fibromyalgia · vegetarian

Fibromyalgia Sucks

It has been almost six months since I started vegetarian eating. I was feeling great, my headaches have been reduced to two a month at the most, but my sleep has been so so because of pain or just some insomnia. I am getting Thai massages that stretch me every which way, and that helps. I put a call into my neurologist, and he said I can go back on Lyrica, but he hasn’t said I can begin Trokendi again. I was taking Lyrica for fibro and Trokendi for headaches. Trokendi hasn’t been approved for fibro, but it has helped some people. It helped me sleep and kept weight off. I see my doc March 16, so I will see what he says.

My Furry Children

When a Furry Child Gets Sick

UPDATE: Today is March 1. Hank’s PCV number is in normal range (48)👍. We have to feed him 24 1 Tablespoon meals for the time each day to get him not to throw up so often. In five days he will be done with most of the medicines and then he will remain on the rest for awhile. We don’t go back to the vet for two weeks😍.

UPDATE: We have a recheck with the vet today. Hank’s pancreatic is still bad. We pray his PVC number went up.

UPDATE: We made it home to Toledo, Ohio, in record time (Feb. 22). Although Hank’s PCV number has gone up to 34 from 26, he is having stomach bleeding the doctor thinks from prednisone (and maybe the Plavix). We had to take him to vet 2 times yesterday (we got in 12:30 am and the first visit was at 9 am). He started three new medicines today, and although he is keeping his food down and drinking water, he isn’t eating much and mostly sleeping. I called the emergency vet tonight about my concerns, but she said unless he changes, just come in for the 9 am appointment tomorrow morning (Saturday). It is so hard to see one of my babies this sick. I just pray he survives.

UPDATE: Hank’s PCV number is staying put for now, so we are leaving Florida today (Feb. 21) for home. We have his meds and can stop at a 24 hour animal hospital if his condition changes. Please keep us in your prayers.


My Hank is sick. We were at Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Sarasota for the second time in three days (Feb. 20). He wasn’t eating, drinking, or doing any typical doggy activities. We thought maybe it was because he swallowed part of a chicken drummie three days ago on a night walk. He was too fast for me, but I got some of it away from him. He seemed to be doing better after our first visit where he got fluids by IV and an antibiotic. But he never started drinking water except when I put it in with his ID food. They started by checking him for pancreatitis. And then they found something we weren’t prepared for.

Hank has been diagnosed with hemolytic anemia (AIHA, IMHA). According to Be Aware Of Dog Autoimmune Diseases from Animal Awareness Magazine, IMHA “disorder can be associated with bone marrow failure. Affected animals have one or more of the following signs: lethargy, anorexia, pale mucous membranes, weakness, exercise intolerance, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), tachypnea (rapid breathing), icterus (jaundice), hemoglobinuria (hemoglobin pigment in urine) and fever. Prognosis is guarded to poor with reported mortality rates between 28% and 70%.” Grim findings for our Hank. The vet asked us all kinds of questions about recent vaccines, ingested metal, ticks, and possible toxin exposure. We could think of nothing and we provided all of his recent vet records. We were at the vet for 10 hours. We were given options of which one involved one or more blood transfusions. We talked about his quality of life. We cried as we discussed what we should do. We were told without transfusions, he wouldn’t last 48 hours. After consulting with our vet in Sylvania, Ohio, and the vet at Blue Pearl as well as the vet technician, we decided that he needed to have X-rays to rule out masses, tumors, and metal of any kind, and the vet wanted to check his PCV level to see if it went down since this morning. It stayed the same, so with a shot of prednisone, IV fluids, and Plavix, Hank came home with us tonight.

Tonight is going to be tough for us and I have to watch Hank for signs of his anemia worsening and a possible stroke. Not a happy time. I pray I have better news to share soon. He’s one of our babies, and we love him so much.

Healthy Eating

A Little Sun Goes a Long Way

I’ve been in Florida for over a week and I have noticed things. I don’t feel achy as much in a warmer climate. I am walking every day like I do in Toledo, and I am not walking as far.  My furry children can only go so far in this heat (mostly 80s since I arrived), but walking in the morning and late afternoon provides me with some sun. I forgot how a little sun can make me feel. I go to the beach every couple days, use sunscreen, and never stay over an hour. The sun is like Prozac.

I like how a little sun makes me look better, too. I will never tan again as I have spent too much time at my dermatologist, but I forgot the sun uplifts my spirits and gives my pastie white skin a glow. More than that and it would age me more than my 59 years and who wants that. I have seen so many people my age and older with tans like I had in my twenties.

I have actually lost weight in the last week and I think that can be attributed to both the energy my light sun exposure gives me and my continuing to eat wholes grains, fruit, vegetables,  and no meat, fish, or chicken. As I noted in Eating Healthily is Easy in Venice, Florida, I have been able to find healthy choices at restaurants in the area. Saltwater Grill, Cafe Evergreen, and Pop’s Sunset Grill offer vegetarian options, but the tastiest and healthiest so far is Cafe Evergreen.

I am now drinking matcha green tea for all of its health benefits, but according to 7 Things You Should Know about Matcha, one needs to be aware of things of which I was unaware like a cup of it is comparable to a cup of coffee. I am very sensitive to caffeine, so I don’t drink Matcha after 4 pm. Read the article for concerns about lead as well. I love it hot with a wedge of lemon. It gives me energy and maybe I will even try meditation.

Healthy Eating

Eating Healthily is Easy in Venice, Florida

My furry children and I are enjoying great weather and getting the lay of the land in Florida. Today, I had an amazing meal at Cafe Evergreen in Venice. I started out with hot Organic Matcha Green Tea that had a little agave in it. It was a new experience for me and an easy way to get more antioxidants. The flavor hooked me. I plan on purchasing the brand they use at the Venice Farmers Market. The description on the Cafe Evergreen website states, “Organic sandwiches, salads, smoothies & wine served in charming digs with a mellow vibe.” I had lentil soup, roasted cauliflower, and an avocado wrap. Even the wrap was multigrain. Everything was pleasing to my palate. I will be going back to try other items soon. I am also going to do more research on the benefits of drinking organic matcha green tea. It supposedly helps with inflammation, focus, and weight loss.


This was the first of many vegan/ vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the Nokomis/Venice area. I can’t wait to try more.

working out

Easing Up

I was on a roll. I was running on my treadmill regularly in addition to walking, but then my iliotibial bands started screaming. I iced them, stretched them, worked on strengthening them, but I kept working out. After three nights of awful sleep, I called my GP. Other than physical therapy, the only thing I can do is rest my hips and knees. I have done physical therapy and still have sheets of exercises, so I will continue to do some of those every day.

I took three days off and did a little walking on the treadmill today. I plan on walking and running on the treadmill on Sunday. Hopefully, as long as I don’t over do it, I can continue to build up my running, and get back to trail running. I was up to 50 minutes of running, but that was too much for my hips.

Starting next week, I will be in Florida for a month. The warmer weather should help and I will be walking everywhere. I hope to find some trails for running and walking.

working out

Working on Weightloss

The holidays are over, so I peeked at my scale two weeks ago and noticed I packed on a few pounds.

My game plan is to continue my vegetarian eating, but I need to eat fewer carbohydrates, especially non-whole grain choices. Too many desserts and white flour goodies passed these lips, and the scale shows it. I know my metabolism has slowed way down since I went off HRT two years ago, but sugar and white flour do it no good. I have stopped eating cheese as much as possible, and I now use a powdered coconut creamer for my coffee as well as ask for unsweetened almond milk when I get lattes at Starbucks. If you haven’t tried their new blonde expresso, you must. Almond milk makes lattes so creamy and foamy. My going toward vegan is to reduce inflammation, and I have noticed a big reduction after just giving up meat, fish, and chicken. However, going completely dairy free has been a process. I now use almond milk for cooking as well. I used coconut milk for the first time last night when I made lentil soup with a bit too much freshly squeezed lemon. It made even creamier than it was already as well as helped reduce the lemon.

I have also ramped up my workouts to include running on the treadmill. I started at 20 minutes and am now up to as long as 50 minutes. I am still walking dogs and am using the treadmill at least five days a week when I don’t let my lazy butt talk me out of it. After spending more time than needed, I figured out how to convert my audiobooks to MP3 files, and I put two on my waterproof MP3 player, so I have no excuse to not snorkel swim (swimming, dog paddling, anything to get across the pool with a snorkel mask as I can’t move my neck well enough to swim without it) a couple times a week). I added some arm and leg workouts on machines at the gym, too.

Although I was titrated off Lyrica a month after I went vegetarian, four months later, I have been experiencing pain in my hips when I sleep. I had the same thing before I was on Lyrica, which my doctor attributed to fibromyalgia, so I’ve started stretching my iliotibial bands. My IT bands have been tight for years, and frequent massages help, but now that I am running again, I need to do whatever I can to avoid pain. Lyrica helped with my fibro pain, but the point of going vegetarian was to reduce inflammation and get and stay off as much medicine as I can. I started getting Thai massages, which are even more intense than myofascial release massages I had. I know my going vegetarian has helped my body, from my head to my shins (all places I hurt when my fibro kicks up), but I need to avoid sugar and see where that takes me.

It has been two weeks, and I am slowly taking off the extra pounds from the holiday, but after working out tonight, I couldn’t help but dive a bag of spinach and kale tortilla chips, whole grain and certified organic, of course. You can get them at Costco and they are awesome!

working out

Workout Wear That won’t Break the Bank

One thing I spend way too much money on is workout clothing. I mean, I practically live in it. Why? Because I put it on first thing in the morning as a reminder that I need to get my workout in.

I get high-rise compression crops, as well as a few tops for very hot days (I don’t go without sleeves unless I am desperate heat-wise) from Old Navy. I wear Hanes sports bra now, but in the past, I purchased the more expensive sports bras, but I find that they all have a short life, so I opt for the supportive yet inexpensive. I buy long sleeve Under Armour tops a size larger to avoid all my lumps and bumps showing. What I can’t seem to find are shirts with three-quarter sleeves. I would wear them year-round to the gym and outside in the summer because they hide my lovely bat wings that appeared in my 50’s. Oh, what fun. Long sleeves are okay, but I get so hot anytime of the year, even when I am walking dogs in frigid temps, just another joy of menopause.

What I love about the high rise compression workout pants, no matter what brand, is that I feel thinner. They hold the middle in and make everything feel tighter when I workout. I can even wear them with high boots and a long sweater in the winter for a night out. My favorite for winter workouts and nights out on the town are Yummie by Heather Thomson cotton compact shaping leggings. I also have Yummie cotton capris for the summer.
I also like some of Carrie Underwood’s Calia collection such as the Flow Everyday long sleeve shirt. It is hip length, so it covers my lack of bootie as well as the front, something most workout wear doesn’t. I know lots of women who can wear the normal length tops, but I like them longer as well as looser. You can also get Calia tops in some great colors like “pigment purple” that looks like cobalt blue. I wish Under Armour and the like would have longer tops, just enough to cover the bum.

What brands do you find most comfortable?