Wednesday, June 20, 2007

How to make your own Heat/Cold Therapy Pads

Hello Everyone,

One of the things I learned during my Pain Management sessions was "How to make your own heat and cold therapy pads."

I know there are many of us that cannot work or have limited budgets, so here is this tip:


* Thick material (this project calls for 18",but you can make the heating pad any size you want.

* Sewing machine or needle and thread

* Flax seed or wheat

* Essential oil (if you want to add it for aromatherapy), not required.


Buy or use strong material like cotton, strong silk or cotton woven material, or canvas. Make sure the material has no give to it. You do not want it to stretch. Please remember it needs to be real thick so when the wheat is heated (and it gets pretty hot) that you don't burn yourself.

1). Cut a square about 18" each side and fold it in half so it's inside out. It will be oblong shape.

2). Stitch down one short side and the long side. A sewing machine works best as you need short stitches close together, so the wheat doesn't come out.

3). If you stitch by hand go over it again to make sure the stitches are tight.

4). Turn it the right way in so the seam is on the inside.

5). Use the Flax seed or Wheat, it needs to be the whole kernel.

6). You should fill the bag about 1/2 way, then stitch the one side that is left, sealing it tight.

7). If you decide to use essential oils, sprinkle on the material for aromatherapy.

8). You will need to microwave it about two minutes. I have had a couple of microwaves, and they seem to heat differently. So please test it out a few minutes at a time to see how much time you need it in your microwave. Just be very careful not to overheat.

It can also be placed in the refrigerator or freezer if the cold therapy is better for you. I personally prefer heat.

This step is not necessary, but you might want to try it:

Try to divide the bag into sections. Maybe in 4- put in 1/4 of your seeds then stitch the bag 1/4 of the way up, drop in another 1/4 of the seeds and stitch those in, repeating for the rest, so you will have 4 compartments full of seeds, instead of one big one. This is keep your seeds fairly distributed throughout your hand made heating pad.

You can try making these in different sizes and shapes. You might want to make a horseshoe shape for your neck, or a small pillow to hold while you sleep, big square for your back, etc. The key is to make sure you have enough seeds to fill 1/2 of the bag. It takes about 1lb for an 18 inch bag.

Why spend money buying these products, when you can make them yourself. They also make nice gifts. I hope you enjoy yours.

I hope and pray this information helps someone today! Have a pain and fatigue free day:)

Fibro Viv

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How our Body Controls Pain

Hello Everyone,

I have not been feeling very well lately so my posts are not very long. I do hope they have been helpful. Here is some information on how our body controls pain:

Pain signals travel through a system of nerves in your brain and spinal cord. Sometimes your body tries to provide relief by producing chemicals that help block pain signals. These chemicals are called endorphins. They are morphine-like painkilling substances that decrease the pain sensation. Keep in mind that there are different factors, including our thoughts and emotions that cause the body to produce endorphins.

Let me give you an example, a Mother is driving her child to school and is in a sudden car accident, she is so worried about her child that she does not even notice she has a broken wrist, arm, etc. The concern for her child has caused the natural release of endorphins, which block the pain signal.

Our body also produces endorphins in response to external factors, such as medicine. Codeine is one example of a powerful pain-blocking medication. Other external pain control methods used are heat and cold treatments that can stimulate the body to either release endorphins or block pain signals in other ways.

You ask, what are endorphins? Any of a group of peptide hormones that bind to opiate receptors and are found mainly in the brain. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions.

I want you to start thinking of ways to "Manage Your Pain". Try thinking of pain as a signal to take a positive action rather than an ordeal you have to deal with.

The first step is to learn to manage the pain and take some positive actions to counter the pain. We have to learn to take control of the pain in order to help ourselves. Our mind plays an important role in how we feel pain and respond to illness. Some of use feel helpless and depressed, admit it, I have felt these emotions. It is understandable, however, we have to take control of these emotions.

These emotions cause people to decreased activity levels, cause low self-esteem and increased pain. This is an example of how we can use
Cognitive Behavior Therapy to help us build a sense of personal control by adjusting our thoughts and actions.

So what is it I am trying to communicate?

1). Keep a positive attitude

2). Do not focus on pain

3). Practice positive self-talk

4). Change your pain habits

5). Create a pain management plan

6). Take your medicines wisely

I am working on a pamphlet to help you manage your pain. As soon as I have completed it, I will add it so you can download it.

Hang in there!

I hope and pray that is information has helped someone today.

Fibro Viv

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Try not to be envious of others

June 16, 2007

Today try to remember the following:

Do not be envious of others and what the Lord has given them.
Accept what the Lord has given us.
If you think other people are blessed with more than yourself,
Seek the Lord,
He will give you the gifts that you need.
The first shall be last, the last shall be first.

I read this and wrote it down, so I could share it someday. Today is the day I have chosen to share this message.

I hope and pray this information helps someone today.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Taking time out for yourself will.....

reduce your stress, improve creativity and lets you recharge your relationships.

Remember to have fun and laugh as often as possible. Try telling a joke, teasing someone, playing pranks, acting goofy or just plain flirting with your spouse or boyfriend.

Drop petty grudges and see how closeness builds your relationships.

To help you break emotional barriers, try touching someone.....a slight pat on the back, holding hands or a big hug. It helps boost your energy and makes you feel good all over.

Catch someone doing something right! It takes vigilance to look for the good and not let it pass unremarked. It's human nature to take notice of things that are not done as we like, so take notice and catch someone doing something right.:)

I hope and pray this information has helped someone today.

Lift your spirit with super foods!

Asparagus helps you avoid mood swings, it is packed with folic acid, which steadies your serotonin level and keeps you in a positive spirit all day long.

Beef stabilizes your spirit, every bite is loaded with mood-boosting zinc, iron and B vitamins.

Oranges help combat cancer, they are full of vitamin C which help fight the cancer causing free radicals that your body produces whenever you are stressed out.

Tuna helps lower your tension, it contains Vitamins B6 and B12 helping to lower stress. It is also a good source of low-fat protein.

Cottage Cheese helps you when you hit that mid-afternoon energy slump. The protein in cottage cheese keeps you satisfied and helps you avoid any sudden changes in blood sugar you might experience with sugary snacks.

Blueberries help lower that stress level. They are high in fiber, low in calories and contain Vitamin C.

Almonds help you halt heart disease because they are full of Vitamin E, which helps your body bust the free radicals that cause heart disease.

Salmon helps lower LDL cholesterol.

Lean meats help defend you from anemia.

Carrots contain antioxidants to neutralize free-radical damage.

Oatmeal helps you keep a steady blood sugar level and makes you feel fuller for longer periods of time.

Water regulates your body temperature and flushes toxins out of your system.

I hope and pray this information has helped someone today.

Lowering your Blood Pressure


Did you know that taking 15 minutes to breathe deeply just once a day can lower your blood pressure? This is true, according to the American Journal of Hypertension. So try this:

----Inhale deeply as you slowly raise your shoulders to your ears,
As you exhale, let your shoulders sink away from your ears,
Repeat this five times.

Add this to you daily regimen and by all means do it when you start feeling stressed out.

I hope and pray that this information has helped someone today.

Exercise for your neck muscles :)

Does stress or lack of rest give you a pain in the neck? Try the following exercise to relieve the muscle pain:

Lie face-up and gently lift your head, then lower it for about two to three sets of twenty repetitions three times a week.

Completing these neck strengthening exercises can relieve your pain and prevent them from coming back if you are consistent about completing the exercise noted above. Add it to your daily exercise regimen.

I hope and pray this information will help someone today.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My own experience with CFIDS/FMS

What my Illness is doing to me

I have been experiencing abnormal exhaustion, debilitation, and have even been incapacitated.

I wake up in extreme pain and sometimes my legs, arms and feet are cramped up. My husband grabs my all temp therapy pack and goes to the kitchen to warm it up. He wraps it around a towel and places it beneath my lower back. Meanwhile, I try to move my body into a side position so he can insert the therapy pack underneath me. He gives me my morphine and I lay there waiting for the medication to take the edge off the pain. I also take Provigil for alertness. I am currently taking two tablets of 200MG in the morning. I have had to increase it to three and I am still having problems staying alert and I am lethargic.

At some point I sit up with the help of my husband and then I rest, then he walks me to the bathroom. I later go stand by the nearby sink and rest, then brush my teeth. My husband runs my bathwater and helps me in and out of the tub. I am exhausted after I have taken my bath or shower and require help getting dressed. Then I head back to bed. When I wake up I do not feel like I have rested, I feel exhausted. My husband tries to speak to me and I cannot stay awake very long. The Provigil helped when I first started taking it, but it is not working anymore.

I stay in my bedroom and rest. I am very sensitive to noise and light. I cannot even remember the last time I saw any type of movie or show on television. My concentration is bad, my memory is getting worse. When I did work, I worked at home and rested and slept, nothing else. My entire week-ends were spent sleeping and taking medications so I could have enough strength to work during the week. I can not even get up enough energy to look for work or update my resume. My sister is typing this memo for me. It has taken us a long time to type it because I loose my thoughts. When I know I have to go to the doctor, I make sure I rest in bed all day long for several days before the appointment and only get up to take a bath and brush my teeth. I sleep the rest up until it is time to get to the appointment. Most days I stay in bed and rest and nap a lot.

I do not go out anywhere. My family has to come to my house to visit me and my friends call, but I get tired easily, so I do not talk very long. When I first got ill my husband had to buy me very small and light purses that I could carry my pills in because I do not have the strength to carry much.

When I am in bed I do try lifting my arms, legs, turn my toes up and sometimes my husband places a long bed massage mat so my circulation starts up. I do try to move but I just do not have the energy or strength.

Do you know what it feels like to have the flu? That is how I feel all of the time. I also run a low grade fever, have a sore throat the majority of the time. I get the chills for no reason. I get hot, I get cold, it is very weird. At different times of the day and night different parts of my body go numb. Some areas feel like I am on fire. A burning sensation on the inside and yet it is numb because I cannot lift my leg or arm. My hands, arms, stomach, back, bottom, thighs, calf’s and feet go to sleep on me. If they are not asleep, they are cramping and I get knots on different parts of my body. The knots are obvious where people can see them. They look like a ball under the skin and slowly go down with massaging or just leaving it alone. One knot on my ankle once stayed there for over a week.

I cannot remember the last time I did any type of housework. I try to help by asking my husband or children to drop the clean underclothes or towels on the bed by me and I will fold them. It takes me a long time, but I do it. There have been times I was unable to do it because I was just too exhausted.

My bones also hurt around my fingers, joints, knees, feet and ankles. My ankles get swollen a lot. I stopped drinking anything but water to stop the water retention. It still does not work.

I have continual nausea and take nizatidine for acid reflux. Sometimes I will not eat because my stomach cramps and is very tender. I get an upset stomach before I have to go to the bathroom and then the cramping and pain is sometimes very painful. I go from being constipated to having diarrhea, then I improve and the cycle starts again.

I have tried eating different foods to figure out what might help me and what gets me ill. I forget and end up in trouble again. I tried keeping a journal but would forget to write things down, so I stopped. My writing was also getting so bad, nobody could read it, not even myself.

Headaches are always there, the severity varies, but I have them daily. The pain is on my temples and forehead and on top of my head. The inside of my ears itch a lot. Sometimes I get sharp pains in my ear. The doctor has checked my ears, they look fine. I just do not understand all of these things happening to me.

I have broken out in rashes from the medications I take and changed medications and also have cream to rub on my rash. When I go out to the doctor my arms get red and a rash. I cannot go out without getting some type of rash.

I cannot stand or sit for long periods of time. I get exhausted and very fatigue. I feel incoherent at times and also have panic attacks. I take medication for the panic attacks.
I also have a slur to my speech because I am too exhausted to speak. My husband tries to ask me a question and I try to answer, but I just cannot keep my eyes open and I cannot speak or wake up. I also suffer from dizziness and feel clumsy. I have gained weight from the paxil I take and from inactivity. My hunger is very unbalanced. Sometimes I cannot eat enough, other times I have no interest in food. My husband tries to make sure I eat and drink more than 8 ounces of water.

My eyesight has gotten worse. I need a new prescription because my glasses broke when I dropped them on the pavement going to the car to go to the doctor. I cannot afford a new pair of glasses, so I use reading glasses.

I have to ask people to repeat what they say to me because I cannot grasp what they have said. Sometimes I cannot even understand what they are saying. I have always had problems hearing, but never trouble understanding a word or trying to make out what they are doing. Does that make sense? I constantly ask what day it is and what month we are in.

There are times I am focused and can talk intelligently but then there are times I am confused, forgetful and cannot even remember what I want to say. I forget names, places and past times. It is especially bad when I am having a very bad day and when I am very very fatigue.

Before I got sick, I could have a conversation on the telephone, answer the person next to me when they interrupted, and listen to my other staff members conversations and tell them when they are stating something wrong about a transaction or activity they are planning. I would also have a programmer sitting in front of me asking me questions, I could jump from one conversation to another without forgetting anything! My staff was amazed, I thought nothing of it. Now there are times I cannot even focus on one thing at a time. I get what they call Fibro Fog. I try to kid about it, but it upsets me and saddens me because I am no longer the person I was.

I remember one time when I was trying to work and I was facilitating a teleconference meeting, I started to introduce the people in the room and stared at them blankly. I could not remember their name, they softly said their name to me, one at a time, I literally could not remember anyone’s name, I ended up saying “Oh, and I believe I am almost here mentally, please forgive my pace, I will try to speed up the meeting”. I was so embarrassed and after the meeting I told my boss and staff I was having a Fibro Fog moment. My boss expressed his concern and asked me if I needed to go home and rest. I said no, I just had a fibro fog moment, it will not happen again. I did not sleep well last night. I have been fighting this illness and trying to pretend it does not exist. That it is temporary. Well it is not and I am getting worse. I am not happy about filing for disability, but I cannot honestly function effectively anymore.

I have posted this so people can understand what we experience due to this illness. It is not pleasant. Share this post with your family and maybe they will understand.

I pray and hope this information has helped someone today.

Everything on this site is copyright Viv Walters

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Does anyone suffer from swollen hands, legs, etc.?


I thought I would write up some tips for those people that suffer from swollen hands, legs, etc. Due to this illness and even prior to it, I suffered from swollen hands and feet. These are some of the things I did that helped me:

1). When you go walking, take your rings off and wear looser tennis shoes.
2). Reduce your salt intake.
3). Drink sport drinks that help replace electrolytes, but not too much.
4). Drink water, forget about sodas and carbonated drinks.
5). Try moving your arms, hands, feet and legs around to help the circulation. I know some people cannot exercise, but try simple stretching and just swing your arms and make a fist with your hand, then spread your fingers open. Lift your legs and twist your feet around.
6). Massages also help circulation.

Basically watch your diet and drink intake. It makes a big difference.

I pray and hope this post has helped someone today.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Strategies for Stress Management

Since I just posted how badly I am feeling lately, I decided I better remind myself of these strategies:

Think about identifying circumstances that cause you stress (stressor) and your symptoms of stress. For each stressor, ask yourself two questions:

1). How important is this to me?
2). Can I control this event or situation?

Consider the the control and importance to help you determine which strategies to use. Skills that will help you manage stress include:

Awareness Skills
Acceptance Skills
Coping Skills
Action Skills


* Work on being consciously aware of stressful situations. Review signs and symptoms associated with stress

* Identify common causes of stress for you


* Keep it in perspective, Don't think catastrophically

* Avoid over-dramatizing or exaggerating reactions of others.

* Keep a positive attitude.

* Avoid worrying about things that may never happen.

* Use positive self-talk (Cognitive behavior therapy)

* If worries and fears are causing you stress, ask yourself:

1). Has this happened before?
2). What did I learn from it?
3). What is the worst possible outcome?
4). What else can I do?
5). What advice would I give a friend in this situation?
6). Five years from now...will I remember this event?


1). Non-aerobic stretching exercises like yoga can be calming because they induce deep breathing and a meditation-like mental state. Helps release anxiety, lower blood pressure, and reduces your pain. We need those endorphins released to our brains!

2). Relaxation exercises include a great variety of techniques. One of the easiest to learn is Deep Breathing. Other relaxation techniques include Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Imagery and Mediation.

3). Humor and Laughter: Medical research suggest that humor can have positive effects on both the mental state and the body, particularly in enhancing health and reducing pain.

4). Support from Others: Join a support group or seek support from others in times of stress or need.


* Practice using clear assertive communication; saying what you need, sometimes we do not know what we need, think about what it is we need.

* Become competent in using time management strategies

Think about this:

--Did I cause it?
--Can I change it?
--Can I control it?

Answer is "NO"
Flow, and do something different
Save energy for something you can impact and change.



Strategies for Managing Stress's


Controllable and important.....use Change and Action Skills
Uncontrollable and important...use Acceptance and Coping Skills


Controllable and unimportant....use Action Skills and Acceptance
Uncontrollable and unimportant..use Acceptance and Re framing the Situation.

I pray and hope this has helped someone today. Have a pain and fatigue free day!

Daily experience of Malaise

I just posted on a forum how I have more bad days than I do good days. That is true for now, however, when I take the supplements my friend bought me, I do have more good days. I husband reminded me. I guess I will start that regimen again.

Wish me luck!

Praying for a pain and fatigue free day!

Sure makes it hard to pay bills when you cannot work

Hello Everyone,

Did my title catch your eye? Well, it is have a hard time meeting monthly bills when you cannot work and only receive disability from your social security benefits. I am just tired of dealing with these bills. Do you think I might be able to ignore them? No, because your phone rings and rings and you get notices daily!

Oh boy, do I have an attitude today! I guess I am just venting. This bad feeling of keeps coming up. Why? Go away ugly feeling, stay away from me now, I don't need you around....sing...sing....sing. Nope, not working....I keep trying to get myself in a good mood. I have to get a A+ for trying!:)

This will pass....I know it will....maybe I will win the lottery! Let's see? Do I have a dollar to buy a ticket? No. Oh well, the dream and thought was there!:)

Hang in there can only get better when you hit rock bottom.

Have a day with no pain or fatigue! Maybe we can at least have that?