CFIDS: Considerations on Living Life Happy

January 29, 2010

It’s been awhile now that I lost my zombie status as a chronic fatigue syndrome girl.   After having discovered the marvelous affects of a NT Factor supplement regimine,  I’ve managed by the grace of God to get a good portion of my life back.  Nothing short of a true miracle in my opinion.  For so many years, I was virtually bedridden, now I’m able to attend church and bible study during the week, as well as venture out to teach people how to use their computer as a part-time side job.   Moreover, these activities have been in addition to accomplishing the daily life tasks of showering, getting dressed, grocery shopping, making dinners, doing dishes, moderate housecleaning – all of which were entirely lost to me as a zombie.

My life isn’t sparkling perfect by any means.  There is always that daily ‘cost factor’ that I still have to take into account.  Any chronic fatigue person knows that if you do a task on any given day, the very next day is dedicated to rest.  I still have that too if I’ve done something big.  And I still can’t shower every day (I can hear you people say “ew!” but hey, it’s reality for CFIDS), I mean why waste that energy on something stupid like smelling wonderful when I can do something more important instead.   There is still always an ‘energy-wallet’ to keep in account.  Normal people know nothing of this, but chronic fatiguees know well that there is only so much daily energy to be had, and once it’s spent – forget it – can’t do another ding dang thing.  

But I’ve finally accomplished enough energy to formulate some real life relationships and then have the energy still to maintain them.  Actual social dates! Outside my house!  Unheard of, in the past many years.   The other thing that was lost to me during the zombie years was the ability to feel –  I had no idea that emotions could suck up all my energy.  Now I can actually feel emotions of happiness, having fun, and unfortunately being sad or upset.   Huge energy expense there, and if I get too happy or too upset, just feeling emotion zaps my wallet completely.  When I was a zombie, there wasn’t enough energy to feel anything at all.

Here’s the kicker – I’ve become so much closer to normal that I don’t even take NT Factor anymore.  Haven’t taken any for months, and yet the results seem permanent from having taken the supplements for about a year’s time.  Amazing.   I’m no where near normal, as I keep saying, but I’m so very thankful that the improvements that I’ve made seem permanent.  The clinical studies on NT Factor show only a portion of improvement for CFIDS patients – in other words, a cure wasn’t found.  I still struggle, still can’t shop like ladies do, still can’t stand and talk, but I have a new life that I’m living with “happy” in the title.


Yellowstone National Park: Visiting Advice

July 15, 2009

oldfaithful3I’m finally feeling well enough to incorporate some activities into my life – first stop – Yellowstone National Park! Yay! I’m happy enough to be able to do some short hikes and manage some car camping, nothing too spectacular, it’s enough just to be able to be in that glorious place, that slice of heaven. While I’m dreaming and scheming, I thought I’d share some advice to those folks that are looking for some inside information when visiting the Park.

I worked in Yellowstone Park for 6 seasons, 1978-1982 and then again in 1989, during that time, I was the front desk manager of Canyon Village Lodge, so I think I can speak as some sort of expert. I have several considerations for you as you plan your trip through the Park. To begin, it’s important to realize the scale of the Park – it is huge – as an example, from the Northeast entrance to the South entrance of the park is approximately 102 miles. When you imagine that you’re travelling through mountain passes, curvey roads and then mixing with “bear or bison jams” (cars stopped to see wildlife), just driving from point to point will take a great deal of time. But don’t lose heart, the park is one of the most beautiful places in the world – you won’t mind the traverse. Here’s a great link to Yellowstonenationalpark.com that has the distance map as well as a huge array of interesting information: http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/maps.htm

The large distances also create a wonderful opportunity to see the park in “portions”. Consider staying one or two nights in a couple of different locations within the Park. There are countless more lodging options outside the Park borders, but the driving distances involved really prohibit touring the entire Park comfortabley if you’re planning on staying several nights near one of the Park entrances. I recall while working in Mammoth Hot Springs that the drive to Old Faithful would take nearly 2 hours, and this was during the off-season, meaning no traffic to speak of.

Each of the Park’s 8 lodging locations have plenty of nearby attractions, all will have various wildlife wandering about and the grocery and gift shops offer a wealth of kitchey souvenier goodies. For activites beyond sight seeing, I recommend the “Scenic Cruise” on Lake Yellowstone – it’s a fun hour guided boat tour of the lake and inexpensive. Horseback riding is also available in 3 locations: http://www.travelyellowstone.com/dates-of-operation-rates-1724.html#horseback
Bike rental is also available from Old Faithful Snow Lodge: http://www.travelyellowstone.com/Bicycle-Rentals-5498.html

Make reservations early! I started planning our trip more than a week ago, and most of the park lodging is sold out into August. We were lucky to arrange reservations for Xanterra’s campgrounds: http://www.travelyellowstone.com/camping-250.html The National Park Service also operates several RV and Tent campgrounds in the Park, but these are not available for reservations, they are first come, etc. and typically fill up by 11am during peak season. There’s always a mad rush to the next location in the morning, where everyone is driving around in madness trying to capture that night’s campsite. Kind of a bummer when you get caught in that rush. Also, anticipate that you may be in a campground with hundreds of other campers – expect uneven tent sites, the possibility of nearby RV generators, loads of campfire smoke, people playing music and generally being annoying🙂

Also, Checking In for whatever camping or lodging in the Park can be a real hassle – If you have the patience, wait until after dinner time to checkin to your room or reserved campsite – this way you’ll avoid standing in long lines and driving yourself buggey.

If you’re planning on seeing Old Faithful, my advice is to see it on a sunny morning, that way you’ll get this gorgeous deep blue sky behind the geyser as it kisses the pretty sky. Just for snicks, here’s the live Old Faithful Webcam: http://www.the-great-outdoors.net/yellowstonewebcams.htm Same idea with viewing the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River in Canyon – you’ll see this astounding waterfall with that same deepest blue backdrop and the water sparkling in the sun. Viewing Norris Geyser basin and Mammoth Hot Springs is perfect for sunset times if the weather has been warm, since both of these locations can be hot in the afternoons.

lakeyellowstones If you’re staying at Lake Yellowstone, try to get up at dawn to see the sun rise over the Absaroka’s, the last time I did this, I heard the call of the wolves in the distance mixed with loons on the lakeshore. The pretty pink clouds turned the Lake into a rosey glowing glass sea – it was one of the most magical moments of my life. The sunset over Mt. Sheridan and the Tetons can be just as captivating as you sit along the lakeshore.

Seeing bears: In my experience, it’s easy to tell when it’s a real “bear jam” when the traffic has stacked up in front of you. I noticed that people get out of their cars when it’s a bear or a wolf, and they tend to stay in their cars when it’s a bison, moose or elk. Best to bring your binoculars too – I worked in the Park for all those years and have only seen a bear twice – one black bear, one mother grizzley and cubs, both were amazing experiences.

Swimming: Most of Yellowstone’s waters are just too frigid for swimming, but there are three river locations in the park that have waters that are warmed by thermal pools further upstream. The most popular is the Firehole River. You’ll see this picnic road on the drive from Old Faithful to Madison. Moose Falls, is very near the South Entrance of the Park – I haven’t been to this site, but it’s well known among the employees. Up North of Mammoth Hot Springs is Boiling Springs, this is a small swimming area where you can take a dip and feel the thermal springs very near. If the summer is hot, you’ll also see people swimming along Lake Yellowstone’s shore, but this is relatively uncommon.

My best advice: Get yourself on a trail! There are many short hikes at all the locations in the Park. Stop at the closest visitor center and ask the ranger for some suggestions. Of the 3 million visitors that come to the Park, very few get their bodies out there and experience the best of Yellowstone’s experience – the wild. Some of my favorite shorties: Elephant Back (high overview of the Lake), Grebe Lake, Shoshone Lake, Wraith Falls. They’re discussed here: http://www.us.national-parks.net/hike.htm

Feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you’d like additional info, I’m happy to help if I can.


Where I’ve been, where I’m going….

July 11, 2009

I’ve been travelling through some astounding chronic fatigue days of late. I’m feeling better still. I remember those days of pouring myself into the closest chair, not being able to get a drink from the fridge, showering only when it was absolutely necessary and dreading that thought. I’ve come so far and now I’m going further. I’ve had some recent and confusing developments in terms of some new vitality – two things happened and I don’t know which one of them is the reason for my newfound vigor.

Two weeks ago, I stopped for coffee at the local gas station. You know the coffee (sucks) and you know the kind of cup (paper with the ridiculously stupid paper sleeve), as I tried to get out of my car, I grabbed the coffee cup from near the top – too freaking HOT! and while trying to adjust the cup in my hand, I promptly spilled the steaming hot coffee all over my left hand. It turned out to be a 2nd degree burn – nasty white seared skin that blistered horribley and hurt like a screaming mimi for more than a week. Strangely, on this same day, I developed a UTI (urinary tract infection) – I get these fairly frequently, probably due to an overgrowth of candida, but who knows. Anyway, I take D-Mannose to cure these when I get them – it works pretty well, I just drink 1/2 teaspoon in water about every four hours. (word to the wise here, if you’re experiencing a UTI with fever, chills, outrageous frequency, urgency and pain – quit messing around and get yourself to the doctor today!)

d-mannoseD-Mannose is a common treatment for those seeking a non-antibiotic answer for urinary symptoms of frequency, urgency, minor pain. D-Mannose is a natural sugar that your body produces and it can be purchased at your healthfood store in powder or gel-pill form (it’s cheaper online though). Related article on D-Mannose: http://www.tahoma-clinic.com/mannose.shtml

So all that week, I was supplementing with d-mannose and at the same time nursing my nasty burn. By Friday of that week, I had huge huge huge energy! Me! I went swimming at two different public pools (if you’ve had cfs at all, you know ding dang well that even wriggling into your suit is out of the question, let alone swimming some laps, let alone all the showering!) By the following monday, I was at the local track, *Running* UP the aluminum stadium steps over & over again – I probably ran up these steps 8 times & back down again – my big fat heart raging, heavy breathing and me sitting on the top after each course, smiling like a little ninny🙂

So which of those two happenings was the one that increased my energy by such proportions? It’s well known that your body goes into overdrive when you experience a severe burn – waking up all kinds of cellular activity. Or, is it some currently unknown property of the D-Mannose ? I dunno! But the D-mannose is cheap enough for me to continue that regimine – $15 for about 10 days worth. So I’m gonna continue that treatment before I whip out my curling iron and smack my upper arm with another nasty sear on my flesh. I’ll let ya know how it goes…


Summer Movie Toys: Ice Age 3, Transformers 2 Revenge are getting me In the Groove

June 18, 2009

IceAge3I’ve been working on this summer’s blockbuster kids movies and their related toy websites lately. Ice Age 3 and Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen and all their tons of toys have given me great inspiration in the midst of my foibles. I find kids movie toys to be the key to what vigor I have, it’s fun to discover all the dinosaurs and blasters and imagine myself a kid again. Ice Age 3 is simply a riot of goofy scenes and hilarious one-liners and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen proves to offer enough smashing to resolve any level of frustration.

It’s more than just frivolity – we all need to feel productive, and given my circumstances these toy pages are my best effort at preventing the chronic fatigue doldrums from taking hold. To be certain, there are much better schemes for making money at home, but in contrast to that thought – ya gotta do what you love, don’t ya? It would be easy to let the summer drift away amid Oprah shows and Jeopardy, but somewhere I hear my mom’s voice calling out that I need to strive, to move forward, to pursue productivity despite my limitations. More simply put, it’s fun to find fun in fun, so I’ll keep working on it.

Visit my latest toy pages: Ice Age 3 Dawn of the Dinosaurs , Terminator Salvation Toys and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Toys


Chronic Fatigue versus Christmas: I’m Dreaming, I know…

December 12, 2008

christmaswindowA heartwarming fire in the fireplace, even a fake one would do. The scent of fresh pine boughs conjuring up memories of Christmas Past, coupled with the blossoms of sugar cookies in the oven that I’ll soon fashion with sparkling sugar flakes. Sharing a cup of Christmas Cheer while gazing at a brightly glowing tree all ashimmer with tinsel and colored lights. It’s a wonderful dream, these tangible elements of a romantic Yuletide, and one that most of my friends and family are able to create. But Chronic Fatigue and Christmas don’t mix and for me at least, even to admit that to my family and friends, is wholly embarrassing.

There’s no decorating: I’d love to bring my house into the land of the living with vibrant displays of ornaments, garlands and snowy character scenes. But I’m not even capable of bringing down the Christmas box from the top shelf in the closet. Then to imagine creating bits of flair around my livingroom sounds like it’s beyond anyone’s energy reserves. Nor can I imagine myself decorating a pretty tree (how would that get into my house?). That activity represents a long term standing session coupled with daunting strains of bending, reaching, squirming. I suppose I could manifest the energy, but for me as always, there is an energy cost analysis of where to best spend my daily outlay.

Does my family understand? No, I’m sure they think that I’m lazy, or lack Christmas Spirit, or that I’m too self absorbed. I’m so fortunate that my husband doesn’t care and doesn’t even mention it. Then too, I can well imagine that this is a source of difficulty for families everywhere, in houses where the would-be decorator suffers from CFS.

There’s no Shopping: I imagine wrangling with coats, mittens and then mangling through slippery traffic in the winter wonderland. Bustling then through parking lots, shops, and cashier queues to gleefully find the perfect representation of my love to offer. This too is a complete impossibility. If I love you truly, you’re all getting the same imported cookies that are the one undiscovered secret of my local grocery. I’m so happy to be able to simply visit my grocer and manage that task without contemplating a mobile grocery cart. If I love you more than truly, I’ll be able to burn a CD of my favorite music for you, because here at my computer, I can sit and create with ease. If I hadn’t lost my job, I would certainly take advantage of shopping online. But as everyone can acknowledge, lately this is much too weighty on the pocketbook.

There’s no wrapping: To any normal person, doesn’t this sound like the most simple of tasks? For the CFS person, this little ditty can become a rigorous onslaught of terror. Where do the pretty papers, ribbons and bows come from? Where on earth did those sticker gift tags run off to? I suppose it can be managed, but when combined with the other stresses of the season and the dedication of time and attention to the matter, this task represents yet another CFS hill to climb. If I put a sticky bow on your untagged box of cookies, will you love me just the same?

Feast without Expectation: I will do my very best to create the perfect Christmas Dinner. Fortunately in my house that allows for a roast chicken rather than turkey. My energy does afford the ability to stock the household with festive feastings and I’m quite able to manage cooking a lovely glazed spread of delights. But for many I know, this too is another holiday expression of love that falls to the wayside. At the very least, this is one area where local restaurants or caterers can assist those that are still struggling.

Dreaming of a Splendid White Christmas: As one given to outrageous fantasy, I dream of days of shooshing on the ski slopes of Telluride and then exchanging romantic gifts with hubby in our suite during our fabulous red-cheeked Colorado Christmas. Or I still envision sculpting christmas bears and bunnies on our front lawn and stringing them up with lights for nighttime neighborhood display. My mind still yearns to be dressed to the hilt in red velvet or satin and share drinks and flirtations at hubby’s company christmas party. All in a dream, my friend.

The Spirit of Christmas Still Lives: Your chronic fatigued spouse, mom or dad, family or friend still loves you just the same. Even if we fail to meet your holiday expectations, even if we fail miserably in expressing our love and heartfelt Christmas greetings, even if we’re entirely incapable of sharing in the fun, please know that we want to show our love and we’re all trying the very best that we can.

Visit my latest toy pages: Ice Age 3 Dawn of the Dinosaurs , Terminator Salvation Toys and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Toys


Cooking for Health: Mexicali Stand-off Chicken Tortilla Soup

June 25, 2008

Sometimes soup is just the right thing. Oh I know it’s the middle of the summer for youse people out there in bloggyland, but that ain’t gonna stop me from steamin’ my house up with the sweet aroma of chili spice. I’m always affected by the weather, in particular high pressure systems (sunny days not me, I love the rain!)…. So here’s my answer to the seeming Evangelista Torricelli barometric shape of my olefactory caverns and their resulting difficulties (I chose to speak cryptically here so I don’t gross people out.) Anyway, hot and spicy soup is the answer for today, good for what ails ya!

I’m just not good at following recipes… so I always end up making my own:

Lightning Fast Mexical Stand-Off Tortilla Soup (This recipe makes one liquid ton, well capable of serving 6-8, or my husband for just one meal.)

2lbs Chicken tenders
1 Vidalia Onion diced or any onion ya got!
1tbsp olive or cooking oil
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies – mild or hot
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
(2) 32 oz. Chicken stock or Chicken Broth (College Inn is the best tasting)
1 7oz can chopped green chilies
juice of one lime
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumen
1/2 cup seriously smashed corn tortilla chips
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste
corn tortilla chips to add at the table

Roast up the chicken tenders by sauteing in a frying pan with the onions and the oil. Try to get a nice browning on them. Then add the chopped green chilies and let that groove for a couple of minutes. At this point, you should be able to chop up the chicken tenders with a pancake turner or other firm spatula or spoon. (I love it when you don’t have to put the meat back on the cutting board to chop it up!)   I actually did the sauteing in my giant non-stick soup pan, so I could gather up all that browning goodness.  Want to use a frying pan and then transfer to your soup pot?  Just wrestle out the tasty chicken brownings with your can of diced tomatoes for a minute on a fairly high heat.

Add chili powder and cumin, stir. Add chicken stock/broth, lime juice, the two cans of tomatoes, frozen corn, and smashed tortilla chips. Bring to heat. Now’s the time to taste your creation. If your soup isn’t deep enough in flavor, add 1 tsp of catsup and 1/2 tsp of worcestor sauce. If your soup is too acidic, add just a touch of sugar – 1/2 tsp. I added catsup and that balanced out the acidity immediately. Simmer this gorgeous soup for an hour or so to meld the goodness into paradise on wheels. Serve with more crispy tortilla chips on the table – I’m gonna smash mine right into the soup for a crispy crunchy heat-seeking groove.

Traditional renditions of this soup include hand-fried corn tortilla strips (who’s got time for that?). This soup is also traditionally served with sour cream or shredded cheese garnish. Yum!

This spicey rendition of a classic soup is good for your health. The capsaicin in the chilies and chili powder releases endorphins, the steamy hot soup will cure my pressure head, and capsaicin has been proven to help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFS, sufferers both topically in creams and by adding a boost to your metabolism when ingested. Related article: Hot Peppers Add Zing (sorry about the stupid pop-up!)

Visit my latest toy pages: Ice Age 3 Dawn of the Dinosaurs , Terminator Salvation Toys and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Toys


Still Feeling Froggy – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFIDS

June 20, 2008

In my continual wonderment at how much my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has improved, I’m also just as perplexed at my own ever-present toxicity. I still feel foggy, which I call froggy (cuz I’m insane) and I know it’s because I’m no where near healthy. The pursuit of health seems so complicated by so many factors and yet at the same time, the answer seems universal to nearly any health issue.

My complications include: sugar addiction, wavering hormonal flux, reliance on caffeine, the energy that’s required to create natural well-balanced meals on a daily basis.

The Universal Health Answer: Have ya ever noticed that the natural response to nearly any health difficulty on earth is the same? The Dr. Dean Ornish Heart Health Diet, Cancer Recovery Diet, Detox Diet, Chronic Fatigue Diet, Losing Weight Diet, Yeast Ridding Candida Diet, Athletic Diet – Simplified: Eat mostly fresh veggies – both raw and cooked, and some fruit. Brilliant!

Gee that sounds so easy – Why is it so difficult? I know from my own experience that sugar is one serious evil-doer, complicating my blood sugar levels, hampering my efforts through continual cravings and overwhelming any rationale to eat my veggies. Supposing I’ve gone off sugar for three days to overcome that monkey on my back, I still become weighted down by an inexhaustible yearning for starchy carbs. I think that’s just my blood sugar screaming out for more, more, more. Wouldn’t it be great if I could tell my blood sugar to just shut up already?

The Pursuit of Happiness: My goals never change – I’d like to be able to work, play, and think like a normal human being! To quote Scripture for a second here: “As a man thinks, So Is He” – This is the first key to success: Point your mind in the right direction, and your body will follow. In order to achieve my goals of feeling better, acting like a normal person, I need to focus my thoughts on the detox veggie diet and stop revelling in fantasies about chocolate cake and brownies.

In this vain, it’s always most helpful for me to view sugary and starchy foods as “poisons” to my goal, and the veggies as “cleansers”. It’s not too extreme to call the cakes & candies poison – they’re literally robbing me, and have robbed me of my life for 17 years. So sad to even consider the complete effect of sugar addiction in one glance like that. I’ve also proven to myself that the cleansing effect of the natural vegetable diet is dramatic and enervating. And it’s always my thoughts that create the motivations to change or languish, resulting in good or bad behavior. I feel like Winnie the Pooh: “Think, Think, Think”….

Mitochondrial and Other Supplements: Imagining that I’ve managed to maintain a clean veggie oriented diet and that my blood sugar levels aren’t making me a slave to their whims, I know that nutritional supplementation is essential to create my health. I feel like I owe all of my CFS improvement to NT Factor – Lipid Replacement Therapy. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research has shown damage to the Mitochondrial Function of the cell, the area responsible for fueling energy in the body. While the phosphoglycolipids in NT Factor don’t repair the mitochondria directly, they do provide the pre-cursors for ATP production. This same treatment protocol has been adopted for fatigue among cancer patients as well with amazing results. D-Ribose helps with the fibromyalgia pain of daily living too, and although this has never been my primary complaint, I know it’s a major factor in many CFIDS sufferers.

Continual Health Resolve: Here I am again, still pressing on toward winning this life long battle. “Keep going Carrie, You Can Make It! – Think These Thoughts!”

1. Stay away from Sugar and Starch. They’re the nasty creeps causing your downfall!
2. Eat 5 Mighty cups of Veggies per day. (Other people can eat fruit too, I can’t – blood sugar.)
3. Maintain a constant influx of Supplements. This is where your energy is coming from, you ninny.
4. Drink 64oz. of water daily, before 8pm – I hate peeing all night.
5. Walk 3 times a week for 20 minutes – even if it kills ya.
6. Control Your Thought Life – stop thinking about Aunt Grace’s Brownies, think about swimming instead!
7. Go on a juice fast, gallbladder flush, or colonix cleanse again. I promise you’ll feel better if you do!

Ok, I’m done lecturing myself…. I’m striving to do better… I gotta get serious to get my total life back – I believe it’s truly possible now!

Visit my latest toy pages: Ice Age 3 Dawn of the Dinosaurs , Terminator Salvation Toys and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Toys

Notes: Thanks to Marilyn’s Toy Pages for that amazing frog cut out picture. Also, “feeling froggy” in the urban dictionary actually refers to feeling lively or upbeat. If you’d care to know how one lovely girl that has lost her job due to CFS earns a seriously tiny income, you’re welcome to visit my Wall-E Toys. Thanks!