- Mona Wade

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Inspiration for the Day, March 10, 2011: 

This was the blessing in one of my recent church bulletins:

May you see God in all the colors of creation,
May the colors of creation arouse in you a sense of awe and wonder,
May the sacred wonder of God's presence be made real in you,
May God's presence be a source of inspiration and courage,
And may God keep calling you boldly into the future.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Singling out Islam.... 

Got this link from the United Church of Christ Global Ministries newsletter. It is in reference to Congressional inquiries into Islam:

Kinnamon: King hearings imply 'Muslims are not part of us'

These hearings are not necessary, and they set a bad precedent. It would be like profiling Christians based on the actions of the KKK.

Inspiration for the Day, March 9, 2011: 

"Ground of all being,
Mother of life, Father of the universe,
Your name is sacred, beyond speaking.
May we know your presence, may your longings be our longings in heart and in action.
May there be food for the human family today and for the whole earth community.
Forgive the falseness of what we have done as we forgive those who are untrue to us.
Do not forsake us in our time of conflict but lead us into new beginnings.
For the light of life, the vitality of life, and the glory of life are yours now and forever.

- Casa Del Sol Prayer of Jesus by J. Phillip Newell

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fixing what ain't broke.... 

As promised, the text of Michael Moore's speech in Wisconsin:

America Is NOT Broke ...the Madison speech by Michael Moore

Delivered in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, March 5th, 2011. Video available here.

America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic -- and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here's what I learned: Money doesn't grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state. But if those who have the most money don't pay their fair share of taxes, the state can't function. The schools can't produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs. That too caused a reduction in tax revenue. Everyone ended up suffering because of what the rich did.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. Saying that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie. It's one of the three biggest lies of the decade: 1) America is broke, 2) Iraq has WMD, and 3) The Packers can't win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.

The truth is, there's lots of money to go around. LOTS. It's just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn't work, they've got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:

1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day -- this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply yourself! They have conveniently provided you with believable examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart -- because you -- yes, you, too! -- might be rich/president/an Oscar-winner some day! The message is clear: keep you head down, your nose to the grindstone, don't rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.

2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked. As the economy and the stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat: Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or it's Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future. It was friggin' awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. "Here! Take our money! We don't care. We'll even print more for you! Just take it! But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!"

The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).

Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant known as the working people of the United States of America. Right now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50 states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT! We reject anyone who tells us America is broke and broken. It's just the opposite! We are rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own, ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The United States of America!

So how do we make this happen? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity.

Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois -- whatever it took, you have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the beginning. The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn't have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury. They couldn't be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to have more -- something more than all the riches in the world. They had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job -- their $19,000 a year job. That's how much some rookie pilots on commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilot who flew me here to Madison today. He told me he's stopped hoping for a pay increase. All he's asking for now is enough down time so that he doesn't have to sleep in his car between shifts at O'Hare airport. That's how despicably low we have sunk! The wealthy couldn't be content with just paying this man $19,000 a year. They had to take away his sleep. They had to demean him and dehumanize him and rub his face in it. After all, he's just another slob, isn't he?

And that, my friends, is Corporate America's fatal mistake. But trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement -- a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and that point is upon us. Many people in the media don't understand this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks during brutal winter weather. "Why are they all standing out there in the cold?" I mean, there was that election in November and that was supposed to be that!

"There's something happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you ...?"

America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America -- because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!

Madison, do not retreat. We are with you. We will win together.

Rave of the Day for March 8, 2011: 

Found this gem amongst the e-mails Joan sent me in 2006. If anyone comes up with the name and the whereabouts of this "thief", let me know, heh heh....

A thief has struck:

Most of you have read the scare-mail about the person whose kidneys 
were stolen while he was passed out. Well, read on.

 While the kidney story was an urban legend, this one is not. It's 
happening every day.

My thighs were stolen from me during the night a 
few years ago. It was just that quick. I went to sleep in my body and 
woke up with someone else's thighs. The new ones had the texture of 
cooked oatmeal. Who would have done such a cruel thing to legs that had 
been mine for years? Whose thighs were these and what happened to mine? 
I spent the entire summer looking for my thighs. Finally, hurt and 
angry, I resigned myself to living out my life in jeans and Sheer Energy 

Then, just when my guard was down, the thieves struck again.

 My ass was next.

 I knew it was the same gang, because they took pains to match my new
 rear end to the thighs they stuck me with earlier. I couldn't believe 
that my new ass was attached at least three inches lower than my 
original. Now, my rear complemented my legs, lump for lump. Frantic, I 
prayed that long skirts would stay in fashion.

It was two years ago when I realized my arms had been switched. One 
morning I was fixing my hair and I watched horrified but fascinated as 
the flesh of my upper arms swung to and fro with the motion of the 
hairbrush. This was really getting scary. My body was being replaced one 
section at a time. How clever and fiendish.

 Age? Age had nothing to do with it. Age is supposed to creep up, 
unnoticed, something like maturity. NO, I was being attacked repeatedly 
and without warning. In despair, I gave up my T-shirts.

 What could they do to me next?

My poor neck suddenly disappeared faster than the Thanksgiving turkey 
it now resembled. That's why I decided to tell my story. I can't take on 
the medical profession by myself. Women of the world, wake up and 
 the coffee. That really isn't plastic that those surgeons are using. 
You KNOW where they are getting those replacement parts, don't you? The 
next time you suspect someone has had a face "lifted", look again. Was 
it lifted from you? I think I finally found my thighs - and I hope that Cindy Crawford paid a really good price for them!

This is not a hoax. This is happening to women in every town every 

P.S. I must say that last year I thought someone had stolen my 
breasts. I was lying in bed and they were gone! As I jumped out of bed, 
I was relieved to see that they had just been hiding in my armpits as I 

 Now I keep them hidden in my waistband.

Inspiration for the Day, March 8, 2011: 

One more John Keats sonnet. I and many with chronic illness can relate to this one:

To Sleep

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the "Amen," ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes -
Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my soul.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Rave of the Day for March 7, 2011: 

Was reminiscing with some friends tonight about how social networking used to consist of going outside to play. Where were we experiencing this nostalgia? On Facebook, of course, heh heh. I was then reminded of the following which I received in an e-mail from Joan in 2006:

TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or had an occasional drink while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate bleu cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on the  medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
 lawsuits from these accidents.


We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.



We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!


The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!


This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!


The past 50 years have been an 

explosion of innovation and new ideas.


We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!


And YOU are one of them!



You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.


And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Inspiration for the Day, March 7, 2011: 

The title of the film "Bright Star" comes from a John Keats sonnet and is said to refer to Fanny Brawne, the woman he loved. This sonnet was written on a blank page in Shakespeare's poems, facing "A Lover's Complaint"....

"Bright star, would I stedfast as thou art -
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors -
No - yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath.
And so live ever - or else swoon to death."

A report on the goings-on in Wisconsin.... 

Just got this a few minutes ago from Michael Moore's newsletter. Will read his speech at some point and perhaps post that too:

How I Got to Madison, Wisconsin ...a letter from Michael Moore

Sunday, March 6th, 2011


Early yesterday morning, around 1:00 AM, I had finished work for the day on my current "project" (top secret for now -- sorry, no spoiler alerts!). Someone had sent me a link to a discussion Bill O'Reilly had had with Sarah Palin a few hours earlier about my belief that the money the 21st Century rich have absconded with really isn't theirs -- and that a vast chunk of it should be taken away from them.

They were referring to comments I had made earlier in the week on a small cable show called GRITtv (Part 1 and Part 2). I honestly didn't know this was going to air that night (I had been asked to stop by and say a few words of support for a nurses union video), but I spoke from my heart about the millions of our fellow Americans who have had their homes and jobs stolen from them by a criminal class of millionaires and billionaires. It was the morning after the Oscars, at which the winner of Best Documentary for "Inside Job" stood at the microphone and declared, "I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail. And that's wrong." And he was applauded for saying this. (When did they stop booing Oscar speeches? Damn!)

So GRITtv ran my comments -- and all week the right wingopoly has been upset over what I said: That the money that the rich have stolen (or not paid taxes on) belongs to the American people. Drudge/Limbaugh/Beck and even Donald Trump went nuts, calling me names and suggesting I move to Cuba.

So in the wee hours of yesterday morning I sat down to write an answer to them. By 3:00 AM, it had turned into more of a manifesto of class war -- or, I should say, a manifesto against the class war the rich have been conducting on the American people for the past 30 years. I read it aloud to myself to see how it sounded (trying not to wake anyone else in the apartment) and then -- and this is why no one should be up at 3:00 AM -- the crazy kicked in: I needed to get in the car and drive to Madison and give this speech.

I went online to get directions and saw that there was no official big rally planned like the one they had last Saturday and will have again next Saturday. Just the normal ongoing demonstration and occupation of the State Capitol that's been in process since February 12th (the day after Mubarak was overthrown in Egypt) to protest the Republican governor's move to kill the state's public unions.

So, it's three in the morning and I'm a thousand miles from Madison and I see that the open microphone for speakers starts at noon. Hmm. No time to drive from New York. I was off to the airport. I left a note on the kitchen table saying I'd be back at 9:00 PM. Called a friend and asked him if he wanted to meet me at the Delta counter. Called the guy who manages my website, woke him up, and asked him to track down the coordinators in Madison and tell them I'm on my way and would like to say a few words if possible -- "but tell them if they've got other plans or no room for me, I'll be happy just to stand there holding a sign and singing Solidarity Forever."

So I just showed up. The firefighters, hearing I'm there, ask me to lead their protest parade through downtown Madison. I march with them, along with John Nichols (who lives in Madison and writes for the Nation). Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and the great singer Michelle Shocked have also decided to show up.

The scene in Madison is nothing like what they are showing you on TV or in the newspaper. First, you notice that the whole town is behind this. Yard signs and signs in store windows are everywhere supporting public workers. There are thousands of people out just randomly lining the streets for the six blocks leading to the Capitol building carrying signs, shouting and cheering and cajoling. Then there are stages and friendly competing demos on all sides of the building (yesterday's total estimate of people was 50,000-70,000, the smallest one yet)! A big semi truck has been sent by James Hoffa of the Teamsters and is parked like a don't-even-think-of-effing-with-us Sherman tank on the street in front of the Capitol. There is a long line -- separate from these other demonstrations -- of 4,000 people, waiting their turn to get through the only open door to the Capitol so they can join the occupation inside.

And inside the Rotunda is ... well, it will bring tears to your eyes if you go there. It's like a shrine to working people -- to what America is and should be about -- packed with families and kids and so many senior citizens that it made me happy for science and its impact on life expectancy over the past century. There were grandmas and great-grandpas who remember FDR and Wisconsin's La Follette and the long view of this struggle. Standing in that Rotunda was like a religious experience. There had been nothing like it, for me, in decades.

And so it was in this setting, out of doors now on the steps of the Capitol, with so many people in front of me that I couldn't see where they ended, that I just "showed up" and gave a speech that felt unlike any other I had ever given. As I had just written it and had no time to memorize it, I read from the pages I brought with me. I wanted to make sure that the words I had chosen were clear and exact. I knew they had the potential to drive the haters into a rabid state (not a pretty sight) but I also feared that the Right's wealthy patrons would see a need to retaliate should these words be met with citizen action across the land. I was, after all, putting them on notice: We are coming after you, we are stopping you and we are going to return the money/jobs/homes you stole from the people. You have gone too far. It's too bad you couldn't have been satisfied with making millions, you had to have billions -- and now you want to strip us of our ability to talk and bargain and provide. This is your tipping point, Wall Street; your come-to-Jesus moment, Corporate America. And I'm glad I'm going to be able to be a witness to it.

You can find the written version of my speech on my website. Please read it and pass it around far and wide. You can also watch a video of me giving the spoken version from the Capitol steps by clicking here. I will be sending you a second email shortly with just the speech so you can forward a clean version of it without the above story of how I abandoned my family in the middle of the night to go to Wisconsin for the day.

I can't express enough the level of admiration I have for the people of Wisconsin who, for three weeks, have braved the brutal winter cold and taken over their state Capitol. All told, literally hundreds of thousands of people have made their way to Madison to make their voices heard. It all began with high school students cutting class and marching on the building (you can read their reports on my High School Newspaper site). Then their parents joined them. Then 14 brave Democratic state senators left the state so the governor wouldn't have his quorum.

And all this while the White House was trying to stop this movement (read this)!

But it didn't matter. The People's train had left the station. And now protests were springing up in all 50 states.

The media has done a poor job covering this (imagine a takeover of the government HQ in any other country, free or totalitarian -- our media would be all over it). But this one scares them and their masters -- as it should. The organizers told me this morning that my showing up got them more coverage yesterday than they would have had, "a shot in the arm that we needed to keep momentum going." Well, I'm glad I could help. But they need a lot more than just me -- and they need you doing similar things in your own states and towns.

How 'bout it? I know you know this: This is our moment. Let's seize it. Everyone can do something.

Michael Moore

P.S. This local Madison paper/blog captured best what happened yesterday, and got what I'm really up to. Someone please send this to O'Reilly and Palin so there's no mistaking my true intentions.

P.P.S. Full disclosure: I am a proud union member of four unions: the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild, the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA (the last two have passed resolutions supporting the workers in Wisconsin). My production company has signed union contracts with five unions (and soon to be a 6th). All my full-time employees have full medical and dental insurance with NO DEDUCTIBLE. So, yes, I'm biased.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Rave of the Day for March 6, 2011: 

Got this joke in an e-mail from Dr. Karen in 2006. It's a tad racy, but still giggle-worthy:

A guy goes to the supermarket and notices a beautiful blond woman wave at him and say hello. He's rather taken aback, because he can't place where he knows her from.

So he says, "Do you know me?"

To which she replies, "I think you're the father of one of my kids."

Now his mind travels back to the only time he as ever been unfaithful to his wife and says, "My God, are you the stripper from my bachelor party that I laid on the pool table with all my buddies watching, while your partner whipped my butt with wet celery???"

She looks into his eyes and calmly says, "No, I'm your son's math teacher."

Inspiration for the Day, March 6, 2011: 

A few days ago, I watched the film "Bright Star", which was about the British poet John Keats and his relationship with Fanny Brawne during the early 1800's and definitely worth seeing. Being a closet romantic myself, I have always found Keats' writings particularly inspiring and have a 71-year-old book of his complete poetic works. Here is a sonnet recited during the film that underscores the irony of his early death at age 25:

"When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the fairy power
Of unreflecting love; - then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink."

Friday, March 04, 2011

Where is my inspiration? And why am I not raving? 

My readers may have noticed by now that I haven't posted one of my daily "inspirations" or "raves" for a few days. I have used up all the material from my spiritual website as well as the more easily accessible archived humor. That doesn't mean I don't have any left, but it does mean I will have to track it down and type it up, which might result in more sporadic postings. When I get new material, I will try to get it on here right away instead of letting it pile up for years, which I am known for doing.

I have other categories of items I'd like to post, pending finding the time and energy to do so. Since my fibromyalgia website is no more, it might not be a bad idea to relocate some of that material here. I could post more fun and/or funny website links. And of course there are all the movies I promised to review here three years ago.

If I disappear for awhile, don't be alarmed. I am in a nasty flare from the physical therapy with involuntary naps averaging at least two hours after every single treatment. Three days of physical therapy plus two days of aquacise plus one Gazelle workout every week equals one wiped out woman. Also, I intend to start working on my taxes very soon, which usually eats up multiple days of maximum computer time.

I'm off to start printing out lists of tax deductible items from my Quicken software. Jealous?

Most people don't even know this is an option.... 

Got this through a Facebook friend, but I don't remember which one (sorry). Believe it or not, in the U.S., you can deduct some of the expense of gluten-free specialty foods from your taxes, subject to limitations of course:

Is the Tax Deduction for Gluten Free Food Worth the Hassle?

Unfortunately for me, it is NOT worth the hassle, even though my medical expenses are up to 25 percent of my income each year. I would have to eat nothing but specialty foods for the receipts to add up to anything deductible. Now, if I were trying to feed an entire family a special diet, it might be different, but Dan eats regular food 90 percent of the time.

The relationship between self-esteem and chronic illness..... 

Last week, I found out through the Facebook grapevine that another person with fibromyalgia had committed suicide. While I didn't know her personally and so did not know of her situation in great detail, it did give me pause. Some people with chronic illness suffer a great deal more than others may realize; sometimes this is because they suffer in silence, and sometimes no matter how much we try to help, they feel they are quite beyond hope.

With this still fresh in my mind, I stumbled across a lengthy e-mail I had written 2003 in response to a friend's request for my input on the subject of chronic illness and self-esteem. He was compiling a web page featuring various viewpoints. While the site is no longer active (it was on the same network as my now-defunct fibromyalgia site), I hope the following might still be of interest even though it is out of context. Some aspects of my situation have changed since it was written (for instance, I was forced to quit working in 2005), but my basic feelings on the subject are still valid:

"I am fortunate in an odd sort of way that I dealt with my self-esteem issues when I was still physically healthy. I had severe clinical depression beginning when I was 13 years old...I was institutionalized for it when I was 18 following my first suicide attempt. It was not a ploy for attention. I had thought intensely about my life and my imagined future and decided I did not want to live to see that future. This was no one's fault...my parents, teachers, church leaders, etc. did not do anything to make me think that way. It was a form of tunnel vision that made perfect sense to me at the time. Yes, it was a cold way of thinking, but no one knew there was anything amiss, not even me. I figured everyone thought so absolutely about life and death and their control over it.

"The time I spent in the mental hospital was actually quite valuable to me. I did not trust the shrinks and told them what they wanted to hear so I could get out eventually, but learned a great deal from the other patients. People there could talk quite honestly about the most basic issues without fear of what the world at large thought. I learned that the most basic question is not what is the meaning of life but rather what makes you want to live. And if you did not want to live, at least know why. I discovered that I did not think I deserved to live. I also discovered that it was actually okay to not be in control of absolutely every emotion and was allowed to be out of control until it felt safe to just be myself. It took years, but eventually I decided I liked what that self was. How many people get that opportunity?

"So I guess I already had an advantage mentally when I became chronically ill physically. This is not to say that I did not suffer emotionally. I just did not suffer endlessly or to the extent of someone who has never had such mental challenges. I already knew what sanity felt like and what insanity felt like, so I knew the warning signs of depression and the pitfalls. Ironically, I was seeking counseling for dealing with the impending death of my mother when I was referred to the wrong sort of doctor. This man only prescribed pills and coerced me into taking an SSRI, assuring me it was perfectly safe despite my protests. I had a violent physical reaction to the med which was dismissed as an anxiety attack. Part of the physical reaction was permanent insomnia and muscle spasms, two very important contributors to fibromyalgia. In studies where people are deprived of sleep for more than a few days, the subjects develop fibromyalgia-type symptoms. This is what happened to me.

"I think the first challenge to one's self-esteem when one develops chronic illness as the result of a trauma is the not being believed. For the first time, I was going to doctors for physical complaints that were not being taken seriously. I was told I was depressed or stressed and needed more of the SSRI that was making me so sick. While in my heart I knew this was untrue and that I was quite sane, having experienced times in my life when that had not been the case, these were medical professionals all telling me the same thing, and weren't they supposed to know more than I? Eventually, this onslaught does erode even the most confident of souls, and doubt begins to color the thought. So one begins to wonder if they are somehow thinking themselves sick and begins to feel guilt over not being able to think themselves well. One begins to accept very distressing symptoms as being imaginary and becomes angry that they can't tune them out. One starts seeing themselves as a wimp, aggravatingly flawed and spiritually weak. When enough doctors tell a chronically ill person that there is nothing wrong with them, naturally the family members start to wonder too. In an attempt to help, the family members tell the ill person to pray harder or think more positively or to shake it off and get over it. This exacerbates the ill person's self-doubt, and unintentionally exacerbates the illness. Some people are never able to escape this vicious cycle, especially if they never receive a proper diagnosis.

"But I never was able to completely accept this dismissal from the medical community as being valid, even when I tried my hardest to ignore my body's pain and fatigue and distress. When my neurologist sent me to a shrink to validate her opinion that I was mentally ill, I went to the shrink and told him matter-of-factly that while I did not know why I was sick, I simply was not creative enough to invent such a complicated ailment. After a one-hour examination, he agreed and said I was indeed quite sane. This improved my confidence a great deal, but of course did not solve the mystery.

"That is the second challenge to the chronically ill person's self-esteem, the pre-diagnosis period. Even if it is finally acknowledged that the person does have a physical ailment, the having no name, treatment or prognosis for it instills a deep feeling of helplessness and hopelessness in the one who is ill. Random thoughts of rare or fatal ailments are harder to dismiss. Time seems to stop. When we are told to get on with our lives, we want to scream that we can't! How can we make plans if we might be dying? How do we confidently do anything if we don't know if we are making ourselves better or worse by doing it? This is especially troublesome with fibromyalgia, because pain normally is a signal to stop doing what we are doing. We make the natural mistake of doing less, thinking we will hurt less. Eventually we become de-conditioned and hurt even more and we're left to wonder what we did wrong. We begin to feel like a failure as we do less and less and hurt more and more and still have no idea why.

"I was finally received the first diagnosis, that of fibromyalgia (I had other ailments in addition to that but didn't know until recently), three years into being ill. It is a very bizarre feeling to be happy that you have an illness, but that is what happens. It is much more of a relief to have a name for it than just some vague acknowledgment that you might be ill. Now you can start the process of treatment, research and support. The next snag occurs when some or all of your doctors inform you that fibromyalgia is not real, which throws you right back into that "you aren't really sick" mode. I think I went through 11 primary care doctors before I found one who didn't either blame everything on fibromyalgia, tell me I was just depressed or just throw pills at it to get me to shut up. It is quite difficult to reassure oneself that they are worthy of the search for compatible medical care.

"Other challenges to self-esteem occur when the illness becomes bad enough to force lifestyle modification. Americans in particular like to have careers rather than jobs and actually identify themselves with what they do for a living. So instead of saying they do accounting work, they say they ARE an accountant. So when you cannot work due to illness, does that mean that suddenly you are nothing? Some would think so. I was lucky enough to have a mother who always told me that you are not your job, that what you do for a living is just a way to make money and that what you enjoy in life may not always be what you do for 40 hours a week. She was a loan officer at a credit union who was an artist in her free time. So most of the time when I do less quality work at my job than I am accustomed to, I try not to let it diminish my opinion of me as a person. And if I must stop working, I am not a failure on a personal level. This is not to say that I don't feel tugs of guilt at no longer being my best. I am human, and it hurts to not be able to rely on your ability to do error-free work. But I do try to divert my attention to other ways I can be a "success" as a human being.

"This must be particularly difficult for people in careers that save lives or directly improve someone else's life. The next challenge to our self-esteem is coming up with ways of helping others that do not demand as much of us physically. I try to communicate in writing and to provide information to those who need it and support to those who are having trouble dealing with their chronic illness. Feeling useful is a big thing to me....it wasn't until after my mother died, but I figure better late than never. And the things that used to make me feel useful, like keeping the house clean or physical volunteer work have been replaced with words on a page. I am comfortable with that. That is not the answer for everyone....there is much soul-searching involved in deciding what constitutes being productive for you. Everyone wants to be needed. I contribute to a fibromyalgia message board....that may not sound like much, but one day someone I had never met told me that they read everything I post and need to see how others cope and that I was a big help with that. So when people in my daily life tell me that I perpetuate my own illness by focusing on it too much, I know in my heart that they are wrong.

"Perhaps the biggest hurdle for the chronically ill person to overcome is the question of why them and why not someone else instead, or even better, why does anyone have to have this sickness? As a former atheist, I used to think rather concretely on the concept of deserved-ness. The concept that one could be sick and it not be a punishment for a screw-up somewhere didn't fit with my thinking. The idea that sometimes illness just is no matter what sort of lifestyle you've lead was overwhelming at first. Oddly enough, I had even more problems with the concept after I began to believe in a higher power again....it was difficult to imagine a creator that would allow sickness, death and other mayhem in people that had done nothing to deserve it. So of course at first, I searched my soul to figure out just what it was I had done wrong. I found flaws because every human has flaws, but nothing that said, aha, here is where you screwed up. Then one day in a bible study group we discussed Job, and the light bulb flickered on, so to speak. It is less important why I am sick than how I choose to react to what I am given to work with. There probably IS a reason I was given this illness, and it may indeed be a very good one. I am forced again to go back to the basics of life such as why I want to live and what I want to do with that life when it has limitations. Maybe the lessons I have learned are ones I can share....I am by nature a very selfish person, so I do need to learn how to share. There are others that I am working on...this is a work in progress with the finished product not determined until the day we die, which will be a very long time from now if I can help it.

"So how many other people are this self aware who are healthy? There are some, but I'd venture to say there are fewer of them than those who are challenged as we are. One thing we can do is share this awareness with those who have never considered the notion that they are not their job, or their major in college, or simply an extension of a spouse or kids."

Thursday, March 03, 2011

How much do YOU know about fibromyalgia? 

Got the link from my fibromyalgia Facebook page. I found it fairly easy but still missed one:

Take the Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Fibromyalgia

While you're on the site, you might wanna bookmark the home page if you haven't already. It has detailed info on just about any medication you could think to look up.

Special diet suggestions.... 

My latest article for But You Don't Look Sick has been posted. It's long and took me forever to write, but I think the subject matter was worth a thorough look:

Medically Necessary Diet? Don't Freak Out!

Will probably do something shorter for the month of March like a book review. At some point, I hope to tackle the subject of caregivers who are also significant others, which would need to be fairly in-depth to do it justice.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Teeee heeee! 

My sister sent me this link. Toooo cuuuute!

Laughing Baby Loves Ripping Paper

Nothing like watching a giggling kid to cheer ya up. Especially one that's easily amused.

Richard Simmons, eat your heart out! 

Okay, some might find this a tad offensive, but I couldn't stop laughing!

Tom and tiaras... 

This aired after the Academy Awards on Jimmy Kimmel. Tom Hanks plays a pageant dad:

Toddlers and Tiaras with Tom Hanks

Speaking of the Oscars, I won the guessing game this year. I correctly predicted 11 winners to Dan's 10.

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