Monday, March 16, 2015

DIY Heat Wrap

G’day mates! Top of the mornin’ to ya!
I know, I know. A bit too chipper for a cold and crappy day huh? Well, it doesn’t have to be horrible. Wanna know why? Cause’ I’m a cheater. Yep. You heard it here. I cheat. And you can be a cheater too!

I am having a halfway decent day because I made a rewarmable (I think I just made up that word but go with it) heat pad! So I can just reheat it as needed. Yep. That was the word I was looking for! Reheatable! Okay. Spell check doesn’t like that word either. Oh well. Moving on!

Want to know how to make one for yourself? You don’t need to twist my arm or put me in a head lock. Here you go:

Get one long (preferably clean) tube sock and fill up 2/3 of it with white rice. (You can get this in bulk fairly inexpensively at Winco) Do not over pack the sock. You want the rice to be movable/moldable. To wrap around whatever you are needing it. Tie off the top or knot it and voila! Done.

Now pop that sucker in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and then wrap it around your aches and pains. Bam! I am now top on your list for Christmas huh? Your welcome!

Please be smart about it. Test a small area first. Make sure you don’t burn the tar off your feathers. All microwaves are different so times above are just a guess. Go with what works for you.

Another fabulous idea (if I do say so myself!) is to add some dried lavender in the there or douse a bit of essential oil on the rice for a bit of added aromatherapy. And if you chose a dirty sock, well, you might be experiencing a different kind of aromatherapy anyway. I recommend a clean sock. But that’s just me.

Warm moist heat is wonderful for stiff joints and muscles. Arthritis afflicts many of us so I hope you can use this cheap and inexpensive trick. Have a delightful day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Other Meeting Notes From March 10th

Hello my lovelies! There was so much discussed the other day that I decided to break up the meeting into two parts. So besides the marijuana discussion we also had the following: 

Janice reminded everyone to check out the bulletin boards on our way in and out of our appointments. They have a wealth of information and resources for those of us struggling with chronic pain. Lots of flyers, business cards etc to view. Handy little resources I tell you! One of which is a flyer for “Living Well With Chronic Conditions” which is a FREE (yes I said FREE!) 6 week program/discussion group. A few of our members have attended previously and give rave reviews! The program helps you plan and make goals. Then shows you how to break them down to achieve them. A great motivational class. And did I mention FREE?! Starts April 11 and goes to May 16 from 10 to 12:30 downstairs. They include a workbook and a very nice incentive for going. I won’t kill the surprise with the incentive but I think you will be pleasantly surprised. ;) Class fills up fast so register early. Only room for 22 people. So if interested, don’t put off registering to the last minute.

Linda said that Norman Doidge has released “How The Brain Heals Itself” and finds it a very interesting read. A few others (sorry they were in the back and I can’t recall who, also said it was a good read) so you may want to check that out. 

The Pain Society Of Oregon has generously paid for our flyers. (THANK YOU!) Saving Janice from having to ask for donations. Which I feel horrible about. I always forget to ask if she needs funds to help run the group. She gives up so much of her time for us, its unfair we take her money too! I will try to be better about checking in with her on that and asking for help if its required. Anyways, the handout flyer says I.S.E.E. which stands for information, solutions, encouragement, and empowerment. Is that not genius? This support group is by far the best in the area (that I have seen.) They really do get the information out there. Help us find solutions to our every day struggles and pain, while also giving us encouragement to keep going because as chronic pain suffers tend to do, we like to withdraw, and lastly the people in the group helps give back control of your life which is the empowerment part. 

I just want to do a huge thank you to Janice. She really is OUR VOICE! She's working along side doctors and other professionals in the area and making sure we, the patients, are heard! There is just not enough THANK YOU'S for that. Most doctors do not know what its like to live with chronic pain EVERY day. So as good as their intentions are, sometimes they forget or don't see our point of view. Janice is the one to knock them upside the head and make sure they are listening. Thats HUGE!!! And I love, love, love her for it. So Janice, if you are reading this, I think you are amazing and I for one really appreciate your voice. Thank you. (Janice is now the chairman on the patient advocacy committee. Alongside Audrey and Leanne, Janice will continue to be our voice. How wonderful!) 

As many of you know, our speakers were late. Because they had a board meeting. LOL! Told you that we need to make them change their days! But Savaji stepped up to the plate. Well, actually I think Linda thru him on the platter. Ha Ha Ha! Poor man. He had no idea he'd be speaking that night. But he did a great job. I happened to miss the night that he presented (still crying over that one!) and didn't get to learn about REFLEXOLOGY. He's worked on newborns to those golden people in their 100's. Amazing! Reflexology is basically accessing the accupressure points on the hands, feet, and ears and increasing the blood circulation which in turn increases the oxygen in your blood. Through the application of pressure on specific points without use of tools, reflexology relieves the tension and improves circulation to promote a more natural function of the related areas of the body. I was very intrigued and would love to learn more. 

I think that about sums everything up. Gentle hugs to you all. May you have a blessed day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Medical Marijuana Meeting Part One

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope that you are all adjusting well to this curious weather pattern we are having. Wasn’t it sunny and almost 70 on Monday? And today, drizzly rain and 40… My body aches and does not like this back and forth craziness! But I will smile thru the drizzle because we need the rain. Really badly. Or we will be in big trouble this summer. So – bring on the rain and the pain. LOL!

It was so wonderful to see so many of you at last nights meeting about the use of medical marijuana. It was definitely an enlightening experience for me. I did not know anything about marijuana before last night so my mind is abuzz with all the information thrown out to us. That being said, I highly encourage you to visit the website for the Compassion Center at and read up on it. Or visit them at 2055 W. 12th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97402. They may be reached at 541-484-6558 as well. Rose is the delightful receptionist who was a fountain of information last night. She had no idea she would be speaking last night and she did beautifully. Recited a bunch of helpful tidbits and explained all about CB1 and CB2 receptors, what studies have been done etc. She’s not just a person that answers the phone, she really does know what she’s talking about. Did I mention that she’s a neuropathic pain graduate? I’d feel comfortable calling or visiting their office if I have more questions.

Andrew was also a well of information. Graduated out of law school recently. (Congratulations Andrew!!!) And I believe he said he was the executive director at the center. He spoke about the adverse affects, contraindications, prep, and the different methods of use. Andrew explained the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card and made the whole process simplified and not duanting. Capping the evening with a open forum for us to ask questions.

I can’t forget Peter. He is on the board at the center as well as a patient and grower. Just a very real, down to earth, man who vibrates compassion and caring. And no, I had never met the man before last night. And no, I don’t do marijuana. But if I did, I would totally trust this man to grow the different compounds the way that they should be grown.

Peter did reach out to everyone and encouraged that you join the board if its an interest to you. Or at least attend a board meeting if you can. They are on the second Tuesday of the month and starts at 6:00 pm. --- This time slot sound familiar??? LOL! Don’t you be missing our meetings so you can go to board meeting instead. Just make them move theirs. ;) 

Obtaining a medical marijuana card enables you to visit distilleries yourself. Buying from a distillery ensures you are getting a quality product that has been tested. Regulating strains and also testing for mold etc. Getting a medical card also protects the supply. You get first opportunity over recreational users. There is a open house on Wednesday March 18th at the Compassion Center - no cards will be needed. It will be a very informative meeting so do drop in if you are looking for more information.

I really hope you are not rolling your eyes and wondering ‘what idiot gave this girl a blog’ at this point. Admittedly I have no knowledge of marijuana or its use other than what I got from the group last night. Which is why I ‘highly’ encourage you to go and visit them and get your questions answered. I am merely trying to gloss over the surface of a very deep topic for those that couldn’t make the meeting and need information on who to reach out to. So please be kind and forgive me for sounding silly if I do. 

Thats it in a nut shell. I encourage you to drop in to the Center and/or go to the many classes they have available. As always, you are your best advocate and know what is or is not best for YOU. At the next meeting we will be discussing the CONS of using medical marijuana. I hope to see you there as well. Have a lovely day!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Upcoming March Meeting - Medical Marijuana

Hello my lovely chronic pain sufferers and fibromites! Hope you are all doing relatively well. "I" have just gotten over the lovely flu. Friendly reminder to take your vitamins and wash your hands often! Not being a 'mom' or anything. Just trying to save you a bit of horrible suffering. Or that's what it felt like. LOL!

Know what happens when we get sick? Besides feeling absolutely awful? We get ran down. Get even more tired and sluggish. The soreness amps up (Is that even possible? Sadly, yes.) So on and so forth. I don't know about you, but right after being sick I slide into a nice flair. You know, to cap off the lovely week that we are having lol. Why am I talking to you about this? Hang in there. I'm almost to the point. Flairs like to bring pain. The to the bone the bone and right to the OMG is this really necessary kinda pain. I know you are familiar with it. Which brings me to my point of this post. We need options. To relieve the pain. To lessen the pain. Anything to address the pain.

There are medicines out there that help with pain. That make living with chronic pain more bearable. If you are lucky enough to find a doctor that will listen to you. To work with you. Most often you are alone in the pain journey. Which is why I am so excited about this support group. Such wonderful people to share with. I don't feel quite so alone anymore. I don't feel like I am the 'only' one who understands pain and being tired. But to stay on track... There are medicines, mental and physical therapy programs, councelors, doctors, etc that you encounter along the way on your pain journey. To me, even with the all of these I strive for more. I want more options! I don't want to feel this way. I don't want to be in pain every day.  So I am continually looking for other avenues to explore.

Oregon has just passed the use of medical marijuana. That is pretty exciting! Admittedly I know nothing about it. I fear for those that will abuse it. I cheer for those who find that coveted relief. I ponder what is the best route for me to go.

March's meeting will have a speaker that is PRO MARIJUANA. That should be interesting and really informative. I highly recommend attending and get some of your questions answered. Then in April we will have a person speaking AGAINST MARIJUANA. Balance out the issue nicely. I think its very beneficial to attend both meetings so you may make a educated decision that works for you and your lifestyle/pain issues. Its just another option or tool in your bucket. No pressure to try it or not try it. Just a push to go and listen to BOTH sides and get INFORMED.

So that being said... I will see you TOMORROW night March 10th at 6:00 pm at the Willamette Medical & Pain Management Partner building at 2401 River Road - I do believe it will be downstairs this time to accomodate the larger crowd. See you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Make Your Own Ice Pack

I don't know about you, but ice packs and I go together like peanut butter goes with jelly. And I have my favorites. Preferably the ones with gel in them versus's the hard plastic kind. What I didn't know, until I joined the chronic pain/fibro family, was that you could make your own.

Say what? Yep. You can make your own! This made me very happy. I am now not limited to what size the store happens to carry. I wanted a long one for my spine. And those are SPENDY with a capital S. I just about had a heart attack when I went looking for one. So I just grabbed one of those super giant plastic bags that walmart has to store sweaters or take things to the beach and made a ice pack out of it. Layed it flat in the freezer and man oh man. Heaven. (I did ductape the top just so I could be sure it didn't 'unzip' and soak my bed.)  But the smaller ice packs are just as dandy and what I use most of the time.

Oh! And I take them with me! Which is so great that I can make them at home cheaply and easily because I admit to forgetting mine from time to time when I'm buzzing around town. Super easy and quick to make. Just need a bag, some water, and rubbing alcohol. The alcohol is what keeps it from freezing into a hard ice block and allowing it to mold to your body instead. For a harder ice pack add more water. For a softer ice pack and more gel type feeling, add more alcohol. Do use a towel or piece of fabric between your skin and the ice pack to avoid a skin burn.

Just mix three parts water to one part alcohol and pour it into a strong plastic bag that seals well. BAM! You are done. You are welcome. LOL! ;)

Remember that tonight is the night we all get together to share our tips on daily living with chronic pain. See you tonight at the meeting!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tuesday Night Meeting 2-10-15

Its that time again. Three years ago we all came together to make this really wonderful list of helpful tips that we all use for our everyday survival of chronic pain. We'd like to add to it. And to do that, we need YOU. We need your suggestions and tips. What makes your every day life easier? Is there a tip on how to make grocery shopping easier and less taxing? Do you have a exercise or stretch to share? Do you leave something in your car that helps you? Is there something ingenious on how you get your house cleaned? Don't worry if you think its trivial or everyone knows about that. Maybe we don't! Often our pain filled brains just put up this wall and it takes someone stating the obvious. So...What? Whatcha got? We really want to know. We all love having those AHA moments and this is the time to share. Its my most favorite meeting of the year honestly. They are all great meetings but this one, this I get positively giddy about. We haven't added too many as of late so your help is very much appreciated. So come join us! Write your ideas down in the meantime so you don't forget any and I'll see you Tuesday night.

Oh! I would also like to take a second and mention that Janice has set up a speaker in March to educate us on marijuana. I think she has someone pro and con coming so that is really exciting. Nobody cares where you stand on the issue. Its your personal choice. But so many of us don't have any idea what is going on with the new law legalizing it so this will be the much needed information we are needing to make a decision that works best for us as individuals. Another really cool thing to be excited about. Janice is so awesome. Don't you think?

See ya'll tomorrow!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Stress Can Be Such A Pain

Stress can be such a pain. Literally! But don't take my word for it. Go ahead and stress yourself out over something tiny or huge and watch what happens. Just don't blame me for your aches and pains, because I did warn you...

Negative feelings, anxiety, depression, anger, stress --- they all can increase you body's sensivitity to pain. You need to find ways and tools to minimize those feelings in order to manage some of your pain. Its not easy and it takes time to train your brain and your body on how to handle stress. I am always a work in progress. And I have my moments where I fail miserably. But I 'have' learned not to beat myself up about it. I've learned to shrug it off and just jump back in right where I am. Rather than concentrate on the negative, I let go of the past. The things, habits, words, actions, I cannot change. I can however control the 'now' and the "future.' So let whatever is eating at you go. Let whatever response you have to that stress go too. Instead pick one or two of the following tips and retrain your brain on how to respond. Because stress is never going to go away. You're in a permanent game of dodge ball. Hopefully most days you can get out of its way. But when it goes and smacks you in the face when you are not looking, try some of the following to help you stay in the game.

Look to techniques that reduce stress and promote relaxation. Such as listening to soothing calming music. Light a candle with a soft comforting scent. Take a hot bath and just let your body relax. This would be the perfect time to try mental imagery. Try to mentally escape to a place or time where you were happy and relaxed. Focus only on positive images. This is not the time to multi task and build your grocery list. Just let everything else go. Picture yourself walking thru a quiet meadow or sitting peacefully by a babbling brook. Can't do it? Then maybe consider purchasing a relaxation cd to help assist you. Or seeing a mental health professional. They are a great resource to use if you need to. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Try deep breathing, meditation, yoga to help you relax. Whatever you are comfortable with. Maybe start with just simple slow breaths and when you've got that consider the next step of meditating. Doesn't need to be for a huge chunk of time. Maybe just do little mini breaks throughout the day if that works better for you. Honestly, its a life saver for me. My life and job is so stressful that I am constantly fighting that anxious stressed  feeling and I can feel my pain levels raise higher and higher. I don't have 'time' for meditating, breathing, etc. I got stuff that has to be done! Or so I told myself. Then I told myself to stop. To breathe. Block it all out and breathe. Everyone who needs me can wait for 2 minutes. And they'll be happier for it too. Because if I don't take those two minutes, I grenade on them. So yes. Take those few minutes even if its just here and there. Close your eyes. Deep breathes in, slow exhales out. Roll shoulders and neck slowly. Just let it go. Try doing it every hour or half hour. Thats what I am learning to do. Nothing too huge. Just a quick mini de-stress session. I'm actually much more productive and calmer when I do this. Making me a better person and co worker to be around.

Should I say it? Exercise. I know! I know! That horrible dreaded word. We hurt. We don't need to add to our pain by adding exercise. The doctors are total goons and don't have a clue what pain feels like on a daily basis. If they just lived ONE DAY in our shoes. I get it. I think the same. Doesn't mean I get a 'free pass' on it though. They aren't saying to enter the decathalon or sign up for the next body building competition. They just say to incorporate exercise. I want to hate them too. But I'll be honest with you. I gripe, moan, cuss, sulk, and throw a mini tantrum every day as I go to do my 'exercise adventure' of the day. I have so many colorful words and names to call these Drs.I am not a happy camper, but I do it. Why? Because I honestly DO feel better when I am done.  I don't promise anyone anything when it comes to exercising. I listen to my body and if all I can do that day is the minimum, then so be it. I do the minimum. But I 'do' - do it. Even if its just walking in the pool for a half hour. Or ten minutes on the treadmill. I do it. More often than not, once I get past the ten minute mark, I'm feeling pretty good and can go further or longer. My endorphins have kicked in and I now have my natural body pain reliever working. So do try it. Even if its just the minimum to start or on your bad days. And I promise I won't tell you I told you so. (And of course consult your physician before starting any exercise program.) Exercise really is a wonderful way to conquer stress and to help with pain.

Here is a great tip... Join a support group! Seriously! People who have chronic pain feel alone. If you go to a meeting you will soon realize that you are not alone after all. And by joining a group you have instant access to the wisdom of others who endure as well. They may have some tips to assist you. Learn from them. And don't make the mistake I made. I thought it would just be a bunch of people sitting around whining about how much they hurt. Its not! Or at least ours isn't. Janice is FABULOUS about arranging speakers to come in and give us different avenues to explore. We've never had a gripe session. Its awesome! Going to group meetings has given me a huge resource of information. Through the speakers, the other people who attend, its just incredible. So please, at least try a support group. If its not for you thats okay. But you could be happily surprised that you went. And if its our support group, well, I can't wait to meet you!

Another thing that can help manage pain and relieve stress is to stop smoking. Apparently it can worsen already painful circulation problems. Not to mention it increases your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Massage, biofeedback, a healthy diet, and tracking your pain level daily are also ways to handle your stress levels. A simple pain journal could be a useful tool to refer back to. It may pinpoint areas that cause you unneeded stress that you didn't realize. If you could prevent that action from happening in the first place, what a life changer that would be. Sometimes writing it down is all it takes to see something you would not have otherwise.

Remember to breathe and relax your muscles. Let that stress go. Don't let it encompass you.

Blessings to you my friends ~ Kristie