Green Tea Foot Soak to Reduce Swelling & Edema

As an experiment for my DIY home spa, I wanted to shake things up a bit for my foot soaks. A few of you know I have edema and swelling in my legs and feet. Green tea is anti-inflammatory, and I wondered that if I soaked my feet in a giant Tupperware of green tea, my swelling would go down.

Step 1: Giant Tupperware

Simply find a bucket or Tupperware, something easy to clean and big enough for both of your feet to comfortably rest in. I do not recommend anything that is glass.

Step 2: Kettle of boiling water

Boil 1 kettle of water. Just one.

Step 3: Steep 4 bags of green tea in the boiling water.

Steep the tea bags for 3 minutes. Set a timer and locate some peppermint essential oil or some peppermint leaves. Add the peppermint to the mixture to scent preference.

Step 4: Pour 2 cups of room temperature water to the mixture.

This will cool off the hot water so you don’t burn your feet.

Step 5: Soak your feet for 20 minutes.

Set a timer and enjoy yourself. Bring a towel so you can dry your feet off and some lotion. At the end of the 20 minutes, towel your feet off and lotion your feet up. I found after doing this, my feet were much smaller in size and were in much less pain.

For those of you suffering from swelling, I hope you find this useful. I will try a variant of this on my hands tonight as they also swell, and report back later.

Self-Care For Fibromyalgia

woman receiving massage with pink border. text: "self care for fibromyalgia"

I’ve been off the internet for a while trying to figure out good ways to care for myself as I went through my latest pain flare and manic episode. With the help of my EMDR therapist, I came up with a daily routine, scheduled by the hour, for about 4 different tasks I could do, excluding morning quiet time hour.

I’ve been practicing a rough version of the routine for about 4 days now, and it really helps when the anxiety kicks in. Knowing I have something to do at all times is extremely grounding. In the back of my mind I do know I have something to do at all times, but having a printed out schedule for a visual cue really helps.

So, my biggest tip for fibromyalgia self-care is to have a broken up schedule, especially for days you don’t work, or to manage your work day.

Morning Quiet Time Hour

I have about 7 tasks I do in morning quiet time hour. That sounds like a lot, but they’re all in the same vein – spiritual and relaxing.

I begin by putting on some chakra healing music. Then there’s yoga, with a minimum of 5 asanas (AKA poses), each held for 10 breath cycles. After this I grab some water and I meditate for at least 10 minutes, maybe more, to a morning time meditation on gratitude. Then I do intention setting, a type of meditation where you place your hands on your heart and reflect on what makes you afraid, what gives you strength, and a spiritual power. The point is to find a word that comes to mind when reflecting on the spiritual power to center your day around. When you know your word, write it on a piece of paper and place it in a drawer or your pocket, and at the end of the day read what it was. Once I find my word, or intention, I write a gratitude list with the chakra music on and sit in the dark until the sun comes up. Once the sun is up, I grab a coffee and sit on my back porch with a sacred text to read and my journal to reflect in. The point of this last step is to grab the first 20 minutes of sunlight.

I do set an alarm every day to wake up before everyone else. Some might think this is pretentious or impossible, but I really do think with fibromyalgia personal quiet time is key to starting off your day right. Investing in yourself alone and having niches for yourself is paramount to cultivating positive energy that you will need to fight the pain off throughout your day. Sometimes putting in a little more effort at the start results in ease the rest of your day.

The Rough Schedule

7AM is breakfast and more coffee. I mix up writing, laundry and job hunting until 11AM, when I hop in the shower and make sure I’m dressed with my hair and full makeup done for lunch. After lunch, around 12:30 I do “music in the dark” – either chakra healing music or my favorite tunes of the day for thirty minutes to an hour. At 1 to 1:30 PM I start continuing education. I have a few free Udemy courses on web design and writing I’m taking, and I spend this time until 5pm with a few music and writing breaks. It’s time to cook dinner at 5. After the family finishes at 7, I either hang out with a friend over Zoom or read a book and do a DIY home spa. Lastly, I finish the day with a relaxing meditation. I’m done by 9:15, and it’s off to bed.

DIY Home Spa

I’m big on physical pampering to fight fibromyalgia. I like to feel physical joy, and I take pride and pleasure in grooming myself. This is why I put on makeup every day and do my hair. Another thing I like to do is take a large tupperware container, big enough for both my feet to be submerged in water, and put a kettle of hot water (not boiling), 2 cups regular temperature water, 1 cup lavender epsom salts, 1 cup coconut oil, and 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil in it. I have a little space of the house to myself and a comfortable chair. Then I turn off all the lights, light a candle and soak my feet for 20 minutes while reading a light, fluffy book and listening to my current favorite music. If you do the foot soak, be sure to put lotion on your feet afterwards!

The alternative variation of my nightly home spa is a epsom salt bath without the coconut oil and two cups of epsom salts.

Quiet Mornings on the Patio

Yesterday, my family helped my husband and I build a pergola. It’s beautiful, and I only have a few awkward photos, most of which involve the garbage can. It’s red cedar, and small like our little misshapen patch of concrete.

The awkward pic my dad took of the pergola.

My husband labored over the perfect pergola plans for months. I mean months, ever since we bought the house in November. His grand scheme for the yard is finally beginning to come to fruition. I was getting so annoyed with his obsession over the pergola that I would refuse to look at his pergola design books and his drawings. As an engineer, he knew how to build things. And build something, he did!

A few years ago my parents thrifted the patio furniture for my first grown up apartment. It’s a pretty Parisienne set, at least to an American. Bear and I intend to have a Provencal Potager garden. My father lived in France for some time and I always wanted to visit. So Bear is bringing the French countryside to our backyard.

We will have two rose teuteurs (French trellises) in our tiny garden, as well as two raised vegetable beds made out of red cedar fence pickets so I can have easy access to the garden. In the photo you can see the accessible herb garden, and there will be another on the left side past where we are growing a lemon verbena and a moon garden.

Our backyard is the smallest we’ve ever had, but I wanted it that way. I wanted it to be low maintenance, low stress. But my husband is a civil engineer and knows how to plan spaces. I’m pretty excited about the garden. Does that make me old?

Managing My Pain Well: Green Light Bathing and Rescue the Spirit Dietary Supplement


Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Oftentimes I find myself taking a burning hot shower 12 times a day because I’m in so much pain. In an earlier post I went over the benefits of green light and how I found significant pain reduction. The past few days I have turned my office space into a green light chamber by using green LED lights in a broken Wal-Mart floor lamp. So far, the past two days after using my green light chamber for four, I have:

  • only showered 3 times a day
  • gone on a walk without feeling winded or in pain
  • was able to finish writing all of my thank-you notes for wedding gifts
  • gotten it onnnnn…. OH BABY
  • been able to relax some away from pain

Let’s talk about that last bullet. My acupuncturist prescribed to me Rescue the Spirit. I shit you not, this stuff works better than klonopin in a crowded airport and you’re somehow a comedian doing standup in the security line. Rescue the Spirit is a dietary supplement, and if you have a natural pharmacy or acupuncturist you can call about med interactions then please do. Take care of yourself. And acupuncturists need jobs, so call one to talk about medication interactions.

I combine Rescue the Spirit with my green light chamber, the Dance Pop station on Spotify, and have myself a grand old time reading books and zoning out. Zoning out has been basically impossible since I started my bizarre health journey because of my pain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still there, but man, can I take a nice staycation now.

Point of this article: green light chambers are good for pain, you should make one.

Secondary point: Rescue the Spirit is also great for managing pain and anxiety, call up your Chinese medicine professional.

Third point: Meditate for 10 minutes a day as soon as you wake up. Make it the absolute first thing you do in your green light chamber.

Fourth point: enjoy reduced pain if you suffer from fibromyalgia or migraines!

The Spoonie Wedding

Imitation meteorite band for my husband with my diamond baguette ring on my Texas themed bouquet.

My husband and I were struck by two tragedies after our wedding, and we’ve only been married a month. I’m trying to cling to the magic moments in these dark times to superglue myself to him.

The ceremony space that later doubled as a dance floor, AKA my parents living room.

Because I was bed bound most of the time and walking with a glitter cane the month of the wedding, my parents took my $5,000 wedding at at a family friends children’s camp and moved it inside our house so I wouldn’t have to walk far and could rest in my bedroom if needed. We lost a ton of money but gained spoonifying the wedding this way. After all, a small house wedding was originally what I wanted.

We DIY’d all of our decorations. My mother, sister, father, myself and family friends set out heirloom china. Early on in the planning process my mom and I found a pack of vases, orchids, pearls, and tea lights used in a previous wedding on Craigslist, and they were used everywhere as decorations. Our tablecloths were also from Craigslist from a previous wedding.

Please note that while I did help set up I lost spoons and did have to rest during my wedding. I’ll get to spoonifying your wedding in a moment.

Why I considered my wedding spoonifyed

1. I didn’t have to travel to a venue. All I needed was right there.

2. My walk down the aisle was a walk down the short hallway. At the 30 acre venue, where I would have to cross a creek to get between the ceremony site and the reception space, we were afraid I would have to use a cane. It was also outdoors and could be muddy. This way, no one would know I was using a cane as I didn’t use it around the house.

3. I could rest during the wedding reception, and I did. The reception was a vegan dinner with a fabulous vegan cake held in my parents formal dining room that shared a wall with my bedroom.

The very fabulous vegan cake that got compliments from the non vegans present.

4. We had a 20 person guest list cut down from 80. This was hard to do, but worth it.

Dos and Dont’s of Planning a Spoonie Wedding

1. Hire a full package wedding planner. You may be on a budget but my wedding stole my health because I didn’t do this! Please at least hire a day of coordinator, some of these are very affordable if you go to your local bridal expo.

My glittery yet still simple wedding dress that was comfortable but forgiving.

2. It’s all about the dress. Choose a simpler dress that is comfortable! You will still be beautiful even if you’re not in a Pnina Tornai!

3. It’s honestly about the shoes. Don’t even wear kitten heels. Wear flats, sneakers, or even crocs that don’t look like crocs (don’t cringe but crocs makes flats and they are my fancy shoes). I have lots of foot problems so this is my go to.

4. Thou shalt NOT go dress shopping without watching Say Yes to the Dress at least 10 times, and thou shalt NOT be ashamed of your tiny budget. Not every girl can drop even $600 on a dress. I dropped $200 each on two dresses, one I couldn’t wear anymore because of swelling and the one pictured I wore on my wedding day that was really perfect. I found my wedding dress at a quinceanera shop that was local, and they were really kind to me when I explained my situation.

5. Let. People. Help. Please. You need your spoons for the wedding. Your community will be your rock through the process.

6. House weddings are the way to go if you can’t afford a hotel. See if you are close enough friends or family with someone with a nice house. With a house or hotel wedding, you have the option of going and resting during the wedding day. A house option is cheaper.

7. Be open with your vendors about your illness. You don’t have to disclose what type, but by being open I was able to move my wedding date 3 times due to my diseases progressing. You may also get free stuff and advice!

The send off in the rain (yes, it rained on my wedding day).

Blunders

Make sure you know what you want in a dress before you buy. I had no idea I wanted a glittery ball gown until I watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, but I had a lace sheath that I couldn’t fit into three months out that I bought the day I got engaged (I know…).

We had an awesome day of coordinator, but we lost her when we moved the date due to a medical emergency. In Texas wedding season is winter, so we only found a set up/tear down person.

The doorbell rang with our aisle runner as soon as Bear and I kissed to seal the deal and our flower dog ran off.

Flower dog 🌸 🐶

We threw the wedding together in 48 hours. Don’t do that. Plan more meticulously like I was for my big outdoor wedding.

We weddinged, it was spoonifyed, it may have inconvenienced a lot of people, but now we have each other.

Let’s dance the night away forever.

Are you chronically ill, differently abled, or a general Spoonie planning a wedding needing support? Check out my Facebook group, Differently Abled Wedding Planning Support Group.

At this group, you can find support from other people whose needs may be different from the mainstream and brainstorm ideas, find support from stress, and connect!

Continue reading “The Spoonie Wedding”

Green Light Therapy

As I am suffering from extreme pain right now, unable to do anything, my fiancé suggested I build a green light therapy chamber. In the linked article, researchers found evidence that if one bathed in green light for two hours a day regularly, it has significant pain reduction and no side effects and is intended to treat those with fibromyalgia and migraines.

My diagnosis is complex and I am treatment resistant. All the meds thrown at me have harmed me in some way. Eager to begin this treatment, I DIY’d a green light chamber for about $16 USD.

Please note the pain relief comes after a duration of time and regular use for about a month. Last night was my first time using my chamber to battle Painsomnia.

With that in mind, if you’re willing to experiment with me, I will gladly help you DIY your own Green Light Therapy Chamber!

DIY Green Light Therapy Chamber

1. Purchase green LED light bulbs

I bought a pack of two off of Amazon here.

2. Put the green LED light bulbs in a normal table lamp without a cloth shade.

The picture used in this blog post is a real image of my finished product. I took an antique desk lamp I already had and put a bulb in it. If you already have something, no need to buy!

3. Put the lamp with the green bulb in a dark, windowless room.

I chose our guest bathroom as it can be made pitch black. I put the lamp on the bathroom counter.

4. Bring in a foldable, portable, comfortable chair.

I suggest a canvas camp chair like this one.

My camp chair I already owned and did not have arms, which made it perfect to squish into my little bathroom.

5. Bring water and a paper book.

No smartphones allowed in the chamber and remember, you will be in here for 2 hours so you need to be able to entertain yourself. I read The Sight aloud until I felt able to fall asleep.

6. Set a timer for 2 hours and set it directly outside your door so you can hear it.

It will take some practice to get up to the full 2 hours, but if you bring a book, a craft project, or your sketchbook (maybe all 3) you may be able to get through the entire process on your first try. I made it an hour and a half reading my novel.

Tips and tricks

Make sure your chair is comfortable, supportive and flexible. You can use a bean bag chair, an office chair, whatever makes you feel good, but you must be comfortable otherwise you won’t last 30 minutes. It is important that you don’t try to sit on a toilet if your chamber is a bathroom. Try your hardest to find something comfy that fits, even if you have the tiniest of bathrooms.

Your green light therapy chamber does not need to be a bathroom! It can be a closet, a pantry, an internal office – it just needs to be a windowless room that can be made completely dark!

The finished product

This is my handmade DIY green light chamber. In the bottom right corner is my camp chair, which was previously mentioned in the tutorial. On the counter is my book to read and water to drink. The green light lamp is made from an antique desk lamp given to me by my mother which cost nothing, with a green LED light bulb from Amazon.

Takeaways

I did find relief using this last night. It was about 10:30 and I was crying from the physical pain I was in, so I asked my dad to bring in a camp chair. I attempted to use the green light therapy chamber earlier yesterday, but I had to sit on the toilet because I could not fit my office chair inside. This caused me to hurt myself. Everybody, please say no to toilets.

And now, a recap:

Pocket full of starlight: there are lots of ways we can combat pain ourselves, and some of them are very creative.

Pocket full of darkness: fighting pain takes time.