Running scared.

I have spoken on opioid use before and how it is getting harder and harder to receive a prescribed prescription. The opioid crisis seems to be in the news in a lot of places from talk radio, to the nightly news, to even Congress. I personally have written how doctors have become more and more adverse in regards to allowing the prescriptions to continue even if the person has been on said opioid for 5+ years with no ill effects. I have also written on how pharmacists have the ability to deny a medication based on a visual diagnosis and can refuse to give you the required medicine that has been authorized to you.
In all of this information, or misinformation, that is flying around, we encounter yet another advisory in this “crisis”. The public eye. Friends, family, and even strangers who find out what medications we are taking and the judgment is immediate. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has story they heard. The response is overwhelming.
I heard a news story recently that told of a pro American football player who was removed due to violations to the NFL’s drug policy by smoking marijuana. He responded with a video of him, while smoking, that it helps with his pain and mental health. He then spoke on how it is better for him to smoke that instead of being addicted to opioids like he has seen.
My chronic illness is not your scapegoat.
On a more personal note, I have had people come forward with threats that I cannot be taken seriously because of my prescription. The use of opioids in my past, it has been over 2 years, has now given people a reason to judge me further and to disregard my opinion, my judgment, and almost anything because “We just don’t know or cannot see the effects of those evil drugs on you yet.”
This is madness. I, like so many chronic illness sufferers, have daily struggles to get to work, take care of ourselves, fight an illness, fight doctors and pharmacists, and the public image of what medications we take. In all of this, we then get told we do not matter because of the drugs we are supposed to take to live have affected us too much.
Where is our voice? Who will speak for the trees?
I experience the “common knowledge” from people who know all about how bad the opioid crisis is and how they know what is better for me than my doctor. It is now said with such surety that everyone knows the horrors and effects of how it devastates lives. How dare anyone speak up in defense of this terrible drug use!
I am. Someone has to say something. I am tired of being judged. I am tired of being put in a box and quantified. I am tired of being labeled and categorized because of my medication. Is this how we deserve to be treated? With judgment and scorn about our illness and our help? How should we then live? We have to stand up and speak out.
#standwithaplushie my friends

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Special Announcement post 2019!

It is with the greatest pleasure that I get to announce not just one but TWO amazing things transpiring soon.
1. I have been selected to be published for a record breaking (for me) 14th time! The Mighty.com has picked up my Special Abilities post! Once it is live, I will do a special post here to let all of you wonderful supporters know. In addition to that, I will be collecting all 13 (soon to be 14) posts on this blog for easy access. Make sure to check out the Published page tab to see them there!
2. I will be attending Texas Furry Fiesta in Dallas, TX and will have my “My Stuffed Therapy” panel on Saturday March 30th at 4:30 in the Bryan-Beeman Room (subject to change). It has been almost 2 years since my last panel and I am excited to be able to speak to all the wonderful people there! I enjoy talking and sharing what stuffed therapy means to me and seeing the faces of people I have helped. I hope to see you there.
With these two announcements, I bid you all a wonderful March as I go and prepare for an exciting month. As always, thank you all for your love and support and hey…
#hugaplushie my friends

Coming soon, to a blog near you.

Warning!!! Big Changes Incoming!!!

This is an update post as I have a few cool announcements to make.

1. I have now been published a 14th time on TheMighty.com. My Special People post was accepted and once it is published, I will post a link here. I will also be updating all my published works on the appropriate page so you may see and share them easily.

2. I will be back on the road with my live Panel on Stuffed Therapy! I will be at a show in March, details to come soon, and I will be looking at adding a second panel that will be added to the rotation. If you have never been to one, it is an amazing experience where I share personal experience with proven techniques to help everyone. We laugh, we cry, and we care for one another. I will be adding a page with more info soon.

3. Updated contact information page! I have a separate email address now for Stuffed Therapy! The email is mystuffedtherapy@gmail.com! Shoot me a message there to say hey or get in contact with me to look at me coming out to do an event!

4. Last, but certainly not the least, the My Stuffed Little Therapy video blogs are coming back!! I know a few of you have been asking me about them and after careful thought, I will be bring them back! It will be ever other week from my normal posts here. I will once again partnering with 1upds.com and their incredible studio to be able to be live once again!

I hope you are all as excited as I am with these updates! Please leave a message here, email me, or just share the message!

Thank you and love you all!

#hugapony everyone!

Special Abilities of Special People

Having a chronic illness is almost like having a few cool super powers. I have mentioned this before with past writings that our illness has made us almost hyper aware and sensitive to many sights, sounds, and smells. These abilities come at a cost of our illness but they are something that I hold on to as something that makes me special.

1. Hyper hearing – I have noticed that those of us with a chronic or mental illnesses can hear so much better than our healthy counterparts. We can walk around in the dark and hear our foot falls and know where we are in the room. We can pick up a pill bottle, shake, and know our medications by the sounds it makes. We can hear the pain in peoples voices that they are trying to hid. We can hear the stress, anxiety, and even sometimes someone lying to us. This comes at a cost of being hurt by loud noises, yelling, and other panic inducing sounds.

2. Super sight/awareness – We pick up on the little details. The person fidgeting in pain in the corner of the room. When someone being uncomfortable around so many people. The look in someone’s eyes as they fail to meet anyone’s gaze. We can feel the room and know the mood immediately. We pick up on the smallest changes in someone’s routine and are extremely observant to those we care about. The weakness to this is we often focus so much on other people we do not focus on ourselves as much. We also can be sensitive to light and awkward situations can cause physical pain.

3. Intelligence/wisdom – This one is a bit different. I know that brain fog can be our weakness but when we have a good day, our brains fire off like a super computer. We know we have to take advantage in those precious few hours of being able to think so we tend to work through all of the different areas of our lives. On the other side, when we cannot think or even move from the bed, we tend to stay quiet. This gives us time to think and mull over what is going on. By taking, or some cases forcing, time to slow down, we are able to thoroughly think through each situation. Besides the brain fog as being a weakness, you are also sometimes observed as “Not being sick” because you are too smart or have your life together. What they don’t realize is that we know we will forget things and we have a million reminders, post it notes, and other various systems in place to help us not forget things.

If you noticed, I put a weakness with each super ability. Just like all super heroes, we have our unique weaknesses. Those kryptonite are areas we should be aware of and knowing is half the battle.

These are just three different areas where we are super! I know there are others and please feel free to share those with me, I would love to read about them. I believe more knowledge is power in this regard and we need all the encouragement in world some days to make it through.

Now go and be super and remember, you are special just the way you are.

#hugaplushie everyone

Resolute Resolution

As we come to the midpoint of the first month of the year, we come into the time period where most of us abandon our “New Year’s Resolutions”. The first 15 days are difficult and making a habit to keep takes from 21-30 days according to most studies. So I have one question for you, dear reader.

How well are you doing?

I will be the first to admit I am not perfect. I have messed up a day or two. It has been extremely difficult to keep going with depression and my physical condition. I also tried a new thing where I started my “resolution” the day after Christmas. This way by the time New Year’s rolled around I was already a week into my workout and diet.

Now I would say again I have missed a day or two. I also weighed myself and I am 5 pounds (2.2 Kilos) HEAVIER then I was when I started the diet. It can be extremely discouraging to put time and effort in and not see the returns just yet. I understand the pain of not seeing the fruits of your labor.

Now is not the time to quit. Now is the time to push through. Now is the time to say I will continue instead of giving up. Given up? Time to start back. The key to it all isn’t failing. The key is to continue going even after falling. You pick yourself back up and you start again. Fell again?

Keep going.

Life isn’t going to stop because you fell. As much as wish we could get a break, or we make a break, life gives us no chance to catch our breath. Then, when we take a breather, we end up living in a “break“. In the moments where we are finding ourselves, take the day off, all activates that we need to recharge ourselves, we stay there.

Are you living in a break?

Find the motivation. Listen to the music that boosts you. Find that small reward at the end of the day that gives you the focus to make it through. Now is not the time to live in a break.

Now is the time to live for yourself.

#hugaplushie my friends

The Year of Hell – 2018

As this year closes, I find myself with quite a few people who have not had a very fond year. Memories of 2018 seem to be cutting deep for all of us with personal and private losses. I know for myself that it was a record year for what I have been through.

In the past year I have lost several family members. Deaths of my grandmother, uncle, and grandfather-in-law hit hard at several points over the year. They were spread out so it was not all at once but baring those loses still bore down on me.

This year, my wife and I separated and were divorced. I cannot begin to describe the amount of pain, anguish, and hurt that I have been through in this process. Dealing with the courts, being there for my kids, and being single all have been overwhelming in all cases. I will say that my Ex-wife has done a tremendous job of trying her best and we are very civil. Pain, however, is part of the process and it does not stop.

As with the above mentioned divorce, I have had to: Find a new job, Find a place to live, Get a car, and rebuild a life. Much in the same way as getting a chronic illness diagnosis, in a divorce you have to find a new you. Rediscovering everything about yourself is quick daunting and can crush you. Having now been through both of these has added a whole new level of understanding. Learning to live and work and even play (when you even can find the energy) is completely different and is amazingly difficult. You find strength you never knew you had. Some days, it just doesn’t happen and you have to learn to accept that.

I have lost around a third of my friends in my life this past year. Be it time, distance, personal beliefs, or something else entirely, I have lost much more then I have gained in terms of numbers. Such losses take quite a toll on someone who doesn’t have many friends. Chronic illness tends to get in the way of making new ones or keeping the ones you have at the moment. I will say that I have seen a few friendships grow deeper and the ones who have stayed have been amongst the best of people. Thank you.

In all this madness of this year, it has been a bad year for chronic illness sufferers. The Opioid Crisis has been one of the focuses of the year. My medical insurance has skyrocketed along with my medication cost. I have written more published articles than all my years past combined and most have dealt with these issues. Depression and anxiety with the growing social issues and personal issues have taken a huge chunk of my spirit and I find it hard to find the faith I once did before.

However, in all of this, I have survived. I use survived as it has been one hell of a battle to make it through this year. I come to the close of this calendar and I live. By reading this, you as well have made it. I am so proud of you and us in general. I want to congratulate all of us for making it. I still plan on being here, encouraging everyone, staying the course on being positive in this valley. I hope by sharing my story of this year has brought you hope that if I can make it, so can you.

#hugaplushie my friends

PS – Props to those who get the title reference.

Holiday happiness fighting

One thing I have noticed during the holidays this year is the treatment of people and employees. Having a chronic illness has made me very aware of people and the feelings they give off. I can sense more of when a person is having a bad day or the tension in the room. I always try and make mention of asking how someone is doing or listening and responding to people.

Every time I go into the gas station or grocery store, I greet the clerk and ask how they are doing. I try and hold a small brief conversation with them. The smiles I and nods I get are overwhelming. Just by the simple act of talking to them has made a difference in my life not to mention what happens after I leave.

I try and hold open the door or elevator for people behind me. Simple things that people get amazed over. The surprised look on people’s faces are shocking. I have even had a few ask why I would hold open the door for longer than two seconds. These very simple acts are so easy to do but it seems that more and more people are abandoning these acts of service.

I find this also translates into modern society in the fact that we have lost the art of finding the good in people. In this day and age of politics that seem to be dividing everyone, I have seen more people abandon being nice and courteous to one another in favor of treating people like a punching bag. I truly believe this stems from the lack of trying to find the good in people.

Finding the good in people can be difficult. I can hear the arguments in my head of why I should not try or bother to find it. “People are just to evil” or “You can’t fix the world” echo in my head but in honesty, I am not trying to change the world. I am just trying to change the world around me. If I surround myself with positive reinforcement, does that not change my own world?

In doing this, what else would change? By just trying to find a positive chord in a person, you are changing the way your brain thinks. Instead of going into a conversation with an attitude of “I don’t like ‘this’ about a person”, you remember they are a good parent, they take care of their elderly neighbor, or they stop and pet each animal they find. You start looking for the good things in this world. You try and find commonality with a person. What would change in this world if more people did it?

Don’t go out and change the world. Start small and change yourself and let that change your world.

#hugaplushie my friends

Getting Sick While Chronically Ill

This article is not giving medical advice. I am not a doctor. This is just observations from someone who has walked a path of illness and the problems encountered. Please consult your doctor before trying any new medication or making changes to them. 

Having been chronically ill for well over 5 years now has been a journey. I have talked about the five stages of grief that you have to survive, the horrors of trying to find doctors that believe you, and even the opioid crisis that has swept the nation and gotten the attention of Congress. One aspect I have not touched on is getting a common illness while being diagnosed chronically ill.

The common cold or flu is debilitating for most people. The coughing and fever run havoc on your body and the aches and pains are terrible to deal with. People take these times to call in sick and take time to recover with grandma’s chicken soup. Others try to prevent it with the flu shot or a Z-pak. The most common option is to stock up on cold medicine and cough drops and power through it while not missing a day at work.

How I wish it was that easy to do.

When you are already taking 5-7 medications (or more), it is very difficult to just grab a box or bottle of cold medicine. You have to check the ingredients in each medicine as you need to compare it to what you are taking to avoid an overdose. I end up having to mix and match different basic medications in order to find the right amount to help. I always cringe when thinking about the liver or kidney damage that is done by the abuse of these medications and since I have been taking mine for many years now, I worry about the stress and damage I have done to my own body in taking what I need to get through each day.

On a good day, I still deal with aches and pains on a level most people would find extremely uncomfortable. While sick with a cold or flu, this pushes my pain tolerance to the limit. Having the wheezy chest and the sinus pressure that makes you fall back into the pillows is hard enough, but add in my fibromyalgia muscle and nerve pain and it hits a whole new level. Factor in that I might not be able to take my normal medication and it just gets worse. Symptom on symptoms will break you.

Common beliefs say that you can just use a sick day and take time for your body to recover. Unfortunately here in the US, that tends to be difficult for many people as sick days for people in jobs in retail, fast food, or the service industries don’t have many days we are allowed to take off with pay. Balancing the options of taking an unpaid day off and the possibility to getting better by not working is difficult. Chronic illness survivors will run into other issues on this as well. We tend to use sick days on particularly hard flare days when your medicine doesn’t help, when your medication has run out and you can’t get more yet, or when your medications have made it too difficult to function and you are in a haze. We tend to be extra cautious in using sick days because we never know “How will I feel tomorrow?”

Having a chronic illness and being medicated as such also invites reinfection. With weaker immune systems due to medications, inability to fight off infections like normal, and body fatigue all factor in to a rolling cold that can last many times longer than a normal person. We take joy in feeling “better” because the cold is gone but in the back our minds we worry about getting it again once it comes back around the office or store.

It can be especially difficult during cold and flu season. I want to say to each and every chronic illness “spoonie” out there that you are a gladiator and deserve the recognition as such. You fight your own body on a daily basis and having an outside invader makes it even tougher. You are a survivor. I see you an I salute you for your bravery and courage for making it each and every day. May you stay healthy this cold and flu season. Those of you who are sick, grab some hot tea and chicken soup, huddle up with your plushie and blanket, and may you get better soon.

#hugaplushie my friends

Remembering Stan Lee.

This is a special post for a special person. As with all deaths that happen around me, I have a saying by Richard Adams from Watership Down:
My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.

So this post is dedicated to the man, Stan Lee. You brought happiness and stories to life for us. You gave us some of the most exciting characters. You should the world what good there is in humanity and what we should fight for.

I met you once. It was brief and only lasted a few seconds. I thanked you for all the work you had done. You smiled and said it was a pleasure. You were in every marvel movie as a cameo. I now cry in thought of seeing those words we have all dreaded to see on screen, “In loving memory of Stan Lee.”

I speak on behalf of all those who loved comics, thank you.

#hugapony my friends.

#Excelsior