Tag: fibromyalgia

Pain Breakthrough

The problem disks!
The problem disks!

Let me tell you a little bit about my last 3 years…

It all started January 2011 when I tripped on the steep stairs of my Dad’s rental property putting away Christmas ornaments.  Because I was holding the ornaments I couldn’t catch myself and slammed head-first into the wall at the bottom of the stairs.  It knocked the wind out of me and I couldn’t move.

It was terrifying because nobody knew I was down there and I didn’t good reception down in the basement (don’t get good reception in Suncrest period).  When I did get through nobody was answering their phones.  I finally got a text out to an interested tenant who was coming to look at the house.  I told him ‘please come help me’.  Thankfully he did and we were able to reach my Uncle Jon and go to the emergency room.

https://smilingldsgirl.com/2011/01/08/the-big-fall/

Dr #1

They took an xray at the time but it wasn’t a very accurate one.  I was in so much pain I couldn’t lift my hands above my head without literally screaming.  They said it was just muscle pain and I should push it as much as possible for it to recover.  They claimed the last thing I wanted to do was rest, so I worked hard and yet the pain persisted.

Dr #2

My body got more achy as the days persisted and so I went to my regular care doctor.  He was at least honest with me and said he had ‘no idea’ what was wrong.  I felt achy in my ribcage, lower back, and my exercise recovery was terrible.  I would spend hours in bed sometimes after a simple workout.

Dr #3 (and 4)

I was assured by so many people that it was just muscle aches that I wondered if it was some kind of flare up with my PCOS.  I had been seeing an endocrinologist in Salt Lake but I wasn’t very happy with him.  He treated me like a drama queen and didn’t answer my questions.  Based on one blood sugar reading after I’d had candy he said I was diabetic, freaked me out (I cried) and then retracted it the next time saying it was just so he could prescribe me the right medicine (which I hated see Victoza is Evil) I still can’t believe he would make up a diagnosis just to give me some prescription.

Then I found a new endocrinologist that I loved.  He would talk to you for literally an hour.  Unfortunately he shut down his practice because of Obamacare (his letter said it not me).  Sigh…

Dr #5

Because I was feeling pain in my ribcage I along with my back I wanted to make sure it wasn’t something serious like cancer.  I decided to try an internal med doctor and she was pretty good.  We did do an MRI and that’s where we figured out about my ‘healed fracture’ to my thoracic spine. I thought this might have been the trigger for the chronic pain (usually is a trigger for it).  Then we tried some thyroid meds and they seemed to help a lot.

It was actually a nurse practitioner at this doctor’s office that I loved.  She had fibromyalgia herself and so she understood chronic pain.  Was very sympathetic and thorough (we tested for everything).  I also refused to take pain meds because I didn’t want to get hooked on anything.

Well, just as we were making headway they fired the nurse practitioner and the doctor tried to prescribe a weight loss drug and didn’t tell me that it was also used to treat epilepsy and could lead your brain to be foggy and unclear….That was the end of that  doctor for me.  I couldn’t believe she wouldn’t tell me something like that.

I refuse to take medicine that alters my brain.  I respect those who make that choice but it is not for me.

Dr #6-

http://utahchronicpain.com/

In May I saw an ad for a place called Utah Chronic Pain Center.  They said they treated the patient from the inside out and that you got 2 free laser massages to try it out.  I figured why not? I went in a little skeptical but I learned that it was doctor supervised not some hippy mumbo-jumbo.

What impressed me the most was their dual approach. We did all the normal blood work, increased my thyroid meds to a more aggressive approach and started a treatment with laser massage, compression and other techniques.  It was hard but almost immediately I sensed a difference.  I started going 3 times a week, than 2, and now 1 time; however, if I miss that 1 time like I did on my trip to Cali I have serious pain.

In fact, I was having so much pain after Cali that Dr. Luddington suggested I get some x-rays just to rule certain things out like scoliosis. I went to the US MRI and the xrays only cost me $65 (I don’t have pre-existing condition coverage from my job with Poler until November).  Isn’t that a good deal?  We did 4 x-rays and they put it on a cd-rom for me to take to the dr.

back2

Today I went for a treatment with Dr. Luddington and looked at the x-rays.  The treatment went way better than last week (amazing what a difference it makes if I miss one).  After examining the x-rays he showed me how the disk in the lower back did not have the fullness of the other disks and that they were ‘degenerative’ meaning basically they had been flattened by an extreme event- like falling down a flight of stairs.  This had led to the chronic pain.

The good news is the doctor is confident if I keep with the treatment, keep swimming and stretch like I should than it will continue to grow and heal.

But just think what this means for a second- we now know for sure that I fractured a bone in my upper back and hurt a disk in my lower back and yet I kept on training?  How crazy is that?  Who says this girl can’t handle some serious stuff…

So now I’m armed with knowledge and a doctor that will treat me as long as I need (you pay up front for treatment until you are pain free!). I also have the comfort of hearing a doctor finally say

“So all that time you weren’t making it up.  You were really in pain”.

I really was.  I knew it.  I was just waiting to find someone who believed me.

Oh and I also had surgery on my eyes twice during this time.  Mama Mia!

Have any of you experienced this type of injury or related chronic pain?  What has helped you?  I’d love to hear your stories.

And to all you doctors maybe you should treat people like they are real human beings and believe them when they say they are hurting.  They aren’t drama queens and they don’t need you making up diagnosis, prescribing them weight loss drugs, telling her she needs gastric bypass and treating her like a child.  This is not an assembly line no matter how many patients you see a day.  This is 3 years of my life.  3 years!

Have any of you experienced this type of doctor drama?

 

Disneyland Day 3

Some things you might not know about me from reading only this blog- I have hard time being happy (even in the happiest place on earth) when I am A. Tired, B. Sore, or C. Hungry.  I realize this may seem very ‘first world’ of me but there you go.  We are all weak in our own way.

Well, today started out pretty good. I was feeling strong after my relaxed day yesterday and ended up spending the morning alone at California Adventure.  I like spending time by myself.  I like that nobody can hear me groan and I can go at my own pace, eat what I want, do what I want.  I suppose this is slightly unhealthy of me but again that’s the way it is with me!

Meeting the big man himself.
Meeting the big man himself.
At Muppets 3D.  Don't I look Judge Dredd?
At Muppets 3D. Don’t I look Judge Dredd?

So everything was going well and then after a few hours my feet were beginning to hurt and I headed over to Disneyland to meet up with my sister and Mom.  I waited for the omnibus which was taking forever.  Then I decided to take the train and as I was traveling realized I didn’t have my cell phone.  I had to wait until the train stopped, walk back to the omnibus area and it wasn’t there.  (It was also close to 100 degrees plus humidity!).  I went to lost and found and spent time filling out a report with a rather unhelpful lady (and very hard to understand).

I also didn’t know my sisters cell phone number or I would have called her to meet up.  My Mom didn’t have her phone.  Anyway, I had no idea what to do. Then we called my Dad ( I realized I only have 4 phone numbers memorized.  Not good!).  He was able to reach Madi’s phone and she actually had my phone!  I guess someone had found it and called the last number which was her.  Thanks kind stranger.

Anyway, I was pretty stressed out and then when I went to get back into the park I couldn’t find my ticket.  Despite taking a photo of me and stamping my hand they still require a ticket. Sorry Disney but that is dumb!  The whole situation made me cry.

tears
So that’s what I look like when I cry friends

A lot of this has to do with my frustrations over my pain and my unmet expectations of training and working hard on my physical fitness.  I was hoping to have more energy and fun this trip.  It was very disappointing.

So that was the drama for the day (worthy of a Disney movie right?).  Don’t worry though. It got better quick.

A smile back on my face
A smile back on my face

I’ve learned from this trip something about myself.  I like vacations where I can sleep, reconnect with myself and soak in sun (and swim as much as possible).  My Mom referred to Disneyland as a ‘walking vacation’.  Here’s what I now know:  I don’t like walking vacations.  I like sleeping vacations.

My style of vacation
My style of vacation

Good thing to learn about myself right?

So, I don’t want you all to think I didn’t have a good time or am ungrateful because that’s not true.  I did have fun.  I am grateful, especially for my Dad, everyone at Poler and my roommate for making this all happen.  Thank you so much!

Now tomorrow I’m going to the beach.  HURRAY!!!!  I can’t wait.

So you’ve got to keep learning and growing.  Hope you are all doing well.

 

 

 

 

Rest Day at Disney

So I’m here in Anaheim for my first vacation in 3 years.  Yesterday I had a fun day at Disneyland but was pretty exhausted and my feet hurt very badly.  My back had also been seizing up on me.  Normally in my training I can take a day off to recover after a day on.  Walking all day is one of the hardest things for me.  I would much rather swim a 5k than stand and walk for hours.  Strange I know but its true.

I woke up this morning and knew I was in trouble.  I was in a lot of pain and didn’t want to move out of my bed.  Even my new shoes weren’t helping much.  I honestly thought about getting a scooter but that felt so embarrassing.   Plus, I’d worked so hard and was frustrated that nothing seemed to be showing from it.  I had gotten the whole inspiration to get in shape from going to Disneyland in 2010 and having so much feet pain. I thought that if I got in shape I would be able to do better but it didn’t work out that way.

I guess I just have bad feet and walking all day isn’t my thing.  I’ll swim all day instead!

Anyway, I was at the park until about 2 pm and went to the hotel and honestly felt really discouraged.  I was in pain and discouraged about it.  I felt like a failure and a little judged, not by family but by the nameless masses at Disneyland (I realize that is ridiculous but sometimes we are ridiculous!)

After a little cry I went for a swim with my Mom and that made me feel much better spiritually and physically.  Then I said to myself ‘I wish I could have a massage right now, especially on my feet.  Then I said ‘maybe I can?’  I did a quick google and found a service that did door-to-door massages and the price was reasonable.  I made the appointment and they came at 5:15.  It was an hour long and the best massage I’ve ever had.  It was deep and strong but so great.  I felt near-comatose after, so relaxed.

Me in relaxed state!
Me in relaxed state!

Then I ordered thai food and relaxed the rest of the day.  I feel like I’ll be ready to go for tomorrow.  Wahoo! I realized something about myself.  If I’m going to have fun on vacation I need to plan a day on full of busyness, a day off relaxing, repeat.  I think that will be true no matter what shape I’m in.  When you have chronic pain that’s the way life is.

So I may have wasted a day at Disney but I don’t see it that way.  I learned something about myself and had the day I wanted to have.   Its my vacation and I have to take responsibility for having a good time.  That’s the way it is! Live and learn.

 

 

 

Chronic Pain

Ribcage pain! The bane of my existence. The great mystery

“[Pain] removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.” CS Lewis

So we are still diagnosing my pain and I haven’t given up on finding a solution.  However, I have been living with this rib cage pain for over a year and learned a few things along the way. Here are a few:

1. Nobody truly understands your pain but there are a lot of people who try.  That is the blessing. I used to get so frustrated trying to explain how I felt.  It isn’t really possible.  I’ve learned to be grateful for those who try.

2. Sometimes the pain can lead to anxiety, panic attacks and frustration.  Nothing wrong with that. Just part of the condition like a cough is part of a cold (plus, a side effect of some meds so check).  Be patient with your brain and body.

3. Try your best to keep pushing ahead. The days where I went out despite the pain usually ended up being great.

4.  Thank goodness for swimming. No pain when I swim and its what I love.  What a blessing from my Heavenly Father.

5. Find something productive you can do during healing time.  I have my blog and fortunately my job can usually be done when I’m in pain.

6.  Be patient with yourself and just do the best you can!

7.  Find a doctor you trust who takes your condition seriously.  It took me a year to find a doctor with an investigative spirit.  Someone who asked questions and didn’t dismiss me.

8. Treatments are a personal decision.  I chose to not take most pain meds and am very cautious with meds in general.  I use lots of essential oils and heat/cold therapy and over-the-counter pain meds when necessary.  Either way, its your choice but be informed and understand risks. Take friends suggestions for pain relief with a grain of salt.  They are trying to be helpful.  Usually if you just say ‘thank you’ and then do what you want it is forgotten.  On the other hand, be open minded to trying  new things out.

Its amazing that with all we know about the human body we still don’t know some basic things about pain and pain management.

9.  Stay informed but also know that in the end God makes decisions on pain, and He has his reasons why certain trials are necessary. I like what CS Lewis said:

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

10.  Communicating with other chronic pain sufferers (much more than me) has helped give me perspective and hope.

I’d love to hear what you have all learned from similar experiences.

I don’t normally post articles but I really liked this one from the New York Times.

Living With Pain That Just Won’t Go Away

By JANE E. BRODY

Pain, especially pain that doesn’t quit, changes a person. And rarely for the better. The initial reaction to serious pain is usually fear (what is wrong with me, and is it curable?), but pain that fails to respond to treatment leads to anxiety, depression, anger and irritability.

At age 29, Walter, a computer programmer in Silicon Valley, developed a repetitive stress injury that caused severe pain in his hands when he touched the keyboard. The injury did not respond to rest. The pain became worse, spreading to his shoulders, neck and back.

Unable to work, lift, carry or squeeze anything without enduring days of crippling pain, Walter could no longer drive, open a jar or even sign his name.

”At age 29, I was on Social Security disability, basically confined to home, and my life seemed to be over,” Walter recalls in ”Living With Chronic Pain,” by Dr. Jennifer Schneider. Severely depressed, he wonders whether his life is worth living.

Yet, despite his limited mobility and the pain-induced frown lines in his face, to look at Walter is to see a strapping, healthy young man. It is hard to tell that he, or any other person beset with chronic pain, is suffering as much as he says he is.

Pain is an invisible, subjective symptom. The body of a chronic pain sufferer — someone with fibromyalgia, for example, or back pain — usually appears intact. There are no objective tests to detect pain or measure its intensity. You just have to take a person’s word for it.

Nearly 10 percent of people in the United States suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain, and the prevalence increases with age. Complete relief from chronic pain is rare even with the best treatment, which is itself a rarity. Doctors and patients alike, who misunderstand the effects of narcotics, are too often reluctant to use drugs like opioids, which can relieve acute, as well as chronic, pain and may head off the development of a chronic pain syndrome.

Why Pain Persists

The problems with chronic pain are that it never really ends and does not always respond to treatment. If the pain initially was caused by an injury or illness, it can persist long after the injury has healed or the illness defeated because permanent changes have occurred in the body.

Mark Grant, a psychologist in Australia who specializes in managing chronic pain, says the notion that ”physical injury equals pain” is overly simplistic. ”We now know that pain is caused and maintained by a combination of physical, psychological and neurological factors,” Mr. Grant writes on his Web site, http://www.overcomingpain.com. With chronic pain, a persistent physical cause often cannot be determined.

”Chronic pain can be caused by muscle tension, changes in circulation, postural imbalances, psychological distress and neurological changes,” Mr. Grant says on his site. ”It is also known that unrelieved pain is associated with increased metabolic rate, spontaneous excitation of the central nervous system, changes in blood circulation to the brain and changes in the limbic-hypothalamic system,” the region of the brain that regulates emotions.

Dr. Schneider, the author of ”Living With Chronic Pain” (Healthy Living Books, Hatherleigh Press, 2004), is a specialist in pain management in Tucson, Ariz. In her book, she points out that the nervous system is responsible for the two major types of chronic pain.

One, called nociceptive pain, ”arises from injury to muscles, tendons and ligaments or in the internal organs,” she writes. Undamaged nerve cells responding to an injury outside themselves transmit pain signals to the spinal cord and then to the brain. The resulting pain is usually described as deep and throbbing. Examples include chronic low back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, interstitial cystitis and chronic pelvic pain.

The second type, neuropathic pain, ”results from abnormal nerve function or direct damage to a nerve.” Among the causes are shingles, diabetic neuropathy, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, phantom limb pain, radiculopathy, spinal stenosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and spinal cord injury.

The damaged nerve fibers ”can fire spontaneously, both at the site of the injury and at other places along the nerve pathway” and ”can continue indefinitely even after the source of the injury has stopped sending pain messages,” Dr. Schneider writes.

”Neuropathic pain can be constant or intermittent, burning, aching, shooting or stabbing, and it sometimes radiates down the arms or legs,” she adds. This kind of pain tends ”to involve exaggerated responses to painful stimuli, spread of pain to areas that were not initially painful, and sensations of pain in response to normally nonpainful stimuli such as light touch.” It is often worse at night and may involve abnormal sensations like tingling, pins and needles, and intense itching.

Some chronic pain syndromes involve both nociceptive and neuropathic pain. A common example is sciatica; a pinched nerve causes back pain that radiates down the leg. In some cases, the pain of sciatica is not felt in the back but only in the leg, making the cause difficult to diagnose without an M.R.I.

Beyond Physical Problems

The consequences of chronic pain typically extend well beyond the discomfort from the sensation of pain itself. Dr. Schneider lists these potential physical effects: poor wound healing, weakness and muscle breakdown, decreased movement that can lead to blood clots, shallow breathing and suppressed coughing that raise the risk of pneumonia, sodium and water retention in the kidneys, raised heart rate and blood pressure, weakened immune system, a slowing of gastrointestinal motility, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite and weight, and fatigue.

But that is hardly the end of it. The psychological and social consequences of chronic pain can be enormous. Unremitting pain can rob a person of the ability to enjoy life, maintain important relationships, fulfill spousal and parental responsibilities, perform well at a job or work at all.

The economic burdens can be severe, especially when the patient is the primary breadwinner or holds a job that provides the family’s health insurance. Only about half of patients with chronic pain ”who undergo comprehensive multidisciplinary pain rehabilitation are able to return to work,” Dr. Schneider reports.

As for the notion that chronic pain patients are often malingering — seeking attention and escape from responsibilities — pain specialists say that is nonsense. No one in his right mind — and most patients were in their right minds before the pain began — would trade a fulfilling life for the misery of chronic pain.

Surgery Change

Real quick update- so I’ve been having a problem with my ribcage and been exploring it with my doctor.  Had blood work done today and yesterday.  My pour arm looks so battered and abused. 😦

They actually think it may not be fibromyalgia after all and that it might be pleurisy or something else. It may also be chronic pain but we will know more in the next few weeks, months. After a year plus of doctors telling me I had the flu or it was exercise pain I finally have found a doctor who is taking this seriously.  I feel like if there is an answer to be found we will find it.

So with all this pain and change I’ve talked to my eye doctor today and we decided together to put off the strabismus surgery to a later date.  It will probably happen in May or this summer.  I hate to have more time to stew on it but it will be a good test of my new resolve to have a calm, happy focus in my life.

Thanks for all your help and support through all this.  Will keep you posted on everything!

 

 

 

Random Thoughts Feb 2012

Wrote this last night-

So I’ve been posting a lot lately for 2 reasons- I’ve had a lot of pain lately and a lot of insomnia.  Here I am with both of those conditions. Here’s some random thoughts

Pain-

Quick note- I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on the fibromyalgia facebook wall but those in the blogosphere do you normally have localized pain or is it all over?  I actually don’t have pain all over.  It is specific unless I’ve particularly exercised another part that day.  I ALWAYS have pain in my ribcage- all over the ribcage, sternum, side.  It is tender to the touch.  Hurts to wear a bra or any clothing. Swimming is oddly fine but it is sore no matter what I do.  I live with a minimal level of pain but some days like today it was so sore and when I touched it the muscle feels puffy and swollen…I’m going to the doctor Monday but I’m just curious if anyone has heard of anything like this? The odd thing is my doctor gave me muscle relaxants to take in an emergency and they seem to do nothing.  Its like the bones hurt.

Friends-

However, I pushed forward and had a good day anyway.  My friends have kept me really busy lately which has been a HUGE blessing in so many levels.  I will never be a girl who complains about not having enough friends- at least I shouldn’t.  I have my swim friends, my church friends, my long-time friends, my friends who live away from me who I chat with via facebook, my siblings and family.  My cousins are my friends. Even my Grandma is one of my best friends. I just think of all the sad people I used to meet on my mission who would let us in just so that I spoke to someone during the day and I remember how lucky I am. I work really hard at my friendships but still I am very blessed.

Food-

Ok.  Lately I have been struggling with food.  All food looks gross to me. I have no energy to cook and especially clean. I love having people over for the company but also because it forces me to cook! I’ve had mixed luck with the crockpot of late. I think it works great for roasts and bbq pork but other dishes have been mixed at best.  I usually end up eating out or at Harmons. Sometimes I wonder if this saves me money.  I was thinking about that yesterday when I got a salad at Harmons and for me to buy portabello mushrooms, chicken, mixed greens, bell pepper etc would have been a lot more than the $7  I spent on my salad.  Plus, I would have had ingredients left over I wouldn’t use and it would take me forever to cook, chop up all those ingredients.  Thoughts?

Oscars-

So the Oscars are tomorrow and I could really care less about Hollywood and its awards (Is there a more self-congratulatory group in the world than Hollywood?  There is an awards show every day).  I do like the fashion.  This year is fun because I have actually seen 5 of the 9 movies nominated for best picture- Tree of Life, The Artist, The Help, Hugo and Midnight in Paris. If it was just me picking I would give the prize to The Help and I would have nominated Harry Potter for best picture, but I loved The Artist and Midnight in Paris also.

Also, if Tree of Life doesn’t win for best cinematography than the category has no meaning.  I wish that the documentaries would come to the theaters.  They sound pretty interesting.

I think The Artist and The Help will win most everything and they are great movies and deserve it.

(Also, I think Jean Dujardin should win for best actor and tired of everyone comparing him to Roberto Begnini.  What you can only give an Oscar to a foreigner every 20 years? Plus, their movies are totally different).

Television-

So today on lifetime (I was resting before my busy day) they had 4 movies in a row (no I did not watch them) about abducted children.  There’s a laugh riot for your Saturday morning…

Fun times-

So today was really fun. My friend Tennille asked me if I wanted to go to the show at Hale Theater West Valley-  Zorro: The Musical.  It was the US Premiere!  I love Hale Theater and jumped at the chance to go.  Before the show we went to my favorite sushi place- Nagoya Sushi in Midvale (this random little place in a strip mall but it is so good. We had 2 kinds of sushi, tempura vegetables and gyoza for $26. There’s no way I could have made all that for $26.).

Anyway, the show was great!  So fun to see a show in development.  I am sure by the time it makes it to broadway they will work out some of the kinks.  The performances were all very good, as is almost always the case with Hale (the last one I saw was a rare miss so nice to see them back on track).  It was fun to see a show that I didn’t know the music for, made it a surprise.

Here’s an article on it from Deseret News-  Broadway-bound ‘Zorro’ a sizzling sensation at Hale West Valley’

Random Thoughts IV

This is one of my random jumbled posts.

1. Got home yesterday.  Long day at the airport (funny that when I’m volunteering my seat up the wait isn’t so bad because I get a free ticket but if I’m delayed its torture!).  Fun trip visiting the fam and my parents.  I particularly enjoyed spending 2 nights with my sister and her family.  I find I get more out of one-on-one interactions rather than chaotic groups.  Its hard to go from being the sole ruler of my roost to being surrounded by people.  Does it seem selfish to say that?  Oh well, its true.

2.  Thanks to my Dad who gave up his bed and slept on the floor so I would have a place to sleep for 2 of the nights home.  Thanks Dad!  I had a great time at the Turkey Trot and totally want to do it next year but it was very exacting on my body.  I had serious pain for 3 days.  It hurt to sit up, move, walk, do anything.  Having sleep on a comfortable bed was essential to my muscle recovery.

3. I am not good at hiding my emotions.  Never have been.  If I’m hungry, tired, upset, frustrated, or in pain most people know.  I try to keep it inside and ‘be a trooper’ but I can never seem to pull it off.  Thank goodness I have understanding family and friends.  I suppose this is one benefit of living alone.  I can moan and groan all I want to myself!

4. I must express my doubts about the sugar fast.  It doesn’t seem to be changing my cravings.  I still crave sweets bad and when I eat them they taste just as great as they did before…I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up!  If I’m honest I really kind of hate it.  I hate dieting in general because I feel it excludes me from a full life experience.  Still, I suppose it is a necessary evil.

5. Good news on the Poler front!  We had a very successful Black Friday sales weekend and are looking forward to a great Christmas season.  There are still bugs to work out but congrats to my the Poler team for a great start!  Particular shout out to my brother who has worked so hard on this new company.

6. I am setting up my tree tomorrow!  Can’t wait.  Its a tight squeeze with my new sofa but I will make it work.

7. Speaking of new furniture I made one black friday purchase- a new ottoman for my main room.  Now I have one for each sofa.  Isn’t it pretty and only $73!  Thank you Walmart! (Yes, I am a Walmart shopper. In fact, I think they get a bum rap.  They have reasonable insurance for their employees, livable wages and their products are in general good quality.  I’ve actually been more impressed with their furniture/decor items than Ikea or Target and really are either of those 2 companies any less of a corporate giant?).

8. It has actually happened, my friends, I don’t have to convince myself to exercise anymore!  For literally years it was a chore to get my but out the door.  This week I realized I actually want to go and feel remorse when I can’t go.  This is particularly true for swimming (which I haven’t done for over a week 😦 ).  I really miss it when I can’t do it.  I was going to swim on Thursday with my friends but then there ended up being work commitments and I can’t go. The person asked “Do you have to go swim?”.  Its honestly like asking if I need to eat lunch.  Well, technically I could survive without it but I will miss it!

9.  I decided during this trip that I am going to start walking/running once a week from now on.  With how difficult my recovery was from the 5k I need to work out those walking muscles more often.  Walking is such an easy thing to do while traveling and swimming is very difficult (at least in the winter). Anyone want to be my weekly walking buddy?

10. My friends are going to swim the Great Salt Lake through the Winter. They have a group called the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club.  They have already swam in 46 degree water!  I think it would be a fun adventure to join with them but my fibromyalgia would be super painful.  Its just not worth it for the rush.

11.  Don’t get me wrong I’m grateful but having 4 mini-jobs can be stressful.  I feel a little stretched each and every way. Especially coming home from a trip is always rough.  I worked a lot this trip but it never seems to be quite enough.  At least I don’t have to push myself like some of the other people in my company.

I used to think I wanted to be an ambitious business leader but I really am glad to be free from the stress and pressure.  I am happy with my little roles and the difference I make.  I will be grateful when the routine of Poler is set in stone and when other pending issues are finalized. (I have my employee review next Monday.  Here’s to hoping I do well and maybe even get a raise! Haven’t had one in 2 years).

Do you think because I’m not the dynamic business woman or politician I dreamed of as a child I’m a bit of a sell-out?  Are we not all sell-outs in one way or another as adults…?

12. Lately I’ve been fascinated with the Revolutionary generation.  Last year I read a book called Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts and loved it.  Now we are rereading that for my book club.  I have also been reading Founding Brothers by Joseph Elis and am enjoying that.  It goes into great depth into many things I didn’t know much about such as Washington’s Farewell Address, Benjamin Franklin’s support of abolition, the controversy of Jay’s Treaty.

It also elaborates on topics I did know about such as the friendship/feud between Adams and Jefferson, Jefferson’s strategy as the first party politician, James Madison’s skillful quiet power, Abigail Adams role in her husbands presidential cabinet and more.  It is so interesting.  As I’ve read I keep coming up with parallels to the issues facing politicians and the similar strategies used to win elections that still exist today.  Its amazing how with all that’s changed some things never change.

13. Don’t mean to end on a somber note but I can’t begin to describe how disgusted I am with what’s gone on at Penn State.  I was horrified to see people cheering for anyone even remotely involved in this terrible tragedy.  Our thoughts should be on the victims, not on football.  I love sports but let’s have a bit of perspective people!

14. Finally I am a little sad because I now have 2 months left in my current ward.  In January I turn the big 31 and that means I am out of the single adult ward.  I can either go to the midsingles or the family ward.  Haven’t decided what I will do.  Any experiences either way? I’d love to hear them.  Our midsingles ward has over 600 people so honestly I’m afraid of getting lost with either choice.

I guess I will just have to be extra vigilant in making friends and being outgoing. (Maybe my new ottoman will help with that!).  I’m sincerely sorry to be leaving my ward and particularly my calling.  It has been a wonderful sanctuary from a year that has been one of the toughest of my life.  I will always be grateful for home and visiting teachers, RS President and bishop who took care of me when I really needed it. Thanks!

15.  I wish I could be in Hawaii right now…but that’s pretty much true of every day of my life!

16.  Saw 2 movies over the break, Hugo and Muppets Movie.  Enjoyed both.  Hugo was a work of art in movie form; however,  a little slow and I don’t know if I ever bonded to any of the characters.  Movies are played as an unmitigated good in the plot and while I enjoy a good movie I don’t know if they are as important as Hugo would have you believe. Still, well worth a viewing. See it in 3D if you can.  One of the best uses of 3D I’ve ever seen.  It didn’t have the murkiness of most 3D.

The Muppets movie was GREAT!!  I loved it.  I thought it was funny, I loved the music, and the whole thing made me smile throughout.  While I think children will enjoy it I think it is designed for young adults my age.  There were tons of references to the Muppets I knew growing up and I found them all charming.  I just really loved it.

17.  No I did not see Breaking Dawn.

18. Best movies I’ve seen this year- The Help, Midnight in Paris and Harry  Potter.  Favorite performances so far Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain in The Help, Alan Rickman in Harry Potter, Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemmingway in Midnight in Paris. Best animated movie by far Winnie the Pooh (best soundtrack also)

19.  Finally, I went speed dating a couple of weeks ago and actually had a good time.  However, I definitely realized that my fear of animals is totally not normal! Btw, if that thing in Ohio with the exotic animals had happened by me I think I’d have a heart attack.  There are 911 calls of people saying ‘I’m on the freeway and just saw a lion’.  Can you imagine?

20.  Do you like the cool new theme for the blog?  Got to switch things up every now and then.  I am trying to figure out why I got double the hits this same time last year?  Tell me blog readers what have I done differently? 🙂

21. One last thing- a couple of weeks ago I gave my phone number out to a boy for the first time in my life.  It felt totally cliched but I was proud of myself.  He never called but hey its a step in the right direction! Probably sad that it took me to age 30 to do that.  Oh well!