Category: Health

Fake it until you make it – a coping with Fibromyalgia

Fake it until you make it.  This is a mantra I find myself repeating over and over.  Especially when I wake up feeling less than fabulous.

There are mornings when I wake-up or rather get up and know that I have had little sleep, am so stiff and awkward that I walk like a puppet.  I stumble downstairs to get painkillers and put on the kettle so I can ease myself into the day. This is what it is like for me coping with fibromyalgia.

I am a very positive person so feeling less than great is hard for me.  I try to focus on the good things in life and not on fibromyalgia, arthritis and the other things that are my shadow.

It would be so easy to simply stay in my lovely fluffy gown and binge watch Netflix.  You really can 3 or 4 episodes without realising the passing of time.

Don’t wallow!

I am determined to not wallow (although there are days that I do).  My lipstick is my companion, it reminds me that you can fake it until you make it.

I recently read something that I really related to.  It was a list of things only people with chronic conditions would understand.  One of these was sitting on the bed and wondering if you really needed to shower and wash your hair.  Yes, this is a real thing.  It takes energy to do this and it causes more pain.

Fake it until you make it

I keep trying and so I wanted to share how I fake it until I make it.  How I push myself  to get going and ultimately how I normally enjoy myself once I do make it to an event.

Realistically each time I do this it does make me very tired the next day, but the joy of getting up and getting glamorous is worth it.

Off to a Fashion Show – Faking it all the way!

A little while ago I was invited to a fashion show at Bellissimo in Galway as an ITWBN blogger.  The show featured fashion from the fabulous Olivia Danielle boutique.  It was one of those days when I really had to push myself.

I got dressed in my new dress from The Curvy Gurl, accessorised and put on my make-up.  Just before leaving I got my photo taken for the obligatory Instagram/Facebook post.

Details of my outfit as requested:

Dress – The Curvy Gurl – Newry (I bought my dress at the Ireland’s got Curves show but they have a fab online shop)

Cardigan: Matalan – old as the hills but a firm favourite as it is my favourite colour

Shoes: Ballet flats from Debenhams

Necklace:  A gift from my sister!

I was also extremely overwhelmed and humbled by the response to a simple social media post. Hundreds of likes, loves and comments all which made me feel better about myself.  I am struggling with weight gain at the moment due to medications and other factors and being told I look good certainly spurs me on to try even harder.

This is how I know that Faking it until you make it works for me.  Looking the best I could already put me in a brighter mood and going out distracted me from pain and tiredness.

I know that there are many people out there, and possibly reading this that are in a position where faking it isn’t always possible.  So this is my call to ask people to understand when your friend with a chronic condition like fibromyalgia says sorry she can’t make it.  I bet she tried really hard. She is coping with Fibromyalgia.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

 

Yes, you can still be fabulous even if you have UI

 

I am determined to be fabulous no matter what.  For many woman that no matter what includes Urinary Incontinence (UI).  It is something we feel ashamed about and don’t like to talk about. A little while ago I was approached by Always Discreet to write a blog post about it.  I thought about it quite a bit, because even for me this was very bold and brave.  The reason I decided to talk about it was because it is a real issue.  It affects so many woman and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.  We should be able to access the solutions and still be fabulous.

This year I was approached by the fabulous glossy – Irish Country Magazine.  They wanted to feature me in an article about Urinary incontinence.  Again I hesitated.  I remembered the response I received after publishing the last blog post.  It was all very positive.  Woman were thanking me for speaking out.

The latest issue of Irish Country Magazine is on the shelves this week and my little case study is featured.  It is an honour to be included and ‘you know what’ I am proud to be talking about this important subject.

We do all deserve to be fabulous no matter what is going on behind the scenes.

Thank you so much for continuing to read my blog and to support me.

Kerry xx

SeaBreeze – An oasis of tranquillity

Since moving to Galway over a year ago I have been searching for a place for me.  A place where I can indulge myself in little treats that make me feel good about myself.

You can be excused for thinking I might be talking about a coffee shop that served good cake, but this is so much more important.  I have been looking for a beauty salon where the staff are friendly and the service is good, and more importantly where I feel good, going in and even better coming out.

It was an honour to be a guest at an event for SeaBreeze Beauty & Day Spa when they celebrated their 16th birthday towards the end of last year.  I came away with a sense of finding my new beauty home.  My eyebrows had been threaded as a treat and I was clutching the little booklet which was fast becoming my wish list of treats for me. (anyone wishing to know what I would like for any occasion please feel free to buy me something from here).

There are real perks to being an ITWBN blogger and I was beyond delighted to receive a tweet to ask if I would like to try out one of the SeaBreeze treatments.  At the time my back was in a spasm and there was one treatment that jumped into my mind – a massage!

An Oasis of Tranquility

The salon is in Oranmore which is great as it is a minute off the motorway and less than 15 minutes from home for me.  As I parked my car, my sense of anticipation was mounting.  I knew what was behind the glass doors.  Tranquiliity.

The SeaBreeze decor is ‘sea’ themed and there is the most wonderful restful energy in the salon. There is a sense of stepping into another world where worries, stress and to do lists simply do not exist.

Ciara took me off for my Swedish massage which was simply blissful.  She was so kind and caring and adjusted the pressure to ensure that I got the benefits but no additional pain as I was very tender that day.

I was so tempted to spend a little while sipping tea in the relaxation room.  This room is an oasis itself.  Deck loungers would lull you into forgetting about real life.  I was honestly so relaxed from my massage that I thought I might fall asleep so I passed this time.

I love quotes and when I saw the quote from John Steinbeck on the wall at SeaBreeze I knew I had found home.

The best six doctors anywhere
An
d no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest and air
Exercise and diet.

If you live in Galway – I urge you to visit Sea Breeze and relax and treat yourself.  If you don’t then find your own little oasis and treat yourself when you can.  Fabulous Women deserve to be pampered.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

 

 

 

 

 

Using a bit of tech to keep me more focused on diabetic me

I am a diabetic.  Not a very well behaved one I accept. I sneak the odd cake or chocolate and justify it by saying that I will walk it off.  But, perhaps it is time to keep a closer eye on all things diabetic.

I was diagnosed as a diabetic in 2012 and I have worked hard to change my lifestyle.  For me this was the correct choice.  Rather than accept that I would be on drugs and ultimately injecting insulin, I wanted to see what I could do myself.  Using exercise and watching what I ate (and drank) I have managed to keep it under control as far as possible..

Unfortunately for many of us, despite being careful about what we eat, exercising and drinking lots of water, the disease marches on.

When I was contacted through my blog by Ascensia to ask if I would review their new Contour Next One blood meter I was intrigued.  I love tech and use apps on my phone to remind me of just about everything. There is a list app, pill reminder apps, calendar apps, shopping apps and more.  I love them, they keep me straight and also help with the brain fog (associated with Fibromyalgia). If you would like to try it you can get a free meter here.

Self Management

I have learned that with all my conditions self management is the key.  I am the only one who knows me as well as I do.  Talking the driving seat in managing my diabetes I believe is essential.

Use of mobile phones for blood glucose monitoring can help patients manage their condition: According to an editorial piece published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, the integration of blood glucose monitoring technology with mobile phones can provide additional convenience and ease-of-use for people with diabetes by allowing blood glucose monitoring data to be automatically captured and analysed in near real time, helping people with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels.

This is true in my case.  It is exciting to think that the use of tech in the form of mobile phones can actually lead to better diabetes management, and ultimately better glycemic control.  Since being diagnosed I have always aimed to reduce my hb1ac.  I get this measured every six months and reward myself with a treat (like a manicure) if I have maintained or reduced my levels.

The Contour Next One

The Contour Next One is, at first glance similar to any other system.  The meter is really neat, but the difference is in the interface with the app on your smart phone.  I was a little intimidated about the prospect of setting up the app and getting it all synced and ready but, honestly it was so easy.  Testing is much the same as normal, but tracking them becomes so easy.

The wireless meter simply sends your reading to your phone – it’s that simple.  This is an ideal system for someone who is testing regularly and monitoring.  The system allows you to log what you eat, whether you are testing before or after food.  There is also a cool system where you can either use smart testing (set up for insulin users, and non-insulin users) or you can set up your own reminders.

At this point I am not  insulin dependent.  I do know a good few friends and family who are and I would certainly recommend this system.

Next week is my visit to the practice nurse who manages the diabetes programme. I will have my phone with me and be ready to show my trends, my readings, and hopefully get a good report card!

This is a sponsored post, and I was given the meter, however the reporting is totally my own and I can honestly say that I do like the system and will be using it going forward.

Thank you so much for reading, and if you are a diabetic and would like to chat about it with a fellow diabetic please feel free to get in touch.

Kerry x

My morning ritual – finding time to be quiet, to eat well and to be grateful

My Morning Ritual includes finding time to be quiet is so important.  It is really a bit like food for me – If I don’t have my quiet time I get ratty and crabby a bit like if I am hungry.

decide-to-make-today-wonderfulMany of you might know me as a bubbly outgoing person, but regardless of personality type I strongly believe that spending time alone, and not necessarily doing anything is like food for the soul.

Some people meditate, some pray and others observe the quiet in daily chores.

I wake up early.  I have figured out that I need at least 2 hours from opening my eyes to being functional.  Sometimes this means a very early wake-up but it is worth it.

My morning ritual

My first stop is the kettle and then if I am in pain I treat myself to a tablet or two.  That first cup of tea is like nectar and sometimes I simply sit awhile warming myself from the inside with the unique taste of tea.

This is my time and I indulge myself by reading and meditating or tapping.

The time when I simply do nothing in the quiet still of the morning is so precious.  It is during this time that ideas begin to spark and forgotten memories creep back into my consciousness.

I always have a better day when I meditate or practice EFT (tapping).  I don’t always find time, but when I do my focus is clearer and my intentions stronger.

There are three basic essentials to my morning that take place during this period of ‘me time’:

  1. Setting intentions for the day

I have issues with energy and I find that a day can be wasted if I don’t set clear intentions.  Sometimes these are as simple as doing a load of washing, resting and writing a blog post. Other times they are a little more complex, but ultimately by setting what I want to do I most often get my little list complete.

  1. Gratitude

I begin and end each day with thoughts of gratitude.  I have so much to be grateful for and I find that focussing on this puts me in a positive mindset for the day.  Even on a bad day when I am sore and tired, I can still find so much to be grateful for.

  1. Breakfast

I am a true believer in breakfast.  My energy levels are highest in the morning and I try to eat a good balanced and probably by most accounts large breakfast.  I take my time over breakfast and often treat myself to a favourite TV programme while I eat my way through a three course breakfast.  I try to nod to all the food groups and set myself a little tray.

My reckoning is that this is my main meal of the day and I have all day to work it off.  A good breakfast sets me up.

Rituals can be defined as a series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone.  I like my morning ritual, it keeps me both focussed and productive and most importantly keeps me from becoming crabby and moody.

Thank you for reading.

 

Kerry xx

 

 

Why I started wearing a Fitbit when I am probably not very fit at all?

 

I wear a blue Fitbit almost every day and have done so for the last 8 months.  My Dad asked me if I actually liked it when he saw me checking it over and again and commenting on how little or much I had walked.  Don’t let it rule your life he said.  I really love it!

fitbit fabuliciousfifty

Let me back track a little.  Regular readers to my blog will know that I came to fitness very, very late in life.  Like so late that I bought my first pair of trainers when I was on the very wrong side of forty.

I really do regret not discovering the joy of walking earlier in life, but I try to make up for it now.

One thing you must know before we get into all the statistics etc. is that I don’t walk very fast at all.  I also limp and sometimes walk like a ‘constipated tortoise’.  I have fibromyalgia and arthritis and it can all be a little painful.  Despite this however I strongly believe that the more I walk the better I feel.  Walking clears my mind and when it takes place it nature it fills my soul.  It also eases out all the creaks and actually makes me feel better.   In addition there are also all the health benefits that everyone talks about like weight loss and better muscle tone.

Last December I was visiting family in Dubai.  My big treat is a visit to an Arabic restaurant so off we went and ordered all these yummy little dishes for sharing.  I noticed my brother-in-law was wearing a bracelet.  I am very outspoken so I asked him why he was wearing a bracelet.  ‘It is a Fitbit.’   I really didn’t have a clue and as I didn’t move in fitness circles despite my love of walking I hadn’t even heard of the concept.  He patiently explained it all and told me how it worked.  He is really fit and walks, runs and plays squash.

I thought nothing of it until the next day when I was presented with a little bag and opened it to find my very own Fitbit.  I was honestly quite speechless – what a generous gift had been given to me to encourage my own fitness journey.

I strapped it on and was ready to go.  There are a number of things I learnt from wearing a Fitbit and because of these I would encourage everyone who can to try it – or any other fitness monitor.

This is what I have learnt about my Fitbit

  1. That it is possible to do under a thousand steps a day if you are in an office and don’t move around much.
  2. It takes around 2500 steps to walk from my house to the doctor – so there and back is a great way to ensure I get my steps in.
  3. I feel grumpy and disgruntled when I don’t walk.
  4. Looking at a Fitbit which shows under 2000 steps is a great motivator to get my trainers on and get moving.
  5. That it is possible to walk over 10 000 steps before breakfast when I participated in the 5km Darkness into Light walk recently.  I also exceeeded myself at the Heart of Galway walk where I logged up 14 000 steps.
  6. That my sweet place is around 6000 steps – after this I suffer quite a bit with pain. I am now trying to push my speed a little instead of going further.
  7. I have learnt to use the Fitbit to pace myself and prevent myself from getting overtired. For example if I am going into town and know I am going to be pounding the pavements I might drive or get a lift to the station.  I have no problem walking the 2000 steps to get there, but the prospect of walking 2000 steps home when I am literally crying with pain and exhaustion isn’t a good idea.

A new introduction to the Fitbit app is a little chart which shows how many hours of the day you have been active.  This is really cool and a big wake-up call.  You get a little red dot for each waking hour you do over 250 steps.  It is a really simple but important reminder to get moving.  Take a break, stretch your legs and move away from the computer.  Although it is always good to log between six and 10 000 steps a day it is better to be active throughout the day rather than doing the majority of steps in one big burst.

My Fitbit does all sorts of other things too.  It measures my sleep.  It is really interesting to see if you are in fact getting a good night.  The app – on your phone where you can view all the data from the device shows periods of restfulness and periods of being awake.  When I first started wearing it I was rarely getting a decent 8 hours.  Now I often get those restful hours so necessary to keep smiling.

I also love the little virtual rewards – badges that you get for reaching milestones.  It is always nice to get a pat on the back!

I hope I can motivate other people like me (who might be overweight, unfit and battling with pain) to get moving.

Thank you for reading – I am off to get my Fitbit off the charger and go for a walk.

Kerry x

Tired all the Time – dealing with Fatigue is important

Fatigue is the common enemy of all of us - so slow down, rest up and refill

 

Sometimes I feel tired all the time.  I know that this has to do with some of my health issues, but I am sure that we all feel that way sometimes.

I came across this quote on Pinterest and just knew I had to blog about it.

Fatigue is the common enemy of all of us – so slow down, rest up and refill.

The fuzzy purple in the background is my favourite blanket.  I am not sure whether it was joking or not, but it was said that I could be found with my feet on the footstool and my purple blanket wrapped around me quite often.

What I have learnt is simply this, if we are tired we need to rest.  For some people especially those suffering from fibromyalgia or other illnesses that make you very tired, this will quite possibly be every day. For others it might be on the weekend, but no matter what we need to rest and refill.

I remember years ago being at a youth camp and the pastor saying that we had to imagine that we were a car.  If we drove and drove and never filled up with fuel or checked the water the car would break down.  It would also break down if we didn’t service it.

There is all sorts of research coming out which shows that everyone is more productive when they are rested.  They are more creative and more able to handle what life has for them.  When I can’t sleep, which does seems to happen quite a bit, the next day I am cranky and tired and certainly a lot less productive.  Fatigue wears you out.

Fatigue – breaking it down.

I think this quote is full of lots of wisdom – especially if you break it down.  First slow down – realise that moving fast doesn’t necessarily get you there quicker.  We were driving back from a trip this weekend and there was a car that was in the control of a very dangerous driver.  He was travelling too close to the car in front of him.  Overtaking when it wasn’t safe and obviously in a huge hurry somewhere.  When we reached the turnoff he was still only 2 cars in front of us.    Slow down.

Rest up.  We live in a world where there are so many demands on us and even if we sit down we grab our phone and check emails.  (I am guilty of this for sure).  I am going to try to rest up – and simply take time to breath and know that my body needs it.

Finally we need to refill.  This is such an important part of the quote.  I certainly forget that rest is not enough.  So how am I going to refill.  I am going to read – I am committing to read an uplifting/inspirational book for an hour a day.  You can also refill by spending time in nature.  A good walk in the forest always leaves me feeling better.  A great chat with a friend, and if coffee is included is also a good way of refilling.

Thanks for reading my ramblings and please feel free to leave a comment if you have any suggestions for slowing down, resting and refilling.

Kerry x

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