Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

Tomorrow, May 12th, is 2013 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day so I thought I’d simply share my previous post about this.

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Understanding of fibromyalgia as a real chronic illness is recognized on this day each year with events held across the U.S. and around the world to raise awareness about fibromyalgia and its impact on individuals, families and communities.

The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) stands ready to help you and/or your support group create a memorable event to make a difference in your community.

The theme this year is “CARE & Make Fibromyalgia Visible.”  The acronym CARE stands for:

C – Contribute
A – Advocate
R – Research
E – Educate

The goal of this year’s campaign is to engage people outside of the fibromyalgia community to support and spread awareness for FM recognition to the general public.

To help you spread the word, the NFMCPA is providing FREE Fibromyalgia Awareness Day Event Kits for events of all sizes.  Whether you’re one individual person who wants to get a proclamation signed by your legislators or a large group sponsoring a city-wide walk, they have the materials you will need, including posters, signs, instructions, step-by-step checklists and even raffle tickets and receipts.

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Awareness Day and Fundraiser Event Kits available include:

  • Community Picnic Events
  • Table-Top Exhibits for Shopping Malls, Health Fairs, Farmers’ Markets, etc.
  • Walk to Cure FM Events
  • State Legislature Visits – Proclamation and Resolution Program

For more information or to order an event kit, visit the NFMCPA’s Awareness Day 2013 Web page.

[Shared from http://www.prohealth.com]

To read more about how fibromyalgia affects lives, please check out the Fibromyalgia Awareness Day tab on my Chronic Illness page.

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AnnaSmile

Brace Face

Tidbit Tuesday – Edited Version

Even though I feel like the days are speeding by, I guess I was trying to make it go faster by posting this Tidbit Tuesday post today. Go figure…

Last night I pulled out some old photos of me and scanned them into my computer this morning to add to this post (that I thought was still scheduled to publish tomorrow). So when I saw that I was a little late, I decided to do this edited version and republish it now. Sorry for the confusion, but here we go!

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I was fairly awkward as I was growing up. Some of that is still with me today. But when you are a teen, everything seems to conspire against you. Even things that are “for your own good” often feel anything but that!

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Include me in the ranks of having to wear braces when I was young. Not once, but twice! I don’t have any photos available that show me with braces on, but then I rarely smiled big with a mouthful of metal and here are some photos to prove it.

As you can see, I absolutely did not like to smile with a mouth full of metal. But when I forgot that the camera was there and did smile, here’s what I looked like:

Anna19yo-2

Actually, someone must have said something that made me laugh big and then caught me just in time with the camera. I can’t recall the details, but there you have it!

“Brace face” was only one of the names I was called. How about “tin grin” or “metal mouth”? Even one of my high school teachers teased me about it!

These days braces are very common so they’re not a big deal. You can even have “invisible” braces these days that do a great job. But I had an intense love/hate affair with my braces. I had terribly crooked teeth, especially my upper ones. My eye teeth were so crowded out of alignment with the rest that they looked kind of like fangs—I kid you not. So I was thankful that my teeth would look much better and prettier after the braces, but I hated everything else about it: all the the visits to the orthodontist, the ELASTICS that kept popping off and shooting across the room, the pieces of food that would get gunked up in all that metalness.

When I finally got them off, I was so relieved and happy… until a year later when they had to go back on. Apparently my stubborn eye teeth did not like their new home and tried to migrate north again. And this second wearing of braces really caused some angst. Here I was a “cool” 19-year old working as a receptionist for an orthodontist at the time (my own orthodontist referred me to him). Whenever a teenager came in for a consult with his parents and seemed less than delighted at the thought of all that metal in their mouth, my orthodontist boss would point to me and say, “See? You’re never too old for braces!”

Oh. Joy. Let’s just draw even more attention to my brace face, shall we?

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And here I am about a year after my braces were removed the second time. I was more than willing to smile for the camera then!

I hope you enjoyed this little journey through my brace face years. I am so thankful for my Mom and Dad who worked very hard to pay for those braces. Unlike today, it was a huge deal back then to have braces and compared to the typical income back then, they were very expensive. I don’t ever take my straight teeth for granted!

AnnaSmile

Recovery Mode

Reblogged from October 22, 2011: an ongoing issue for me in my new normal…

CRASH AND BURN

It has been a very busy week for me and I’m grateful I was able to do everything I did, but… now I’m going through the crash and burn phase—what I call my payback days. Living with multiple chronic illnesses is no picnic. It’s very discouraging to look around the house and see everything that needs doing but only being able to do the minimum to keep up. I try hard not to think back on how much I used to be able to do, seemingly simple things like cleaning my whole house in one morning.

Those days are long gone.

Now I can only do one thing, such as dusting one room, and then have to stop and rest for awhile before doing anything else. And quite often, dusting that one room is the only task I am able to accomplish that day.

Take something as enjoyable as having company. Rick and I have friends over for coffee on Thursday mornings, and I love my time with these close friends whom we call “family.” But when everyone leaves, I suddenly realize I am wiped out! If the migraine I woke up with hasn’t completely left me, then it feels horrible by that point because of all the talking and laughing during that sweet fellowship. I wonder if that’s what the phrase “hurts so good” means—well, maybe not.

To this “get it all done now” turned “maybe tomorrow” person, it has been a slow process. From denial to frustration to understanding and finally to acceptance, this journey has not been easy. However, I’ve learned some things that work for me:

  1. Accept what you can do and don’t worry about the rest — it will eventually get done.
  2. Make yourself rest often, even if you don’t think you need it at the time. If you’re like me, your mind wants you to keep on going (like that Energizer bunny) even when your body tells you to stop.
  3. Enlist help from your spouse and children for tasks that are too difficult or time-consuming for your energy levels.
  4. Find things to do that you enjoy but won’t add to your pain burden. I can still write, something that fills me with joy, but I’ve learned I have to pace myself  because I could easily go on for hours! I have also discovered how much I enjoy crocheting, especially for others. This keeps me busy, makes me feel productive, and moves the focus from me and my pain to whomever I’m crocheting for at the time. And I have always loved to read and lose myself in a good book.
  5. Be thankful for what you are still able to do, even if it is something as simple as making coffee.

Every so often when I do get out with Rick for coffee or a meal out or to get together with friends, someone will ask how I’m doing that day. My response? “I’m here!” I think that short and sweet statement says it all.