Is it just me? Forgetting Just How Bad the Pain Can Be


Sometimes, even after over a decade with fibromyalgia, I have to be reminded just how bad things can get.

Sometimes, I forget how everything can hurt.  Sometimes, I am surprised by how quickly the pain flares up.  Sometimes, I am pleasantly surprised by how quickly the pain fades away.  Today is not that day.

Today I woke up three hours early just because I couldn’t stand to stay horizontal another minute.  Today I remember how badly I can hurt.  Today I wonder how long this flare will last.  Today I’ll settle for NaNoWriMo and cozy blankets.

Tomorrow I will head back to work.  Tomorrow I want to feel well.  Tomorrow I will be glad I took it easy today.  Won’t I?

What do you do on painful days like today, to make sure your tomorrow is bearable?

8 Responses

  • Sherlock on November 9, 2009, 06:17:01

    I feel your pain, literally! For some period of time things will go along relatively well and then bam! it hits big time (usually with weather changes). When it hurts that bad, I think back to the last time it got so bad and then count the weeks since then when it wasn’t so bad and that way I can focus on remembering that it does get better after a while.

    Reply to Sherlock
  • Kris Stroscher on November 9, 2009, 15:17:18

    Hi Kate,
    I know just how you feel. Some things I try to do when the pain is worse than normal include:

    Take extra pain medication and maybe a muscle relaxer if I’m having muscle spasms too.

    Take a nice warm bath with epsom salts. I light some candles and put some rose scented bubble bath from Crabtree & Evelyn in too (it’s a nice scent to me and not too strong, as scents often can cause me headaches). I also like to put the Spa Radio channel from Pandora.com on- it’s free and very relaxing.

    Relax and just lie down and read or watch television. I do have to roll over and stretch a lot though, as staying in one position too long is not so good feeling.

    Deep yoga-type breaths.

    Drink a cup of hot tea.

    Take a nap mid-day.

    Pet my dog.

    For me, really cutting back on activities helps a lot. I find that if I push too hard and overdo it one day, I’ll pay for it for the next few. The things above help me get through those more painful days. I just remind myself to do the best that I can, and that is good enough. It’s especially rough getting through some of those days at work, but I keep in mind that my dog, my husband and a nice soothing bath are waiting for me at home, and that in itself can help a lot.

    I hope you are in less pain soon.
    -Kris

    Reply to Kris
  • Benia on November 11, 2009, 14:10:25

    She’s back! 🙂 I’m glad you’re writing, but sorry that the topic is not happier. Regardless, it’s good to see you blogging again.

    I have often reflected on how hard it is to remember pain while not having it. With Fibromyalgia, the levels and types of pain vary so widely, that on a better day, I may not be able to accurately describe the horrendous pain that may have challenged the very fiber of my being just the previous week. It’s yet another think we fibromites have to bear. On top of dealing with pain, fatigue, and fibrofog, on top of having difficulty describing these things in real time, on top of already sounding crazy to those doubting “normals” out there, we must also deal with the fact that describing our problems after they have subsided, can be extremely difficult, even when trying to do it for ourselves.

    When I feel utterly useless, I head for the bed (with cozy blankets) and try to nap. If sleep doesn’t come, sometimes I just lay there with eyes closed, zoning out, or thinking, or imagining things. If I am able to read or watch tv, I may move to the couch to veg, but otherwise, rest is my priority.

    Last weekend, I was extremely exhausted after weeks of hard work at the office and stressful deadlines. I was beginning to be useless Friday morning, but still went to work. Luckily, it was the first day AFTER the big deadline, so things were much more relaxed. I left work early and went to our couch, then slept as long as I possibly could (about 12 hours) that night and the next. By Sunday, I felt alive again and actually enjoyed some good weather and time with my husband.

    Try not to worry too much about how long the flare will last – just focus on what you need right now. Rest if you can’t handle things and hope for the best.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    Reply to Benia
  • nicole on November 12, 2009, 15:15:20

    Ok, first I am glad I found this and started reading it. Second I am in the middle of a flare up so this post in particular got my attention. I too forget sometimes how bad it can hurt but as I mentioned I am in the middle of a flare up and it is all too apparent that this is my reality. I usually have major flare ups in November and March. This morning I dragged myself out of be at 5 am and sat in the chair and watched the news. I needed to be distracted. The pain I was feeling while I was just laying there still was almost unbearable. I don’t think I slept and if I did I don’t remember sleeping at all. I am at work and even typing this right now hurts. Over the last few days I have been exhausted by the never ending pain. I have explained this condition or chronic illness to my boss and there are days, like the one you describe in this post that I just can’t get myself to work. I feel guilt over this and I try so hard to get there no matter what the pain but there have been times I have had to tell him that I can’t even function. I don’t look like I have a problem as I am sure you don’t either which makes it hard for others to understand. How do you explain this to your boss? I have 3 kids who do not totally understand that during these times that the words “No” and “I can’t” do not mean I don’t want to do something it is that it is not possible. I look fine to them, they do not get it. I have just been doing what I can when I feel good enough to do it lately. It has been a rough week or two for me. It has been awhile since I had a good day but I know that day will come I just need to let my body rest and find a way to make sleep occur which may require a muscle relaxer tonight even though I will possibly feel hungover tomorrow. I need relief or the depression will get worse and nothing good will come of that. Right now I feel like I am being held against my will in this body and I want to be free. I hope this flare up ends soon.
    Thanks for Listening

    Reply to nicole
  • Kate Blaylock on November 22, 2009, 20:42:40

    Sherlock: You’re so right. It’s been over a year since I was this bad. I have much to be grateful for.

    Kris: Amen to the cutting back on activities. I have a difficult time doing so. I feel torn between not wanting to tell people I’m struggling and not wanting to make it worse. Thank you for the well wishes.

    Renia: I am back! Describing the tough times is awful. When I go to the doctor I always pray I will feel badly so they can see it… I just can’t describe it anymore. And sometimes I wonder, what’s the point? Understanding my description won’t make them know how to fix it. Thank you for the reminder to focus on the little things and the sort term goals.

    Nicole: I am so glad you found me. I love your perspective and your honest questions. I too find dealing with work is my greatest struggle. I am often conflicted on how to act and how to prioritize. I fear I put off resting, for fear of falling behind (on tasks and advancement) at work, so long that my health suffers. I understand the feelings of guilt. Look for a post on this soon. In the mean time I pray you get feeling better.

    Reply to Kate
  • Keith on December 4, 2009, 14:37:10

    Hi Kate,
    Recently found out that my pain(including headaches)is fibro…
    WOW!!! It really hurts.
    I think the worst for me is trying not to complain all the time. It’s sure hard not to talk about it. Glad I found your blog.
    I guess I’ve handled it for a long time because of some martial arts training I had years ago. My Chinese gung-fu instructor always stressed the need to “eat bitter”.
    An expression to swallow pain. I never thought I’d need it for this.

    Anyway, it’s good to know you’re out there.

    Keith in Louisville

    Reply to Keith
  • June Augustina on January 23, 2010, 11:31:55

    Dear Kate,

    Thank you so much for your BLOG. It is so hard to find people online that have Fibro and are still working. I have had Fibro since I was 40, and I just turned 57. I work FT as a psych nurse, and not working is not an option!
    Even cutting down my hoursis not an option.

    I am so glad I found you! You are a true blessing. I have been sick the last 4 days, three of those being work days. I hate being sick. It is hard knowing what is being sick, sometimes, and what is the Fibro. I worry about not having enough sick days to cover my possible days off.
    My work situation is pretty cool. I have told people I have Fibromyalgia, but most times I don’t bring it up. I am a psychiatric nurse that works as a mental health telephone advice nurse. So, I am on the phone talking to people all day, many with Fibro and other chronic pain issues, plus their mental health issues. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to share some of my experiences, when appropriate, with them. I certainly have lots of empathy! I just have to remember to take care of me, also!

    Love and hugs to all,

    June PS I would love to hear about the practical things people do to help themselves feel better.

    Reply to June

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