Wednesday, December 30, 2015


It's that time of year.
Holidays and parties.
And you are just exhausted.
More than exhausted.

I read somewhere that it's a good idea when you have a chronic illness to lower your standards for holiday shopping and baking. Lower my standards? How much lower can they go before I just put the covers over my head? It's bad enough that I feel pain on a daily basis, I really don't want to inflict anyone else with that on the holidays.

Then again, I don't think anyone holds the standard that I hold to myself. 

When my daughter was little we had to run from home to home to celebrate. By the time the year was over I was glad that it would be a whole year before I had to do THAT again. Then as time went on and pain entered my life I began to resent it even more. I had to stop and remember, that for me, the reason of the season was not rushing around for the perfect gift and baking until I dropped. I had to remember that I had the perfect gift and I had a wonderful family that it was a joy to be around. 

So, how do I get through the holidays?

All I can say is thank goodness for Amazon. Well, I'm going to expand that to the whole internet. What was it like before? It's hard to remember life before one-click buying. I just don't have it in me to brave the crowds anymore.  What would I want for myself and others that have illness as a part of their lives?  I would want a magic wand to conjure up a cure for myself and others.

So, now the craziness of Christmas is over and in just a few days it's the New Year. I've never liked going out New Years Eve. It's just not something I like to do. We usually go to dinner early and we're home before nine. Let everyone else party in the new year. I will watch the ball drop from my nice warm bed.

I really need to start thinking about my resolutions....

That I never keep........

But, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

Now, we're on to 2016......

Oh my gosh.........



Where did this year go???

Friday, December 18, 2015


I keep reading the study.
Over and over again.
Is it that simple?
Can it be that simple?
I have questions.

There is a study that was recently published that shows altered MRI responses in patients with Fibromyalgia to, what should be, non painful sensory stimulation. Basically, the study showed that we are hypersensitive to everyday sensory stimulation. Our brains don't process the stimulation correctly. 

When it should be stored in the background we keep it front and center.
Plus, we don't initially recognize it.

This falls in line with the study by Dr. Frank Rice and the AV shunts in our hands. It seems that the nerve endings in the AV shunts in the palms of our hands hold the secret of Fibromyalgia. The AV stands for arteriole-venule which, up until now, just regulated blood flow. Now it seems that an over abundance of these nerve fibers are the source of our pain.

It's possible.
Anything is possible.

But this brings questions. Does that mean that these excess nerve fibers were a genetic anomaly? If that is the case then are they able to remain dormant and then be triggered by an illness or trauma?

Most of us can pinpoint when the pain started. For me, it was trauma. I don't understand....did the trauma cause my palms to grow excess nerve fibers or were they there and dormant. Can this be genetics?

On the other side.....I can always feel a flare coming on because it starts with my hands. 

They summarize that the blood flow is responsible for the muscular achiness and pain. The fatigue is from a build up of lactic acid and inflammation. It sounds like that triggers the brain going a little haywire.  These shunts could be keeping blood flow from reaching deep into the muscles. As far as the brain going haywire....we all know what happens then.....

We can't sleep.

The interesting thing, to me, is that these shunts are critical for thermal regulation and our metabolism. It's that why some of us have heat or cold intolerance??  As far as our metabolism goes......could it be why this is so closely intertwined with our thyroid?

If this is the case why do some medications work for some people and not others? What about all the symptoms. Can it all be due to excess sensory fibers in our hands??

I'm thinking about this.

But I still have questions.

I think this bears watching.....

but now, when I feel a flare coming on......

And I'm rubbing my hands.......

I'll take notice.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Sometimes it's true.
Good things do come in small packages.
This one works.

About a month ago I got an email from Brandon Molnar. He owns Utopia Gear and sells a product called Massage Pro. He asked if I'd review his product and, since I've got issues with my back along with Fibromyalgia, I told him I'd be glad to do so. He shipped the box and I wanted to give it some time so I'd know if it really would work for my back as well as the Fibromyalgia.

I got the box and got familiar with the Massage Pro.  So, what is it? I could tell you but the website tells it best.

"The Massage Pro 3.0 is a dual channel TENS/EMS unit used by physical therapists and chiropractors worldwide.  This portable tens unit sends an electronic pulse to the nerve endings, which in turn makes the muscles contract, increasing circulation.  Most pain is due to inflammation and research shows that increasing circulation is one of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation.  

The Massage Pro 3.0 has two inputs, allowing 4 tens unit pads to run at one time and at different intensities; this is huge because you can essentially save time by having two different body parts being worked simultaneously at separate power levels.  With 12 different modes to choose from, this is the world's best TENS unit." 

I have a TENS unit but find it cumbersome to wear around. This fits easily in my pants pocket and very lightweight. That is a huge plus and makes it so I can "plug in" anywhere.

He sent me information and let me know that Fibromyalgia patients usually find modes 2 and 3 irritating but I actually didn't mind any of them. I liked the first mode the best. You can set it up to an hour which was great for my back. I set it for 10 minutes to start but I found I could have it set for much longer. Everyone may not be like me and may like or not like all of the modes. 

What I do think is that it could be a useful tool in our belts to have. Our muscles need movement and this brings much needed circulation to help alleviate the pain. It helped me a great deal and I'm thankful they approached me to review it. As I write this post, I've got it on. 

The company has generously offered a discount to readers if you want to purchase one of these units. If you use the code SEEKING60 the price of the 3.0 unit will drop to $149.99. If you want an easy way to the site click on any Massage Pro on this post and it will take you directly there.

Some of the features of the unit are: 

TENS/EMS Combo Unit
LCD Display with backlight
Ability to set the intensity independently for each channel
12 massage modes
10-60 minute adjustable timer
20 levels of intensity
1 large and 1 small set of electrode pads
USB and wall adapter included
Extremely portable, fits in your pocket, the ultimate mini massager
Rechargeable internal Lithium Ion battery
Two year warranty

I don't do many product reviews and the ones I have reviewed I truly do believe in. I'm not saying that it will work for everyone. We all have different levels of pain and, for some, it may be too much. To be fair, I waited until I had a real bad day and used it. Even though the pain was pretty intense I still found it helpful. During that time I was only able to use the first mode. 

If you are looking for something like this please visit their site and support the company.

Thank You!

Now, because I must......

between my headphones.......

my wires from the TENS unit...........

I might look a little suspicious ......

if I try to board a plane....

I better unplug for that!

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah or Happy Holidays!!!

My best to you all!


Monday, December 7, 2015


There is a reason....
that an acorn....
is a profile picture.....
It's nuts.

There is a new app for people with chronic illness coming out. Long story short? They are gambling with the idea that chronic patients will put up money to reach their health goals. If they reach their goals?  They win. If they don't?

They lose.

Kinda sorta sounds like a Vegas kind of deal. Except we are up front about the fact that casinos were not built on winners. The other thing about Vegas? We tell people where to find help if they have a problem with gambling.

This startup sounds like it's banking on the fact that you won't reach your goals.

In the article they even state it's not gambling because the patient has all the control. Never mind that there is a pot of money up for grabs. Never mind that they are using money as behavioral incentives and motivation.

Never mind that it sounds like a crock.
If you leave or don't reach your goal the others will get a cut of the money that's leftover.

Tell me that isn't gambling.

They want people to wager an amount of money that will motivate them. Ok....people who are ill usually have spent a great deal trying to find out what is wrong with them or trying to get better. Now, let's have an app that takes even more money from them.

Anyone from Vegas will tell you it's foolish to bet against the house.

This is no different.

I can't wait to see how they get around the money issue.

This sounds like the chronic community is going to get screwed.

I just think most of them would like to be kissed first.

Monday, November 30, 2015


The war on drugs. 
It sounds good. 
Countless lives have been ruined because of them.
But, as usual, things go awry.

It's very irritating to me when I hear that in order to get a prescription at some of the chain pharmacies you have to go through some song and dance and convince the pharmacist that you actually need them. 

Oh, and I'm not talking about the patient.
I'm talking about the doctor.

It's ridiculous when the pharmacists puts your doctor through an interrogation. They want to know if they've tried every other remedy before prescribing opiates. This is absolutely unbelievable to me. When can a pharmacist override the doctor? Who went to medical school??

Why isn't more research being done to bring about pain relief than can block the addictive properties of the drug? Heroin and morphine bind to a specific immune receptor TLR4.  This receptor then becomes an amplifier for addiction. 

Why isn't naloxone being used more? Naloxone reverses the effects of the opioid and could save thousands of lives due to accidental overdose.  Naloxone alters brain chemistry to stop the production of dopamine. So, if it blocks the production of Mr. Feelgood (dopamine) doesn't it stand to reason it would block the craving for the drugs?

You can't tell me that the research isn't there.

There was one published in 2012. Opioid activation of toll-like receptor 4 contributes to drug reinforcement.

They talk about Naloxone in emergency rooms and taking it off prescription and being available to anyone to be used to prevent death from opioid overdose. If it can be used as a stand alone why can't it be used to create pain relief that won't be addictive. 

In October of 2013 the FDA drew huge praises from the addiction community by moving hydrocodone with acetominaphen to a Schedule 2 narcotic. The doctor cannot call in your refills. You must hand the prescription to the pharmacist personally. They have made it harder to get Lortab, Vicodin and other addictive painkillers. They are supposed to make painkillers harder to abuse. For example, they inject Oxycontin with a gel that makes it harder to crushed and snorted. This kind of abuse deterrent is supposed to be a public health priority. 

So what did they do?
They approved Zohydro. 

Zohydro is a long acting opioid. This drug is not intended for as-needed use. This is for patients who need long term, around the clock treatment. This drug is not messing around. You can't drink alcohol. Let's face it, you're not supposed to drink with any pain medication but alcohol with this medication can result in fatal hydrocodone plasma levels in the blood. You even have to be careful taking anything that contains alcohol. This can even mean cough syrup.

I love the insert on this drug. When addressing who should be prescribed this drug they talk about the opioid "naive."  Excuse me??? Zohydro is five to ten times more powerful than the currently available hydrocodone that's on the market. What the heck does opioid naive mean? To my mind? These pills shouldn't be available to everyone. It should be for terminal pain patients. If you're walking around, you shouldn't need Zohydro. It's that simple. The Attorney Generals of 28 states sent a letter to the F.D.A. protesting the approval of this drug. To be fair, the makers of Zohydro have contracted with a Canadian company to come up with an abuse deterrent formula but who knows how long that will take. This drug was meant for cancer patients but everyone knows it will be on the street soon enough. Pill mills will push these babies out and they can be crushed, snorted and will kill people.

So we are back to the problem.

Why can't we have pain relief that helps moderate to severe pain without the addictive properties? 

It's not out of the question.

When you look at all the commercials ....

And the outrageous side effects.........

And it still is approved........

You're telling me it's impossible to get adequate pain relief.....

Without the additictive properties......

I don't believe it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Sometimes we forget.
Sometimes we just lose sight,
of what is important.

I'm thankful for the pain so when it ends I know the feeling of relief. I'm thankful for hunger so I know what it feels like to be full. I'm thankful for the tough times so I'll be grateful for the times of plenty. 

I'm thankful that I have a wonderful, beautiful daughter. She's the light of my life. I'm so proud of the woman that she's become. She's a accomplished woman who stands tall. I look at her and marvel that I had a hand in all of this. She's got a tender heart and loves with her whole heart. Her smile lights up the world. To top it all off I have a grandson. He calls me Meemaw and, yes, we are Big Bang Theory nuts. He is my moon pie because he is so num-num-nummy that I could just eat him up. 

I'm thankful for a wonderful extended family that are my daughter and son-in-laws friends who have welcomed me into their homes and their hearts. They love laughter and friends and dogs. It's so nice that their group of friends are all so wonderful. I'm thankful that my daughter has her best friend that is right beside her with children of her own and they can go on this magical ride of motherhood together.

I'm thankful for my best friend of 20+ years. It's the friend that we all need. It's a friend that will laugh and cry with you. A friend who'll have your back and cover your ass as well. (I know where all the bones are buried!)  It's a friend that will tell you the truth knowing that the truth may be painful. A friend that accepts your flaws, applauds your triumphs and cries with you when you're hurt. He's my friend that will always be there through thick and thin. We were brought together by a lingering ex-boyfriend and have stayed friends.

I'm thankful for Facebook. Before you laugh it's been the vehicle that has brought classmates from years past back into my life. We are all friends for life.

I'm thankful that my many annoyances with my health can be managed. I've had friends fighting for their lives with cancer. Some of them lost the fight.  Nothing can compare to chemo and radiation. You see the pain and the suffering. You see hair falling out in clumps. You see realization that even though their desire to fight is strong, they know they may lose the battle. I'm not minimizing Fibromyalgia but if this is the worst that I have to deal with in this life.....well, I'm fortunate. 

I'm thankful for my dog who continually reminds me how to  be content. He greets me with enthusiasm that goes through his whole body.  He knows he has everything he needs and sleeps contentedly with thoughts of snackers and babies running through his head. I'm thankful for Costco because without Costco chicken he wouldn't eat. (Well, we all know he would but I've spoiled him rotten.)

I'm thankful for a wonderful and loving God who doesn't give me all I pray for and yet gives me more than I need. I'm thankful that there is enough food and I'm mindful of those who are not as fortunate. 

So, on this Thanksgiving 2015,

find time to sit back and reflect,

and be thankful,

because no matter how bad it is,

it could always be worse.

God Bless you and your families.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now, if I don't gain 10 lbs. by morning....

I would not be grateful for that!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2015


I watched 60 minutes.
And my heart sank.
Pain patients don't matter.

I know those people are hurting. They lost someone they loved to addiction and the problem all started with opioids. I basically heard them tell me that I don't know what it's like to lose someone and that it could have been different if they hadn't gotten hooked on opioids.

They wrong.
I know very well what it's like and it makes me angry. 
Very angry.

I'm not angry at the system and I'm not angry at the drugs. I'm angry because the typical reaction is, when any tragedy happens, is to blame the object and outlaw it. It doesn't matter that there are many law abiding people that depend on these medications to live a functional life. The only thing that matters is that some people have died and that they are somehow not to blame; the pills are to blame.

Funny, it doesn't work that way with alcohol related deaths.
We don't blame the car.

Let's put this under a microscope and have people spend more than 30 seconds in pain management. Instead of throwing hydrocodone or oxycodone at patients who have a tooth pulled let's try using some common sense. Instead of spending less than ten minutes with a patient in pain management and leaving with narcotics wouldn't it make sense to have some counseling go along with it? Let's also do some genetic testing so we know what the dosage should be and how it will be metabolized by the individuals system. Instead of throwing prescriptions at people could they just talk to you first and find out what is going on? Would that be too difficult?

And while I'm on the subject.......

All this so-called "shaming." There's fat shaming, body shaming, skinny shaming, illness shaming and now pill shaming..... all this garbage. When is just being mean "shaming." Puts a sweet spin on someone who just wants to be cruel. Everyone has an opinion behind a keyboard. Social Media is wonderful in some respects but, I'll tell you, I'm REAL glad it wasn't around when I was in school. 

If you don't agree with someone it is now ok to be cruel.
No. It isn't.

So we are now going to pill shame. It's not like I've got a boo-boo on my finger and prescribed pain medication. Voodoo pain is the pain that I live with. I know that at any point in time someone is going to stab that little voodoo doll with a pin and I will feel a stabbing pain somewhere. If they hug and squeeze that little voodoo doll I'm going to have a dull ache all over my body. Again, this pain I've learned to handle. It's when the pain increases to whole other level; my whole body feels likes it's being compressed like a junk car that is being compressed to the size of a box of cornflakes. That voodoo doll? It's being stabbed all over....over and over again with a ferocious intensity. 

It is that pain that makes have to take pain medication to make it tolerable.

There are a lot of people like me. Maybe I don't have an addictive personality. I heard that one from my doctor. Maybe it's because I metabolize opioids slowly. I can't take very much because it stays with me. People that metabolize it quickly may have to have a different dosage or maybe that's where the trouble comes in. I don't know. I just think we have to do things differently.

The knee jerk reaction of taking it all away will not work.

It didn't work with Prohibition.

It didn't work with the war on drugs.

All it serves is to push it underground.

Which is precisely what is happening.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


I never would have thought.....

According to the National Institute of Health people in pain use more health resources than people who are not in pain.

Ya think?

Approximately 23 million people catagorized their pain as a level 3 or 4. For the basis of this survey a one was the least severe and least bothersome and the highest was a level for for the most severe and most persistent. It was interesting that women were the most likely to report pain.

So what does this do?

I don't think the sheer volume of people reporting severe pain was expected and maybe, just maybe, they will want to evaluate what can be done for chronic, severe pain patients. The research also wants to look at complementary procedures, such as yoga and massage, that may help pain as well. 

It's clear that shoving strong pain medication to patients isn't an answer. Neither is denying pain medication. It's clear that a different approach is needed. Personally, I think that finding out how a person processes medications is key. Everyone metabolizes medications differently so how can you know how a medication will affect your body unless you test for it?  Part of the problem is I think part of the problem is that most of these people live their lives in an educational bubble. Sometimes I wonder if the people who research chronic pain and Fibromyalgia have ever been in chronic pain. I love reading articles by Ph.D's that feel if chronic pain sufferers would stop thinking about their pain, then they might not experience as much of it.

It's called pain catastrophizing.
It means just what it sounds like and what it implies is also just what it sounds like.

I'm back to central sensitization. People with Fibromyalgia have a lower threshold for pain because of increased sensitivity in the brain to it's pain signals. It's not what happens, it seems to be how it happens. Why they're stuck on cognitive behavioral therapy and trying to blame pain amplification on "catastrophizing" is beyond me. It's almost as if they can't find the on/off switch in our brains so they don't bother.  I really want one of these guys to experience chronic pain and then tell me that if we think good thoughts it will get better.

I've always said that attitude helps us get through very tough and painful times. It helps for a lot of things but it doesn't take away the pain. It is purely a coping strategy. That's all it is. There are affective dysfunctions, central nervous system abnormalities and cognitive dysfunctions. 

Even after all the research the treatments for Fibromyalgia include: Reduce stress, get sleep, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Boy, I can't tell you how much that advice helps me. Isn't that what we should be doing in the first place?

And I don't buy any of it.

So what to do?

I think they need to recognize the legitimacy of pain.

23 million people are not catastrophizing.

They are in pain.

And something needs to be done.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I feel like crap.
I need caffeine.
It started out bad.
It didn't get better as the day went on.
The prognosis isn't good for the rest of the evening.

Let me give you a little overview of the day. I don't know why I'm constantly surprised when I put my feet on the floor in the morning and my body feels like I've been beaten with a baseball bat. I'm used to the stiffness that doesn't go away until mid-morning; I can deal with that. What's difficult to deal with is the pain that has velcroed itself to my body and refuses to let up. So, as I hobble to the kitchen to make a concoction that kind of resembles coffee, I remember that I left my thyroid medication by the bed. I try to take it first thing in the morning because if I don't, I'll forget. So I hobble back to get the medication. Unfortunately, my dog has gotten up and he wants to be outdoors. So I turn around and as I walk on the lead weights that are my legs mouthing "ow" with every other breath, I put Buster outside and then start my trek back to the kitchen.

I forgot the fricking medication AGAIN.
Screw it. I'll take it later.
I'll live to regret those words.

So I start my coffee (and I use the term loosely) and get the non-fat creamer, three Sweet and Low and sugar free chocolate syrup so that it will resemble light brown milk. My daughter visibly shudders when she watches me make coffee! Even the people at Starbucks can't believe what they hear when I order.  Did I mention that my hands also hurt? As I get the cream out of the refrigerator it slips out of my hands and suddenly, splat! Yep, I've got cream all over the floor. Fortunately, Buster comes in the kitchen looking like he hit the lottery and at this point I let him lick the mess up off the floor. Then I remember that he doesn't digest milk well, so I know I'll pay for this later if I let him continue. I give up and throw the whole roll of paper towels on the floor and wipe up the cream.  At this point, I don't even want the coffee anymore. I head back to the fridge and get a diet coke. I need the caffeine.

I figure I'll go to the gym. I don't know why I do it. Everything I read says I need the movement and that it will help with the pain. If anyone says that to me today my answer will be, "bite me." I'm wiped out after I walk and I come home and go to sleep.  Now let me explain the trip to the gym.

I get in the car and pull out of the garage. Then I look down and I pull back into the garage. I go inside and get my phone and the gym bag. I can't remember anything today! Okay, I'm ready to go now. I get ready to pull the car out of the garage again and, I'm not. I have to take my pain medication otherwise I won't be able to walk. If I don't take it before I get there it won't kick in. Great. So I pull back in the garage, nearly forget to put the car in park, go inside and take the pain medication. I hobble back to the garage......

NOW I'm ready to go.

By the time I get to the gym I'm exhausted. I just want to go home and put the covers over my head. Maybe I just should have stayed in bed today. It isn't looking good so far but, I keep going and make to to the gym and walk. By the time I hit 3 miles I'm crying. Maybe I should just go home. 

I hate looking at women older than I am who are practically running. I am so envious of people that can walk without pain. As I walk I realize how much I took for granted. I took my health for granted, my body and my work for granted. I just wish I could go back a couple of years before the accident. It's very sobering and depressing to realize that you can NEVER go back.  But, I hobble on......

I get home and get back into bed and put the pillows around my head and that is where I have been all day and night. It's just one of those days where my mood has gotten worse with every passing hour. It's so frustrating to forget everything. I tried using the weekly pill dispenser but I forget to fill it and even when I do remember to fill it, I forget to use it. I even put it in my calendar on my phone but I forget to look at it. 

Maybe I should take a bath.

A couple of hours in the tub should shake off this mood.


If I could sleep I'd say tomorrow will be a better day.

But I probably won't sleep either.

By the way, I forgot to take my thyroid medication today.

Did anyone get the license plate of that truck that hit me?

Saturday, October 17, 2015


What is worse?
Or the thought of it?
I think it's a tie.

When you live in some level of pain on a daily basis even the thought of going to the grocery store is sometimes a bit overwhelming. Now try taking a long trip. I read through travel tips online and read books. I know in my head what to do and what not to do. Did I listen to any of it?


I have to admit that I started to hyperventilate at the thought of being on an airplane for 13 hours. I take that back. I nearly passed out. The thought of being cooped up in a cigar tube for that long just does not appeal to me whatsoever. I will talk myself out of having a good time just thinking about a plane flight.

I went to see my doctor and asked for a prescription of Valium. I truly needed it. I don't often ask my doctor for prescriptions like this. He knows me well and if I ask, well, he knows I've got a good reason for it. Years ago my former husband and I were coming back home and it was a real bad flight. I wasn't nervous....air turbulence happens all the time. It was when the pilot opened the cockpit door (many years ago wasn't it?) pointed and told the flight attendants to get down. He shouted that command. Then the plane nearly flipped on its side and people started screaming.

Then I got scared.

Ever since then I haven't loved flying. I know in my head that it is safer than a car but it's that darn control thing that continually pops up. People always say that "if it's your time there's nothing you can do," but my comeback is, "what if it's the other guys time?"  I'm almost positive that if I was in the cockpit I'd be fine but, well....ok.....I'm a control freak and it isn't going to happen. 

Most travel tips tell you to get the aisle seat. If that's where you feel the most comfortable by all means follow that advice. For me the aisle seat is next to death. I feel surrounded. I, personally, like the window seat. I look out and see endless sky and that makes me feel less encumbered. I know it's a pain when I have to crawl over anyone to get to the bathroom but I love looking out of the window. The other thing that is necessary for those in pain is to get a bulkhead seat. You can stretch your legs out and it makes flying economy bearable. 

It's also very important to stay hydrated. Dehydration makes your tissues more sensitive and since you can't take liquids past security I got a S'well bottle. They are a little costly but they are worth every penny. They do keep liquids ICE COLD for 24 hours. After I passed through security I went to the bar and had them give me some ice and fill it with water. It's nice to have water handy so you don't have to wait for the attendants and the beverage cart. I've heard that iced drinks aren't real popular in Europe so I figured this bottle would keep me sane and I wouldn't have to be always searching for ice.

I found a travel purse on Amazon. It was made by a company called Daymakers and it was their BeSafeBag. I has separate compartments for phones, tablets, documents and even RFID security. This purse was WONDERFUL and it feels comfortable over your shoulder. It wasn't heavy or cumbersome at all and I really had it filled.  I had a small issue arise and the company sent me another. It is rare that you find a company that stands behind their products; no questions asked. I would recommend them just like I do Costco and Nordstrom. Not many companies do this and they deserve a huge shout out. 

I've also found out that under no circumstances do you try to anticipate the amount of pain you will be in and bring everything under the sun to combat it. I have several tens units. That in itself is fine but I brought all three of them so I wouldn't have to continually charge them. In the event the converter didn't work I wanted to be prepared. I also decided to put a ton of makeup in the carry on, you know, just in case my bags got lost. I didn't want to be without that! Then there were the prescriptions of antibiotics, muscle relaxers, converters and adapters that also went into the carry on. 

Enter the carry on bag that weighed 20 pounds.

Now, lets talk luggage. Just because you can take up to 50 lbs. doesn't mean you should. I don't care if it has 2 or 4 rollers, when you have to roll those bags into the airport, combined with the carry on and let's not forget the purse that you've crammed your ipad, wallet, iPhone, documents and more makeup and prescriptions into you look like a pack horse. Also, you hurt like hell even before you get on the plane.

By the time I got to the gate I was in full snarl mode.

I tried to pack smart. I really did. I'm comfortably monochromatic so every black t-shirt I owned went in there along with some sandals, flats and tennis shoes. Also, I didn't need three pairs of jeans, shorts, sweaters and jackets in case it got cold and dress clothes complete with heels. Am I nuts?  I also didn't account for the gifts I'd be bringing back. So, there was the purchase of another small bag to hold the things I brought home. 

Let's face it. I totally screwed up. As I wheeled that bag through train stations and airports I was ready to throw it over a cliff. If I hadn't packed clothes I really loved, I probably would have. I didn't need most of the things that I packed. I didn't use most of the things that I packed. All I did was carry it around and cursed myself for doing it. I also didn't account for the fact that on a train it goes in the overhead compartments. I should have had my head examined. 

By the time I left I had made myself crazy and that wasn't necessary either. I was so concerned about what I might need that I totally buried the reason for the vacation. Did I need something to wear for every single day? No, there are laundry services. The only thing I did was make myself more work there and more work when I got home. 

Maybe I've been on hypervigilance for so long that I forgot how to have fun. I have realized that it doesn't do any good to overthink the process. Days will come and go and worrying about what might happen or how I might feel doesn't do any good. I don't need to take anything more than I absolutely need because it's a trip not a change in geography. I don't need to take everything I own....just in case. 

Always remember that you will have to lug around everything you pack. Even if it's from the car to the curb it will be too heavy for you. I still had pain and had to pace myself just like I do at home and it wasn't the end of the world if I had to stop and rest. There are long lines everywhere and it's imperative to take it easy. Just getting through customs can be daunting. The lines were VERY long. The best thing I did was to get the TSA PreCheck done. We sailed through and it was worth it. No taking off shoes and coming back into the country was a visit to a kiosk and then handing the receipt to the agent. Again, worth it. 

Have I learned anything about traveling?  Some things yes and others no. Type A squared and I just don't seem to get it. I need to commit to small suitcases and realize that the world won't end if I don't take a ton of know....for every occasion and every weather condition.

What didn't change?

I was always in some level of pain.

Same as home.

I over-thought the process.

Same as home.

I was overly concerned about what "could" happen. 

Same as home.

So what did I accomplish?