We are celebrating another birthday

in the Graceful Agony Family


Nichola has been one of my biggest supporters,

she has an amazing  heart,

a glowing spirit,

and the world is a

better place because she’s in it!!





Date rape drug or potential pain cure?

If you are like me, you have heard of about the drug GHB or gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid in the news.  In the past decade or so, it has gotten a lot of media attention because of its purpose.  GHB is a “Date Rape” drug.  Along with drugs like Rohypnol and Ketamine, GHB has been used as a way to anesthetize a victim before a sexual assault or rape.  It is known as well for being a negative part of the “rave” culture, being nicknamed “liquid Ecstasy”…. So it is not surprising that almost EVERYONE who has heard of it has negative feelings towards it.  It is the drug that you warn your friends and family about.  It is why you tell your children not to leave their drink unattended when they are out with friends.  It is a drug that has the ability to destroy and potentially end lives.

What I didn’t KNOW is that GHB is a legitimate drug!  It was widely used at one point in Europe as a sleep aid as well as an anesthetic during child-birth.  It has also been used for treating narcolepsy and severe alcoholism.  I believe that this drug has been replaced by other safer drugs for these medical conditions because of the risks involved and its addictive nature, but it is definitely still being used throughout the world.

GHB is not just a date-rape drug, although it is widely known as such, and also for the other non-medicinal uses it carries.

GHB Not just a date rape drug!

I read an interesting article today, and it led me to do a little investigation of my own.  GHB is actually being studied as a potential treatment for Chronic Pain, specifically Fibromyalgia, CFIDS, and ME.

Psychology Today ran an article this past October about this.  It poses the question: GHB Rave or Relief?

Dr. Podell, a doctor from New Jersey also has an article on his website about the potential benefits of GHB in regards to treating Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia-symptoms.org, has GHB listed under “Fibromyalgia Medications”.

Is this another stab in the dark as far as treatments are concerned? -Or- is this drug potentially the next miracle treatment for people like us?

Are we just guinea pigs?  -Or- are these trial studies going to lead us to a better life, and maybe a cure?

I don’t know about you, but hearing about drugs like this as a potential treatment of chronic pain makes me NERVOUS.

At best we’ve already had many drugs thrown at us that have less than stellar side effects.  The drugs that we currently take for the treatment of this illness are usually combined with other medications, don’t have high success rates as far as pain control is concerned, and some of them can cause other problems with our health.

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO excited to know that trials and studies are being done for Fibro research!! That means that potentially we will all be led out of suffering and into the light when better treatments are found!  What makes me nervous is that this drug in particular is a very dangerous drug, and one that has an insane list of side-effects and warnings.  If drugs such as this one become approved for the treatment of this illness, what does that mean for our whole community?

Do we become guinea pigs?

Do we then have to live with even more nasty side-effects? (respiratory arrest CAN be an effect by the way)?

Does this compound the stigma of Chronic Pain patients being drug addicts?

If this drug becomes FDA approved for the treatment of Fibromyalgia, how will this change the accessibility to GHB for people who are looking to abuse it, or use it to sexually assault their victims?

The whole thing seems a little scary to me, and I thought I would share what I found.  I needed to do a little thinking out loud 😉

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!!

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Aaahhhhhhh relaxation!

Hi everyone!!  My apologies for not being able to post a tip last Tuesday, but as most of you know my precious laptop kicked the proverbial bucket!  I am happy to say that a computer genius has had my laptop at the spa for the past week, and it is now well rested and a few pounds lighter, and hopefully it will be coming home in the next day or two!!  YAY!! I can’t WAIT to have it back!  I didn’t realize how lost I would be without it!!

Speaking of spas…. (okay lame segue! HA HA HA!) Today my tip is all about focusing on pampering as part of your treatment plan.  Most of us bathe everyday (at least I hope we do!),  it is one of the basics needs we mindlessly take care of everyday.  If you are someone who suffers from chronic pain, bathing can even be considered a chore!  How many times have you been too sore to stand in the shower for longer than a few minutes? And once you are in the shower, does it hurt to lift your arms above your head to wash your hair? Are you someone who loves to take a bath but on bad pain days you are not sure whether you will be able to get in and out of the bath on your own?  See… for all you “normal” people out there ( I use that term affectionately to describe those who don’t suffer from daily pain), bathing is something you can do without having to take many factors into consideration… for us Chronics, it is a little more complicated!!

Which leads me to the tip this week – Take the time to make one night this week a spa night!  Your body might just thank you for it!!

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to relieve pain and treat illness.  It is a general term, but things such as underwater massage, mineral baths, jacuzzi tubs, cold plunge pools, Vichy shower, and raindrop treatments are all forms of hydrotherapy – and they are ALL used as treatment for chronic pain.  However, you don’t have to spend major bucks at a spa to get some of the same results!!  How about a spa quality bath at home?

I have spent a lot of time researching the place that essential oils have in the treatment of chronic pain.  It started out many years ago when an old friend of mine began to use different oils in her practice as a Registered Massage Therapist, and she used me as her guinea pig!  I noticed a difference with certain oils she used, and went home and spent countless hours doing research on how I could apply this to my own treatment plan.

I came up with the most amazing bath salts, and whenever I was in severe pain I would pour myself a bath, and wash away some of the pain.  I shared these bath salts with others, and they have worked for everyone who has used them!  Keep in mind they are NOT a cure 🙂  they are simply just another ‘tool’ to put in your tool belt to help you manage.  I’d like to share the recipe with you!

*Note that ALL of the ingredients I have used can be found at any reputable health food store or online.  The start-up cost can be around $75-$100 but your oils will last you a VERY long time!  I only need to replace my essential oils once or twice per year – and I take TONNES of baths!!


  • The base of your bath salts will be Epsom Salts.  They are INEXPENSIVE and have a high concentration of Magnesium(great for chronic pain).  Pour out 2 cups of Epsom salts into a plastic container.
  • You may now add a few tablespoons of baking soda or ground oatmeal if you would like, but you do NOT need to.  I choose to skip this step, but if you have extremely sensitive skin, you may want to include it.
  • Next you simply get out your oils and add 3-5 drops of each!  If you have sensitive skin, you may want to start out with 2 drops of each, but I have worked up to 5 drops of each oil. The oils along with their healing properties are listed below.
  • Add to your bath water, and VOILA!!  a relaxing and powerful spa bath at home!!

These are the oils I use:

  • Basil – helps with exhaustion, muscle aches, rheumatism, flu like symptoms, and also can be used on insect bites.
  • Cedarwood – very helpful to bring down stress levels.
  • Chamomile – helps with insomnia, neuralgia, muscle aches, sprains and strains
  • Frankincense – helps with anxiety and stress (this oil can be one of the more expensive ones, so feel free to omit it if you would like.)
  • Juniper Berry – helps with cellulitus, rheumatism, toxin build up,
  • Lavender – helps with anxiety, cystitis, depression, earache, headache, rheumatism, insomnia, sprains and strains, stress, vertigo.
  • Marjoram – helps with aching muscles, muscles cramps, rheumatism, sprains and strains, stress.

*Please note that alternative medicine is STILL medicine, and should be used with your discretion or input from a health practitioner.  I have used all of these oils, and they have been beneficial to ME.  I have NEVER had a problem with them, BUT we are all different!

I hope you take the time to pamper yourself a little today!  You deserve it!!
If you have any questions about essential oils in general or this recipe, please feel free to ask them!
And I would LOVE to hear feedback from anyone who tries these salts!!  They have been a LIFE SAVER to me at times when I have been out of control with pain.  I hope they work for you too!!

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Happy Family Day


In my corner of the world, it is Family Day today.  And I am SO excited to be spending it with the 2 most handsome boys in the whole world!!

Which means, I won’t be blogging today!!

So I wanted to pass on my love and hugs to you before I turn off the computer, and concentrate on making my boys happy today!

Wherever you are, and whatever you may be doing today, take the time to reflect on how important your family is to you, and celebrate your FAMILY!!!

And thank you for being a part of THIS family here at Graceful Agony… You all mean the world to me!!!

Love Saved Me

I don’t necessarily believe in Valentines Day…. I mean I believe in celebrating love…. I absolutely BELIEVE in celebrating love, but I don’t know if I believe in doing it on a particular day each year….. I think it should be celebrated EVERY day…. and Valentines Day to me is just a reminder to reflect on that daily celebration….

The day my love walked back into my life, he forever changed me… his love saved me….

I wasn’t looking for love…. I was actually too busy licking my wounds and hiding my heart away to be interested in stepping out into the ‘dating’ world. I had gone through a devastating break-up of my marriage, dealing with severe and debilitating pain, and trying to adjust to being a single mom of a confused little boy. The last thing I was looking for was a relationship with ANYONE…. I already had my hands full, and I was horribly heart-broken…. I firmly believed that “love” was something for other people… and not me. I believed that “love” hurt… it hurt more than anything I have ever experienced in my life… and there was no way that I was going to EVER give my heart to another… How do you give your heart to someone when you gave it away freely before, only to have it disrespected, misunderstood, and then stomped on? Yep, no thanks… If that was what love was all about, it wasn’t for me. I was happy relying on myself and concentrating on my child.

And then one day my life forever changed….. I opened up my email to find that an old friend had looked me up, and sent a quick message to say hello…. he wanted to let me know that I was in his thoughts… “How’s the family?” he asked…. and my heart sunk…. um… there is no more family…. It is just me and my boy now…. I am getting divorced…. I’m a failure…. of course I didn’t say all of those things, but that is how I felt.

He wrote RIGHT back, and passed on his “condolences”, but he said that if it was the right choice for me, he was proud of the courage I had in leaving… and gave me his phone number, and asked that I call him….

For 3 days every time I thought of hearing his voice, I panicked…. Why was I feeling this way? I couldn’t sleep… I couldn’t eat…. I clung to the few short sentences that made up his email…It somehow seemed like a life-line to me. I had always respected him, and his friendship had gotten me through a rough time years before…. But at the same time he didn’t know that I had become ill since the last time he saw me… he didn’t know how much baggage I carried… I AM NOT THE SAME PERSON ANYMORE I said over and over again as those few days passed by… It became my self sabatoging mantra. I decided in my mind that I wasn’t going to call him. I didn’t need any more judgment in my life, and I convinced myself that he would never understand ME… I was broken…. I was unloveable… I wasn’t the friend he once knew…

He persisted…. “When are you going to call me?” he wrote…. “I am free right now if you want to chat?”…. oh god.. how do I make him go away??

Brrrriinggg!!!! Brrringgggg!!!! Crap, he won’t take NO for an answer!! He is calling ME!!!

“How long has it been?….. 5 years?….. So what have you been up to? Tell me everything!!” he said… um… What do I say to that? Okay Jolene, play it cool, he never has to know how completely broken your life has become…. tell him something… tell him ANYTHING… tell him you are busy and you can’t talk right now…

“I’ve actually been really ill…. and I am not the girl you used to know”… and those few words sparked a 6-hour conversation…. I purged EVERYTHING… and he listened…. I told him things that I hadn’t been able to tell anyone else in my life…. I was so vulnerable and open… and SCARED. When I put the phone down, I banged my forehead with the palm of my hand and said out loud “Well, I don’t think I have to worry about HIM calling again!”

and 10 minutes later, my cell phone beeped… I had a new text message….

“When are you meeting me for coffee?”

That text message was the first of HUNDREDS…. and that phone call was one of MANY… weeks went by, and we spoke for HOURS everyday. He sent me a “Good Morning” text every morning and a “Sweet Dreams” text every night – and in between we spent the day on the phone with each other, replaying old memories, catching up on where life had taken us in the years we were out of touch, and falling in love with one another’s character…. Before I ever laid eyes on him again, he had become my best friend.

I had never been so open and honest with anyone before. Every time I thought he would get scared away, he would move a step closer…. Our first meeting was evident, and couldn’t be delayed much longer…. I had to lay eyes on the man who had given me back my heart… I had to thank him for giving me something I thought I had permanently lost…. TRUST in someone else.

The moment we layed eyes on each other, I knew I had come home. It is something that I can’t explain. It was the most familiar feeling I had ever experienced, and at the same time it was something I understood was completely foreign and new… It was LOVE…. unbridled, unrestricted, uninhibited LOVE… I was SO blown away…. is THIS what love feels like? Am I just setting myself up for further heartache? Why have I lost all control? Have I lost my MIND?!?!?

He walked over to where I stood, and put his arms around me in an embrace…We held on to each other for what seemed like hours, but I am sure it was only a moment or two. I just didn’t want to let go. His arms healed something inside me. His warmth melted away a lot of pain. His own vulnerability spoke to me more than any of his words ever could. His arms dropped, our eyes met, and the back of his hand brushed mine. I knew I would never be the same again. In THAT very moment his love saved me.

And his love continues to save me…. every single day….

He is my best friend, my mentor, my lover. He is my teacher, and my student, and in turn I am his. He is my advocate, my support system, my soft place to fall. …. He is an amazing influence in my son’s life…. we are FAMILY not just by definition, but by design.

Early on in our relationship we took a long drive through the mountains…. and by the time we headed for home I knew in my heart that this was the man who I was made for… and he was perfectly made for me…. As he drove we spoke about how everything in our lives prepared us for THAT exact moment…. and how wonderfully and strangely life had a way of working out. What started out as a chance meeting turned into a friendship 10 years ago, and that friendship then turned out to be the most passionate and true love of our lives….

As the sun was setting over the mountains, and we drove for awhile in silence…. I knew I never wanted this journey to end.

He broke the silence by saying “I absolutely BELIEVE that I can love you in a way you have never been loved before”……

And he was right…….

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Happy Birthday Meg!

Happy Birthday Meg!


Please joining me in wishing a very special gal a Happy birthday today!

Her birthday is Valentines Day, and perfectly so…..

Because she epitomizes love

each and every day!!

Happy Birthday Meg, and thank you for all of your support and friendship.

Love Reduces Pain

Since it is Valentines Day, I wanted to find out how our partners in life can impact our pain!!

Can just the mere thought of a loved one reduce your pain?  What do you think?  How would YOU answer that question?

According to a study done at UCLA, thinking of a loved one CAN reduce your pain level!! Researches have also discovered that there may be a genetic link between physical pain (or our perception of it) and social rejection.

Interesting…. isn’t it?

No matter what your personal views are on this, it stands to reason that love might just be a powerful drug!!

What are your thoughts?

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