Did You Smile Today?

So true…


In life one of the most incredible and beautiful feelings are the ones that we can see and that is smiling. In life I have learned to be positive and take things as it comes by. In the morning when I wake up, I look in the mirror and smile. When I smile I feel like my day is going to go well and it does. I know some people smile physically, but they are hurting on the inside and they try to hide their true feelings with smiling on the outside. I know sometimes smiling can be painful and nobody would know the hurt they are enduring. Trust me, it is normal and we all go through phases in life and things happen in our lives that we least expect, but nothing is as great as a smile. It is contagious and felt by many. It makes the public…

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Gluten Causes Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)

Gluten Causes Neuropathy (Nerve Damage).

I came across this snip-it in the article about the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet in the RSDSA newsletter. It’s been about a year since I switched to a gluten-free & dairy-free diet. I had been recently diagnosed with Gastroparesis, and one of the ways to treat it is to cutting out gluten and dairy in your diet. This new diet has definitely lessened the symptoms of GP. I knew it would probably help my Inflammatory Arthritis as well but didn’t think it would have any affect on my Fibro or RSD. You know how awesome an “Aha” moment can be. Well, I had several of them when I read this article. I remember wondering in college whether I had a gluten intolerance because after each time I ate a baked good (bread, cookies, cake, etc.), I had a headache and upset stomach. I just decided to stop eating baked goods; it would also help me lose a few pounds any way lol! Then, several family members went off gluten; I started questioning whether there could be a hereditary issue. Now I’m not saying my gluten intolerance is the sole trigger for my RSD. However, I’m sure it didn’t help and probably weakened my nervous system. While I haven’t seen any drastic changes in my pain levels, I do think this new diet has slowed down the inflammatory process going on and helped my pain become more stable. Plus my immune system is much stronger and healthier these days. I’ve heard it takes several years (like 6-10) for gluten to fully exit your system. So, I’m hoping I will see more good changes in the years to come.

So, have you made dietary changes to help your chronic pain? What has worked for you? What hasn’t? If you haven’t already, start listening to your body while you eat and afterwards. Do certain foods increase your pain? How do you feel after eating? Satisfied? Sluggish? Rejuvenated? Tired? Blah? Do your body a favor and listen to it. 🙂

One should not wish anyone disagreeable conditions of life; but for him who is involved in them by chance, they are touchstones of characters and of the most decisive value to man. – Goethe

A Human Barometer

Why yes, I am a human barometer. What would you like to know? I can give you an accurate forecast of the next 12-24 hours. I might add that most of the time I’m more accurate than the weatherman (oh yeah!) If I’m not on the ball weather-wise, then either I’ve been cured (Hallelujah!) or the weatherman is dead wrong with the forecast, which in Michigan is quite often (lol!)

I think one of the most ridiculous side effects of chronic pain is the higher pain levels & other symptoms that are directly connected to weather changes. It is so frustrating, especially because it is out of our control. All you can do is prepare yourself and do activities that lessen your pain. Lighten your schedule, do easy & less stressful tasks, drink peppermint tea, turn your space heater, and remember to give yourself a “daffodil.” Or I guess we all could move to Arizona or California, but most of us don’t have that luxury. Hey, if I could, I would pack my bags and live the rest of my life in the Mediterranean (btw, if you didn’t know, the Greek Diet, i.e. lifestyle, is one of the best, especially for those with chronic pain). But for now, that isn’t an option. So, what can we do to relieve our weather-related symptoms? Well, I think it’s a matter of personal needs & comforts. Pamper yourself on those ill-weather days. I love being in the kitchen any day, but I’ve found that on those days I enjoy being there even more. Yes, I’m baking or making soup, but it’s more about being by a hot stove & oven. Make sure you exercise, even if it’s less than usual; it keeps your body circulating properly. Keep warm: spend the day baking & cooking in the kitchen, take a long hot shower or bath, turn on the space heater, drink hot tea, etc.

Another option is: If you are able to, take a vacation every once in a while, whether or not it’s on a rainy day. It will give you something to look forward to. Even though you can’t take a vacation from your pain, it might give you a break from your everyday responsibilities. It can be a day trip to a favorite spot nearby, take a long weekend with people you love, or stay a week in a warm, sunny place. And that’s what I’m doing next week. I’m leaving Michigan’s dark, rainy April weather. Tomorrow I’m flying to San Diego for a relaxing week in the sun. It’s a much needed vacation, and I’m so excited to go! 🙂

So, what things do you do on those bad weather days? What is helpful for you, and what isn’t? Are there favorite places you like to visit nearby or far away? Remember to take care of and to pamper yourself those days. Give yourself a big “daffodil” those days! The weather will change soon, the sun will come out, your pain will lessen, and your daily life will become easier & more enjoyable again!

When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in an hour of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate no-knowing, no-curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. – Henri Nouwen

Weekly Daffodil #2

I know. I know. I haven’t kept my promise about the “Weekly Daffodil” post. Even though I haven’t been posting about them, I have given myself a “daffodil” on a daily basis. Sometimes simple, sometimes extravagant. I hope you have been doing the same.

You know how people have favorite movies. Well, I have favorite scenes from movies. Do you remember that floating lantern scene in the Disney movie “Tangled”?

There’s just something so wonderful and even magical about that scene. I get teary-eyed every time I watch it. Maybe it’s because that scene recalls to mind something dear that was lost, or maybe it’s the imagery of watching your hopes and dreams floating away? It could also just be that I’ve had a crush on Zachary Levi ever since I first saw him in NBC’s TV Show “Chuck” 🙂

I’ve been on the lookout for paper lanterns ever since. A couple weeks ago, I was in this little boutique and guess what were hanging from their ceiling? Paper lanterns! There was no questioning or hesitation; I just bought them. They are now hanging on my ceiling, and they make me so happy every time I look at them. I love how they brighten up the room!

So these have been my favorite “daffodil” during the past couple weeks. How about you?

Spotlight: Yoga Studio App


Okay, I’ll admit it. For years I was one of those people who thought yoga was just plain weird. I couldn’t understand why people were raving about a “so-called” workout, which consisted of twisting your body into painfully odd shapes while being perfectly quiet. No offense, but I thought you had to be some crazy, “new age” hippy to enjoy that “so-called” workout. Well, I was wrong, very very wrong. I started getting the hint when pretty much every chronic pain management books I’ve read highly recommend yoga as one of the best workouts for people with chronic pain. I was stubborn though. I liked my exercise routine. It kept me fit, and I usually felt pretty decent afterwards. I was convinced that it was working for me, or so I thought…

Wii Fit actually introduced me to my first yoga poses. I liked them; I felt “good” after them. But a whole workout of yoga poses? No way! Well, those hints kept coming from my pain management research. Out of curiosity, I started doing more yoga poses on the Wii Fit. They definitely loosened up my tight, sore muscles (dang Fibro!) I finally gave in and bought a beginner yoga DVD. After the first time I tried it, I remember saying I felt like I had a good workout but I was calm & relaxed too. I had no idea those words could coexist! I found myself doing yoga a couple days a week on a regular basis, and then it happened: I am doing it every day! Yep, I’ve become one of those crazy, “new age” hippies. Okay, maybe not that crazy 😉 And I feel wonderful! During my yoga sessions, I can actually sense the oxygen-rich blood rushing through my body to oxygen-deprived muscles. My muscles are more loose and less tender. I’ve seen a decrease in my overall pain levels. Plus I’m more calm 🙂

To expand my yoga workouts, I decided to do some investigating into Yoga Apps. Granted I’m still a newbie, but I wanted some variety and the ability to advance in yoga poses. I looked at a bunch of apps but finally decided on the Yoga Studio app. I absolutely love it! This app has over 280 poses, ranging from beginner to advanced. There are pre-made live sessions, with choices of level, duration, and focus. You can edit or create your own session, depending on your needs or taste. It has a crisp, clean design and is easy to navigate. I don’t know all the techy mumbo-jumbo, but both the pre-made live video sessions as well as your video creations flow seamlessly due to something called “video stitch.” It even has a calendar where you can schedule or record your workout sessions. Needless to say, I highly recommend this app. It’s definitely worth the $2.99.

I’m not saying yoga is for everyone, and it’s definitely not a “fix-all” exercise solution. Btw, I don’t just do yoga; I also have a aerobic/cardio workout based on the advice of my medical team. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your doctor about possible exercise programs. So, here a few questions for you to ponder: What types of exercises are you presently doing? Are they physically beneficial? Do you find them enjoyable, or at least, pleasant? How do you feel during and afterwards? Tired? More stressed? Refreshed? Invigorated? Here’s to an enjoyable workout!