Category Archives: Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites: May 4th 2012

Dear Audy,

Here I am! Here, on Friday! Getting back on track with all things blogging! It feels good to be starting to feel like my old self again. The self who thinks and writes about stuff other than food and herself. It’s ever so nice to think about other things sometimes.

I am starting to get better at the monotonous daily tasks that it takes to look after myself. Cooking doesn’t feel like such an event every day, it’s starting to feel more normal. I am currently working on getting some more structure into my days. I need to fit in basic needs (like food and sleep), pain management and creative productivity. When I have those three things working in harmony, life gets easier.

Here I am winning at baking Paleo chocolate cookies. No sugar, no grains, no dairy, but all yum! I can’t link to this recipe, it’s from this ebook.


This week, I have been able to spend some time working on projects for Chronic Pain Australia. I am very excited about some of the things that are happening over there. National Pain Week is in July and there’s lots going on this year. Check out the official page if you would like further details! You can also stay up to date with the events by following CPA on Facebook and Twitter.

I have done a better job at keeping my emotions in check after writing this post earlier in the week and realising that there was no need to be getting upset about things. Occasionally, I stray a little too far away from the bottom line that I established back in December.

Nothing actually needs to upset me. I need to challenge these feelings, the thoughts that led to them and the inherent beliefs that I hold that led to these thoughts. The power to feel happy or sad about any situation is entirely my own.


Without further ado and introspection, here are some links to blog posts that have helped me to stay focused and inspired this week:

So much harder than I ever could have thought…
on Battling With CRPS

An insightful look into how CRPS can make doing things so much more difficult than they would be without it. Sometimes we really enjoy things, however, and we pay the physical price of participation. Sometimes, we try to enjoy things and it doesn’t quite work out and then we have to pay the price of the attempt. Life can be so challenging! Really hope that you recover and feel better soon, Jane.

What My Back Injury Taught Me
on Going Down Swinging

Maria has cultivated an amazing ability to learn from her experiences, however painful they might be. Her resilience is inspirational, go and have a read.

Tern To The Present
on Life, CRPS & Everything

Awareness is a wonderful and powerful thing. This personal story is a great example of how emotional things can get mixed up in our brains sometimes, but if we put in some effort, we can alter our happiness by altering our perceptions.

Does the internet rewire your brain?
On BBC Neurohacks

An interesting read on how technology and the world around us effect our brains. I like to read about how our brains are changing all the time on account of I am working as hard as I can to get mine to change in ways that have life cause me less pain.

Happiness That Doesn’t Depend On What Happens
on Sarah Wilson

A great read on learning to adjust what we perceive to be the triggers of happiness.

I hope that you enjoy following those links and find something there to inspire you too!

Do you know what happens now? The weekend. Yay! I have been pushing myself a little bit harder from Monday to Friday in terms of the three areas of my life that I mentioned I am attempting to improve. This means that Saturday and Sunday are a weekend again. I had missed them! All of the days start to feel the same without work or study to break them up. Not anymore, I’m taking back my days off and mmmm, they taste good.

Enjoy your S-days, Audy! Are you planning any adventures?

Love & Spontaneous Dance Moves,
Caf

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  • Friday Favourites: March 30th 2012

    Dear Audy,

    For those of you following along with my cooking adventures this week, I can happily report that my hearty beef stew was delicious! I was following a fairly basic recipe, this being my first attempt at such a dish, however I wanted to add a little something to make it personal and that was chilli. Mmmm, spicy. Then my prince came home and added a little lime zest to the mix, something that I wouldn’t have thought of, but it took the stew from yummy to amazing.

    Cooking from scratch is a lot of work, but I definitely think that it’s worth it. My tummy is feeling a lot better today after giving me grief for a couple of weeks. I’m actually looking forward to cooking more pots full of magic mushy food with the rest of my home-made beef stock. Yeah, I don’t really recognise myself either…


    (source)


    And now for the weekly collection of blog posts that have inspired me this week. Enjoy! I hope that you are able to find something here that makes you smile or think.

    Don’t Be Sorry
    on Kisses From The Fight

    This post is moving and beautiful. Most of the things that Jess writes are. Go on over, read her blog and subscribe so that you don’t miss out on the wisdom that threads through everything that she posts.

    Help Stop The Misinformation About Chronic Pain
    on Shauna’s Life In Pain…And Other Fun Things

    Education is a hugely important part of learning to cope with absolutely anything. If we already knew everything, already knew the best ways to cope with everything, then nothing would ever be a challenge. Living with chronic pain is most definitely a challenge and it’s only by educating ourselves that we can start to see ways to keep moving forward.

    It’s certainly easier to cope when the people around us take the time to learn a little too. Supporting someone is fairly difficult if you don’t really understand what is going on for them. Time spent learning is never wasted, just something to think about the next time you are doing nothing and might want to gain a deeper understanding about the life of a chronically ill friend.

    New Glasses, Renewed Perspective
    on Life, CRPS & Everything

    It can be hard to deal with declining health issues when living with chronic illness. It can even be hard to notice them. Last year I discovered that I need reading glasses and having them has made a lot of difference whenever I need to focus in one direction for a while. My case is nowhere near as severe as the one described in this story, however I could still relate and enjoy the positivity that comes through in this blog about acceptance and change.

    Can Meat Make You Happy?
    on That Paleo Guy

    I found this post very interesting, especially in light of the fact that much of the health advice offered in the blogosphere is of the vegan persuasion. I don’t have anything against vegans, it’s just not the right lifestyle for me. Before adopting Paleo principles in my diet I often felt like I would never be eating healthily unless I cut out all animal products. This idea was just the result of not having exposed myself to enough modern information about food and the human body. I’ve read a lot in the last six months and now feel perfectly comfortable with pursuing a Paleo, rather than a vegan lifestyle (still, kudos to vegans, I admire the strength it takes to make severe changes and choices for one’s health, not sharing the same viewpoint doesn’t mean that I respect their motivations any less).

    I had kind of figured that the mental health benefits that many report when taking on a Paleo diet were really the result of eating much, much less sugar. This assumption has arisen from my own experiences with cutting sugar from my diet and then observing how my body and mind react if I do happen to treat myself on occasion. The impact is pretty intense. A few times I have felt like a rabid junkie, strung out and desperate for a fix after only one sugary snack.

    That’s the effect of a drug, not a food.

    With that in mind it was interesting to read about a possible connection between eating red meat and better mental health. This isn’t really a conclusive study, however it’s interesting reading for anybody looking to change their diet to improve their health.

    No More Silence: Mental Illness Should Be Talked About
    on ABC Ramp Up

    I think that there are a lot of similarities between how people respond to a person with mental illness and how people respond to a person with an invisible chronic illness. For a long time, it was believed that chronic pain without a physical cause that could be seen and found was actually a mental illness, rather than a physical one. We know better these days, but there are still plenty of working practitioners out there who haven’t stayed up to date on the topic.

    Much like chronic pain, we can’t always see when somebody has a mental illness. It takes a little bit more effort to understand that entire diseases can exist outside our visual perception. Many people who suffer from chronic pain also suffer from depression and anxiety. These states of being don’t cause one another but they are deeply intertwined and either one has the ability to greatly influence the other.

    “There is nothing to hide. There is no need for shame. It is not a case of being brave. It is merely a matter of facing, tackling and talking about mental illness as you would any other disease. If as a society we could manage to achieve that we would be living in a far better place.”
    – Glenn Mitchell, ABC Ramp Up


    And now it’s time to relax into the weekend. I don’t have any plans, which is actually a relief after having to cancel on everything last week. I do have a few dreams about getting my house clean and buying some plants to start my thus far neglected garden. Pain management will come first though, I need to keep looking after myself so that I can regain my confidence and ability to get back out into the world.

    Do you have any plans this weekend? Tell me all about them! I love to live vicariously through the adventures of others.


    Love & Beefy Leftovers,
    Caf

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  • Friday Favourites: March 23rd 2012

    Dear Audy,

    My nervous system has gone into full free freakout mode today, I think the only part of me that isn’t currently hurting is my brain, which isn’t exactly fair considering that that’s the part that is malfunctioning and hurting the rest of me. Oh, you are so silly sometimes body!

    I am persisting with the voice dictation software. I am quickly realising how much it actually helps and how much stress that I’ve been putting my fingers through just because I was a little bit hesitant to put in the work that it will take to train my brain to connect to my mouth in the same way that it sends words through my hands. Hopefully, finally biting that bullet will help me to stay on track with my writing endeavours even when I can hardly move at all.

    Unfortunately, voice dictation software doesn’t do anything to help the mind confusion that is caused by a misfiring nervous system. If somebody could please invent brain enhancing software/pills (and you can just go ahead and use the movie Limitless as a starting off point) then I would be exceptionally thankful. C’mon, Science!


    (source)


    I haven’t been up for reading very much this week, but here are some posts that managed to penetrate through my brain fog and inspire me in different ways…

    It’s probably not a co-incidence that the theme here is finding the little things to enjoy during tough times!

    Glimmer Of Hope
    on Nicole Hemmenway

    A short post that reminded me that even when days are seeming particularly dark, time will keep passing and eventually the light will shine back in.

    Simple Acts Of Radical Noticing
    on Crazy Sexy Life

    A great article on the benefits that practising mindfulness can bring into the stressful lives of people striving in the modern world. Once you start noticing things, all sorts of things, life starts to reveal the wonders that have been hiding behind lifetimes of assumptions.

    Snapshots Of The Sublime In Fire And Ice
    on Paining Jane

    A beautifully descriptive and inspiring story about putting pain aside and enjoying the things in life that truly make us happy.

    It’s the little Successes
    on CRPS & Me

    This post celebrates the small things that can still be achieved and enjoyed despite living with chronic pain. Changing our attitudes about what counts as a win can make that feeling of winning a much more common thing.

    That’s it from me for this week, it’s time to go back to resting, Feldenkrais, deep breaths and preparing for the weekend. It’s a big weekend of birthday parties for me, whilst I’m looking forward to these, the condition of my body right now has me thinking that I might not be able to celebrate with as much gusto as I’d hoped. Oh well, I shall do my best, smile as much as possible and remember that I have all of next week to recover from this wonderful month of March madness.

    Love & Sparks Of Dwindling Energy,
    Caf

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  • Friday Favourites: March 16th 2012

    Dear Audy,

    I turned off my air conditioner for about fifteen minutes this morning. It was a big mistake! Excess pain came over me like an internal rash, tingling and burning under the skin and through my joints. Naturally, I turned the a/c right back on, however a couple of hours later I am still working at releasing the flare and getting the pain back down again.

    Them’s the breaks, for me, when there is too much water in the air. It’s no use getting upset about it, I just have to manage what is. That’s not to say I’m a zen master who didn’t get upset at all, I shook my fist at the sky a little before I remembered that doing that won’t help.

    I will work through today and do I what I can to lower the pain, a long Feldenkrais session is most certainly in order, as well as some meditation. My anxiety has been raging around in its cage this week and I would very much like to set it free. It gets a little tiresome letting go of silly worry after stupid concern, when I’d much rather be focusing on other things. I can recognise the patterns of thought these days, I see anxiety for what it is, however I still do have to actively deal with it from time to time.


    Go away, clouds, you’re hurting me!


    And now for the weekly collection of inspiration from the interwebs!

    Friends and Other Forms Of Support
    on Life, CRPS & Everything

    Friends are a wonderful thing. This fact becomes extremely clear when something like chronic pain or illness strips away so much of a person’s existence. Friends that take the time to understand the needs of others and to even offer help and support are the people to cherish the most. I enjoyed this post thanks to the celebration and appreciation of friendship.

    On Technology and the Patient with Chronic Illness
    on A Chronic Dose

    I consider myself pretty lucky to be chronically ill in the modern world, as opposed to being chronically ill in the world before technology came so far in its ability to connect and assist us. Blogging throughout my journey with CRPS has introduced me to some wonderful fellow travellers, as well as providing me with much inspiration that has helped me see new perspectives. Social media gives me a way to stay in touch with friends and even make new ones despite being stuck at home so often. Not to mention, it’s pretty handy to have a calendar that beeps important things at me, a camera to capture oddities in my limbs and an up to the minute weather evaluation/forecast all at my fingertips. Go, technology!

    The Multiple Losses of Disease
    on Going Down Swinging

    There are a lot of new feelings to deal with when a person receives a diagnosis of CRPS, which Maria points out is often described as a “progressive and incurable neurological disease”. That’s pretty heavy stuff right there. Chronic pain reaches every part of a person’s life and changes some more drastically than others. People often experience a lot of grief; for themselves, for their future selves, for the relationships that don’t survive, for the dreams that no longer thrive.

    Maria has put together some helpful information to help guide those currently experiencing that overwhelming sense of loss. It took a long time for me to even recognise that what I was feeling was grief (rather than misery). I recommend this blog post to those looking to help make sense of their emotions and begin the process of overcoming.

    Finding the energy and being kind to yourself in an indifferent world…
    on Paining Jane

    Living with CRPS, or any chronic pain condition, turns everyday situations into dangerous places, wrought with the possibility of causing further pain. Being bumped by an inconsiderate member of the public can be the trigger of a flare that could last for days or weeks. For me, the hardest part of coming to terms with this was recognising that the world is not going to soften its edges for me. I take precautions such as not putting myself in crowded situations, or attending in my wheelchair so that it can act like an all around bumper bar. I do what I can, but there are still a lot of places that I’ll avoid because of crowds.

    Jane’s post gives some insight into what a bump in public is like for somebody with chronic pain. It’s not just physical pain, we also cop a lot of mockery from healthy people who just don’t believe that it could hurt that bad. I don’t have glamorous ideas about this attitude changing quickly, but I do hope that through sharing stories and raising awareness we can slowly and steadily make an impact on the childish jokes.

    The Art of Nothingness: Why Balance Matters
    on Pick The Brain

    Doing stuff is totally overrated. In coming to terms with my chronic pain, I have had to let go of a lot of old ideals about achievement. I have had to learn to appreciate life in ways that aren’t reliant on being productive. That’s not to say I do nothing and love it, I just have a new appreciation for down time and I’ve experienced the benefits of slowing down in both mind and movement.

    That wraps up the highlights from my Google Reader this week. Enjoy!

    I shall now go back to being ridiculously excited about Elmo’s World Tour for the rest of the day. I am going tomorrow. Puppets! Colours! Songs! Hurrah!

    What are you planning for this weekend?


    Love & Doggy Cuddles (from Sammy and Lucy, they wanted to say Hi)
    Caf

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  • Friday Favourites: March 9th 2012

    Dear Audy,

    I have been doing really well this week. My body isn’t totally done with Summer flaring, however the effects have been greatly reduced. I am managing further drives and more housework and attempting to pace these out so that I have enough time for recovery. Managing chronic pain is a full time job!

    Like most people who work all day, I like to take breaks and read the Internet. Here are the most interesting blog posts that entered the blogosphere this week, enjoy!

    Note: I did not actually read the whole internet, so this is a collection from my Google Reader.

    Perception is a funny thing…


    (source)


    It’s All About Perception
    from The Girl Behind The Dress

    I first came across Carly on Twitter and I have been enjoying following her blogging adventures for some time now. I love the way she writes honestly about life and the challenges she’s facing. This post is about perception in regards to body image.

    I can relate a lot to this as I have spent a good portion of my time with CRPS attempting to change various perceptions (pain is a perception). It’s a strange time of the journey when you start to become aware of your emotions being influenced by skewed perception, but still struggle to catch your thoughts in time to change the outcome.

    Kudos to Carly for not only recognising the habits that she would like to change, but for recognising that these changes take time, work and courage. You go, girl!

    Love the skin you’re in. Love the skin others are in.
    from Tune Into Radio Carly

    Carly Findlay has written a wonderful post on appearance and how this external thing effects the ways that people treat one another on a personal level.

    “They [people] assume that looking the way I do is a burden (forgetting that the burden is actually the pain of the condition) and that I may not be achieving all that I am. And as you know, I am so very happy with life and all that I’ve done so far.” -Carly Findlay


    Go and have a read of this post, it might just help you to stop assuming things about others, based on their appearance. Looks are such a flimsy indication of anything. We’d all be better off for a little less judging of one another and a little more appreciation of differences.

    The real reason why it’s so hard to get your Australian novel published.
    from Call My Agent

    I loved the blunt honesty in this post. If Australian writers want and industry that is thriving enough to publish books, then Australians need to buy books written by Australians. It’s about supporting your own, local industry, and I can support that 100%.

    It’s more than just pain…
    from Living With CRPS/RSD

    Jackie is a blogger from New Zealand who writes about her life with CRPS. This post is about some of the aspects of living with chronic pain that aren’t always obvious to those that haven’t experienced them. For those who do live with chronic pain, I am sure you will be able to relate to this as much as I did.

    Windows into pain.
    from Body in Mind

    What happens when the pain researcher becomes the pain patient? Lorimer Moseley is finding that out. As much as I am sorry to hear about anybody experiencing chronic pain, I think that this is a fascinating situation and I am very interested to see how it unfolds and how the experience of chronic pain fits (or doesn’t) with theories and research.

    Staying inspired is the best way to get through the hard time and make the most of the less hard times. What has inspired you to think and ponder this week?

    That’s all from me! If you missed my video update from yesterday, you can find it here.

    Love & Fist Bumps,
    Caf

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  • Friday Favourites: 2nd March 2012

    Dear Audy,

    It’s been a whirlwind of a week, not in the heaps of stuff happening way, but in the sense that time has been swirling past in a blur. I’ve been busy dealing with some pretty nasty flares and turning to distractions when my pain management techniques fall short of getting me moving again.


    (source)


    One of my favourite distractions is reading blogs! Here are five outstanding posts from this week:

    Be Willing To Suck At It
    on Crazy Sexy Life

    I love this author’s attitude about learning. The truth is, when we first do something, we often suck at it, but we don’t have to perceive that as a bad thing. I once spent too much of my life only wanting to do things that I was good at, things that would result in compliments and recognition due to the sheer awesomeness of my ability to do them. I thought that many talents were born into people, things like drawing, singing, dancing and writing.

    All the down time that came along with developing CRPS had me re-evaluate this perspective. I practised drawing and discovered that I could quite quickly get better at it by simply dropping the idea that I should be able to do it already (magically).

    I also began singing as a form of stress release and have improved quite a lot. I’m not about to sing for you just yet, however I have noticed that over time my brain begins to connect the nervous system patterns that make creating particular sounds possible and that I can cultivate these into better sounding songs.

    You can be sure that I majorly sucked at both of these pursuits before chronic pain, now they are things that I can enjoy and ways that I can continue to grow despite so many aspects of my life being stalled.

    Small Victories Are Big Victories
    on Painfully Optomistic

    Ross is a fellow traveller on the journey through life with CRPS. He has been through a lot in the past 12 months (surgeries and setbacks) yet his positive attitude still shines through in his writing.

    Small victories are one of the biggest things in the life of a person with chronic pain, it’s important to take some time to recognise this, lest we get caught up in the smaller struggles of day to day life.

    Balloons
    from Kisses From The Fight

    Jess writes in a heightened style that always plays beautifully through my eyes and mind. This is, by far, the saddest topic that I read about this week, yet that’s what makes it so amazingly touching.

    The effects of chronic illness on the ability to have a family burdens many young women who live with pain. Sometimes, the choice is just taken away and sometimes the risks are simply too high.

    “Babies and the possibility of not having them is rarely discussed. it is less spoken about when it’s the young. And even less again in the young and Chronically Ill. But this is my reality now. I am faced with complete heartbreak and uncertainty, as my body fails in me in the worst way yet. I am ok that my body has tried to kill me. I am not ok that it is trying to kill my future.” – Jess, Kisses From The Fight


    Celebrate Your Successes
    on Dream Delight Inspire

    Counting the little things isn’t just for sick people, everybody can benefit from a little alteration in perspective. It’s too easy to get bogged down in the bad of something, however often when we step back to examine the bigger picture, we see that we’re still moving forward.

    Chronic Pain Hope – Brain Changes can be Reversed
    on BBOY SCIENCE

    This article contains some great information about Central Sensitisation and the hope that it can be reversed. The gist of this piece falls in line with the reason that I practise Feldenkrais.

    If I keep tipping the pain scale toward the lower end, then eventually the healthier patterns of movement will strengthen and overtake the malfunctioning habit that is chronic pain. I have made a lot of improvements, all small and all slow, but all amounting to a huge changes in how I use my nervous system and a brighter future ahead.

    Have you read something interesting or entertaining this week, Audy? What sort of writing topics and styles do you find inspirational?

    Love & Cocoa Beans,
    Caf

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