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Category: Fibromyalgia Works for Me

The Wednesday What: What I’d Miss if I weren’t Constantly Reminded of my Limitations


During a recent trip home from work my mind got to wandering.  It wandered through the day at work, the lovely weather, and my gratitude for the lengthening sunny hours.  Then it stopped (I’m not rightly sure how) at medical disasters.  The awful medical emergencies that cost enormous amounts of money and leave you incapacitated for months or more.

Depressing, right?

But then (I’m sure by now you know my mind wanders rather quickly) I started thinking about how grateful I am that (knock on wooden couch leg) I have not had first-hand experience with any such medical misfortune.

I guess in the pre-existence I signed up for monthly payments instead of the lump-sum alternative.  I hurt (read: pay) a little bit for the duration (hopefully less) of my life instead of hurting/suffering/hospital-ing a lot for a less-lengthy amount of time.  The latter option being the payment in full sort of gig (my typical preference).  The thought kinda shut me up.

I’ve never been oblivious to just how good I have it (though I still complain too often).  I’ve never really thought I’d prefer any other health challenge over the ones I’ve been issued (except maybe… um… nevermind).  And I’ve pretty much forgotten (if I ever knew) what it was like not to have fibromyalgia and arthritis.  So I can’t really say I’d rather not have them.  Who knows what I’d missif I weren’t constantly reminded of my own limitations (and my ability to overcome them).

Actually, I’m pretty sure I do.

I’d miss out on a healthy dose of reality.  I’d think I was invincible, and therefore be immature.  I’d probably be overworked and in the Navy.  And I know I’d be too proud.

What would you miss if you weren’t constantly reminded of your limitations (and your ability to overcome them)?

*This has been the first installment of my newest weekly routine, the Wednesday What.  Come back tomorrow for details.

Fibromyalgia Works for Me: Recognizing My Limit


Fibromyalgia does not rob me of my life, it does not ruin my life, it does not run my life.  Fibromyalgia does, however, affect my life, focus my life, even enrich my life. Fibromyalgia has challenged me to make do with what I’ve got (as far as endurance goes).  And at least once a week (and often once a day) I am tested.  Will I recognize when I’ve reached my limit?  Or will I overdo it?  When it comes to answering such questions… Saturdays are especially tough.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Saturdays.  I wake up early and anything is possible.  I pick up the kitchen and declutter the dining room.  I enjoy the early morning sun pouring into the living room.  I watch some HGTV.  I prepare for upcoming posts.  I catch up on tweets.  I plan my day.  I pick my Saturday project.  And when Daniel’s up and at ’em I tell him my grand plan for the day and we get started…

We’ll take a trip to Walmart, and (hopefully) Lowes.  We’ll clean the house, do some laundry, and organize a closet.  We’ll rearrange furniture, play the wii, and talk about our week.  We’ll prepare for guests, spend time with friends, and get ready for Sunday.  Individually none of these items sound exhausting, and when we pack ’em in one after the other there’s no time to feel exhausted.  But when dinner time comes and I finally take a seat that’s likely where I will stay until I head to bed.

I get excited just thinking about a project.  So I begin and stick with it until it’s complete, with little regard for how taxing said project may be on my energy level and/or health.  Daniel is the type who recognizes all the work projects entail and, as a result, is less likely to begin (knowing I’ll do that part for him).  We balance each other well.  I start and get excited and he’ll support me and work with me.

Anyway… the point is I am selectively devoid of the ability (or desire) to stop a task simply because I am exhausted. I’m not sure if this has always been the case, or if it’s a “skill” I’ve developed from living with fibromyalgia for over a decade ago.  Either way it’s a a huge opportunity (translated: shortcoming) for me.  Actually, it’s a blessing and a curse.

Since I made it back to work full-time last June, Daniel’s been good about reminding me to pay attention to my to do list and my sleep schedule.  Both have a significant impact on my health and, therefore, are of great importance to him.  Although I sometimes get annoyed when he reminds me of the time or encourages me to take a break, I appreciate his concern and willingness to pick up the slack I leave when I take a break or head to bed.  I am especially appreciative on days like today… a Saturday during which I have NOT overdone it. Perhaps I don’t feel as though I’ve overdone it because I, in fact, have not done much today (not true, I survived a grocery run).  Or, maybe I am not exhausted because of what I have and have not done throughout the week.

Sunday night Daniel and I were in bed and asleep by 9:30.  I can’t even do justice how unusual this is.  Daniel and I would rather read, write, game, organize, eat, yawn, and chat than sleep.  Working full time allows us so few hours together neither of us is in a hurry to get to sleep.  We both choose to live sleep deprived (Daniel more so than myself) in exchange for downtime with each other.  You know how it goes.  It may lead to a few minor disagreements on those days when we’re super sleepy, but the conversations and company are well worth it.  Point is, 9:30 gave me 2 hours more sleep than I typically get and Daniel 3-4 more.

Throughout the week I kept the house more tidy than is typical.  I played “Martha Stewart” each day after work and spent up to an hour tidying things before I collapsed on the couch.  We ran errands instead of bumming around in the evening.  Daniel got caught up on homework and his writing.  We didn’t let life wear us out.  We stayed on top of things.

All-in-all answering the aforementioned questions, “Will I recognize when I’ve reached my limit?  Or will I overdo it?” is rather simple this Saturday:

Yes.  Although I have not yet reached my limit I am prepared to acknowledge when I do.  No, I will not overdo it.  I am learning to pace myself and treat the week like a marathon, not a sprint to be completed on the one day I have with absolutely no reoccurring event.

Fibromyalgia, Gauging Pain, and Self Doubt


I was into the office by eight Monday morning (If my memory serves me correctly that is the earliest I have been to work in four months.).  By nine I thought my legs were waging war on my nervous system.  And on my morale.  And on my capabilities.  And on my touch with reality.  But, like many people with fibromyalgia, I ignored the pain.

Knowing the early morning would lead to increased pain, I took Celebrex with my breakfast that morning (as I often do).  I have found significant as-needed relief in Celebrex with one significant side effect.  And that side effect was in full effect Monday…. As I toughed out the pain I was fighting my stomach.  No matter what sort of meal i eat with my Celebrex it always seems to make me violently ill.

So, Monday morning I spent what felt like hours talking with myself.  (I have learned from my mother, who lived with giardia for half a decade, that you can almost always talk yourself out of, what we call, “losing your stomach.”)  I sat in my chair and centered.  I reminded myself to be calm.  I focused on breathing deep.  I gave myself a pep talk.  And it seemed to work… for the first few hours of work.

I had a doctor’s appointment over lunch and by the time I got back to work I was spent.  I gutted out another hour before deciding to work the rest of the day from home.  As I walked to my car I did what I always do when I leave work early… I quizzed myself.  I ranked my pain on a 1-10 scale.  I ranked my fibro fog on the same scale.  And then i second-guessed myself.

Would “normal” people think this pain was as unbearable as I seem to think it is?  Would “normal” people support my decision if I could share my pain with them?  Would normal people even have gone to work today?

I have to ask myself those questions nearly everyday.  I think one of the most challenging aspects of fibromyalgia is self doubt.  And it was introduced to me by doctors, teachers, friends, coaches, and so-called experts.  And it leads me, on tough days, down a mental road of confusion and frustration.  Wondering if I’m just a wuss.  Wondering if I’m positively incapable of being the tough girl I was taught to be during my decade as a gymnast.  Wondering if saying I have fibromyalgia is just a polite way to tell people I am an incapable and inconsistent Gen Y-er with absolutely no tolerance for pain.

Screw you, self doubt.  I am better than you.  I trust myself, and I am learning to trust the part of my brain that tells me, “Enough is enough, K8.  Be wise with your health.”

So, after the round with self doubt I decided to dwell on the positive.  I was able to contribute significantly to month-end reporting and analysis last week.  I was able to complete a project all by my lonesome Monday.  I was able to work around the house over the weekend without working myself to immobility.

I am making progress.  I am making progress at a more deliberate pace than I, and most everyone but my doctor, would prefer.  I am making progress because I listen to my body and allow it to have ups and downs.  As long as the next down is higher than the last I will continue to be upbeat and optimistic.  If ever the next down is lower than the last I will reassess and revamp my coping methods and treatment plan.

A Fibromylagia Diagnosis and My Gratitude for Mine


This isn’t the post I promised to write today. I’ve been working on that one, but this is stuck at the tip of my tongue, so here it is…

A few weeks ago one of Daniel’s coworkers was diagnosed with Lupus. When he told me my heart ached for her. Although I have not had first-hand experience with Lupus, I have seen close family friends struggle with Lupus in their family. While living in Idaho one of our dear family friends lost a sibling to Lupus; seeing her struggle opened my eyes to just how brutal autoimmune diseases can be. (For a while my doctors thought I had Lupus. Luckily that diagnosis was eventually ruled out.)

Today the coworker of Daniel’s told him she was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Again my heart aches for her. Although neither diagnosis is as severe as Lupus, my heart aches a bit more now, than before, because I understand just what this means for her.

  • I hope her doctors did all they could to make sure this is the correct diagnosis. (It seems that many people decide, or are told, they have fibromyalgia simply because no other diagnosis seems to fit. And then, the common fibro treatments do not help them and they continue to struggle. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.)
  • I pray she is able to find a routine that works, a routine that she can stick with as she works toward recovery, a routine that challenges her to push her limits but allows her a chance to rest and recover when she should.
  • I know a positive attitude will be her biggest ally. It is incredible how far a smile, optimism, and patience can get you. My heart is sad to see how many fibrofolks struggle to see the blessings that can come from struggling with chronic illness. (Crazy? No. Stick with me.) I am serious.
    • Because of my fight with fibromyalgia I know who I am and what I am capable of.
    • I know I can buck up and tough through pain.
    • I know when I am with my parents, or Daniel, or the Deschamps’, or the Grimm’s I can crash… I don’t need to pretend I feel no pain. They will never think less of me.
    • I know Daniel thinks I am the toughest woman alive, despite seeing me at my weakest (and having to carry me to bed on the nights when I just can’t do it).
    • I know my parents could not be more proud of me even though there are some things I just cannot do (And I know they grow more proud everyday).
    • I know my family and friends would do anything in their power to help me. And I know they know sometimes helping me may not always look like help. Sometimes helping me is challenging me, and pushing me to do just a little more than I think I can.
    • I know who loves and cares about me.
    • I know there are countless good people in this world who have big and sweet hearts.
    • I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and will continue to help me grow through, and learn from, this fight with fibromyalgia.
    • I know some doctors truly love their patients and would do anything within reason to comfort their patients.
    • I know that there are a lifetime lessons I have yet to learn.

Goodnight.

I suggest we all continue to strive to learn all we can from our fights with fibromyalgia, or Lupus, or whatever our personal battles may be. I bet doing so will make our lives more more fulfilling and therefore, more fun.

What do you think?

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