Let’s talk about all my health issues, sounds fun right lol?
I’m a pretty positive person. I like to keep things happy and smiley, because it usually makes things better for everyone around But just because my outfits are candy colored, doesn’t mean I’m all sunshine and rainbows, I have my dark days too … but hey thats okay!
Today I wanted to take a kind of serious turn from the holiday spirit a talk a little bit about health (or lack there of sometimes) and how it can affect me during this time of year in partnership with Oscar – so here we go!
The Laundry List
So lets do this! Here are some of the struggles I face now or have faced in the past and how I deal. I have so many it always feels like Im lying when I list them out this way lol but don’t laugh guys, you know I wouldn’t lie to you … well maybe someday, lik about my age but hey that’s where I draw the line, and we’re not even there yet!
Currently – Here are the things I’m facing today, yesterday and probably tomorrow too!
Mini Migraines – My mom and Paris both are big time migraine sufferers (our poor future children) so I’ve been around them for as long as I can remember. As a child I have memories my mom laying in her bed for what felt like days (it was probably 3 hours, I’m so clingy) with all the lights off just in pain. I’ve also seen Paris be out for days in highschool because of one, and don’t feel like what my doctor has diagnosed as migraines compare to theirs. Mine are usually in one spot and they sting, like I’m being stung by a bee in my brain, sounds like a blast hu? After about a year of doctors & specialists and my paranoia that I probably had a brain tumor (or 3) the docs decided I had migraines. They occur when I’m stressed, when I don’t eat and when I don’t get enough rest, so needless to say they’ve been hot and heavy since October. Eating, sleeping and calming down are the best ways to get rid of them …. oh and working out helps a lot too. I don’t always have the luxury of time to make all (okay any) of those happen. I’ve been prescribed the hardcore meds by doctors, but I’m really sensitive to medication in general – half a children’s Benadryl will knock me out for 30 hours – but my pup waffles weighing in at 25 pounds takes two on a plane and is awake in an hour LIKE HOW … PS don’t drug your dog without consulting their doctor. Anyways, because of my drug issues, I stick to Excedrin. I’ve found the liquid capsules work loads faster and can really be a life saver. Occasionally I’ll get sensitivity to light and sound and take after my mom & shut everything off, but usually I just fight through, really compare to what my mom and P gets I think I’m super lucky.
CrossEyed – If you have constant head aches and are unable to find relief try your eye doctor, this was a big factor for me when I first started getting headaches. After that year hopping from specialist to specialist I described above, we decided to try the eye doctor. They were able to determine that I’m near sided in one eye, far sided in the other and my eye axis is off, meaning my eyes naturally cross and my brain corrects them to be straight on, so like no wonder my head always aches. This can only be corrected by glasses that I don’t always wear, but when I do I feel a ton better.
The great tailbone tragedy of 2017 – So this year I had a really epic roller-skating accident resulting in a bruised tailbone but maybe more … and lucky you, you can see it all on youtube!!! It happened in August and its still pretty painful, I just think thats tied to my fibro.
Fibro lyfe – As some of you know because I have shared before, I have Fibromyalgia. I’ll talk about it more later because that’s the biggest issue I face on the reg.
Once upon A Time here are some of my health issues that little baby/teen/last year Courtney had to deal with but aren’t big issues for me anymore.
My Tumor – First lets talk about my high school BFF, you know just your average a lemon sized tumor that had to have removed from my breast at 16, sounds fun right? So yeah when I was 16ish we found a tumor in my breast, it was benign (aka no cancer, yay) so it wasn’t that big of a deal but they decided to remove it. This was the first and only time I’ve had surgery, I remember going to Tucson to do it because they had the best plastic surgeon. Not to get too graphic but they had to cut along the nipple, about half of it in order to getting there and get my little lemon sized babe out. After surgery my mom got me my favorite ranch fries that you can only get in Tucson, and I rested up for a few days watching TV and paying video games.
Be Aggressive – One of my favorite cheer injuries was my first cheer injury that happened in 7th grade. Awh middle school, the good ole days of head gear and Osiris skater shoes (did anyone else have those or just me). I was bowling with some friends, coincidently it was the day after I got my period for the first time (tmi?) and I was wearing these denim shorts from pac sun with a little tight coming out of the pocket, sassayyyy! Anyways, I’ve always had chubby short little sausage fingers, but I wanted to use the smaller balls with smaller holes (not my brightest idea) because they are lighter I picked up that 8 pounder, stuffed my sausages in side and let her rip… The ball went, and my hand with it, completely hyper exiting three of my fingers inside two weeks before our first (and only) cheer competition. So I had THREE yep three finger casts on my middle three fingers all taped together, but cheered anyways. Picture little brace face me having to clap and hit a high V with those 3 taped fingers, needless to say I was instantly the most popular girl in school because after that week’s assembly, everyone was talking about me! Oh and if you didn’t catch that, yeah I had headgear, its okay to be jealous. To this day, I don’t put my fingers in the holes.
Be Be Aggressive – Sophmore year of high school I was practicing for cheer tryouts in my tile bathroom (for the mirror) while wearing socks. I slipped, hit my ribs on the tile counter and fell on the floor. My brother found me 15 min later and laughed before helping me up, because that’s what brothers are for! I completed try outs anyways with a cute and not necessary ace bandage and bruised ribs. I made JV where I ended up being a flyer (aka the girl in the air)…. which turned out great and I never ever got hurt, JK read on.
Too aggressive – Throughout my high school cheer career, I suffered two possible concussions (there was this really great year where we had no good flyers so I got to make a fool of myself in the air, living the dream guys). In my four years, I got hit in the head with the basketball 5 times, mostly during games because I was having my own personal dance party, and often by the female basketball players who did not like us, especially me. But the injury that’s lasted me the longest was brought on by Miss Britney Fallabella, during cheer camp. Cheer camp is a real thing guys, so are spirit sticks and something called the TOP BANANA that you will do ANYTHING to get while there. Anyways at Cheer camp, Britney was my flyer and set to do a back handspring into my arms before i lifted her in the air. Well we we’re lined up right and her back handspring went a little side ways – she kicked me in the eye and BAM there went my peripheral vision. To this day I don’t have it, and over time I started to loose it in the other eye too – I guess to make it even? It’s on my right side mainly, so when I would drive my brother in high school he would do crazy dance moves or make faces at me, and I had no idea – hilarious. As my hair has gotten bigger and more full of secrets, the blind spot has increased so if you sneak up aside me, don’t be alarmed when I try to attack you – I mean I am a slightly blind black belt so a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. It’s also important to note I HATED cheer camp, they cheered for everything for no reason, I was allergic to everything and it fell on my birthday every year, including this one.
I’ve also been diagnosed with costochondritis (an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the sternum that might mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions), Carpal tunnel (syndrome that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms in the hand and arm, its caused compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist) and shin splints (pain along the shin bone/tibia common in runners, dancers and military recruits) – but after my fibro diagnosis I’ve always wondered if these were just different phases of fibro coming through
What is it – According to the Mayo Clinic “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”
What it is like for me – The best way I can describe fibro is termite shin splits in your arms, legs, ribs, cheek bones, hip bones, back bones, neck bones, eye sockets, fingers, toes and sternum. To me it feels like there are termites eating / dancing and having a party between my bones and muscles. Its the most specific feeling I’ve ever had. When I first started showing signs as a teen (which is really young for this) I would tell my mom my bones hurt my bones hurt, the doctors never believed me usually because I have such a laundry list of issues most think I’m a hypochondriac, but I actually have an extremely high pain tolerance, so my mom knew if I was complaining there was a reason.
When is it the worse – There are a variety of things that make my fibro worse, like: lack of sleep, poor eating habits, unhealthy eating habits, gluten, stress, being unhealthy physically, cold weather, shoes and more. Flats are really bad for me, thats why you’ll rarely see me in a ballet flat, usually heels feel better than even most sneakers for me.
More triggers – My pain is also tied to the weather (the winter is 100 times worse than any other month). I am also Karen from mean girls and can tell a day in advance if its going to rain, no lie. Rain or snow means 3 bad days or more, instantly. I’ll often wear tight compression socks and boots which helps me feel a bit better or makes me loose feeling. Traveling is another biggie, overtime I’m on a plane I’m in so much pain
So what helps – Aside from diet (see below) working out is your best bet. You know how an object in motion stays in motion? well its so true. Walking on a treadmill for 30 min a day makes me feel crappy that day, and the next and the next but by day four I’ll fell better, especially if I keep it up on day 2 & 3 too. Like I said above compression socks especially with copper help, and my heating pad is my buff. I use it every night, and every trip but make sure you get one that turns off automatically. Pain meds of any kind don’t help. I’ve been prescribed muscle relaxers but I can’t take them without being out for about 40 hours, and thats based on 1/4 of a dose. I also don’t like taking drugs in general because they all really mess me up, so I just fight through.
BYE GLUTIN – It got really bad for me when I moved to Cali, so thats when I started making changes. I was living alone then, and the first year in NYC so I was gluten free (I have a medium gluten (the doctors say high-extreme but I don’t believe them). I’m one of those who believes everyone has this allergy, but can develop a tolerance, and my carbaloding lifestyle has done me well. When I eat pasta or something high in gluten, my stomach will swell out and be rock hard. I look 6 months pregnant with Edward Cullen’s vamp child, it’s pretty cute. The best part is I have good oblique muscles, and those still show so I just have this awkward ripped oblique and a giant prego rock belly. Always, when I was living alone I cut out gluten and it changed my life, made me feel tons better – right now I travel so much and live with Paris who has no interest in being gluten free. After last year (my worst year yet where I spent a month in bed, my birthday month woo) I was up for trying to get back on the GF train but I’ve yet to punch my return ticket.
Average Day – My average day is like a 5 on my pain scale, I hurt from fibro every single day in my arms and legs. I can’t really remember a day where my arms and legs didn’t hurt, I know I used to run, play soccer and dance but I can’t now – I can’t “bounce” for more than 5 min without my sternum pain flaring up and that fibro pain is some of the worst, oh and when that happens if I breathe too hard it will pop and crack like if you were popping your back, its like a stinging ray of pain that I can’t describe and have even passed out from.
On My Bad days – You usually won’t really hear from me. If I disappear off the face of the earth and don’t insta story or respond to emails, I’m having a high pain day. Here I’ll feel it in 5 or more places at once, in the past year I started feeling it in my face and back more which is really painful. Overall, you feel hopeless, like you can’t get out a bed and even breathing is excruciating. I know I sound dramatic, but being in an endless cycle of pain is crippling. I usually can’t sleep because I’m in too much pain, and I’ll literally fantasize about cutting off my limbs to stop the pain. I know, it sounds crazy, but I’ll think of all the ways I would remove my arms. Pressure helps so I’ll ask Paris to squeeze / hold my arms for 15 min periods to get a bit of relief, or hold my arms / legs above my head until they go numb (usually takes 30 min) for a bit of relief. I’m not going to lie, it sucks. And last year, I had one of those days weekly, where I couldn’t do a thing, I laid there imagining life without limbs for hours and stayed up night after night in pain. This year the amount of days are about the same, but I just do my best to push through – mostly because I have to.I can’t afford to lie in pain one day a week, I have to get on email or at least the phone with a client. I just do it, because I have to. Waffles and his paralysis has helped a lot, because he depends on me now. So if I don’t get up he can’t go to the bathroom, so I have to get my life together. On multiple “bad day” occasions I’ve crawled to him to help because I literally couldn’t walk, but at least I got up.
Sing, dance, be merry – Honestly when I’m stressed, tired, in pain I’ll sing. Sometimes it feels like the WORST thing you could do, but it usually helps. It’s hard to be sad when you sing, and hey if you’re sad and you want to be sad get in the shower put on something sappy and cry sing – its really therapeutic. I’ll force myself to smile or dance a little, it will help take my mind off the pain and pull me through. You know how in the morning you feel like you can’t wake up, but then you do because you’re going to be late to work and get fired? Its kind of the same thing, you feel like you can’t … but you do so you can, because the only thing you can’t do is stop trying…. oh my super cheesy brother is probably loving this blog post lol.
Order up – So there are meds for Fibro, you’ve probably seen the commercials – I’ve tried most of them but the side effects are too big and meds just don’t work for me. I also just don’t like drugs or alcohol really because I think I have an addictive personality, so I’ve always stayed clear of putting anything drug-related (aside from a few over the counter options) in my body, as a personal choice.
Are you covered? – Health care (or lack there of) plays a roll in all of our lives and things happen that you never planned, so its so important to get covered. I’m thankful for my coverage everyday, but as a self employed business owner when I left Coach I really didn’t want to get covered. It’s pricey and the process is overwhelming to do alone if you’ve only been with an employer or parent’s plan. If you’re looking for new coverage or just trying to understand this scary process, Oscar can help. They’ve created resources that help break down the complex health terminology to make health plans and getting covered easier to understand. Head to howtogetcovered.com for more information and to get started. I also wish I covered Waffles early on, it would have saved me close to 50 grand over the past two years.
So before I go, I wanted to end by saying how important you guys are to my health. Truthfully having a blog helps me fight every day because I have to put my best foot forward for all of you! If I told you I was in pain everyday, that would just bring everyone down. So I put on a good face and push through, I try not to think about it and I do what I can to keep it under control. Really having a positive outlook on it has been the best way I’ve healed and managed it. I don’t want to complain to Paris every night or have him always wake up to hear me crying from pain, so I don’t. I don’t want all the convos with my mom to be about my pain level, so they’re not and I don’t want every blog post to be about fibro. This has taken enough of my time, energy and health, I won’t let it run my life. It’s a part of me, but not who I am.
I think if anyone with a disease can remember that it will do them a lot of good. In any case you’re much more than your diagnosis, so treat yourself like you are.
Please know I am not a doctor or a medical professional, I’m just sharing my experience with you. Please consult a medical professional before making any changes or conclusions.
Big thanks to Oscar for empowering me to share my stor