Review: FibroCane

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.”
My package from Premier Bioceuticals arrived on Feb. 17th but my trial of the FibroCane Daily Dietary Supplement and Serenitea began on Feb. 18th. I started by trying out the supplement on it’s own. I wanted to see if used singly would have effect or if the products would need to be used in conjunction.
I started to take the supplement on February 18, in the morning. It is about the same size tablet as most multivitamins. I added in the tea on February 23, in the evening. The tea has a pleasant flavour I enjoyed. The Serenitea helped me fall asleep but I still slept restlessly. The supplement has helped. I have more energy and less fatigue. I had a few flare ups while taking the supplement and found that my pain levels and fatigue levels were lower than when I was not using FibroCane during flares. I must admit I kept aside some of the Serenitea for future use on nights of insomnia or difficulty falling asleep. I found both products of help in managing my fibromyalgia.
I had an appointment with my family physician during the review period. I brought both products with me. She had no objection to my using them in addition to my normal medications. Her only complaint is also mine: the label font size makes reading the Supplement Facts section difficult as it is such tiny letters. While I understand the small font was to used to fit all ingredients on the label the legibility issue could pose problems for customers on multiple supplements. It made ensuring I was not already taking another supplement containing the same ingredients more difficult.
I would and do recommend both these products. I hope to use them again in the future.

A Healthier Life

For the past few months I’ve been slowly working on improving my health. Living with ten chronic conditions plus a few non-chronic can make for a very unhealthy lifestyle. I’m looking to improve that as much as possible.

First, I worked on my water intake. Second, my sleep habits. Third, doing my neck stretching more frequently. Tuesday I started a new step. A friend started Whole30. I’m not ready for such a drastic change and my health is too fragile to attempt it without speaking to my primary physician who is currently on vacation. But, in solidarity, I started tracking all my food again on My Fitness Pal.

I started with water first because I know it is such an important aspect of our health and I was not drinking as much as I used to. I am now up to at least 1800 ml and most days over 2L [64 oz]. I no longer feel thirsty near as often as before I started working on this.

Sleep is another component of good health. Both Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome impact sleep causing fatique, disturbed or restless sleeping and insomnia. I was and still am having all those symptoms. I was also needing to nap daily regardless of the previous night’s sleep amount. My Fitbit tracks my sleep, not well-anytime you lie still with sleep mode on is considered sleep-so I tried figuring out my optimal amount of sleep. I thought it was eight hours but soon realized I was still napping daily with eight hours. It turns out that right now I need ten hours of sleep to not NEED a nap later but dependent on how restless I was in getting that sleep I may still be fatigued enough to nap. Anything over nine hours causes increased pain upon waking unless I was restless enough to have changed sleep positions frequently. This is a very tough component to control.

A few weeks ago I added in restarting to consistently do my neck stretches. Because a few of my health issues affect my neck it is very easy for me to lose neck mobility. But when I’m in a lot of pain this is something I often drop. My aim is to do the stretches daily but at least three times a week. I have to consciously remind myself to do this; it is no longer the habit it once was. But, most weeks I am doing them at least every other day.

And now, I’ve added tracking all food and drinks. I used to do this faithfully just a few years ago but when my life became so complicated and my health decreased tracking was dropped. I have committed to tracking for 30 days. I do not plan on making any food changes the first week but hope to  be back to eating properly for my Diabetes by the end of the 30 days. When I was first diagnosed I saw dietitians who were also Certified Diabetes Educators. Their recommendation was 30 g net carbohydrates for meals and 15 g net carbohydrates for snacks. Skipping meals was not allowed and snacking was only to occur if there was more than four hours between meals. I was also taught the Plate Method. This has you virtually divide your plate into quarters; one for carbohydrates, one for protein and the other two for vegetables [preferably different vegetables]. I slowly stopped following this advice as things became more complicated and because my Diabetes was under great control. I want to see just how much I’ve deviated from the plan and a great bonus would be losing the weight I’ve gained since moving back in with Mum.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is for Sale!!!

It’s been three months from the idea to fruition.

The fall last weekend backed me up a week. It is exactly seven days after the planned release, and it’s taken most of the day but it’s happened. The files and the covers have been uploaded. Descriptions and thank you emails typed. All that remains is waiting for purchasers; and the next chapter, of course.

Chapter Two: February is almost complete. The designs are almost ready for editing. Can you believe it’s almost March?!

For those of you on Ravelry, a just the patterns version will be available there tomorrow. If you buy the C’est Ma Vie! With Patterns version, contact me via the same email as your PayPal account with your Ravelry username. I’ll send you a coupon code for the Ravelry version so you can have the patterns in your library.

The books are available here or via Payhip. The regular version is $15.00 CAD. The version with patterns is $25.00 CAD. It looks like a huge difference in price but there are thirteen knit and eleven crochet patterns included in the pattern version. That’s a pretty good deal-less than a dollar a pattern whether you do both crafts or not.

Design Friday

I have finally managed to get a few things accomplished! Going to bed early most nights cuts into productivity. But if I overdo it, I pay for it in pain.

The book cover has been revised. There were valid concerns of legibility in thumbnail size on websites. The same photo and colours are used but the title font and placement of a few things have been changed for the better, I think.

Chapter One: January of C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is currently being proofread.This chapter is accompanied by two knit patterns; the Damia Cowl and the Damia Hat. The Damia Cowl pattern is off with the tech editor. The Hat, I am still working on. I’ve never designed a sized pattern without knitting or crocheting each size. I’m not sure how to size the hat. I’m going to finish it tomorrow so I can email it to my tech editor. If I wait any longer it may not be ready for next Sunday’s release! I can’t believe how quickly the release is arriving! It seemed so far away when I chose the date.

I’ve been wearing the Damia Cowl when I go out. It is so warm and snuggly when it’s frigid outside.

Chapter Two: February is being written on almost daily. I think I missed one day. This chapter is accompanied by a crochet and a knit pattern. Samples one are completed for both patterns. Sample two of the crochet pattern is almost done. I should have it finished tomorrow. I will then begin the search for a crochet tech editor. Here’s a peek at sample two of the crochet design from this morning:

Elodie, sample two
Elodie, sample two

Another task for tomorrow is to figure out which yarns will be in the next few months’ designs and write some emails. I would like to include a dyer bio and yarn base info for each yarn I use. Some may decline, but I’m hoping most will see it as an opportunity for free advertising.

Weekly Review and Plan Creation

It’s Sunday again which means I should have a plan, right?

But, I’m not home. I’m typing this while lying on the hotel bed the night before I see a neurosurgeon for the first time. I had such bad wifi I’d given up on typing a post. I put the iPad on the bed went to grab something across the room and suddenly I had a full signal.

I’m learning to be more specific so things actually get done. If nothing gets checked off it gets overwhelming having all those un-done to-dos. I didn’t make a big plan for this week just a few things:

Today’s reads:

Go to Thunder Bay
Start Automatical Email Series

Go shopping
Get Haircut
Knit on Bettina sample 2
Knit on Damia sample 2


See Dr.
Come home
Knit on Damia sample 2
Knit on Bettina sample 2

The rest is murkier:

Finish Automatical Email Series
Apply for blog contributor position
Complete November month end
Read Market Yourself
Finish Bettina sample 2
Finish Damia sample 2
Work on other partial designs

A lot will depend on how I feel upon my return. And on the results of tomorrow’s appointment. And the snowstorms going through the region. It took me most of the last week to recover from Mon-Tues’s trip! As a result not much was accomplished unfortunately.

In the Midst of Fatigue and Pain


I didn’t disappear-I promise I won’t!

The week flew by in the midst of fatigue and pain. I’m still off work. Which if it was for a holiday would give me lots of uninterrupted time for Bridgwater Crafts. Instead I was too tired to do much. I think today is the first day in two weeks I’ve been awake for eight hours straight. And I’m typing this while laying in bed. I’m not usually a napper but the Fibro flare doesn’t care about that.

I did get some Bridgwater Crafts work squeezed in between naps. This week on the Starship we’ve been map making for quarter 4 (October, November and December). First you pick your goal or goals for the quarter. Then you choose ten mile markers along the way. And finally you decide on fifty to-do items to get you to your mile markers and ultimately your overall goal. I finished my map on Oct. 13th and began following the path the next day. I mapped out my mile markers on a provided stone pathway then created a checklist of the to-dos and mile markers. My goals are to increase my social media presence and design four patterns.

Here’s my map:

My Q4 - 2014 Map!
My Q4 – 2014 Map!

I’ve already completed a few of the to-do items! And thought of a change! Tonight I bound off sample 2 of my first design of the quarter. Tomorrow I will photograph the samples and polish up the pattern. I’ll be opening up for testing soon.

My change is the planned timelines for the designs. Originally I was going to release them toward the end of the quarter except for one that’s going in to the Ebook next year. Now I plan to not postpone any steps along the design process. Once the knitting and writing and photography is done I’ll open testing. Then tech editing and release shortly after. Why wait? Why postpone potential income? Besides these first three would make great Winter Holiday gifts.

Another potential change I’ll do my best to not allow to divert my attention from the map! I alluded to a childhood dream rekindled in Monday’s post. Let me explain. One of the things we do in the Starship is help eachother out with things like proofreading. A captain had written an article on writing. As I proofed the article I remembered how much I used to write as a child and teen. I got busy and stopped in adulthood. But I loved putting words to paper.

So I’m starting to write again. I joined NaNoWriMo and will start a book November 1st. Will I be able to keep up the necessary pace to write 50 000 words in one month? I don’t know. But I’ll try!

Unproductive Days

I feel this past weekend was nonproductive. I think it’s because things didn’t go as planned again! I started working on a new design Friday after work. Then Sat. fibromyalgia reacted to the change in weather with extreme fatigue. I spent a good part of the day and night in bed. I did get in a few hours of knitting/social media time but not as much as anticipated.

Sunday, I awoke early as I had a dental appointment. Good news: no new tooth decay! Bad news: all my old fillings need to be replaced! We did three and booked a follow up for the remaining in a few weeks. I spent a few hours numb on the left side of my face. During this time and the remainder of the day I proceeded to bite my tongue, my lip and my cheek! Of course I repeatedly have been biting all three since! Now my cheek, lip, teeth and tongue hurt. I’d forgotten how much pain getting fillings can cause. I managed to eek out a few hours of knitting and social media time. I finished knitting a swatch for the new design and wrote up part of the pattern in between loads of laundry.

There is a very intriguing thread in the Designers forum on Ravelry. Sarah Jane asked how full-time and part-time designers spent their days designing. Many designers are posting their schedules and describing their work day. Since I hope to make this into a part-time venture this fall, I am very interested in this thread. I need to work out the kinks in the processes first. My term as Recording Secretary of my union local is up for re-election in Oct. with a handover in December. I am strongly contemplating not running this year but remaining on the bargaining committee. This would free up some time that I hope to convert to design time.

I miss summer’s late sunsets. I think I need to either purchase a lamp for my knitting spot in the living room or switch up my evening routine so I knit earlier. I find it’s too dark to knit comfortably too fast for the amount of knitting I’ve planned.

It’s Been A Week!

It’s been a week. I underestimated how literally painful returning to work would be. I think I’m starting a fibro flare. I hope not!

I’ve been researching designing. Reading books, blogs, and forums. I’ve been working on patterns and knitting samples. I finished reading Shannon Okey’s The KNITGRRL Guide to Professional Knitwear Design and started reading Emma Robertson’s Knitting by Design. I finished knitting my second Ayla sample today and took photographs.

I’m a little bit further along on my next design. Here’s a peek:
Arielle Shawl peek