Mid August Update

Anemia issues are back under control and they weren’t completely due to me mis-medicating. Turns out we had a small bedbug infestation and they were feasting on me. Took nearly two months and a lot of money to have them professionally exterminated, but it’s over with. I am extremely allergic to bedbugs, and their feasting on me can trigger anemia flareups. I hope to never go through that again.

Once that was solved I took a week long road trip and drove my Audi from Florida up to Vermont then back. Detoured up through the mountains of North Carolina up through into New York state before arriving in Vermont. In Vermont I visited childhood friends and attended the wedding of one of my childhood best friends. After the wedding I drove back down through Massachusetts and Connecticut so I could stop and visit with relatives. It was a beautiful, but exhaustive drive that I may still be recovering from.

Upon returning from the epic drive, we adopted a dog. At just under one year old he is more of a puppy, but he is a beautiful black mouth cur. While he is a bit overly playful at times, he is a welcome member of our family.

House work has been mostly focused on cleaning up and fixing up the yard, cleaning up rooms, and organizing boxes of stuff from my home computer lab. The garage has been mostly cleaned back up, enough so that I can resume work on my fleet once the weather has cooled some.

Everything is slowly improving ^_^

Anemia Recovery Again – Recovering Well

After the anemia attacks the other week I reanalyzed my supplements and found that I was getting upwards of 80% of my B12 per day, some days far less than that. I had purchased a smaller dosage of sublingual B12 than I should have, this dosage was healthy for a normal person who can absorb B12 without issue. Because of the somewhat low dose my B12 levels slowly depleted over the months until it became too low again. We have doubled the dosage and I am in recovery.

I have not experienced a full crash since my dosage was doubled. While I still become fatigued and foggy in the evenings, it’s happening later and the duration is shorter. At the beginning of the week I would start to fade by 4pm, as of yesterday I didn’t fade until 6pm. Early in the week I would feel heavily fatigued for a few hours, then start to feel normal again, yesterday I started to feel normal after an hour. Before the treatment bump I was experiencing nearly non-stop fibro flares, bad ones.  A week later there is still some minor flaring, the usual aches and pains of fibro, I’m back to where I was a month or two ago.

Whenever my B12 gets bumped back up to healthy issues I have trouble sleeping for the first week or two. At first I’ll struggle to get 6 hours of sleep, but each night I should see an improvement and soon I’ll be back to my 7-8 hours a night. B12 treatment also has a small weight gain side effect, but it should be easy to prevent thanks to the healthier diet I’m on combined with regular exercise.

Anemia – A Year Later

A little over a year ago I began treatment for B12 anemia, aka pernicious or megaloblastic anemia. At beginning I saw many substantial improvements, especially with fatigue. At the time I even stated that it had stopped my crashes, but that wasn’t true. The seemingly random crashes went from regular to rare. If I don’t push myself too hard I may not see an anemia attack for weeks, but with the return of the summer heat combined with my morning power walks, I’ve had a few more attacks than I’m used to. The most recent attack happened yesterday, triggering a full flareup.

During my lunch break I climbed up on the roof to work on patching it before the rainy season. The weather was nice with a good breeze, so I didn’t experience overheating like I did last time I was up there. I was able to get my work accomplished in about 30 minutes and came down feeling decent. A couple of hours later I was at a doctor appointment and informed her of my morning power walk and the roof work that day. She commented on how energetic and perky I seemed, to which I responded that while I was feeling good at that time, I could feel my body starting to get weak. A couple of hours later, at dinner, I took all my supplements, including extra B12 to help fight the attack, but before I knew it, I was chilled and passing out.

I’m not exactly sure how to describe the feeling of the anemia attack. My body starts to feel off, motor controls may be okay, but everything feels heavy and tired, but usually not painful. As the attack worsens muscles get weaker and I start to feel a chill, not long after this my eyes get heavy and hard to keep open. Bad attacks, like yesterday evening’s, are rare, but they can trigger painful fibro flareups. When the flare began I could still get around the house and was planning on cooking an easy dinner, but the pain started to get worse making it hard for me to use my right hand/arm for anything. The pain kept on worsening, evolving from simple aches to more powerful pain spikes throughout my legs and arms, and extreme stiffness in my shoulders. That’s when I turn the intensity of my Quell up as much as I can handle.

With the Quell turned up as much as it can, I’ll start to huddle under blankets, trying to warm myself from this increasing chill. The blankets help, keeping breezes off me, as even a gentle warm breeze may trigger shaking. At this point the pain may be bad, but is usually manageable and I’ll pass out. This is what happened last night. As the air conditioner blew cool air throughout the house, I covered myself with blankets, turned the Quell up, and passed out for an hour.

Upon waking back up I will often find myself warm, unless it’s a particularly bad incident. Yesterday’s was one of these bad ones. Waking up was a struggle, I would pass back out for seconds then re-awaken. The chill had lessened, but I still chilled easily. My head felt like it was in a balloon and my muscles were hard to move. Took over a half hour before I could move from the couch without assistance (it’s why I keep crutches around the house). Once I was able to move, I could feel my body tiring again, but it was after 8pm and I was good enough to get ready for bed. I knew it was bad when I couldn’t get a new trash bag into the trash barrel, I gave up after a few tries.

Thanks to, what doctors and research tells me is the fibro, I barely slept for the first 5-6 hours in bed. I feel asleep for good around 4am waking up shortly before 8am. I felt meh when I woke up, I was still in a flareup. Shoulder muscles were stiff, walking wasn’t easy, and motor skills were definite reduced. I tried to put a trash bag in the trash barrel, then gave up. I wasn’t surprised when I had a second attack after lunch today, I didn’t try to stop it, I let myself pass out. I woke up an hour later and was able to resume work.

Even though I get foggy during some of these attacks, only the worst stop me from being able to work. It is far easier for me to type out a string of bash commands or code a routine than it is to come up with words during conversations. Even right now as I type this blog entry, if I try to talk to someone else in the room my speech is slow, my mind easily blanks, and I forget words. One of the reasons I was happy to go into software engineering was because it is easier for me to code than to hold conversations. I’m fortunate to have a career that I can maintain throughout these health issues.

I would be happier if these anemia attacks completely stopped, but they may not, it’s possible that there can be permanent damage. I used to experience anemia attacks like this when I was an undergrad 15+ years ago, rare but they would occur. I experienced them periodically throughout my 20s, maybe one a month. When the fibro became strong I started experiencing them weekly, the B12 treatments stopped that until recently. I’ve been told it can take a year to fully recover from anemia, even longer or never especially if there was any nerve damage. It’s time to double check my anemia treatment, get my blood tested again, make sure none of my other vitamins have gone wonky.

xmonad Resurrection and Why I Use Linux

I am a hardcore GNU/Linux (Linux) user and a fan of tiling windows managers such as xmonad. I have been running Linux as a desktop OS since 2004, first starting with LinuxPPC in 1999. While I have used many different distros, Gentoo remains my favorite, followed by Debian, Arch, Mint, Ubuntu, and Slackware. I really enjoyed Slackware when I ran it on the old Pentium I had in the trunk of my Impala, but that was a long time ago. Ubuntu has always been easy to get running, but hard for me to keep stable, Mint ran amazing when I last used it, but Debian and Arch became two of my go to distros.

Gentoo, requiring one to compile from code using the emerge command, I’ve usually kept for my more powerful and newer computers. The exception has been Gentoo on my Odroid U3 and Lenovo S10 Netbooks, both were surprisingly smooth to compile to X. Gentoo has been my main desktop due to it’s overall stability and powerful update capabilities with emerge. I custom build all my Gentoo systems, crafting the make.conf and various portage configuration files for the main purpose of the system. My average Gentoo system will run for over 200 days without a reboot, but I don’t know for fact how long they’re run as power outages or major upgrades have required reboots.

In addition to building stable systems, I customize my interfaces to my exact usage and needs. I prefer a clean interface, minimal clutter, lots of keyboard shortcuts, customized status icons and windows, and having windows in their exact places. In the past I would install Windowmaker or XFCE, but xmonad has become my favorite. I’ve run KDE, Gnome, Mate, Openbox, IceWM, etc, but until xmonad, I would always witch back to XFCE.

My personal desktop is a triple head intel core2quad with 16gb of ram, a nvidia 8800GTS and 295GTX video cards. In most OSes and window managers windows often pop open on the wrong screen, then repositioning them exactly as I would like became an excessive exercise for my right wrist. In 2013, prior to my move to South Florida, I started running xmonad alongside XFCE, and fell in love.

Due to the move to SoFla, not having a permanent room for nearly six months, some minor hardware failures ,and a new hard drive, I didn’t  reconfigure my xmonad install, plus I was using Macs at my new job. My Linux desktop became a hackintosh for a couple of years before I restored my Linux OS. Macintosh is next preferred OS after Linux, so I was okay with running a Hackintosh. I also had Gentoo running on my Lenovo Y510P hacking laptop, so I wasn’t without my Linux fix. Part way through 2015 I felt it was time to put my desktop back on Linux, so I recovered my Gentoo install and used XFCE for a while.

Fast forward to spring 2017. During March I avoided computers, except for work and necessary research. Come April I’m back on my Gentoo desktop, itching to reinstall xmonad and recover my old configuration, so I did.

Gentoo made the xmonad install quick and easy, but my old config file had mistakes in it that I never noticed in 2013. Xmonad has what are called layouts, basically grids for how you want the screen you are using to be laid out. A proper laytout can ever define where in the grid certain application windows should display and at what size. You update your layouts in a configuration file, maybe important layout definition files, then recompile and relaunch xmonad to load the new layouts. I would update my layouts in the config file, recompile successfully, but I would cycle through the same four default layouts.

I eventually discovered typos in the config file, plus mine was using older syntax, not taking advantage of updates to the syntax. I started picking my old configuration apart, rewriting pieces into a new configuration file following current standards. This worked, my xmonad config now switched between many layouts that I had never seen before. Suddenly computer stress lessened, these layouts were perfect for me.

I have a full screen layout, one that does split screen, another that I use to accordion multiple terminal windows into my portrait display, and circular layout that puts the main window in the center, and even a full screen that has tabs to let me switch which window is full screened.

Now that I have base layouts that I love loading, I can start working on app specific layouts. These are used primarily for things such as positioning your IM buddy list on a specific screen in a specific location, with the specified size. My plan is to have one layout for my cryptocurrency wallets, another for my IDE, one for my media player, status monitoring apps, etc.

It will take some time to get this all setup, plus there are other tasks to accomplish. I probably won’t finish these customizations for months, they’re a low priority now that the base layouts are working.  One has to balance their tasks and house repairs are top of my list, followed by bus and fleet repairs, and normal life. It feels good to have my Linux GUI set back up the way it should be. This may sound odd, but a customized OS simplifies and reduces stress in my life.

New Socks

Most people don’t get excited over socks. I get excited if they’re cute or super comfy, which is why I’m excited today. Recently received an order from Sock Dreams, my favorite online sock retailer. They have some of the most colorful and comfy socks I have worn.

Growing up socks were these rough ugly things you wore to keep your feet warm during the three seasons that are not summer. Socks came in a variety of shades of navy blue, black, tan, or white, and rough or semi-soft. The golden toe brand socks were often the most comfortable, most other socks drove my feet crazy. As an adult I either wore dress socks or none at all, at least until I discovered Sock Dreams.

Sock Dreams had more than just soft colorful socks, they also had socks in larger sizes. Since then I have also discovered that most of the one size socks will fit a size 11, sometimes a bit tight. My favorite socks are a pair of purple and pink rainbow knee high toe socks. While they’re mostly for colder weather, they’re so cute I can wear them almost year round in Florida.

This latest order of socks includes a bunch of plain black bamboo socks, my generic go to for exercise and physical labor. Usually I buy the ankle socks, but they were out of those during the latest sale, so I bought some crew socks. I also added more rainbow socks of various heights. I am a sucker for bright, pretty, colors.

Fibro and Summer Heat

Note: Brain fog is an issue today, grammar may suffer.

The Florida summer is finally coming upon us here on the Space Coast. The summer used to not bother me, overall I enjoy the warmth and extra sunlight, but these days the heat will easily exhaust me. Sometimes I end up dehydrated as I am terrible at maintaining hydration in the heat. Other times the heat makes me sick, triggering overbearing headaches, muscle weakness, and exhaustion. I have experienced heat sickness and dehydration periodically growing up in New England and only occasionally in my twenties living in Florida. Since the fibromyalgia became strong in my early 30s I’ve experience this heat sickness regularly.

While I was in my mid-twenties I purchased a home in an area many of my friends refer to as ‘the middle of nowhere’ in Florida’s Space Coast. Where the house is there are only a handful of other homes. Most of the lots are undeveloped with extremely tall pine trees interspersed with palms and well maintained 3 or 4 bedroom homes. It’s a nice quiet place to live, 10-15 minutes from most stores and the highway, about 30 minutes from downtown Melbourne, Fl. Having a quarter acre lot I proceeded to start adding gardens around the house and throughout the backyard. I would spend most of the day outside working on the gardens and house. Back then I could hop on my bicycle and knock out 15 miles in the middle of July, with only a rare flareup of exhaustion the next day.

When the fibro started to get strong I wasn’t able to do the physical labor of gardening, struggling to do the minimum maintenance. Many gardens died out and returned to grass, but I kept the largest most established gardens looking decent. Not only was the physical labor becoming difficult, but I was losing my heat tolerance, often becoming sick when outside. At the worst I would start to suffer heat sickness from standing outside too long. At one point I was on medication that made me highly prone to dehydration, thankfully that has since changed, but bad habits still lead me to occasional dehydration.

Hydration is super important, but I learned bad hydration habits growing up. I worked summers and most weekends helping my parents with their rental properties. While we would bring water with us, there were many times where we could only drink the water after we were done with our work. Same thing in school, you were only allowed water when they said you could drink. You learn to ignore the thirst, instead relying on the watch to tell you when you can hydrate, it is a very bad habit and hard to break.

Earlier this past week I was up on the roof trying to patch my skylights, I’m fairly sure the one above my kitchen is the reason for the bad roof leak(s). For the first half hour I was fine, but towards the end of the job the heat started to get to me, I was overheating badly. I was able to finish the work, get off the roof, grab a gatorade and lay down with the ice pack to help me cool off. I recovered from that by the next morning.

Come Sunday afternoon and a friend is borrowing my garage to do an oil change. I decide to work on the bus for the hour or so we’re outside. I go in and out of the afternoon sun many times, each time leaving me feeling a bit warmer than the last. Eventually I’m moving bus parts around and realize that I can no longer lift a door. Just minutes earlier I was able to lift the door without struggle, but now my leg muscles are starting to hurt as is my head. I struggle to put my work away, my friends are finishing their work. That’s when the dizziness starts to hit, I excuse myself and go inside to lay down with an ice pack. I made one big mistake that afternoon, I drank very little water or other hydrating beverages. Usually I’ll bounce back once i rehydrate.

I felt terrible for hours and even though I was rehydrating, my muscles were aching. I figured that I needed sleep and would be okay the next day. I’ve spent quite a few hot days outside working in the sun and heat, sometimes I’m fine, sometimes I get sick. I can be stuck in traffic in a car with weak AC and overheat, triggering a flareup. I can spend the entire day working on the yard and be fine, then the next week I will barely last two hours. Sometimes the fibro feels like rolling dice, you never know what you’re going to get on your next throw.

I woke up this morning feeling worse than when I went to bed, woke in a full fibro flareup. This is not normal for me, it may be the most severe reaction to overheating I’ve experienced, but nothing about living with fibro is normal. It was hard to move this morning, random pain sometimes triggered by movement, muscle weakness returned along with lots of stiffness. My wrists and hands ache, are stiff, and feel inflamed. My shoulders, arms, and legs are in a lot of pain. To add to it, I’m highly foggy, I lose track of what I’m typing easily and forget words. Luckily bad brain fog like this is rare and should be gone by tomorrow. I ended up having to take the day off from work so that I can recover. My day will be full of turmeric and ice packs, along with gentle yoga and stretches for the achy muscles.

Bus Restoration Update 1 – Some History and Status

In a previous post I mentioned starting the reassembly of my 1973 VW Westfalia camper, aka the bus. I originally had plans to completely customize the bus, even planned a custom dash. Over the years I had considered making it electric, throwing a modern 2.0T like my Audi has into it, and of course putting a diesel motor (OM616 w/turbo) from a Benz into it. Those plans never came to fruition, but other plans started to form.

Seven years ago I was blessed with the luck of the Irish, I was able to obtain a running VW type 4 2.0l w/AC out of a ’79 panel van that had been scrapped for parts. This motor would bolt right into my bus, plus it came with a nice six rib transmission and a slew of extra parts, for a fraction of their value. I built an engine stand for the motor and was able to fire it up, made sure it ran, then stuck it where it fit.

My first goal with the bus was to fix the body work. I started simple, banging out damage to the sliding door. The door would fall off and smash up the corner. Fixed the slider, fixed the smashed corner, then started work on the front clip.

The nose of the bus got smashed in badly, the passenger door wouldn’t open plus the heat vents couldn’t be reinstalled. Using a slide hammer In 2011 I pulled most of the accident damage out and was working on fixing the door area when my wrist issues began to act up. Carpel tunnel is painful, add the guyon’s canel to it and the pain becomes unbearable. I gave up on the bus, hoping that in a few years I may be strong enough to resume.

Fall 2013 I moved to South Florida, throwing my most valuable bus pieces into boxes for storage, saying bye to my ’73 bus thinking I may never see it again. It was a good dream, one that I would revisit once resettled in South Florida and earning the big money. South Florida didn’t pan out quite that well, my house renters became squatters, eventually giving up on any house maintenance or cleaning, and I grew ever more broke trying to afford a mortgage and rent.

Fall 2016 I move back to my house, finding my bus, its title, and almost all the pieces intact. The bus had become a cockroach filled storage unit for old broken camping equipment and trash. Many of the interior pieces were covered in cockroach (and probably roadent feces), as was most of the garage. My plan is to fix and sell my house, and I’m highly allergic to every bit of filth and dirt inside the house and garage, so I am forced to clean everything. As the months go on I unpile the bus interior and mechanical pieces, and clean them up to find them all still in good shape, most needing minor to no repairs.

Winter, February 2017, the house repairs are coming along  slowly, but well, but there are bus parts constantly getting in my way. So I bet myself I can do the body work and roadkill this bus back together. So one evening I take my scraper, paint stripper, and a blow torch to areas that have obvious bondo issues.

Nearly three months later and the body work is nearly done. The interior is read to have interior put in and most of the severe body damage and rust is repaired. There is accident damage to the front clip preventing the passenger door from opening and closing, but I’m stronger now, I can swing the heavy hammers without triggering a severe flare up. It’s going to be hard work to get that door to open and close properly, work I may not have the skills to do, but I’m trying.

As of today I have redone most of the interior pieces and restored the dash, the motor is still running, the transmission is cleaned up. Yesterday I quickly cleaned the Westy fiberglass pop-top and luggage rack, they look good. I have a new wiring harness ready to go in after I finish bodywork and paint. Today I refreshed the fuel storage system.

Over the past few weeks I cleaned out and re-sealed my fuel tank using the POR-15 fuel tank sealer kit along with a lot of muriatic acid (rust remover). I painted the outside of the tank, then stained it with other paint. I also replaced all the hardware, new fuel sender, fuel screen and line, all new fuel lines and clean brass pipes for connecting the tank to the fuel ventilation system. I also replaced the fuel filled neck, which was completely dried out and cracking. After 7 or 8 years the fuel tank is clean, sealed, and back in the bus ready for the motor and fresh fuel.

I also rescued my windshield from the side of the house scrap yard. When I began the rust repair I pulled out the windshield. The weather stripping was shot and there were many rust holes around the windshield. I carefully moved the windshield to the side of the house and put some beetle parts over it to keep it safe. Seven years later it is overgrown with grass and weeds, covered in dirt, and partially exposed., but undamaged. Cleaned up the windshield and moved it to a couch in my back room.

I’m close to being able to start paint. I need to finish the last of the body filler work, sanding, and priming, then I’ll start painting roof down. Due to work deadlines, cruicial house repairs, and fibro flareups, progress has slowed down over the past month. I want to have the bus in paint by the end of May, but I’ll be okay if it takes June. Then I can get the windshield in, reinstall the camper interior, and put the roof and luggage rack back on. At some point after that I have a nearly complete set of weather stripping to redo almost every window and door on the bus. Finally, I’ll be able to finish the automatic to manual conversion, do an engine rebuild, refresh the brakes, try to install AC, then I should have a running, driving bus.

I’m super excited ^_^

Tech Break and The Bus Project

Note: This was originally drafted in late April, 2017

I took a short break from my normal use of technology in March. It was a nice change as I’m often on the computer after work and the weekends. Unless I’m doing house or car repairs, I’m usually I’m studying new concepts, doing research, updating my Gentoo desktop, tinkering with one of my SBCs, or working on one of my personal projects. More recently I have gotten back into automotive work. Besides usual maintenance on my Audi, I’ve been working on putting my 1962 Impala back on the road, plus it was time to put my 1973 VW Westy camper bus back together.

Long before the fibromyalgia affected my life I was a very active person with multiple active projects. Late summer of 2006 a friend and I bought this rusty bus from a dude in Orlando, saving it before it went to scrap. We talked a lot about what we would do with the bus, cleaned it out a bit and tinkered on it. It had no engine, scary looking electrical, but was solid. A few years later I became sole owner of the bus and decided to take it apart. I wanted to teach myself auto restoration on it, then I could restore my Impala. At the time I was working on my masters degree and a very demanding job. It took a few years of very intermittent work for me to pull it apart with help from friends. During that time I obtained a couple of engines, a nice transmission, and various used parts, with the bus interior becoming furniture in the house.

I finished my masters degree and started work on the bus, just in time for me to experience bilateral carpel tunnel and guyon’s canal syndrome. I could barely use a keyboard much less lift a wrench. Months after surgery, in late 2011, I tried, but could barely work on the bus for 15 minutes before I would flare up. I gave up on the bus and focused on my newly acquired Benz. The Benz didn’t require the body and interior work I had planned for the bus.

In fall of 2013 I moved away and said bye to my bus, with the intention of handing the project over to someone interested in it. Life got in the way and the bus sat in the garage while the family renting my house became squatters. Fast forward to 2016, I end up moving back to my, discovering the bus and all its parts were left untouched; all I needed to do was body work and throw the bus back together.

It’s now 2017, late winter, and I need a break from Technology. The bus and all of its parts are taking up too much space, constantly getting it my way. It was time to start putting it back together. First thing was rust repair, which, because most of my body working tools, welder, and welding supplies were stolen, would mean rust removal with my die grinder and power drill, then fiberglass. While the fiberglass repairs were drying I started cleaning up and reassembling the interior, including stripping and refinishing all the wood panels. The more I worked on it, the more excited I became about it and the more work I found needed to be done. I’m dreading installing the electrical.

Now it’s April and I’m back to using computers. The bus I work on a few days a week, it’s coming along nicely. The break from tech was nice and recharging, I no longer feel burned out using computers after work. It also feels healthier to split my free time between house repairs, bus work, and computers. The house repairs are exhaustive and stressful, computers are my passion, but I’m on the computer 10+ hours nearly every day, cars are a nice break.

Fighting Infections Continued

The initial infections that prompted my earlier post on infections have almost all cleared up. I started back on a healthy probiotic, very high in helpful bacterias. I’ve been slowly migrating my diet back to a healthier one, along with drinking more water. I had a major deadline last week, which caused me to start slamming back two energy drinks (decently ‘healthy’ ones) per day. Now that deadline is over I’m back down to no more than one a day. But during deadline week I contracted a nice sinus infection.

If I was the only one with the sinus infection I would blame it on allergies, but one of my close friends came down with it around the same time I did, her symptoms were less severe than mine, but a very similar timeline. I expect that it’ll take at least another week to clear this infection up. It is not helping that pollen is so severe there’s a warning not to go outside. I have serious pollen allergies and springtime has triggered sinus infections since I was a child.

The sinus infection itself has been mild, aches, clogged sinuses and sinus headaches, chills late in the day as I wear down, post nasal drip, etc. At first I made the mistake of treating this infection with Sinex nasal spray. I was stressed and exhausted from work and only cared about getting enough sleep to function the next work day. After a few days on Sinex, it stopped working, then I began to suffer rebound effects.

It has been a few days since my last spray of Sinex, my sinuses are feeling better each day, but prone to inflammation and becoming clogged, especially at night while asleep. I’ve tried a couple of decongestants and an antihistamine, but the sinuses are stubborn. They wake me up every couple of hours, sometimes clogged, sometimes draining. Each night a little less severe than the last, but each day I’m a bit more worn out.

There’s a home sinus treatment I used to make with apple cider vinegar, I need to make time to run out and buy some ACV so that I can make it again, plus it’s time for me to find my humidifier and see if that helps. I monitor my heart rate and whenever I get sick it rises by 5-10 bpm. When the infection starts to clear up the heart rate will begin to drop. My heart rate appears to have peaked yesterday, and should be going back down now. If the pattern holds true I expect this infection to last at least another week. In the meantime I’ll find some combination of home or pharmacy remedies that will help.

Fighting Infections

One of the biggest issues I’ve had throughout my life has been infections. As a child I was prone to ear infections, had my share of eye infections and the standard chicken pox. These issues mostly went away when I was teen, only reappearing when the fibro became strong six years ago. At first I was only experiencing chaffing issues that started during my morning power walks. Luckily the issues stay minor until late last spring when I had a minor infection that cleared up quickly with a prescription, followed by summer when I picked up an intense infection that wouldn’t clear up easily.

Last summer’s infection grew and became itchy and painful, spreading across my left arm, but I was able to treat it and clear it up within a couple of weeks. The doctors believed I picked it when I stopped at a bench on a public park. I had a wound that hadn’t closed up yet and the doctors believe it got into the infection when I was sitting on the bench. That infection made it feel like my body was falling apart. At least it and every other infection I had seemed to clear up with treatment. The problem is, the infections kept on reappearing, which according to my doctors “they are most likely due to the fibro”.

The minor infection would sometimes reappear, but it was that bad arm infection that showed back up again. They showed up after experiencing chemical burns from a chemical that I’m highly allergic to. At first the chemical burns were puffy and itchy, but at first were healing. Soon them became infected, most recently they started breaking out with the same infection as last summer. This time I have cream on hand to treat the infection, but this means the infection was never fully cleared up. None of them ever cleared up

Based on what my doctors have told me and the research I’ve done, the issue is with the immune system. A side effect of the fibro is a weakened/compromised immune system. It’s why I’m almost guaranteed to get sick if I’m around another sick person, and why I’m prone to getting food poisoning from food that doesn’t make others sick. Because it’s an immune system issue, I may never be able to fully rid myself of the infections. The prescriptions are enough to make the infections dormant, but it only takes one trigger to reactive them.

I have hopes that an improved diet with probiotics will help. I used to take probiotics regularly, but stopped when I my IBS started to improve and become easier to manage. Probiotics help the stomach regulate its healthy bacteria, which over time can help improve one’s immune response. My diet has also been very mixed, sometimes very healthy other times pizza delivery. I’m not sure if these changes will actually help, but it won’t hurt to try and should at least help my digestion.