This meal looked so amazing to me that I asked Leah to blog it, because I think a lot of us are in the mood for Fall dishes. 🙂 – GC
First is the amazing Harvest Chili recipe. It’s actually from Better Homes & Gardens here. I’ll copy and paste for your convenience too, but they get all the credit except for the amazing, mouth-watering, picture of it that Leah took and all her work! 🙂
Chicken-apple sausage pairs with tangy-sweet cooked apples instead of that chili regular–tomatoes.
Serve this chili over hot cooked polenta.
Prep:30 mins; Cook:30 mins; Servings:8
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ pounds cooked chicken-apple sausage links, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 large red onions, chopped (3 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 3/4-inch chunks (about 6 cups)
2 teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 3/4-inch slices (**Leah notes that she chunks the apples instead of slicing, and she’s an amazing cook, so I’d definitely follow her example!**)
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed
1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or tiny sage leaves
Golden Delicious or other apple, sliced in rings
Step 1 In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon.
Step 2. In the same pan, cook onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender. Add the squash; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, salt, and cayenne; cook for 1 minute. Return the sausage to pan. Add broth; bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 8 minutes.
Step 3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Cook apple slices in hot oil for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Transfer apples along with beans to chili. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until apples are tender. Top servings of chili with sage and apple rings.
And I’m going to do something unusual here. I’m actually going to post a pic of the recipe she was using, because of her hand-written notes where she adapted the recipe and it’s written up nicer than I can do using the new block editor on the blog without paying for an upgraded blog that allows for a recipe widget. I personally like that I can print the pic to have the recipe, instead of highlighting too, but I’m weird like that. Lol
I hope you enjoy the recipes and are staying safe during such incredibly turbulent times in the world! Hopefully a comforting Fall themed meal brings a little joy to your day, like it did mine. – GC
Physical Therapy has been going really well and one of their goal is to get me to be able to be outside for a bit. So I tried that for a bit yesterday. Unfortunately, the bug killer on the gravel driveway had faded away without me knowing and I now have 13 chigger bites. I slept most of yesterday via the glory of Benadryl and decided that today might be a good day to repost about the nasty little buggers since it’s been a few years. So here’s an informational post for all of us that get to suffer from these literal suckers. 🙂
To kick it off I want to introduce you to the exciting excruciating life of a chigger. For those that haven’t been to the Midwest or Southern areas of the beautiful USA I’m going to give you the heebie-jeebies, so settle in. You’ve been warned. *evil grin* A chigger is simply a mite that is virtually invisible to the naked eye. They love to live in the grass, but especially longer vegetation, although apparently they can infest vehicles and homes even. (It gets better, or worse, depending how you look at it.) I’m not going to go into the scientific stuff with you, so I’m going to give it to you Midwest style. *teasing smile* Basically, when the chigger is in the larval stage they eat skin cells. It was originally believed that the chigger burrowed under the skin, causing a “bite”. However, due to the amazing nerds in lab coats (you rock!), we now know that they actually inject an enzyme into the host (you or I in this instance) which starts to break down the tissue and they feed on that lovely goo of decomp. The really fun part is that they prefer warm and damp areas (think about that for a second), so elbows, knees, where your socks are cinched around your ankle, armpits, skin folds (*ahem* lol), and the groin are prime feeding spots. After they’ve attached and inject that enzyme into you, the spot becomes a nice little feeding tube for the larva. They fall off when they’re done and become nymphs, which later develop into adult chiggers. Thankfully it’s only the larva that cause such a problem, otherwise I’d be screaming to set the whole area on fire and that the land can’t be inhabited. *grin* The Brooksville Garden Club (no longer an active link) very kindly put some informative pictures on their site, so I’m sharing two of their pics so you can get a mental image. To top it off I added a nice little close up rendering of them feeding that I found on Wikipedia.
The chigger life cycle
The larval chigger working some magic
Chigger larva “biting” host
This little feeding area becomes extremely irritated, as in one of the most intense itches you will ever have in your life. There are tons of products on the market to supposedly heal thy chigger bite, but lots are just a placebo effect. We’ll look into prevention first and then some treatments to try.
Well, you could always use lawn treatment that is indicated for chiggers, but what if you have a nice safe lawn and step out into your driveway, not noticing that some weeds or grass has pushed up through the gravel (remember my mentioning I was in the gravel driveway?)? You might consider a secondary treatment. Now this is tried and true, but doesn’t come with a 100% guarantee. Take a shower as quickly as possible and wash with the original or orange (antibacterial, which is the preferred choice) versions of Dawn Dish Soap (works wonderfully for getting poison ivy’s oils off of your skin, too!). If you can, follow up the soap with some exfoliation, although some vigorous towel rubbing seems to work just as well, but you’ll miss out on a chance to linger in that soothing lukewarm to cool cascade of water. If it’s just not possible to take that shower, after all you might not be THAT close to your friend that you can say you’re going to go jump in their shower, then a “spit wash” usually works just as well if you don’t need to do a large portion of the body. If you’ve just been walking, then usually washing your legs off is adequate enough, so suds up a washcloth or paper towel, scrub well, and then do a “rinsing” towel afterward. Anyone that is a super supporter of all natural stuff please close your eyes and scroll down a few lines riiiiight now. If you know you’re headed outside use a good repellent with Deet, but make sure it lists that it works against chiggers, since not all Deet ones do. Plan to look like an über weirdo and tuck your pant legs into your socks for even more protection. The evil little buggers can’t climb up your leg then, usually. I’m a big fan of Off Deep Woods combined with the dish soap scrub. (Always follow product instructions and medical advice, yada yada.) I seldom ever do the pant tucking because when it’s chigger weather in the Midwest it’s usually pretty toasty and humid, so you won’t catch me in full length pants usually. lol
Say company stopped by and you ended up spontaneously having a chat in that slightly overgrown and untreated driveway. You didn’t really have a chance to take any preventative measures, didn’t realize that the bug stuff wasn’t treating the ground anymore, and a couple of days (or hours if you’re extra unlucky) later you’re suddenly itching in spots that would most likely embarrass your mother to see you scratching. Skip all of the items that claim they help chigger bites. (You’ll still want to do a healthy rub to make sure that the larva is no longer on the skin before you apply treatments.) Instead, try a little of the good ole Vicks VapoRub. (Side note: who do I talk to at Vicks to get them to become my sponsor since I give a lot of marketing for off label uses of their products? *grin*) VapoRub has healthy concentrations of menthol and camphor, which are the main ingredients that clear your sinuses out when you rub it on your chest. (And also can help with some muscle pain, since those two ingredients are topical analgesics, but make sure you cover with something that you don’t mind getting stained up, since it’ll totally mess up cloth.) Dab some of the Rub over the horrendous lump you’ve developed and you may just find some relief.
Since everyone is different, something else might work for you. If that’s the case, try some anbesol/Orajel if you have it on hand. These often help people overcome that intense itch and also works great for mosquito bites, so I take a tiny tube with me when camping. Ivarest, an expensive yet awesome little tube of treatment for poison ivy, may help you too and rubs right into the skin.
You can also try a soothing bath with some Epsom Salts. Remember a long time ago when I mentioned a lot of awesome benefits to Epsom or maybe that tips and handy info tab on my website that talks about the believed benefits of it? Anyway, the Epsom will usually help heal some of that inflammation from the lovely tube of rotting muck stuck in you and may even help to shrink that little puppy up. Next you can stay in the same line and apply a little skin benefiting oil (like sweet almond) to the spot and pat some plain table salt over the badge of summer honor. This will not only help to dry it up, but it may also keep air from the spot. The problem with this is that you have to lay or sit around while letting the salt dry, and once it’s dry it will start to fall off as you are active, which can get weird and uncomfortable. Although I’d say you have a high tolerance for the uncomfortable if you’re able to lay in a compromising position naked with salt and oil drying on you, anyway, since most are in those areas that must not be mentioned. lol Still in the same concept you can also apply a simple baking soda paste to the spots, much like you can for other topical allergens.
Lastly, you might stick with the original old wives’ tale of covering the spot in clear nail polish. We know that we’re not suffocating the evil little cell suckers, but the polish seals the area off from the air, which is usually part of what is making you itch, scientists believe. However, most scientists also think this is totally bunk, so whatever floats your boat and works for you.
I’ve read varying reports about the ability for these little guys to fall off of you when they’re done feeding and carry out their life cycle right there in your home or vehicle. If you have more than one (and seriously, who usually ever gets just one?! They’re like freaking potato chips!), and you didn’t get them off, then you never know. You might just get them inside. (Yet again, I’ve read contradictory research on this, so don’t quote me. lol) Why not just try to make sure it’s not a possibility no matter what?
Oh, and in case you haven’t seen what a “bite” can look like, it can vary widely depending on how a person’s immune system responds. We have small red spots, angry welts, or even nasty blisters in response to these feeding tubes. MedlinePlus has a nice pic of the blistering version:
Chigger bite blisters MedlinePlus
The Mayo Clinic has a picture of a typical collection of “bites” on their slideshow:
Scabbed chigger bites Mayo Clinic
If you have immune system issues they often become huge welts that are about three to four times as big as the scabbed ones in the Mayo Clinic picture, plus they develop a nice dark ring around the affected area as the blood decides to come to the surface. I’m not showing you pictures of my summer “war” wounds. I was wearing a dress, so no polite ankle bites to show. Meh.
All of the doctors agree that you shouldn’t scratch chigger bites due to the risk of infection. I don’t know a single person that’s ever managed to avoid doing it at least a few times, especially in their sleep. You might decide to cover the area with a bandage or even plastic wrap (no weirder than a spa treatment) after you’ve found the treatment that works for you. For me I have to live a little dangerously. I rub or scratch lightly around the raised center to make sure the larval vamp is detached, take some antihistamines, and use an analgesic. With my condition I have an issue with hyper responses and stimulations, so what should be the size of a period on a piece of paper will rapidly swell to match a quarter. Due to this I have to combat the inflammation from both sides (which is contraindicated usually, so do all of the legal stuff to keep yourself safe, because I am often noncompliant since my body never acts “normally”) and work on the inflammatory response.
Hopefully if you’re suffering from chiggers right now and that jar of Chigarid or Chiggerex Plus isn’t doing much good, you’ll give one or more of these home treatments a whirl and see if something unconventional will work for you, too. I hope you find some relief. If you’re now terrified to ever enter these areas of the States that have chiggers, at least now you know about them, how to prevent them, and some treatment options if they decide that your cell buffet is the best in town. They’re just a nuisance, so don’t let them discourage you from exploring. If you have found other home remedies that work for you or others that you know, please feel free to include them in the comments. You might just save someone else some misery!
Who is your celebrity crush? While still looking through writing prompts I saw “write about three celebrity crushes” and I was amused. I thought this would be a fun one that fits with a bit of escapism from everything going on, so here goes. I would also LOVE to receive some comments about yours!
First, I will admit that if they have a UK accent, most likely I appreciate their voice and sense of humor. They might be good looking too, but it’s their interviews or fan interaction that show their inner attractiveness that gets them on my totally objectifying “Eye Candy” board. *grin*
First, Gerry Butler is my ultimate Hall Pass, not that it’d happen in a million years, but if there’s going to be a celebrity hall pass list, he’s going to be first. Sings, such a sarcastic and inappropriate sense of humor, self deprecating, bearded (almost always prefer at least some facial hair *sigh*), and smart enough to have been a lawyer. I know that his singing isn’t up to snuff for some, especially the Michael Crawford crowd, but “Music of the Night” makes me melt enough to have originally based my half sleeve tattoo concept around a line of the song because I memorized it after listening to him sing it so many times. *laugh* I’ve also gotten to that point in life that I like that he has a “dad bod” between movies and will never get back to the abs from 300. I totally appreciate a man who spends time living life instead of in the gym or counting calories; just one of my things.
Leaving Scotland and heading to London is Tom Hiddleston. He has such an awesome personality in every interview, sings beautifully anyway but man oh man he did an amazing job on “I Saw the Light” (as Hank Williams), and has such an adorable smile. He’s an awesome actor, of course, but I watch his interviews even more often than his movies. And I’m not sure which poem the quote of him saying “I will be the first man to kiss you, to bed you…” *blushes and looks for a fan* I would be happy to hear him read the yellow pages, but seductive poetry? 😳
This would be more of a character type than celebrity, actually. Ryan Eggold is a good example. Intelligent, down to Earth, an adorable smile, and a quirky personality (especially a nerdy one) will always land them on my “hot tamale train”, as Mary Murphy calls it. Add tidy facial hair or glasses and I’ll blush while I obsessively binge watch the show. *laugh* Every so often someone who plays a naughty character, like Colin O’Donoghue as Hook on OUAT or Johnny Depp as a scrape in Cry Baby (some guys can pull off guy liner better than most women pull off eyeliner, IMO), sneaks in and makes me smile. Cheeky buggers.
Now, I may be heterosexual, but I can’t make this list without including women. Although it’s not so much a “get the motor running” kind of thing for me *saucy grin*, it’s often “your confidence or personality is sexy as h-”.
Melanie Moore isn’t really a celebrity unless you’re really into dance. She won So You Think You Can Dance and went on to be one of their all stars, as well as making some awesome performances on Broadway (which are very hard to find videos people snuck for the poor people like me that will never get the chance to watch a Broadway performance in person *grin*). She’s always super supportive of her dance partners and seems to be an awesome mentor for the amateur dancers. I still watch her performance to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with Neil Haskell from like eight years ago and feel the longing of her character (Mandy Moore is such an amazing choreographer) every single time. (The storyline of the choreography is that he has decided to leave and she is trying to convince him to stay. I couldn’t find any videos that include the explanation from Mandy Moore prior to the dance after all these years, unfortunately. Here’s the link to the dance performance if you’d like to watch.)
Ruby Rose is a strong contender for first place. Excuse the word, but she is the ultimate badass to me. I even tried to get her Pitch Perfect 3 haircut although it didn’t turn out right on me. She loves tattoos and even did some boxing (remember my two goals I want to get back to from Pre-Covid?). She’s learned to be comfortable in who she is and that difficult to obtain confidence is amazing.
Melissa McCarthy is probably the one nobody expected to be on the list. She is an awesome actress, funny as h-, and is actually happy with her body despite it not being what society deems pretty. One quote that I seriously love is “[harsh review from a critic focusing on her weight] I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.” She is truly a role model. “There’s an epidemic in our country of girls and women feeling bad about themselves based on what 0.5% of the human race looks like.” There would be a lot less bullying and self harm if this quote went viral, IMO.
I hope you have fun thinking about your own list and figuring out why they’re your celebrity crushes, hopefully beyond being eye candy. *grin* Like I wrote in the beginning, I’d love to read your own! It’s kind of fascinating what all goes into a crush and also sometimes helps your listener/reader/friend see that person from a new POV. I hope you are all being safe during such a turbulent and medically scary time, and hope you are enjoying the few minutes of escape from regular life these odd posts may bring. 🙂
My awesome friend got me a book of writing prompts since I’ve had writer’s block for what feels like forever and I decided to adapt one prompt to make a blog post. It’s about time to have something fun and totally not about health, politics, or anything serious on here. 😊
If you’re a frequent reader, you know that I’m considered a “death positive” person (check out Ask a Mortician if you’d like info about that). What you might not know is that I can totally make one of my best friends sick to his stomach just by mentioning some of the YouTube/Patreon channels I follow. *grin* Spaulding Decon are absolute heroes in my opinion, but decomp and hoarding cleanup is something most people can’t stomach thinking about. These amazing people compassionately take care of biohazards and emphasize that you can’t judge a situation or person because you don’t know how life was for them. They are amazing about raising awareness for suicide prevention (kind of goes hand in hand with some decomps, but they go above and beyond to share their stories and encourage those with suicidal ideation to seek help with even providing the Prevention hotline each time).
Along a similar trail, I dress up a fake skull. Yep, all year round. LOL Skelly gets a change or new mask every few months, and shows off right on top of the entertainment center speaker in the living room. *grin* Instead of the usual decorated dominoes I get, this time I indulged in an elaborate Venetian masquerade mask with a gorgeous, handmade, laser-cut, scrolling lace work butterfly wing that stands at least 6 inches above the right eye. Until now she frequently rocked the glittery hot pink and black domino mask from my adoption motherhood party. If you’re going to do something unique, you should definitely go all out. *grin*
I wasn’t just the “mad scientist” behind Georgia’s Pampering/Bath & Body Products. I know just enough about chemistry, coupled with too much interest in what I may create without thinking ahead to verify the safety of things, that I’ve been dangerous a few times. The worst is probably when I accidentally made mustard gas. 🤦🏻♀️ LOL
My specialist is convinced I buy pot and am afraid to tell him, since it’s not legal here yet (although I admittedly support and donate to the Medicinal Marijuana lobbying program *laugh*). It’s well known that it’s very effective, in certain strains, to help Fibromyalgia. I think the tally is now up to six times he’s tried to get me to admit it. I admitted to making a synthetic version, since it’s not exactly rocket science to look at the chemical formula and then use Marinol (generic synthetic prescription cannabis) combined with OTC oral CBD (I totally recommend Koi if you’re looking for a good oil). Take the pill and for a more pleasant experience, put some drops of flavoring under your tongue first, before you put the drops of CBD, and let them get absorbed. Right now Black Series Apple Pie is my favorite and totally prevents that grassy taste that some CBDs have. I totally am not advocating that you do it, please talk to your doctor first if you’re on Marinol in a non-medicinal state and want to try this, and all the other jazz that removes any liability. I just find it really amusing to have my doctor picturing fun-sized me in some alley in the city buying a bit so I can go roll some at home. It was even more amusing when he turned and said “out of all of my patients, of course you’d be the one to figure out how to make a synthetic version”. *grin* Probably ties into the mad scientist part of my personality.
I actually won three Presidential awards before I turned 18. One was for Education (eh, we all know I fly my nerd flag high), while the other two were for “Literary Excellence”, which is just a fancy way of saying “Way to go on writing some good poetry”. *laugh* I have a variety of smaller writing awards, along with an unfulfilled song writing contract and a novel I have never finished, and even got to include a poem about domestic abuse awareness on “The World’s Largest Peace Poem”, which has writing from a ton of people, but I love that there are pieces by The Dalai Lama on it. I competed at two poetry conventions, but the ability to be included on there still makes me smile, especially since it wasn’t just your average world peace. It’s about the violence hidden behind closed doors and whispered about, but seldom acknowledged. When I feel like I haven’t accomplished much in life due to becoming a Spoonie, that moment in life gets me all choked up.
I can be very bold and vulnerable when I write, but I’m incredibly shy when I talk to people or I am around others. A massive introvert in person, although “a bossy bit of goods” if we become close. *grin* I can write about the grittiest details of my life, yet I turn beet red and talk softer and softer when I try to get the story out verbally. An INTJ personality all the way (although I seriously DO try to be respectful of other opinions and traditions, plus I somehow developed a lot of empathy despite my personality). I run a Risk Analysis about pretty much everything except when I make things. *laugh*
I love to line dance. Granted, I can’t really go and do it anymore, but on my rare good days, neighbors get a weird silhouette of me doing the Electric Slide or 20 Step in my kitchen while I make a sandwich. If I have any alcohol at all, even a shot, I want to dance. *laugh* And I can make a lot of songs work as a two step. The stereotypical “white girl club dance” of the ‘00s isn’t as limber or seductive as it used to be, but I can’t stay still if “Ice Ice Baby” or “Cradle of Love” comes on. *laugh*
I had a lot of unique or once-in-a-lifetime experiences before I even turned 21. I got to ride in a tank that was retrofitted to drive on paved roads, sat on a cannon, and hugged decommissioned bombs with one almost as tall as the gazebo. I got to explore (very limited, meh) a submarine being decommissioned. I was actually on a volunteer fire department and studying during my HS senior year to be trained in EMS. I did hula (poorly lol) and the rare version of martial arts, Bok Fu Do. A tiny little girl (I’m talking like 6 YO or something) being trained by these world-renown men; how cool is that?! I was recruited in HS to be a journalist for The Army (although I couldn’t pass the physical). I studied and fed trapdoor spiders with my dad as a kid.
And I think I’ll close this list out with my very diverse music collection (or called weird if you want to hurt my feelings; lol). My Top Favs Playlist ranges from musicals (from the sexy Gerry Butler all the way to the amusing King Cry-Baby), to country (give me Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Blake Shelton, or Toby Keith and I’m equally happy), to Eminem and Halsey for a jam session, Celtic Thunder, ballads from Joe Cocker to Skylar Grey, to Oldies ranging from The Beatles to The Beach Boys and Elvis Presley. You never know what genre my random setting will play next. *grin* Even Echo is unsure what to pick when I ask her to play something I would like. *laugh* I have three different Christmas playlists from Classic, Contemporary, to Classical, but I DO keep them separate, so I defiantly say that it’s diverse and not weird. *grin*
Anyway, during such a time of upheaval, anger, and fear, I hope this wildly odd post gives you a little escapism and a smile. According to some *mutters under my breath* I’m odd enough to make a couple blog posts like this, but this is probably enough. *laugh* Did I mention that I love to box, but I’m also a sucker for anything with glitter? That might be kind of a unique combo. *grin* Stay safe. 🙂
I know Home Health is supposed to help, but it may be what breaks me for the month. Lol Yesterday the meeting was 7 hours later than originally set, after a night of insomnia. No call yet to say when to expect today’s, so yoga pants and oversized tee are on in case it’s a 5 minute warning. I start PT officially today. I’m ready with my mat, XXL heating pad, TENS unit, and coffee. Bedrest exercises and falling prevention. Sounds fun, right? Anyone want to share in an exhausted pity party this morning? Lol
Sparkles are definitely required. I earned them. 😉
I am gobsmacked. Straight up, holy Scooby Snacks, you name it, shocked! It turns out that everything that happened in March, which caused this “massive progression”, was completely different than originally thought.
Back in early March it was believed that I contracted H1N1 with a very nasty and acute sinus infection following, which triggered a huge progression in my Fibromyalgia. Nope!
My awesome doctor started me on Tamiflu as a preventative the day I was exposed to H1. Yet I still presented with difficult flu symptoms, so it got chalked up to my immune system laughing at attempting preventative care. Since the week on Tamiflu, as of June 9th I finished my last pill in my fourth course of heavy duty antibiotics and still have the same weird symptoms that are like a sinus infection mixed with something weird. It turns out that the Tamiflu worked. While at the hospital, just days before the announcement of Covid, I actually contracted it. The presentation of symptoms were of a medium case of Covid that didn’t require hospitalization (I know, I’m amazed by this too!). Following this was the start of what has been anecdotally called “post Covid syndrome”.
It threw my health into a bigger tailspin than anyone could figure out and made my Fibro absolutely unrecognizable after my getting to the point of knowing every warning sign of what was about to happen, from having it for so long. And without my realizing it my symptoms got so bad that I believed I had progressed so rapidly that I was actually dying.
My amazing concierge doctor noticed the change in me and immediately ordered Home Health, since I had absolutely no quality of life anymore and was on bedrest almost around the clock. I had so many falls that one went so bad that I fell and hit my disability handle and hurt myself pretty badly. I had a body and symptoms that I couldn’t recognize or identify.
Home Health (HH from here on out) stepped up FAST. Within just a couple days I had both my nurse and PT Evaluators here to establish symptoms, goals, and all that good stuff. During the PT Eval he looked at me and said that he’s treated Fibro for many years and this wasn’t the presentation of a Fibro progression that he’s ever seen. It sounded more like the after affects of Covid than H1 or Fibro. Say what?!
That night, once the Fibro brain fog lifted as it usually does if it’s nighttime, I went down the research rabbit hole. I went to all my trusted sites from when I worked in Neurology first. They led to this, which led to that, and then to several epidemiologists, and finally to one epidemiologist who also focuses on ME/CFS (Fibro’s official initials nowadays). He started a list of post Covid symptoms that general population has been reporting, plus the extremely weird symptoms and changes that ME patients have been reporting, along with their “recovery” stories. Their Fibro had undergone dramatic changes that made it unpredictable to them too. And I had almost, if not all (it’s daytime, so happy brain fog time), of the post Covid symptoms.
This explained why super heavy hitting antibiotics couldn’t kick my symptoms for the first time. It explained how I could suddenly get bouts of difficulty breathing and get the barking cough back, and it suddenly disappear as fast as it came on. The increased falls, even more acute fatigue, unpredictable new symptoms that were attributed to Fibro, pain that my usual pain regiment can’t even take the edge off of, and even the massive swing of depression despite having finally gotten stable with the right antidepressants. We threw the proverbial kitchen sink at this and I couldn’t get better, so of course I thought this was it. So I just waited for someone to accidentally expose me to Covid and finish it off. No one expected that I’d survive it.
I survived. I have Fibromyalgia with a laundry list of other Invisible Disease comorbidities and I had a case that didn’t even get diagnosed as Covid until I was in the negative testing phase. And everything I have been suffering since St. Patrick’s Day fits absolutely perfectly with this syndrome of after effects.
HH is still a Godsend and although tiring, has all ready improved my life (not just with this whole revelation), and I’ll continue to learn how to manage, but from a massively different perspective and now with hope. We actually have long-term goals again. We’re celebrating. We’re learning how to adapt, especially since I may not get back to my cruddy pre-March “normal”. And we have to be super careful that I don’t get exposed again, since there is absolutely no idea if I can be reinfected or develop something else from exposure. We don’t even know at what point I technically stopped being contagious, but thank goodness I was all ready under quarantine for H1N1!
But a sickly gal with Invisible Diseases is a survivor. I’m so damn thankful and proud of that. My body pulled through on its own for the very first time. And who knows, maybe having Fibro helped fight it? “This is my territory to terrorize, so back off!” I know, absurd, but it makes me smile to think of my Fibro smack talking a pandemic trying to take me down. *grin*
So to the other Spoonies, have hope. I know very well how that seems impossible, but I’m proof that we can do this. And I’m here if you need to talk, have questions, or want to see if maybe your weird new symptoms match. And guess what? The government is finally starting to notice us and see that they need to help us. This pandemic is expected to slam a lot of people with Fibro and other post-viral Invisible Diseases. That makes us an even bigger portion of the population and they have to see us after this. We CAN survive and they WILL have to research how to help us. I’ve always believed that with every bad thing there’s at least a tiny silver lining. This horrible situation will finally bring us hope. Suicide and progression aren’t all that we face anymore. HOPE.
I think we could all use this message right now. In this time of fear, grief, depression, and isolation, most of us have had time to evaluate our lives, circumstances, and even self worth. Many are struggling with having had the time to stop and actually reflect, and we often end up with some dark thoughts. So please remember that YOU ARE WORTH IT. You always were.
I’ve spent my entire life seeking approval and recognition. I felt like a failure because I became disabled and usually can’t do things that garner acknowledgement and praise. I have had to leave my career and now end two business ventures.
I put a lot of work, time, creativity, and my precious little bit of energy into my bath and body business, and often my products never sold or were commented on, and it hurt. I felt like I had failed at another thing in life. Now I realize that I sought recognition and praise, when I really needed to be proud of myself without requiring others to say it.
There’s a difference between being humble and knowing your self worth; knowing that you are worth it. I read this and it just clicked suddenly, and I hope it does for someone else reading this, too. Whatever you do, even if it’s taking a rest day because you’re out of spoons if you’re a Spoonie, or you put yourself at potential risk of illness by being an essential worker, you are awesome. You are awesome just because you are and hopefully this helps you to be proud of yourself without waiting for someone else to say so, to make you feel it. While you ponder this, if you are needing this message, I acknowledge you – that you’re awesome and worthy. I know that you are stronger and better than you realize, regardless if you’re successful, good looking, disabled, a nerd, searching for the right career, or just taking it day by day. We are worth it.
The Invisible Illness Awareness Day came this year while I’m having quite a struggle. If you feel inclined, please help spread awareness that there are invisible diseases that are barely understood and often disabling. The number one cause of death with most invisible diseases is suicide, because we seldom feel believed or understood, and we can become very broken when we lose the life that we knew.
In honor of spreading awareness, I’m going to be super vulnerable today and admit a few things. I am trying to accept that this is my new normal; although antibiotics got rid of the sinus infection, H1N1 combined with my Fibro to do a real number on my body. My level of illness has progressed again. In officially acknowledging this, I realize that I will have to make a decision on how to close out Georgia’s Pampering as a business. I’d like to keep the blog and hopefully still be able to provide useful information, but I’m no longer going to offer products that it is no longer healthy for me to try to make.
I’m also going to give in and get the forms done for my disability placard, so when I can manage to get out, I can do more by not being worn out from walking through a parking lot before I get there. I’m also going to use my standard wheelchair for when I leave the house, if it’s not a small outing that my cane can handle. I am now having too many falls and too much weakness to risk relying on my cane and hope. It’s silly, but those are two incredibly difficult decisions. Thankfully I all ready have a wheelchair from when I injured both ankles and feet, but unfortunately I can’t self propel myself for long without the fibro acting up in my arms, so we are looking into a motorized one. Unfortunately, because it’s for outdoor use and we do not have an accommodating house, the cost is out of pocket, so we are pursuing a few options of inquiry. Because we’ve made so many adjustments over the years to accommodate my indoor needs, if I want to have a little independence or enjoy time away from home, due to having a different kind of disabling illness, I don’t qualify for help. I guess I found another medical donut hole to fit into.
So, big changes are in my future as I stop being stupid and stubborn, and make some needed changes to accommodate the worsening of my symptoms. Maybe by being so brutally honest about what I’m giving up and dealing with at just 40, that’ll help someone else believe in these invisible illnesses, believe us when we say we’re sick, and maybe help someone understand a chronically ill friend just a bit better. I dream of a day when Awareness is just as vital as the MeToo campaign. Since it’s easier for a picture or pic with small message to get passed along, I’m going to share some down below. Please, please, please, feel free to share any and all, and help us raise Awareness for Invisible Diseases like Fibromyalgia/CFS.
Self help books and psychologists start a therapy course by changing how you think about your illness. It’s a challenge to make you stronger, adapt, and find other things in life that you are good at. Sure, that’s true, but stop telling us that we aren’t losing our lives. Acknowledge this and help teach us how to cope or heal from these losses! We are losing careers, relationships and friendships, hobbies, and basic abilities sometimes. Some of us lose the ability to feel safe outside of our home, because our immune systems are so bad that being around other people becomes literally risky. We lose the ability to enjoy date nights, feel good about ourselves, and sometimes we are paradoxically terrified of people seeing us at our worst…when we have extra cushions because just sitting hurts, we have braces or bandage wraps around joints, we smell like Bengay, we’re slowly dragging behind a walker, and sometimes we have to choose to use our energy on changing out of pajamas or spending a little while hanging out on the couch with our spouse. I’ve learned a lot of things during my journey and I lost a lot, too. So, no matter what therapy says, I’ll try to raise Awareness every May 12th that I make it to, and I’ll be honest that Fibromyalgia/CFS/Invisible Diseases all hurt from being so misunderstood.
Thank you for helping me spread Awareness and for being here during my journey. If you feel comfortable, please feel safe to share your journey in the comments. I’ll block any trolling. If you’re a Spoonie, you don’t have to keep your “I’m okay” mask on with me.