Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Fake flavor.
It's no wonder we have a problem.
And it's only the tip of the iceberg.

I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I believe there is something to this. It all boils down to the consumer. Whatever it takes to make us buy, that's what the flavorists will do. Flavorists are scientists that specialize in the science of flavor. They use the field of chemistry to create natural and artificial flavors. 

What it does is give processed food it's fabulous taste.

I mean, who didn't love McDonald's french fries? I could down a bag of fries before my husband could make it around the car. I'm definitely not a food snob but I've learned how to eat. I try not to eat processed food, however, every once in a while I like to sink my teeth into a Big Mac and fries. That is until I found out why I liked them so much.

Try that they used to fry them in a little cottonseed oil and beef tallow. I don't think they do that anymore but those fries used to be fantastic. Beef tallow? No wonder they were so fattening. Now they use "natural flavors." What have the chemists come up with to replicate that flavor?

I looked up strawberry shakes and I found that there are 59 chemicals in a fast food strawberry shake. There isn't a strawberry anywhere. Have the flavorists made processed food so attractive that the actual taste of real food tastes bland? I still say certain diseases seem a lot more prevalent now that when I was growing up. I hate to sound like an old lady and "my generation didn't do that" kind of thing but could the chemicals we have ingested for the last 40 years finally have caught up with us?

What have years of fast food done to us? I used to laugh and say the reason I don't have wrinkles is all the preservatives that I've eaten over the years. After looking at all of this it doesn't seem so funny anymore.

It's more like pathetic.

I think those of us with these invisible diseases or autoimmune issues need to be especially careful about what kind of food we put in our mouths. We need to read labels carefully. From what I've found out the only different between natural and artificial flavors is how they're distilled. That doesn't make me feel a whole lot better.

And let's not even start with that lovely little excitotoxin aspartame. Excitotoxins are chemicals, food additives or amino acids that over excite the brains neurons causing them to fire incessantly and burn out and die. 

All these chemicals.

So many diseases.

And we wonder why............

We should be afraid.

Very afraid.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Being thankful.
Attitude of gratitude.
Is it easy?

It's definitely not easy to pull yourself out of yourself and think of all the blessings that you have in your life. Chronic pain makes you likes it that way. All it wants you to do is focus on your pain. The pain tells you that it's for self-protection and that it's for the best.

The pain lies.

Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family. It's a time for giving and it's a time to be grateful for what we do have and are able to do. No matter how bad we feel...well, it could always be worse. I know that I'm guilty of letting pain shift my focus inward. I mean, let's face it, if the only thing that I'm grateful for is that I'm not a turkey.........well, you get the idea.

I need to stop and think.

Sometimes it's volunteering, or listening. Sometimes it might just be a smile. Gratitude is infectious even for the most cynical. I went to a church service and people were speaking about what they were thankful for this year. I was sitting there half listening and a man took his turn at the microphone and said he was grateful that he had his son for 17 years because his son went home to be with the Lord. I was shaken out of my complacency. I couldn't believe the dignity and grace that this man had in the face of such tragedy. It's hard for me to even write the words. 

I can think of nothing worse.

So, I think I can look at "me" and be grateful. I don't mean that I'm playing Pollyanna or glossing over trials that can be faced in life. I just think we can still find blessings that we have all around us. Instead of my focus being negative (like it usually is) I need to find a way to be more positive. I know that I have to dig down real deep. 

Wait.........this is making me sound like an ungrateful brat. That's not it at all and that's not me at all. I do know that there are others hurting as much and much more than I am. So what to do? It's still difficult to give when you feel like you don't have anything left in you. I have friends that I've met through blogging and they are HURTING. 

It comes down to not only being grateful for what we do have but also giving to someone, ANYONE else. We need to move beyond ourselves. I realize that if I were to go to houses down the block and trade my problems for theirs I might just come to the conclusion that I don't have it so bad after all. 

I may not have a back and neck that are in the greatest condition and I may have an illness that doesn't have a conclusive beginning or end BUT, all in all, I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends. That, in itself, should keep me in an attitude of gratitude. 

I have a wonderful daughter and son-in-law.

That's the icing on the cake.


Did someone say cake??

Oh yeah..........I did!!

Time for dessert and for that I am thankful!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Just when I think I've got a handle on my life.
Something comes up.
And it proves that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

You know.......I've learned how to handle pain. I've accepted that I have to find a different direction for my life. I've even tried to put the past behind me. I've congratulated myself that I was able to feel like I've buried one of the most hurtful situations of my life and moved on.

I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

My daughter asked how I felt about this particular issue. I really thought that I could take a highly charged emotional issue and put it aside. Running into it head on proved to me that there are some things in this life that will stay with me for my whole life and there isn't a thing I can do to change that. 

I don't even think I want to try.

My daughter and I are practically cloned. When we give our hearts, either to some thing or someone, that's it. I don't know whether that kind of intensity is a good or bad thing. For her, it's very good. She has found the love of her life and they will both do everything in their power to keep it alive and stable. They have a love and respect for each other that's obvious to the people around them. It's not just the honeymoon phase that I'm talking about. It's a deep regard and love that has them putting each other first and foremost. Not to say that they haven't had issues but they have a commitment and their word is their bond. Nothing on this earth could make them break that vow they've made to each other. 

It's truly a beautiful thing to witness.

I've experienced loss; of my parents and the loss of the people that I've loved more than life itself.  I've felt gratitude that I've had the good fortune to feel that kind of love for another person. When it ended I thought the earth was going to open up and swallow me whole. It didn't and I didn't wither and die even though I felt like I would. 

Now I've found out that I didn't move on like I thought I did. I've opened myself up for another dose of that soul-sucking feeling all because I got curious. Well, you know what they say about curiosity. That saying is absolutely true. Whenever I get curious I get in trouble. I have this penchant for putting everything to rest and it takes a great deal for me to do that. Fortunately, I don't normally make the same mistake twice.

I'm not going to dwell on it either.

For once in my life I'm not going to push the envelope. I'm going to keep my little Miss-fix-it hands out of it and trust that life will work itself out. 

I like to say that.

Have I ever done it?

"Go with the flow" is not my forte.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I always thought I thrived on stress.
I was wrong.
So what is the HPA Axis?

The HPA axis is the relationship between the hypothalamus, the pituitary and adrenal glands. Research is showing that people with Chronic Fatigue and/or Fibromyalgia have a real problem in this area.

The hypothalamus is at the base of the brain. It controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, mood, your sex drive and your sleep. The pituitary gland is also at the base of the brain. It controls our metabolism, blood pressure and stress response. The adrenals are at the top of the kidneys. They produce cortisol, adrenalin and norepinephine. 

So basically dysfunction in this area causes low body temperature, digestion problems, problems in the immune system, problems with energy and problems in the response to stress trauma or injury and pain and those are just the highlights.

Does this sound familiar?

The stress response is the body protecting you. I loved the feeling of flight or fight and lived that way on a daily basis. It was more powerful than any drug. I was typical Type A and thought that was the way to really live. If I wasn't going at mach two with my hair on fire then I felt like a wimp. What is interesting is that many of the women I worked with in new home sales now suffer from Fibromyalgia. I don't think it's a coincidence either. We lived under high pressure, long hours and high intensity. The stress was unbelievable. What I didn't realize was that I was burning myself out. I don't think any of use had a clue what was happening to our bodies.  

So what came first?
The chicken or the egg?

I'm not saying that any of us who are Type A personalities did this to ourselves. Did we have problems in this axis to begin with and then the stress just exacerbated the symptoms? Or did the stress and trauma put too much pressure on these glands and they weren't able to deal with it?

I remember the feeling. My muscles would tighten and my heart would beat faster. It seems like your senses are sharper. What I interpreted as daily living was my bodies way of protecting me. It would enable me to rise to the challenge of survival. 

I was in survival mode.
To the max.

When the stress is greater than the body is able to tolerate you are at risk for a stress related disorder. The heart becomes more susceptible to disease because of the increased cortisol and adrenaline in your already compromised system. The body doesn't differentiate between physical and emotional stress. Stress is stress.

If chronic stress can rewire the brain then I must be really screwed up. The body needs to shut off the switch and therein lies the problem. The stress felt so normal for so long that it tends to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling but the price that you pay for that over-achieving, perfectionist, familiar feeling is a very heavy toll on your system. 

You've basically put a big bulls eye on your back.

And back then I still didn't pay attention.

I pay attention now.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


And there's nothing I can do about it.
Just try winding me up.

I've tried for several days to write this post. It just wasn't happening. I'm not even sure that I'll get through it tonight. I can't find the words and I can't find the energy. It's just one of those times when life comes at you.

And slams you into the ground.

I still didn't get through the post. It's been a couple of days since I've looked at it. Why? Well, let me start off with the death of my brother. I did know it was coming but I still wasn't prepared for it. I got the call at four in the morning and ran down to the hospital. He was already gone when I got there but I still wish I hadn't gone in the emergency room. I think we should all remember our loved ones in a "happier times" light. Now, when I think of him, I'll see the shell that was in the room. He had lung cancer and his body had wasted away to about 80 pounds. He looked so small but I pray he's finally at peace. Goodness knows that peace eluded him in this life.

I have good memories but a lot of conflicting ones as well. He chose to live his life in a way that was less than stellar. Our lives were so different that it was impossible to remain close to him. Maybe that's why it is still so strange to think that he's actually gone. I wish I felt more and I know that one some level I do but it's difficult to bring it forth. No matter how we lived our lives he was still my big brother. I also know that he was in as much emotional pain as he was in physical pain. All I know is that I've hurt a lot since his death. I don't do well with death and I recognize that but my body has a reaction stemming from my inability to deal with the inevitable.

It's funny. I really don't fear death. I fear the changes it has brought to my life and I fear how I get there but I'm at peace with what happens after. Strange isn't it? 

Then there is the tooth fiasco. Another one decided to go on a rampage and it was off to the dentist. The shots of Novocaine were enough to make me bounce off the walls but the noise of the drill in my head put me over the edge. All of this happened last Friday and I'm not recovered from that either.

Oh, let me not forget the $800 it cost me to fix my car from the belts and power steering issues that it had.

Is it any wonder that I feel like I'm in "implode" mode? 

It's like a storm that is developing over the Atlantic.

One day it's a tropical depression.

The next it's a category four hurricane.