Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review - Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness by Lene Andersen

When my pal Lene asked me to review her book, Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness, I was like YES. It took me a while to get to it because I haven't been as good at priorities lately - or, perhaps, I've been too good. After all, part of it was cause I was doing self-care stuff.

The whole point of Chronic Christmas can be boiled down to these great lines from the intro:

Each chapter will start out with a section dedicated to you, the reader who has a chronic illness, sharing something you can do to help yourself enjoy the season. And then there will be another section for those who'd like to help you, with some tips along the same theme (Kindle Locations 50-52).

So much of the time, items are for us OR our loved ones. There is little to no crossover which, frankly, is sad. We need more of those kinds of things that we can enjoy with our loved ones or share with them without any empathy or compassion training needed.

In addition to recommendations such as online shopping for us sick peeps, Lene weaves in ideas like our friends helping us out by going shopping with us or even for us. She even includes family recipes that look heavenly.

One of my favorite parts is where Lene talks gifts - specifically what our non-ill pals can get us for holidays. Gift certificates, subscription boxes, books, and even helping with our medical expenses make the list. We often don't think of giving gift cards like those pre-loaded Visa cards, but I can't help but think that those would be so much more helpful for us than our loved ones know.

I mean, I'd likely wind up buying the guinea pigs fun things, but they are a part of my life with illness, too. They aren't as expensive as other pets, but they sure do love to eat!

In the end, what Lene gives us is a sense of hygge, or that coziness that comes with connection, love, and support. To truly do this, we must embrace how things are (or good enough) while learning to ask for and receive help.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Oska Pulse: My New Best Friend

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by Oska Wellness.

The Oska Pulse is one of the coolest devices I have had the pleasure of testing, and that's not just because of its story.

Oska is actually named after a koala!

picture of a koala, close up of the face - he appears to be smiling as he is hanging onto a branch

Oscar had been injured in a brush fire in Queensland, Australia. His wounds weren't healing and he was in a lot of pain. They weren't sure that the little guy was going to make it.

As a last resort, the treating vet used a device a friend had that utilized electromagnetic fields to help with healing. They placed the device next to Oscar. He began to sleep through the night without whimpering in pain - and his skin finally started responding to antibiotics and began to dry and heal.

Eventually, Oscar was able to go back into the wild.

Shirley Hawker, one of the founders of Oska, was so touched that she wanted to name the Pulse after this little guy. To make it sound more Australian, though, they named is Oska.

Now that we've had our daily dose of cute...

What is the Oksa Pulse?

The Oska Pulse is a portable pain-relieving device that uses pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) to do its job. There are four frequencies used concurrently during operation. Each one of these helps with a different task - easing muscle pain, aiding in bone repair, dilation the capillaries, and reducing pain. All of these tasks also help with recovering from injuries, too, making the Pulse a great way to tackle both short- and long-term health issues.

One of the things I love about Oska Wellness as a company is that they have a ton of journal articles and research on their site for your perusal. These talk about the benefits of PEMF technologies for joint pain, recovery time, muscle pain, and more.

This runs for half an hour at a time. Unlike products that have to directly touch your skin via electrodes, though, you can just turn this right back on and don't need to let your skin rest.

It comes with a strap that the device can slide in, a charger, and a very comprehensive guide.

Okay, that's fascinating and all, but does it actually work?


A few months ago, I started getting trigger point injections. After the first set, I was in a crapload of pain once the lidocaine wore off. I had to take some of my very few opiates left over from my bursitis adventure last January.

It was awful.

A couple of sets in, I received my Oska Pulse. I figured that a great way to test this out was to see if it helped post-injections.

And it did.

Is it like a TENS?

Not at all! 

You don't get zaps or zings with the Oska Pulse. It's also pretty quiet, though you may hear a light buzz.

This isn't really a device for breakthrough pain like a TENS is. The Oska Pulse aims to prevent pain from happening in the first place. With that said, I had to start using this a few days before my injections so that I knew that it would be effective. 

I've been using my Oska Pulse nearly daily since then. It has greatly reduced the amount of pain that I experience in my upper back, shoulder, and neck - my worst body parts. I have used it on bruises which have healed more quickly than usual - which is good since, between my anemia and clumsiness, I'm great at getting random bruises.

Is it worth it?

At about $400, the Oska Pulse is pricey. This is competitively priced when compared with some of the other PEMF devices, which can cost upwards of $6,000! It's also a lot more mobile than the other guys, which can wind up looking like a giant car battery.

No, thank you!

My Oska Pulse is perfect for me - lightweight, easy to handle, and incredibly powerful. Add in that it comes with the strap, making it easy to use wherever on the body? 

I'm head over heels for it.

If you're interested in snagging the Oska Pulse, click here and use the coupon code 'NSSD' to receive a 5% discount! 

Make sure to visit Oska Wellness on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in addition to their website.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dear Little Kirsten...

Write a letter to your younger self, thank her for any wise decisions that led you to where you are today. If you're not pleased with where your decisions have led you, thank your younger self for being brave enough to take chances, even if they didn't pan out as you'd hoped they would.

How did you feel about yourself and your life after writing this?

Dear Lil K,

There is so much that I wish I could tell you. Even though some of that might help you avoid shitty situations, they might lead you down a road where I am not 'me.'

Oh, it's super cool to use curse words like shit. Do it a lot.

Thank you for pushing, for making it through so much so far. I hate to tell you that there is still more coming but know that you will make it through.

Thank you for doing what you had to in order to survive, even though some of it makes you feel like an awful human being because you were complacent and even took part in abuse. 

Thank you for staying true to yourself when you could, though, and speaking up about how people did unspeakable things.

Thank you for writing, for using the skills that you have to talk as loud as you can. It doesn't usually pay (yet), but it helps change minds and support others.

Thank you for moving to Wisconsin. I know you weren't enthused about it, BUT SNOW. Also, this leads to you meeting a dude you marry and that's pretty badass. Don't give up on him, even if you feel like you're not worthy. 

You are.

Thank you for sticking by your sister. It is the best decision you have ever made. I'm sure some of this will defy the rules of time-travel/self-communication, but she has two kids and they are amazing. They think the world of you, just like their momma.

These four people? They need you.

Thank you for being brave. At first, it might only be for them, but soon it becomes for you.

Thank you for staying, for pushing away that idea that you could end your pain. 

Thank you for fighting. It's something that comes to you naturally, but it becomes even more vital than I can explain to you right now.