Autoimmune or Not

This has been bothering me for some time… When I was first diagnosed with both Ménière’s and Lichen Sclerosis, they were considered autoimmune. Now though that may be one cause, there are other things that might cause them.

What is an autoimmune disease? It’s when your antibodies that are supposed to protect you from illnesses attacks your healthy cells.

Harvard defined it as, “The term Autoimmune Disease is used to describe conditions in which the body’s immune system – which is supposed to be defending the body against viruses, bacteria and other invaders – is thought to be involved in causing or perpetuating illness. It’s as if the body’s defense system has turned on its host.”

If it’s confusing to the medical community, no wonder it’s confusing to me. I see in the Ménière’s communities that people believe theirs is caused by head injuries, ear infections, exposure to loud noises and other things. Still others like me believe ours is autoimmune. Indeed if you have autoimmune diseases such as Lupus or MS, then it’s highly likely that your other conditions are autoimmune. My ANA tested positive, but I have no diagnosis of Lupus, because the doctor didn’t see skin involvement.

As my doctor at the time of all these symptoms/illness said, we’ll just treat one symptom at a time. I wish something would help consistently for some of my issues. Unfortunately, our bodies become immune to treatments. We need cures, not treatments.

I don’t worry about the distinction of what caused my issues, but I am puzzled!

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light!

To Sleep or Not To Sleep?

That is the question with which I am dealing. Last night was a sleepless night. Though I do sleep some, I wake too often mostly by my own accord, occasionally because my old man cat demands my assistance to fill the whole in his food bowl.

Lazarus, 20 year old man cat!

Sleep eluded me much of the night. This morning I am super tired. I have a MRI this afternoon, so I can try for a bit more sleep.

On nights like last night, I mostly rest. Before my Apple Watch, I had a Fitbit that recorded my sleep patterns. It considered my resting, light sleep. I look at it as though I am trying not to awaken my husband.

Anyway it is six o’clock in the morning and I feel as though I need a nap! I am going to try for more, though my mind is fully awake. Thoughts race through my mind to prevent sleep.

I’ll try to clear it with some meditation. Hopefully, it will work in quieting my thoughts. If it puts me to sleep, that is the truest form of relaxation.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Tools to Live

Tools for Living

I saw this and knew I needed to write about this subject. If you need something to help you enjoy living then do it. The alternative is being unable to get out and enjoy yourself.

I use a cane when needed. I have a rollator walker in case. I haven’t needed it yet, but it’s there if I need it. I get wheelchair assistance in airports to get me to and from the gates, so I can travel. All so I can enjoy my life. I don’t want to observe the world through my friends and families eyes, while I stay in bed. I did that before and never again.

Prescription glasses with blue light filtering tint.

My glasses are tinted to filter blue light. Before I had yellow ones that fit over my glasses. Others have rose tints to prevent migraines. I carry earplugs, because noise can physically hurt my ears. And surprisingly Sea Bands help a bit with dizziness.

Blue Light Filtering Glasses. These fit over my glasses when I drove.

Rescue meds are a must to keep on you when away from home. I carry meclizine, inhaler and triptans just in case. Carrying Frova with me helped at Def Leppard when someone’s marijuana smoke triggered a migraine. This is a really expensive medication in the USA, but gets rid of my migraine, aura and dizziness within ten minutes of taking it, even at a loud concert.

Def Leppard in Las Vegas

I refuse to stop living because I am embarrassed by carrying a cane or others think I don’t need it, because I don’t look disabled. Who cares what they think. Until they live with a debilitating disease they will never understand.

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Journaling Helps

Pocket Journal

Why should you journal? Girls kept diaries when I was growing up. Mine weren’t that interesting. I only put facts in like… I went to school. A boy kissed me. Nothing of substance like the girls on television wrote. I wish that I had learned the benefits of journaling.

Whether you’re writing in an old fashioned journal or blogging, journals can be an effective tool for reflecting on your life. When I look at my old blogs I can tell when I was healthy emotionally. Even now I can see shifts in my mood through my posts. When I am mindful I can halt depression in its tracks just by recognizing the symptoms.

My blogs help me to see if I am meeting goals. No, I don’t write lists or make resolutions, but I am constantly working on my personal growth. My blogs help me recognize when I am slipping back into the person I used to be. The person I don’t want to be, the one I didn’t like much. Once I recognize this I can start practicing good habits like meditation, relaxation, and mindfulness. When I find myself reacting to a situation that everyone felt funny, except me. I should have been able to prevent my overreaction by reciting the Serenity Prayer to remind me that I can only change the way I reacted to the situation.

Journaling is a way to help me heal. When I write out my thoughts and feelings, it part of the process of getting rid of unpleasant feelings. This is a poem I wrote on a particularly down day. I am not retyping it here as it’s already posted on an old blog site. It was cathartic and I did feel better after putting the words down. I still feel the depression lingering, but it’s not as pervasive.

Photo Session by Erica Tabet

The Huffpost has a great article by Thai Nguyen that speaks of 10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a journal. It may be helpful to you.

I have a friend that writes positive things about herself everyday to help boost her self-esteem. Keeping these in a journal gives her something positive to see on days she can’t find anything positive.

I almost forgot one of the most obvious things a journal makes possible… it chronicles your life. You can reminisce about good times by re-reading your past posts/entries.

As you can see there are benefits in journaling. Some not as obvious as the ones I can see. I hope this helps you decide that journaling is right for you.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Birthday Celebration &The Wallflowers

Excitement overcame me first thing yesterday morning when I realized the domain MyCrazyLife2go was up for grabs. I snagged it and began to set up my website!

I need a better logo!

I relaxed the rest of the afternoon until Ralph got home at 3:30. Time to support my hubby in his new hobby.

It took me awhile to to get it up and running, but it’s up. I need to tweak it here and there, but I am happy with it.

I rested on my recliner until Ralph got home. Time to support the hubby’s new hobby, scuba! It was his first time with a tank.

Scuba practice session 1

He enjoyed it though had trouble remembering not to breathe through his nose. In the end he got it.

No… I am not going to attempt scuba. I wasn’t able to snuba in Grand Cayman last year. Not sure if it was the oxygen as the expert said, but I kept getting nauseous or a panic thing. Me and another girl had the same problem.

We headed to McMullens Irish Pub for a friend’s birthday and dinner.

Birthday Girl on the left!

Ralph and I ate dinner and enjoyed the live band. Why is it in the USA, we get Irish music, but in Ireland we heard mostly American music? I guess everyone wants something different.

The one thing I had on my calendar to do for months… The Wallflowers. The Fremont Street Experience has free concerts all summer long. Check it out if you can brave the high temperatures.

Thanks Tina for the pass!

Oh my goodness. They were so good. I stood for two hours. You can watch it on The Ralph and Rita Show.

There is always consequences to having fun. Fibromyalgia is paying me back this morning. I think almost every muscle in my body is sore.

Thankful that yesterday was a good day. No dizziness or migraine. I was preemptive to take a sumatriptan in the morning when I saw the floaters. I think so much of my daily dizziness is due to silent migraines. The pool water caused me mild issues, but I am trying to desensitize to that movement. The only other symptoms I had yesterday was balance. For the life of me, I couldn’t walk straight and kept tipping like a drunk person. But I managed to stand for two hours with incident.

Fremont Street 3rd Street Stage VIP passes.

I am blessed to have good days.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Sleepless Nights

Sleep… What I would give to have 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep. Between my nightly trips to the bathroom and my old man cat… He’s 20. I am awakened almost every hour from 1 am on. While I do sleep in between more sleep sounds like heaven.

Sleep disturbances cause chronic illnesses to flare. Not always, but enough to let you know they’re with you.

Last night was one of those sleepless nights, I have been awake since 3 am. Thinking of doing a sleep meditation this morning to try to go back to sleep.

I hope everyone is spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Is Happiness an Illusion?

Depression is a mood disorder, we cannot control it and the severity is different for everyone. Read here about major depressive disorder.

I am lucky, because for the most part I am happy. It took work to get where I am. Much of it came from working on myself.

Steps I took toward happiness.

1. I learned to meditate. Meditation has been a life saver for me as it allows me to connect with myself on a deeper level.

2. I say the Serenity Prayer whenever I feel out of control.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer reminds me that I can only change myself, not others and some circumstances are out of my control. I am still working on not reacting badly in certain situations. Depression makes it difficult.

3. Think positively about myself. This is perhaps one of the hardest things to do, because I am working on a lifetime of bad habits. Writing a list of all my positives and negatives helped. I could see on the negative side it was mostly about my perception about myself. The positive side was my accomplishments. In order to change my self image, I began simply by saying something nice about me in the morning upon waking and before I slept. Just two things helped me love myself more.

4. Loving myself. This is a really important thing in finding happiness. Until, I started to love myself, my happiness was dependent on others and situations. No amount of love from my husband (second husband) helped me to love myself. I had to do that all by myself. Changing my thoughts was and is the biggest hurdle in loving me.

As I said I am a work in progress. Depression causes setbacks and I have to begin again. Old habits creep back in. I have to be diligent in these steps, especially as I spend much of my time alone while Ralph is at work. Not being able to drive when I am dizzy curtailed my singular adventures. Being afraid to venture out for a walk, because of drop attacks is another problem if I want to be by myself.

For the most part I am happy within myself. I like and love me and that for me has been the biggest step toward true happiness.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Brain Fog

I was having a great morning. My dental appointment teeth cleaning went great. I thought I would take the opportunity to write a bit at Bad Owl, which is right next door to the office.

Can you believe the place was packed? I decided to sit outside. In Las Vegas it is 90ish at 9:30. I didn’t realize it was 9:30 until after I began eating my lunch. Brain fog at its finest. My stomach didn’t help, because it’s always hungry.

Gluten free & dairy free brisket and avocado.

I did remember to order food I can actually eat. I forget all the time to say no dairy or wheat on things like salads. It’s frustrating that I have these two allergies, but it could be worse.

I was planning to do a bit of writing, but I could even see my phone screen, so I doubt I would have seen my laptop screen. And I think it was too hot for it in the sun. I love heat, but my electronics do not.

I left earlier than I was planning, because the only people who left were people who opened the door to notice how packed the place was…

After a quick trip to the grocery store, I am home. I still don’t have dizziness, but my ears are loud and full. I am exhausted and I haven’t done much yet. I will hopefully write in a bit.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Waves

View the deck on Carnival Paradise.

Not that kind of waves. The ones I of which I am speaking are physical waves that move through my head. That is how I describe the sensation of dizziness that seems to move from my ears, across my face and in my head.

These sensations are usually brief lasting only seconds. They don’t hurt, but sort of tickle. Almost like an electrical current. It’s rather hard to explain. With a momentary dizziness. I think this is the Ménière’s as it’s on top of my daily dizziness.

They don’t affect me, except while they are happening, which is mere seconds. No extra balance issues or nausea following them. They have been happening for awhile now, but this is the first time to mention them.

I was curious to see if any of my readers experience this too.

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

It’s All About Fun

Meet Tippy. Tippy who is balance challenged is The Invisibles unofficial mascot. She came to visit me from Alabama after going on a camping trip to the New River in West Virginia.

She arrived in Las Vegas, but I was a bad hostess and didn’t take her anywhere she wanted to go. Finally, she got to do the strip.

Tippy at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.

Excitement filled the air of the car as Tippy looked at all the shiny, sparkly, colorful buildings. She wanted to meet the other Flamingos, but decided it was too hot.

She opted instead to go to a casino. She chose The Orleans. She managed to loose a bit of money. The slots were not in her favor.

Tippy is on her way to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee now and hoping the weather is much cooler there. She felt like she would start loosing her tail feather if she remained much longer in our heat.

I hope Tippy’s adventure made you smile.

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light!