August 29, 2012

About Me, DIY Decorating & Living with Chronic Pain

Yesterday I added and About Me tab to my blog.  Sometimes it's hard to share the personal things about ourselves, because people might think differently of us once we have.  But other times our story might help encourage others who have gone through or are in similar situations.  Therefore, I have decided to share a bit more about myself with all of you.

My name is Diana Walker and I'm the owner of AnyoneCanDecorate.blogspot.com.  I am a Southern California native who grew up near the beach. I believe that, with a little help, Anyone can learn to decorate and put some personality into their space! I am a fun loving DIY decorator & crafter. I enjoy sharing tips, tricks and ideas. I absolutely love thrifting, flea markets, garage sales and roadside junk! I tend to use vintage and salvaged items that are a bit rustic and shabby. I love that they add warmth, charm and character to any space.



This is my amazing husband Jim and I on a recent cruise... and the next picture includes my youngest daughter, Britney (on the right)...  (BTW - I am so NOT a hat person!!!)


At a young age I was super into crafting and by the time I was a young adult decorating was a passion of mine.  I am completely self taught, with the help of HGTV and a few magazines (lol).  I love to finding creative ways to decorate on a small budget. Don't get me wrong, having the money to buy what I want when I want would be really nice (hehe), but there is a great reward when you do a project and turn someones trash into a beautiful new treasured piece!  My husband Jim is very supportive of me and my many many projects. He helps me pretty much whenever I ask. I have a pain disorder called fibromyalgia so I do need his help with all of my larger projects!  As for the pain of fibromyalgia, I will write more about that below (if you are interested in reading).  When it comes to DIY renovation and decor projects, I am the designer and my hubby is my contractor (lucky me). It works well for us! 

I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ.  It has definitely helped me accept my illness and remain positive. Understanding that God is in control and that my future is in His hands allows me to enjoy life while living for Him.  I am grateful for all He has done for me!

Our children are grown and live away from home. Our youngest recently graduated College and lives about an hour away (which I love because we still see her often). I am very blessed with a wonderful family and good friends.  I look forward to getting to know you and sharing my passion for decorating with you.



My life and Living with Chronic Pain...

I was a single mom from my mid 20's to my mid 30's.  I have a completely type "A" personality and I used to be an always on the go, super active, overachieving, super mom... For years I functioned at an extremely high level.  I could do it all.  Or, at least I thought I could.

About 12 years ago, as a single mother, I got severely ill with some horrible virus and was pretty much bedridden for a four month period.  After the virus finally subsided I was still very achy and fatigued all of the time.  My doctor ran test after test and could not figure out what was wrong with me.  I was constantly experiencing extreme fatigue and all over deep aching pain.  My hands would hurt so badly I could hardly hold a pen to write my name.  I was in my early 30's at that time, and this was so NOT acceptable!!!  

Being type "A" I couldn't stand it when doctors told me that nothing was wrong with me, when surely I knew something was!  My blood tests looked fine so as far as they were concerned nothing must be wrong.  I felt horrible and was in constant nagging all over pain... This was definitely NOT NORMAL!  And I was NOT okay!!!  

After many months and tons of tests, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I was basically a shell of my former self.  No I wasn't skinny (I wish... lol), but  I had no energy whatsoever and I barely even spoke.  I had gone from someone who talked all of the time and spoke at a rapid rate (way too fast for some to keep up), to practically a zombie.  I went from wearing a suit every day and being a full time career mom, to being sickly and unable to work and hardly able to move.  Ugh...  It was horrible.  I was just existing from day to day, but it wasn't much of an existence as my body just wanted to sleep and when I was awake I was pretty much a non-participant in life.  No, I was not depressed, not in the least.  Yet it seemed depression is the doctor's first assumption and second and third for that matter!  

After four months the doctor ran some additional tests.  Shown in my tests were three viruses that I've had at some point in my life.  Those being Mononucleosis, Epstein Barr Virus and Parvo Virus (Parvo? scary, since we normally think of this as an animal virus, but actually it is a human virus that animals contracted).  Parvo and Epstein Barr are somewhat rare and usually something you can only get when you have a very weakened immune system, which growing up with tons of allergies and asthma, I did.  These viruses all lay dormant in my system and can resurface if I don't take care of myself. However, I am not contageous.  Nobody around me has gotten sick in the 12 years I've had it.  The doctors also noticed some numbers on the more random tests he gave me were completely out of whack pointing to possible multiple sclerosis or Lupus.  However, in the end I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and CFS.  At that time Fibromyalgia was not a widely known illness (although it is now).  Doctors really didn't know how you treat it.  It is what is known as a hidden illness... A person who has it, looks completely fine on the outside.  But on the inside they have excruciating aches and pains, weakness, memory issues (known as fibro fog because your brain is often in a fog), intestinal issues and much more.  Having it is kind of like having a 24/7 super achy flu bug that just never goes away.

Over time learning how to manage my illness and manage the pain became a priority.  I was able to find several things that help me.... from non-narcotic medication to medical massages, a home massage chair, jacuzzi tub circulatory baths, also nutritional supplements (vitamins)... etc.   I now live a mostly normal life while having Fibromyalgia.  Oh, I'm still in pain on a daily basis, but I've learned to live within it's means.  I never ever let it get me down.  I look at it like this "My limbs may hurt like hell, but I thank God every single day that I have limbs"!!!  I always put the pain into perspective and remember that it could be worse.  Keeping a positive attitude helps me and I find it also helps others around me!

What I deal with is not degenerative nor is it life threatening.  It is just a new way to live.  I manage my time differently and I must rest when my body tells me to!  Taking naps and getting proper sleep (via Ambien) is key to me feeling well!  Taking Ambien is the only way I get a good night sleep, so I do take it every night.  Some people tell me "don't take that stuff, it's horrible for you"... I would say, the alternative, not sleeping would be worse!  


I've also found that what and how I eat play a huge factor in how I feel.  Especially when it comes to getting headaches.  I used to have severe migraines, as many as three or four days a week and they would completely incapacitate me to the point of being in bed for 24 hours straight each time, except when I got up to vomit.  Then it was straight back to bed.  Poor diet played a huge part in my migraines.  In fact, MSG will cause me a migraine within 15 or 20 minutes of eating anything with MSG (monosodium glutumate) as an ingredient.  I have completely changed the way I eat and it has helped the headaches considerably.  I still get an occasional migraine, but it is down to about two a month now.  Much better than the dozen or so I used to get!!

I have not worked a full time job since the onset of my illness 12 years ago.  In fact I have not worked outside of the home since.  In some ways it has been a huge blessing, I've been able to spend more time with family then ever before.  It has allowed to me to explore my passions.  Decorating, Crafting and blogging is how I spend my "good" days.  I absolutely love sharing tips, tricks, decorating ideas and DIY projects with others.  I have found the blogging community to be such a supportive, positive and fun outlet.

I have recently added some advertising to my blog as a way to make a few dollars from home.  Although making money from blogging is not my main goal, every little bit does help!  I hope that most followers are okay with the new ads.  I've tried to keep them to the side as much as possible.  The content of the blog is still there for everyone to read and hopefully enjoy.
If you have any questions you can use the comments section below.  Also, I can be reached via email or on my blogs Facebook page:  Anyone Can Decorate Facebook Page

Thank you for taking the time to read about me.  I look forward to getting to know you!


Blessings,

Diana

12 comments:

  1. I also have fibro so I understand completely, you did a great job of describing it. I wish you many more good days than bad :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kate, I also wish you more good days than bad. Blessings, Diana

      Delete
    2. I also with you more "good" days than "bad". I live with chronic pain, myself, but have had no diagnosis yet. Fortunately, it has not become de-habilitating, so I still work long hours (my goal this year is to try to cut back on those long hours). Enjoying your blog.

      Delete
  2. I know exactly what you mean I was diagnosed in April with RSD a chronic pain disorder and it has debilated me alot! eventually my limbs most likely will become diformed. I am in pain 24/7 I do take a narcotic pain pill. My hips hurt me so bad that I usually can't lay down till 4 or 5am aqnd only for 3 hours at a time I stopped working outside the home in august of 11 had surgery on my hip in January 2012 and went down hill from there. I do not drive anymore I rarely go shopping when I do I have to ride a motorized shopping cart, my fingers are now getting effected(has always just been my hips legs and feet) I am dropping things and not typing well, so forgive me if there are spaces and mispellings. I can not lay, sit, stand or walk for very long at one time I use a cane all the time and have a walker if I need it once or twice I thought I would need it but so far I haven't used it, and I am only 45!! I have said a little about my RSD on my blog just a thing I write to vent mostly (brendavr.blogspot.com) I wish you luck with your disease I wanted you to know that someone knows how you feel.
    Gof Bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brenda, Wow! What you are going through sounds much worse than mine. Have you ever asked your doctor for something to help you sleep better? For me, it's Ambien. It makes the difference between hardly sleeping at all (I used to be up all night because of the pain) and now I actually get a solid 5 or 6 hours of sleep with the sleeping pill. Getting a good nights rest makes a huge difference for me. It is worth asking your doctor about it if you haven't already. I will be praying for you! I will also check out your blog :) Blessings, Diana

      Delete
  3. I enjoyed reading your post - I was diagnosed with FMS about 8 years ago after years of misdiagnoses and doctors who thought it was all in my head. At the same time this wonderful doctor also discovered that what those same doctors who refused to consider FMS had also misdiagnosed my asthma as chronic bronchitis. As a result, my voice dropped from a high soprano to a middle alto - and my love for singing has resulted in an ability to sometimes hum along. Two years ago, after a year of tests and misdiagnoses (again!), I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease and aFib. I thought having fibro was bad enough, but having two chronic illnesses that cause pain and weaken your immune system - well, it took some more readjusting. Add to all that the liver and kidney damage I suffered as a result of misdiagnoses and wrong medications and well, life is now a real adventure.
    One of the best things I ever did was decide, for health reason, to adopt a vegan diet. I'm an all or nothing kind of girl, so just being vegetarian wasn't going to cut it for me. It's amazing how much better I feel when I eat only natural foods and no animal products. I cut down on dairy years ago when I found out it was bad for asthma, so this just took cutting out the rest of the animal and processed foods I was eating. I realize it's not for everyone, but it's made a huge difference in my life.
    I wish you well on your journey... God never gives us more than we can individually handle - that's what keeps me going ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annalisa, It's amazing how many of us there are out there. Most of us do have weakened immune systems to begin with and then we get this. You are right though, God doesn't give us more than we can handle! I often think He allowed me to get this so I could help others who have similar hidden illnesses. As I had mentioned, I keep a positive attitude, I don't let the pain beat me, and I thank God that I have limbs every day! I've seen so much worse in the world, and I am thankful for the opportunities He has given me and the testimonies He has given me with and through this illness. Stay strong in Him. I will add you to my prayers! Blessings, Diana

      Delete
  4. Hi Diana,

    I enjoyed your blog and getting to know more about you. I am sorry that you have had (and still have) so much pain. Your description helps those of us that do not have it to understand it better. I have enjoyed your blog and FB posts. Keep up the good work. I love your attitude and your dependence on the Savior :D I will pray for you and the other ladies who have commented about their conditions.

    God bless you,

    Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, Thank you so much for your nice words and your prayers!!! However, I don't want people to ever feel sorry for me, not at all. I look at what I have as an opportunity to allow Christ to work through me with others who have similar hidden illnesses. He has given me a positive attitude and outlook though all of it. If I didn't know what this illness was like, I wouldn't understand it and be able to help others who are going though it. So, I look at it as a part of God's plan for my life and I am fine with it! Prayers are always welcome! Please pray that God's will be done in my life. Blessings, Diana

      Delete
  5. Bless you for sharing.it took a lot of courage to be so intimate.may God continue to bless you and your family

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Since I have been blogging just over a year, I figured it was finally time to share my story. I appreciate your comments!

      Blessings,
      Diana

      Delete
  6. Just found your blog,I recently started blogging myself but have had to take a few weeks off due to illness and a passed away loved one. I have had Fibro for about 15 years and Rheumatoid Arthritis for a little over 8 years. I am like you, I refuse to let it get me down. I have learned to live in pain daily, I will not take a pain medication as I feel for me I just need to deal with it as it is not going anywhere. I still work fulltime but do take time off when I need to. I wish I could retire but cannot afford to. Well I just wanted to say hi and I am glad I found your blog. Best wishes, Dawn

    ReplyDelete

I love all of your comments and I read every one... I'd love to hear from you!

Blessings,
Diana