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Laughter is the best medicine

There is no better way to cheer up your day than to have a good laugh. No matter how bad I feel or frustrated I get, one good laugh can change my entire mood.

The best part of my day is when my boyfriend comes over after work and rests near me. As I watch TV, read, or mess around on the computer, he scrolls through Facebook and shows me funny images, stories and videos – one right after the other. It’s the best way to end a long day, especially when I’m in pain from fibromyalgia or mentally exhausted. I have to dote on my man just a little. When I’ve had a bad day, which is often, he always finds a way to make me smile and laugh. He’s the “best medicine” I’ve ever encountered, along with laughing.

Among the many humorous online items, my favorite is MINIONS! There is a minion image for every possible issue you’re facing. Online, go to Google and type in “minion laughs;” click on the images tab; and get ready to laugh until you cry! There are some of the images that simply make no sense; some that the creator needs to use spell check and learn proper grammar; and some that are “clean” but can be mean. But the majority are appropriately hilarious.

The expression on each minion’s face, the clothes they wear, their posture… it all makes me at least smirk. Then so many of the images have sayings to go with it. Here are some of my favorites I found today.

  • “Don’t Grow Up, It’s A Trap!” I mean how true is that statement! Minion Image
  • “Not sure if I’m sexy and I know it or I’m ugly and I ignore it.” Minion Image
  • “Sleeping is my drug. My bed is my dealer. And my alarm clock is the police.” I laughed so hard at this I teared up… it’s so true for me! Just ask anyone I’ve ever lived with! Minion Image
  • When I found out I have fibromyalgia, this statement would have been appropriate and funny… “Starting tomorrow whatever life throws at me, I’m ducking so it hits someone else.” My boyfriend says I’ll duck and let it hit him! Minion Image
  • To a family member I may text them a Minion image with “I Smile because you’re my family… I laugh because there’s nothing you can do about it.” I’ll have to remember this one the next time my sister calls to vent! Minion Image
  • Here’s a good one for a friend. “We are best friends. Always remember that if you fall I will pick you up… After I finish laughing.” Minion Image
  • “When I get old, I’m not going to sit around knitting. I’m going to be clicking my life alert button to see how many hot firefighters show up!” I just shared it on Facebook with a good friend whose husband is a volunteer fireman. I got an immediate LOL response from her. For those who don’t know, LOL is the acronym for “laugh out loud” or “lots of laughs,” whichever you prefer. Minion Image
  • “Ignorance can be educated and crazy can be medicated but there’s no cure for stupid.” Minion Image

There are so many more. I could go on for days. And of course there are a lot of other images and videos that aren’t with minions…they’re just my fave.

Here’s a quote, supposedly, by Albert Einstein. “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” BMABH.com Image

Find a way to laugh every day at least once. And I don’t mean just a smirk but a good hearty laugh. It’s a true mood enhancer. There has been a lot of research to prove laughter does improve your overall well-being.

Even the Bible refers to the benefit of laughter. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV. Who knew the idea of laughter being good for your health came from one of the first books ever written and the words of Solomon, God’s servant.

If you don’t have regular access to funny online images and videos, here are a few other ideas:

  • Watch a funny TV sitcom or movie.
  • Share funny stories from your past with a family member or friend. Reminiscing about good times is always good for the sole.
  • Read newspaper cartoons. You’re never told old to get a good laugh out of a cartoon.
  • Buy a book of jokes, comedies or other humorous literature. I keep an Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader in my bathroom. In addition to jokes and humorous anecdotes and stories, the book has “useless” but interesting knowledge about all kinds of subjects.
  • Place humorous items such as pictures and comic strips where you can see them on a regular basis. I have a small candid shot of my Papa Harry grinning from ear to ear tacked to the wall beside my bed where I can see it as soon as I open my eyes.
  • For you exercise nuts, join a laughter yoga group.
  • And my favorite… Laugh at yourself and things that happen in your life.
  • But, DON’T laugh at someone else’s expense. That’s just wrong.

Medical-wise, laughter has a lot of benefits. Number one for me is that it reduces stress and improves your mood.

Short-term benefits of laughter include:

  • Stimulate many organs, including heart, lungs, muscles and brain. 
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. 
  • Soothe tension. 

Mayo Clinic. April 21, 2016. “Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke”

Long-term benefits include:

  • Improve your immune system. 
  • Relieve pain. 
  • Increase personal satisfaction. 
  • Improve your mood. 

Mayo Clinic. April 21, 2016. “Long-term effects”

Think of a time you laughed so hard you cried or couldn’t catch your breath. Ladies you’ll know what I mean when I explain how I’ve laughed so hard I had to cross my legs to keep from peeing in my pants! If you can think of a time like that, I bet you’ve got a smile on your face right now. Doesn’t it make you feel a little better!

I’ll leave you with just one more minion image saying: “Laughing is the best medicine. But if you’re laughing for no reason, you may need medicine.” Minion Image

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Taking a “cold” serious… My story

Didn’t think it would take me this long to post again, but here I am 12 days later. To put it simple, my health is bad…really bad. I’ve been under the weather with a sinus infection and extreme pain from fibromyalgia for over a week now. I’d take a permanent sinus infection year-round over my fibromyalgia though…yes, it’s that serious.

I’ve been out of work since mid-November last year and miss it so terribly. As a teacher, I can’t help but stress over all my students are missing, though my school has been very helpful with ensuring my students’ needs are being met. The same was true for my students last school year when I was out of work starting in January 2016. It was then a year and a half ago my health went downhill rapidly. Honestly, my health has never been superb but I’ve always been able to manage fine. I tried really hard to return to work but my body couldn’t withstand the stress so I had to go back on short-term disability until the end of the school year in 2016.  

My advice: Always go with your gut feeling when you think it’s time to consult a doctor over your cold.

I thought I was battling another bout of bronchitis, coughing regularly, having trouble breathing, and some tightness in my chest. It was all symptoms I’d had previously with bronchitis. So before returning to school from Christmas break on Monday, I decided to go to the urgent care that Sunday.

After reviewing the lengthy, time-consuming paperwork I filled out at the urgent care, the nurse consulted the doctor. Both were seriously concerned and sent me straight to the emergency room. I was dumbfounded. Again, I thought it was bronchitis or at worst walking pneumonia. I figured the doctor would listen to my breathing, give me antibiotics, and send me on my way. But there I went down the road to my local hospital’s ER.

After more paperwork and another round of telling a nurse and doctor my symptoms, I had a x-ray. Then I was told I needed a CT scan with dye-contrast to show a more clear picture of my lungs. My mouth literally dropped when the doctor gave me the news I had a blood clot. It was scary seeing a nurse come in with a shot of the blood thinner Warfarin. I was only 32 for goodness sake! Who would have thought… certainly not me!

The nurse and doctor went over different ways I may have formed a clot, leading us to finally decide it was probably my recently increased birth control prescription. I needed the dosage increase to reduce the size of a cyst on my left uterine gland. Since the cyst is back now, thank goodness my gynecologist said it was nothing to worry about in terms of cancer or a rupture! I just endure the pain when it comess because it’s better than another blood clot forming.

That night, I was sent home with a prescription for Xeralto – a different blood thinner in a daily pill form. I went back to the ER the next day with a rash from head to toe. Luckily, a strong shot of benadryl got rid of it and doctors determined I’m allergic to contrast dye for a CT scan, which I had the day before. I was still admitted to the hospital, though, because I continued to have severe chest pain, more than what should be expected from a blood clot. I went home two days later with the same pain and no additional help… yeah, I wasn’t too impressed with my physician at the hospital.

For several weeks, I could barely walk to the bathroom without giving out of breath. If not for my mother, sister, and boyfriend, my home would have been a mess. And I’m beyond grateful for their continued help with it and assistance with my very hyperactive five-year-old son. My breathing slowly got better but my pain continued to get worse, both in my chest and upper body, legs and arms. I was in and out of the ER, worried I was having a heart attack or some other type of heart issue. My EKG results continued to be normal, though, so then the merry-go-round of specialists visits began.

First I think it was a pulmonologist, who confirmed I had some sort of mass in my lungs on that first day in the ER but unsure if it was really a blood clot. I could not have cared less at the time because the mass had dissolved and I was still taking blood thinner to make sure it didn’t come back. My concern was that I wasn’t getting better. I kept re-emphasizing this from doctor to doctor. No one could give me answers. By mid-April, I had seen a pulmonologist, cardiologist, neurologist, rheumatologist, and pain specialist. I’d had multiple tests, scans, blood work, and even a DNA swab. The only results were elevated inflammation markers from blood tests but nothing else…NOTHING. And no one could determine why my AHA levels were high, which indicates there is inflammation in the body. It was my primary physician who finally said he thought it may be pleurisy, inflammation of the chest cavity and tissue around the lungs, but he was uncertain of that too.

How frustrating to not know! Here I was out of work, being asked how I was, and couldn’t give a clear explanation as to what was wrong with me. Not knowing what else to tell people, I’d just give them my symptoms and say I was getting by the best I could. Doctors were no help. “Work through the pain” was the advice of one physician’s assistant. I was so ticked off the day she told me that. How do you “work through the pain” when I could barely handle getting ready in the morning? Taking a shower alone would wear me out to the point I’d have to rest before getting dressed.

Finally in mid-April, after three and a half months of severe pain, my pain specialist officially diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. Honestly, I’d never heard of it and had to Google fibromyalgia to get more information, sticking to the .org sites for trustworthy and clear details as to what I was dealing with. FYI, MayoClinic.org is my favorite medical Website. Reading the information was like reading my list of problems every time I talked to a doctor. I had it all…pain in key trigger points of my body, fatigue, trouble sleeping, memory and disorientation issues (called fibro fog), just to name a few.

MayoClinic.org states,

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/home/ovc-20317786

So in average, non-medically-trained people language, my brain overly exaggerates the pain signals my nerves send from muscles in my chest, upper back, arms and legs. It hurts tremendously when I get the sharp pains, especially in my chest and just under my shoulders right where my armpit begins. My favorite part is trying to put lidocaine ointment on my chest to help relieve some of the pain. I mean how does a woman reach the muscles under her breasts with an ointment! Really? How ridiculous! Medicine, relaxing, low stress, mild exercise, heat/cold compresses, and a TENS-unit (a device that sends vibration impulses to your muscles) is the only things that give me any relief so far. I’m still hoping for more help to alleviate my pain.

Most people who suffer from fibromyalgia have flare ups every so often but leave it to me to have chronic fibromyalgia. I suffer all the time, day in and day out, but I also have flare ups that are much worse. These past couple of weeks have been one of the extreme flare ups. I barely want to get out of bed, much less exercise as needed, clean the house, cook, or even bathe.

For those who also suffer from fibromyalgia, I’ll continue to share anything I find that helps or good links to information with new ideas and findings from medical studies. Also, please share with me in the comments. I could use all the help I can get too. Right now, I remain on short-term disability leave from teaching. I want to return so badly but just don’t see how I ever can. And the stress from figuring out how to financially support my son and I only worsens my condition.

What started as a notion I had bronchitis turned into six months of blood thinner and my first attack of fibromyalgia.

I urge you to always take any illness seriously because you never know when it may be something much worse.

Thank you for reading. Please share my blog on your social media to help spread the word. You can’t imagine how appreciative I will be!