Dry Eye and Headaches

I learned something the other day that I wish I’d known a lot sooner. I have dry eyes.

I didn’t know that I had dry eyes, because my eyes don’t bother me. The only reason I found this out, is because I also have Optic Disc Drusen, which causes calcium in the optic disc. I didn’t know I had Optic Disc Drusen until several years ago, when my son was diagnosed with it and the ophthalmologist said that Drusen is a genetic disease. The doctor checked my eyes and said that it came from me.

My Drusen was dormant until a couple of years ago. It isn’t as severe as my son’s. The only symptom I have is seeing flashing strings of lights in my peripheral vision at night.

Now that my Drusen is active, my optometrist referred me to a neurologist/ophthalmologist for several extensive tests. Yes, the doctor saw that I have Optic Disc Drusen, but he also said that I have dry eyes. The doctor said that most people who have dry eyes don’t know it, because they don’t feel any symptoms.

The doctor told me to use artificial tear drops 3 to 5 times a day. He said it isn’t good for my eyes to be dry, and the dryness causes headaches. I have suffered from chronic headaches for twenty-plus years.

The doctor was right. The artificial tear drops have helped my headaches! I can’t believe that I’ve been suffering from headaches for so long without knowing eye drops would help.

I never would have found out that I had dry eyes if the optometrist had not referred me to the specialist for tests, and I wouldn’t have been referred to the specialist, had I not been diagnosed with Optic Disc Drusen.

Hello Hot Flashes

I’ve been having hot flashes for a couple of years now.

Image by Christian Dorn from Pixabay 

Every once in a while, I feel hot and start sweating. It makes me very uncomfortable.

And it’s always just me. Everyone else is fine.

It’s embarrassing when I’m out in public, like at a restaurant, and I start sweating. I grab anything I can use to fan myself and my husband says, “It’s comfortable in here.”

I’m having hot flashes more frequently now, so I went the the doctor last week. He said I am going through menopause. It makes sense. It’s about that time.

So, he prescribed some hormones for me to take. Great! Now I can go out and not worry about having a hot flash!

Well, today I went grocery shopping and about halfway through the store, I started feeling hot and I started sweating. Great. The pills aren’t helping.

I don’t know if the pills take time to build up the hormones in my body, or if the dose is too low. The doctor did start me off on a very low dose. I will ask my doctor about it.

In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out if there is anything else I can do to help prevent hot flashes.

Does anyone have any advice?

My Weight Loss Journey: The First Meeting

I met with the Registered Dietitian today and I learned a few things.

First, I was measured and weighed on a scale that analyzes body mass. The numbers on the scale helped determine what my calorie and macronutrient needs are. I talked to the dietitian about my experiences with dieting and she said that just cutting calories isn’t enough.

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

I also got a lot of information about the requirements for completing the Weight Loss program.

I have to complete two 12-week courses that cannot be taken at the same time. Phase one is with a trainer at the gym, and phase two is with the dietitian. I also have to attend a couple of seminars and meet with a psychologist and weight loss surgeon during phase two of the program.

Unfortunately, I can’t start phase one of the program until the end of September, when the class starts again. I was disappointed, but happy to learn that I can start working with the dietitian now.

The dietitian wants me to start tracking my intake using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. She said that she will continue to monitor my numbers and measurements and advise me on what changes I need to make to my diet. She also gave me a book that has a lot of information:

  • How to read food labels
  • Portion sizes
  • Mindful eating
  • Meal planning
  • Good nutrition
  • Goal setting

There is a lot to learn, but I am going to dive in and give it my best shot!

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Back to Square One: Starting a New Weight Loss Journey

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz

Okay, I’ll admit that this whole dieting thing is hard, especially doing it on my own.

I recently blogged about starting a new diet. I signed up for WW and followed the program.

I lost 3 pounds the first week and then nothing. I was stuck. Already? It is very frustrating, considering the HUGE changes I made to my diet.

Last week, I saw my orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up on my back surgery. When I last saw him seven months ago, he told me to lose weight. At my recent appointment, we talked about why I hadn’t lost the weight.

I told the doctor what I’ve been doing to lose weight, and he said that I wasn’t eating enough. I told him that I was following the WW diet and eating only the allowed number of points a day.

The doctor knows the results of my last blood tests and knows that my metabolism is incredibly slow and my inflammation marker is very high. He said that I need help losing weight and suggested weight loss surgery.

Ugh. I really don’t want anymore surgeries, but I told him that I am willing to talk to someone to see what my options are. He gave me a referral and I called the Weight Loss Center in my medical group.

I was told that the way it works is that I have to attend weight loss classes for eight months before insurance will cover any weight loss surgery. Plus, I have to lose 5% of my weight.

The weight loss classes consist of meeting with a nutritionist to learn how to eat and prepare healthy meals, and meeting with a trainer at the gym to learn how to exercise safely, due to my restrictions.

To me, this is great news! Great, because if these classes help me lose weight, I definitely won’t have any weight loss surgery. Instead, I’ll continue to use the tools the classes give me and keep losing weight on my own.

I think the worst thing I’ve done is give up on myself after my surgeries. I not only avoid exercise because of chronic pain, but I also fear it. Using weights is what caused the incisional lumbar hernia I got, that had to be surgically repaired.

At first, when I was told I had to complete eight months of classes, I was upset. I told them I couldn’t do the exercise part. After thinking about it, I realized that I CAN do it! I just need to learn how to do it safely. It’s important that I incorporate exercise back into my life, and what better way than to have support from a certified trainer?

I’m going to give it my best with a positive attitude.

I will share my journey, in case it helps some of you. My first appointment with a nutritionist is tomorrow and I’m excited to get started!

Diet Struggles and Staying Focused

Just yesterday I blogged about starting a diet a week ago and staying on track.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

A day later, I am struggling.

That’s the problem with dieting. Change is hard.

I am an emotional eater, but am trying my best to stop being one. When I am stressed, anxious, or flaring up (from Fibromyalgia), I eat something that makes me feel good.

The problem with that, is that I only feel good in the moment. I’m not helping myself in the long run.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had three major surgeries over the past two-and-a-half years and have been very sedentary through the healing process and beyond. That was a big mistake.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Now, I don’t have a metabolism. I have no stamina or energy. My muscles are weak. When I do just about anything, I hurt and it makes me stop.

I’m working on increasing my stamina, etc., but it takes time. Today, after walking for only 7 minutes, my lower back hurt. I pushed myself to continue on for 10 minutes, but then I stopped.

It made me feel down and defeated. I am tired of hurting.

What was the first thing I wanted to do? Eat.

But, I didn’t. I don’t want to stop what little progress I’ve made. I know that I have to push through the pain and negativity to reach my goals.

It’s still hard, though. Especially when there is other stress affecting me.

Sometimes you just have to put yourself first.

I know that losing weight will help me A LOT. If I can take some of these pounds off of my body, it will relieve some of the pain I feel.

I have to be more active.

I regret staying down for so long after my surgeries. Everyone around me catered to me. When I tried to do anything, I was told to sit down, that they would do it for me. I shouldn’t have let them. I know they were trying to be helpful and prevent me from hurting, but it contributed to the problem.

Staying down for three years hasn’t helped me at all. In addition to the weight gain, I’m weak. Why did I do that to myself?

I can’t change the past, but I can make changes to improve the future. I WILL continue to make healthy choices and push myself. I’m sure I will have more “down” days, but I’ll get through them, because I refuse to give up.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Food and Weight Loss

Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about starting to eat healthier and told you that I signed up to start receiving healthy, heat-and-eat meals from a meal delivery service.

That didn’t work out so well for me.

I signed up and paid, because they make you pay BEFORE you select your meals. I opted to get 15 meals a week (5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners) and paid an additional $15 to add snacks for the week.

I have food allergies, so I had to read the ingredients for every food item to make sure they were safe for me.

As I read the ingredients for the snacks, I saw that every snack offered (except for fruit smoothies and jerky) contained at least one ingredient I am allergic to. (I am allergic to peas and all types of nuts.)

I called customer service and spoke to someone who noted my allergies on my account so I wouldn’t be sent anything I’m allergic to. I told the customer service representative that I did not want to purchase any snacks again, since there weren’t many choices available for me.

I selected my meals and waited.

About 4 days later, on a Thursday, I received my first shipment. They came with a few sheets of paper, which included a letter saying not to start eating the meals until Monday, to start the week off fresh.

Okay, sounds good. I knew that the deadline to order new shipments of food was on Wednesdays, so I figured I’d try the food on Monday and if I didn’t like it, I’d cancel my subscription before Wednesday. That should work, right?


Monday morning I heated up a cheese omelet with turkey sausage. It was very bland. I didn’t care for it, but I still had several other entrees to try, so I tried to stay positive.

Lunchtime came around and I heated up another meal: chicken meatballs with green lentils. Were those lentils or little rocks? I couldn’t tell the difference. After 3 bites, I threw it away and tried another one. It was some sort of jambalaya. It was horrible! All I could taste was heat, if that makes sense. I could not taste anything, but my mouth was burning from peppers. The jambalaya joined the chicken meatballs and lentils in the trash.

Later that day I got an email telling me that my next shipment was sent. What?!?!

I panicked and called customer service, who told me that new members only had until Sunday to place a new order or cancel, and they could not stop the shipment or refund my money.

That’s what I get for not reading the Terms and Conditions. Ugh. Everything I saw on the sight said Wednesday is the day for orders or cancellations, so I thought I was fine waiting until I tried the food to decide.

I was upset. I told the customer service representative that the letter I received with my meals said to start the meals on Monday, so they didn’t even give me a chance to TRY the food before sending me MORE food! I also told her that I did not like the food.

I let her know that I have food allergies and prefer to choose my own food. She replied that they had notes of my food allergies on my account and I would not receive anything I am allergic to.

Frustrated and annoyed, I canceled my subscription.

A few days later, I received my second shipment of meals, WITH the snacks that I asked the first customer service representative to cancel.

I sorted through the meals and found that one of the meals they sent me was SPLIT PEA SOUP. So much for checking the list of allergies on my account.

I ended up trying a couple more of the meals, but did not like any of them. I didn’t even bother trying any more of them. They went straight to the trash.

I spent hours reading up on the different food delivery options out there and finally signed up for WW (formerly Weight Watchers) online.

Even though I struggle with being able to cook every night due to chronic pain, it works better for me. I don’t have to worry about food allergens or whether or not the food is clean, organic, chemical free, or processed. WW is also MUCH cheaper than having prepared meals delivered.

Image by ALFONSO CHARLES from Pixabay

I’ve officially been on the WW online plan for one week and have lost 3 pounds. It’s slow, but if I stay on track, eventually I will reach my goal.

Inflammation and Fibromyalgia

I keep hearing people with fibromyalgia ask about problems with their teeth and gums. Is this normal? Has this happened to anyone else?

The answer is yes.

I’ve always taken good care of my teeth. I floss every day. I have always had easy dental checkups with no problems. My teeth cleanings are usually quick and the dentist has always said I’m doing a good job.

At my last dental cleaning, the dentist mentioned that my gums had a problem, one that is caused by inflammation. I didn’t worry about it too much, because I take care of my teeth and have no pain or bleeding. The dentist referred me to an Integrated Medicine Doctor.

Image by Noupload from Pixabay

I went to see the Integrated Medicine Doctor, who sent me to the lab for several blood tests. When the results came back, the doctor said that my inflammation marker was very high. It should be between 1 and 2, but it was at 8!

Inflammation is almost always present in a person with fibromyalgia. Changing your diet by eliminating foods that cause inflammation can help.

Sugar is one of the worst things you can eat for inflammation. So is junk food. The best thing you can do to reduce inflammation in your body is to eat clean food. No processed food, junk food, soda, sugar, or artificial sweeteners.

I’ve changed my diet and eliminated sugar and processed foods. I eat organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef, and free range chicken as much as possible. I eat mostly fish and poultry and very little red meat.

Image by suju from Pixabay

In a couple of months I’ll have more blood tests done to check my inflammation marker, but do you know what? My gums are already better.

Finding Me

How did I end up here? Where has everyone gone? I remember the good ole days, when I had many friends and was always doing things and going places. What happened to us? What happened to me?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I used to be carefree and spontaneous. I loved traveling, going to concerts, football games, dancing, karaoke, you name it. Not anymore. I’m falling apart and my world is closing in. I can’t let it.

The more pain I am in, the less I want to do. People just don’t wait around for people like me. My friendships have faded to only existing on social media. I see the pictures they post and they see mine, and that’s the extent of our relationships. My friends have distanced themselves and I don’t blame them. They want to do fun things and I’m physically limited. I get it.

I hate what’s happened to me. I still do some things, but I have to work around my illnesses. It’s annoying. I can’t be spontaneous anymore, everything is planned, partly due to pain, partly due to OCD.

Pain has affected my attitude, too. I’m positive the OCD adds to it, but I find that I get angry, frustrated, and stressed out over small, stupid things. I’ve mentioned before that I like things to be done a certain way and things kept in their place, and it upsets me when that doesn’t happen.

Every day when I wake up, I literally plan my whole day in my head. It’s ridiculous, really. If anything unexpected throws my plans off, I react negatively. I know I’m not the easiest person to live with because of it. I’ve found that I overreact by freaking out, then calm down about it, and then feel embarrassed for my actions and have to apologize to the recipient(s) of my wrath. It’s all so unnecessary.

I regret giving in to my pain and irrational frustrations. I gave up on me and spent the majority of my waking hours in a recliner watching TV, reading, or surfing the internet on my laptop. My doctors kept telling me to exercise and lose weight, but I didn’t listen. Until now.

I’m ready to find myself again. I’m ready to stop wasting time. Yes, I suffer from chronic pain, but I can’t let it control my life. I can’t sit here and merely exist while life passes me by. I am taking steps to improve my health and increase my activity. I’m going to try not to let little things bother me. I will think about things before I react. I have to practice patience, because things aren’t going to change overnight, but I am committed to getting mentally and physically healthier. I will find me again.

Image by lena dolch from Pixabay

Prediabetes. Now what?

Image by Peter Stanic from Pixabay

I recently found out that I am prediabetic. A few months ago, my A1C was at 5.9, just over the low number for prediabetes. I changed my diet and six weeks later, my A1C was at 5.1. Even though my A1C level had already dropped, my doctor recommended I join a Diabetes Prevention class, so I did.

The Diabetes Prevention class is held one evening a week, FOR A YEAR! Whoa! That’s a huge commitment. But, okay, I signed up to see how it goes.

I’ve attended six classes so far. Some of the classes are held at the gym, where I am encouraged to exercise and increase my activity. Other classes are held at the Diabetes Treatment Center, where the focus is on healthy eating. A certified nutritionist talks about food choices and shows us how to cook and prepare healthy foods.

In the beginning, we were all weighed and measured. We also did blood work to check our A1C levels. We are weighed before every class, but only have to do blood work every three months. I am required to lose five percent of my weight within six months, then another five percent in the second six months. That doesn’t sound like it should be too hard.

The classes started out very slow and boring. So boring, that I was tempted to stop attending. There are a lot of handouts that could have been written by a 10-year-old. The speaker asked us questions like he was speaking to children. Not only was I bored, but with the back issues I have, it’s painful to sit in the hard chairs for an hour. Finally, during the 4th class, I learned something. That’s when I decided that I would keep attending the classes.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

I’ve learned that being active is VERY important for preventing diabetes. It helps with how your body produces and uses insulin. These classes really stress exercise. They want us to exercise 150 minutes a week, and to track it. For someone who has been pretty sedentary for the past four or five years, it’s been a challenge. For me, it’s easier to break it down to ten minutes, three times a day, for five days a week. I’ll admit that I don’t always meet my goals, but I’m working on it.

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

The other thing these classes focus on is weight loss. I’ve learned that I need to eat more fiber, less processed foods, and cut refined sugar. This is another big adjustment for me. I crave sweets and don’t eat healthy, because most of the time, my chronic pain prevents me from standing in the kitchen long enough to cook. Most of the time I eat something quick and easy or food that is brought in. I eat what I want, which usually isn’t healthy food. I have some very bad habits, but I’m working on clean eating now.

Image by marijana1 from Pixabay

I know how important it is for me to eat healthier, so I looked into several meal delivery services. The main problem I’ve come across, is finding food that is safe for my food allergies. I decided to try BistroMD, because they have several selections that are safe for me to eat, meaning that they don’t contain any ingredients I’m allergic to. Unfortunately, their snack selections almost ALL contain nuts or pea fiber. I’m allergic to nuts and peas. I can’t tell you if the service works for me or how the food tastes yet, because my first shipment comes in this week. I’m excited to try it, though, and after I do, I’ll write about it. If I don’t like it, I will try another one.

Right now, using a meal delivery service is my best bet for getting on track. Maybe when I lose weight and feel better, I’ll be able to transition to cooking food myself. The most important thing I have to do is stay with it and not give up! I certainly don’t want to add Type 2 Diabetes to my list of health issues. Who knows? Maybe eating better and losing weight will alleviate some of the other symptoms I suffer from. I can do this!

Pushing Through Fibromyalgia Pain

I’m exhausted. Literally. Just because I did a little bit of house cleaning. My grandson turned three years old today, and my daughter is having a birthday party for him at my house in two days. Why my house? Because hers is too small to host very many people. I don’t mind letting my kids use my house to host parties, as long as they take care of the food, guests, and any other party-related things.

I have a fairly big house with a swimming pool, which makes for fun times. I want to make sure it’s nice and clean for people to see, especially people that have never been to my house before. The problem is that I have fibromyalgia, and I run out of gas pretty fast. I have to do a little at a time, because my body can’t handle when I do too much. I don’t even know what “too much” is, because no matter what I do, I end up tired with body aches.

Today, all I did was clean the refrigerator on the patio – inside and out, and wash a few loads of laundry. I am so achy that I had to push through a shower. Hey, showers are a lot of work when you have fibromyalgia! And, since I’ve had surgeries on my lower spine, I can’t bend very far, so drying off is a chore in itself! Right now, I’m relaxing in my recliner, aching all over. My feet are throbbing and I don’t want to move.

Fortunately, my younger brother (who lives with me and my husband), helped me out by mopping the tile floors and cleaning two of the bathrooms today. He’s going to mop the wood floors tomorrow. I don’t know what I would do without him, because I just can’t do it all by myself anymore. I still have a lot to do tomorrow.

The funny thing about it, is that my house always LOOKS clean, and I’m sure I could get away without doing much at all. I have OCD and have to have everything in its place. I am very organized. My house just isn’t always DEEP CLEANED, because it’s hard for me to keep up on it. Before I had fibromyalgia and chronic pain, that was a different story. My house was always clean. It’s just very hard on my body to do a lot of deep cleaning, so I only do it once in a while, usually when guests are coming over and I’m forced to.

My brother asked me why I am doing all of this to impress people I don’t know. Why do we worry about what other people think? I just do, enough so that I kill myself doing it. I will physically pay for it over the next few days, but it really bothers me for anyone to have a negative impression of me. It’s a battle I have inside myself. It’s not easy living with fibromyalgia and OCD.