The witching hour…

It’s nearly midnight. My son is sleeping peacefully at my side, the dog curled into the crook of his arm in slumbering bliss. The cat gave up trying to sleep on me because despite having worked myself way too hard today I can’t sleep!! ARGH!

I made displays for my upcoming show today and now I can’t stop thinking about them. I have been wanting to create a unique and cohesive look that would travel well and not require I suddenly be able to lift 8 million pounds. These were my solution: IMG_20170910_184535

Each of the upright displays (There are two grey ones and two violet, I just didn’t have room to photograph the 2nd gray display) is cork board over 1/4 inch thick plywood with a fabric cover. I basically made pretty sandwich boards. The table top displays were various baskets and things I stitched the fabric to and then wound copper LED lights through. I used the battery packs for the lights to angle the displays slightly. I’m very pleased with the result.

I also made a display for the “chandelier earrings” I have been working on:

IMG_20170908_013908

I plan to hang the chandelier from the lighting construct I made today and then hang the earrings from it. I also wound a copper LED light string through the chandelier to brighten it up a bit. I’m hoping the addition of the chandelier will further create the ambiance I want in my booth.

I am very pleased with the result of my labors but I am an idiot for pushing myself so hard. I just wanted to have everything done on the display end so I could relax and finish product throughout the rest of the week. The problem with being a one-woman show is there is no other person to pawn this stuff off onto!

Here’s to hoping I don’t pay too dearly for the work I did today.

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Overhydration…

So apparently this is a thing. I didn’t realize it, outside of victims of ecstasy at nightclubs, but you can routinely drink too much water. As a person who contends with chronic daily migraine I make a point of staying hydrated. In fact, my purse is a 3L hydration pack that happens to also carry my wallet and occasionally a lip balm or two. I live in terror of becoming de-hydrated because it can cause my migraine to flare up into impossible to operate with pain levels. I’ve done this for years.

So how did I discovery that perhaps I had become a little too overzealous in my diligent self watering you ask? It all started with volunteer work on the preserve.  I am the Vice-President of the Southern Plains Land Trust and we had our board retreat this past weekend. While I was nervous about managing pain for three days in the sun I was excited about being away from the city and seeing all the lovely animals.

While I was down there I fed bison and donkeys, walked our land, strategized our upcoming fundraisers, and generally enjoyed myself. I employed liberal ice packs on the base of my skull, took ibuprofen like vitamins, and did pretty well up until the final project: dust dozens of acres of prairie dog burrows with insecticide to protect those darling critters from plague. It was noon, high noon, 101 degrees and no shade noon. We were dressed in full length pants and shirts and gloves. I filled my 3L hydration pack and got to dusting. I walked to a burrow, checked it for signs of burrowing owls, and if there were none, bent down and squirted the dust deep inside. Rinse, repeat. Walk, bend, straighten. Drink. Walk, bend, straighten. Drink. Soon it became so warm that I was drinking almost non-stop.

When we were done we loaded up into the car our President had so kindly delivered us in and headed home. I could feel the flare at the base of my skull, a veritable thundering horde of pain held back by sheer determination and my last remaining ice pack. My joints and back began to stiffen, my hands and feet to swell. I told my fellow board members I was going to be out of it for the ride home and popped an emergency Vicodin. Twenty minutes later and I could tell the Vicodin was going to do nothing, the inevitable blinding pain began to build and wash over me in waves.

We stopped for gas and I stumbled inside to get ice water. My treasurer got Gatorade and I thought, what the hell, maybe a SmartWater wouldn’t hurt. Instead I saw this water called Core and it was cheaper. What the hell, a penny saved…. I bought it. I drank it. I felt the pain recede a little. At the next stop I bought another larger Core and drank it in minutes. I felt better. By the time we were two thirds of the way home I had consumed three bottles of electrolyte enhanced water and the “Paying for it” flare up I had been dreading was back to a dull roar.

What the hell is going on!?!? I have spent the past 4 years searching for answers and pain management techniques and suddenly I discover an electrolyte enhanced water that works better than any “rescue” med I have ever had?

So with my renewed spoons I did some research.

Common symptoms of an electrolyte disorder include:

Do any of these look familiar my fellow Fibromyalgia friends? It turns out that we need to keep our electrolytes in balance in order for our bodies to function properly. An electrolyte disorder occurs when one’s electrolytes are either too high or too low. In severe cases electrolyte imbalances can cause serious problems like coma, seizures, and cardiac arrest.

And, as it turns out, can mimic or exacerbate a fibro/migraine flare. By being so diligent with my water intake I was actually flushing these useful minerals out of my body and causing myself harm.

Okay, so what are electrolytes?

An electrolyte is a substance that conducts an electrical charge when dissolved in water. We need them to live. All living things need them. Our heart, muscle and nerve cells use electrolytes to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses to other cells. With improper levels of electrolytes in our bodies these functions are impaired and can even break down.

So, I have learned the thing, what have I done to incorporate the thing into my self care plan?

Well I don’t like one-off plastic bottle use and try to avoid it whenever possible so I had to look away from simply drinking Core every day. It turns out Emergency-C carries an electrolyte supplement in packets similar to there vitamin C packets. So I bought them. In an attempt to avoid making my electrolytes too high I am adding one packet to my water bottle in the morning and proceeding as usual, perhaps with a little less water intake on the whole.

TMI ALERT: I discovered your urine should not be clear. It should look like a light refreshing lemonade -hopefully without the pulp. (If your urine is pulpy you should see someone about that.) My urine was clear, and has been clear, for ages. I took the advice that light colored urine was a positive thing to mean the lighter the better and assumed clear, being the lightest you can get, was best. I was wrong. It is a sign of over-hydration.

So there you go! Hopefully this information helps you as much as it did me. I will let you know if there are any other benefits/downsides to this experiment in balance.

For now, here are some pictures from my time on the preserve for your perusual and enjoyment:

Facing up to face pain…

Sometimes my trigeminal nerve likes to make my face feel as though someone is slicing through it with a super sharp razor blade, over and over again, non-stop. Nothing really helps with the pain once it’s been activated, except for dry needling.

I have been staying away from dry needling as I was feeling better and didn’t need it anymore right?

Wrong! I need it now! It’s nearly 1 am and I can’t sleep because some invisible sadist is carving the left side of my face like a jack-o-lantern.

So tomorrow, phone calls and needles. Lots of needles. Also, when did my spirit animal become an ostrich?

 

Up and at ’em…

Things are brewing. My paintings are gaining a modicum of popularity, a complete stranger bought something from my Amazon Handmade page, and Pirate Fest is coming up in about three weeks.

I am determined not to give in to the desire to flounder.

Having said that, I have something I have to do and I admit I don’t want to.

I have to, HAVE TO, treat my body better. I stretch a bit and walk almost every day, but it’s been years since I really pushed myself to exercise. This is really stupid of me because all the literature says the only thing that really helps Fibromyalgia is exercise.

In the past I haven’t exercised as much as I should because I was working. Now I am not. I no longer follow the 40 – 60 hour a week schedule I used to use as an excuse to stay away from the gym.

So my doctors have suggested it, the literature suggests it, I have time for it, why am I not shaking my booty?

I think I’m scared. I think I am afraid I will be disappointed or embarrassed by my limitations, which really is stupid because I’m the only one whose going to be around really so why would I be embarrassed?

Ugh. Maybe it’s just easier to walk and call it good. Who knows. All I do know is the excuses are gone, the medical situation calls for it, and if I am really going to try and manage my symptoms with minimal medication I have no excuses for not exercising my way to a more well managed disease.

So. Swimming twice a week. Crunches every day. 15 minutes of yoga when I wake up and 15 minutes before I go to sleep. Arm exercises with my wrist weights on when I am resting in bed. Then maybe, just maybe, I can get myself to run again.

Time to program the new Vivofit, set myself some goals, and get up and at ’em.

Three steps forward…

Despite this week’s uncanny decision to render me miserable after I posted such happy thoughts of managing my illness I am bouncing back. Today I am at the gallery, surrounded by stunning things. I am so blessed to have such a lovely place to be and such an understanding work family. How many people can barely manage a 60% attendance at work and still feel like a valued member of the team?

I am also getting my Empathy Fish up on my website today. I have photographed them for posterity and have ordered Giclee samples so I can see if they work as limited edition prints.

I have four ready for sale and another that just needs touches to be ready. Already there is something large and tentacled floating around in my mind, awaiting time to set paint to paper.

This upcoming month is going to be a challenging one with two different shows for my jewelry. I am doing my best to be prepared and to carefully manage my spoons. Here’s to hoping I can succeed!

I wish you all the best today, here it’s cool and sunny, a perfect day for walking around.

Spoke too soon…

So there I was happily explaining how well I was managing symptoms when BLAMMO!! yesterday I was down and out for the day. Not only was my headache being obnoxious but my feet and arms and back and legs, well you get it, my fibromyalgia came forth to remind me that no matter how well I manage on good days, on bad ones I am one unhappy little pain puppy.

I tried walking the dog, because you are supposed to move around when fibro gets bad. Moving helps right?

No, no it doesn’t. It is miserable while you do it and miserable when you get home. My feet and back were throbbing and aching and otherwise horrible during the walk and once I stopped moving everything seized up and I was stuck in bed for hours until my muscle relaxant kicked in.

So it was Harry Potter and sleep for me last night.

Then today it was headache central again though thankfully my body is calmer. I got so sick of hurting I designed a headband for holding ice packs in place, chopped up one of my favorite scarves, stitched the thing together and voila!!:

Bohemian Migraine Snood
SavvySpoon’s Bohemian Migraine Snood!

I may not be able to function without ice today but now I at least have the use of my hands and I look at little, if not fashionable, at least intentional.

Tonight I have a board meeting for the one charity I still volunteer for. I cannot miss it so please wish me, and my bohemian ice wrap, some luck.

Happy Eclipse! I hope you got to see some cool stuff. Here are some of our photos, the trees treated us to a really cool experience here in Denver:

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