The Poetry of Transformation

Tracy Lee Karner

Managing Fibromyalgia–Keep a Health Journal

By Tracy Rittmueller | May 6, 2012

I’m giving away the health journal I wrote, to anybody who needs it. I don’t want any money for it. It comprehensively tracks aggravating and alleviating health factors. It has been useful for me, and now I want to make it available to anyone who needs to keep a health journal for any reason. I’m overwhelmed by the unexpected number of people emailing me to tell me my blog is helpful. Thank you, thank you! I’m glad for the feedback. It inspires me to keep blogging. Regretfully, I can’t respond immediately & personally to every email & inquiry I get. But I …

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Variation on a Theme of Tabouli

By Tracy Rittmueller | May 4, 2012

Since I can’t stand myself when I waste good food, I had to come up with something that would use cilantro (they sell it in bunches too large for my salsa recipe). I also wanted to use up the leftover salsa. It’s like Tex-Mex Tabouli. I don’t like that name, though, so my quick and easy bulgur salad that uses up leftover cilantro shall be known as Variation on a Theme of Tabouli**  You’ll need– 1 cup each of bulgar wheat boiling water chopped cilantro leaves (if you have less than a cup, use what you have); about 1/4 cup each …

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Tracy Lee Karner

Karner Blue Recovery

By Tracy Rittmueller | May 2, 2012

That this beautiful, blue, endangered creature shares my name, makes me irrationally partial to it. Some days I feel kinship with the Karner blue butterfly, as if I, too, am in danger of being wiped out. But there are quiet armies of people devoted to saving this butterfly, from school children in New Hampshire (read more about those Kids for Karners here), to landowners restoring their land with native plantings in Wisconsin (read more about grants for  landowners here). And there’s a quiet army of support and help for me (and for you). That there are people who are willing to …

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Tracy Lee Karner

Keep Moving despite Fibromyalgia

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 30, 2012

People with fibromyalgia will commonly hear the advice, keep moving.  But, what does that really mean? When I finally figured out what they meant (it only took fifteen years), I dropped from my highest weight ever (180 pounds) to 135. At various times I have been bedridden, but now, due to gentle exercising, I’m able, on a good day, to walk for an hour. Compared to “normal” people, I’m still technically “disabled,” meaning, I need people to help me (but then, who doesn’t?) I can’t do as much activity as healthy people my age, and I need a lot more rest. …

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Tracy Lee Karner

Build Endurance despite Fibromyalgia

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 29, 2012

Trust me on this: exercise is important. I apologize in advance for the length of this post–I know you’re busy and often exhausted, so I’m trying to keep my posts to around 300-500 words (no more than five minutes of your time). My “inspiring-people” posts run 800-1000 words (ten to fifteen minutes of your time), because I believe these people deserve a little attention. This post will take fifteen minutes to read, and will require some thought and planning on your part–and, some time to incorporate exercising into your schedule (remember to talk to your doctor about exercising). There’s no …

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Tracy Lee Karner's recipe

Clean-out-the-fridge Frittata

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 28, 2012

 My momma done told me…(if you sing these next words to the tune of that famous song, this will be more fun.) My momma done told me…to clean up left-overs (but beware, putting melody to these words will make them haunt you, just like the memory of your mother’s voice sometimes won’t leave you). First, pull some leftovers out of the fridge (you save them, right?) We had tacos last night, and had about a 1/4 cup each of leftover chopped peppers and onions, co-jack cheese, quesa fresca, and cilantro. Also, part of a jalapeño, some canned tomatoes (petite diced), and lurking …

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Tracy Lee Karner

Relaxing Forearm Stretch

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 28, 2012

Do this right now, it takes less than a minute. Extend your arm (it doesn’t matter which one), palm up, as if you’re a cop motioning traffic to stop. With your other hand, pull your fingers toward yourself until you feel a gentle stretch on the under side of your forearm. Hold for 10 seconds (but don’t hold your breath!) Don’t over stretch. Don’t look at my photo to measure how far to stretch. I’ve been doing this for years and am fairly flexible. Listen to your body. Now, let your hand flop downward from your wrist (like an 18th-century …

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Aggravating and Alleviating Factors in Fibromyalgia

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 26, 2012

In most cases, these factors will help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms: Restorative sleep Moderate physical activity Warm baths Warm and dry weather and the following factors will make symptoms worse: Non-restorative sleep Fatigue Overwork Physical inactivity Stress Anxiety Cold and damp Managing fibromyalgia can be exhausting, because it involves making lifestyle changes. To help you reduce exhaustion, my blog is, on purpose, only 1/5 specific fibromyalgia help, and 4/5 general inspiration and motivation. The only way I could  change my life, was a little at a time. I began by concentrating on alleviating the symptoms–one factor at a time. Then, I slowly …

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Tracy Lee Karner

Pain: Victor Frankl Calls it an Opportunity

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 26, 2012

Victor Frankl is an Austrian neurologist, psychologist and Nazi death camp survivor. His book, Man’s Search for Meaning, explains how he found the will to live despite witnessing the Holocaust. The following ideas paraphrase portions of that book: When we find pleasure in beauty, art or nature, it offers us the opportunity for fulfillment. This is easy to understand. This next possibility, however, is harder to fathom: everything we experience, even suffering offers us an opportunity. Pain gives us a chance to achieve something within ourselves, to create a generous and loving perspective, and to realize the true value of life, apart …

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Tracy Lee Karner

Cheap Trick to get your neck to Surrender tension

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 25, 2012

Every now and then, it’s good to think about where your head is sitting in relationship to your spine. Your brain, after all, weighs about 3 pounds and the skull adds a couple more pounds. Carry around a 5 pound sack of flour, and pretty soon you’ll want someone else to carry it for you. Since it’s not a good idea to have somebody else carry your head around, give your neck muscles a relaxation break from time to time. First, put this thought into your mind: I’m not stretching my muscles; I’m only relaxing them.  Next, whether you’re sitting …

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