Health Update + Brightening My Day

Hey there! It’s me again. Remember me? I’m the quirky chick who brought you such gems as Video Tutorial Monday and bi-monthly updates from Europe? Yeah, that’s the one. (HA.)

I’ve been going through some things lately. Thankfully, I’m doing all right and things are looking up, but I wanted to share and update you on what’s going on. One of my goals as a blogger is to give back and share as much about my life as I can in hopes of helping others with the same passions or problems. I know several of my crafty (and otherwise) friends have been wanting to know more about what’s been going on, and it’s not that I don’t want to share or that things are bad, but it’s more that I don’t want to tell the same story five thousand times. (Anyone who has ever worn a cast or missed six weeks of school knows exactly what I mean on this one.)

So I want to tell you the whole story so you know what’s up. If you feel so inclined to send digital hugs or your favorite meal or cookie recipe, I’m all for that. Just no pitying allowed. This is my body and I’m doing what I can to fix things. I’ve done enough “why me?”s for the rest of the world about six times over and am in a very great place now where it’s not “why me” but “these changes are awesome” that I find repeating to myself over and over. So got it? Hugs and food, not pity or tears, okay? :)

I’ve been dealing with some whoppers of health issues for many years, but just recently, in February of this year, more problems surfaced that have caused me to miss countless hours of school, miss out on fun times with my friends and even spend days at a time in bed. Shortly after my big health issues started, I was diagnosed by a doctor in Spain with Spastic Colon and IBS. Then, the migraines started. I’ve been battling with dibilitating migraines, fatigue, body aches as well as the symptoms of anxiety, depression and IBS since. When I list my laundry list of ailments, it’s really not even a big deal to me any more. I work with some really amazing doctors that help to bring my chronic problems from “this sucks” to “this is britta without any issues” on a daily basis. Doctors are cool. If you every are feeling overly anxious or depressed, I highly encourage you to see a therapist (a pshyologist is my therapy of choice). Your health insurance will likely cover it, and having someone there to talk to about your innermost worries and issues and then work through the daily hurdles with is a great, great thing.

It’s the migraines that have been out of control for the past few months. Over the summer, they slowed down as I got into a rythym of work and play, but when school added itself to the mixture, my stress levels were no longer under control and I began having migraines about 2 to 3 days a week. After trying everything over-the-counter, talking to my doctor who oversees all of my medications and making necessary tweaks to my regimen, we decided it was time to call in the big guns. Four weeks of phone calls, paperwork and waiting later, and I finally got in to see a neurologist.

This meeting was this last Wednesday, the 7th, and I may start to celebrate this day as my own personal health revelation holiday. My doctor was everything I’ve ever wanted and more, and she and I worked together to put all of the pieces together and start with some preventative and as-needed migraine medication. That night, before I picked up my prescription, I had a killer migraine that lasted until mid-afternoon the day after. 24 hours. It may have been my last migraine ever. Poetic justice, I suppose.

So now begins a new regimen of medicine to control my body and therapy to teach my body how to behave when I get these symptoms. I currently have appointments with 3 different specialists (neurology, pshyciatry and GI to confirm the diagnosis of IBS) and four different types of therapies (massage, acupuncture, cognitive behavioral and physical). I’m also beginning the process of putting my class schedule back together in order to graduate. 11 credits stand between me and that Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, and I will be receiving my diploma in the future. It’s put on hold for now while I get my body back in working order. With all luck, I will be able to work with my professors on an individual basis in the future and show that I have what it takes to earn my keep in their classes. I have all of the skills and training necessary, now I need to train my body to cooperate.

The diagnosis my Neurologist is leaning towards is a condition called Fybromyalgia. This is not her area of expertise, however, so we’re focusing on getting my migraines under control first and then putting words to the therapies afterwards. Only a Rheumatologist can diagnose Fybromyalgia officially. You can read more about the condition here, but the good news is that it’s a treatable condition that is becoming more recognized and studied. In fact, I may have the chance to be part of a study group being followed by my University’s researchers on the condition for the next several years. I like the thought of being able to help others and contribute to science. And you know what? The best part is that we really have a starting point now. Instead of feeling like my body is crapping out on me, I feel like I have one condition that can and will be fixed. One thing. Much better than a laundry list of symptoms and issues. :)

So there we have it. I’m happy and hopeful. I might even get my landlord to approve me having a cat! I know you would love to see some more cat pictures on here again. :) (In case you’re wondering where Trixie is – she belongs to and lives with my former roommates, who moved home to Wisconsin after they graduated last spring. I still miss her, though!)

As for the blog, I hope to be updating more often as my therapy proceeds and things look better. I won’t make any promises for now, but know that my heart wishes I had a new post for you every day, so maybe someday that will be a reality. A girl can dream, right?!

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring. If I owe you an e-mail, I hope you understand. I’m tackling my inbox a few things at a time, so stick with me and I’ll get to you. If it’s important or urgent, you can always contact me on twitter. The 140 word character limit helps ease the stresses of having to give a five paragraph reply. :)

I also wanted to share some of the things that I have been helping me cope with migraines and being in bed far too much. Maybe these can help you or someone you know dealing with the same issues. I’ve added a new “Life and Health” category over on the right-hand side of my blog so you can easily catch up with me and things that I recommend for dealing with my types of symptoms. My hope is that someday each one of these posts will help someone to feel better and get their own answers. :)

Aroma Home Soothing Lavendar Body Wrap

I leave this in a zip-loc in the freezer and wrap it around my head or neck and shoulders when I’m feeling sore. The lavender is very calming, and it doesn’t get so cold that you need to wrap it up like you would and ice pack. This thing is AMAZING. I might buy a second one…

Aroma Home Silk Eye Mask

I went from a pillow-over-the-head sleeper to using one of these, and it’s soooo much better. Plus, I really like the scent of lavender. It’s just subtle enough to help me relax no matter what time of the day I’m napping or heading off to bed.

IcyHot Back Patches

These babies work wonders when I have bad muscle fatigue from a migraine the day before. They allow me to get up and do work around the house or even run errands without having to lay down and ice my back every couple of hours. They’re amazing (and you can pick them up in pretty much any pharmacy section of any store – score)!

Audio Books from Audible.com

These books have seriously saved my sanity. I can listen to the books with my eyes covered and still am thinking and relaxing while wishing away a migraine. I literally don’t know what I would do in bed without these. They’ve become my favorite for crafting, too, when I don’t feel like flipping through the channels on tv or netflix. I have a monthly subscription, and the one book a month combined with some really awesome sales they have every couple months keeps me well stocked up. Some of my favorite ones I’ve listened to: Water for Elephants, Sacre Bleu (Christopher Moore is my FAVORITE raunchy comedy author) and Paper Towns (John Green ROCKS). I have others that I love, too, and you can see those over on my audible profile if you’re interested. :)

Crafting – of course!

Just wanted to share a cute card that I thought was appropriate to go with this post. I’m absoultely loving my Hero Arts inks lately. They’re so… YUM!

Alright, time to run off to a Gopher Basketball game with my sweetie. It my first time at one, so I’m really pumped! Will be tweeting and instagraming from the game. (I’m always updating those, so even if it don’t post for a while here, you can get your Britta fix in!) Thank you SO much for stopping by today. I love you all.

Love,
Britta

P.S. My birthday is November 28th and I’ll be doing a large set of giveaways. Make sure you mark that on your calendars. :)

31 Comments

Filed under Cardmaking, Life and Health

31 Responses to Health Update + Brightening My Day

  1. Melissa Shea

    Sending hugs right this very minute!!! SO glad you’re getting some stinkin’ answers!!! KKCO :)

  2. I’m sending digital hugs, and all my recent favorite recipes: http://pinterest.com/avital/food/ :) Cheers! Your videos and blog are brightening my day (as a mommy to a 4-week-old baby girl whose due date isn’t until next Monday…) – So I hope I can do something to brighten up yours, let me know.

  3. Melissa Shea

    Arg! Fat fingers. KCCO! That’s better :)

  4. Victoria

    So happy you are getting answers and have a plan. Be patient as the plan is adjusted and tweaked as it takes time. I’m a chronic migraine sufferer…so understand. I think a positive attritude and heart helps too. Best wishes.

  5. Well Miss Britta – I am glad you are getting the care you need and the answers you’ve been seeking. You seems you are so young to be going thru all this – but from one that understands – my body is older than my actual age too. And, of course I love your card – that stamp set I gotta get sometime. I love how you used the arrows on your card base!! Continue to feel better sweet lady.

  6. Wendy G.

    What an informative and upbeat post! Thanks so much for the update. Tons of hugs going your way, sweet girl!

  7. Alice

    God bless you and keep you,
    God smile on you and gift you, (even more than He has already)
    God look you full in the face
    and make you prosper. (in health and every other way)

  8. Linda Baker

    So sorry to hear of your health issues, but glad you are getting help and doing better. Wish you all the best and look forward to seeing more from you in the future.

  9. Lucy Miranda

    I am sorry about your health problems. I have a grand daughter, Talisa Zayas, who also suffers from migraine. At the moment she is a student at Santa Fe Art College (not sure that is the name). Unlike you that is getting medical help, she is not, having no medical plan. I am happy that you are getting all the help necessary. I hope your health gets in control soon. I really enjoy your videos and I have learn a lot from you. You will be in my prayers.

  10. Angel Estes

    Wowzers. Reading your post is like reading my own life story. Even your attitude reminds me of myself. I can’t deal with pity either. In fact, my own kids don’t know I have Fibromyalgia. Sounds like you’re on the road to making good choices for your mind and body. GOOD FOR YOU!!!! Feel free to contact me if you want – I’m always glad to help!

  11. Valerie

    As someone with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I could tell immediately that you were describing fibro. There are many things that can be done so life can go on. After being told that I should apply for disability, I instead found a job that was a little less stressful but still very productive. I can’t always do the extra things that I want to, but at least I can do what I have to do. So hang in there, things can get better.

  12. Kathy Waxler

    I can sympathize as I went through some relatively major health issues some years ago. I, too, found an awesome doctor and was treated with something that was sort of experimental then. I’ve been 100% since. So, glad to hear you’re feeling better and good luck on getting back on the educational track.

  13. Kristy B

    Hope your feeling better soon and on the way to finding out whats wrong! I dont know how you deal with such stress and keep so positive!! Thanks for the update and keep your head up! Sending you many hugs!

  14. Agno

    Dear britta
    I loooove your work….
    Your a great artist and sharing is so helpful for us….
    A big hug from a surviving fibromialgia girl since 10 years, with the same symptomes that you describe…
    Keep on thinking positive
    Why me? Why us???
    Cause we are sensitive at the top
    Cause we are srong and for years we carry everything with a smile…
    This is the unswear of our body to day:
    Hey stop it
    I am tired take care of me.

    I have tried everything
    I am steel having much pain
    But learned how to prevent myself….

    Wich you luke
    The secret is : follow your art
    Create
    Smile
    And love

    Kisses

  15. Hi Britta,
    So glad to hear that things are on the up and up – still on a hill, but moving again! I too hate migraines, but as I have got older (I’m a gran) they have lessened – thankfully.
    May you conquer your ‘hill’ and return to the fullest health possible.
    Blessings
    Maxine

  16. I’ve been missing your posts Britta. So I’m so very glad to find out what’s been going on. And, so thankful that you’re getting answers!
    Sending many hugs and prayers from Illinois!!!

  17. Naomi

    You are on your way up now! We have missed you.

  18. I am so happy to hear that your appointment at the neurologist went well Britta. Yay for having a plan to move forward with! Thanks for the fiy about your birthday too =)

  19. Nancy L.

    Hope you are feeling much better!

  20. Hi Britta, What a great honest and empowering post. This might sound odd, but I went through the exact same things as you describe. I was a student & missed school with all of those symptoms. Eventually I found a fairly simple way to keep it all in check. It was food allergies. Might sound crazy, but that’s what worked to help me, so I felt I had to share. I went to a Naturopath & had a blood test done for food sensitivities/allergies and it changed my life. Now I feel like I can begin to finish the 4 courses I have left to graduate & get my BA in English. I tried and didn’t complete 4 semesters, because I was so used to being the person who could get everything done that I didn’t clue in to how bad I was feeling. Silly, but… Anyhow, I know it can be odd to get “advice” from strangers, but I’ve followed you for so long on your blog & just wanted to share in case it gave you another option. Hugs & Happy health. xo Mel

  21. It’s good to hear from you and about your health issues. So glad your finding a silver lining to your health issues. Sending digital ((((HUGS))))) and much love. Take your time coming back to the craft world. I love your work and willing to wait. Your health is more important. Prayers for answers and healing.

  22. Isabel

    I have fibromyalgia too and recognized the symptoms right away… it’s a journey till we get diagnosed, mine took 4 years to convince my doctor several years ago. Keep your positive mind because it’s half way through it… Best wishes Brita and to all of you who deals with this condition. Keep calm and win it all!

  23. As someone who is married to a man with Fibro, I can feel for you. The good news is, it is treatable, and you should have no problems functioning normally, once the migraines get dealt with.. you may find some days you can’t do as much as others, but hey, that’s true of us all.
    Someone earlier suggested food allergies, and IMO worth checking out. Found out through trial and error that both my husband and youngest child are allergic to soy.. major stomach pain and diarrhea always ensues if they eat it, not to mention the vicious headaches.

    (((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))

  24. Barb Ghigliotty

    Hello sweet Britta!
    I’ll keep this brief, so you don’t have so much to read…I have kept you in my thoughts and prayers over the past few months, and will continue to do that! Thank heaven you have such wonderful Dr’s, and a great therapist! I know you will get to the bottom of this, graduate, and have a long and healthy life!
    Just take care of yourself…we will be here for you when you’re ready. I’ll be sure to stop by on your B-day, too!
    LOTS AND LOTS OF (((HUGS))),
    Barb G.

  25. Penny

    A close friend of mine was having all kinds of health problems, too many to list. After going to doctors and being prescribed many medications she started researching her symptoms on the net. She found that low vitamin D contributed to many of the illnesses. Her D was low and as soon as she started taking D she started feeling better. She still has a few of the symptoms but they are greatly reduced. Have your doctor check your vitamin D level to see if it is low.

  26. Sorry to hear about the healthy issue. Glad you are getting help. Wish you all the best.

  27. It is so awesome to hear from you! I know it isn’t easy to share this sort of thing, especially on such a positive and forward thinking light. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself! I am glad you are on the road to answers and healing and you will definitely be in my thoughts! Tons of hugs!!!

  28. Hey Little One, so glad you are getting some much needed answers. It’s wonderful to know you’ve found a caring doc who gives you the support you need right now. Thanks for sharing your story, I hope it finds the ones who need to hear it.
    You know you have my prayers, sweetie.
    blessings~

  29. Yay! Those are good news! I hope you can post frequently again soon and this is a great starting :)
    Big hugs for you, Britta!

  30. KatieP

    It is good to know what is going on with your body. Fibro often goes hand-in-hand with Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome. CFIDS has a great website, full of good info. Hope you can get relief from the migraines.
    I wish you good health! Shar(Scrapendipity) has Fibromyalgia, she would a good person to touch bases with her.
    Digital hugs sent to you.
    katie

  31. Britta, This is my first time on your blog and I read your story. Life is hard sometimes but your attitude is BEAUTIFUL and you WILL see much better days. I have suffered with migraines all my life so I understand. I want to share with you that allergies seem to be my triggers. I have been to all sorts of doctors and I have medicine that helps, but I have always been working toward finding a reason, not just a med. I finally started looking at food triggers even though I had been to several allergy doctors and no one came up with anything serious enough to cause such migraines. My biggest triggers are red meat and gluten. I still have some headaches but the excruciating pain is gone. They are much more manageable now and not nearly as long lasting. I don’t know if you have tried to think about food triggers, but if you have not, think about it.
    Love from a fellow sufferer,

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