Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to School

It’s that time of year when parents start to prepare their children for school and another academic year. For parents the school year marks our calendars and tends to define how we see the year. As a parent of three I remember well the preparation involved in making sure summer reading is done, sneakers fit, and school supplies are purchased for that all important first day. My children are all older now but I still have one who just left for college and preseason training. I do very little to prepare him but I still mark the calendar with important dates as he’s an athlete and I still enjoy going to his games and cheering him on.

The preparation and support involved in being a parent can be taxing but even more so when one is chronically ill. Many seemingly small events can take on a life of their own when living with chronic pain and mobility issues. Attending an open house or a sporting event can be daunting tasks for someone like me. I know because I’ve been dealing with this for close to a decade. As a chronically ill parent one begins to worry; how will I be able to support my child(ren)? I was reminded of this recently when I was contacted by a floxed friend who was worried about their role as parent and whether or not they’d be able to raise their children and participate in their lives.

My answer is an emphatic yes you can do this! Perhaps not the same way you’d been doing it before. I definitely had to adapt to my limitations and my children did too. That being said I still attended all their games sometimes having other parents help me. I was still there for my kids to talk to, to remind them of the importance of their education, to hug them and celebrate their achievements, and most importantly to be a parent when they needed one.

All of our roles in the family have changed. My children had to become more responsible and help out around the house more. My husband had to attend the open houses at school when the walking became too much for me. But what they needed the most; the love and affection of a parent I am still able to give to them. Remember THE most important thing is that you’re still here for them. Your kids need you. You don’t have to be strong they just need you to be present. They need to hear that you love them.

We teach by example. Our children are sponges that soak up everything around them from a very early age. I do my best to remain positive and keep fighting to regain my health. One of my sons told me that I’m the strongest person he knows. I can barely walk a ¼ mile. I use a walker or a cane and my husband to get around. I’m very weak physically but it’s our emotional outlook that sets the example for our children. Make no mistake they have seen their mother cry and they still admire my strength. Hug your kid(s), tell them that you love them, and show them your strength and determination by fighting to get better.

I had two teenagers and one preteen when I was floxed. Today my children are young adults. Two have graduated college and gone on to pursue their careers and one is still studying for his bachelor’s degree. I’m extremely proud of the young men that they are today and I’m grateful for every day that I can share with them. If you’re worried about your children you are normal. As parents we never stop worrying about our kids. I know my mom still worries about me. (I love you Mom!) I’m grateful that my kids aren’t the ones dealing with FQAD. I’m glad it’s me and not them. We are never too old to learn and floxing has taught me a lot about our current medical system and government. My eyes are wide open now.

So as your children start a new school year remember that you love them and you’re doing the best you can. They will understand your limitations and just be happy that you are here for them. They will learn from the example that you set so forgive yourself for your limitations and be the best parent that you can be.

~ Betsy

Monday, August 1, 2016

Should I or Shouldn't I

As floxies we want to improve our health, reduce our pain, and try to get back to leading a more active and productive life so we constantly wonder whether or not we should try some new therapy or supplement someone else says helped them. The more time I’m on the boards and support groups the more I see this topic come up. As a newly floxed person I have jumped on the bandwagon to try supplements that someone else has recommended sometimes with good results, sometimes bad results, and sometimes with nothing changing at all. Whether or not to try a new therapy or supplement is a question we all face in trying to recover.

As a longtime floxie with numerous health issues the best advice I can give is to research, research, and research some more anything you are considering trying. And this goes for mainstream medical options as well as alternative therapies and supplements. I cannot stress enough that we are all different so what works for one may not work or even harm others. Then when starting something new start low and go slow.

Sometimes we learn of more than one new supplement at a time so we buy a few things and start taking all of them the same day. Early on I was guilty of this as well. I now know that the best way to approach a new supplement is to take one new thing, wait several days, note any changes in health and if nothing negative happens then try it again. Proceed slowly and with caution. I’ve heard of those who’ve felt good on a new supp, only to increase the amount and after several days start feeling worse. Sometimes feeling worse can just be a cycle that coincides with the new supp but sometimes it can be the supplement itself. If you’re not sure what’s causing the worsening err on the side of caution and stop the new supplement. Wait a few days and then decide whether or not to try it again. Start something new slowly, use a small amount and gauge your reaction. One example of this is essential oils (EOs). I had great success with these as have many others and I still use them almost daily however I’ve met two floxies who reacted badly to them. So I advise caution here. Also, when I realized they were helping me I began using more and more of them. I learned that with EOs that less is more. Increasing the amount didn’t help any more than the lesser amount did. So I learned through experience to use them diluted to 10% with a carrier oil, and applied topically or diffused (never ingest them!). This leads me to my next bit of advice; listen to your body.

You know yourself better than anyone else. What is your gut telling you about your floxing? If you aren’t sure then keep listening. There are many well meaning people in the groups who will give you advice on what helped them and they are wonderful to share their experiences with the rest of us. I’ve found some very beneficial remedies this way. I’ve also tried some things that didn’t help so at the end of the day you need to sit down and think about what you need to do for you. So after you’ve done your research, listened to advice of others, thought about your unique situation, and done your budget then ask yourself is it still something you want to try? If it’s a very expensive therapy and some did well with it but others did not and it’s going to set you back financially do you still think it’s a good idea? Weigh the pro’s and con’s before jumping in. Also remember if you hold off on it for now it’ll still be around if you decide to try it later. Some of the best results have come from simple dietary changes such as eating organic, avoiding GMOs, reducing toxic exposure from household cleaners, detergents and Teflon pans, and switching to organic personal care products. And the best thing is that this won’t break the bank. My laundry detergent I use now is a lot cheaper than the name brand I used!

Remember we are all unique. We all come from different backgrounds and have different genetics. That’s one of the things that makes this world so beautiful. Keeping that in mind what works for one might not work for another so do your research, ask questions, start low and go slow, and listen to your body. And if you aren’t sure about something you don’t have to decide today. There’s plenty of time and there are simple changes you can make now. My last bit of advice is to keep a journal of what you’ve tried, what worked, what didn’t work, and supplements that work synergistically. This will help especially if you have brain fog.

Yours in Health,