Baby Steps…And A Challenge

Before I even begin writing this post, I’d just like to say thanks to all of you who have been reaching out to me and who continue reading my blog, (despite the spotty postings) lifting me up through this heartbreaking time in my life. It means the world ❤️ and I ask you to please be patient with me. I know this article may seem very jumbled and way longer compared to previous posts

Hey, internet family! I know I have been MIA for the last few months (that’s putting it lightly 😬) but I’m doing my best to get back into my writing in general, as well as on here. 

I recently got an email from a long time follower, who challenged me (as well as told me that they’ve been missing my blog posts and just wanted to check in with me to make sure I’m doing okay) to start writing again, and then sent me this link to a different bloggers article that had a huge list of questions to answer.

They told me that I need to go easier on myself as I’m dealing with a whole heck of a lot right now in my personal life. (Which, I admit, is the understatement of the year 🥺) and that if, and when, I decide to start writing again, to take baby steps and not force myself into rushing back to writing just because I worry about losing traffic on here because my postings have been spotty at best lately. 

I want to pause right here to say that when I originally started blogging, my goal wasn’t to become ‘popular’ or to earn money writing.

I started blogging for a few reasons; (but I won’t get into that right now as this is already a long post 😂; but let me know if that’s something you would like to find out about)

She went on to say that it probably wouldn’t be easy to just jump back into writing, so she said maybe the first step could be just answering questions on my blog and slowly work my way back up.

I think that is a great idea! Baby steps.

While I currently have the list she sent me in the email, I thought I’d ask if any of you have a question or two in mind.

Let me know down in the comments or you can reach me HERE. Facebook is the best way to reach me as I can respond a lot faster.

I will leave this post up for a week and please feel free to ask me anything you’d like to know 😊

I’m excited to see what the responses are from all of you 😊. In a week, if I haven’t received any responses, I’ll be filling out the questions from the article I linked above. There are over 300 questions though; so I will be answering them a handful at a time.

30 Day Chronic Illness Blogging Challenge: Day 16

Day 16: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

There are many quotes I love that have helped in many situations. I’ve even begun to make my own.

Two of my favorite quotes are ‘Its funny how day by day nothing changes; but when you look back, everything has changed.” And “A semicolon is used when the author could have ended the sentence; but chose not too. The author is you and the story is your life.”

You can check out more of my quotes HERE

30 Day Chronic Illness Blogging Challenge: Day 15

Day 15: What would you say to people newly diagnosed with this illness?

So many things came to mind as soon as I read the daily challenge but a few come to mind the most.

  • Don’t brush off symptoms-I can’t even count the number of times I ignored my symptoms and told myself I was just working too hard or not sleeping long enough; and on and on.
  • Keep a daily log of symptoms and activities-to help make your ‘journey’ go smoother to finding answers, having a log of every part of your life is a huge help.
  • Trust your gut-you know your body better than anyone. No one knows how you feel better than you.
  • And most of all, be your own advocate-So many times I’ve had doctors, nurses, friends and family intentionally or otherwise make me doubt what I’m going through. After all, if all the tests come back normal again and again, it must be in my head. Right?

Don’t give up. It can be easy to get frustrated when you spend days, months, or even years in and out of doctors offices, hospitals, having a million tests done, endless medications and a lot of trial and error to find the right treatment for you.

30 Day Chronic Illness Blogging Challenge: Day 10

Day 10: What little things makes your life easier?

There are so many little things that make my life easier with 3 incurable but non fatal chronic illnesses, but for now, I just want to share the two things that have helped above all else.

When I first began my ‘journey’ to find answers as to why I was suddenly so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed, I began blogging as a way to work through all the emotions I was feeling, as well as to maybe find others in my same situation. Best decision I made, although a uncomfortable one at first. I was and am a huge writer, and I have dozens of books filled with my words. But I had never up till that point shared the details of my personal life online.

I knew I had to do something to help me deal with everything that was happening. I couldn’t keep it bottled up inside and hope to come out unscarred emotionally.

So I started my blog, and the responses, while slow at first, rapidly became more and more. Others sharing their stories, stories of others they know or heard about, opinions and questions all for them, these strangers, to do what they could to help me find answers.

It still makes me emotional when I think about it. I never would have thought perfect strangers would actually try and help me. But I’m beyond glad they did. It helped me find answers, but most of all, it helped me deal with all I was feeling and having someone who’s there for you, even if they don’t have any sort of Chronic illness, is such a blessing. Someone to remind you that you are human. That your emotions and feelings are valid and natural.

Some of the best friends I have ever known I’ve never met face to face. Endless video chats and emails, yes.

I have a HUGE ‘unbiological family’ scattered all over the world, not just the US. Sharing my story was the best decision I have ever made. It forced me out of my comfort zone, to be vulnerable, to reach out to the nameless people online for support and answers.

Now, almost 7 years later, I’m still receiving emails from people asking how I’m doing and if there’s anything they can do to help. Even more shocking, at least from my perspective, I still receive countless emails, chats, phone calls from my followers and people who came across my blog one way or another telling me how much my writing has helped them. How they hope I never stop writing.

I have always loved to write, even as a young child. But it never occurred to me that my writing was actually going to help others. That by putting words on paper, (or in my case, online) I could inspire someone I don’t even know.

I always thought there was never going to be anything good about getting sick, getting on disability, unable to work, losing countless friends and family due to my illnesses and all that comes with it. But I’m so proud to say I was wrong.

You may have come across a page on my blog called Quotes By Me. After my ‘Journey’ began and I had to fill up every single day with anything just to prevent me from going crazy. I began making custom quotes, at first just ones I love. Then some for different situations (Dealing with life, loss, friendship, etc.) I began receiving requests for a specific quote someone wanted to see me make for them.

That has been an amazing idea that I wanted to see if I could push myself further. So I then began to make Spoonie Thoughts And Advice, Movie Quotes, and Song Lyric quotes. I am still in the process of adding more catagories, as well as adding them to my blog.

Keep checking back for new content in each category. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have something you’d like me to make, or even if you just need to rant and I listen without judgement. I only give advice if someone asks for it. Otherwise I just listen.

My contact information can be found on my ‘About Us‘ page under Karley Kay. My email and Facebook are usually the ones most people use to reach out to me.

If you reach out to me, I will always reach back to you. You’re not alone. You matter. Always. Don’t ever let someone tell you differently. You got this. I believe in you.

30 Day Chronic Illness Blogging Challenge: Day 7

Day 7: What was the biggest realization you have had?

I’ve been on my Chronic Illness ‘journey’ for 7 years this April and it’s taken me this long but I finally found a GOOD thing about having multiple (3) Chronic Illnesses.

I know what you may be thinking. “How in the world is there something good about having incurable illnesses?!” But it’s true. It’s taken me this long to find a good thing about my ‘journey’ and it came out of nowhere and hit me hard as I feel like I should have seen it long before now.

When I first began my ‘journey’ to find answers, I started this blog as a way to deal with it and hopefully have some support from others in my same situation.

Now, almost 7 years later, I have a huge ‘family’ scattered around the world who understand that part of my life and support me no matter what.

And to me, that’s everything ❤️

Brain Fog Confession/Rant

NOTE: When I began typing this, it was just going to be the first paragraph; a short funny brain fog moment to share with some of the Chronic Illness/Pain/Brain Fog support groups I belong too. Then the words just started pouring out of me. Shared it with a friend to make her laugh and decided to keep on typing and see where it went. Out came this article.

Continue reading

Chronic Illness Challenge: Day 4

Day 4: How have your friends and family reacted to it?

To be honest, I lost a huge portion of support from family almost the minute I got sick. When I explained to them that I was in a ton of pain and was going to doctors to find out what was wrong with me, they said I was overreacting. They said I was just lazy. They said I should ‘do my duty’ and go to work and be a better wife. And on and on.

Friends stayed for awhile, then I finally got my diagnosis and it all changed. First I stopped going out as much due to my illness, they understood at first. As the months passed, the calls came less and less. Finally my phone just didn’t ring at all.

Then, the ones that did stay, tried to make it my fault. “Your illnesses are bad but I can’t believe you won’t suck it up for your friends for one night.”

“You never feel good, maybe if you did yoga or exercised more, you wouldn’t feel so bad.”

“Avoiding this food just because some paper says its not good for your so called condition? that’s just stupid.”

“If you went to church more, you would feel better.”

And this one is my favorite  *Sarcasm* “Its your choices that made you this way. Everything was fine but then you moved to a new state, got married, and you “suddenly” got sick,

 So, no, they didn’t handle it well at all.

But although I lost a lot of friends and family when I got sick 6 years ago and have trouble even now, I did find the most amazing people through support groups on Facebook.

People who understand and accept you no matter what. One such group is We’re In This Together

The woman who helps run this with her sisters is amazing. She does her best to help everyone and does this all on her free time because she cares about us.

She runs fun contests, allows posts of all kinds, not just the positive ones, because she knows its not always ‘good’ in life when you live with chronic pain or illness(es).

She runs the group with her three sisters- Caitlyn, Melody, and her friend, Dylan.

I don’t think I could have survived dealing with a new diagosis without the amazing people in the group and some other such groups.


Reasons I Started Blogging About My Illnesses

I’ve spent almost 5 years blogging about my chronic illnesses. At first I just blogged about anything and everything, but the day I got my diagnosis I decided to start blogging about things that actually had depth and meaning to me.

I still blog about anything and everything, but there’s one difference. Now when I do write about anything and everything, it has a lesson, a meaning, a story.

There are many reasons I started writing about my chronic illnesses, but I thought I should shorten the list, so here are my top ten reasons I started blogging.

Reason #1: To connect with others.

When you get diagnosed or even start having symptoms, life changes no matter how hard you try to make it stay the same. For me, my life changed so much I lost who I was for a while.

Reason #2: To share the illness experience.

When I first got my diagnosis, I thought going to a support group would help me, but I looked around and couldn’t find one. That was when I realized I didn’t have to have an in-person support group to get support. I found the best support groups on Facebook. Some of the best friends I have ever had are because of these groups.

Since being diagnosed with Interstitial CystitisEndometriosisDepression and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, I’ve learned how to ask for support and, in return, give support to others.

Reason #3: To give to my hubby and friends some downtime.

There is only so much that my husband and friends can discuss issues about my illnesses. They need a break, too.

Reason #4: To deal with what I feel.

I’ve always been a writer, but blogging has helped me so much emotionally. I’ve been able to finally start dealing with what I feel. I am still dealing with it, and honestly, I may never fully be able to deal with everything that has been happening to me. But it’s a start.

Reason #5: To help others.

You are not alone. Even if we do not share the same illnesses, we understand each other on a level that most healthy people do not.

Reason #6: Encourage others to share their own stories

Writing has always been my preferred way of communicating with others. Family, friends, even strangers. There was just something so much easier about writing it all down in letter form.

Reason #7: Build and expand the chronic illness community

Finally getting my diagnosis was terrifying, but also amazingly validating. That was the day I really knew what was happening to me was NOT in my head. It was real. There was proof now. 6 years later there are still a large group of family and friends who refuse to acknowledge my pain, my illnesses. Even after trying for years to prove it to them, that I wasn’t looking for attention, I realized I had to let it go. I can’t make them believe me. And no one should ever feel the need to ‘prove’ how sick they are. You are not obligated to prove anything. If they can’t accept you for who you are, thats on them.

There is a small amount of extended family who want to believe I’m fine, so they pretend I’m fine, even with everything thats happened.

Reason #8: Raise awareness for all

There is not an illness or condition in the world that matters more than others. We all struggle. We all deal with emotional and physical baggage, no matter the illnesses. Every single one of us matters. We have to stand together and make the chronic illness community thrive and expand. We can all be a voice of support for everyone, no matter if its undiagnosed or finally has a name. #WeStandTogether

Reason #9: To reflect

One of my favorite quotes is, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes , but when you look back everything is different?” ― C.S. Lewis.

I spent a long time hiding from the truth of my illnesses. All I heard about was how I just needed to exercise more, eat better, work harder, and so on. Pretty soon, I convinced myself that they were right. But doing all of that still didn’t help the pain, the emotional trauma.

Finally one morning I woke up and couldn’t even get out of bed by myself and I woke up crying in pain. I began the circus of doctors, tests, surgeries and a pharmacy of different medications. It has taken a long time, but now I am able to look back at everything and see that it hasn’t been easy, but slowly I’ve begun finding myself. New parts of myself, but I’m not sure I can ever get back to who I was before this ‘journey’ changed my whole life in just a matter of hours. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be who I was and for a long time I tried so hard to tell myself I just needed to do more, that I was just out of shape. Some of my best posts were rated highly, shared often of the beginning of my journey. My blog has been a way to see the amount of progress, no matter how small.

Reason #10: Becoming an advocate

While I don’t do much in the way of public speaking, I do the best I can with my blog and social media posts. I listen to everyone. I don’t judge. There is a “Don’t Punish Pain” rally every year in Boise and while I am unable to travel that far, I will be trying to get a group together here. We can make a difference. We can get our voices out there. It only takes one.

*Edit* Local Group For Chronic Pain

**First off, we want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped get the word of our group out there, we look forward to seeing you soon! In the original article, it said we meet Wednesdays at 3 but we meet every Monday at 3. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, you can see our contacts listed below. 

(208) 306-3206

Secondly, we would love to expand our reach for the group so please share! We have a Facebook group for the Chronic Pain Support Group as well as meet in person once a week.

By: Michaela Leung

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – September is Chronic Pain Awareness Month. Chronic Pain is defined as ongoing pain with no biological value. Living with the condition can be difficult that’s why local women got together to form a support group.

After her diagnose, Karley Linger wanted to find a support group. The closest group was in Boise so she decided to start her own.

“I realized how little support people get because you look fine and they don’t think you’re in pain. It’s doctors, friends, family,” says Linger.

Chronic Pain is more common than you may think.

“Chronic Pain is a national health crisis. Approximately one hundred million Americans of adult age suffer from chronic pain, that’s roughly one in three Americans,” says Sarah Fedorff, a group member.

Those who live with it may feel isolated because nobody understands how they are feeling. It can be hard to live with especially for those in recovery for substance addiction.

“If you’re somebody like me that’s in recovery for addiction you can’t really take a bunch of pain pills. So what happens is you either have to take pain medication or you have to suffer in silence,” says Libertie Potts, a group member.

But with the support group, those living with chronic pain don’t have to be silent.

“Peer support helps to get you back into the community and try to cope with everything without isolating yourself and falling into your depression,” says Linger.

“Studies have shown that having a social support system actually makes people more resilient to chronic pain, utilizing less medications and having better outcomes,” says Fedorff.

“It’s a really good way to kind of get people together and talk about it, and my pain isn’t so bad when I’m hanging out with other ladies that kind of know what we’re doing,” says Potts.

The group meets every Monday at 3:00 p.m. At the Center for HOPE. The new location is next to the Behavioral Health Crisis Center (530 E. Anderson St., Idaho Falls)

They encourage anyone who wants to join to stop by.

AloeMD; Pain Relief And Healing Lotion Review

avaloemd-e1533571564428I recently had the opportunity to review a pain relieving lotion called AloeMD. Aloe, called Aloe Vera, has a very long history of pain relief and healing properties. According to a news article written by Medical News Today “It is cultivated worldwide, primarily as a crop for “Aloe gel,” which comes from the leaf.

Aloe vera is widely used today in:

  • Food – it is approved by the FDA as a flavoring.
  • Cosmetics.
  • Food supplements.
  • Herbal remedies.

The earliest record of a human use for Aloe vera comes from the Ebers Papyrus (an Egyptian medical record) from the16th century BC. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, in ancient Egypt, they called Aloe vera “that plant of immortality.”

My Personal AloeMD Trial Results

I suffer from Interstitial Cystitis, Endometriosis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, all of which at this time have no cure, but there are treatments depending on the severity of the illnesses, plus some trial and error.

I have suffered from these conditions since 2012. In the six years through this journey, I still am surprised at how well some things work and that some have no effect on my illnesses or pain.

I have been blessed to review a three day supply of AloeMD pain relieving lotion and I was simply amazed at the results!

There are so many products out there that claim to be the answer to the sometimes debilitating effects of Chronic Pain but to my surprise, I actually felt a change only about 45 minutes after rubbing it into the skin on my stomach, back, and legs.

Interstitial Cystitis causes me severe pelvic pain along with Urgency and frequency and I also suffer from Chronic UTIs which require daily antibiotics for at least six months. I have been in a sort of tug-of-war battle with my illnesses for six years now and while I feel like I should know what works and what doesn’t, I am still having to figure out a lot as I go. There is no ‘right way’ to treat my conditions as Chronic Pain and Illnesses affect everyone differently. What works for some may not work at all for others and vice versa.

Benefits Of Aloe Vera

While I have known for years that Aloe Vera has many benefits, I still was hesitant to add something else to my daily routine of medications and treatments due to my bodies extreme side effects when adding something new into my body, natural and prescription. My body has always been at war with itself whenever I added something new to my body, food, medication, or even a slight change in my routine. But after hearing so many amazing things about Aloe Vera, I decided that the possible problems it could cause would far outway the amazing properties of pain relief.

“The medicinal claims made about Aloe vera, as with many herbs and plants, are endless. Some are backed by rigorous scientific studies while others are not. This article focuses mainly on those that are backed by research.

  1. Teeth and gums

A study published in General Dentistry reported that Aloe vera in tooth gels is as effective as toothpaste in fighting cavities.

  1. Constipation

Germany’s regulatory agency for herbs – Commission E – approved the use of Aloe vera for the treatment of constipation. Dosages of 50-200 milligrams of Aloe latex are commonly taken in liquid or capsule form once daily for up to 10 days.

  1. Diabetes-induced foot ulcers

A study carried out at the Sinhgad College of Pharmacy, India, and published in the International Wound Journal looked at Aloe’s ability to treat ulcers.

They reported that a “gel formed with carbopol 974p (1 percent) and Aloe vera promotes significant wound healing and closure in diabetic rats compared with the commercial product and provides a promising product to be used in diabetes-induced foot ulcers.”

  1. Antioxidant and possible antimicrobial properties

Aloe vera may be used on skin conditions or superficial cuts for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

Mycoplasma is a type of bacteria that lack a cell wall; they are unaffected by many common antibiotics. Antimycoplasmic substances destroy these bacteria.

They reported that both Aloe vera flower and leaf extracts had antioxidant properties, especially the leaf skin extract. The leaf skin extract also exhibited antimycoplasmic properties.

  1. Depression, learning, and memory – an animal experiment

A study published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that Aloe vera reduced depression and improved memory in mice.

After carrying out experiments on laboratory mice, they concluded: “Aloe vera enhances learning and memory, and also alleviates depression in mice.”

Further studies are needed to establish whether humans might also receive the same benefits.

Click to watch a informative and interesting video called AloeMD: A Conversation with Dr. Joseph McWherter

To purchase AloeMD and check out their many other exciting products, visit the store. You can also join the amazing facebook group 4ever Aloe to learn more about the product, see more testimonials from people who have tried it and learn about the science behind the pain relief. I am so excited that this has worked so well for me, with no ill side effects.

Maybe I will always be hesitant to disrupt my daily routine or add a new medication to my already long list, but I am definetly more willing to try slowly adding new things like AloeMD!