Fibromyalgia Sucks

I am 62 years old and have had fibromyalgia for the last 20 years. Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease. When I was first diagnosed, I was told it wasn’t lupus and no other information except to see a rheumatologist. That was the beginning of a life I didn’t want. Then it was test after test and so many different medicines that it made my head spin. One day, about 15 years ago, I was out walking on my lunch break in New York and as I was walking, both of my feet started hurting. I mean, they hurt like I was walking on glass. I struggled to get back to my job. I went to see the rheumatologist and my pain was given a name: fibromyalgia. I was somewhat relieved because now maybe I could get a medicine that would help me. I was wrong. I now know that I was having a flareup, which made diagnosing it much easier. It was tired of being a medical experiment. The years went on. Sometimes I could take the 90 minute ride to work, but there were plenty of times that I couldn’t motivate myself to get out of bed. It was a daily struggle. I got married and there were many times we would have to cancel plans because I just couldn’t go. I stopped making plans. It was better to be spontaneous. Fibromyalgia doesn’t just affect you; it takes a toll on each person that is close to you. My spouse is understanding, but I still feel bad because she didn’t sign up for this, being in the house most of the time. It got to the point that I just didn’t have the energy to go commute any longer, so I retired. She retired two years later and we moved to Florida. I thought Florida would be better because the temperature stays constantly hot. I would have a flareup every time the seasons changed in New York, so Florida seemed like a good idea. Wrong move. I forgot about the humidity, so I’m still in the house most of the time. I can’t take the heat. She tells me it’s okay, but I feel even worse now because we are both retired and we can’t do the traveling we wanted to do when we retired. There is no cure for this disease, so the most I can hope for is what I have right now. I take things one day at a time. When I feel good, we get out and just enjoy being out. It’s wonderful.

Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease that causes widespread muscle pain and tenderness. There are other symptoms that are also associated with it such as fatigue, low energy, trouble sleeping, headaches, and tingling in your hands and feet. Fibromyalgia usually affects both sides of your body, such as both of your arms or feet. This is one of the ways I know it’s not lupus, which I was diagnosed with later. 

Treatment for fibromyalgia once it is diagnosed is hit and miss. There are drugs for the pain, such as hydrocodone. There is medical marijuana, which I now use. The doctors here in Florida try to wean you off of pain medicine, with the marijuana taking the place of dosages of the pain medicine. My problem with medical marijuana is sometimes the marijuana is good and sometimes it seems like I’m just throwing money away. Tai Chi is supposed to help because of the gentle movement on the body. I tried yoga once and was in bed for two weeks from all of the poses that I put my body in. I have tried going to the gym many times and each time I end up in bed with a bad flareup. A flareup is when the disease gets ahold of my body and beats it up. I still try to exercise though, but very slowly and I time myself so I can gradually work myself up to at least 30 minutes of cardio. I prefer exercising at home so I can shower and lay down right after without driving anyplace. The plus about exercising at home is that I don’t have to get dressed, so I can look any way I want.

Relationships are hard. I know how I feel when I can’t do something. It’s very frustrating. But for my spouse I feel worse. We haven’t been to any support groups, but now I feel we should. We both need support to understand the feelings we have when a flareup occurs, which as I’ve gotten older, is more frequent. It’s important that you and your partner sit down and talk about everything about this disease. It takes a lot of understanding and patience. Thankfully, she has shown both. It might not always be this way, but for now, I’m just happy that she loves me and takes up the slack when I can’t do my part. I sometimes get mad and lash out at her for no reason whatsoever except I mad at this disease and she’s here. She’s learned to just let me be and I calm down after a while.

You know how your body feels and never let a doctor tell you it’s nothing. Fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose, and after seeing doctor after doctor, you might start to think that what you are feeling is not real. I went through that in the beginning, with doctor after doctor and trying this medicine and that medicine. I started to wonder if I was losing my mind. There is a doctor out there that can help you. You can only do what you can do. Don’t push yourself because that only makes things worse. Be good to yourself.

Stop – Stand Still – Raise Your Arms High above Your Head


We are in a crisis in this country. A crisis that involves our young African American boys. What is happening with our young boys is a problem that doesn’t seemed to be addressed by the people that are supposed to serve and protect. How do we protect that group of males when we can’t get an acknowledgement that there is a problem? How do we protect our young males when they can get shot whether they comply with police or not? What you see that’s happening in the streets is a war. A war that is between police and African American males that doesn’t seem to get any better, generation after generation. How do we get more color to our police departments when all you see and hear are negative words? There is nothing for African American boys to strive for in law enforcement. There is nothing that calls out for them to become part of the solution; a solution that as of now still eludes them. I have three grandsons and I fear that one day one of them might be stopped by a policeman. How should I tell them they should act when there are trigger happy cops that only see the color of their skin not the person inside that skin? There was a consensus in African American neighborhoods that to keep our boys safe they are taught not to run from cops, just stand still; don’t touch a pocket, don’t pull up your pants, just stand there. That is no longer what we can teach them because the wrong cop in the wrong mood will still get them killed. What can we say now? I’m not saying white boys don’t get stopped or shot, but the situation for them isn’t plastered in the media as frequently as what goes on with African American boys. Yes, I will admit that white kids are more involved in mass killing, however this is of their own doing. They aren’t being killed for sometimes doing absolutely nothing. That’s an apples and oranges comparison. Some will blame it on parents; that African American boys aren’t taught any better, they aren’t civilized, they aren’t disciplined, they have no respect for authority. The list can go on and on. I have heard people say that they deserve it because they weren’t going to do anything with their lives anyway. Cops these days are judge, jury and executioner because of the power that they have. What chance do my grandsons or any boys have when they can’t fight against a society that barely acknowledges their existence? Are African American cops so brainwashed by their white brothers in law that they forget where they came from? How do African American cops stand there and not do something to instill fairness in the very communities that raised them? Do African American cops just want to turn their backs on their brothers and sisters of color? It has become obvious that right now, at this time, when generations of children of all colors are supposed to be color blind, that this is not true. This generation of kids don’t stand a chance of making any change when they still see that the color of your skin still matters in this country. If they want to get ahead, they have to follow the status quo and not buck the system. This system has been passed down through so many generations that knowing anything different is a time well forgotten. Is there a solution? Yes; that solution is getting mental help for those cops that seem like they are racist. Racism comes out sooner or later in everyone in different forms. We have to reprogram our thinking. That will take a very long time. It won’t be easy but I see no other way. It has to start now. We can’t wait. I don’t want any of my grandsons in the newspaper obituary section because some cop didn’t see who they were, just the color of their skin. We have to do better. Not just parents, but this whole country. A country were immigrants flock but can’t police their own policeman. It’s sad, very sad. What will I tell my grandsons now if stopped? Stop – stand still and raise your arms high above your head. It might not change the outcome but I don’t know what else to say.

Is A Like Really A Like?


When you like someone that means you like being around the person and entertain the same thoughts and values of that person. The word like seems to have grown feet and marched in a new direction with the computer age. A like in the computer age seems to meet those same values as before, however the importance of a like has now grown in meaning. When you like someone’s website, you are giving that person the feeling that what they say has value to you. The person that you are liking gets a euphoric feeling of success in that they have reached someone with their thoughts. The more people that click on the like button, the more people you feel have accepted and agreed with you. The number of likes lets all that view your website know how other people have enjoyed your content. If there are no likes or very little likes to your website it makes it harder to get the next person to engage in your website. It is as if the number of likes validates your popularity to the public. When we put something out there that we want confirmation on, there is no better way than to get likes. You may not know the people that give you a like, however just this small gesture is a confidence booster. The bad side to this is the question of how do you really know whether the person giving the like actually read or engaged in your website at all? You don’t. There are people, usually family and friends, that give a like just to boost your website. They boost your website and in turn other people will stop to see what all the likes are about. When you give a like and don’t really care how good the article or website you are liking is, it only hurts the person whose website you like when it’s not an honest like. A like is like a review but it’s easier to show your enjoyment. A review takes time to write, while a like just takes the click of a button. The ease of clicking a button causes more people to click like on a website, even if they don’t have a clue what the website is about. The practice of ‘I give you a like and then you, in turn, are supposed to give me a like’ is absolutely wrong. First, why would you just like something to get a like in return? There isn’t anything honest about that. A like should only be given when you have honestly engaged and enjoyed the website or article. A like should not be automatic. I like a lot of things I read and websites I view, but that doesn’t mean they are ‘like’ material. I have seen where people are practically begging for likes because they need the validation that what they are doing has meaning. The problem is that most of the time they don’t care what you feel about their work, they just want a like. YouTube has views, which is similar to a like. The more views, the better the chance that some advertiser will want to pay you; the more likes, the more views, the more money. It’s always about money, isn’t it? When you like something, be honest about it. Don’t do it just because. Take the time to read, look at or engage the website. You never know, your like might help someone do something really great. Giving a false like might give that person a false sense of greatness that isn’t really there. Why would you want to hurt someone? Like everyone, I treasure when I receive a like, but I only want a like if it is honestly given. I appreciate any time you spend reading my blogs: Retirementanddogs.blog, Uniquethings.blog and blognewsmyopinion.com.
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Throwaway People

We know of the people that we see on the streets that have been thrown away, by choice or circumstance. There are also throwaway people much closer to you, maybe in your very own home. These throwaway people can be given this label because we have mentally thrown them away. These people are isolated, just like the people you see on street corners or lurking in the dark shadows of the night. Who are these people? They are people who are ignored, bullied, abused, and isolated. Comparing these people to the homeless – they both need help. We, as a society, ignore throwaway people. We look at them and keep walking without a thought, but when you close your mind to those closest to you, you are doing the same as if that person was sleeping on the sidewalk. When we mentally throw away a person, it’s like they don’t exist. We ignore them. We turn our heads. We isolate them by not interacting. I feel that mentally throwing away a person is worse because these are the people you know and love. I often hear people say, “I tried,” or “I’m tired of trying,” when it comes to how they can mentally remove these people from their lives. The killings, to which we are becoming all too accustomed, could be the result of people been thrown away. The rapist could be the result of being mentally thrown away. The child bully could be the result of being thrown away. The reason I can say this is because we have the best babysitter in TV and video games. These things isolate our children, but parents throw their kids in front of a TV or a computer from an early age. The child grows up only interacting with a screen; it becomes a way of life. The child becomes an adult expected to live and act as an adult socially, but he/she doesn’t know how. The adult world shows no sympathy for that adult. When there are young people with weapons and stockpiles of ammo in the same house as the parent, I can only think that the child was mentally thrown away. When you have children killing themselves due to bullying and parental neglect, I have to think they were thrown away. I say this because no matter how tired you are and how many times you try, there is always something else you can do. It is hard to believe that there is nothing else. Can we honestly turn away from a problem that we ourselves might have created? The young person in your house who is on drugs – how can you throw them away mentally? The mentally ill child showing aggression – how can you mentally throw them away? The wife who is being abused – how can you throw her away? It’s way too easy to throw them away mentally. All you have to do is turn off the part of your brain that says, “I care, I love you,” and turn it into “I will not reach out to you.” All it takes is a flip of the switch in your brain and they are gone, even if they live in the same place as you and no matter the age. The answer to the problem is it’s not easy to keep that switch on when there are so many reasons to switch it to off. We, as a society, have to do something, and at this point anything is better than nothing at all. The heart and the brain sometimes have different approaches for how to deal with problems. Is one more right than wrong? I honestly can’t say. If you are waiting for me to give you a solution, then keep waiting. Honestly, I think each of us must take a look at our lives and ask ourselves: “Did I mentally throw away somebody rather than reach out to them?” I think you have to limit television, computers and video games and stick with it. You have give your time, which is not easy for a lot of people. We are so busy with our own lives that we swear we don’t have time. There’s always time! If it’s kids – you spend time, you listen, you relate, you be empathetic, and most of all, you keep that switch on. You might try having specifically designated family time each day. You can try family reunions, so you can get more of your family involved. These are just a few things off the top of my head. I just hope that we stop mentally throwing people away. And the next time you see a homeless person, don’t turn away, but show some empathy.

Have you ever wondered what if this or that? Of course you have. It is our nature to think that the grass is always greener on the other side. Let’s play the what if game for a minute… If you’re married, and there’s trouble in paradise, you start to wonder, ‘What if I wasn’t married?’ and if you’re single, you think, ‘What if I’m was married?’ When you look at being married or single you believe the grass is greener on the other side, but is it? I said what if in both scenarios and find that it’s what you make it. Really, married or single, you should think about yourself and what will make you happy, or at least content. Some people say contentment is settling, but what is settling but being comfortable? There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. It feels good like an old bathrobe that you snuggle into and wrap yourself in. It feels good. Here’s another: ‘What if I was rich? I could move, pay off my bills and travel the world.’ Again, poor people want to be rich, but you never hear of rich people wanting to be poor. Why is that? I actually don’t understand that because generations ago people lived simply. It was not richness they wanted, but freedom and rights for themselves. You do realize that rich people have problems and their biggest problem is staying rich. Their problems are usually more expensive and can sometimes be the source of embarrassment when they’re played out in the media. When I say poor, I am looking at society on two levels: rich and poor. There’s no middle class. Again, what’s wrong with settling, being comfortable, like old slippers that are raggedy but when you stick your feet it’s soothing? You need to just be able to take care of you and yours; nothing else is needed. You appreciate what you have more when there’s some effort in getting it. When you want to go on vacation and you’re poor, you scrimp and save. If you’re rich, you take it for granted because you can go on vacation anytime. I prefer to savor my vacation by saving. One more what if is children. Now, this is a big one. A person I worked with wanted children very badly. She wanted her own, not adoption or any other method. I had a daughter and though my daughter was a good girl. I still sometimes wondered ‘What if?’ in moments when she wasn’t so good. When I compare myself and my friend, I realize that everyone wasn’t meant to have children. There are the obvious ones that shouldn’t have children, which we read about every day in the newspaper. I am not going the religious route, but when I sit here and think about it, there is no real answer to the question “What if I had or didn’t have children?” because this is God’s choice for women. What if I didn’t have my daughter? Then I would not have the ability to shape another life that could benefit the world we live in in some kind of way. I wouldn’t have a life to wrap my arms around; someone that’s a part of me. My friend still wonders what if she did have children, and to her, a part of her is missing. I do feel for her, but that was God’s plan; his roadmap for her life. She could have stopped for gas on the road and adopted, or used another method to have a child, but she stayed with God’s plan. There is no point in asking what if the plan was made. The point of all this is to stop the what ifs. If you’re comfortable single, married, money, no money, have children, or have no children – just be thankful. It is all right to settle. It’s all right to be comfortable. It’s all right to snuggle into you. I’ve learned this as the years have gone by – to just get my old robe and my raggedy slippers and be okay with that.

Retirement and Dogs Part 20

I hope you have read the previous 19 blogs, because then you have an idea that there is something wrong with this dog. If you haven’t read any of the previous blogs, take a minute so you can understand why I say he’s a handful. I want to share with you how K, GG and myself deal with Mason.

I will start with K, because he pulled the wool over her eyes from the beginning. K was not a dog person at all, until I convinced her that GG needed company. I let her pick the dog, so she would feel a closeness to him/her. Mason was laying in a corner by himself while his siblings were all playing together. That should have told her something, but with her being a novice of dogs, and me not wanting to interfere, I didn’t say anything. Mason was sort of cute with his cross-eyes and fuzziness. K’s love for Mason didn’t come easy.

She wanted him out when he pooped on the floor and peed on the couch. We argued. She wanted him out when he barked all night. We argued. She wanted him out when he had anxiety and would run all over the house like every room was his bathroom. We argued. She wanted him out when he embarrassed her and got put out of Pet Smart dog training. We argued. She wanted him out when she had to spend money to buy 3 couches, a crate, and French doors to block into the kitchen and dog gates. We argued. I know you’re wondering how it is that he’s still here. He is still here because she went to Afghanistan and I knew Mason would bark whenever someone came near the house. That is the reason, and the only reason, he is still here. Mason is now 7 years old, and 2,555 days later, he’s finally got it.

K has come to love him and find him adorable. The biggest problem now is her begging and pleading with him to move over since he gradually weaseled his way up to the head of the bed so he can share her pillow. There is also the fact that he ignores us when we talk to him. We call his name, and he looks at you and turns his head. We can call him again and again and he will just ignore us. The only way to get him to respond is clapping your hands or making some kind of noise. Mason still stares at walls, which is a little strange to me. He stares at walls now even when the sun his shining. He is a dog that loves sunshine and warm weather. If it rains, thunders, lightening or snows his anxiety starts and he’s off into doggy mind land. The main thing is that, after all the arguments, money spent, begging and pleading, she loves him now. It was rough getting to this point, but we made it.

GG couldn’t stand Mason when we first brought him home. She would give me the evil eye if I touched him. When Mason came into a room she’d leave the room. GG would just look at K and I when we argued as if to say “You brought him here. I didn’t ask for him.” I think, after trying to get her to be motherly to him, Mason gave up and started trying to get her put out. Why do I say that? He’d go and hit her and steal her food and play with her toys. He’d hide milk bones and still does. Mason would do things and then sit innocently while we tried and figure out who did what. At night, going upstairs, GG would push him down the stairs and keep going into the bedroom. It was funny, but not so funny that we didn’t realize he could break a leg and cost us more money. It took her at least 5 of the 7 years to get used to him being here. She does her matador shuffle when she’s tired of him bothering her. The matador shuffle is her moving each of her paws like a matador in a bull-fighting ring. When she does that it’s on, and Mason better watch out. Mason still thinks he should be first, but I show GG love first. I can’t say that she loves him, but she tolerates him. I feel that one of Mason’s main jobs now is to keep GG moving. She’s 17 years old and I feel that he keeps her running and jumping.

I deal with Mason very incognito, because showing him too much attention in front of GG gets me the evil eye. He’s older and more settled into how he should behave. Mason is not a normal dog, and we know it, but he’s our abnormal big pawed Shih Tzu. I’ll surprise you with the next blog. Be safe.

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Retirement and Dogs Part 19

I sometimes wonder if Mason thinks he is a human because he stands on his hind legs a lot. He is the only male with three women and there are times when he thinks it’s all about him. A example is when it’s hot he lays in front of the fan thinking of only his comfort. He pushes GG out the way when they come in from outside because he wants to be first in. It’s all about him. Then when he has weather anxiety if we want peace we had better all get in the bed while he’s going through his episode. I’m counting GG with K and I because she is a female. Mason ways definitely remind me of some of the men I know. These men have limited consideration and a me first attitude. Here are more reasons where I can compare him to some men. He likes to sleep on a pillow next to one of us, but it doesn’t stop there he has to stretch out. I mean stretch out like you have no room to lay flat. You have to lay in your side. I can here K some nights pleading with him to move over. He wants to be in charge of GG, like he wants her to chase him, and when their food is put down, he likes to eat it first, and leave GG only what he doesn’t want. When GG happens to eat first, or he decides he wants more after she starts eating, he tries to sneak up behind her to snatch her food. K and I watch as he saunters behind our chair to come up behind her. It is funny because he actually thinks he’s doing something. We can dress him in different outfits and he doesn’t mind, but GG? She’s not having it. She somehow gets the clothes off, or she will just lie there like a lump of clay. One day, while K was in Afghanistan, Mason got out while I was looking in the mailbox. I had on my pajamas because it was a lazy day for me. A UPS truck drove by the house and Mason took off behind it. The UPS truck made a left turn and Mason was on the truck’s tail. I’m running down the street in my pajamas and slippers yelling, “Mason!” Of course, he didn’t stop. I haven’t run in years, but I knew as much of a headache as he is, I couldn’t explain Mason getting out and chasing the UPS truck, and me not running after him. I ran out of gas chasing him for a block and a half. Okay it wasn’t far, but to me at that time it was like a marathon. There were people out looking at me running down the street like a crazy person, however, when they realized it was Mason I was chasing, they understood. You see, Mason has gotten out before, but instead of me, it was K who was in her pajamas falling all over the yard out front trying to catch him. He’d let her get close, and then take off in the other direction. She had slippers on so when he would cut to the opposite direction and she tried to catch him, she’d fall on her butt. It was funny, but now that it was me being embarrassed , it was no longer funny. Our whole neighborhood knows of Mason because he is so loud that they can’t help but notice him. The other reason they know Mason is because when one of us is walking them, he is usually pulling us down the street while he tries to get after a squirrel. The particular day I was looking like an idiot running down the street ended when the UPS truck stopped and Mason stopped running. I think he realized he was not at his home because he was looking all around. When I finally got to Mason and picked him up, he was shaking. I guess he was scared. I didn’t care that he was scared because here I was in the street in my pajamas. I know he didn’t understand, but I used a few choice words on him from the time I picked him up until we got home. I tell you, Mason is going to get us killed. GG is nothing like him. If she was, I’d be crazy. I mean, she did have her moments, like wanting to play all the time until I’d have to go sit in my car to have some peace of mind. She has more sense than Mason, and she doesn’t follow him when he’s up to his antics. There is an opening where the gate and the gate door come together. Mason will go out the opening and run around to the front door and bang on the door. GG just stands there. What we used to do when he got was to open one of the car doors, and he’d jump in thinking he was going for a ride. When we brought him back, GG would be standing at the door, and as soon as Mason was put down, she’d jump on him. I guess she was trying to tell him something, but it took a long time for him to learn. Mason is older now, and the only thing that has changed is he no longer runs all over the place. He just goes to the tree out front, and then comes to the front door and bangs. I have stated this before just like a boy takes a little longer to catch on to things so true it is for boy dog too. I was supposed to blog about how each of us deals with Mason, but he ran out the back and came around to the front today, so while it was fresh on my mind, I decided to share some of his antics with each of you. Be safe.