Lady Gaga: Defender of Those Suffering from Fibromyalgia!

First and foremost!  For those of you not in the know a purple butterfly is the symbol for Fibromyalgia sufferers.

Okay, this comic is a little bit silly but so is Lady Gaga (in a awesome way!).  I was not happy to hear that Lady Gaga has Fibromyalgia because I would not wish this condition on my worst enemy.  I am a fan of Lady Gaga and she continued to impress me by turning her suffering into a positive force.  I don’t often talk about my battle with Fibromyalgia on the website because its a constant grueling never ending battle with a faceless enemy.  It’s depressing and that is not the atmosphere I want to create for our comic.

The form of Fibromyalgia I have is rather severe.  I get symptoms in every part of my body and the pain is constant.  I will never be able to leave my house without someone with me because if I fall, I can’t recover easily.  I can’t drive and likely I will never be able to because it would be akin to driving drunk, or worse.  I can’t work any conventional job and as a result I’ve begun the process of applying for disability.  The only hope I have for a career is through my art, but that is a long shot.  (We are actually going to be taking a break from doing this comic to finish up something we hope to find a publisher for.  Scroll down for details.)  Currently I am stuck in my house, unable to leave with only my dog and cats for company during the work day.

If you want to know more about my battle with fibromyalgia, I’m more than happy to share.  I just don’t want to bog this comic down too much.  I worked too hard on the coloring job to depress everyone 🙂

I just want to say thank you to Lady Gaga for using her fame to bring attention to a chronic condition that nobody knows much about.  Funding research is EXACTLY what we need because currently we don’t even know what causes this condition or how to properly treat it.

Lady Gaga, if you are reading this; if you need anything for this battle you are waging all you have to do is ask.  I want to fight this in any way I can.

Remember Fibromyalgia sufferers, the only way to deal with pain is to laugh.


Hello everyone!

I am announcing that random-encounterz will be taking a break from our regular online comic posts until the beginning of the New Year. We are currently working to finalize the first chapter of a graphic novel that we are seeking to publish. We will still be posting occasional images, and updates from our progress on the graphic novel. Wish us luck, and we will see you guys in the new year!


The 4th Wall

Sorry for the less than awesome comics recently.  Severe Fibromyalgia can be a real biach sometimes.  Its rather hard to come up with ideas when I’m having foggy days.  Today I asked for help, my Father was helpful…somewhat. 🙂

The Beginning Begins with Sailor Moon and Red Wine

When I was a child I had Hot Cocoa and Sailor Moon.  Now that I’m an adult, I have Red Wine and Sailor Moon.

I have a condition called severe fibromyalgia.  All you really need to know about severe fibromyalgia is Stress = Pain.  I am not referring to emotional pain.  I am referring to physical pain;  Phantom pain that gets worse the more stress my body and mind accumulate.  This can be good or bad stress.

I’ve learned the trick with Severe Fibromyalgia is to recognize the difference between something that helps relax and something that helps distract.  Distraction is a coping mechanism meant to distract from my problems rather than deal with them.  Something that is relaxing is a tool that is helping me deal with my fibromyalgia, rather than distract me from it.

One of my goals for this website is to discuss the things that help me with my condition.  When I was first diagnosed I started surfing the internet, trying to find ways to help me gain some form of relief.  During my first internet search I felt like Jasmine from Disney’s Aladdin, when she escapes the castle and enters the market for the first time.  ‘BUY THIS BED, its GUARANTEED to get rid of your pain!’ ‘Buy these electric needles, stick them in your body, get rid of the pain!’  ‘Take these vitamins, you’ll feel relief in no time!’

There are so many people with ‘snake oil’ cures its really hard to figure out just what helps, and what does not.  I hope by writing about my experiences and what helps me, it can help other people suffering from chronic pain.  Random Encounterz isn’t going to be all about pain management, don’t worry.  There’s going to be plenty of silliness and storytelling.

Discussing fibromyalgia in my first post is also an easy way to talk about how it may effect the comics.  My content may not come as quickly as I may like, or I may miss deadlines in regards to comics.  I would prefer to work slow and make sure I do a job right than try to move too quickly and end up doing a sloppy job.

So it begins with Red Wine and Sailor Moon.

Firstly I would like to state: I do not believe in using alcohol (or any other form of drugs) as a way to distract.

One of the major challenges I’ve had in dealing with my chronic pain is breaking the habit of ‘comfort eating.’  I grew up being taught that when I don’t feel good its nice to have some comfort food (or drink) to help you get through the nasty experience.  After gaining over fifty pounds, I realized my definition of ‘comfort food’ needed to be redefined.  (Food is a expansive topic. I will not elaborate on this because I am not a trained professional.)  Gaining weight is just about the worst possible thing anyone can do when they suffer from a condition like mine.  Extra weight puts a lot of extra stress on your body which just translates right back into pain.  I like red wine because it tastes awesome, its lower in calories compared to other alcoholic beverages and, most importantly, its a drink that is intended to be drunk slowly.  A single glass of red wine can last me a few hours. I’ve learned when it comes to the ‘comfort’ part of comfort food, its the taste not the quantity that counts.

As for Sailor Moon

The anime Sailor Moon is awesome. I am willing to acknowledge other people may not consider Sailor Moon as awesome as I think it is.  In this case, its not Sailor Moon that matters but the function it serves. When I am in pain and I need to relax, I need to let my thoughts relax. ‘Turn off the Brain’ so to speak. I’ve found this is a very challenging thing to do. Maybe some people are capable of turning off their brains whenever they want, but mine has an annoying habit of wanting to think all the time. If I lay in a quiet room my brain will FIND things to think about.  Its like leaving a toddler in a room with nothing to do (and almost as disastrous).  Sailor Moon is bright, sparkly, happy and easy to follow.  It has a repetitive mantra like quality to it that really helps.  When I am not having a bad pain day I love Sailor Moon just as much, but I can only watch a few episodes before I need to move onto something else.

I am proudly a member of the ‘geek’ subculture, I love watching cartoons and playing games (tabletop or video games), reading comic books and/or fantasy/science fiction novels.  Before I understood how my condition effected me, I became very frustrated because I did not have the stamina to keep up with all the things I love to do.  For example: I would want to play Blizzard’s World of Warcraft but I would be unable to sit at my computer desk for more than an hour or my brain would be working too slowly to keep up with the games pace.  Often in games like World of Warcraft, you need to react quickly to a problem that arises and figure out how to counter the problem before you and your friends die.  There were more than a few party wipes because I could not heal the tank quickly enough…

I’ve worked the past several years to figure out how to manage my condition while continuing to do everything I love.  I plan on creating a sub page in this website that will include my list of the games, cartoons, comics, novels and other activities I love to do while I am also in pain.  I call them my ‘pain games.’

My master list and expanding on this theory will eventually be posted.  For today, all I have in me is this blog post 🙂 Now off to make Chicken Rice.  NUM!