It’s Legal to Grow Cannabis in Australia!*

mj-fmgirlOh, so much excitement about medicinal cannabis in our fibromyalgia family!

BUT do you know what’s happening here (ie: Australia)?

It is legal to cultivate and manufacture medicinal cannabis in Australia (Hold On! Keep reading!), which means people can apply for a licence to grow their own cannabis crop from the Office of Drug Control.

Since early November, through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, medicinal cannabis no longer falls under Australia’s most stringent of schedules, reserved for dangerous drugs. Instead, there are provisions in place to use it on medical grounds, with certain approvals but only for very ill people.

However, it will still be illegal to use or grow marijuana for recreational purposes.

It is up to the states to decide whether the drug will be allowed and who will be able to use it, dispense it, who will be able to approve it, and what dosage and form of medicinal cannabis is appropriate. And this is where things get murky (da,da, da, dum…)! Each state is trying to form or introduce its own legislation, while also considering the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961.

single-convention

The convention is set in place by the United Nations, and outlines how medicinal cannabis should be approached.

So, how does it work state by state?

  • If you are in Queensland, from March 2017 a specialist should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis for certain patients who have illnesses including MS, epilepsy, cancer and HIV/AIDS. There are no age restrictions, but approval will only be provided by a doctor who needs to show evidence that medicinal cannabis could help the patient.
  • In New South Wales, medicinal cannabis will be available for end of life illnesses, but only for adults.
  • In Victoria, children with severe epilepsy will be able to access medicinal cannabis from early 2017.
  • The ACT is currently working on legislation that will include education sources for doctors. The legislation is expected to come into effect next year .
  • Tasmania is developing a Controlled Access Scheme, to allow patients to access unregistered medical cannabis. It is expected to come into effect next year.
  • The WA Government has recently passed changes supporting the federal legislation. That means that doctors are able to prescribe medicinal cannabis under strict conditions.

Products will only be able to be dispensed by a pharmacist. However, there is still no legal product available in Australia.

There is little to no information available for what the situation in South Australia or the Northern Territory.

Patients who have been illegally using medicinal cannabis are applauding the changes, they fear it could be a decade before it is widely available to those who need it.

* With many restrictions

Round 2 – It’s a Knock Out.

Hey!

boxing-pills-supplements-sports-05102011Remember I just wrote about a current study run by Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese drug company?

Have another look – see that I wrote about the drug trial underway in the U.S and Canada?

Guess what? I found out some more information!

The study is also recruiting in:

  • Campse and Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia;
  • Maroochydore, Sherwood and Southport, Queensland, Australia;
  • Hobart, Tasmania, Australia;
  • Malvern East, Victoria, Australia;
  • Tallin and Tartu, Estonia;
  • Baldone, Jekabpils, Liepaja, Ogre and Riga, Latvia;
  • Auckland, Hamilton, Nelson, Tauranga and Wellington, New Zealand;
  • Banska Bystrica, Bratislava and Dubnica Nad Vahom, Slovakia; and,
  • Reading, Berkshire; Chesterfield, Derbyshire; Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Atherstone, Warwickshire; and
    Belfast, United Kingdom.

Good luck, if you’ll be trying to get in.

Untitled

It Can’t Hurt to Ask

The Australian Parliament is asking for public submissions into chronic disease prevention and management in primary health care.  This is our opportunity to write to them and ask them to fund research into Fibromyalgia and cater for patients who require home care, visits and support from medical professionals.

Despite an estimated one million Australians living with Fibromyalgia, there is limited services, support and information available. The gaps between research and daily care are unacceptable.

Now is the time to ask the Federal Government to provide:

  1. Leadership and coordination of a national approach to provide integrated management of Fibromyalgia services, building on the work of state governments, private sector providers, Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks.
  2. Access to quality services for all Fibromyalgia sufferers including people in rural, regional and remote areas, indigenous and socio-economically disadvantaged communities, children, and older Australians.
  3. Access to education and training for health professionals in particular as it relates to early intervention, multidisciplinary team practice and the early identification of Fibromyalgia.
  4. A public awareness campaign to address discrimination, misunderstanding and stigmatisation of people with pain within the community, including in the workplace and in welfare and compensation systems.
  5. Funding to provide community support services including consumer information, self-management education and telephone support (crisis help line).
  6. The development of a national research agenda to address gaps in knowledge about Fibromyalgia and improve clinical practice in pain management.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, 31 July 2015.

Please make a submission if you can.

 

Untitled

 

Put a Smile on your Dial

My newest nephew, Jasper, and his biggest grin.

My newest nephew, Jasper, and his biggest grin.

It’s National Smile Day here in Australia…but it really couldn’t hurt to spread it around, right?

Scientist and spiritual teachers alike agree that the simple act can transform you and the world around you:

  • Current research (and common sense) shows us that a smile is contagious.
  • It can make us appear more attractive to others.
  • It lifts our mood as well as the moods of those around us.
  • And it can even lengthen our lives.

So before you read on, slap a nice, genuine smile on that face of yours. You’ll thank me later.

How Smiling Affects Your Brain

Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.

For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress. Neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate. They facilitate messaging to the whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, excited. The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

The endorphins also act as a natural pain reliever – 100% organically and without the potential negative side effects of synthetic concoctions. (YAY! No side effects!)

Finally, the serotonin release brought on by your smile serves as an anti-depressant. Many of today’s pharmaceutical anti-depressants also influence the levels of serotonin in your brain, but with a smile, you again don’t have to worry about negative side effects – and you don’t need a prescription from your doctor.

How Smiling Affects Your Body

You’re actually better looking when you smile – and I’m not just trying to butter you up. When you smile, people treat you differently. You’re viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia reported that seeing an attractive smiling face activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the region in your brain that process sensory rewards. This suggests that when you view a person smiling, you actually feel rewarded.

If you don’t believe me, see how many looks you get when you walk outside with that smile you’re wearing right now. (You’re still smiling like I asked, right?)

And I just HAD to include the other nephew, Z, as well.

And I just HAD to include the other nephew, Z, as well.

How Smiling Affects Those Around You

Did you know that your smile is actually contagious? The part of your brain that is responsible for your facial expression of smiling when happy or mimicking another’s smile resides in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area. In a Swedish study, subjects were shown pictures of several emotions: joy, anger, fear and surprise. When the picture of someone smiling was presented, the researchers asked the subjects to frown. Instead, they found that the facial expressions went directly to imitation of what subjects saw. It took a conscious effort to turn that smile upside down.

So if you’re smiling at someone, it’s likely they can’t help but smile back. If they don’t, they’re making a conscious effort not to.

Looking at the bigger picture, each time you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to return the favor. You are creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both of you to release feel good chemicals in your brain, activate reward centers, make you both more attractive and increase the chances of you both living longer, healthier lives.

Hey! And, if you can’t think of anyone you want to smile at, give yourself a smile in the mirror. Hug yourself at the same time and the effect is even stronger. OK, so you might look like an April Fool, but who cares if there’s no one but you to see?


Int Fibro

LIGHT UP the NIGHT

Have you been following my Facebook page?

Have you been checking out my tweets?

I am taking up the LIGHT UP the NIGHT Challenge.

The challenge is to get as many buildings as possible in your country to light up with one of the 3 colours used on May 12th – blue, PURPLE or green.

light up the night

Of course, I’m supporting going all out for PURPLE!

We’ll all be winners but there will be bragging rights awarded to the country with the most photos in each of these categories:
1. # of Public Buildings/Places
2. # of Private Residences

What started as a friendly challenge between Canada and Northern Ireland has now grown to be international. This will be the first time Australia has competed, and I have humbly taken the opportunity to co-ordinate on our behalf. All details are available on the Event page.

The contest will be adjudicated by May Twelfth and final results posted on the May 12th International Awareness Day page.

We want public buildings/places like City Halls, Niagara Falls and we want individual homes lit up too!

So far, I’ve contacted the Arts Centre Melbourne (for the Spire), Parliament House and the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Victoria. I have also tried to contact the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We have some other groups looking at places on the Gold Coast to light up.

purple

If you’d like to help,

please TWEET any of these:

  • ❤ to see a PURPLE #sydneyoperahouse for #May12 #Fibromyalgia #Awareness Day #LightUptheNightOz #spoonie http://on.fb.me/1o0dI4v
  • ❤ to see a PURPLE @Sydney_Harbour bridge for #May12 #Fibromyalgia #Awareness Day #LightUptheNightOz #spoonie http://on.fb.me/1o0dI4v
  • ❤ to see a PURPLE @artscentremelb spire for #May12 #Fibromyalgia #Awareness Day #LightUptheNightOz #spoonie http://on.fb.me/1o0dI4v
  • ❤ to see a PURPLE @VicParliament House for #May12 #Fibromyalgia #Awareness Day #LightUptheNightOz #spoonie http://on.fb.me/1o0dI4v
  • ❤ to see a PURPLE #royalexhibitionbuilding for #May12 #Fibromyalgia #Awareness Day #LightUptheNightOz #spoonie http://on.fb.me/1o0dI4v
  • @artscentremelb Niagara Falls will B PURPLE on May 12 AGAIN 4 #Fibromyalgia #Awareness: can we light up Spire pls? @Fibromodem #spoonie
  • @cityofmelbourne Niagara Falls will B PURPLE on May 12 AGAIN 4 #Fibromyalgia #Awareness: can we light up @artscentremelb Spire pls? #spoonie
  • @cityofmelbourne Turn @artscentremelb SPIRE PURPLE 4 International #Fibromyalgia Awareness Day #spoonie

OR visit their FB pages and leave a message like:

  • The Canadians are turning Niagara Falls PURPLE for May 12 – International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Let’s light up the <insert building>

Let’s have fun with this and make this a May 12th to remember!
Int Fibro

Social Isolation…or Hibernation?

hibernationI’m hibernating…yes, it’s Winter in Australia. I don’t want to leave the house (not even to step outside to get the mail) and I just want to sit quietly, alone, on my couch.

Avoiding social contact is a common pattern you might notice when falling into depression. Some people skip activities they normally enjoy and isolate themselves from the world. Others turn to alcohol or junk food to mask their pain and unhappiness. I do both.

I’m doing it all at the moment…BUT I don’t feel depressed (I think!) I just want to stop for a little bit – I don’t want to fight at the moment, I don’t want to search for answers at the moment.

So, maybe I am depressed? I just can’t tell anymore.

Depression traps vary from person to person, but what they have in common is that they can serve to worsen your mood:

Trap #1: Social Withdrawal

isolationSocial withdrawal is the most common tell-tale sign of depression.

“When we’re clinically depressed, there’s a very strong urge to pull away from others and to shut down,” says Stephen Ilardi, PhD, author of books including The Depression Cure and associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas. “It turns out to be the exact opposite of what we need.”

“In depression, social isolation typically serves to worsen the illness and how we feel,” Ilardi says. “Social withdrawal amplifies the brain’s stress response. Social contact helps put the brakes on it.”

The Fix: Gradually counter-act social withdrawal by reaching out to your friends and family. Make a list of the people in your life you want to reconnect with and start by scheduling an activity.

Trap #2: Rumination

A major component of depression is rumination, which involves dwelling and brooding about themes like loss and failure that cause you to feel worse about yourself.

Rumination is a toxic process that leads to negative self-talk such as, “It’s my own fault. Who would ever want me a friend?”

“There’s a saying, ‘When you’re in your own mind, you’re in enemy territory,'” says Mark Goulston, MD, psychiatrist and author of Get Out of Your Own Way. “You leave yourself open to those thoughts and the danger is believing them.”

“When people are clinically depressed, they will typically spend a lot of time and energy rehearsing negative thoughts, often for long stretches of time,” Ilardi says.

The Fix: Redirect your attention to a more absorbing activity, like a social engagement or reading a book.

Trap #3: Self-Medicating With Alcohol

cocktailsTurning to alcohol or drugs to escape your woes is a pattern that can accompany depression, and it usually causes your depression to get worse.

Alcohol can sometimes relieve a little anxiety, especially social anxiety, but it has a depressing effect on the central nervous system, Goulston says. Plus, it can screw up your sleep.

“It’s like a lot of things that we do to cope with feeling bad,” he says. “They often make us feel better momentary, but in the long run, they hurt us.”

The Fix: Talk to your doctor if you notice that your drinking habits are making you feel worse. Alcohol can interfere with antidepressants and anxiety medications.

Trap #4: Skipping Exercise

If you’re the type of person who likes to go the gym regularly, dropping a series of workouts could signal that something’s amiss in your life. The same goes for passing on activities – such as swimming, yoga, or hydrotherapy – that you once enjoyed.

When you’re depressed, it’s unlikely that you’ll keep up with a regular exercise program, even though that may be just what the doctor ordered.

Exercise can be enormously therapeutic and beneficial, Ilardi says. Exercise has a powerful antidepressant effect because it boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals that often ebb when you’re depressed.

“It’s a paradoxical situation,” Ilardi says. “Your body is capable of physical activity. The problem is your brain is not capable of initiating and getting you to do it.”

The Fix: Ilardi recommends finding someone you can trust to help you initiate exercise — a personal trainer, coach, or even a loved one. “It has to be someone who gets it, who is not going to nag you, but actually give you that prompting and encouragement and accountability,” Ilardi says.

Trap #5: Seeking Sugar Highs

When you’re feeling down, you may find yourself craving sweets or junk food high in carbs and sugar.

Sugar does have mild mood-elevating properties, says Ilardi, but it’s only temporary. Within two hours, blood glucose levels crash, which has a mood-depressing effect.

The Fix: Avoid sugar highs and the inevitable post-sugar crash. It’s always wise to eat healthfully, but now more than ever, your mood can’t afford to take the hit.

Trap #6: Negative Thinking

NTWhen you’re depressed, you’re prone to negative thinking and talking yourself out of trying new things.

You might say to yourself, “Well, even if I did A, B, and C, it probably wouldn’t make me feel any better and it would be a real hassle, so why bother trying at all?”

“That’s a huge trap,” says Goulston. “If you race ahead and anticipate a negative result, which then causes you to stop trying at all, that is something that will rapidly accelerate your depression and deepen it.”

The Fix: Don’t get too attached to grim expectations. “You have more control over doing and not doing, than you have over what the result of actions will be,” Goulston says. “But there is a much greater chance that if you do, then those results will be positive.”

 

A Mish-Mash Update Post

You might remember back in January, I wrote Bigger is NOT Better. As part of a recent campaign in Australia, I pledged to lose 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds).

I am reminding Sherri Caudill Lewis, Lara from Live your dream life and sparkle, Kimberley Hatfield- Patty, Valerie Dunlop, Vicki, FibroLogic (all people who commented on the original posting), and all those who didn’t comment but decided they wanted to lose weight, that we are still in this together. How are you all going?

Anybody else trying to lose some weight to feel better?

I have lost 9 kilograms so far and I’m working really hard to try to exercise more and eat less (chocolate, cheese & ice-cream). The new season of BLThe Biggest Loser just started and I decided that it was the perfect time to do sit-ups and crunches each day. I figured that if I was going to lose all this weight, I didn’t want a ‘flappy’ tummy. I knew it was going to hurt; but I hurt everyday so, I thought, let’s make it worth it.

My Pain Specialist vetoed that idea! The more stomach muscle spasms I was having, the less I could do any aerobic exercise (ie: walking).

So, I have just returned from my warm water exercise class (a permitted activity), where I worked as hard as possible (and, I can tell already, was too much). Right now, my body feels all stretched out and fabulous BUT tomorrow I know that my muscles will be screaming!

brilliance-1stIn my shower, afterwards, I test drove a hair colour called Ultra Violet. I thought I may be able to get a great purple (I’m going Purple for the entire month of May!) in one process. I stopped at my hairdresser’s first to check that, if it didn’t give the desired result, we could bleach it out and try another purple. It’s still damp but it’s looking more red than purple – BUMMER!

***AM.02-11.LubesTip of the Day***The exciting news is that I found a new use for lube. I couldn’t find any Vaseline to put around the edges of my hair (to stop my skin going purple) so I tried lube (especially seeing as I’m not having any sex) and it works really well – ***Tip of the Day***

So, that’s all my latest news…have you got any plans for International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day?

Lab Rats Wanted

Are you willing to put your body on the line? Or might you be at the end of your tether and willing to try anything?

As it is beyond me to list EVERY research study on FM, here are all the studies that are currently recruiting in the top 6 countries where my blog is being read:

*** If you live in another country, visit ClinicalTrials.gov, then enter your country and ‘fibromyalgia’ in the search box…you never know what you might find ***

Australia

NIL

Canada

A Phase 3b Multicenter Study of Pregabalin in Fibromyalgia Subjects Who Have Comorbid Depression

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Pregabalin; Drug: placebo

The Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements on Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Dietary Supplement: Omega-3 (oil); Dietary Supplement: Fatty Acids (placebo)

Online Acceptance-based Behavioural Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Behavioural: Acceptance-based behavioural therapy;   Other: Will vary per participant

India

Adolescent Fibromyalgia Study

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: placebo; Drug: pregabalin (Lyrica)

A Study of Duloxetine in Adolescents With Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Duloxetine; Drug: Placebo

Pregabalin In Adolescent Patients With Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: pregabalin

Israel

Prevalence of Fibromyalgia in Israel

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions:

Effect of Milnacipran in Patients With Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Minalcipran; Drug: Placebo

Peripheral Arterial Tonometry (PAT) Evaluation of Sleep in Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions:

Study Assessing the Efficacy of Etoricoxib in Female Patients With Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: etoricoxib

Cognitive Dysfunction in Fibromyalgia Patients

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions:

United Kingdom

NIL

United States of America

Observational Study of Control Participants for the MAPP Research Network

Conditions: Fibromyalgia; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,

Interventions:

Pain and Stress Management for Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Behavioural: Stress and Emotions; Behavioural: Thoughts and Behaviours; Behavioural: Brain and Body

Adolescent Fibromyalgia Study

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: placebo; Drug: pregabalin (Lyrica)

A Phase 3b Multicenter Study of Pregabalin in Fibromyalgia Subjects Who Have Comorbid Depression

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Pregabalin; Drug: placebo

A Study of Duloxetine in Adolescents With Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Duloxetine; Drug: Placebo

Pregabalin In Adolescent Patients With Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Pregabalin

Combined Behavioural and Analgesic Trial for Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Tramadol; Drug: Placebo; Behavioural: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for FM; Behavioural: Health Education

Quetiapine Compared With Placebo in the Management of Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: quetiapine; Drug: Placebo

Cyclobenzaprine Extended Release (ER) for Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia; Pain; Sleep; Fatigue

Interventions: Drug: cyclobenzaprine ER (AMRIX); Drug: placebo

Tai Chi and Aerobic Exercise for Fibromyalgia (FMEx)

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Behavioural: Lower frequency, shorter period of Tai Chi; Behavioural: Higher frequency, shorter period of Tai Chi; Behavioural: Shorter frequency, longer period of Tai Chi; Behavioural: Higher frequency, longer period of Tai Chi; Behavioural: Aerobic Exercise Training

Effects of Direct Transcranial Current Stimulation on Central Neural Pain Processing in Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Procedure: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

Lifestyle Physical Activity to Reduce Pain and Fatigue in Adults With Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Behavioural: Lifestyle physical activity (LPA); Behavioural: Fibromyalgia education

Neurotropin to Treat Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Neurotropin

Effect of Milnacipran on Pain in Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Neurotropin

Investigation of Avacen Thermal Exchange System for Fibromyalgia Pain

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Device: AVACEN Thermal Exchange System

Phase 2 Study of TD-9855 to Treat Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: TD-9855 Group 1; Drug: TD-9855 Group 2; Drug: Placebo

Cymbalta for Fibromyalgia Pain

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Duloxetine

Effects of Milnacipran on Widespread Mechanical and Thermal Hyperalgesia of Fibromyalgia Patients

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Milnacipran

Qigong Exercise May Benefit Patients With Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Behavioural: Intervention Group; Behavioural: Placebo Comparator: Control Group

Effect of Temperature on Pain and Brown Adipose Activity in Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia, Pain

Interventions:

Effect of Milnacipran in Patients With Fibromyalgia

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Drug: Minalcipran; Drug: Placebo

The Pathogenesis of Idiopathic Dry Eyes

Conditions: Dry Eye, Fibromyalgia

Interventions:

Evaluation and Diagnosis of People With Pain and Fatigue Syndromes

Conditions: Fatigue; Fibromyalgia; Pain; Complex Regional Pain Syndrome; Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Interventions:

The Functional Neuroanatomy of Catastrophizing: an fMRI Study

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Interventions: Behavioural: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; Behavioural: Education

A Placebo-Controlled Trial of Pregabalin (Lyrica) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Conditions: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Interventions: Drug: Pregabalin (Lyrica); Drug: Placebo

 

 

Happy Australia Day!

australiaOn January 26, 1788, the First Fleet of 11 ships from Great Britain arrived at Port Jackson, which now forms Sydney Harbour. The First Fleet was led by Captain Arthur Philip. He established the Colony of New South Wales, the first penal colony in Australia. By 1808, January 26 was being celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day” with drinking and merriment (and not much has changed!).

Thirty years after the arrival of the First Fleet, in 1818, the Governor of Australia ordered a 30-gun salute, hosted a dinner ball at Government House and gave government employees a holiday. In the following years, employees of banks and other organisations were also given holidays. In the following decades, horse racing and regattas were popular activities on January 26.

In 1838, Foundation Day was Australia’s first public holiday. It was also the occasion of the first public celebrations of the founding of Australia. The shores of Sydney Harbour were crowded and there was a firework display. By 1888, January 26 had become known as ‘Anniversary Day’ was celebrated in all colonies except Adelaide. In 1888, the centenary of the arrival of the First Fleet was celebrated with ceremonies, exhibitions, banquets, regattas, fireworks and the unveiling of a statue of Queen Victoria.

The colonies of Australia federated to become a single Commonwealth in 1901. That year, Australia’s first Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Sir Edmund Barton announced an international competition to design a flag for the new nation. It attracted 32,823 entries. Five near-identical entries were awarded equal first and the designers shared the £200 prize.

The Aussie Flag was flown for the first time in September 1901 at the Exhibition Building in Melbourne, the seat of the federal government at the time. It can be flown every day of the year. As the nation’s foremost symbol, the flag should be used with respect and dignity.

The Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. It was created as a symbol of unity and national identity for Aboriginal people during the land rights movement of the early 1970s.

The Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. It was created as a symbol of unity and national identity for Aboriginal people during the land rights movement of the early 1970s.

By 1935, January 26 was known as Australia Day in all states except New South Wales, where it was still called Anniversary Day. In 1938, large-scale celebrations were held. These included a re-enactment of the landing of the First Fleet, which did not mention the convict status of many of the passengers on these ships. The re-enactment included the removal of a group of Aborigines. Shortly before the celebrations, a group of Aboriginal activists arranged a “Day of Mourning”. They used this to campaign for citizenship and equal rights for Aborigines.

From 1946, January 26 was known as Australia Day in all states. However, the public holiday was moved to the Monday nearest to January 26 to create a long weekend.  Since 1994, the Australia Day public holiday has been on January 26 in all states and territories.

The anniversary of the first permanent European settlement in Australia is not a cause for celebration for all citizens. Indigenous Australians often feel that the celebrations on Australia Day exclude them and their culture, which was thriving for thousands of years before the arrival of the First Fleet.

thNotwithstanding, it is an opportunity for ALL Australians to come together to celebrate their country and culture (most at BBQs & picnics). There are reflections on the achievements of the nation and explorations of way to make the country even better in the future.

Australia Day is a public holiday in all states and territories. All schools and post offices are closed. Some public transport services do not operate and others run a reduced service. Stores are often open, but most have reduced opening hours.

In some places, particularly Lake Burley Griffin, spectacular public fireworks displays are held. In addition, the Australian of the Year Awards are presented. These are awards for Australians who have made an outstanding contribution to their country or community.

So I’m off to celebrate but here are some interesting facts:

  • Australian_Coat_of_ArmsThe Australian Coat Of Arms has on it a kangaroo and an emu. The reason for this is that the kangaroo and the emu cannot go backwards but can only walk forwards.
  • Australia is the sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the United States of America and Brazil. However our population remains relatively small at just over 20 million.
  • Australia is the only country that is a continent. The mainland is the largest island and the smallest, flattest continent on Earth.
  • Australia is the driest, inhabited continent on earth. The only continent drier than Australia is Antarctica.
  • The interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid.
  • More than 40 000 years before the arrival of European settlers, there were an estimated 300,000 indigenous Australians living on the continent. 
  • victoria-bitter-beerThere are many claims to the fact that the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per head of population than any other community in the history of mankind.
  • Australia, founded by convicts. The homicide rate is in Australia is 1.8 per 100,000 of population. The United States was founded by religious zealots. It’s homicide rate is 6.3 per 100,000. Almost 400% greater than Australia.
  • About 160,000 convicts arrived over 80 years. That compares with free settler arrivals as high as 50 000 a year. 
  • Australia’s first police force was a band of 12 of the most well-behaved Convicts.
  • About 30% of the Australian population was born overseas 
  • Aborigines, the indigenous people, now only make up 1.5 % of the population. There are no Tasmanian full-blooded aboriginals left. 
  • Bob Hawke, a prime minister of Australia, became inserted into the Guinness Book of Records by drinking 2.5 pints of beer in just 11 seconds in 1954 (it happened before he became PM)
  • Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach, near Portsea on 17th December 1967, and was never seen again. The event has been referred to as ‘the swim that needed no towel’.
  • If you happen to be near The Great Barrier Reef and need to mail a letter or a postcard, you can. There is a mailbox located on the reef and uses the only stamp licensed by The Great Barrier Reef.
  • Much of the world’s opals come from Australia, which is usually anywhere from 85 to 95% at any given time.
  • Australia was the second country to give women the vote.
  • Mm_21-39When a specimen of the platypus (a native Australian animal) was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.
  • The name Australia comes from the Latin Terra Australis Incognito which means the Unknown Southern Land.
Australia Day Cards by http://www.chronicallycreative.net

Australia Day Cards by http://www.chronicallycreative.net

Happy Australia Day to everybody – you should all go out and have a beer to celebrate!

 

FibroDaily…starring ME!!!

Recently, I was interviewed for FibroDaily’s Fibro Warrior of the Week. The post came out today and WOW! I sound great (even if I do say so myself!) You can see the interview HERE; or just read my copy and paste…

FWOTW

Our fourth FWOTW is nothing short of a triple fibro threat! Simone (aka FibroModem) does more to give back to the fibro community than just about anyone. Between blogging, creating her cartoon, running her online fibro awareness store, and promoting her Visible Army campaign, she hardly has time for flare ups! Most of all, we love her ability to find humor in fibro, make us laugh, so maybe we can even forget about it for a minute. -FD


FD: Tell us a bit about yourself – Where were you born, where do you live now, family, interests, etc.

Simone: I was born and bred in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. I am single, live alone and I have Fibromyalgia. I was 40 before I had even heard about Fibromyalgia.

I used to work in hotels, on cruise ships and in casinos. Then I decided (at the age of 34) that this kind of work was not challenging enough so I spent 6 years working (in the ‘real’ world – Crown Casino) and studying (in ‘academia’) to get my law degree. About halfway through my studies, I had (what I call) a major breakdown.

I stopped working – I was broken. No getting out of bed. No getting in the shower. No getting dressed. I was depressed. I had depression. It took about 3 years to swim out of those murky waters (with lots of drugs acting as my life-preserver!)

For some reason the only thing that kept me going was my studies. Maybe it was the opportunity to start a new life, to get away from shift-work, or to live within the mainstream – but whatever it was, my studies saved me (I was never suicidal. I always thought that it had to get better than THIS otherwise how did other people survive. My psychologist said I was a very positive depressed person!) and I made it through.

Finally, with the help of my family, drugs and counseling – graduation!

I was able to ‘practice’ law for one whole month before the debilitating purple wave took over my life – FIBROMYALGIA!

fibro modem butterfly

Unlike many, I have NOT learned to manage this condition (don’t talk to me about pacing! I have too much to do!) so I am not working and I spend a lot of time on my couch sharing my thoughts and attempts at a life with my new friends on Facebook, Twitter and my blog: fibromodem.com.

I love trying and learning new things – I really believe that I can do anything! So I try everything (and there’s the reason we won’t talk about pacing!) I love my nieces and nephews (and their parents) beyond anything I could ever imagine. I love my Mommy – who is the best and most supportive mother (and person) in the entire world. And I love being able to link up with people all over the world to support each other.

FD: When did you first suspect that something wasn’t right? What happened?

Simone: In about 2007, about halfway through my (mature-age) studies, I had (what I call) a major breakdown.

I stopped working – I was broken. No getting out of bed. No getting in the shower. No getting dressed. I was depressed. I had depression. It took about 3 years to swim out of those murky waters (with lots of drugs acting as my life-preserver).

For some reason the only thing that kept me going was my studies. Maybe it was the opportunity to start a new life, to get away from shift-work, or to live within the mainstream – but whatever it was, my studies saved me (I was never suicidal. I always thought that it had to get better than THIS otherwise how did other people survive. My psychologist said I was a very positive depressed person!) and I made it through.

With the help of my family, drugs and counseling – graduation! But I never got back to full throttle.

I was only able to ‘practice’ law for one whole month before the debilitating purple wave took over my life – FIBROMYALGIA! I believe that the depressive episode was the beginning of my fibro onset.

FD: When were you diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

Simone: November 2011.

FD: When you received your diagnosis, how did it affect you?

Simone: At the time, I let out a big sigh of relief – I finally had a diagnosis: I wasn’t crazy; but, little did I know that a diagnosis wasn’t going to lead to an immediate, successful treatment.

FD: Since then, how has your outlook on life changed?

Simone: I still believe that ‘it has to get better than this’ so I have not returned to my depression at all (knock on wood!). There just MUST be something out there in the whole wide world that can help – we just have to find it.

The part of fibro that I have appreciated is the time it has forced upon me: time to walk up the street and meet all the local shopkeepers, time to spend time with my nieces and nephews, time to try lots of new things.

FD: How does Fibro affect your day-to-day life?

Simone: I wake up – it feels like my body has melted into my mattress, so it is with great difficulty that I drag myself up and out of bed. Sometime during the night, the bones in my feet broke while I was sleeping (yes! that’s the only description I have for how my feet feel while I try to get them moving in the morning). And up. Head spinning. Need to wrench open door with two hands as power has not been fully restored to my wrists. Guess what? The bones in my hands (what’s the area between your wrists and your fingers called?) were in the same tragic accident as my feet.

fibro modem butterfly

Slowly, I move towards the kitchen for my medication, then to the couch – for about 2 hours – until my body catches up to the waking up process.

I no longer work as I cannot offer any reliability to an employer or clients but I have kept myself busy with my Facebook pageblogFibromyalgia Awareness Shop and Twitter. I have a continuing awareness project called the VISIBLE Army for all sufferers and supporters.

FD: What can’t you do anymore because of Fibro?

Simone: No more playing squash with my father; no more working; no more all day shopping trips; and, limited driving.

FD: Name something you do now that you never would have imagined happening before your diagnosis.

Simone: Lots and lots of things: many of us think we’re stuck – nothing is going to change, this is it, this is my life! But why? There are still so many things we can do – and, for those of us stuck at home, perhaps an opportunity to try something new.

Since being diagnosed, I have:

  • Attended my first burlesque performance
  • Attended my first hydrotherapy class
  • Started my first Facebook page
  • Attended my first Bowen therapy treatment
  • Went to the Doggy beach for the first time
  • Wrote my first Blog post
  • Made my first video
  • Opened my first Fibro awareness store
  • Attended my first Pilates session
  • Attended my first Yoga session
  • Attended my first Tai Chi class
  • Had my 2 year old nephew sleep over for the first time
  • Produced my first cartoon character (FibroModem Girl)
  • Published my first E-mag – LIVING WELL with FIBROMYALGIA
  • Attended my first Shiatsu treatment
  • Attended my first reflexology session

FD: What has been your experience with seeking medical treatment for Fibro?

Simone: The medical professionals, who I have seen, have been very helpful for diagnosis but are too ready to give up – the number of times I have heard ‘that’s all I can do for you’ can lead to depression! We NEED a young, motivated doctor – some-one who is still positive and wants to be the best! some-one who wants to discover new things, who wants to be published, who is willing to experiment with new things! It seems that the older the doctor, the more jaded he has become! We need a few “CHANGE THE WORLD” kind of doctors!

FD: How has Fibro affected your relationships, friends, family, partners?

Simone: I have become even closer to my Mommy AND I have been lucky enough to re-discover a friendship that means the world to me. BUT other than those two relationships, everyone else has disappeared – sad but true.

FD: What is the biggest challenge you face living with fibro?

Simone: Loneliness.

FD: What inspires you to keep on fighting?

Simone: Actually I don’t know – perhaps it is the nagging thought that ‘it has to get better than this!’

FD: What advice do you have for other people who are living with Fibro?

Simone: Put an end to family secrets. Don’t try to protect your friends and family from bad news – communicate directly and openly with family members.

Include your children – even though their understanding of the illness may be limited, children appreciate being told what’s going on around them. Otherwise, children may believe that they are the cause of the serious illness or other events around them. Be open and honest with them, and allow them to ask questions.

fibro modem butterfly

Be selective about who you talk to about the illness. Choose carefully those with whom you’d like to share information about this illness. What matters is that sharing the information about the illness will provide a stronger sense of support and strength.

Be clear about how friends and family can help you. People love to feel useful, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Be your own advocate. It’s so hard to learn to speak up about your condition. It’s hard to talk about it sometimes. And it’s really hard to ask for special treatment if you’re not that kind of person. But be brave, and learn to ask for help when you need it.

Find a support group. Go to it. Take a family member or friend if you’re scared. It’s okay to be scared.

FD: Do you have a funny Fibro story you can share?

Simone: I find most things funny (mostly in a sad way) so I started a comic called FibroModem Girl – if you can’t laugh, you will only cry!

fibromodem girl - loved ones

fibromodem girl - insurance

fibromodem girl - invisible illness

fibromodem girl - yoga pain

Need to laugh? See more FibroModem Girl.


Follow Simone on Twitter: @Fibromodem
Like Simone on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FMawareness2012

Check out FibroModem online:
FibroModem Blog
Fibromyalgia Awareness Shop
FibroModem Girl