Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cortisone shot

A few of weeks ago I got a cortisone shot into my left hip joint at the hospital in radiology. During the first week I didn't see a huge improvement but after about 10 days, I noticed a bit more. It's nit great, I still can't walk far or fast but I can get out more than I could, say around the block with poles or a small trail walk.

I've noticed that there is more flexibility in the joint making some yoga moves better. I've been able to return to the yoga class.

Tomorrow, I want to try swimming as I wasn't even able to do that.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gathering leaves

My family doctor has finally returned. I met with her yesterday and we went over everything that's been happening. She read my X-rays for me and suggested I try Tylenol arthritis in the daytime. It seems to help some. I'm determined to get back out for some walk.

I've done some slow and short ones, coming home with pockets filled with leaves to sketch. Fall is such an invigorating time of year. I like to walk, enjoying all the senses, the crispy air, the beautiful colours. I breathe slowly and deeply. Oh, it's good to get out.


Sunday, September 28, 2014


I'm struggling with acceptance of my current crippled state- an injured knee and osteoarthritis of my hip. I'm waiting, sometimes impatiently for an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon and trying to come to terms with the fact that I may be laid up for the winter. Not having a car except for 2 days a week, that thought is a bit daunting.
Some days, I'm resigned to it and diligently do things like weight routines, easy yoga and chair aerobics, which are surprisingly good by the way.
And then I get a need to get outside, and not just into my yard. i need, I crave the forest. Last Thursday, and friday, I ventured out ,camera in hand, into my beloved trails. On Thursday night I kept my wits about me, going gently, and not too far with my walking poles. It was just far enough to breathe in the sights and smells of the forest. i got some spectacular photos.
On Friday night, having had the taste of it, I decided to take a sandwich and some drawing supplies to Daley Point Nature Reserve. this time I made the mistake of venturing much too far. It was beautiful, serene, and it filled my spirits with peace while I was there.
I ended up eating my sandwich on our waterfront after being chased away from the reserve by the mosquitoes. it was so warm they came out again.
However, I suffered in pain all Friday night and yesterday. i napped twice yesterday! It was worth it because I thoroughly enjoyed and learned that next time one small walk is enough.
Lesson learned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Portage Lake

My friend and I just returned from our annual retreat at the Portage Lake camps. It is such a beautiful spot about an hour from town. No electricity (generator), no phones, no TV, no radio. Just us the view, and our sewing.

Ours was the second cabin from the left.

Most people go up to fish and hunt according to the season. Blueberry season is just finishing and they were plentiful this year.

We'd like to bring our life jackets and gear next year too. We can fish and sew!
It would give us a little break from the tricky projects like these bags.

We made them the first day and I confess they were exasperating. We decided to move onto something simpler the next day. I pieced more blocks for the baby quilt I'm making.

They're randomly arranged. I think I'll make 8 more.

Apparently there is a path that leads all the way around the lake, but one would need an orange vest and perhaps some male company. Lots of moose around. I ventured partway in for some photos. I love tree stumps.

One could not tire of this view from the window or the deck. The trees and water changed color every few minutes and the leaves were actually turning more red and golden from one day to the next.

I sat outside the first night on the swing with my tea.

The cookie came from the caretaker who made them and nicely brought us each one.
These little respites taken close to nature sustain me throughout the year.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Seated workouts

Up until this summer, walking, bicycling , kayaking and snowshoeing have been good stress relievers for me besides giving me a cardio workout. A knee injury and osteoarthritis in my hip have conspired to keep me from my normal activities. I can kayak when the weather is good and provided I have someone to help get the kayak to and from the water.
I can now bike on the flat in an easy gear for short intervals. It's not cardio but I'm getting out.
While looking for some seated exercises, I came across this site:

There are cardio workouts, toning, core and weight workouts for anyone who has mobility issues. Of course, ask your doctor and proceed at your own pace. I did the 11 minute cardio the first time and was surprisingly sore the next day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer healing and a couple of resources for neuropathic pain

I've spent as much of the summer getting outside when I could. There is something about the wind on your skin or the feeling of floating in the waves at the seashore that is such a balm to the soul and the body of one suffering from chronic pain. It has helped me feel more at peace.

I've taken some time here and there to keep researching neuropathy and came across a couple of informative sites.

Neuropathy Support Network

I've added a couple of the books recommended from the above site to my Amazon cart.

A Canadian Neuropathic Information Site

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Walking the sandbars and my collections

For the moment everything is in balance. I'm staying on all the medications, even though I don't like it, and all is good.
This morning, I took a little drive out to the Beresford market, feeling very summery, almost touristy. I donned my straw sun hat, shorts, and a cool cotton blouse, gathered up a basket and off I went. I used to have a rule that I would only wear shorts around the yard, or on vacation. I've gotten over that!
I bought a Frech country bread with cranberries, a quart of fresh local strawberries, and garlic greens which I'd not seen before.

I'm told to cook with them and add them to stir fries.
Since my mother in law is just around the corner at the beach, I popped in for a visit. I was lucky that it was low tide. We went for a little walk on the sandbars and waded through the warm pools. Of course I left my phone/ camera in the cottage.
I did bring a few treasures home to use as subjects in my sketches. I laid down a first wash of color and left it for now as even though the air conditioner is on, I'm sweating. Going to take a break.

These simple little indulgent pleasures keep me happy and serene, making me forget anything else.
An email from my son to tell me about a tree purchase they just made for their new home and a picture on Facebook of my daughter doing what she loves made me happy. Better than any medication.

She did a 'Color run'.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dealing with nagging neuropathy, cranberry muffins

A couple of days ago I decided to see if I really needed to take the 25 mg of Elevil at bedtime, so I stopped it. I've found out that it really doesn't seem to affect my sleep at all. However, I have noticed a remarkable increase in the daytime itchiness, burning and tingling.
Last night. I took a half pill; again no affect on sleep but I'm still having the increased symptoms. Looks like I'll have to go back to my regular dose.
Taking all this medication gets me down, but so does the neuropathy. I guess I'll have to choose the lesser of two evils for now.
One thing that helps is to keep busy. I especially enjoy making healthy and colourful meals.

These are one of my go to recipes. Granola rhubarb muffins-- I used cranberries since I just made a rhubarb crumble yesterday.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Swimming in the sea

I swam in the sea today, well technically a bay, the Chaleur Bay. And it was warm.

I floated in the shallows between the sandbars on a noodle, rising and falling with the gentle undulation of the swells, remembering the dark time a short couple of months ago when neuropathy held me in its grip 24 hours a day.
Now it is mostly under control; I am reminded from time to time during the day with light symptoms.

Today, I walked the beach in my bare toes and flip flops taking in the beauty of the sand and the tide worn stones.
I kayaked, I swam, I floated, the salt water doing wonders. I turned with my back to the shoreline gazing out to the endless horizon.
It felt so wonderful. I still fear the return of the all consuming pain, ever hopeful that I'm on the mend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gabapentin for neuropathy

I'm still taking a large dose of gabapentin for my neuropathy. I still remain hopeful that it might get better someday and I'll be able to get off it although the groggy side effects have worn off at least.
It really does help for me to stay busy as it takes my mind off the symptoms that are not completely eased by the medication. I still have some tingling, burning and itching at a moderate level. Doing something physical really helps. My husband doesn't like me to mow the lawn, but I insisted the other night that I really needed to do it. I couldn't sit still all evening!
Keeping busy during the day with my gardens and artwork help too.

I'd like to be able to sit and read a little more often. Depending on symptoms, sometimes I can't relax enough to do it.
I can only relate it to having a feeling of ants crawling allover and I have to move even though I'm tired. At night to sit and watch TV before bed, I have to add Tylenol or Benedryl into the mix.
I'm doing what I can and need to go about my day and do most of the things I love. For this I am thankful at least.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Getting away

There is definitely something about getting away from things! We've come to Hampton, NB to visit my son and his fiancé in their new house. We have our own room with a comfortable bed. Their house is sweet.
Today, I relaxed a bit while the men worked on a garden fence.

It really does the body wonders to get away and relax. I still have pain but it has gone down and of course I think about it less.
I took their new puppy, an Auussiedoodle, for a walk. He's such a sweety!

And quite well behaved for a puppy.
I gathered some wildflowers while taking him for a walk. I think a nicely shaped jar makes a great vase.
While the boys work a bit more outside, I sat at the table with puppy curled around my feet while painting in my tiny travel sketchbook.

Oh, and I do always take sleeping pills when traveling. It makes for happy days.
It's all a good prescription for well being.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Finally, a walk

I've been icing and my leg and wearing a knee brace and  it finally feels a little better. A noon hour talk show with a doctor convinced me to get out and give it a little spin. He said that contrary to old beliefs, one should use the injured limb lightly to build up muscles.
So I did.In between showers I took my poles and went for an easy 30 minutes. Seems OK.
It's silly isn't it the little things that can wear you down, and the equally simple things that can make one happy. good thing for that!
i picked the forget me knots near the beginning of my walk and gripped them with my poles all the way!d
And I picked up the little orchid while at the grocery store.
I've had a busy couple of days writing for a deadline. Between that and my knee, it was lovely;y to get out for a bit. Even the mosquito didn't darken my mood! They sped me on some though.
What do you do to cheer yourself?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Strained ligament

A frustrating thing with fibromyalgia is that you can go about your normal exercise routine and without feeling a thing at the time, do serious injury.
For me, walking, biking, and exploring the outdoors is key for my mental attitude, my physical well being, and my struggle with weight. I'm sure many of you know exactly what I mean and understand that it's a struggle.
Hypothyroidism often comes with weight gain. Then several of the pills that I take have weight gain as side effects. But it's not just the weight, I love to be outside and moving. The gardening has made me scarcely able to move although I've been careful and used as many ergonomic aids as possible, limiting time spent as well.
This is a tiny garden space around my apple tree which I wrote about on my other blog. I put together the glass mushroom from thrift store glass, putting a solar light inside.

Somehow, in the last couple of weeks I have seriously strained a ligament around my knee. After a short bike ride with some yoga last night( it felt so good) I can barely walk this morning.
I took advantage of skipping my yoga class and chopped up my rhubarb which I had picked the other day. The rhubarb drying on the towel I froze. I made rhubarb walnut loaves with the rest.

I'll continue icing, resting, and easing off the exercise, but I must keep going.
How do you cope?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A little trip to help me out of my rut

I haven't driven out of town anywhere by myself in the last couple of years. Recently, I've been trying to get used to 2 new medications, gabapentin and elevil, to help with the neuropathy. I really hated taking them at first due to the side effects. I was in a haze and still they didn't seem to be working. Finally, after months, my brain cleared and the pain is at a bearable level.
I went to Prince Edward Island over the weekend to stay with my daughter who just started university there.
Wow, I really had such fun! And managed to take all my pills at the right time without it being tiresome.
We spent a lovely weekend together, lots of shopping and visiting my family. She took me to an opening of a very beautiful restaurant and art gallery with the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen!
If you have time go, look at some of their pictures.

The Dines

It really does take a little excursion out of town to make one see how much of a rut one can be in. I made it, I had fun, I spent time with my daughter, I was happy!
When I drove up into my driveway, I was greeted by a backyard in full bloom. I was so afraid I would miss it. My apple tree is at its peak.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Addison's and taking your cortisone

I've developed a pretty rigid habit for remembering my cortef dose which I take at approximately 7am, 12pm and 5pm.
My watch is set for the afternoon ones. The first thing I do in the morning is get up, make a cup of tea which I drink in bed and I take my first dose of cortef. Today, for some reason I only noticed at noon that I had missed my morning dose.
I took both doses but by 1 pm, I could hardly move my limbs. I stretched out with my I a Pad and a tea until around 3 pm when I felt better.
I'm wondering how others make sure to get their necessary pills. Suffering does go long way in helping to remember!

I did put it ether a little bird bath/ feeder from recycled glass vases and bowls earlier today. Planning to do more.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


I've been well and happy these last few days. Not perfect but as close as it gets. The side effects of the gabapentin which I'm taking for the neuropathy are wearing off, so I feel more like myself. I'm taking a rather large dose, but not the maximum and my pain is mostly under control. It comes and goes and is at least now at a level I can tolerate.
After attending my quilt guilds last UFO day today ( that always makes me happy), I got my bike out and went for a spin through some of the back trails.

It is so wonderful to see the trees leafing out and the blossoms opening. Although I don't have any smell, I can still breathe deeply with satisfaction imagining the sweet smell of new growth.
I saw and heard lots of wild life-- warblers, woodpeckers, squirrels, and a partridge that took his time ambling across the trail into the woods.
On a bank beside the trail I spied these odd puff ball shaped growths on an old stump. I walk theses trails many times, constantly astounded by something new each time. I've never seen these before.

They are some type of growths, and they don't seem fungus or mushroom like. They are hollow and papery to the touch. I shall have to do a search on the net to see if I can find them.

It pleases me no end to make these little discoveries, something I can do only when I decide to go for a little easy ride, looking around me as I go.
Besides my artistic expression which I write about on my other blog, this is how I cope with life and stress and chronic illness. I slow down and get outside for some movement and exploration. This is happiness.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Walking the Beach

I came home after my standing Friday lunch date with my friends and I was feeling the tingling all over,  another manifestation of the neuropathy. It's not super painful at the level I have it with medication; however, it is very uncomfortable. When I get it, I have to get moving, so I went to the beach for a walk. It was sprinkling rain when I got there, but I sat there and watched the water until it stopped.
I can never leave the beach or the woods without something in my pockets and today was no different. The little piece of driftwood caught my eye because it reminded me of a submarine. The white shell is not one I've seen much around here. it looks like angel wings.
I've often collected seaweed and done watercolor studies. This one attached to the rock interested me.
Afterwards, I met my husband at the golf course for supper and we sat idly and chatted. It was pleasant--a nice distraction.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Intense itching , another Bowen treatment

I was so hopeful that the neuropathy was under control but it returned with a vengeance a couple of days ago. It always gets worse in the evenings. I've had to resort to Tylenol and Benadryl again in addition to all my other meds. Yoga was not helping. So I called and went for another Bowen treatment yesterday. I was told that sometimes symptoms are worse before they get better and they sure were last night.
The technique involves such a light touch that one wonders if it can work. When I was touched in certain areas though along the spine and the neck, it actually sent shivers up into my head.
Today is another day so we shall see. This morning I went to yoga and then came home for my walk. I'm often admonished for walking the trail alone but if I didn't I would be relegated to the streets of the sub division and would miss out on such beauty.

There is something spiritual about inhaling the sunlit , softly scented air in the woods. I need it so.
Walking the woods also holds my attention as there is always something new and fascinating to see. Yesterday while reading some blogs, I came across this quote :

"Do not try to do extraordinary things, but do ordinary things with intensity".

In other words be fully in the moment. Slowing my mind and 'paying attention' is difficult for me. Strolling the trail, camera in hand is one way for me to do it. There is something new to see every time I go out.
I wonder how many different species are growing in this little microcosm beside the rotting tree.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Letting go and trying the Bowen Method

I read once that life is a continual process of letting go and it struck me as being quite true. There is sadness and some grieving as we age as we let go of the people and things in our life. We must let go of certain physical abilities that we had when younger. It is even more poignant when it involves dealing daily with a chronic illness. I think as part of the grieving process, one must also allow for the hope of new things to come. One never knows what might be around the corner.
I have also read that to experience joy, one must dwell not in the past, strive not for the future but remain in the present. This is not easy but it is advice that I try to follow as best I can.
I am always reading, researching, looking for ways to better my health. One thing that I just came across is the Bowen massage method for pain management. I found a local practitioner and tried it last week. It definitely doesn't resemble a true massage as the touch is very light, actually barely there. I am suffering from a debilitating small fiber neuropathy and was willing to give it a try.
The day after, I felt immediate relief. Was it due to the treatment or due to a new medication that I had started a few days earlier? I'm not sure but I am going for one more treatment.
Today, I'm trying to stay healthy by eating well, doing some yoga, and spending time in my sewing studio.
For supper, I'm making a macaroni and cheese to which I will add mashed butternut squash and cooked kale.

I chopped and added the kale to cook with the pasta.

Later this afternoon, I will stir the mashed squash into the the cheese sauce when I make it. I make a basic white sauce using low fat milk to which I add grated lower fat cheddar.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Walking as meditatation

This is the first post on my new blog. I will add more information to it as I go. I've just begun. I would like to connect with others who are living with chronic illness and chronic pain. I don't want it to be a venue for complaints rather I'd like it to be a place to hear from others and to hear about what works. A place to share our journeys.
I will add more information to my profile about my illnesses later.

One of my favourite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Live in the sunshine
Swim in the sea
Drink the wild air

The little poem has always appealed to me but is even more important now that I live with chronic illnesses and chronic pain. There are nights when I can't sleep, I'm so restless, with itching and burning. When that happens, like it did last night, I get up, make a Tazo Calm tea and read for a bit. I feel pretty bad in the morning but I know the best cure for it is to get my body outside and moving.
Today, I walked to the mall and back via my favourite trail.
I always pass this abandoned bird's next and check to see if it's still there.

The birds have never returned but I continue to watch and admire it each time I pass by.
I need to breathe the wild air, to be in this place, to feel at peace. The moment is all that's important. It is the best way for me to deal with pain, particularly the nagging neuropathic pain that I've been living with of late.
Doesn't this beautiful nest awe you? I am amazed a the symmetry, artistry and beauty of it! It brings me joy! That has to be one of the best remedies for neuropathic discomfort or pain of any sort.