Tuesday, January 30, 2018

🐩 Low Adoption Rates for Black Animals 😿

Over my life, I have adopted various animals from shelters, fostered animals, or participated in fundraising events for shelters. The one thing I have always heard is that the black animals are the last to go and the first to be put down.

Why? Because people just don't like the look of them.

Now Metro UK has an article saying that one shelter has only black cats and for a new reason.

They don't show up in selfies.

When people go into a shelter, they love the animals with blue eyes and tan or white coats. They love the chocolate colors with green eyes. They love the multi-colored, unusual animals, but the poor black ones are passed up.

This latest trend is just one more reason to pass up on the black dogs and cats of the world.

I wanted to take some time to share my black pets and how great they are!


I will be honest and say that when I decided to get a new kitten for my daughter for her birthday, I first chose a cream colored one with blue eyes to adopt. That sweet kitty, "Fancy", died about a week later from FIP, A disease that is undetectable, and there are no known cures.

The vet that the shelter uses tried to save her, but she ultimately died. He felt really bad, so he said he would give me a new kitten that had just come in that had the same gentle ways and sweet nature as "Fancy".

I told him thank you, and went and picked her up.

It was my "Midnight", a black kitten with green eyes.

Midnight is enjoying a snooze on the cat tree.

She is the sweetest thing ever. She will love nibble, but never claws or bites out of anger, and she would never hurt a human. (With birds and squirrels, that is a different story. lol)

She loves snuggles and to be petted on the belly.

We have had her for 9 years and have never regretted getting her. Anyone who would have passed her up for a "better" looking cat would have been missing out on one of the best cats I have ever owned, and I have owned a lot.


A dog of a friend of ours had an unexpected litter of puppies. We chose a black one with white nose and paws and named him Oreo. Unfortunately, he died of anemia before he was weaned. When it was time, we brought home his twin, Shadow, instead.

He is a sweet, loving dog. He isn't too hyper but is still playful and cuddly. He just likes to have alone time as well.

Shadow is the king of the hill right now....well, king of the stump.

After about 6 months, we also got his brother (the blonde one shown above), because his owner couldn't be patient with his puppy ways and was going to dump him.

Shadow was and is a joy in our lives. He was easy to housetrain. He is also intuitive to our needs and picks up manners with no effort at all.

While we love all our dogs, we always say that Shadow is the easy one - the well-mannered one.

Think Black

The next time you are looking for a new furry family member, think black!! Don't be shallow! Remember that if you don't save them, maybe no one else will. 

Please share your experiences with your favorite black pet in the comment section!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

🌌Turning the Lights Out at Star Wars the Old Republic?🌟

A disturbing news piece has been released about Bioware, the company that runs the PC game Star Wars The Old Republic.

MMOs come and go, so why is the prospect of this games demise so devastating? Here are 3 reasons.

1. I found this game by searching for "Star Wars MMORPG". When I started playing, I was happy to see that this game was unlike any other MMO I have played. In other games, I was achievement driven, but SWTOR had an awesome, addictive story that was presented in a truly engaging way.        If the lights get turned out on this game, I honestly don't know what game I can play that will give me the same joyful experience.

2. This game is a great way to immerse Star Wars lovers into the "galaxy far, far away". While there are some people who express changes that need to be made to the game, most people will not leave because of their love of the Star Wars franchise. If this game gets closed down, who knows how long it will be before we can get an engaging MMO for Star Wars lover. When we do get one, will it be able to maintain rich storylines as Star Wars the Old Republic has given us? Now, I will not deny that there are some hoping for the demise of this game so that someone else can have a shot at it.

3. I am a subscriber to the game, and I have put a lot of dollars into it, but there are those who have put way more dollars into it than I have. I can play content that I couldn't before, and I have a lot of content left to play. While losing your investment is always a risk when playing MMOs, I have never had a game shut down on me while I was still enjoying it. I have always left a game when I        wanted to due to boredom, time constraints, etc. If this game is discontinued while I am still playing, I honestly may never go to a subscription-driven game again. I think it will be time for me to break down and buy a console and stick to one-time purchase price games.

Do you play SWTOR? What are your thoughts on this game and the rumors swirling about its end? What are your thoughts on MMORPGs in general? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments sections. 

photo credit: Wake Up Freeman <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/89059744@N08/23799317711">Star Wars : The Old Republic</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>

Thursday, January 25, 2018

25 Cat Breeds 🐈with Photos😺

Many people don't know that there are cat breeds just as there are dog breeds. If you are like me, the cat chooses you, not the other way around.

Someday, I am hoping to actually choose a cat and get a hairless breed. If that isn't your cup of ☕, here are 25 more cat breeds to choose from.

Abyssinian - Also known as the "Aby", these are the stereotypical curious cat. These active cats do not make great lounging partners, but their active lifestyle makes for great entertainment. They are a medium size cat that comes in a variety of colors.


American Shorthair - Like many Americans, this breed can trace its ancestors all the way back to the Mayflower. When you decide this is the breed for you, you still never know what you will get. They come in over 75 different color combinations and almost as many personality variations.

American Shorthair

Bengal - A cross between the wild Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat, the Bengal is energetic, intelligent, and wildly unpredictable (in only the best sense of the word). If you are fond of curios and knick-knacks, this is not the breed for you.

Birman -  With blue eyes and white fur, and distinctive markings, these long-haired beauties are a thing of dreams and fairytales. They even have a rich history of folklore associated with them. If you are looking for a cat that is loving and snuggly, this may be the perfect cat breed for you.

British Shorthair - Known by many as the Cheshire Cat in Alice and Wonderland, this fur-ball has chubby cheeks and plush fur. One of the oldest cats in Great Britain, these short-haired beings are rather cautious. They do not like to be held or carried.
British Shorthair

Burmese - A relatively new breed, the Burmese breed was made by crossing an Asian domestic cat with a Siamese cat. A constant companion, these four-legged family members love to be in the middle of anything that is going on.

Chartreux - An old French breed, this cat is very intelligent and well suited for domestic life. They are highly trainable learning to play fetch, learning to "sit", and learning to walk on a leash. They are double coated which makes them extra poofy, so will need extra grooming.

Cornish Rex - Looking like it walked out of Egypt, the Rex cats are small and elegant. While they do shed, it is not as bad as some other cat breeds. Affectionate and playful, they make great companions for human families.
Cornish Rex (small cat)

Don Sphynx - A nearly hairless cat, the Sphynx is a polarizing animal. Many people (like me!!) love them, but others find them creepy or gross. They need sweaters for cold weather and sunscreen outside. Many compare the feel of their skin to suede leather. They are loving and happy, and they love to play.
Don Sphynx

Exotic Shorthair - With a sweet demeanor and short hair, these furry friends look similar to a Persian. Made from crossing a Persian with a British Shorthair, they retain the benefits of both breeds - relaxed and good-natured despite their appearance.
Exotic Shorthair

German Rex - Developed in the 1950s, this breed almost died out. Luckily, some dedicated cat lovers are making sure this breed can be enjoyed by future generations. This fur-ball is nervous in new situations but is curious and loving in its home. Their distinctive coat has curls.
German Rex

Himalayan - A cross between a Persian and a Siamese, the Himalayan has the ice blue eyes that make those breeds so popular. Also known as the Colorpoint Longhair, this breed is valued around the world. They are calm and gentle and do better as the only kitty in the kastle.

Korat - This breed is originally from Thailand and is believed to be over 1,000 years old. Their eyes will change over the course of a couple years to reach their usual green shade. Korat's love to play and climb. They also have a variety of vocalizations that they "sing" out.

Maine Coon - These fur-babies are huge, bushy cats. Kittens for life, they love playing fetch and chase with their people. They are great with kids and dogs. If you need a family pet that is still skilled at keeping down the vermin population, this is a breed to consider.
Main Coon

Manx - With no tail, the Manx cat is still able to balance like..well..a cat. Depending on ancestry, members of this breed can have no tail or just a stub of varying lengths. They are friendly and will get along with everyone in the house no matter the species.

Norweigan Forest Cat - With waterproof fur and superior hunting abilities, this Viking breed is great for cooler temperatures. They are independent and sturdy needing some socialization to be a loving house cat. They are the official cat of Norway.
Norwegian Forest Cat

Oriental Shorthair - This unique cat comes in a variety of patterns and colors, but they are instantly recognizable by their big bat-like ears. Small and muscular, they are excellent climbers. They love playing by leaps and bounds. They are very playful and never serious.
Oriental Shorthair

Persian - The most popular breed worldwide, the Persian cat is poofy and soft. While most people visualize white fur with blue eyes, they can come in other color variations. These cats are gentle and prefer to be seated on someone's lap. They need daily grooming and brushing.

Ragdoll - These large felines can get to be 20 pounds. They need regular brushing to keep mats from forming, and they shed quite a bit. Outweighing that is their demeanor. They are great for children as they don't mind being carried around. They also like wearing outfits. A big plus, they don't jump up on things like some other cats.

Russian Blue - Bluish grey and tipped in silver, these cats are said to be descended from the houses of the old Russian czars. These intelligent fur-babies learn many words, so just like a dog, they may run when you say "bath". They are independent, but still like to play with family.
Russian Blue

Scottish Fold - These adorable, four-legged friends have the cutest ears that fold over. Well, not all of them fold, but the ones who don't are still pretty cute. The ones with folded ears are sought after for show cats and will cost more than ones with straight ears. Healthy and nice, either one makes a great pet.
Scottish Fold

Siamese - I don't think I have to say that these are the cats on Lady and the Tramp. They have many designs, but always a variety of creamy whites and browns and greys. These are a "talkative" breed and love spending time talking to their owners.

Siberian - The national cat of Russia, this breed was not developed. It came about naturally in the wilds of Russia. Strong and hardy, these cats can jump great distances and scale any bookshelf. They often will devote themselves to only one person in the family and may do better with singles or couples.

Singapura - With wide, expressive eyes, and small size ( 5-8 pounds full grown!!), these little dolls are like owning a live stuffed animal. They are mischevious and active. Make sure you are ready for one of these little dynamites before you bring one home.

Tonkinese - These felines look like they just stepped out of a painting. Slim and lithe, they move with absolute grace and beauty. They love to climb - objects and people. Intelligent and out-going, you will need to "cat proof" your home.

So, what are you waiting for?!? Go get your cat, even if "your" cat is a tabby rescued from a shelter. (like all mine are)

Information compiled from online sites as well as The Complete Cat's Meow and The Cat Selector books.

PhotoPin credits in order of appearance:
all photos are via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

photo credit: Ref54 <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/90297554@N00/24808641337">Felix likes to get my attention if he feels he is being ignored by laying in front of me and the screens</a> 
photo credit: stratman² (2 many pix!) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/8278193@N06/38071877924">The Fab Four poses for the camera. 😼😽😺🙀</a> 
photo credit: frederic.gombert <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/138217651@N06/39327460751">I got it ...</a> 
photo credit: Janicskovsky <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/36808637@N04/6910614488">Behind Blue Eyes - Brussels, Belgium</a> 
photo credit: chicour <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/34973557@N05/4174885082">Elya British Shorthair</a> 
photo credit: Mikael Moiner <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/43917849@N08/4683656974">Felicia 774</a> 
photo credit: Pascal Rey Photographies <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/44856392@N03/30863298146">pop's-1</a> 
photo credit: Shannon Badiee <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/96028526@N00/14336536138">My little weirdo #CarbonCat</a> v
photo credit: BWCK Photography <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57630730@N04/9578568335">065</a> 
photo credit: rockmixer <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28201168@N06/23769521230">Mr. Munch the flame tip Himalayan.</a> 
photo credit: Carbon Arc <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/41002268@N03/37837603451">Her purpose-built cardboard box -[ Happy Caturday ]-</a> 
photo credit: Nicholas Erwin <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/58210871@N06/38219462784">Luke</a> 
photo credit: netzanette <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/67212136@N00/8215490869">arthas</a> v
photo credit: krissen <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/94159406@N00/8669487282">Hey! You're Upside-Down!</a> 
photo credit: hamadryades <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/10254455@N02/6372000051">Feeling...</a> 
photo credit: Mara 1 <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51614258@N00/16347850054">Talek</a> 
photo credit: catiful <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/90921256@N07/8722085863">DSC_0050</a> 
photo credit: praline3001 <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/38413484@N06/13855487943">Sparta, napping on the back porch</a> 
photo credit: Nickolas Titkov <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/31679151@N00/30729640436">Невский маскарадный котёнок Russian Diamond Foros (Siberian kitten Russian Diamond Foros)</a> 
photo credit: Nickolas Titkov <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/31679151@N00/30407474761">Сингапурский кот Billy-Boy (Singapura male Billy-Boy)</a> 
photo credit: Nickolas Titkov <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/31679151@N00/8636846100">TON Edelweiss Pamela Anderson</a> 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

☕ Coffee and Other Things I Put in My Butt 🍑

I have a lot of intestinal issues that bring about a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I was on several medications for the problems, but I didn't want to take those anymore. Fleet's enemas just weren't cutting it, and they are too harsh, so I went to Amazon and bought an enema bag. I have come to love my enema bag.

💕This is our story.💕

Douche Bag or Enema Bag - Doesn't Matter

"What is an enema bag?", my husband says.
"It's like a douche bag", I reply.
Me to my daughter, "Now when you call someone a douche bag, you know what you are saying."
My daughter says, "Really, mom??"

That is how the conversation went in my house when the bag came in. I was studying up on enemas and found the coffee enema was a popular one. I decided that one would be the first I would try.

I made 2 cups of coffee in my french press. Let it cool down. Put it in my bag with 16 oz of room temperature bottled water.

The first one I did took forever. I didn't know the best place to hang the bag, the best way to stand, etc.

Now they go much faster 😊

Butt back to the first time.

I waited until no one was home. I used a vaseline lubricant, and then in went my coffee mixture. What came out was a stuff of nightmares.

You may say, "Of course it was. It's 💩".

Butt, it wasn't just that.

It was greasy and smelly and foul. They aren't all like that. The more you do it, the "cleaner" it is.

Me to my husband, "My 🍑 drank coffee today."
Husband, "Oh really? Did it take it with cream and sugar?"
"No, it takes it black." ☕

Getting into the Groove

I was worried at first, so I did an enema every other day. I rotated coffee enemas with aloe vera/water/probiotics enemas. I quickly learned that what everyone says about enemas is true, and I wondered why I put it off so long.

My stomach pains disappeared. I have more energy. I feel lighter. I have no bloat. As crazy as it sounds, I look forward to my enema.

Now that I have my routine down, it doesn't take very long. Also, since I am more comfortable with it, I am doing the coffee enema every day for 7 days. Then, the consensus is, I will only have to do it once a week.

Finding What Works - Many Paths to Relief

Some people do a warm water enema and then the coffee one. Some people do a "soapsuds" enema and then the coffee one. Some never use coffee and just do the others.

Many people strain their poop in a colander while they are doing the enema, and then they post pictures of the "stones" that come out. I just take their word for it.

I still have my standards.

Here are some if you want to see for yourself.

After I get off my seven-day coffee cleanse, I plan to do a coconut oil cleanse to soothe my colon.

I use bottled water and regular caffeinated coffee. (Decaf won't work!!) On some sites, you will find people who cook the coffee on a stove, ones who use only distilled water, and ones who use organic coffee packaged just for colon cleanses. You can decide how far you want to go with that.

Strike a Pose - There's Nothing to It

I remember when Madonna was on a big colonics kick. I think it was sometime in the 90s. I laughed and thought to myself, "How weird is she? She chooses to have someone stick something up her ass? Weird!". "Only in Hollywood!"

Well, who's laughing now? 😹 ME! It's still me! 😹 I have seen the benefits, and now I laugh at people who still have a hangup about it.

Stop being so stuffy! Let your 🍑 have ☕! 

photo credit: quimby <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/92388598@N00/4898816774">Pharmacy</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

✍️Freelance Content Writing - Creative Solution 💡 or Moral Dilemma

Freelance content writing through host sites like UpWork and ProBlogger is an easy way for someone to make a quick buck. A quick search will show posts looking for ghostwriters for a 10k word e-books, 1000 word articles on cats, blogs about the best fishing spots in the USA, and more. It is a great, efficient way to connect writers to work.

So why do I call it a moral dilemma?

How It Works

Somewhere in some boardroom, or on some Skype group, are people who want a successful ".com" or a successful Kindle career. For some reason, they are unable to fill it with content. Maybe they work other jobs, or maybe they just suck at writing. Whatever the reason, these people want a site filled with content, and they are unable to provide it.

In a split-level ranch in middle America is a stay-at-home mom who has always wanted to have a writing career. She has a few ideas and outlines thrown together, but between soccer practice, dance recitals, and supper time, she doesn't have the time to really flesh stuff out and make a print-ready book.

Enter freelance content writing.

Deceit from the Word "Hired!" 

Starry-eyed and hopeful, a future journalist begins by going onto a freelance site. They quickly find a plethora of posts looking for content writers. They start applying. The excitement builds, and they dream of how they will only write for other people until their own career takes off.

The budding artist applies for many jobs and receives many invitations to interview. Money is just out there for the taking!! After several interviews, they receive 3 offers to work. Since they are just starting out, they bid low with the hope of getting some high ratings and experience shown on their new profile.

The jobs offer a dollar amount for each finished blog/article.

Sounds good.

They get a long-term position.

Sounds great!

However, it doesn't take long before the employer is trying to get more and more for less and less. Slowly, they ask for more details, better formatting, or strict citations. Before the employee knows it, they are making what equals to $3 an hour. Not only is the pay not there, but with the work taking longer, they barely have time to develop their own original work. At the end of the day, they are no closer to their goals, and their name remains unknown and unrecognized.

Taking Credit for Someone Else's Work

Now let's go to the employer. The used their savings, income tax refund, or inheritance to commission freelancers to write educational e-books or fill a ".com" with 200+ guides or how-tos. Their success is sky-rocketing.

In a radio spot, the host asks, "How could you have possibly gained so much knowledge on this subject?"

Employer says, "Well, it wasn't easy. It took a lot of late nights while the kids were asleep and a lot of multi-tasking while shuttling the kids around."

Radio hosts replies, "Wow, so worked really hard and look at your success! You are a role model for what others can do if they are willing to put in the work."

But they are not....the freelancer put in the work for very little return.

As the employer becomes Kindle famous and gets consulting jobs or movie deals, the freelancer is still slogging it out for peanuts and no recognition, and no closer to their personal goal.


Simply put, I don't have a solution. People need money and other people are willing to pay it for completed work. 

Is the answer taking out a loan so you can be the employer paying freelancers to do the work?

Is the answer demanding more money and refusing to work until demands are met?

All I can tell you is my answer. After 2 years of content writing, I have quit. Income tax refunds are coming up, and I hope to make it on my own. I don't want to be an employer making my way off of other people's work. I can't do others work and my work. I want to create my own work and put it out on my own site - and I want to make money doing it. So, after a long talk with my husband, I have taken that step. 

....the step into wild space that will land in an unknown region....

Are you a freelancer? Have you ever been a freelancer? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

🚰 Amateur ASMR 🥘 Washing Dishes

💼 My Trip on the Pain Pill Roller-coaster 🎢

My Trip on the Pain Pill Roller-coaster

Chronic Pain

A big thanks to my family. They were there through it all.

It was supposed to be a night of friends and food, but instead, it ended up being the night that changed my life forever, and not in a good way. 

There we were, stopped in the left-hand lane of the road – blinker on, waiting to turn left. I was turned a little looking into the parking lot to see whose cars were already there.

My husband, who was driving, said those famous last words, “Oh, shit!”. 

Next thing I know, things get blurry, and I feel four horrible burning sensations on the left side of my neck as my head is rocked back and forth against the headrest

One... pause… Two… pause… Three… (thinking, Oh my God, when will this stop) … Four. 
Everything was quiet, and I realized we had been rear-ended.

Beginnings of Pain

When I was in ninth grade, I fell on the gym floor. Always clumsy and big chested, falling was nothing new. It was a recipe that led to many falls throughout my life. It is hard to run and jump when you hold fifteen pounds of your total weight on your chest, but in PE, I did as I was told. 

This was the first time that I had hurt my knee. Two wrecks later, and at 18 years old, my knee had developed its now familiar creaking, popping, and cracking. 

At the time, the doctor said I would eventually need surgery as the cartilage broke down. Even though he said it would happen by thirty, I am now forty and luckily still do not need surgery. 

I am happy for that, but I still developed “early arthritis”. A term you get when you are in your late twenties, but you have the beginnings of arthritis like someone ten or twenty years older than you. 

No big deal.

I just had some pain in my knee, my shoulder, my jaw – all my old injuries – when the weather changed or if I overdid it. 

Then came the night of my new wreck. 

This one happened in 2011 and I was thirty-four years old. I had gone back to college, and I had an eleven-year-old daughter. She was not in the vehicle. 

I didn’t know that in that night, I would forever change. 

I would go down to the brink of suicide, and thankfully, back up.

One... Two… Three… Four

The car wouldn’t start, and we were on a busy four-lane street. 

Cars didn’t stop. They just kept whizzing by. 

So, there we were, stuck in the middle of the road – in the dark – praying that we wouldn’t get hit again. Finally, the cops come, and they say, “Can you move your car from the road, please?” 

Um... no. If we could have, it would have been done before they got there. 

They had a little attitude, but I can understand that with all the types of people they must deal with on a daily basis. 

One cop stayed with us until the ambulance and the wrecker came, and the other went over to the person who hit us. 

I get strapped into the bus, and we wait a little while as injuries of others are assessed. The ambulance driver gets in and says, “Wow, that guy is plastered.” I said, “Who?”. He replied, “The guy who hit you”.

While at the hospital waiting, and waiting... you know how it is..., the same cops that were at the scene came in to finish the paperwork. I asked if the guy had been arrested for drunk driving. The young cop said, "No, he wasn’t drunk". “He is the youngest of “insert last name of local rich family here”, and he is a good kid. He just stepped in a hole.” 

They then proceeded to tell me he was looking down for a second and just didn’t see us stopped to turn left. 

I didn’t ask what he was looking down at, but in the years that followed I would think, “What was he doing that was so important?”. I will never know, but every time I told people about that event and mentioned that “famous local family name”, I was treated to stories of drugs, unemployment, and debauchery. 

You know, the bad apple stories. 

So, he really wasn’t a “good kid” after all like the cop had said. He was a bad kid from a rich family who could afford to erase his mistakes. 

After the hospital determined nothing was broken, I went home. 

I was on pain pills and muscle relaxers for almost two weeks. My days consisted of trying to just lay flat in the bed as much as possible. 

One of the first things we found out from the cops was that the car that hit us was borrowed, and the owner lived in a city an hour away. 

A borrowed Cadillac Escalade going about 45 mph plowed into the back of our Mini Cooper and never saw us. 

Needless to say, our car was totaled. It didn’t look like it really, but the repair bill was over $14,000. I still have to say that our little car held up pretty well under the circumstances. We could have been killed. 

Given the shadiness of the details of the incident, we retained a lawyer the next day.

Chapter Two: Tests and Doctors

I first went to a doctor about 1 week after the accident, and that is how I made my way to a Chiropractor. 

They did x-rays and performed tests. Pictures were taken of the bruises on my back from whatever happened in the wreck. My neck had been knocked straight, which sounded shocking, but I later found was fairly common in rear-end collisions. I also had misalignment in my lower spine. They called this whiplash as well. 

Who knew you could get whiplash at both ends

We live in a state that has laws against suing individuals involved in motor accidents. All I could do is hope he had decent insurance. 

At the time, I thought I would just need money for my ER bill and the four months of the chiropractic care that was estimated. 

After about two weeks, the daily headaches were still going strong. I was off of medications, and my chiropractor said it could be neural and referred me to a neurologist. 

That doctor didn’t see any permanent damage. He said it was inflammation of the nerves which can take months to go away. I started taking a non-narcotic nerve pain pill called Gabapentin. 

While all this was going on, I got a new job working at a helicopter company. They catered to companies who have oil wells off the United States Gulf Coast. It was physically demanding, but I grew up in the country. I was tough. Plus, the doctors had released me to do the work. 

I felt good and thought the worse was behind me. 

I loved the job, it was seven on and seven off – a week vacation every other week. It was hard work, no doubt, but I got stronger and it got easier. 

After about 3 months in that job, I begin to have pain in my heels. I was told I had Gout, but they couldn’t reproduce the high uric acid content in further tests, so they threw that diagnosis out the window. Then my right leg started hurting if I sat too long. I would have to hobble along until it “worked the kink out”. 

I was in the ending stages of my chiropractic care, and they said it wasn’t coming from the spine. I just ignored it and chalked it up to being over thirty. 

Eventually, the pain expanded until I hurt in my feet and my hands, too. My elbows would hurt, my ribs…everywhere. I would wake up stiff and in pain. For a while I could get by with warm Epsom salt baths in the morning, but not for long. 

Whatever was going on progressed until I hobbled everywhere… all day... there was no more “working it out”. 

I started having trouble swallowing, too. It’s like my throat would just freeze. My hands would be puffy, with stiff achy fingers.

I was scared.

After test for MS, Lupus and RA, and about 20 other things, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and started taking Gabapentin again, and they added Cymbalta.

I was actually happy. 

After being in pain for a year, I had a diagnosis and treatment. 

The happiness was short lived. 

It didn’t take too long to realize that there was no cure, no sure-fire treatment, and no answers.

Many doctors don't even believe Fibromyalgia is real. At best, they think it is psychosomatic, at worst they think you are flat out faking it.


Chapter Three: Pain-Pill Months

After about a year on Gabapentin and Cymbalta, I was getting worse. I had to quit working, and my ability to do housework was limited. I knew something had to change, so I asked my doctor about opiate pain medication. 

First, we tried Tramadol, a synthetic opiate, but it gave me terrible headaches, nausea, and I would sweat buckets. I would wake up at night and my clothes and my sheets would be wet. I would have to get up and change before trying to go back to sleep.

After that, we tried a hydrocodone/acetaminophen combination. It just didn’t work. I would still have pain that made me pace. 

Finally, we tried Vicoprofen, a hydrocodone/ibuprofen combination that was a miracle drug. I took the lowest dose, and while I could take four pills a day, I only took two. 

I still woke up stiff and had to have an Epsom salt bath to get going, but I didn’t take my pills until in the evening after I got off work.

Things went well for a while, I finished my college degree, and I got another job. 

I was so happy, everything seemed to be falling into place. After rocky young adult years, and then the injuries, I thought I was finally on my way to a successful life. 
This went on for almost a year and then new symptoms came.

More pain, rashes, disabling fatigue…. more test…more x-rays. The doctors found nothing, so my rheumatologists said that my Fibromyalgia was getting worse. The rash was attributed to Lyrica, which actually made me high, so I didn’t much care that I couldn’t take it.

After a little over a year on Vicoprofen, I started having pain when I walked. Sharp, stabbing pain that was so intense I could no longer work. 

For a while, SAS shoes helped enough to work, but eventually even they couldn’t pull me through.  

My memory was terrible, my feet hurt, my whole body hurt, and I had times when I was unable to sleep. For a day and a half or so, I would just stay awake. Then I would really hurt.

At my doctor’s recommendation, I upped my Vicoprofen dose to three times a day.

The pain in my feet was called Neuropathy, the pain in my hands was called Reynaud’s Syndrome, and the mental incompetence was called “Fibro Fog”. These are all common secondary diagnoses for people who have Fibromyalgia. 

Over the next year, I did less and slept more. 

My doctor assured me that my life was normal for someone with my illness. In fact, there were many who were worse off than I was. I would see them in online support groups with many more complaints than I had – some were even in wheelchairs.

As the war against opiates raged on, myself and my support group people would rail against more legislation. We already had to face nasty looks at the pharmacy and rudeness from the employees. We were in daily, debilitating pain, but were treated like addicts. 

People made us feel like addicts. 

I was one of the people writing my congressman, writing the governor, writing my president, and even writing the DEA. 

Of course, I only had the energy to write each person once, but that isn’t the point. 

I advocated for the right to choose. Actually, I still do, but it wasn’t long before I saw this wasn’t the right choice for me.

After a few more months of increased dosage, I could hardly get up in the morning. The pain was worse then, and it would take half the day for me to get up to do anything. 

Sometimes, I would cry. I would wake up my husband because I was moaning in pain while I slept. 

Hell, often, I would wake myself up with the moaning. 

I never knew someone could be in such constant pain. 

Sometimes I would have so much stomach pain, I would lie moaning on the bathroom floor. My daughter or husband would have to help me to bed. After a colonoscopy, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and put on Bentyl twice a day for that. 

It helped little.

I felt weak. I knew people who had pins and rods in their body that were more active than me. I would talk to my doctor, and he would assure me that it was normal for people with Fibromyalgia. It is believed to be a problem in the nerves so that any sensation feels like pain. Anything the nerves controlled could have issues. 

Eventually, I got off the pills and on the pain patch Suboxone. 

Since Suboxone is also used by heroin addicts when they are getting clean, the dirty looks and bad attitudes at the pharmacy increased. I was on Cymbalta, Suboxone, Vicoprofen (occasionally for breakthrough pain), and a mild anxiety medication to help me sleep at night.

I was a zombie. Mostly sleeping, missing my daughter’s choir events, missing family functions, not cleaning house much, not working. 

Needless to say, I became very depressed. I couldn’t see living the rest of my life that way.

I asked my rheumatologist if my problems could be from side effects of my meds, and he said, “No. I don’t think so.”

One night I woke up from a dead sleep feeling like I was going to pass out. Having low blood pressure and a weak stomach, I was familiar with the feeling. It was first felt when my 3rd-grade teacher was talking to my mom about a root canal she got. Usually, you lay down when you feel that way, but I was already lying down.

I was sleeping for God’s sake!

I just brushed it off, but about a month later it happened again. Plus, over that month I was getting so weak I almost couldn’t walk from one end of the house to the other without feeling like I was going to pass out. The pain in my feet, and the weakness was so bad that I had to use the motorized carts at the grocery stores.

A 38-year-old woman using motorized carts!!

Again, I asked my rheumatologists about it, and he still said that it was my illness that was causing all my symptoms. 

I was at the ER 3 times in one year. They would just “monitor me” then send me home and tell me to follow up with my doctor. Everyone would always say what a good rheumatologist I had. That he was one of the best! 

So, I continued to listen to him. 

After a couple months of this, I got referred to a cardiologist, who then referred me to an even more specialized cardiologist because of “Long QT Syndrome”. A potentially fatal, irregular heartbeat in which your heart can stop beating. 
That is why I was waking up feeling like I was going to pass out!! 

He said it was probably my Cymbalta and told me to get off it, but said nothing about my pain meds. 

Some of the dizziness and faint feeling did get better after getting off of Cymbalta, but I was still weak and in tons of pain. 

My daughter was depressed, my husband was depressed, and I was depressed. One big depressed family. 

I would think that if it wasn’t for my daughter, I would kill myself. I couldn’t see going the rest of my life like I was. I had even come up with the “best age” to kill myself, where it wouldn’t scar my daughter to bad.

I knew the way, too. I would overdose on my pain meds, and it would look like an accident.

Even though that was a good plan, I would still fantasize about driving down to the Gulf where I would start swimming out.

I would just keep swimming.

Chapter Four: Research and the Light

Over the years, I have done much research on Fibromyalgia. It usually does occur after mental or physical trauma. It is a little-understood disease that many doctors still think is psychosomatic. 

It is important to note that psychosomatic doesn’t mean you are faking. You can’t stop it, and you can’t control it. 

During my research, I would find some stuff about Opioid-induced Hyperalgesia. A condition in which your bodies pain signals are out of whack.  I asked my doctor about it, but he said, “No, you are not on a high enough dose to make that happen.”

I believed him. I believed everything he told me.

Finally, one day I heard the song “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. It wasn’t the first time I had heard it, it had been out a while, but this time I just busted out crying. My daughter walked into my bedroom, where I practically lived then, and asked me why it made me cry. She said, “It never made you cry before. Why now?”. 

I just said that I didn’t know, and I didn’t.

But the next day, I listened to it again, and I stood up and just screamed. Not any words, just screaming in frustration, in pain, in depression…and I knew, I had to do something. 

The next day, I made an appointment with my general practitioner and got referred to a new Rheumatologist in town. She was just out of school, and I had hope that she would take an interest in my case.

The first thing she told me was to get off your pain meds. She said they can mess up test results and make you hurt worse. She said if you can do that, then you can come back and see me. In fact, she said I had to get off all my medications. 

I made an appointment for six weeks later, and then I went home.

She said I needed to be completely free of all my meds by two weeks before I saw her again. I set out a detox plan where I would gradually cut down so that at the end of four weeks, I was no longer on any meds. 

It wasn’t easy, and I would be lying if I told you it was. 

On the one hand, you have the mental block thinking that what you have been on for years made you worse. It is hard to admit that you, with the doctor’s help, made yourself sicker. 

The very thing that you advocated for made you hurt more. 

All those sleepless nights, all those painful days, were caused by something you willingly put in your body.

But I knew I had to do it, for me - for my family. 

At first, the pain increased, I couldn’t sit still. It took over my mind and washed out everything else. My anxiety was through the roof. I was sick. I couldn’t sleep. My body was detoxing, and it hated it.

During this time, I started researching more about Opioid-induced Hyperalgesia. I also read about how when you get off your pain pills, for a while, the pain increases…and oh buddy, it did. 

The things I learned helped me. I would just tell myself things would get better and if they didn’t, I could go back on my meds. I would take it one day at a time. Every time I was tempted to take a pill, I would say out loud to myself, “No, I can make it. I can make it at least one more day.” 

This went on for about 7 days, and then I started to feel better. A lot better! I hadn’t felt so good in a long time. I made it, too. I was clean by 4 weeks, so I was able to make that six weeks follow up. 

The doctor ran a ton of test that came back negative, so my diagnosis stood with just Fibromyalgia. She put me in physical therapy.

Chapter Five: Healthier, Happier, Less Pain

After a while of physical therapy, I started Yoga, which is great for chronic pain. It advocates listening to your body and not pushing past your limits. I felt great. I even started drinking herbal tea for natural remedies. 

I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out all the time. I slept when I needed to. My memory and concentration were better. I felt like a new woman. 

I was back. My personality was back. I was part of my family again – part of the world again.

Do I still hurt? Yes. Do I still have bad days? Yes, but everything is 80% better than it was when I was on all those meds.

Now if someone gives me attitude, it is people on pain pills who say my pain must not have been that bad. I even had someone say, “Tea and Yoga? Aren’t you lucky?”. But no, I wasn’t lucky, and it wasn’t easy.

I made the choice to try it, and you can, too.

Over the last year, I started working part-time, I am active in my life again. I sit in the living room instead of lying in bed all the time. I still do Yoga. 

I have talked to many people about my experience and some went through the same thing. I have spoken to people that have had numerous surgeries, ones that have hardware in their body, and even people with debilitating diseases. The ones who got off pain meds say they feel better. 

Much better!

It was just as much a miracle for them as it was for me – as it can be for you.

All you have to do is make the decision, and do it. 

It isn’t easy, but the benefits are there. They have been there for thousands of others, and they will be there for you. 

If you are on a high dosage of medications, check yourself into a detox center. You don’t have to go it alone, and there are medications they can use to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. 

Don’t use the excuse of work, money, or family to keep from getting help. 

You haven’t really been there for your family since you have been on all the meds, so what is one or two weeks in a detox center. 

You have spent thousands of dollars on treatments that are proven to make you hurt worse, so what is some more money to a detox center. 

I know where you are - few to none friends, outside the family circle, and hopeless.

When I was having heart problems, I couldn’t drive. The few friends I had would ask me to dinner, or over to their house, and when I said I couldn’t drive anymore, they just said well call me when you feel better. 

No one offered to come get me. No one offered to drive. 

I realized I had no real friends outside of my family, and you know what, that is just fine. 

Once you get YOU back, you start getting back your life. It may not be the old life you had before the pain, but it is a life better than the one you have had since the pain pills.

For me, it is a life better than I have ever had. 

It can happen for you, too.

*         If you need help stopping your pain medications, please visit DrugRehabCenters.org.

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