December Thus Far 10/12/2016


It’s been a while so I thought it was time to chat…

It’s been about six weeks since I started my depression medication and four weeks at this dosage. I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my mood. I also realized part of the reason for my infrequent posting is a fear of not having a polished, perfect post. So, I made a conscious decision to not aim for polished perfect posts but to simply post and more frequently. Then I decided I should add more about books since I’m an avid reader but haven’t been reading much and posting about books might make me read more.

Yes, this is partly a business blog but it’s also about living a creative life with chronic illnesses. My living a creative life with chronic illnesses-and that includes reading. I signed up on LibraryThing and NetGalley as a book reviewer and selected a lot of available books on both sites. I expected that as a blogger with what is now a small audience that I would only be granted a few books from each site. Instead I’ve been approved for over a hundred books!!! Expect lots of book reviews in the future!!!

Last week my sister and my five year old nephew moved in. We’re all settling into the routines and practices of each other. I don’t think my nephew quite understands that he’s living at Grandma and Auntie’s house now. He kept asking to go home the first couple of nights. He thought he was just sleeping over.

My almost four year old great-nephew is sleeping over tonight. Tomorrow we’re decorating the Christmas tree and going to the Christmas parade. Both boys will enjoy that. The parade starts just down the street from our house. If it wasn’t so cold we would walk down but it’s an evening parade and it’s -26’C as I write this. If it’s that cold tomorrow we may drive down and wait in the car until it starts. We will see.

Review: TMed Pharma Medical Foods

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. 

The TMed Pharma review consisted of taking three medical foods daily for three months – Sentra AM® (for management of fatigue and cognitive disorders), Sentra PM® (for management of sleep disorders) and Theramine® ( for management of pain disorders and inflammatory conditions). Two capsules each of Sentra AM® and Theramine® in the morning and two capsules each of Sentra PM® and another two of Theramine® at bedtime is the recommended dosage.

I have carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical disc degeneration disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia so these seemed great products for me to trial. But I will admit adding eight capsules a day to the multitude of medications and supplements I already take daily was daunting. This was also my first time trying medical foods so I was unsure of what to expect.

I signed on for this review shortly before going on a ten day vacation. I received my first package of the medical foods while I was away and started the trial two days after returning. 

The eighteen hour drive home (plus fuel stops, rest stops, meal breaks and an overnight stay in a motel) as well as the changes of humidity levels, temperatures and a time zone precipitated a fibromyalgia flare. I was in a lot of pain, exhausted and unsure this was a good time to start a new regimen for review purposes. However, I definitely recommend road trips with others with chronic issues. They are much more understanding of our health issues and needs.

I quickly discovered it was a great time to begin using these products. Within a few doses my pain levels lowered and within a week the flare ended. My pain levels stabilized, my sleeping patterns improved and I started to feel better. I was even lucky enough that my pain levels stabilized at a lower level than pre-flare!

My only problem with the regimen was I frequently had heartburn after the morning doses. I think it was a combination of the medical foods and what I typically eat for breakfast on weekdays. I believe this to be the case as when I had other foods for breakfast the heartburn lessened. A few Tums Smoothies® quickly resolved the heartburn most days.

Overall, my use of these three medical foods was positive and I would be happy to continue their use except for the fact that a new medication for my newly diagnosed anxiety and depression exacerbates the heartburn. The heartburn increased to the point I seriously considered ending my trial early but decided I could continue on for the remaining week. I would definitely recommend these products to others suffering from cognitive disorders, fatigue, inflammatory conditions, pain disorders, and sleep disorders.

In the week or so since completing the protocol I have already had my pain levels increase, discovered my new medication is still causing heartburn, disrupting my sleep and I have started my annual Autumn into Winter Fibromyalgia Flare.

More information on Sentra AM®, Sentra PM® and Theramine® can be found on the TMed Pharma website, . The company also has a medical team on staff available to answer concerns and questions.

A Tisket, A Tasket, I Have A Basket

Yes, I know that’s not how the nursery rhyme goes but it seemed to fit as I’ve been filling baskets lately. I’ve been absent from the blog the last few months and the baskets are part of the reasons. I’ll go backwards as that gives the most news first.

I’m opening up a shop for crochet and knit items! Crocheting and knitting are two of my main ways of filling my time. That’s why I started designing. But you only need so many things and I have a lot of yarn and time to crochet and knit. I could also use another income stream in the business. Working outside the home is next to impossible due to my chronic illnesses but this is something I can do almost entirely from home. Other than going to the post office to send out packages to customers I can do it all from home. So come October 31, baring technical difficulties, my shop will be open.

I’ve been busily making products for the last month or so and will continue to do so. I have people in the Starship-the business group I belong  to-who will be critiquing the shop this week. I’ve already started working on the behind the scenes part of the shop. I need to verify shipping costs, finish pricing my finished products and upload the products to the shop. At that point the critique can begin. I’ll make any necessary changes based on their critiques and the shop will be opening to the public on October 31. Yes, next Monday! The shop products so far include washcloths and hats. I’m working on some cowls or snoods as they are sometimes called. That will likely be my open products but I plan on frequently adding new products like scarves, shawls, shawlettes, mittens, hairbands, baby blankets in the near future. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll add things to the shop as I complete them or have a set weekly or biweekly update to add new products.

That’s part of the basket theme as I’ve been sorting through my yarn for shop items. I have baskets for washcloths yarn and hat yarn, a big one of yarn for all kinds of things and baskets of things I’m in the middle of working on. Here’s my washcloths basket:

This one is beside my chair in the living room. I read on my iPad or watch tv while making them. I also have a pile of products to weave in the ends nearby and a few finished products bins.

Another piece of news is my sister and five year old nephew are moving in with Mum and I. So I need to move my yarn out of the spare/yarn room as that will become my sister’s room next month. That’s where a lot of the baskets of shop yarn came from. As I sort through the yarn to move it some are going into a shop pile/baskets/boxes.

I’ve also started my usual seasonal fibromyalgia flare. I flare up whenever the seasons change. It usually lasts a few weeks to months depending on the transition period. And that depends on Mother Nature and the weather.

My flare started a little early due to a road trip to visit family in August. We had a great visit and I don’t regret it at all but the change from our weather to their weather and the two days road trip each way precipitated an earlier flare. It didn’t help that I received some bad news the day before we left.

And my diabetes program social worker believes I have depression and anxiety. I see my family doctor tomorrow. The social worker thinks things I’ve just assumed are part of my chronic illnesses are actually symptoms of anxiety and depression. So I’ve been adjusting to that and doing my best to stay positive.

All that lead to an absence of blog posts and major decrease in social media posts. I’m almost back on track and hope to increase all of those. Watch for updates on the shop!

Crochet Testers Wanted 04/06/2016

Bridgwater Crafts
Kaylin Spa Cloth

I’m almost finished my crochet design, Kaylin Spa Cloth. I just need to add some photos and do some formatting. So, it’s time to start looking for testers. If you are interested in becoming one of my testers please notify me by leaving a comment here, emailing me or pm me on Ravelry.

Kaylin is one of six designs in my upcoming Hooks, Needles and Spoons ebook. The ebook consists of three crochet and three knit patterns that are simple basics; simple enough you can work on them with little brainpower required and finish with a usable product.

Here’s the info again-I know it’s pretty small in the photo!
Necessary Skills (American Crochet Terms)
Slip Knot
Single Crochet
Weaving In Of Ends

Worsted Weight Cotton (50 g)
6 mm/J/10 hook
Tapestry Needle

Tester Requirements
Crochet washcloth by June 20.
Testers are required to provide feedback on clarity of instructions, errors found and any suggestions.
Complete a project page on Ravelry.
Link project page to pattern page upon publication.

Tester Compensation
In appreciation of their time and work, testers will be gifted the published pattern in their Ravelry libraries and a coupon code for 20% off any existing and new patterns in my Ravelry store valid until December 31, 2016.

A Healthier Life Update 02/06/2016

I hope to continue these A Healthier Me post monthly.

My  fibromyalgia is still flaring from the change from winter to spring. The temperatures keep rising and falling yet the rainstorms of spring have begun. We’ve also had snow repeatedly and hail occasionally. My body does not like temperature and barometric changes anymore. As a result my pain and fatigue levels are high. And summer will be upon us soon!
The crabapple tree in bloom!

I am still meeting monthly with the various members of the Diabetes Program. My dietician was off sick the day of my May appointment so I saw their other dietician. She gave me some good tips considered she was squeezing my dietician’s patiients in between her own. One of her suggestions was making my own tortilla chips by purchasing pre-made tortillas from the grocery store, seasoning then baking. They are lower calorie than store bought tortilla chips. I’ve made some since but haven’t eaten them yet as we are finishing off the bought ones first.

Although I haven’t been able to do all the exercises their Kinesiologist planned I have been able to do cardio almost daily. I’m up to 40 minutes on my stationary bike. I’ve even biked a few times despite walking 20-40 minutes to appointments. It’s become a habit to bike daily.

Slowly my health is changing for the better. I would rather make small steady changes than drastic large changes. I want my changes to be lifelong not short-term quick changes. I tallied up the numbers yesterday. Since February, I have lost 15.25 cm/6″ total off my bust, waist, and hips! Since April 1, I have lost 3.4 kg/7.5 lbs! My blood glucose levels have started coming down. It’s encouraging to see results!

Now I’m working on adding stretches and strengthening exercises to my routine and reducing my carbohydrate intake. The trick, I’m learning is to make the changes slowly enough that my fibromyalgia does not continue flaring but regularly enough to become habits.

If you want to read the previous posts on this theme they are linked below:


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Review: FibroCane Relief

Disclosure: I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

FibroCane Relief I’ve been trialling FibroCane Relief for a few weeks now. My pain tends to be widespread so I wasn’t sure the homeopathic pain gel would be of help. At first I just used it on pain points such as my neck and shoulders. Then one day about ten minutes post-application I realized my hands didn’t hurt. I hadn’t realized they hurt until the pain was gone.

Last week on a really bad pain day I used it and felt a relaxation of the knots quickly. Within a few hours my pain level had decreased and the knots were gone. Yesterday, after lifting plants closer to the window and overextending my reach a few times, my right shoulder and elbow were pretty sore. I rubbed on some Relief and truly did feel relief. My tender upper arm stopped hurting and the pain in my shoulder and elbow were much improved.

I will definitely keep using this product and am grateful to FibroCane for giving me the chance to try it. I’m glad a little goes a long way; this tube should last me a few months!

We Have Moved!

We are at our new home now. But like any move there are still a few boxes to unpack and tweaks to be made. And like any new home there is decorating to do. So don’t be surprised if the site looks a little different when you next visit!