Puppies and Chronic Pain

Sometimes I am totally blown away by the love my husband has for me. My fiscally conservative husband (putting it mildly) bought me a puppy.

Now before you hit me with the flame comments from hell, for not adopting, we have tried to adopt 3 dogs since Tiger passed and all were failures for one reason or another. My health conditions, plural, led us to believe that we needed to train a puppy from the ground up to be what we need for my pain.

Now two weeks in, #leohusband and I are obviously insane because we got a puppy, but we are so in love.

Well, not insane actually because, after our last three disastrous attempts at dog adoption, tiny puppy energy is much more manageable than big dog energy or anxiety.

Plus, I put my foot down and said, no more big dogs. We loved Tiger and we were lucky that my in-laws raised him to be a wonderful, trained, and obedient dog. However, when Tiger's health started failing and I couldn't do anything physical to help him (pick him up). I was in a terrible bind and felt so helpless when I couldn't care for someone I loved so dearly.

I really wanted a small to medium dog, that didn't shed a lot...again I don't want to flare up my chronic pain with constantly cleaning the house.

#bubbletwinbff found the solution, a Mini Goldendoodle. One Insta search later and I was in love. Luckily, there was a breeder in my city. Sweet!

Yes, they are as cute as you can imagine.

Enter Freddie. Our new addition to the family. A cute fluffy baby shark that knows sit and down sometimes rings the bells on the back door to pee and poop, and our main goal is to get the puppy biting under control before he is 6 months old.

For those of you not familar with the very popular childrens song:

The only downside is my adhesive arachnoiditis has completely flared up with the bending over to pick him up. I've haven't been lower than a 6 on the pain scale for over two weeks now.

I'm learning the hard way of course that I just have to kneel down and let me tell you, kneeling down on the frosty cold and wet grass at 4:00 in the morning is not pleasant. So I usually end up bending over and scooping him up before I have to go upstairs to teach. Even that has flared up my SI Joint, which has also now, in turn, flared up a terrible case of Sciatica.

And crate training...

We hired a professional dog trainer with 15 years of experience and his crate training philosophy in conjunction with potty training makes sense. If #leohusband and I cannot actively watch him, he goes into his house or is on his leash in the house with me.

The trainer likens it to a baby and a crib or one of those toddlers you see at Disney World on a harness. However, it's hard to listen to Freddie beg to be let out of his house so he is usually on the leash by my side. He has learned to be calm and quiet over the last week in his crate, but it's obvious he would just prefer to be with momma. I cannot wait until he is potty trained so he can join me for my afternoon power nap. Oh yeah, puppy snuggles!

Other than that, Freddie joins me when I cook dinner. He can't seem to get enough of laying on my feet at the stove, the island, and the sink.
I started my emergency medicine in the hopes I can get this pain flare under control before actual Thanksgiving. I am hopefull that with all the awesome things I have learned in the last three years I can do it like the Badass Babe I am.

Just Too Damn Busy

I think the title says it all. I'm not bragging about being busy. I don't want to be busy.

In fact, I totally hate those people who act like it's a badge of honor to be totally swamped. Stop it you pretentious pricks. Insert eye roll here.

I can't seem to catch my breath since starting my new part-time job in the wee hours of the morning, and it's been much worse since the time change. Ugh!

In fact, I can't believe I have the time to update today but I brought my laptop to my doctor's appointment and I finished my feedback for this morning's classes...

So here I am.

No. I haven't died. I've just been busy and when I have a break the last thing I want to do is blog.

Between work, the gym, physical therapy, and trying to get a healthy dinner on the table, most days I nap or I want to binge-watch Netflix and relax.

I actually started writing this post last week, waiting for a doctor's appointment to start and after she came in, I closed my laptop and when I got home, I fell asleep on the couch, until #leohusband got home. Man, talk about being completely drained.

Me and My BFF (My Back Brace) on Vacay
I've also been out of the social loop, on vacation, so I tried to spend a week catching up, with friends, family, and doctor's appointments. Gosh, there's only so much energy to go around y'all.

To further complicate matters...? We've got our favorite festival coming up, the Texas Renaissance Festival. Once again, I'm going for gold to try to win the costume contest. I love that I have something to funnel my creativity into but I always end up waiting until the last minute to get my costume together, even though I started it in August.

Now, and here is the big news. We're getting a puppy, the day after Ren Fest, because I'm apparently a glutton for punishment. It's not good timing but it's never good timing to get a puppy so we might as well jump into the deep end.

Well, that about sums it up. I'm guessing you probably won't hear from me for a while since I'm going to be adding puppy training into my already charlie foxtrot schedule. I'm hoping to be back up and blogging in January 2020!

Wish me luck! Much love to my readers!

Jobs for People with Chronic Pain

I'm back at work! I really can't believe it. I feel like it is one of those pinch me I'm dreaming moments.

Years ago when I made the switch from graphic design to teaching, I knew I made a wonderful life decision. While a lot of parts of teaching are stressful, I found that there are just as many wonderful, heartwarming moments. I love the fact that some of my old students still contact me and keep in touch.

I'm one of those teachers that always viewed my students as my own kids.

So when I had to give up my teaching career because of my adhesive arachnoiditis, it was life-altering, and not in a good way.

I have spent the last 3 years rehabilitating my body and while I've had setbacks, I've also gotten stronger and learned to deal with my condition.

Jobs for People with Chronic Pain

If you haven't heard, I have a podcast now with my PIC #awkwardyethealthy Rebekah Svensson, Chronic Warrior Women. She has been such a positive influence in my life. In fact, she is the reason I have my current job!

Rebekah started teaching with VIPKid back in June. When we were chatting one day after recording our podcast she told me how much she earned with them in July and I was shocked.

I immediately asked, what was the name of that company? Can I teach there?

The answer is yes.

If you have a 4-year degree in any subject and 1 year of experience with kids (church, babysitting, teaching, etc.) you can teach with VIPKid!

I'm so happy I kept my teaching certificate current! I passed the initial assessment and got an interview scheduled, which was a 5 minute demonstration of a short lesson. After passing the demo, the next step is passing a mock class for one of the teaching levels.

With my experience in education, I had no problem passing the Level 2-5 mock classes, with practice, neither will most people!
I'm in my 4th week of teaching and loving it.

I've taught with high pain, with my tens unit on and ice packs with zero problems. If you meet these qualifications I recommend giving VIPKid a shot!

Just let me know and I will send you an invitation link to fill out an application!

Getting Back to Pain Free Days Part 2

Howdy y'all! It's been a beat since I was able to post. I have finally, fingers crossed, come out of my terrible pain flare. My lumbar spine has stabilized and I have enjoyed some low pain days in the past two weeks.

It took a lot of work to get back here and between you and me, I need to stay strong and keep trucking on my path.

I'm sure you are sitting there asking yourself what did I do to get back to low and no pain days...

Well, I will address that question in detail over the next few posts.

In summary, I talked to my awesome physical therapist, got a program to follow (more on this later), made sure I was eating healthy regular meals, getting adequate sleep, didn't bend over at all for any reason, and started a new career.

That sounds like so much in such a short time, and believe me I'm flabbergasted that it's September. How in the hell did that happen? Where the heck did this year go?

It seems like so much of my year has been playing catch up but I really have been able to take care of some long term goals that have been floating around my cabinet of undone accomplishments.

In fact, today I'm working on some of that to-do list, like the never-ending task of transferring files and programs to a new laptop. UGH! So tedious but has to be done.

Getting Back to Pain Free Days

Man, what the hell is up with 2019?

I feel like it's been one long string of bad luck experiences. It's as if I've been stuck in Retrograde all damn year.

What gives? I'm starting to notice that years ending in 9 are some of my worst years.

What the hell universe? Seriously.

I was doing great, January I had zero pain. I was feeling awesome.

Then I got BioTe, Bio-Identical Hormones, at the beginning of February and it was all downhill from there.
I knew that my testosterone was .02 when I was tested, so I had been on hormone cream for a couple of months. However, it was hard to remember some days to apply because let's just face it, remembering things is hard when you have chronic pain...especially when you are currently in a pain flare-up.

We're working on our house this weekend and my father-in-law asked me where the paintbrushes were, I know we have them, not a clue as to where. Now, this may sound fine and normal to some people, but I'm the kind of person who can tell you the peanut butter is on the 3rd shelf up, on the right, behind the tuna. Damn, I hate what pain does to my brain.

Back to BioTe...

When my functional medicine doctor was getting my dosage ready for the implantation, he asked me if I get headaches before my period starts. I answered yes, so he said, "Let's put a little estrogen in the mix to help with that."


Huge mistake.

In the next few months, I gained 15 lbs...and I was still working out and eating right, so it was the effing estrogen. Also noting that I felt like I had chronic fatigue syndrome, I was a constant bitch to my husband, my joints became even more hypermobile, and did I mention I gained 15 lbs?

F- that! I'll take the damn headaches, just get this crap out of my body.

Well, I had to wait until they "dissolved" for the estrogen to just go the hell away. Meanwhile, back at the lodge, in April, I hurt my back trying working out harder than I should have to lose the weight I had gained from the estrogen. My chiropractor got my back into place from the misguided workout attempt, but two nights in the ER had it out again.

Why was I in the emergency room you ask?

That same day of my extreme workout, I had routine blood work done for my annual physical and the phlebotomist punctured my artery.

That next week, I flew to Orlando for #breadwinnerbff's 40th birthday. I walked about 8 miles around Universal Studios. That is an amazing feat for someone with Adhesive Arachnoiditis. I got to rest for two days after that but was home alone taking care of myself, like the stubborn idiot I am (introvert wants alone time).
Finally, #leohusband came home from Kuala Lumpur. We got Luke, our third attempt at a rescue dog, the very next day and...

Luke was infested with fleas, so I hurt my back, again, trying to give him a bath with #leohusband that same day. I spent the next week vacuuming and running laundry every day. More trauma to my back.

Going into our third week with Luke, I made ramen for dinner and subsequently spilled the boiling ramen all over my legs when I crawled onto the couch to eat dinner.

I haven't moved that fast in years, especially since I got Adhesive Arachnoiditis. I jumped off the couch, bent over and ripped my ruined yoga pants off my body as fast as I possibly could, and sprinted to my shower to drench myself in cold water.

My legs were on fire and #leohusband is Googling that I need to stay under the cold water for 20 minutes. My back seized up under the cold water and me shivering halfway through the twenty minutes.

I know what you're thinking, geez could it get any worse?

Oh just wait!

So that week we had some really, really horrible thunderstorms come through. Turns out that Luke had severe thunderstorm anxiety. No matter where I was he would try to get as close to me as possible, which meant my lap. My lap is not made for a 76 lb dog. After constant attempts to sit on me, the pain in my back just got out of control.

#leohusband left for another trip and I could not physically take care of Luke on my own, so I ended up calling his foster mom to come get him.

Then I had two weeks of being on my own, trying to keep the fort running, and waiting until #leohusband comes home to finally take care of my back issues.

So by this time my back has been out of alignment for 8 weeks. It has spent so much time out of alignment that it is the norm for it now. My freaking hypermobility is so annoying. Actually, I have some real choice words for how I feel about my hypermobility but I'm trying to keep this blog PG-13.

#leohusband finally got home but the damage was done a long, long, time ago. We traveled to San Antonio for my nephew's graduation which there was no way I could do hours in a stadium seat so we did dinner and quality time, and went home.

Mid-June when my chiropractor would put my back into place and it would shift back out within 20 minutes to 48 hours, I called in for back up.

#leohusbands mom came down to do laundry, help us put together freezer meals, and do some odd jobs around the house that I just haven't gotten to and if I did them, I would just further piss off my already infuriated back.
With her help, we planned another weekend for her to come back with my father-in-law to do basic home maintenance jobs that just aren't getting done because they involve two people and I simply can't do it. Well, I'm stubborn enough to do them but I shouldn't do them if I want to stay out of a wheelchair.

That's the reality of the situation. All the gains I had with the last two years of yoga have been lost in 3 months. Muscle death with Adhesive Arachnoiditis is real y'all.

So my awesome physical therapist gave me a 28-week plan and I joined Life Time Fitness. Upon my first day it was obvious there's a cult following where some people have had the Kool-aid. Why are you at the gym all day? What are you an athletic model? seriously?

All I care about is getting my stretch on, doing my PT, and then hitting the treadmill or lap pool. Last week was hell. I don't know how I even made it to Friday. I was so tired, and in so much pain, but I've got to keep on it to rebuild the muscle I've lost.

In short, I haven't kept up with my blog, or my Instagram, or just life in general. I am finding it hard to function period. I've probably said this before but when #breadwinnerbff was getting married and her sister missed her flight, her reaction was priceless, "It's not that I don't care, it's that I can't."

Nothing has ever been so pricicely clear than that phrase. That's exactly how I feel, I should care about keeping up my presence online and in social media, but I just can't right now.

I'll be up and motivated to spread my wisdom and help again soon, because I refuse to give in to this disease and that folks, is what this battle is all about. I just need to direct my energy to me for a bit.

Gluten Free Ramen with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Inspiration can strike when you least expect it, or in my case, a moment of starvation.

I had a moment of wanderlust in my local Costco and I stumbled upon Gluten-Free Ramen.

Now, I normally eat grain free, but on the occasion I need to have something more substantial, I tend to turn to brown rice. That's exactly what this ramen was made from, organic brown rice.

I couldn't wait to get home and try it out.

Gluten Free Ramen with Creamy Avocado Sauce

1 T Ghee
1 Avocado
1 t Curry Powder
2 t Minced Garlic
1 T Coconut Aminos
1/4 t Sesame Oil
1 Handfull of Cilantro
1 Cup Bone Broth or Vegetable Broth
1-2 t of Taste of Thai Green Curry Paste (Whole30 and Paleo compliant)
Leftover Green Vegetables (I used zucchini, broccoli, and asparagus)
Leftover Protein from Dinner or Soft Boiled Eggs - How to do Soft Boiled Eggs omit if vegetarian or vegan.

Boil the gluten-free ramen as per instruction. If making eggs start that water as well in a smaller saucepot.

While the water is heating to a boil, in a large skillet on medium high, heat the ghee.

When the ghee is warm, but not smoking, add the garlic and let it come to a warm golden color. Then add the spices, green curry paste, and coconut aminos. Whisk spices together and warm until fragrant, about 1 minute. If using leftover protein, add that to the skillet with the leftover vegetables and saute for 4-5 minutes.

At this point, the ramen and egg water should be boiling so get that started.

Add the broth to the skillet and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

Cut open the avocado and mash half to a fine paste. Add to the broth and stir well. Salt and Pepper to taste broth mixture to taste. Thinly slice the rest of the avocado for topping.

When the ramen is done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave the noodles in the sink and work on the eggs if using them in the recipe. Once everything is ready, add your ramen to a bowl, pour the broth mixture over the ramen and top with the leftover avocado, eggs, cilantro, and sesame oil if desired.


Summer Vegetables and Meatballs

Summer is officially in full swing and I can feel the heat just sitting inside my darkened house. I swear if you didn't know any better you'd think houses in Texas were inhabited by vampires since I keep the blinds shut all day long to keep the house cooler.

In the words of Xander on one of the best shows ever created, Buffy the Vampire Slayer..."You know, our friends, that sleep all day and have no tans..." Yep. Texas looks like it's full of vampires in the summertime.

However, the one great thing about Texas is the variety of veggies that come out. Particularly, zucchini and my new favorite heirloom tomato blends. Yum.

I decided to start a Whole30 in between events this summer. That's after my nephew's graduation from High School and before #leohusband's birthday, even though that means a Whole30 July 4th - American Independence Day for my non-US readers.

I feel confident that my two servings of fruit from a cold watermelon on Independence Day is just fine with me in lieu of peach pie.

Unfortunately, my back has been totally f'ed up since April and I haven't had the chance to sit down and evaluate what I need to do to actually feel better. I've been in pure survival mode hanging on by my fingernails trying to keep up my blog, keep up with my daily 'I need to do this to feel normal' activities, promote my awesome new podcast Chronic Warrior Women with Rebekah Svensson aka #awkwardyethealthy, be social with family and friends, oh, and do my daily responsibilities like laundry and ironing, etc...forget about getting a meal on the table.

By the time I'm done with all that I'm done - stick a fork in me!

Needless to say, I haven't been eating that great, not bad, but not up to my normal standards. In fact, I had to switch my morning affirmations from I love my life, to I love to cook. This is so weird to me because back when I was teaching, I did love to cook, it was my stress reliever. Now, it's my stress inducer. Crazy!

So yesterday was my first Whole30 day. Well, I felt so bad I didn't even start eating until lunchtime when #leohusband woke up and made breakfast for lunch. LOL! Then all I had to do was dinner.

Summer Vegetables and Meatballs

5-6 Zucchini
2-3 t salt

First, prep the Zucchini. Wash, dry, and spiral about 5-6 large zucchini. Place the spiraled zucchini in a colander, in the sink, and generously salt the zucchini. Set a 20-minute timer and start working on the meatballs.

1 lb of grass fed ground beef
1 egg
1 T almond flour (as long as it's not the main ingredient this is OK on the Whole30)
1/2 T Italian blend herbs, divided.
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium-large bowl with your hands. Wet your hands and then roll the mixture into 1.5-2" balls. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Around this time the zucchini should be finished.

1 T olive or avocado oil
1 t of minced garlic
1/2 small onion, diced
1 lb of mixed cherry tomatoes
1/2 T Italian blend herbs, divided.
1 t salt
1 lemon zested

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and onions and saute until fragrant and the onions are slightly translucent.

While the onions and garlic are sauteing, slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Add the tomatoes to the pan and salt and pepper the vegetables.

Head to the sink and grab the zucchini and a bar or tea towel. Dump the spiraled zucchini in the middle of the towel. Pick up all four corners of the towel and now you are going to twist the towel to "ring out" the excess water from the zucchini.

Add the drained zucchini to the tomato mixture. Saute for 5-7 minutes.
Around this time the meatballs should be finishing. Check to make sure that they are done in the middle. Temp should be around 165 degrees in the center and juices should run clear. If the meatballs are done add them to the skillet.

Toss everything and top with lemon zest. Serve.

Essential Oil No More Scars Blend

I have so many scars on my body.

So many.

I always like to think of that line in the movie The Replacements with Keanu Reeves...Chicks Dig Scars...Glory is Forever..etc.

Well, I don't think men dig scars on women as much as we dig scars on them. #leohusband has this awesome scar on his back and he likes to tell people, in jest, that it's from a bar fight. He is 180° different in appearance than someone who would have a bar fight scar.

I have 23 surgery scars on my body. You can't really see them because I have a magic trick.


Essential Oil 'No More Scars' Blend

For the carrier oil, you are going to use vitamin E oil.

In your rollerball vial:

Frankincense 15 drops
Helichrysum 10 drops
Sandalwood 7 drops
Top off with Vitamin E Oil - I prefer Jason 5000iu Skin Oil

Use twice a day after moisturizing so it stays in place. If on your face avoid makeup in that area, if possible. Let's put it this way, there's a reason I styled my hair differently for 6 months.

Thrive Market


Disability can Affect Anyone at Any Time

My mother always told me, "Don’t judge a book by its cover." Later in life, she also told me you don't know what is going on in someone's life, what they are dealing with. This was a lesson on giving grace, being less judgemental, and being patient.

Ninety percent of the time I do a really good job of empathy. When I'm having what #breadwinnerbff lovingly calls my devil hell bitch days not so much...but that's usually three days before Satan's Waterfall hits me so the other 20-24 days of the month I'm usually happy, usually.

So I guess I'm saying that I get it, we all have bad days, ladies we are all underappreciated, fellas we are all stressed. However, never in my adult life, keyword being adult because I did some stupid vindictive passive aggressive bs when I was growing up, have I gone out of my way to purposely hurt someone or their property. Sure, everyone wants to key their exboyfriend's car Carrie Underwood style, but only crazy bitches do that.

If you are reading this and have just realized you are a crazy bitch, it's not too late to seek the help you need.


Let’s just talk about how disability does not know age, race, color, or class.

Not all disabilities are visible. Last week someone saw me park in one of the handicap spaces to go to the grocery store and they gave me a funny look.

I initially didn’t think anything of it, until I had a flat tire with multiple punctures in the side wall in which the tire guy told me it definitely looked like a pocket knife had done it. #leohusband and I definitely didn't need a $300 tire bill this month on top of all of my other medical expenses...

You can’t see my nerve pain. You can’t see my permanent and progressive spinal cord disease from the outside. What you see is someone young and pretty but you can’t see the horror that lives inside my body every day. To the man that slashed my tire, I now have a sticker on my back windshield that explains that not all disabilities can be seen on the outside.

My mother's 83-year-old neighbor had his car keyed because apparently if you are driving a sports car you can't be disabled.

Disability can Affect Anyone at Any Time.

Have you been judged by your appearance or age? Are you disabled and you can't tell from just looking at you? Please share your own story in the comments. This is the kind of topic that needs to be discussed out in the open so more people are aware.


Can Fasciablasting Help Intractable Pain?

If you haven't heard of the latest trend in health, Fasciablasting, you are not alone. While it may seem to those "in the know" that Fasciablasting is on everyone's radar, it isn't.

Last month when I got together with #breadwinnerbff, I had to explain what it was to her, and it didn't help that I hadn't brought either of my blasters with me.

I showed her some YouTube videos and she was already in the know about fascia and how it can affect your muscles and pain.

So first what is fascia?

Fascia is a connective tissue within your muscles. It can become tight and inflamed contributing to muscle spasms (knots), muscle weakness, tenderness, and a host of other issues.

When you get a deep tissue massage the therapist is often working on breaking up some of your fascia that has clumped and thickened.

What is Fasciablasting?

Fasciablasting is a term created by Ashley Black, the creator of the Fasicblaster, where you use a many-pronged device to break up the fascia that you can use in the comfort of your own home. Back when I started Fasciablasting there were only two devices, the original and the travel. Now there are so many that I can't even keep track.

Can Fasciablasting Help Intractable Pain?

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty, I'm not going to make judgments about levels of pain and so on, suffice to say that while fasciablasting is recommended for things like fibromyalgia, my problems and pain levels are much more serious.

I have Adhesive Arachnoiditis which is classified as one of the worst pain conditions. It ranks at the top of the list along with metastatic bone cancer, renal colic, chronic regional pain syndrome, and migraine.

So when I say I Fasciablast, I do it completely different than what is recommended for fibromyalgia.

First, if you have inflammation, I have neuroinflammation, do not use heat.

I fasciablast only the areas that have a hard time keeping muscle strength and are consistently tight. I never fasciablast along the nerve pathways that are affected by my adhesive arachnoiditis. I save those for dry needling. I fasciablast my upper legs and stomach.

Second, I do mine in the shower. I have a process. First, I dry brush my entire body and then get in a warm shower. I start fasciablasting my legs then my stomach, finish the shower and get out.

In the beginning, I started with five strokes down my IT Band, 5 stokes down my quad, 5 down the inner thigh, and 5 down my hamstring and over a period of 4 months, increasing by 5 each month, I worked up to 20. The same for my stomach.

In the fifth month, I added on horizontal strokes at 5 and worked up over a period of another 4 months.

In all the effect I have received is my legs are less sensitive to touch which for me is major. My stomach blasting has allowed me to work on my core since the blasting helped me to lose some inches. It also has helped digestion issues.

Do I blast my whole body?

No, and in honoring my body and what I need to do for it, the energy expended blasting my whole body would dampen the benefits of the blasting itself. Plus, I did that once and the inflammation it caused and the resulting pain flare took me months to get over.

When I get out of the shower I immediately put ice on my "nerve pain" areas and follow up at night (or afterward) with an Epsom salt ice bath for 20 minutes.

Fasciablasting is not pleasant but I did eventually find relief in combination with all of the other things I do to stay on top of my pain. Again, doing natural, alternative medicine treatments can take months if not a full year to see a benefit. Stick with it chronic pain warriors.

Chronic Pain Crafts: Learning to Crochet

Recently, #LeoHusband went on a trip to Scotland. He always likes to surprise me with something on his trips that speaks to my soul. This trip was no exception he brought me yarn from the Isle of Iona.

From an arts and craft store called Iona pebbles that he literally ran into on his hike across the island. He got to meet the sheep that the yarn was made from and spoke to the owner.

Back before the s*** hit the fan and I was able to keep up with my blog every day, I was talking about national craft month.

I really enjoyed talking about my love of sewing and quilting because it keeps my body moving, which is so important when you have a disease like arachnoiditis. In fact, keeping moving helps other diseases like fibromyalgia and MS as well.

Sometimes though, we, chronic pain warriors, are in such pain that all you can do is be in front of the TV and try to get through a really bad pain flare. This is when I turn to things like knitting and crochet.

I keep a box next to the couch of crochet projects, and I swore that I was going to start knocking projects off my crochet to do list. Needless to say, I was very surprised when #leohusband brought me seven skeins of yarn.

Instead of sitting on the yarn and not doing anything with it, which is my usual MO, I decided to immediately find a pattern and start working on it.

I found this gorgeous shawl by Mama in a Stitch called smoky mountains triangle crochet wrap.
I don’t know why but making a wrap/shawl felt right with yarn from Scotland.

She also has a YouTube video on how to get started.
This is a very easy project so if you have never crocheted before you should have no problem doing this with her instruction.

She also has a nice pdf version of the pattern for sale which I highly recommend you support another artist by purchasing her patterns. I have several of them and she is a great pattern artist.

I am in no way getting a commission from Etsy for this pattern sale. All proceeds go to Mama in a Stitch. Support Independent Artists.

What is Arachnoiditis?

So you have just gotten a diagnosis of Arachnoiditis or Adhesive Arachnoiditis.

Before you push the panic button, take a deep breath. No seriously. Do it now. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this three times...I'll wait.

You are going to be ok.

You are at a crossroads where you can choose to live a life filled with love and joy or a life filled with the pain you are in now.

I want you to choose to fight as I have.
What is Arachnoiditis?

Arachnoiditis is classified as a rare disease.

The majority of Arachnoiditis cases are iatrogenic which means caused by medical intervention. There are numerous causes of arachnoiditis:

1. Direct mechanical injuries (dural cut/tear) caused by surgical interventions, especially repeat spinal operations, after fusions or minimally invasive procedures requiring corrective surgeries.

2. Trauma to the spinal cord.

3. Epidural disc prolapse.

4. Repeat manipulation during catheter or leads insertion.

5. One or multiple spinal taps.

6. Several steroid epidural injections.

7. Injections of epidural steroids gone intrathecal.

8. Difficult epidural blood patches.

9. Injection of myelogram dye into the spinal cord.

10. Infections that may cause meningitis (viral, fungal or bacterial).

11. Epidurals during childbirth

All of the current, non-existent, research says that it is an incurable and progressive acute inflammatory condition that occurs in the dura (exterior) and the arachnoid (interior), two of the three membranes that cover and protect the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerve roots leading from the spinal cord.

The arachnoid contains the cerebrospinal fluid which circulates from the brain to the sacrum every two hours. The fluid filters any invasion and usually responds first by inflammation. Secondly with a chronic life-long phase characterized by scarring and fibrosis.

As a result, abnormal adhesion of nerve roots to the dural sac or to each other (clumping) occurs in a variety of configurations that alter significantly the function of the nerve roots, the spinal cord, and the cerebral fluid.

This causes a variety of neurological deficits and severe chronic neuropathic pain usually located in the area affected and referred pain to the extremities.

Now what to do about it?

First, read my blog posts on how to get pain free days.

6 Steps to Have Pain Free Days
Day in the Life of a Chronic Pain Warrior

Second, get a knowledgeable doctor that has time to listen, learn, and work with you. I found a functional medicine doctor so I recommend googling "FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE" doctor for your area or a "NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE" doctor.

Third, research, test, and figure out what is going to work for you. Check out these materials by Dr. Forest Tennant and Practical Pain Management

What does your future look like?

Well, I decided to try everything, and I mean everything. Yoga, meditation, changing my diet, reiki healing, acupuncture, dry needling, IFC therapy, Epsom salt ice baths, light therapy, chiro therapy, chiropractic, medicine, supplements, dry brushing, fasciablasting, inversion therapy, traction...the list goes on and on.

The point is I didn't give up and it took two years of working on my health every single day to see improvement but gradually I did.

The hard part, your health is now your career. If you want your pain to decrease, doing what it takes is now your job.

Good Luck.

If you need any advice, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cassava Flour

I hate to bitch about April of 2019 constantly but it was seriously a bitch. Pun intended.
After I got home from seeing #breadwinnerbff at Harry Potter World I was so tired physically from the demands I placed on my body in one day. I didn't really get the chance to recuperate because we adopted a senior pup on Easter Sunday, just 4 days after my trip.

New pup = Nights of little sleep for about a whole week. Friday ended with me desiring some chocolate chip cookies and wanting to work on a paleo recipe.

This is the first batch I came up with, I'm sure over time the recipe will evolve but these were pretty tasty.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cassava Flour

1 C of Cassava Flour
1/2 t of baking soda
1/2 t of salt
1 stick grass fed butter
1/2 C Coconut Sugar
1/2 t Organic Vanilla
1 egg
1 C of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or Morsels
1 C Pecans (optional)

Oven to 375 Degrees • Baking Time 9 - 11 minutes

Melt the butter in a large bowl and let cool while you mix the dry ingredients.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the cassava flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add the vanilla, coconut sugar and egg to the melted cooled butter and whisk.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir. Add the chocolate and pecans, if using, to the batter.

Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, create drops of cookie dough on a parchment covered baking sheet. Press down each drop to create a flat cookie base. Refrigerate for 10 - 15 minutes.

Pop into the oven and bake for 9-11 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


5 Supplements to try for Chronic Pain

I'm really into supplements for my chronic pain. Before I even met with my functional medicine doctor I was already on a supplement protocol that I had pieced together for myself from different resources.

In January of 2017, I still was undiagnosed, I didn't know what was wrong only that my second back surgery had made my life into a living hell.

Thinking I just needed some massive rehab and that my current program, doctor, and physical therapy wasn't working. I set out to educate myself with as much information about pain and what helps it. I looked for new doctors and consulted the ones I trusted.

If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Supplements for Chronic Pain

In my education search, I came upon two great books.
Ending Fibromyalgia & Auto-Immune Disease: A Comprehensive Holistic Protocol by Tony Xhudo MS HN

Alternative Treatments for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Mari Skelly and Helen Walker.

I read one and my mother read the other and we compared notes. I talk about these books in this post here and I highly suggest reading that one too because right now I'm going to talk about supplements.

1. The first thing I tried was Bovine Colostrum.

This is the brand I take and I take two every morning as soon as I get up:

2. Then I took Proteolytic Enzymes.

Both of these supplements help with inflammation, muscle and tissue recovery, blood circulation, immune response, leaky gut, and reduce pain.

3. Tumeric
I also started taking 6000mg of turmeric a day, which I built up to slowly over a period of 8 weeks.

Tumeric is an anti-inflammatory similar to an NSAID but without the side effects to your stomach or liver.

4. and 5. Vegetable Blend and Fruit Blend Juice Plus

My podcast cohort, Rebekah Svensson aka Awkward Yet Healthy, got me into Juice Plus around this same time period. Juice Plus is actually not a supplement, it's food. It's a serving of organic fruits and veggies in a capsule form. I will be the first to admit how hard it is to get all of your daily intake of vegetables. Even with a vegetable at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I still can't get 5 servings a day of vegetables.

Juice Plus takes care of that. It's eating an extra dose of veggies. I will say that while it does not specifically help with chronic pain, it helps me be healthier, boosts my immune system and energy, which allows me to deal with chronic pain better.

I started off with the Green and Red Blend. If you are interested in Juice Plus send me a DM and I will get you started.
Next week I'm going to talk about my diagnosis with Adhesive Arachnoiditis and the supplements prescribed by my functional medicine doctor.

Day in the Life of a Chronic Pain Warrior

Guys! April was a crazy month and it's already spilling into the beginning of May. If it could go wrong it did. I'm not a fan of weeks of disappointment and failure, especially when some of it is my fault, to begin with. I feel like I'm constantly putting out fires.

However, I'm making a concerted effort to get back on track. As promised back at the beginning of April, here is what I do on a daily basis to manage my pain. If you haven't seen 6 Steps to Have Pain Free Days, check out that post first.
If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Day in the Life of a Chronic Pain Warrior

First, I start off my day with The Miracle Morning.

The Miracle Morning is a lifestyle program developed by Hal Elrod. Check out my post here and here for more information.

Basically, it is completing a set of tasks with the acronym S.A.V.E.R.S.

Scribing (Journaling)

My alarm goes off usually at 6:30. I get up and put out Luke Dogwalker, our newest family member, and feed him. I then take my pre-breakfast supplements and medications. More on that to come...

Then I head back to the bathroom to dry brush my body, take my zero THC CBC oil (given to me by my pain doctor), wash and moisturize face, brush teeth, and I down 12-16 oz of water.
Then I either take Luke for a 30 minute walk or do 30 minutes of yoga if #leohusband is walking him that morning, but lately, I've been doing both which has my glutes in an uproar.

So my E from The Miracle Morning's Life S.A.V.E.R.S. is complete.

I then meditate, using the Headspace app, do my affirmations (which are now saying I love my life), visualize something I want to accomplish without pain (like bending over to wash my face or our up and coming trip to Europe).

Now my S.A.V. is complete.

I then make breakfast. Two free range eggs and bacon with green beans or riced cauliflower and a tea. I do the last two S.A.V.E.R.S., R and S, while eating breakfast because of my stage three adrenal fatigue. I can't go too long without food in the morning or it further stresses my adrenal glands.

Then I play a bit with Luke and jump in the shower where I lightly Fasciablast my quads, hamstrings, hips, and glutes.

When I'm done with my shower. I have a little me time and crash on the couch with ice bags on the areas that have nerve pain and to rest up to keep my adrenals in balance.


I usually write a blog post, work ahead in my bullet journal, read, or catch up on a TV show.

I spend some snuggle and play time with the aforementioned doggy and then eat some lunch. Usually, paleo leftovers from the night before or a quick and easy salad or wrap with 24oz of water.

Lunchtime depends on the day.

One of my awesomest friends, Rebekah Svensson and I are starting a podcast in June, called Chronic Warrior Women.

If it's a podcast recording day I do that with my awesome co-host Rebekah Svensson.
If I'm feeling drained it's a nap.
If I'm feeling crafty, I sew to keep moving.
Maybe it's the day I'm getting dry needled, because I do this once a week, twice if I'm having pain flares.
Maybe it's the day I'm seeing my chiropractor...
I have a snack around 2-3 which is usually an apple and raw almonds and a cup of green tea.

I set out ingredients for that night's meal and then do some work around the house.

I start cooking at 5/5:30, we eat at 6, then walk our doggo together after dinner.

I start getting ready for bed at around 8:30/9.

Night time routine is as follows: an Epsom salt bath, hanging upside down on my inversion table while doing 4, 7, 8 breathing, and then reading until lights out.

I do this *almost every day. I may take off a day or two during the week if I have excessive physical activities. For instance, when we brought Luke home from the foster mom's house he had a pretty severe flea infestation. So I used my physical energy last week to stay on top of cleaning my house every day. That combined with zero sleep with a new doggy, last week was shot for me. However, I got my first full night's sleep last night in over a week, so hopefully, I'll be bouncing back soon.