Wednesday, February 23, 2005

grown up issues...

I have been complaining about all this pain I have been feeling. I got rid of the endometriosis problem by going through surgery and going through an induced menopause for a year. I had other complaints about my neck, shoulders, back, hip, wrist... you name it, it's painful. If you look at me, you won't even guess how much pain I am under and if you hear me complain, you would think that I am a big cry baby because I look normal and most of the time, I look like I am having fun. But at night, when I am lying in bed, I shrivel from all the aches and pains I had to endure the whole day to have a NORMAL day. I have had one test after another, one specialist after another and I finally got a conclusive answer from a rheumatologist about my condition. By no means does it put things into perspective because like all things medical, there is no REAL explanation. All I know is that my pain is REAL and there is finally a name for it.
Of course all this felt stupid when I found out that a dear friend whose name I cannot mention (because of a desire to be private about it) is suffering with Non-Hodgkins. It is very serious form of cancer and all I can think of is what a fucking ass am I for complaining on my chronic but NOT acute condition. Whose situation is worst? Who's luckier, me or my friend? I guess you can't really compare it. Although you can't die from what I have, there is no cure either while my dear friend's condition... Ah, too morbid to even consider... but I know my friend... I know that my friend can overcome this!
My dear, if you are reading this. I don't mean to be insensitive, I don't mean to compare. In fact, all I wish is for you to get better and live the life you so deserve, with your family and with your friends.
Life has an odd way of turning... who knew back then when we were just silly teenagers with stupid problems would now have this health issues that affect the rest of our lives, so much so that we have to search for answers. Answers that might not even be there...
I love you my dear...

FIBROMYALGIA

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that affects more women than men. People affected have widespread aches and pains in their muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is also known as "muscular rheumatism", "soft tissue rheumatism" and "neurasthenia".

What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that's hard to define. There isn't an obvious physical explanation for the persistent aches and pains. But it is clear that the symptoms can make it hard to cope with daily activities like employment and housework.
Fibromyalgia is sometimes considered to be like chronic fatigue syndrome (which used to be called ME). It is a real illness and not something that is simply in the mind of people who have it.
Causes
Nobody is quite sure what causes fibromyalgia. There are many theories, but there is no clear evidence of the cause. It doesn't seem to be inherited from parents and it doesn't appear to be caused by a virus.
People with fibromyalgia appear to be more likely to have sleeping problems, such as insomnia, than usual. One theory is that the production of hormones, essential for maintenance of the body's cells, is reduced by abnormal sleep rhythms. But doctors aren't sure whether the sleep problems cause the fibromyalgia, or the other way round.

Symptoms
The aches and pains of fibromyalgia affect many of the muscles around the body, although not necessarily all at the same time. The pain is usually worse in the neck and the upper part of the back, and it's unlikely to be fully relieved by everyday painkillers - paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen.

People with fibromyalgia may also have symptoms including:
  • waking up feeling totally unrefreshed
  • constant fatigue
  • feeling very stiff in the morning
  • numb hands or tingling fingers
  • finding everyday noise irritating and painful
  • loss of ability to concentrate
  • forgetfulness
  • irritability
Some people also complain of tension headaches, stomach cramps and of having to get up repeatedly at night to pass urine.
People who have fibromyalgia often find that their condition is affected by the weather. When it is cold and damp, their symptoms may be worse and they feel especially unwell.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that sometimes lasts for several years. People often become depressed and this may make the condition more difficult to treat.

Diagnosis
The GP will ask about the symptoms and carry out a physical examination.
If the doctor suspects fibromyalgia, he or she will probably apply pressure to various "trigger" points throughout the body. This pressure would be no more than a little uncomfortable to most people. But someone who has fibromyalgia will find it much more painful. The affected muscles and soft tissues will probably appear normal on examination, which suggests that there no simple physical cause for the pain.

Before diagnosing fibromyalgia, other conditions that have similar symptoms may need to be ruled out with investigations such as X-rays or blood tests.
These conditions include:
  • arthritis
  • systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) - a soft-tissue disease due to an immune system disorder
  • under- or overactive thyroid

Your doctor may refer you to a rheumatologist or hospital pain clinic for further, more specialist, assessment.

Treatment
Often the reassurance that the bone and muscle pains are not caused by a life-threatening disease, such as cancer, can bring a huge sense of relief - and may even lead to some improvement in sleep problems or pain.
Lifestyle changes, medicines and psychological therapies can help. Complementary therapies such as osteopathy and acupuncture are popular.


Physical Activity
If you have painful muscles and joints, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. But a gentle programme of aerobic exercise - exercise that increases your heart rate and makes you feel slightly out of breath - can make a big difference.
Taking a daily walk or going swimming two or three times a week can be a good way to begin.
When these are no longer difficult, a low-impact aerobics class that will not put too much strain on your joints and muscles could be a next step.
Relaxation
An essential component of coping with fibromyalgia is reducing stress in your life to a managable level. If it is possible you may need to cut down your workload or get some help at home.
There are also other relatively simple steps you can take to help you manage your condition:
  • make sure that the chairs you sit on at home and at work encourage good posture
  • check that your mattress is firm and supportive - this should help your muscles relax at night and prevent joint problems from getting worse
  • you may also find a specially shaped pillow will support your neck better than a regular pillow
  • learn some basic relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and "positive visualisation", to help relieve stress or reduce anxiety caused by everyday events
  • a weekly massage can be very soothing (but can't cure the condition)
  • regular breaks to "get away from it all" will give you something good to look forward to, and may help you cope in the interim.

Medicines
Strong painkillers (eg tramadol), muscle relaxants (eg baclofen) and steroids (eg prednisolone) are sometimes recommended, although they may have side-effects which must be balanced with their possible benefits.

Antidepressants such as amitriptyline and prothiaden are sometimes used to treat chronic pain, including fibromyalgia. The dose taken is generally much lower than that used to treat depression. Antidepressants take several weeks to have any effect.
Psychological Therapies
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help people with fibromyalgia to understand the thoughts (cognitions) they have about their pain and to develop new ways of coping with it (behaviours).
Outlook
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, although ongoing medical research is trying to understand the condition better.

People who continue with active treatments, such as a graded programme of exercise and medicines do generally recover.

It can take a while to start feeling better, though. Support from people who have experience of the condition can be very helpful.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine morning...


It's never too late...

After Dynny got picked up by her Mom. Gene called and invited me to dinner in his new place.
He cooked! So, in lack of anything else to do and the temptation of having king crab and corn cob for dinner, I came over. His place looks great, he got all his model cars displayed and it was neat. There was flowers waiting for me in the vanity. I ask myself "why now?... when it's over!" ... but it's never too late to receive flowers. It feels good. I always wanted it and now I got it.

The dinner was amazing and the best thing about it was I didn't have to clean up afterwards... after all it wasn't my home anymore. We didn't talk about us either, which was refreshing. I missed talking non-stop about work and it was kind of nice that he knew everyone I was talking about.

When I got home, I placed the flowers in a vase and when I woke up Valentine morning, it was the first thing I saw. It put a smile on my face...

What can I say, I am a hopeless romantic!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

My Funny Valentine...


my funny Valentine...

Spending a weekend with my one and only niece was very refreshing. I played Mommy all the way, we did everything together. I didn't let her out my sight even for a second. We read books, we colored, we exercised. By the end of the weekend, she told me, "Mommy Jhoiey, I am your baby... I love you!" How freakin' sweet is that. She is more fun now because she can actually converse with you in full sentences and she makes sense, very smart kid.


passing on Mickey!

I pass over my old mickey belt bag that Gene gave me years ago when I moved to L.A.


Dynn with her umbrella at the Brentwood Plaza.

We walked to Whole Foods and had a fruit bowl and another day, we walked to Brentwood Plaza where Dynny met Calista Flockhart's son and played with him a little bit. My Dynny acted like a true Brentwood royalty, I love it! I bought her a cute butterfly umbrella in case it rains on us.

My Valentine weekend cannot be anymore perfect. But the wonderful thing is, I get to give her back to her Mom when it was time to go back to work... I spoiled her too much, she wanted me to go home with her!

Friday, February 11, 2005

RX


my new RX

A friend e-mailed me this today and thought it fit me perfect...

I wonder why? *lol*

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Pain In the Neck - Part II: Cervical Spondylosis

I have finally gotten a copy of my medical report from the Spine Specialist. I have several appointments in the coming weeks for a second, third & possibly a fourth opinion to see if surgery is the best way to my chronic neck & shoulder pain. Lately it has been affecting the mobility of my arms and hand and there are bad days when even my knees would fold on me before I even know it... oops --- I'm on the ground with all fours and a bruised knee!
The official title of my condition is Cervical Spondylosis.
What Is Spondylosis?
Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis) is a degenerative disorder that may cause loss of normal spinal structure and function. Although aging is the primary cause, the location and rate of degeneration is individual. The degenerative process of spondylosis may impact the cervical, thoracic, and/or lumbar regions of the spine affecting the intervertebral discs and facet joints.
Cervical Spine and Spondylosis The complexity of the cervical anatomy and its wide range of motion make this spinal segment susceptible to disorders associated with degenerative change. Neck pain from spondylosis is common. The pain may spread (radiate) into the shoulder or down the arm. When a bone spur (osteophyte) causes nerve root compression, extremity (e.g. arm) weakness may result. In rare cases, bone spurs that form at the front of the cervical spine, may cause difficult swallowing (dysphagia).
The spine specialist I saw before Christmas recommended surgery and the procedure is called Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion.
I am a little wary about all this but now that I have eliminated the endometriosis pain, I have to face this other chronic condition and see how I could remedy it. I am young, active, energetic. I cannot be stopped by some chronic condition to pursue the things I want to achieve in life, whether it be career or just our having fun.
My friend DeeDee have been great help as well, she gave me a 2.5 hour massage last Monday night targeting just the neck and shoulder area. We will have another session next week before I go back to practicing yoga and going to Physical Therapy. I will be proactive about this. I have let endometriosis bring me down for a long time, I won't let spodylosis make me lose my life again.
I will be strong... so help me God!

I can't change him!

This song makes me cry, it makes him cry too.

Can't change me
by Chris Cornell

She can do anything at all
Have anything she pleases
The power to change what she thinks is wrong
So what could she want with me?

But wait just one minute here
I can see that she’s trying to read me
Suddenly I know

She’s going to change the world
But she can’t change me
No she can’t change me

She has the daylight at her command
She gives the night it’s dreams
She can uncover your darkest fear
And make you forget you feel it

But wait just one minute more
I can see that she’s trying to free me
Suddenly I know

She’s going to change the world
But she can’t change me

Suddenly I can see everything that’s wrong with me
But what can I do?
I’m the only thing I really have at all

But wait just one minute here
I can see that she’s trying to need me
Suddenly I know

She’s going to change the world
But she can’t change me
No she can’t change me

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

looking forward---->

My New Year was spent with Lola and Dynn and I don't think I posted pictures... Anyway, I am looking forward to Valentine's Day because as it appears, I am once more a weekend Mom to my little niece Dynn...

Here are some of the New Year photos....


"c'mon mommy jhoiey, i'm going to sing"


making mommy jhoiey's painting a backdrop for this pose...


"please mommy jhoiey... more bread w/ peanut butter"


"please..."


"thanks mommy jhoiey!"


"do i look pretty?"


"i look yellow here...."


singing "old mcdonald had a farm...eieio..."


my new year celebration

welcome to my lofty castle --- small but cozy


view from the loft looking down


my barcelona chair & ottoman


display some of my ceramic work by the fireplace


my luscious bed

Saturday, February 05, 2005

quiet misery

I am not sure if I could even begin the roller coaster of emotions that went through me today. I have avoided talking/blogging about Gene since I went to therapy...
He have moved to his new place now. There were alot of events and non events that happened in the last few weeks and I don't really care to enumerate them but yesterday was the last day we shared an apartment together. He got his ass together and moved out from the place where it all broke lose. What goes on from here? I don't know --- we'll see.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

aayyyyyyyyyyyyyy

It's been awhile since I blogged! It's so busy at work I am nearly stressed out! Now I know why people try not to live too close to work. You can freakin' stay up all night and go to the office any time of day or night including weekends. I have quite an obsessive personality when it comes to chores, that's why I avoid cleaning my house because I do not want to obsess on it! That's my excuse anyway...

For the past couple of weeks, I have been working non stop and I am not complaining because I love what I do. My body is complaining though!!!

So... take a deep breath and be thankful for the things that have been had...

I would like to thank RS for rekindling my ubid.com relationship. Because of him, I have bought an all-in-one-computer, a robovac, a scanner (that scans film) and more things that I do not really care to mention. I also got a new 19" LCD flat screen monitor! And did I mention that I love my computer specially the fact that I got it half of what I would have paid for full retail! I am done doing any major purchase now.... Or so I say...
My sister have moved in with me and it's nice to have company again.
Gene have found an apartment and is in the process of moving as well.
I have sort of re-scheduled my next surgery after Thea's wedding so I would be physically able to run around with AnP and Michelle and everyone else coming over. I need to plan something exciting for this girls to appreciate L.A. more. Because obviously ---- I love L.A.!!!!
Okay... deep breathe is over... gotta go back to work so I could afford to buy more stuff i probably don't really need!!!
All I can say is... after much crying and whining and medication and therapy... this little brat of an angel is almost FOUND! Does that mean I have to change my blog address.... NAH