WELCOME TO THE VOICES OF FIBROMYALGIA

We are bringing people with the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome together for awareness, motivation and inspiration in a community environment. We are dedicated to sharing stories, news articles, information, affirmations, life lessons, resources and projects to those surviving Fibromyalgia/CFS. This is also the personal website for Haullie to share her personal journey, art, projects, inspirations and enlightenments as a survivor of fibromyalgia.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fibro Cruise 2015!

Look at this! A Fibro Cruise put on by a wonderful group of Fibromyalgia survivors. Please visit the website below for information on how you can go on the cruise. I love it when people get together for fun, personal empowerment and awareness. That's sweet!

FIBRO CRUISE


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Haullie Volker Featured in Living Well Magazine

Fibro Modem's new issue of Living Well With Fibromyalgia Magazine has a new edition out and guess who's story was featured? My story! Plus there's a ton wellness stories and information about all Fibromyalgia Awareness events that happened around the world in the new issue. Click on the link below to read it and special thanks to Simone at Fibro Modem for featuring my story. Every story can inspire and help change a life. Reading someone's story was what inspired me to this day. We're all connected through our experiences.  Hugs and Support! <3 Haullie

READ THE MAGAZINE

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Fibromyalgia Road Of Thorns

I’ve been told I’m lazy. So I suppose that means I don’t give a crap, never try in the least and think only of my own needs. I’ve been told I don’t “look” sick. So I suppose that means I shouldn’t be allowed to wear make-up, get the occasional hug of support, park near a handicapped zone, and dawn a smile when something nice happens for me. I’ve been told this is all in my head. So I suppose that means I asked to feel this way. I isolated myself, I stole away many dreams I had, and the depression was the “cause” of it. I’ve been told that if I eat right and work-out that it will miraculously cure me. So I suppose you must have the miraculous cure for the catch 22 that comes with fibro and trying to work-out despite the pain, being told that all you do is make excuses for not being active. As if not being able to do simple things like keep up after my Son was something I aimed to achieve in life.

Absolutely not! The last thing someone with fibro does is ask to be a part of this thorny road of life. That’s actually the best way I can put it into an analogy…a road of thorns. Some people have really thick leather soles, they don’t even feel the thorns, they could walk all day down this road. However some soles are weaker and more run down than others. Those people tend to feel a thorn poke through from time to time disrupting the path and staining the trail of life. Then there are those who’s soles are so worn thin they don’t just feel the thorns, they’ve learned to start walking with their heads down constantly focused on the hit and miss. Dodging thorns, stepping on many and falling on a few in the process of just GETTING there.

THAT my friends…is fibromyalgia at it’s core. 

So when someone tells you you’re lazy, don’t look sick, need to relax cause it’s all in your head or whatever the reason…don’t even respond, you can’t change how the comment made you feel regardless, It’s been said. Instead do as the great Maya Angelou would do…when someone is pinning your illness against you, walk away. You don’t have to be a part of that ugliness. What’s worse is that it’s not so much the comments that hurt, it’s having to explain myself, you telling me you get it, and then a day later we’re back to square one. The struggle to wake people up out of their ignorance in regards to their loved one’s being in pain shouldn’t be a struggle at all. If you are a loved one of someone with fibro help pick up some of that slack. Sweep away the thorns, don’t continue to water them so they’ll grow larger.

Loud and Proud, Haullie

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fibromyalgia, Perhaps a Chiropractic Connection?

Have you ever thought about getting your head and neck examined by a chiropractor? Today I went in for an x-ray and the chiropractor found that my entire upper neck was out of alignment and it was pinching nerves all around my neck and upper spine. He said this could very well answer some of the questions as to why I am having headaches constantly, stiffness and even the pain I’ve been experiencing for the past 4 weeks. He also mentioned numbness in the hands and fingers as well as electrical shocks.

I was just told that my neck looks like I was in a car accident and I’ve never broken a bone or been in an accident all my life. I think that getting a chiropractor to take a second look at you with an x-ray is a great idea because like me you may find answers to some of your symptoms. We don’t always know why fibromyalgia does what it does. Why on Earth would someone who’s never been in a single accident have a neck that’s so bent it looks like I hit a tree at 50 miles an hour? Could fibro be responsible or could it be the other way around I really can’t give a definitive answer because I myself do not know the causes of fibro nor does any doctor that we know of.

So what if, just what if fibro DID have some correlations between the nerves of the head and neck and the rest of the body? We’re always looking for answers, what is going to happen one day when we finally get one which very well may come at any day? Will we take the necessary steps needed to help heal the damage that our bodies have caused us? Or will some of us feel it’s too late? trust me, those co-payments are not cheap, so I get limitations. Plus some of us have kids so it’s harder to find time to work on ourselves. My hope though is that if that day ever comes we can finally shed the sadness fibro has given usand find the hope the strength to do anything and everything we can because we are fighters…all of us. But it’s a process, I won’t lie…it would probably take a lot of time if these two correlated so.

I can’t tell you that I found the answer to my problem. So many times I’ve been fooled by doctors into believing a false sense of hope only to find myself back to square one again so I’m going to cross my fingers for now in hopes that this can open up some doorways or some communication between survivors to speak out, reach out and do some research because when you’re aware, you are following the right path towards healing. It’s always worth a shot to go get anything and everything checked out even if
you aren’t sure.

Kickin Back, Haullie

Fibromyalgia Mom's Need Support

I honestly never imagined the hard work that it takes to raise a child with fibromyalgia. Every single day is ten times harder now, ten times more painful for me every day. But I don’t harbor regrets. If I had it to do over again I would get pregnant and I would have my Son…again, he’s my life. The truth is though, it’s tough work! As a fibro mommy I tend to find the emotional aspect of raising a child just as hard if not harder than physically raising a child. There are the little things, 3 square meals a day, dressing, bathing, entertaining, going for walks, feeding, ect, but there’s also the tantrums, the screaming, the telling me “no” constantly, hitting me, kicking me, throwing things at me, destroying the house…all these things emotionally ware on me day in and day out and the one thing I’ve learned is that we need a break!


I personally don’t have a support system at home where I can hand my kid over to a relative to watch him so my muscles and bones can have a break. A lot of people don’t have that one person to say “hey I’ll take him off your hands for a day.” That has got to be the hardest. My husband works constantly and he’s too tired to pick up the load but I dream of that day when someone offers to take my Son just for a day. If anything it would be good for him. But his grandparents and Aunts and Uncles either live too far away or show no interest which makes me sad. Sad that I can’t just get a break and sad that no one wants to spend quality one on one family time with my son. Whatever happened to people picking up the slack and helping out a relative? Everyone has this fend for yourself, it’s not my problem attitude and I’m just sick of it because as sick as I am…I do OFFER to help someone if they are in need. Especially if they have a child. I would go out of my way on the worst day ever than to let someone not be able to complete a task or get the rest they need  (i.e. go to work).

As a fibro mom, my work never ends. It is 24 hours a day 7 days a week and if I’m lucky he’ll take a nap once a day. I love my Son to pieces, there’s nothing wrong with him, it’s not his fault Mommy is tired. Mommy just cannot keep up sometimes. I may have been un-lucky in my ventures to get someone in my family to reach out and give me a day off…but hey at least there’s a good lesson from it…we do need that support so if you have someone who can help out don’t be afraid to ask even if you think they will say no, keep asking. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for help. Besides, people who aren’t sick pin their kids off on other people all the time. All we’re asking for is a little support, we’re not asking to pin our kids on other people; we’re asking for help so that we can be the BEST parent that we can be at ALL times.

Tired, Tired, Tired, Haullie

Benefits of Fibromyalgia Meditation

If you have fibromyalgia, you know how difficult it can be to deal with. Fibromyalgia symptoms such as chronic pain and fatigue often make it difficult to go on with your daily routine. These symptoms can sometimes have disastrous effects on your mood, leaving you feeling hopeless or even depressed. If you are feeling especially stressed out by your fibromyalgia, you may find that meditation can help you restore calmness and vitality to your life.

What is Meditation?

Meditation techniques are increasingly being used by those with fibromyalgia to manage their fibromyalgia symptoms and lift their mood. Through meditation, people can quiet their minds, reduce stress, and eliminate worries from their life, at least for a short amount of time.

Meditation usually consists of focusing on the breath or a certain word, sound, or object in order to enter into an altered state of consciousness. Meditation produces feelings of relaxation and rest, and can help people learn how to focus their minds on things other than the trials and tribulations of daily life. Meditation has been used for thousands of years by many different cultures. It is not known exactly where meditation began, though early practices can be traced to India and the Eastern World.

There are numerous different types of meditation, including mindfulness meditation, concentration meditation, and transcendental meditation. Most types of meditation have the same goal – to allow a person to achieve mental clarity and a state of extreme calm. Meditation is sometimes used to promote spiritual healing. Benefits of Meditation When practiced regularly, all types of meditation can offer numerous physical and mental benefits.

Physical benefits include:

•Reduced heart rate
•Decreased pulse
•Lowered blood pressure
•Reduced nervous system activity

Mental benefits of meditation include:

•Fewer mood swings
•Decreased feelings of depression
•Feelings of vigor and vitality
•Increased memory
•Decreased levels of anxiety

How Meditation Helps Fibromyalgia Sufferers:

Meditation has recently been shown to be very effective in reducing the stress levels and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia syndrome. If you have fibromyalgia, techniques of meditation can help to improve your sleep patterns and reduce your fatigue.

Meditation techniques can also help to reduce your pain levels, as it decreases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body. In a 1993 study involving 77 fibromyalgia patients, it was found that daily meditation improved most fibromyalgia symptoms. 51% of participants reported moderate to marked improvement in their symptoms. In 1998, a study on meditation and fibromyalgia found that meditative practices lessened the achiness, sleeplessness, muscle pain, and depression experienced by fibromyalgia patients.

In Calming Stillness, Haullie

The Atomic Fibro Tummy

One symptom I personally think about and deal with a lot is nausea one feels while living with fibro. Nausea is defined as the urge to vomit. I like to break things down symptom by symptom because looking at that cluster list of ailments overwhelms me, it can be difficult to even look at and say “that’s me all over.” However nausea albeit not the most painful thing, oftentimes isn’t taken into serious consideration because we just blame it on the pills or the stress and think well it’s just a side effect so I must have to just ignore it, deal with it, and not pay any attention to it. I can honestly say I’m one of those people so that’s why I made it a personal mission of mine to research what I could about what foods or medications could potentially reduce this little annoyance, because despite what people may assume…when you have a lot of nausea every day of your life, you start to notice there are actually different levels of nausea. So your body becomes more able to read itself and that can actually work in our favor because when it comes down to it…we want the answers, we want to know why.

When Can Nausea Occur?

There’s the nausea that comes and goes throughout the day like waves rushing on a shore, once in a while your tummy just feels icky and not right. Then there’s the nausea that comes on suddenly, makes us put out hand to our mouth like we’re going to vomit and sometimes we do usually followed by a very hot tingly body or sometimes an incredible ache all over that can last for upwards of 20-30 minutes. We also have nausea that happens only when we eat. For some individuals that very first bite of food in the morning or before any meal can be a pain in the, well…stomach! Some people take to other measures such as smoking or eating medical marijuana because the medications for nausea relief just don’t cut it. We also have nausea that is accompanied by irritable bowl syndrome, the kind you get when you’re hunched over the toilet doing your business and then suddenly you don’t know if you should stand up and vomit in the toilet or finish your business before you have an accident. Yes I can relate. Now THAT is an awkward situation to be in. There’s also the nausea that accompanies pain on different levels, migraines, back pains or the sudden shock of nerve pain can all attribute to your body wanting to toss a few cookies. And last but not least, some of us don’t JUST have fibromyalgia…a lot of us suffer from either another ailment or more, plus on top of that I can guarantee 99% of us have some form of depression or have had it in our lifetime and well, have you ever felt sick to your stomach due to stress or depression? Did you find yourself eating less or eating too much which can also attribute to nausea? It can be rather annoying.

That’s exactly the best way to describe nausea…annoying. It gnaws at you. Personally for myself there are days when I don’t want to eat and all, but if I don’t force myself to eat something I get even sicker because the hunger mixed with the already pre-existing nausea is a concoction for an atomic tummy. I’m also a survivor of P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) so managing my stress levels is a tremendous task itself to undertake every day of my life. Sometimes the nausea gets so bad I feel like I’m dizzy and about to pass out and typically if I get dizzy first then it will be accompanied by the nausea so it goes both ways.

About 65-70% of fibromyalgia sufferers do report experiencing either chronic nausea, bouts of vomiting or both nausea and vomiting. They vary in their intensity so some people have mild to moderate nausea whereas some experience really intense nausea as mentioned above during certain activities or because of other reasons. This nausea we’re experiencing can interfere with out ability to continue on with our daily lives and activities. It hinders us from getting out of that ‘sick’ feeling we all know so well that can also be described as a flu-like symptom.

Symptoms that Accompany Nausea Include:

*Dizziness
*Chills
*Feeling Faint (going to pass out)
*Sweating
*Heart Palpitations
*Difficulty Breathing

What Causes Nausea?

So many factors can trigger fibro or chronic illness related nausea. Headaches and migraines, stress (or being in stressful environments, large crowds, interviews, ect.) also traveling, weather changes, changes in diet, irritable bowls, prescriptions, depression, pain, can all attribute to feelings of nausea or vomiting. Sometimes the equilibrium in our brains goes askew simply from getting up too fast, moving our heads to the side too fast or even from the motion of a car so there are a variety of different reasons why your body is responsive to nausea and telling your brain you are sick. Believe it or not, nausea is your body’s way of telling you to calm down and stay healthy. It’s almost like a small warning signal if you will. Nausea can also be your body’s way of trying to reject certain toxins that are not healthy or that the body cannot absord properly. In order to find relief from some of your nausea you have to know the reasons behind why it’s there to begin with.

The Nausea Break-Down:

Migraines: More than 50% of people with fibromyalgia suffer from chronic headaches and migraines. Migraines are severe headaches caused by constriction of the arteries and vessels in the head and neck. Migraines can last for days and are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting because of constriction of certain nerves in the back of the head.

Equilibrium Problems: A lot of fibromyalgia survivors experience imbalances in their equilibriums. Your body balances itself by maintaining an appropriate equilibrium, which is found in the inner ear. If for some reason this equilibrium falls out of balance, it can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and nauseous.

Neurally Mediated Hypotension: Many of those with fibromyalgia suffer from neurally mediated hypotension. Neurally mediated hypotension occurs after suddenly standing up after lying down or sitting down for an extended period. As you get up, your blood pressure drops suddenly, causing extreme dizziness, sweating, heart palpitations, and nausea.

Weak Eye Muscles: Fibromyalgia can cause the muscles that allow your eyes to move to become weak. As a result, you may feel nauseated whenever you try to look out of a car window, read a book, or participate in any other activity that requires you to follow something with you eyes.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common complaint amongst those with fibromyalgia. IBS causes your lower intestine to become extremely sensitive to muscle contractions. As a result, severe bouts with diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and constipation often occur. Sometimes, the nausea experienced with fibromyalgia can be the result of these symptoms.

Medication for Nausea:

Antihistamines: Various over-the-counter medications are available to help provide nausea relief and prevent future stomach upset. Some of the most popular over-the-counter nausea medications are antihistamines. Antihistamines, including Avomine and Dramamine, work by blocking histamine receptors in the body. In particular, they block the “vomiting center” in the brain, stopping nausea and preventing vomiting. These antihistamines also help to restore the body’s equilibrium.

Emetrol: Emetrol is also available without prescription to help relieve nausea and upset stomach. It is available in liquid form only, and should be taken every 15 minutes until symptoms disappear. I’ve tried this and it didn’t work for me but everything is worth trying once.

Prescription Medications: A variety of prescription medications exist that can help to reduce nausea, stomach upset, and vomiting. Medications are usually matched to treat the cause of the nausea. Speak with your doctor for information on specific prescription anti-nauseants. Your doctor will know what is best for you and what will also be safe taken with your other medications as well.

Medical Marijuana: Marijuana (Cannabis) is the most powerful anti-nausea drug on the planet and the safest.

The Dietary Option:

Sometimes, it’s the simple changes to your diet that can help you to significantly reduce your symptoms of nausea. If you are feeling nauseated or have been vomiting, it is important to keep as hydrated as possible. If you lose too much liquid your body can lose important electrolytes that it needs to function. Drink only clear liquids for the first 12 hours after vomiting. Avoid caffeinated beverages and all dairy products. Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water every day can help keep you from having a sudden bout of nausea or at least reduce the symptoms greatly. Were definitely not about stopping nausea, as fibromyalgia survivors we know the reality that we have to live with this so our main goal is to improve the quality of life…that we CAN achieve…at least until there is a cure.

Some foods that can help to alleviate nausea are starchy foods (noodles, rice), and also crackers, which can help to absorb some of the excess stomach acids. You can also suck on crystallized ginger to reduce nausea. I always enjoy a little ginger ale but the sugar content can actually irritate you if you have IBS so take that into account when drinking anything carbonated with sugar. Avoid citrus fruits, juices, and other acidic foods, as this will increase your nausea. Gradually introduce solid foods after 12 hours, beginning with applesauce and working your way up to breads, cereals, and eventually, protein products. I literally live with this problem every day of my life and there are most days when all I want to eat is just bread, it’s plain, I don’t have to smell it…it’s easy. So don’t try to force yourself to eat something that is uncomfortable for you if you are right in the middle of an atomic tummy attack…stick to what will make you feel best. I always use apple sauce or bread, sometimes a banana helps.

How to Prevent Nausea:

Some nausea can be prevented by avoiding some of the things that can trigger it.

•Avoid smells that trigger nausea (these may include certain foods, perfumes, or flowers).

•Take anti-nausea medication before traveling in a car, airplane, or boat.

•Avoid drinking alcohol, as this can cause drowsiness, balance problems, dizziness, and nausea.

•Wait an hour before eating in the morning. This will allow your stomach time to settle. Instead try drinking a large glass of water first. Or if you’re stomach isn’t triggered by caffeine, a good cup of coffee helps for some, but not for others who are sensitive.

•Try researching “fibro friendly foods” on google and find out what foods are best for your body.

•If you have to drive a long distance, sit in the front seat facing forwards. Keep your eyes on a stable object faraway in the distance. This will reduce nausea and motion sickness.

Keep Shining, Haullie

What Are Fibromyalgia Chest Pains? Costochondritis!

A symptom that I suffer from that really worried me for the longest time was fibromyalgia chest pains. The pain is in the heart and sometimes the ribcage and chest area and can feel like a sharp poke or aching stabbing and sometimes a burning or thumping pain.

If your chest pain is making it difficult to sleep, work or even breath easily, it’s important to talk to your doctor about this condition and have it checked just incase it’s not fibro related and a more serious issue.

If you do however realize this is fibro related I can tell you one thing it does take some of the worry off your chest. The first time I had chest pains I literally felt scared to death. I thought I may have been having some form of a pre-heart attack. I started crying because my husband told me that it was probably due to blood pressure levels rising constantly and that high blood pressure could cause a heart attack which is true so you can only imagine how scared I really was. I called my doctor and made an appointment only to show up and find out that after I’d taken an EKG nothing was found. Whew! That was a relief.

So why was I suffering from bouts of chest pain? How could I stop it? Was I going to have to live with this my whole life now? So I did some online research…I had to know why! Here’s what I found. Costochondritis is the chest pain that is associated with fibromyalgia. Costochondritis in women is common, especially in women that are between the ages of 20-40. Costochondritis also affects those who don’t have fibro and if a result of chest trauma or exercise-related injury or strain. About 10% of the population has Costochondritis. Because our muscles are weaker we tend to strain them a lot faster so it’s more common in people with fibro to experience some form of chest pain. Costochondritis affects approximately 60-70% of fibromyalgia sufferers and is more common in women. It can last for days, weeks or in some cases even months before going away for lon periods of time and then returning, bouts of chest pain that come and go. The area affected is the junction between the rib bones and the chest bone, also known as the sternum. Costochondritis causes cartilage to become inflamed and sore because there are 7 bits of cartilage that attach fro your ribs to your sternum, so if you have costochondritis you should feel pain when you move your upper torso. Commonly the pain is located on the left side of the chest as it was in my case but there are people who do get it in the right side of the chest.

Symptoms of Costochondritis:

  • sharp, stabbing pain in the front of the chest
  • pain that increases with activity, exertion, or deep breathing
  • pain that decreases with rest, movement, or slow breathing
  • ribs that are sore to the touch
  • burning pain in the ribs
  • pain that radiates up the back of the neck and shoulders
  • pain on the left or right side of the chest
  • upper chest pains
  • pain in your chest when you sneeze or cough

If you are experiencing Costochondritis it’s a good idea to go talk to your doctor about it to help rule out any other complication and learn ways in which you can prevent it from happening, and find fibro friendly activities that will not stress or strain your chest muscles until they are strong enough. A lot of us over-exert ourselves when we get just the tiniest burst of energy (I know…that’s a rarity) and so because our muscles aren't used to moving it’s easy to stress and strain them so be careful not to over strain, sometimes just getting up out of best too fast can set off Costochondritis.

Love & Cupcakes, Haullie

THE FIBRO SUCKS POEM - By: Haullie Volker


It’s 12am midnight and I cannot sleep.
Got an achey ole body from my head to my feet.
 
My muscles keep twitchin.
Don’t know what to do.
And crap, oh no, now it feels like the flu.
 
My hair’s falling out and the showering hurts.
I got major gas, I.B.S. and I burp.
 
This crabby darn head of mine won’t stop the aching.
Is it hot, warm, cold? Oh great now I’m shaking.
 
The pins and the needles they poke me all day.
My joints are so stiff I’ll just call it a day.
 
Lay in bed till I’m bored and watch too much TV.
This isn’t the life that I wanted for me.
 
Nausea, puking all over the floor.
Why does it hurt just to open the door?
 
Some doctors listen and others are jerks.
Medication should help; side effects are the worst.
 
My jaw just locked up and my chest pains attack.
What I wouldn’t give to have my body back?
 
Tender points feel like a stab in the side.
Keeps me from functions, and going outside.
 
Weather is crazy, I cannot adjust.
A self heated blanket and socks are a must.
 
Chores make me feel like I ran 18 miles.
All I did was put laundry in neat little piles!!!
 
Don’t eat this, don’t drink that, do this they say.
What if I want to enjoy my damn day?
 
So sick of these things that I do to keep up.
Get lost Fibromyalgia, I think I’ve had enough.

Get lost fibro, Haullie

Fibro: Before The Diagnosis

An old journal entry from back in 2007 which was 3 years before I received my Fibromyalgia diagnosis. Not having a diagnosis was scary because I really wasn't sure what was wrong with me and I felt extremely helpless and the strange thing is, even with a diagnosis i feel sorta helpless at times because there is no cure and some treatments only help so much.


Staying Strong, Haullie

Fibromyalgia Placebo Treatments: Misleading & Potentially Harmful

I recently came across an article by Kristin Thorson who is an editor for the Fibromyalgia Network. Her recent research has found that at least half of all internists and rheumatologists in the U.S. prescribe placebo treatments without expressed permission to the patients. I was shocked when I learned this.

“Given the many medications on the market, you may wonder: Is it ethical for a doctor to prescribe you a placebo without your knowledge or informed consent? Although the results of this survey indicate just how controversial this issue is (at least when dealing with fibromyalgia patients), two large medical societies clearly oppose the deceptive use of placebos.” -Kristin Thorson (TFN)

I really don’t wish to be someone’s experimental guinea pig. To be quite honest placebos do not work if the patient is told, but fibromyalgia is a very real condition. Giving fibro patients placebos only solidifies societies ideals that this is an invisible illness, that our pain can’t possibly be real and that it is all in our heads. However I would like for you to draw upon your own conclusions by reading this article below. Do you feel deceived? Apparently only 20% of internists and rheumatologists in the U.S. believe this to be a very unfair practice and are refusing to do this treatment, however most do. So if you've been prescribed medication that doesn't work…ask your  rheumatologists if you were part of a treatment that you had no idea you were a part of. I’m curious to know if any Doctor would just come out and admit it.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ABOUT THIS AT THE LINK BELOW:

Animals Help People With Chronic Illness

It’s a well known fact that animals are a great source of unconditional love and compassion. Many patients with chronic illness turn to furry friends for support in ways they cannot get from another human. They’re probably the best listeners you’ll ever come across as well; but why are we so connected to our animal friends and why are they so protective of us in our time of ailment when we need them the most? There’s more to this puzzle than meets the eye. Studies have shown that animals can help with a variety of different things such as those who are in need of a service dog such as those who are blind, deaf, immobile…ect, they also help in combating depression, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, and more. We are grateful beyond imagine for not only the compassion they show to us but also they’re company. In times of turmoil they can be the best friend to turn to, even if you just need a good cuddle. Let’s elaborate a little about some of the positive benefits of owning an animal friend.

Animals are natural stress reducers:

According to recent research…and good old fashioned experience…what we do know now is that our body actually goes through physical changes in that time that make a difference in our mood. The level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered. And the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased. Reducing stress saves your body wear and tear. Pets have been shown to reduce this increased stress to levels that our bodies can tolerate. Making getting a furry friend of your own worth it.

 They need us, as much as we need them:

Consider the miracle you could possible create in the life of a pet. You can rescue a homeless, or injured animal and nurse them back to health. Simply opening up your doors and arms to a dog, cat, rabbit or whatever is comfortable for you will give you the same stress relieving feelings as stated above except there’s an added benefit…your new found friend will be scared at first, but eventually you are both learning how to teach each other a valuable lesson in how to trust, comfort each other in your times of need and just as your pet will be there for you, you will be there for them as well making this a two way street and you can’t ask for anything better than changing the life of your new friend because the change they will bring to your life is everlasting.

Lowers Blood Pressure:

Did you know that the stress-reducing properties of being around an animal that makes you feel comfortable can have great effects on reducing your blood pressure? “In one study of 240 married couples, pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates during rest than people who did not own a pet. That held true whether they were at rest or undergoing stress tests. Another study showed that children with hypertension lowered their blood pressure while petting their dog. (WEBMD)”

Helps Lower Cholesterol:

Doctors recommend that you follow specific guidelines for exercise and a healthy diet to manage most of your cholesterol. However researchers have noted lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in people who own pets compared to people who don’t. However, this also could be because of the lifestyle factors of people who own pets.

Pets are good for the heart:

There was a 20 year study done once that concluded that people who had never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a fatal heart attack, than those who had owned a cat. In another study done, they showed that dog owners actually had a significant better rate of survival one year after a heart attack so people who own pets have a lower risk of dying from cardiac disease including heart failure. It’s truly phenomenal!

Calming Heat for Chronic Pain:

“A Mexican hairless dog called a Xolo is known for generating intense body heat. An organization called Paws for Comfort trains Xolos to be service dogs for people with fibromyalgia and other forms of chronic pain that respond to heat. People get relief just by placing their hurting limbs against the dog’s body or lying up next to it. Some dogs have even been trained to ride around wrapped around the neck of a person with chronic neck pain. (WEBMD)”

Combating depression:

I know from personal experience how calming my own pet can be for me. I have a cat, her name is Mrs. Bigglesworth (Biggles for short) and I love that girl with all my heart and soul. I honestly don’t know what I would do without her in my life. What she has given to me is something no human ever could. The compassion is so deep and the love is so constant, I honestly feel like she’s my best friend in many ways. She has such a significant impact on my depression. When I’m feeling down even if she doesn’t pick up on it, she’s still there if I need to cuddle and sometimes she does sense my sadness and she’ll try to make me feel better by just being her sweet self. There’s nothing better I could have asked for in a fur baby.

Great Physical Fitness:

A lot of those with chronic illness have a difficult time getting out of the house and going for those walks. Often enough we have to put on headphones and listen to music just to distract us from the pain. However studies have shown that those with chronic illness who walk dogs have better distraction levels than those who do not making walking a dog not only a great source of physical fitness, but a great source of pain distraction. However do keep in mind there are still some chronic illnesses that would make handling a leash very difficult so this is different for different people’s conditions.

Animals can make the difference

So what have we learned from all of this? Animals are compassionate, a great source of medical relief, they can help us combat depression and other ailments, they’re great for fitness and as service dogs for the sick and hurting…but most importantly…they need us as much as we need them. The blessing of adoption is one of the greatest joys you can give to an animal friend and one of the greatest joys you can also bring to your life. If you are suffering from chronic illness it may seem like such an incredible responsibility opening up your doors to an animal and at first it very well might be. I would actually suggest that you adopt a pet that’s already a year or older so that you don’t have to worry about little things like potty training, however it is important to remember to choose an animal that is comfortable for you. Sometimes they even find you! I can promise you that you will never have one single moment of regret, your health is worth is, and your future new found furry friend is worth it too. Animals teach us that survival is possible and that no matter what, we all deserve comfort, understanding, and at the end of the day…probably the best listener you’ll ever come to know, love and welcome into your family.

Jolly Good Time, Haullie

Do ALL Fibro sufferers deserve the same support? YES!!

A fibromyalgia survivor doesn't fit into a particular category. They aren’t a “she” or a “he”. They’re both. We come in different sizes big and small and we still matter, we’re no less important because of shape or height. Or the sound of our voice, or how much or how little we speak. We’re no less important even in times of fibro fog. We’re no less important because of how severe our pain is compared to someone else’s pain either. We’re so different and that is what makes us so important, unique and valid in this world. We even have different sets of beliefs systems, some of us believe in the Universe, some of us believe in God, some of us are Atheist or Buddhist…and you know what? We still all deserve and need the same kind of love, understanding and support.

Some of us come from other countries. Countries that don’t even recognize fibromyalgia as a real syndrome; but are you still welcome here? Absolutely! You matter regardless of what is unofficially recognized or recognized. Some of us aren’t perfect either. Maybe some people are suffering through grief, struggling with parenting through the pain, just lost their job, got divorced, are going through custody battles, enduring drug or alcohol addictions, financial crisis’ and need a little extra help and someone to talk to, someone who will listen and not judge. You still live with fibromyalgia, and you still have a story. That story is very important.

Maybe you’re someone who has fibromyalgia, but you also have cancer, lupus, MS, or any other overlapping condition. Our hats are off to you for how strong you are and how much you fight every day. Some people can’t take medications because their allergic so they have no choice but to find alternatives. We embrace you too. Some people choose herbal remedies and should never be judged…but instead should be thanked for their bravery to try new things.

Hold on to what keeps you strong. Never be sorry for that. And if there is something in your life that isn’t perfect so what? No one really is. Accept that human beings whether by choice or not by choice are never perfect, and that no matter what we don’t ask to be sick, but we do ask for the same universal support from each other. That we can only make small adjustments to the blueprints of our lives when we have the support to back us up 110%.

We need to keep the proverbial handshake that binds us together going because that will keep us together no matter what our story is, what we believe in, what race we are or country we are from or what gets us through the rough days because together hope grows and so do connections but only when we choose to dispel the negativity society places on us. We already know by example, by living through it how people should be to people because fibromyalgia has taught us the value of human life.

I can only imagine how many friendships have probably been made through the spirit of this page alone. Now multiply every fibromyalgia page, web site, forum and support group together and imagine those connections. You are a part of that greatness! Be proud dandelions. You’re spreading seeds of hope and your voices are the winds that carry that hope.

Thank you to everyone, for being you, for being your own unique self and for never being sorry for standing up for yourself. I think the world of each and every one of you. Freckles, dimples, grey hairs, cellulite, goofy laughs, accents, sentiments and ALL!!

Tallyho, Haullie

OCCIPITAL NEURALGIA HEAD AND NECK PAIN

I suffer with a neurological condition alongside my fibromyalgia known as Occipital neuralgia which is is a neurological condition in which the occipital nerves – the nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord at the base of the neck up through the scalp – are inflamed or injured but I couldn't exactly tell you which because it’s something that I have had for years, it gradually came on and so trying to pin point how or why is difficult but I think for the past 6 years or so it’s been very crippling for me when it does happen which is about 5 times a month. Occipital neuralgia can be confused with a migraine, or other types of headache, because the symptoms can be similar. The tension and pain of Occipital neuralgia can actually create head pain so although it isn't always classified as a headache, it sure feels like a huge one, I mean pain is pain. Whether or not Occipital neuralgia is related to fibromyalgia or not is not entirely sure but I have spoken to several survivors of fibro who complain that this is a big issue for them and since our condition is neurological, it makes sense that other areas depending on our symptoms can be triggers. I actually think fibromyalgia itself triggers other areas of pain that may not always be on the standard list of symptoms which continually changes according to new research so leave me a comment and let me know if you've ever had the same thing. Here’s some additional information to keep you aware.

Symptoms of Occipital Neuralgia:

Occipital neuralgia can cause very intense pain that feels like a sharp, jabbing, electric shock in the occipital nerve.

Other symptoms of occipital neuralgia may include:

Aching, burning, and throbbing pain that typically starts at the base of the head and radiates to the scalp.

Pain on one or both sides of the head.
Pain behind the eye.
Tender scalp.
Pain when moving the neck

Causes of Occipital Neuralgia:

Occipital neuralgia is the result of compression or irritation of the occipital nerves due to injury, entrapment of the nerves, or inflammation. Many times, no cause is found.

There are many medical conditions that are associated with occipital neuralgia, including:

Trauma to the back of the head
Neck tension and/or tight neck muscles
Cervical disc disease
Diabetes
Blood vessel inflammation

Diagnosing Occipital Neuralgia:

If you think you may have occipital neuralgia, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and any injuries you may have had, perform a physical exam, and may order certain tests, such as blood tests or an MRI scan. Your doctor may also give you an anesthetic nerve block to see if it relieves the pain. If it works, occipital neuralgia is likely the cause of the pain.

For treatment to work, it is very important that you receive an accurate diagnosis. For example, if you have occipital neuralgia and are prescribed migraine medication, you may not get relief.

Treatments for Occipital Neuralgia:

Treatment depends on what is causing the inflammation or irritation of the occipital nerves. The first course of action is to relieve pain. There are a number of things you can try to get relief, including:

Apply heat to the neck.
Massage tight and painful neck muscles.
Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like naproxen (such as Aleve) or ibuprofen (such as Motrin). Many narcotics don't reduce the inflammation so motrin or muscle relaxers work best. I have no idea what lol.

If these self-care measures don’t work, your doctor may prescribe the following medications to treat occipital neuralgia pain:

Prescription muscle relaxants
Anticonvulsant drugs, such as Tegretol (carbamazepine) and Neurontin (gabapentin)
Antidepressant medication
Short-term use of local nerve blocks and steroid injections

Surgery may be considered if pain does not respond to other treatments or comes back. Surgery may include:

Microvascular decompression. During this procedure, your doctor may be able to relieve pain by identifying and adjusting blood vessels that may be compressing the nerve.

Occipital nerve stimulation. In this procedure, a neurostimulator is used to deliver electrical impulses to the occipital nerves. These electrical impulses can help block pain messages to the brain.

Occipital neuralgia is not a life-threatening condition. Most people get significant pain relief by resting and taking medication. However, if you do not get relief and continue to experience neck and head discomfort, tell your doctor. There may be another reason for your pain that should be considered.

BY: HAULLIE

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pour Thing, Great For Sore Hands!

I saw this on the "Count My Spoons" facebook page and of course had to share. It's called "Pour Thing" (link below) and it holds your beverage jugs or liters so you don't have to lift heavy milk, soda, or juice containers. Would be great for those with severe hand or arm muscle, joint or nerve pain. It's kinda pricey and takes up more room than the jug or liter itself though so that's the only issue. Other than that...neat! I could use one myself. I'm all about making little things easier with chronic pain like Fibromyalgia.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bakersfield Fibromyalgia & CFS Support Group

I went to support group again today. Every time I go I am reminded of how much strength there is in each individual person and how each person is so unique in their own story. I'm truly pulled in to what everyone has to say and am always willing to acknowledge what relates to my own condition or life's story because that is how we bond and connect. But more importantly, we are all mastering the art of good listening and communication. Strengths that we learn and build off of each other that we can use in our day to day lives. Whether it's fibro pain relief tips, sharing doctor's information, talking about kids, or even relationships and getting advice is how we develop that inner growth and I look forward to continuing to put my all into this group. They've all made me feel so comfortable. There's no judgement. If you wanna talk about anything you can and no one is going to make you feel bad or throw their personal beliefs on you and guilt you. That's the last thing someone with chronic illness needs or wants to hear anyway and I get none of that in my group. I just wish the rest of the world was this nice to people. But by being that example of harmony and connection, maybe we can all inspire each other. Maybe this blog will inspire someone out there to create their own support group in their own town. That's the power of awareness.

Love & Support, Haullie

Do you live in the Bakersfield, CA area and want to be a part of our support group?

Please "LIKE" our facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/bakersfieldFMCFsupport and then send us a private message (message button at the top of page under header) requesting to join our group. Thanks so much we would love to welcome you with open arms.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

WEGO HEALTH AWARDS CEREMONY

Voices of Fibromyalgia was nominated for the WEGO Health "best In Show Facebook" award. We are finalists! The ceremony is today at 12:00PM live on YouTube. I'll post a video after it's done. Here is the WEGO facebook page if anyone wants to give it a "Like" you can hear about some pretty amazing people and their plights to raise awareness. Thank you WEGO for acknowledging personal causes. And thank you to everyone who nominated and endorsed us. If we win we dedicate this to all of you. And guess what's even cooler? My good friend Cindy from Fibro Colors is also a nominee! YAY! Big hand for Cindy! We're both just so honored that our plights were nominated because it helped us raise some amazing awareness and that is the most amazing element of this all. Good luck to all of the finalists! Please support WEGO health by visiting the link below.


ABOUT WEGO: "WEGO Health is home to social media’s most active online health community -- Health Activists. These influencers, organizers, connectors, leaders and contributors are passionate about helping others lead healthier lives."

ABOUT THE AWARDS: The WEGO Health Activist Awards were created to embody the mission of WEGO Health: to empower Health Activists. We connect with so many inspiring Health Activists who raise awareness, share information, support their communities, and much more – often without recognition. Because our network is centered around Health Activists, we knew it was up to us to tell these leaders how great they are. We wanted to celebrate those who have made a difference and thus, the Awards were born. We’ve since found that these Awards are one of the best ways to introduce new Health Activists to the online community and have community members say “Thank You” to the leaders they love.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Fibro Chiropractor

I can't say I have a great primary or chronic pain management doctor, but I do have an awesome chiropractor named Dr. Brett Gallagher from Bakersfield, CA who cares and that's a good start. He's awesome! All doctors should take their patients illness seriously. My chiropractor sure does! Until I find the best team I can, I will be grateful for what I do have.

Love & Support, Haullie


Sunday, March 23, 2014

THE FIBRO SHOW | Fibromyalgia Is A "Headache."

Tune in tonight for an episode of THE FIBRO SHOW. Our internet streaming radio show. No need to turn your real radios on, it's on the internet so just click on the link at 9:00PM Pacific Standard Time and click the play button on the player to hear the show. TOPIC: Fibromyalgia is a "headache." I'm talking about how fibromyalgia started with headaches and how many different kinds I've had and how they've progressed with my other symptoms over the years.

The show airs all over the world but I only know american time zones (below.) If you can't tune in tonight don't worry, click on the link tomorrow and listen to it or some other time. The show archives on the same page 10 minutes after the end of the show and stays there forever. YAY! You can listen on your own time.

Call in to the show and speak to me or ask me a question. It's only a 30 minute show so I may not be able to take every call but please try: (310) 742-1827 (please be patient as I don't pick up right away)

(if you click the link and the time looks different on the show page, that's because the show page automatically adjusts to your time zone and will show you when it starts depending on your area. But it starts officially at 9:00PM PST. Here are the other time zones.)

9:00PM Pacific | 10:00PM Mountain | 11:00PM Central | 12:00PM Eastern

Fibromyalgia, We're ALL Unique! Just Like Our Pain.

This one fits me like a glove. I feel like my pain symptoms are these little devil demons that never just pack their fucking bags and leave my body. Noooooo, it has to play games, rage war and fire, cause chaos and sadness, beat me down till my motivation is almost empty. And we are all in different stages of the pain and grief. No two people with chronic pain are exactly alike. That's just another reason why we have to be accepting of each other. No two people's life stories are alike as well, no two people act alike, live their lives alike, enjoy or dislike the same things...ect. The way we cope with pain is different than the next person as well. But, we are all fighting the same battle. The battle of chronic daily pain and for that you are remarkable people with strength unmatched. With all you go through every day, all the doctor appointments, treatments, medications, ridicule, emotions and feelings of loss...you are still thriving. You are still so important and so is your story. So never be afraid to be different. Others may bring you down, but at the end of the day, we have to be willing to build ourselves back up again with any means necessary. We can find inner empowerment. Fibromyalgia may beat our bodies, but we can refuse to let it beat our spirit.

Love & Support, Haullie