Wednesday, 31 May 2017


I thought it would be fitting to have a refresh of the blog and a refresher post featuring a new reflection summary of my 10 year health journey. Because lets face it I'm not going to a 10 year reunion with the grad class I never met. So let's see what have I done with my 10 years? I went into my grade 12 year full of life and energy and spunk! Determined to go out into the world and change it! I shall start by stating this is not going to be a touching tale  of heroics or about how I chose the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference, for I did not. There was no choice, this journey was thrusted upon me. And now looking back it's been a wild ride, so ladies and gentlemen strap on your seat belts this is going to be a bumpy ride.

For me, 2017 will mark my 10 year milestone of catching a nasty stomach bug, that forever changed the course of history as we know it, or  just my life. Do those 10 year markers come with survivors trophy's, 10 year members chips, or do they hand out complimentary barf bags? Are they celebrated with parties or do we not mention those life events. Its funny how something like a dumb tiny virus can come in screw with your genes and then go off like a ninja merrily into the night never be mentioned again. Its so embarrassing to have your dreams taken out by a bug. Its so out of your control, as in stay close to a washroom out of your control... Unlike car accidents people never shut up about them. When exchanging stories in Dr's offices you try not to talk about causes becauses there's always that guy, that's like, "dude a tank took me out, flipped my car in the air 4 x," then they look at you, give the what's up with head nod and you know you have two options the long medical word list of diagnoses they won't know or basically lame disease by flu bug. Tell me what's the cool answer for a twenty-something?

Ok, So If you want to read the rest of the blog post and see the new and improved Elysia B Blog now Renamed Young and Chronic go on over to the new site! There is also a new post on the past 2 pregnancies and motherhood, so get excited! A fun new feature is a forum for young people with disorders so be sure to jump over there and give us a shout!

Friday, 10 June 2016

The Peanut Gallery Highlights Reel.

If anyone regularly reads this blog I apologize that my writing is less than sporadic. I post as I have time/energy and that seems to be in short supply this year. We have gone from the ups and downs of the first pregnancy, to the joys of everyday life. I continue to attempt a resemblance of balance between managing pain and caring for an infant, a task not for the weak of heart.

The thing that I would say was most shocking in becoming a first time parent was not so much the challenges of having a baby as much as the constant comments and criticisms that people feel are now acceptable to make. Now that we've moved into parenthood they seem to question and comment out loud on everything you do: to swaddle or not to swaddle? co-sleep or bassinet? cry it out or spend all night soothing/feeding? breastfeeding or formula? schedule or on demand? Vaccinated or unvaccinated? somehow these are all mole hills people are now willing to die on. When did we stop being happy that others just had happy fed babies.

The first few months, I felt was full of battles of theses opinions, then came the questions about development.. is he holding his head up? rolling over? crawling? is he fill-in-the-developmental-milestone? is he, is he?

During all the tsunami's of well-meaning advice that parenthood brings its good to take moments to step back and realize he's alive and well, that's really all that matters. I need to remind myself to stop taking these comments so seriously. So I've come up with a High-light's Reel of crazy comments we got from our first year of parenthood:

  • When a visitor sees baby's first poop thats black and freaks out that he has internal bleeding and the dr.s need to look at him immediately. 
  • The visitor that insists the nurse stop taking his blood as it's cruel to do that to a baby. 
  • The barista that says if his sleeps really bad you should flip him over your head, and upside down as it resets the babies body clock of night time and day time. Proceeds to come from around the counter to attempt to show you...(#back-away-slowly)
  • If he's crying you should feed him immediately or else your starving the poor thing. Claims that by not feeding him your with-hold food which is such a cruel way to treat a baby. 
  • Your 5 month old should just wear mitts all day so you don't have to put them through the trauma of cutting their nails. (#have-you-ever-tried-to-keep-mitts-on-a-squirming-baby)
  • When your having trouble breastfeeding and someone not close to you tries to show you the right positions, and attempts to jump in and help you....soooo awkward. (#violated-on-so-many-levels)
  • When someone finds out you have low milk, then goes on to say how they did too and describes in vivid detail their breast infection that caused it and says they should really look and to see how yours are doing to make sure they're not infected. (#your-not-a-doctor-or-my-dr)
  • Someone tells you they can't believe your 6 month old is on solids because now he could choke! You should wait til he's older. Next week same person asks why he isn't eating more solids because most babies his age are already eating meat!
  • That it's such a shame you have to feed him formula because he's going to get allergies now. 
  • When your child has bad eczeme and the Dr has said to bath him every other day. Then someone tells you your dr is wrong and you need to bath him more often as it will get rid of it. After repeatedly going over why your following the dr's advice they proceeds to text over articles about proper baby hygiene complete with highlighted sections. 
  • Someone hears you fed the baby carrots as his first food, with shock and outrage cries oh no that's terrible we know so and so and they're distantly related to you and allergic to carrots! 
  • Someone changes the baby's diaper for you, and sees two pink spots on his bum proceeds to cry which makes the baby cry... Tells you that he definitely has an infection and needs to go to the dr asap... you open diaper and can't see the skin or spots because from just below his belly button all the way to his but crack is coated in thick white cream because the zinc will cure the infection. 
  • Being told your baby has eczema because you use a certain hypo-allergenic baby lotion and someone not genetically related to the baby is allergic to that specific brand so you need to stop using it immediately.
  • Come home and your toaster that was on an island unreachable to the baby that doesn't roll over yet has been unplugged because so and so's kid stuck they're finger in a toaster and got electrocuted.  
  • Every time a person hears your baby started eating fill-in-the-blank food and needs to tell you about someone who they know that is allergic to that food. 
  • When someone finds out your pregnant again and starts wailing, "oh no, oh no" with their head in their hands, and says (directly quoting here) that they feel like they're going to die, and asks if this is a bad joke, then continues to say they're sick with worry because they know you can't handle it. 

In the end I look over the list have a laugh, and think wow it's amazing how much people care about all the details that make up my babies life. Its amazing how once you reach motherhood boundaries that existed before seem to have evaporated. Personal space while once it was a thing and meant I had a comfortable bubble, is now a meaningless term to both baby and others. Talk about people wanting to be all up in your business, it seems endless. Each stage of life brings new challenges and the best you can do is roll with them and find humor in it.

~Elysia B

Friday, 29 January 2016

Fastest Butter Chicken Recipe

So this is the fastest and easiest way that I've found to make butter chicken in 30 minutes and also have a few freezer meals out of it.

Step 1: Get the ingredients, buy a two jars of butter chicken sauce, and 1 Rotisserie chicken.

Step 2: Boil water for rice, and while it boils de-bone chicken and chop into small bite sized pieces

Step 3: Heat up both jars of sauce in a large sauce pan and add all of the chicken.

Once the rice is cooked enjoy your meal and pack up the left overs to store in the freezer for when you need a night off from cooking.

~Elysia B

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Preeclampsia was something that until last month all I'd known about it was that the writers of downton abbey used it to kill off my favorite character. I know it's naive to think about now but, I didn't consider it being something that people still died from, or much less still encountered before now. I didn't read up on it in my pregnancy books, because it didn't seem like something worth worrying over, it seemed like more of a myth...That is until I went to the monthly doctor visit and was told my blood pressure was too high and to report to the hospital maternity wing for observation and testing.

The Dr. told me that day, that at the hospital they'd be monitoring for preeclampsia, and knowing that it could be fatal, I was concerned. But still, I thought it was probably nothing, perhaps my blood pressure was off that day, or the under-treated neuropathic pain, or fibromyalgia, had spiked it somehow. As I sat in triage the nurses put on the baby monitor on my stomach for baby's heart beat to indicate stress and the contraction monitor to see how my uterus was doing. After 20 minutes of monitoring and other tests it showed that my blood pressure was elevated above what it should be. Yet my blood test results were good and although there was protein found, it wasn't necessary to keep me. I was told to just monitor my blood pressure at home and come back in two days for more observation and tests.

I went home feeling like I'd dodged a bullet. Although I felt worse over the next two days and my blood pressure was wonky, I thought that I'd just go in early to mention it to the Dr and then be reassured it was nothing and go to the wedding we had planned to attend. After mentioning the pain in my ribs,  the little spots I saw through my slightly more blurred vision, the Dr ran more tests and they showed elevated levels of a variety of preeclampsia markers. The Dr. decided to keep me for observation and so began the catch and release program, through which I went from 34 weeks pregnant to delivering my son at 36 weeks. Those two weeks I spent mostly in and rarely out of the hospital being monitored and tested daily as my levels rose and symptoms worsened. It was when I stopped keeping sips of water down and my liver enzymes rose that the Drs decided to induce me as my preeclampsia was explained as being too dangerous to keep monitoring. After being induced I was in labor for 5 hours and gave birth to my son, who after a few seconds after being put on my stomach wasn't breathing and was rushed to the NICU. The next two hours were more terrifying than anything I could have imagined I was told he was having trouble breathing and that I needed to pass the placenta, be stabilized, and stitched up before I could see him. I tried to will my body to be better, to summon any last bit of energy I had just to be able to see him and see that he was okay. It mattered very little to me, if I was stable or stitched up I had to know he'd be okay, nothing else mattered. My mind raced as to why no one had come to say he was okay yet.  My husband had gone with him to the NICU and the nurses were dead set on keeping me in my room and in my bed. My mind raced as to what went wrong, what had I done wrong, but the Dr.s and nurses couldn't say if it had been anyone's fault as there is no known cause for preeclampsia. It wasn't a reassuring or supportive environment as it had been before the birth, afterward it felt cold and prison like. The early warmth and joy that came with the observation part our catch and release time, had now come to an abrupt end and I felt alone, guilty, and scared like I never had before.

We were kept a few days as my son needed the CPAP to breath the first 24hrs, and visitors came and went. I just wanted to be alone secretly feeling a mixture of emotions but mainly that birth was traumatic and scary; confused as to why people thought it was glorious. When my milk supply did eventually show up to the party it was lacking greatly and so my son had to be started on formula right away. It felt like a failure of motherhood times two. The NICU nurses were kind to me and I felt somewhat safer and calmer sitting by the incubator where I could see him breathing and make sure he was okay. When visitors came I felt more like a circus act than a joyous mother. This was not what I had imagined motherhood to be like, this was terrifying and overwhelming. In the moments alone with my son I felt immeasurable joy, as I saw him and held him. Watching every movement not wanting to miss out on a second. The time passed and we were both cleared by Dr.'s to go home, I was excited and mostly because I thought we'd finally get to be alone together just him and I. Suddenly new challenges awaited us and I had no idea what was in store.

~Elysia B       

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Pain medications in third trimester

As the third trimester approached I began to struggle as I was completely off of any and all pain medications. Trying to see how long I could go without them as in the third trimester it is suggested to try first to go on bed-rest and not have any medications as it's the best for the baby. My pain specialist has noted that understandably, I may need to go back on medications as pain causes stress to the body which is also bad for the baby. Thus, weighing all the research about my options, nortriptyline while unsafe in the first and second trimesters is now an option to go back to or doxepin. Yet, the least effective and least damaging would still be the Flexril and Extra Strength or T3 strengths of Tylenol as a combo. I've decided that at least with a low dose of nortriptyline (75mg) at least I know it will be effective, as the flexril/tylenol in the 1st and 2nd trimester was a joke, and trying something new like doxepin that's so closely related to the nortriptyline is a risk simply not worth taking at this stage.

However, all things considered I feel like I could manage the fibromyalgia in stride through on bed-rest but what I'm noticing to be most unbearable is the neuropathic pains. The fibromyalgia is predictable as I know where it will hurt, I know it will gradually flare and regularly hurt at increasing levels but the neuropathic is unpredictable. It comes randomly to differing locations and stays for differing durations, it's unpredictable and unbearable. I continue to look healthy and fine on the outside, as my appearance has never reflected the inside pain and sometimes, its quite upsetting as it makes me feel incongruent. Regardless of my pain level that ranges from 8/10-10/10 I reflect nothing on the outside; The surface level that everyone else sees feels like a lie, as it reflects a calm happy face when my insides have a war raging on. When the pain gets too bad to bear I calmly leave the room and go sit in the washroom where I don't need to smile and sometimes if I'm honest, I can't help but cry because its too much to bear alone. But, I suppose that's just life with this type of disorder, when it gets to heavy you take a time-out, leak out some tears, take a couple deep breathes, and eventually pull yourself together and return to life. Is there a better way?

Some people go all natural and unmedicated they swear by smoothie concoctions, natural health products, and vitamin supplements. All of which may help a mild case and may be good for fibromyalgia management, I have yet to discover one that helps my case of it. Yet I wonder what natural things are there for neuropathic pain?

  • B12 injection or supplements are said to help with general pain, also Zinc deficiency can cause pain. I've had the B12 injections during flares in pregnancy but it hasn't helped in any significant way. 
  • Neuropathy: The Northern California Chapter of the Neuropathy Association has published a guide to complementary and alternative treatments for neuropathy. Among the treatments listed are alpha-lipoic acid (a universal antioxidant), Bowen therapy (a type of massage) and IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin therapy), as well as many folk remedies such as borage oil, primrose oil and nettle footbaths. Though there is little scientific evidence supporting these treatments, they are recommended anecdotally by members of NCCNA support groups. Be sure to always discuss alternative treatments with your doctor before experimenting with complementary therapies. 

What cures random electric shocks and sharp stabbing pain? Can we naturally cure this extreme? There are plenty of Dr.'s that continue to tell me how great it is that I'm pregnant as they say, "often pregnancy cures lupus, and fibromyalgia" they talk of pregnancy as a wonder drug in and of itself, that miraclously solves diseases that they can not explain. Does science really back up this claim I wonder?

The title above links to an article that was written by Dana Levy who notes how, "pregnancy and autoimmunity are a potentially hazardous combination. But with the right guidance and therapy, these women can become healthy mothers." As a question and answer with two Dr.'s (Michael Lockshin, MD, professor of medicine and obstetrics-gynecology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, and Laurence Mack, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist with a special interest in high-risk obstetrics in Massapequa, N.Y. ) The article is a helpful resource for women with autoimmune disorders to understand the risks and benefits to pregnancy. As it relates to medication issues I have copied the question and answers directly below:

Q: Can a woman continue to take medication for an autoimmune condition while pregnant?

Dr. Lockshin: When women ask if it’s safe to stay on their medications, I say “I don’t know,” because there is no information available. Many medications have not been examined in pregnancy because drug companies don’t want to give experimental drugs to pregnant women. Often, the only data available are from animals. That said, cyclophosphamide and methotrexate are absolutely forbidden during pregnancy. Additionally, women should not use anti-inflammatory drugs in the latter stages of pregnancy because these agents can damage the baby’s heart and kidneys. In early pregnancy, however, these drugs are probably fine. We’re quite comfortable prescribing drugs like prednisone. With rheumatic diseases, we frequently prescribe hydroxychloroquine. 

Thyroid medications and insulin are also safe. There is some uncertainty about immunosuppressant drugs, but by and large, it is probably better for a woman to continue such medication and not risk a flare than to discontinue it. One of the worst scenarios occurs when a woman finds out she’s pregnant and stops her medications cold, only to have the disease explode.

Dr. Mack: We give pregnant women steroids, but we don’t like to prescribe high doses except in bursts. The strategy entails giving a burst and getting the autoimmune flare under control. Steroids should not be given on a chronic basis in high doses before 16 weeks’ gestation because they can cause congenital anomalies.

~Elysia B 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tool kit for Getting back up

Last week I was finishing my last research papers and prepping for finals with aspirations of walking across a long awaited graduation stage. This weekend I was seen at a walk-in clinic presenting with lost weight due to not keeping food down all week, nausea, and pain, but the main concern with being pregnant was the lost weight. After I pointed to the pain the Dr sent me to the emerg as I had appendicitis, the pain was not phenomenal at first, but like the gallbladder incident I don't notice until its late in the game. Thus, at 3 am sunday morning I had a freak appendectomy and it sucked. Being 19 weeks pregnant its just not cool. At one point they had me on some IV pain killers and I broke out in hives, but only on one arm, the one wrapped around my stomach when I pulled it away to itch it, I felt the shock of Moses as I looked down at my diseased limb... But life happens nothing you can do to change it. We switched med's, and got the surgery as it was the best option. Now I look at the future weeks and I need a literal help getting up as muscles are weakened and theres the possibility of infection. This week things look different, graduation may or may not go on without me, I may or may not be capable of taking exams soon enough, it really sucks. But the important things haven't changed I'm alive, my baby's still safe and well, for these things we give thanks and with hope we get back up.

When dealing with mass amounts of pain on a daily basis it feels similar to being a gymnast you grow used to the pain, and the constant falling. You have a few good days where you can reach the higher bars and then sometimes you wind up and swing to reach and fall hard. "If you like falling gymnastics is the sport for you, you get to fall on your face, your ass, your back, your knees, and your pride!"(a quote from a gymnastics movie) I feel like I can relate a lot to falling, as I have shown throughout this blog I fall alot, but the one thing that pain also teaches you is how vital it is to keep getting back up. 

The first few falls you may feel you'll never recover from but the most important thing about pain is how you respond to it. You always have the choice to get back up, to say to yourself, "Ok maybe today sucks, but this is not how my story ends, tomorrow will be better." Or more relevantly, "So this isn't how I saw my week going, and it really sucks, but we will get back up eventually." Pain teaches perseverance in such a dire and fundamental way, that it makes it a life dependant skill. There is a great deal of pain in our world, but there is also hope, and we need to hold on to that. There are great stories of Vikor Frankl, Joni Eareckson Tada, Philip Yancey and of many others who have shown how to suffer well, how to get back up and it is largely due to their influence that I feel learning to get back up is perhaps the most important skill you can learn in your life.

Thus a good survival kit for a bad pain day should include a some John Oliver who's hilarious view of the world should bring some giggles, a few funny pinterest boards that make you laugh, or inspirational boards to keep you going and if you need it a book on suffering that through reading others experiences may bring some wisdom to what you deal with it.

~Elysia B 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

the effects of neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia on pregnancy, and pain treatment safety

Recently I've been researching the effects of neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia on pregnancy. As by now I'm 16 weeks pregnant and we've let all our friends and family know of our coming excitement. I think its then a little over due to write about it here.

Since I am finding that having Fibromyalgia and having a baby, is fast becoming the ultimate challenge. In order to keep the baby health it is an incredible balancing act, you need to make sure your drugs are safe as the first trimester is most important to the baby's brain and development. But, also that the pain is not going undertreated as it causes stress on your body and your baby. After seeing 3 Dr.'s and 2 pharmacists, in the first few weeks, I found that the Lyrica was unsafe to stay on, however will not do damage, if I went off of it slowly, and over course of a few weeks. (Luckily I was only 3weeks when we found out) However, the Noretritylne is said to be ok, by some and argued as dangerous by others. What a foreign thought to think another human being, is alive and growing within me. 

Thus first hurdle I encountered was going off of the medications that my Pain Specialist deemed unsafe, which the very thought of terrified me. I was off of the Lyrica (300mg) and Nortriptyline (40mg) within the first couple of weeks luckily for us we found out early enough. The Specialist switched me onto cyclobenzaprine (40mg) to help with the pain at night so I could hopefully sleep better. My average pain went from a 7/10 to a 9/10 almost immediately after stopping my medications which is quite a leap, as not only the level of pain changed but also the amount of pain. As the neuropathic pains were mostly being limited from existence through the Nortriptyline. Now without it there to stop them from coming they are coming back with a vengeance, daily growing stronger. The fibro pain was limited by the Lyrica, which without it now similarly grows stronger. After 10 weeks the cyclobenzaprine is rendered useless as its ability to help has weakened as the pain comes flooding back.

The lifestyle effects of the pain are dramatic as can be expected as the morning sickness mingles with chronic fatigue and mendling into the pain symptoms creates what feels like a perfect storm. After seeing multiple specialists they all agree that the drugs are not worth the risk to the baby and I sadly agree as its hard for me to admit that anything would be worth a risk to another life that I am responsible for.

This weeks been the hardest, as I've now surpassed the max allowable classes and go into tricky territory as courses end in three and a bit weeks and I will finally graduate with a BA in Crisis Counselling. Grad seems like a light at the end of the tunnel and my director has assured me that if I need more grace on missing classes I do have extenuating health circumstances that should suffice as reasoning. I worry nonetheless which is only to my detriment as stress exaggerates the pain levels to my brain. The stress from outside areas like family issues and school issues have had me throwing up non-stop this last week, not to mention in embarrassing places as I lack control over more bodily functions. I am learning that with a pain disorder that is triggered by stress I need to protect my baby through having stronger firmer boundaries with others. As if I lose too much more weight they will want to put me on IV's, not cool.  

At 16 weeks pregnant life grows more trying as my pain levels threaten any attempts towards finishing my research papers, classes, and finals; not to mention un-packing from our move, and wifely duties. I sometimes find myself crying on bathroom floor, because I just can't take all the pain, all the time. The latest Dr I saw was a neurologist about the neuropathic trigeminal pains , and he advised that I "grin and bear it, as theres nothing we can do for you until after the birth".

Further research turns up similar findings, "that women with fibromyalgia had more symptoms of pain during pregnancy than women who did not have fibromyalgia. Also, fibromyalgia symptoms seemed to be exacerbated during pregnancy. As pregnant women with fibromyalgia may experience significant pain, fatigue, and psychological stress, especially in the first three months". It's the fourth month and I struggle to maintain my basic daily routines, when I eat the motion of moving my hand to my mouth hurts. There is bone pain in my knuckles, through to my elbow and random neuropathic pain shoots through my veins shocking my system and causing me to jump. The most troubling part of all the pain is that no one understands, or comprehends the extent of it as I do. I know when I explain it to them, they have some brief or vague form of understanding but it is worlds apart from where I stand or fall depending on the day. The research on pain medications and their uses in pregnancy while promising seem also misleading as the College of Family Physicians of Canada state on their website that,
"Commonly prescribed pain medications appear to be relatively safe to use during pregnancy. None of the analgesics has been found to increase the risk of major malformations, although caution should be used when prescribing them in late pregnancy. Because of fear about use of drugs during pregnancy, some pregnant women would rather suffer than treat their pain. Consequently, it is possible that such women are at risk of undertreatment, or no treatment, for painful conditions. Chronic, severe pain that is ineffectively treated is associated with hypertension, anxiety, and depression—none of which is conducive to a healthy pregnancy.1,2"

However, in my experience with the current doctors I see, from GP's to Specialist's all either refuse to help treat the pain or warn against with only the hope of a very weak prescription to help me cope. While the research states how a variety of pain medications are safe to use, Dr.s often view them as to large a risk. While there are some drugs that are very dangerous to take when pregnant and that is why I choose to go off of mine, I understand that there are also those that have been proven to be acceptable with caution. Drugs should only be given if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk. Thus my pain specialist has switched me from the cyclobenzaprine to Tramacete which he has assessed as safe at the lowest dose and will be worth the minor risk of taking. The College of Family Physicians of Canada further defines safe drugs in pregnancy below:


Acetaminophen, a nonsalicylate similar to aspirin in analgesic potency, has demonstrated efficacy and apparent safety at all stages of pregnancy in standard therapeutic doses. Its established safety profile for use has been demonstrated in a recent study of thousands of pregnant women, without increasing risks of congenital anomalies or other adverse pregnancy outcomes.3 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Nonsalicylate NSAIDs are known to relieve pain through peripheral inhibition of cyclooxygenase and hence inhibition of prostaglandin synthetase. They include drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketorolac. To date, studies have failed to show consistent evidence of increased teratogenic effects in either humans or animals following therapeutic doses during the first trimester. However, even short-term use of NSAIDs in late pregnancy is associated with a substantial increase in the risk of premature ductal closure.7


These agents include morphine-like agonists (eg, morphine, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone), meperidine-like agonists, and synthetic opioid analogues (eg, tramadol). Reproductive studies describing the use of narcotic analgesics in human pregnancies are limited, and there are no prospective, comparative studies. However, these drugs have been used in therapeutic doses by pregnant women for many years and have not been linked to elevated risk of major or minor malformations. The Collaborative Perinatal Project identified 448 morphine exposures at various stages of pregnancy and found no evidence of increased teratogenic effects.8 The Michigan Medicaid study reported 332 newborns exposed to hydrocodone, 281 exposed to oxycodone, and 7640 exposed to codeine, all in the first trimester. The rate of major birth defects was 4.6% for the oxycodone-exposed group; 4.9% for the codeine-exposed group (consistent with the general population risk); and 7.2% for the hydrocodone group, which could have been influenced by confounding factors (ie, maternal disease severity and concurrent drug use).9 A case-control study of 141 infants with cardiac malformations did not report an association with the use of codeine in the first trimester of pregnancy.10 Neonatal withdrawal has been observed with use of codeine in late pregnancy, even with therapeutic doses in nonaddicted mothers.11,12
Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, Opioids, Benzodiazepines, Steroids, Antidepressants 
Categories: Ibuprofen (B), indomethacin(B), ketorolac(C), naproxen(B), aspirin(D)
Note that, Pregnancy categories listed above are for first and second trimesters. All NSAIDs are category D in the third trimester. However, there is No role for use of these drugs that is safe in routine pain control during pregnancy. And, If NSAIDs must be used, the duration should be limited to 48 hours or less. 

Meds for Migraines: 
Caffeine, Sumatriptan, Beta Blockers, Ergot Alkaloids, Local Anesthetics, Anticonvulsants

When it comes to the use of Opiods:
If used for prolonged periods during pregnancy, can induce neonatal opioid dependence – withdrawal can range from mild (irritability) to severe (seizures) and is called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Hope some of this research helps others :)
~Elysia B 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Final Exams and Fibro Flares

When facing final exams I try my hardest to focus on the task of memorizing and understanding mounds of information. Often in those moments, when the stress level rises like water slowly filling up to my chin, my nose, and quickly I gasp before the waters rise up to my eye level....This is the level I have been at for a couple of weeks now. Finally, I am done all of my exams with just one last paper to write. At times I feel I plead with myself for more clarity, more strength to keep going, to keep pushing through the pain. Being Christmas time, I attend events in spite of the pain, pushing myself harder to stay longer, and to do everything. The problem with this is that there is this insane notion out, that somehow I can do everything. With all these health issues that remain invisible I never look sick, thus how could I be? I rarely speak of it out loud, because I don't like to be looked at with pity, or implied weakness, thus it must not exist. However, I feel like the internal pop bottle has been shaken too hard this week and the lid's about to burst off and create a sticky mess. 

In this dangerous state when my whole body cries out at me abuse, abuse, abuse! While my migraine pounds to the same agonizing beat, it would seem as though my body feels I passed a limit again and shall pay the price. Good thing I have a week between exams and actual Christmas events, a week dedicated to recovery with a side of house wife chores. All the while in my head I feel victorious, as yes I am ashamed that my homes a disaster, BUT my papers are finished (minus 1), my finals are finished, and I made it out to all the social events - for me in my state those a great heroic accomplishments. Because I try so hard, I push so hard, and sometimes its through physical limits and other times its emotional limits. After pushing so hard I achieved a lot and, proved to myself that despite my limits I can get terribly close to them and succeed. Yet, I don't recommend getting close to your limits or pushing too hard as this week I am in recovery and feeling all the painful side effects of pushing too hard. 

One of the main side effects, being that if, you are at a level 8 in pain, then hot buttons are triggered more easily due to the level of stress effecting the pain. My normal is a level 7 of pain which is only possible with 300mg of Lyrica in the morning, 1.5 mg synthroid for the hashimoto's, and 40 mg of Nortriptyline at night for pain. I have charted my pain levels using the Catch My Pain app from which you can see the images below:

Perhaps checking out that app can help with catching your pain levels :)

~Elysia B

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Wasted Potentials?

I fell down a rabbit hole today, I read the article titled: They Show What's Wrong With The Way The World Treats Girls Without Even Saying A Word.  The title kinda says it all, so by the end of the article there are two organizations you can look further into: "Organizations like The Girl Effect and Malala's Movement stand up for the health and well-being of girls around the world.." Both of which have more articles that open our eyes up to, just how poorly other women are being treated in the world we live in.

The girl effect has numerous statistic's and projects that gives you a better look into the dangers girls face while also providing a new perspective that's worth considering. In the Girl Declaration they feature 5 Goals and 7 principles, that can create change towards a better future for girls and end poverty in the world.

The point that stood out to me most was that they point it out in more financial terms which you can see in the above image that reads,

"The Return on Investing in Adolescent Girls is High, so are the Costs of Excluding Them. Just one additional year of secondary schooling boosts girls’ future earning potential by 15-25 percent. In Kenya, that means national income could jump $3.4 billion – almost 10% – if all 1.6 million Kenyan girls completed secondary school and the 220,000 adolescent mothers avoided pregnancy. In India, the stakes are even higher. With nearly 4 million adolescent mothers annually, India loses $383 billion in potential lifetime income."

Thats a big cost, and it continues further to show how,  "Investing in Girls Helps Solve Global Changes. Investing in adolescent girls is critical to a sustainable future for us all. Adolescent girls can accelerate change on issues ranging from climate change to peace and security. These issues play out on a daily basis in adolescent girls’ lives, yet we fail to make investments that target the unique needs of specific populations of adolescent girls. Building adolescent girls’ capacities accelerates change today and will equip them in the future to make informed decisions about issues such as land resource management, innovative solutions for a green economy and leading more equitable societies. " Continue reading here, Its worth the read or at least a brief skim.

I love that there are organizations in place putting these things together but they need funding to continue, why not support them this christmas season? I find it interesting that in america we focus largely on areas like climate change, environmental issues, food allergies, and  animal testing. There are so many climate change focuses that they even thought of introducing carbon taxes, on most make up brands theres bound to be something featuring animal testing and in almost all coffee shops there dietary fads that flourish. But aside from these popular issues, what about the problems actual people face? 

Aren't these people worth putting the time and energy into helping rather than primarily focusing on  environmental or animal movements. Because IF women are educated in other countries, THEN there would be more brain power going towards all these other causes. And, with all that brain power possibilities would become larger, and opportunities to create a bigger longer lasting change could effect those other areas. Would we not bring a bigger end to these popular issues if ALL women were educated and could then have the opportunities to help in coming up with better solutions? If we look at the UN Statistics on literacy to get a better all around look at the effect on the globe: 

So we can see that if there is 17% of the world's population that are illiterate, and 2/3 are women,  that makes up 11% of the world. Thus,  if 17% of the world is illiterate that's 17% of the brain power we're missing out on, isn't that worth changing or at the very least considering changing. Perhaps a literacy tax would be more beneficial than a carbon tax...

We waste food in america, it's just a fact we are privileged and grow up with increasing numbers of health issues such as obesity, which is a direct result of our privilege. But considering the global stats  of illiterate people, do we not also waste the potential of that 17% when we fail to aid them? 

These are just my thoughts, after reading the article what are yours? 
~Elysia B


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Is there a way to block pain -- true or false

New Research

Recently published on Nov. 26th there was a new medical discovery that seems intriguingly like a glimmer of hope for those of us with all sorts of pain. In Saint Louis University, a way to block the pain pathways in animals. This would mean that they are stopping neuropathic pain at an animal level which is promising and hopeful for humans. You can read the article here, its titled 'Off switch' for pain discovered: Activating the adenosine A3 receptor subtype is key to powerful pain relief

So if there is this way to block pain in tiny animals do you think they will find a way to help humans? 

It seems to me that our brains are far more complex to those of rats with brains the size of my thumb. Could there really be hope, or is this a cruel statement prematurely made? 

~Elysia B 

Friday, 14 November 2014

How the common cold effects Fibromyalgia

Today the neuralgia (? if thats what this is) combined with the fibromyalgia and have stolen my energy. The night before was long and painful as I was up crying, and holding all the parts that hurt. The electric flares up and down my spine shooting to my ears, head, hands, feet, back, and chest. It was one of those nights when the pain is so bad that you can't fight tears and fears at the same time and so they both rush you and flood your systems. After getting 4 hours of sleep between the crying, the shooting pains and coughing. It wasn't till later when I was reminded that the endocrinologist I just waited 2months to see was sick last week when I saw her. Most likely, I have ironically caught a cold from my Dr.... Colds are different for people like me though, they affect all my systems. 

A cold for someone with fibromyalgia, is like a child in a room full of buttons and being told not to push them. The curiosity over comes them, turning the pain nob up and pushing the thyroid leaver back and forth, twisting the temperature up and down, seeing what happens when nerve buttons are played with like a whack-a-mole game. You get the picture..... its not fun. When a cold hits its best to rest, realize limitations and give your body the extra care it needs. 

I had big plans for today, I was going to go to class, write 2 papers, go to my volunteer hours with Victim Services, and help train a new volunteer. I had big plans...its date night too...yet I am confined within my body and plans will have to wait. I will sit in this pain today and ride out the storm as that is all that one can do. But on another note, while in this pain I wonder where is the line I should not cross? How will I know when it gets to bad and I should go in to the Dr and seek medical help? The trouble with being in this kind of pain is that I didn't feel my gallbladder when it got bad enough to go in, I am in a constant state of pain that I no longer recognize when I should seek help. I went into a emerge after the pain became unbearable, they drugged me, and after a couple of hours of blood tests  (and five different needles) they concluded that the flu/ sinus infection had aggravated the already inflamed trigeminal nerve and fibromyalgia. I was sent home with stronger pain killers and no resolution. This is the risk of going in, because when its chronic they have difficult ruling out symptoms as it more often than not all comes on at once with no key answer.
All I know is that today is a rough day, when the shirt I am wearing hurts my skin, everything hurts intensely and I am at a 9.5/10 and my normal is 7 so I wait. With high hopes of it subsiding and going on with my day. Until then, I shall alternate between knitting, and curling into a ball to cry. 

While I'm like this I like to distract myself with hilarious things that I find amusing. I find that laughter is the best medicine for pain, as just because I am stuck in this body does not mean my mind is trapped too. Your mind can be a powerful tool which allows you freedoms you may not be able to reach just yet. However you can still learn new skills while your body is in pain, if you allow it to. Languages, knitting, crochet, courses on any number of things, and of course TED Talks, your brain can be used to learn breathing techniques to deal with the pain better. And on days when you are not sick you may have a new language to try out, or a scarf to keep you warm when you finally get out and about. Its easy to get depressed about your situation when sickness hits someone already dealing with chronic illness, its hard to get back up but I promise you you can. I have fallen many times but gotten back up, at the moment I'm wiped out by a tiny flu bug and will continue to fight to get back up. The flu can send someone with chronic conditions into the hospital as there are more risks involved. While I am down I work hard on essays for classes, and focus on what I can do, thats the hard part. Our brains naturally focus on what we lost, or are losing, but challenge yourself to get back up, to look at what is still possible. I feel as though my motto for life is like this picture these days:


P.S.    A few pictures I found funny:


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