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Fibromyalgia and Migraines, Part 2


Apparently, migraines are no different than people… they don’t know how to read mixed signals.  But what was I expecting?

Come back tomorrow for what I promised to write today.  I’m heading to bed to fight off a swollen throat and apply my dad’s theory that you can sleep off being sick.  It sure works for him.

Fibromyalgia and Migraines, Part 1


So, part of new weekly routine has got to go.  It’s a once a week thing.  It was never planned.  And I certainly never invited it.  Each week I renew my resolve to ditch the routine.  And each week I forget to remember to ditch the routine for the days in between.  But that’s over because I’m writing about it.  Isn’t that supposed to help you remember?

I get a killer headache (dare I say, migraine) every Thursday.  What’s the deal?  Is it end of the week stress?  Is it a coincidence?  Is there really any other explanation?

It’s all a bit strange.  Thursdays are my favorite work day.  It’s almost Friday, but it’s more productive.  I suppose that after a long week I’ve accumulated enough stress to cause such a headache, but it’s incredible how quickly it arrives and how quickly it has me seeing double and heading to bed before I’m head-over-toilet, woofing my cookies.  I’m not talking a headache… the kind that hurts and makes loud noises annoying.  I’m talking…

Oh my gosh!  My vision is freaked out.  My head is being crushed by an invisible anvil.  My last four meals are on deck.  I can’t hold up my head.  My hearing is blurry (is that possible?!).  Daniel, get me to bed before I die.  And do so in complete silence.  And don’t turn on the lights…

Thusfar, I’ve survived this dreadful routine, as I will continue to.  But surviving is reactionary, and I’m looking to be preventative.  Something must change.

I didn’t start having migraines until I was at college.  I still remember the first one like I remember my name.  I remember what movie I was watching as I had a conversation with myself that went something like:

This might be the worst headache I’ve ever had.  This must be what Mom and Grandma get.  If this is just a headache, I’ve never had a headache before.  Those concussions have nothing on this… they’re hangnails.  Oh my goodness, I’m going to vomit.  I hate this movie.  I hate light.  Just make a move already! (I was watching the aforementioned movie with my roommate and a boy she liked.) I hate noise.  I want to go home.  I want to cut my head off.  I hate these pants.  Just put your arm around her!  I hate this chair.

Since then, migraines waltz in and out of my life like warm weather does an Arkansas winter.  And I’ve had enough.  My Valentine’s gift to myself was to finally kiss migraines goodbye…  But, as we learn from people, kissing things goodbye (when you intend to distance yourself from said things) is a stupid idea.  It sends mixed signals and confuses the situation…

Come back Tuesday for the rest of the story, as well as my migraine survival tips.

Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, More Frigid Weather, and a Lot of Ice


IceStorm09

If you live in the United States you’ve likely heard about, or experienced first-hand, the recent ice storm.  And, if you’re like me you felt it coming.

Sunday I woke up to a feeling I had, apparently, blocked from my memory.  Arthritis pain.  I think it’s like a teter totter… Well, I think my recognition of pain is like a teter toter.  Either I recognize and feel my fibro pain, or I recognize and feel my arthritis pain.  It’s not that they never coexist, it’s they my brain knows me well (or wait, my brain kinda is me, yeah?), anyway… my brain knows me well and won’t allow me to feel more than I can cope with.  And, I consider this a blessing.  I am about to digress, but read me out.  It may just be what you need to hear.  You never know.

In fact, I believe we are never given a challenge we are not capable of enduring.  And, I believe such challenges can refine us and shape part of us into the person we want to become.  Maybe you don’t agree… but I’d challenge you to ponder that idea when you’re tested.  Sometimes it’s fun to fly in the face of otherwise lame situations… Decide to find something to be happy about.  Decide to prove to yourself you are capable.  Decide to do your best.

Back to the point (I think I say this in every post… thank you for sticking with me).  My arthritis made itself known and, as is often the case, I thought, “Hm… I hate arthritis.  But at least I know the weather must be changing.”  After I woke up feeling just as lousy the next morning, I updated my facebook status to “Kate is a human barometer…” and I went to work.  You know what I meant.

I hurt!  And since you don’t get it (and I kinda don’t want you to, since I keep my team pretty small), at least you know the weather is changing.

The ice started Monday during lunch.  First it was rainy.  Then the rain began to freeze on my windshield.  Then it began to freeze on the ground.  Daniel and I ate lunch at our favorite place near his work.  His school let out early in anticipation of the ice, and I headed back to work.  But by the time I got there (during my trip all the local schools let the kids out early resulting in a traffic jam no other town of our size could create) I realized it was unwise to stick around and I continued toward home.  Within the hour the ice was accumulating.

Daniel and I walked the three houses to my parents for dinner.  Well, technically, it wasn’t walking, our feet barely left the ground.  We skated our way on what appeared to be wet asphalt or concrete in our shoes.  And, when possible, we walked across lawns (although on the trip home the lawns weren’t much better than the hard surfaces).  We made it safely home and snuggled in for a cold and cozy evening.  It was Daniel’s first ice storm, and I don’t think he had any idea what he was in for.

Tuesday morning we woke up to a lovely view.  It was a great day for K8.  The ice storm gave me, and thousands of other people, reason to work from home(when the VPN was cooperative).  School was canceled so Daniel was home as well.  Dad made a wonderful breakfast.  And mom helped me get the new fibroyouth site design complete.  I got good news via e-mail… or so I thought. (More on this in tomorrow’s post.)  And by lunch time Dan knew he wouldn’t have school Wednesday.

Wednesday was another lovely day (spent almost entirely in the house).  The precipitation was mostly through and the sun even tried to make its presence known… through a veil of clouds.  But the only melting was on a few icicles and I swear it refroze before it dripped.  I swear.  I didn’t hear dripping.  What I did hear was a lot of engine revving as people (obviously not acquainted with ice storms or the geography of our neighborhood) got stuck at the entrance.  It’s a 90 degree turn with the point of the angle being at the bottom of a hill.  It ain’t gonna let you out with ice on the roads.  No way.  And don’t get too excited about the other entrance.  It’s an uphill (in a big way) battle or a downhill icy death luge that dumps into an innocent neighbor’s garage… depending on whether you’re coming or going.  Either way, the hills have it.

I have to admit something awful, at this point.  I get some sort of perverse pleasure out of watching people try this ridiculous task.  You see, from the window seat in our bedroom I have a perfect view of the entrance, the turn, and the low spot.  Sitting there, watching stupid car tricks, can be quite amusing.  Maybe now you think I’m a terrible person.  But I’m not.  I swear.  I am, however, great at finding the simple pleasures in life.  And waking Daniel up to enjoy them with me.  Oh no.  Maybe that makes me more terrible… I know some people feel pretty strongly about their sleep.

By now, you may be noticing this is a lengthy post.  Please remember I haven’t left the neighborhood since Monday.

All this wordy wandering brings us to today.  I woke up feeling lousy again.  Arthritis pain is back.  Dan didn’t have school.  I had work, at home.  And the sun finally made an appearance!  A real, lengthy appearance.  Daniel and I took a walk outside to enjoy the beauty (and brightness) of it all.  The rest of the afternoon sounded quite like the squirrels were having a bowling tournament on our roof.  Ice was falling off the trees in large chunks and tumbling down our roof.  Outside sounded like construction site with scrap materials falling from the sky.  I took a chunk of ice to the head and was shocked by how much it hurt.  I guess it makes sense.  That stuff falls a long distance.  But isn’t it stunning?!

IceStorm09-2

In a way I like my Arthritis.  It’s like a really annoying guard dog (not really).  When it’s not useful it annoys me.  But sometimes it brings good news (in an annoying way), like it did Sunday and Monday morning.  “Exciting weather is on the way!  You’re about to spend a whole week working in the same building as your sweetie.”  And sometimes it just brings news I already knew.  Like, “Change is coming.”

Fibromyalgia and Frigid Weather


Basically… the two don’t mix.  Luckily, with a positive attitude just about anything goes.

Today was incredibly cold here in my hometown.  It was so cold it almost became humorous listening to myself sing myself a pep talk.  “It’s a beautiful morning.  I think I’ll go outside for a while and smile.  Take in some of that [cold,] fresh air and…”  You may laugh… but you know what?  It worked.  By the time I got to work I was in awe of the beautiful snow.  I was refreshed by my walk through the parking lot.  And I was SUPER grateful for the heat in my office (which I normally find to be rather insufficient).  It was a great way to start the day.

The end of the day was a bit less energizing.  Check out how bundled I am… even now, after I’ve been home for 5 hours:

I've got a turtleneck, a turtleneck sweater, and a scarf. Indoors.

I've got a turtleneck, a turtleneck sweater, and a scarf. Indoors.

G’night fibrofolks.  Take care of yourself and your fibromyalgia during your winter weather.  And remember, there’s no reason it can’t be fun and refreshing.

P.S. I suggest you not choose a day like today to prove to yourself you can walk a long distance.

Fibromyalgia and Walking, Part 2


As is always the case, getting over my pride worked well for me.

In addition to the improvements in my morale and grades (as discussed here), I was reminded how pleasant winter weather could be.  I enjoyed running errands.  I conquered the dread of going to work and/or school and hiking a mile to do the door only to be so exhausted upon arrival all I could do was return to my car and head home.  I could go on, but you’ve had enough.

Before I go on I’d like to reach out to those of y’all who may have been like me… too afraid to admit that a disabled parking permit could have a powerful and positive impact on your daily routine and on what you perceive to be possible… quit being proud, and make use of the tools provided for us.

We (people with fibromyalgia) spend so much time being told there’s nothing that can be done to help us…  So why do we hesitate when we know something will for sure bring us relief?

I did hesitate… and looking back it makes no sense.  Just think about it, pray about it, talk about it (or whatever else you prefer to do to/on/at/about it) and then act.  Or, if you decide not to act get over the idea and move on.

Now, I recognize, this may not be for everyone.  Maybe you like to prove to yourself you can be tough (way to go!).  Maybe you enjoy the exercise more than you dislike the pain (I’ll get to that in a bit).  Or maybe (I pray this is the case) you experience little-to-no discomfort during long walks and have no use for a permit.  If so, hooray!  Be sure to give thanks for that blessing.  I think blessings we don’t give thanks for have a way of wandering off, deteriorating, or turning into something quite the opposite.

I am certainly not trying to peddle an idea or prescribe a treatment.  I, as always, am simply telling my story (mixed with a few things I think to link).  I am not a doctor.  Although… if you could earn a PhD in patientry, patientdom, patientology… or whatever… I’d be a likely candidate.  I was going to say I was an (unpaid) professional patient, but I think the student analogy is better… since they both involve spending money and paperwork.

As promised, back to the exercise bit.  Last October, my birthday gift to myself was to walk more.  And when I say more… I mean even 100 more steps a day.  So, I began wearing a pedometer… not a gugaphonic one.  A cheap green one I got with a McDonald’s salad years ago.  I got sick of the pedometer pretty quick, but now I have a habit of counting my steps (it borders on some sort of neurosis, I’m sure), especially as I walk around the office.  Anyway… point is I started parking out in the parking lot at work, instead of right by the door.  That alone was an additional 600 steps (or 1200 if I left for lunch) a day.  I was thrilled!

Fall mornings are crisp and beautiful.  The sunrise was a perfect backdrop to my morning walk into work.  I’d button my coat.  Ready for the day.  Mull over the morning’s NPR discussion.  Run through my to do list.  All while walking briskly through the parking lot.  (To be honest, some days it probably looked more like limping, but I was proud nonetheless.)

It was morning.  I was walking.  And anything was possible.

By the time I got to my desk my blood was circulating, my nose was chilly, and I was refreshed.  Most of all, I was proud of myself for working my way back into a the sort of thing one does in good health.  I was determined to fight off any flares by being active and challenging myself.

But, a wicked cold spell made its way into town in November and tempered my resolve.  I was back to parking near the door.  Now, this isn’t as awful as it sounds.  In fact, I believe, it was wise given the nature of fibromyalgia.  Walking 300+ steps in the freezing (and I mean well below freexing) cold would have been a pretty stupid way to kick off a work day.  It was in my best interest, and that of my to do list, to minimize walking outside.

Currently I am working my way out of said habit.  Despite the awful cold I am walking my way into the office from the outskirts of our parking lot.  I admit, I am doing so mostly out of necessity, but it’s growing on me.  I have to options… be early/on-time to work to get the close spots, or take the hike and not complain.  Although I try each day to achieve the former I will not complain about the latter.  I am proud of my progress.  And exceptionally grateful for warm clothing.  And trying not to overdo it.

So fibro folks… tell me about your experiences with fibromyalgia and walking.  Do you take daily walks? How do you pace yourself?  Are you able to *gasp* jog?!  Do you use a disabled parking permit?  I look forward to hearing from you.

If you have any questions about the permit process for US locations let me know.  I’d be happy to help.

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