My life has been consumed with a monster for 7 of the last 10 years. With this image I can comfortably say, I’m in remission from the most painful medical condition known to science. I’m lucky, I’m blessed, & I’m terrified of it coming back. But I’m surviving. The reason this image is so significant is this condition attacks you from the sympathetic nervous system. This system controls vital systems in your body, like hot/cold sensation, hair and nail growth, pain with injury, sweating.

My nails have been so horrifying to look at I would go 6-9 months between times I would look at my feet. I was verbally chastised for wearing open toed shoes when I had “fungus.” But the fact is, it wasn’t fungus. It was my nervous system responding to a invalid threat causing my nails to be thick, and hard to cut.

My finger nails have normalized as well, back to their brittle stage they were before this. I’ll miss them being strong. But my toenails take longer to grow, which is why this image is so significant. In January 2015 I started a treatment. One that has turned my life completely around.

By March I was able to sleep more than 30% of the night. By May it was up to 50%. My pain is gone. My symptoms are almost gone. I have fatigue, I fight with occasional spells of pain that make me fear it is back, but so far nothing has “stuck.” But all and all my health is on its upswing for the first time since 2009, my first suspected remission which started to show signs like I am now but only lasted about 9 months before I reinjured myself.

My nails are ¾ normal and it sounds crazy, but I’m crying because of that. Not because I’m happy, but because my pain family are still suffering. Still being chastised by ignorant asses because they LOOK healthy, but are suffering. I have been through a lot in life. But this, I can’t even wish on my worst enemy. I could not condemn the most vile person enough to want them to feel this. And yet millions of people are fighting this, some with no family support, many with few family friends. This monster brings me to TEARS knowing others still are still fighting.

Please, though I know most don’t even know I exist, or follow this, but if by chance you find this. Make a point to ASK your doctor if s/he knows about complex regional pain syndrome the next time you’re in. Read a few articles on it. Watch a few of the videos made. Doctors are STILL learning about this. Patients are still being misdiagnosed. Being told it’s all in their head. Some doctors are still claiming is not real. Please for the community member you don’t know, advocate for them. You’re a chance to help get earlier diagnoses, a chance for remission for another.

I was LUCKY! But I want to increase the odds for others. This used to be a death sentence. We’re changing the landscape by educating others, healthies as we call them, but it only works if you take a little time to learn the signs. … Your actions could change the life of another. Please consider it.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Time Management is Productivity

productivity, Google, calendar, time, management

Google Calendar increases my productivity and provides better time management just by helping me organize my days and sleep schedules

I’m a self diagnosed workaholic, so time management and productivity are vital for me. My workaholic attitude comes from years of watching people around me dump themselves into their work, be it helping family after work and on the weekends, or having multiple…

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Time Management is Productivity

productivity, Google, calendar, time, management
Google Calendar increases my productivity and provides better time management just by helping me organize my days and sleep schedules

I’m a self diagnosed workaholic, so time management and productivity are vital for me. My workaholic attitude comes from years of watching people around me dump themselves into their work, be it helping family after work and on the weekends, or having multiple jobs. It just seems like a natural behavior to get ahead in life.

But I’ve found in having more than one job, one must have the ability to manipulate your time effectively so you can balance home life, bill paying, maintenance of that place you see rarely, feeding and spending time with your family/pets, and getting those hours in without costing yourself sleep and health.

How to Manage Time:

So to do that, I use Google calendars. And I have to stress that I use multiple calendars.  I layer them to give me the ability to do time management in blocks based on what I am doing and what type of work it is.

As my calendar display shows above, I have calendars for just about everything, such as housework (Cleaning Schedule), devoting one day a month/week to tasks/high traffic rooms that need tender care. When using it for example, I marked the every other weekend that my son is home, those Saturday’s are the days all the bed sheets get washed. (Yes I make my teenage son help with the laundry, I’m a mean mom.) Because it’s a routine day that fits the needs of what can be done to share the load, no pun intended, making the schedule more balanced and the work load easier to manage.

Then there’s the “Bill Schedule”. This lists the amount, the name, and if it’s an auto withdrawing item, a multiple day time window of the days preceding when it can no longer be canceled/changed for that months payment. That way I know when it is going to come out ahead of time and can visually plan out when my pay checks are coming in versus what is going out. (Another reason I like Google calendars is the color coding options within the individual calendars is also a nice feature for seeing “red” and “green”.)

Then there is the individual work calendars, where each company gets their own. These are either propagated by their RSS feed of my scheduled tasks, or by my manual addition if the company does not provide that type of service (such as my full-time third shift hours). Having these turned on and displaying overlaps provides me better time management and displays for me when I might have conflicts and allows me to never over book myself and start pushing into other vital things.

Time with friends and primary calendar use:

Which brings me to the most important thing of all, my social and sleep schedules. These stay on the primary calendar as a “Busy” items at all times along with any friend hang outs, doctors appointments, and day-to-day one time activities. And yes, I did just suggest scheduling sleep on your calendar, because lets face it, you can’t have productivity without sleep and a reason to be working so much, or eventually you WILL GET SICK!

Now, as that I am a mom but work third shift during the week (Sun through Thursday) I have opted to flip to first on the weekends so when my son is home at least one day I get to spend with him. People think I’m crazy, but I’ve been perfecting this art since 2005.

For those who might not know, I work third shift volunteer at a convention but for years I would need to be back to first in 36 hours after it was over for work when we got home. What I learned is when flipping between a first and third sleep schedule, always give yourself more sleep rather than less.

So on weekends when my son is home, Friday afternoon I take a good nap of about 3-4 hours, get up and then drive to pick him up. I spend Friday evening with him and then sleep Friday night. Saturday is a first shift day and then again Saturday night I sleep. On Sunday I take a 4-6 hour nap before work in the afternoon and I’m ready to go 10:30 pm back on third shift.

This process gives me the time and ability that when I want to schedule something, I turn my calendars all on and there you go, conflicts reflect, I can shift some items around for better time management. And then as you need, you can make sure you get it all done, but remember the most important thing, more sleep is better than less.

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Best Kept Secrets of Long Life

Be kind

When we think about the growing old, many thoughts come to mind. But I doubt any of them are that of a woman over 100 years old who is expecting company being found up in a tree outside her house. Or of a man in his early 100’s still chopping wood outside his house at 7 in the morning. Well these are real people, who live NEAR each of them interviewed by the men I will introduce. The regions they live in have a cultural lifestyle that has allowed many of the women and men, live over 100 a years frequently. These people, I think we can all say we consider to have had a very long life.

During the search for longevity of life, two men both ironically sharing the name Dan have formed a hypothesis of how to recreate these societies here, so that we might be able to be like this yet in our life time. The application of this change has started already in the United States. It is called the Blue Zone Project which is currently being applied in 4 cities across Iowa, a state well-known now for its problems with obesity. Just last year the Iowa government launched the initiative  to make them one of the healthiest states in the county. I, Flora DeKock, am a resident of one of these first 4 cities.


Now during the initial meeting about the movement for the cultural change, they covered and discussed much of what they found to be common behaviors and traits found in those who live these long lives. Aptly named as the “Power 9” principles, they are truly powerful motivation for your body’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being in their own ways.

  1. Move Naturally
  2. Know Your Purpose
  3. Down Shift
  4. 80% Rule
  5. Plant Slant
  6. Wine @ 5
  7. Right Tribe
  8. Community
  9. Loved Ones First

Each of these have a point and a reason. Now obviously for those who have medical or habitual issues with alcohol, will need to opt out of applying this one to their lives, but as that wine is a known for its antioxidants, they will need to be accessed in other safe ways of those facing this issue.

Now when many speak about their reflexive sympathetic dystrophy, chronic pain, invisible illnesses, and the many other plagues we face because of our declining health, most of us may not feel like looking for that long and happy life. Most of us are looking with a short-term, make it through the day, perspective. And to be frank with our battles, who wouldn’t.  But I propose to each and every person who reads this, ill or healthy, to consider what this group is suggesting. Not because they are selling something, because they aren’t.  But because those who have asked me about my experience with remission and now my second round of RSD, these “Power 9” are almost all of the things I am doing to fight my battle. For example, my weight loss which occurs despite my medications was because I was controlling my calorie intake, very similar to what they suggest. Not for the same reasons as they suggest but their argument is a valid point and works well with mine. Another factor I already applied that allows me to still work, is because I applied the “move naturally” law to my life. Again, not for the same reasons, but still, it works.

Long life for the young at heart
Long life for the young at heart

But I know I want a long life. I want a long, long life with my son and any children he might one day have.  And despite what we all suffer, and I know many are far worse than I, I think we can all say we want to see the children we know and love around us grow up. Be them siblings, our own children, our friends kids. We want that happiness around us on those better days.

So here is my recommendation for all of you, sign up for the daily challenge.  This site’s registration allows you to use your email or your Facebook. Then they will email you with one objective for the day, and if you prefer they can also text you to remind you to do it a couple of times a day. These are simple and fairly easy (for the most part for all of us) objectives. Today mine is to “Admire a piece of art, either in person, in a book, or online.” Once done you get points, then you can comment on it for more points, and then your done for the day. It might seem small, might seem silly, but it’s amazing how accomplished you feel each time you do one of these. One could almost say they feel more “alive” when you have done something so constant  Now the other day I had to do “twists” at the waist, but some of us may not be able to do that anymore. On those days, you can take a “breather” as my mother used to say, or you could find an alternative way to approach it and move an alternative body part that does want to work right. The point of the site is to help people keep active: mentally, socially, physically, and emotionally.  So I welcome you all to come join me in my daily challenges to make our lives even just a little better each day. Here’s to starting the search for a happy, long life for us all.

If you would like to give me some feed back or respond to this if you want me to invite you to the daily challenge website, enter your information below:

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