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I'm Kate.

I have Fibromyalgia, POTS, Osteoarthritis, IBS, CFS, and SVT.

I am humbled by, and grateful for the lessons I learn through, my invisible illnesses.

Kate Update: Five Months since Mayo Clinic

It’s been five months since my trip to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona began.  Since my three weeks in Arizona, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will, most likely, make a trip to Mayo Clinic at least once a year.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will, most likely, continue consuming seemingly excessive amounts of salt until it kills me, or I die of natural causes.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will, most likely, always require medication to tame my heart conditions and reduce my dizziness.

My health is, by no means, perfect… but I am nonetheless astounded by the scope of my improvement.

As part of my Mayo-prescribed treatment plan I have:

  1. increased my daily water intake to 4-7 liters of water
  2. added salt to nearly everything I’ve eaten since my visit in January
  3. incorporated cardio-centric exercise into my nearly-daily routine
  4. taken my medicine, as directed, for five months

I continue to strive to improve my adherence to Dr. General Hospital’s advice, and am currently focusing on increasing the intensity and duration of my exercise, and taking my medicine more consistently and at a standard time.

Thank you for your encouragement and support.  I am grateful for your perspective and your advice.  We’re lucky folks, to have a the ability to network and find answers with the click of the mouse or touch of the screen (Anyone else excited for WWDC and Monday’s big announcement?).

Look for future posts about my progress, and tips that help me improve my quality of life, despite having a chronic pain condition.

Kate Update: Medicine, Mayo, and My Doctor

Despite my dramatically improved health, I still have minutes, hours, and days when I feel positively dreadful. When I turn around in my chair at work I feel like I just road the teacups. When I get angry and my blood pressure goes up (in addition to the hardcore medicine I am already on that raises said blood pressure) I get disoriented. When I abruptly stand, I nearly faint. Every time.

So, when I am having a stressful day at work, and I turn away from my desk, stand up, and begin walking to the water fountain to refill what I lovingly refer to as my Ironman (bought it before the movie came out), you can imagine how I feel. My ears ring, my vision blurs, and I literally feel my heart pounding behind my eyes.

But after a minute I am back to normal.

And I thank my lucky stars for the family doctor who pushed me to go to Mayo, for Dr. General Hospital and the Mayo Clinic staff, and for family, friends, and coworkers who helped me when I felt awful all day, every day.

And some days, like today, I get to actually thank those people in person.

This evening, while at a sweet and hilarious dance recital, I ran into my family doctor of over a decade (the one who retired while I was away at Mayo). He is a wonderful man and my heart was happy to see him, to be able to say I feel wonderful, and to thank him. Because of his advice, my husband (and others who met me after I turned 12) are amazed at my energy, activity level, and organization. They’ve never known me to be like this, and are getting to know who I am, all over again.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the significance of this improvement in my health. And I will gladly deal accept the aforementioned “touch of the dizzies” as a daily (or so) reminder of what my life would be like without medicine, Mayo, and my doctor.

Kate Update: My Life with(out) Fibro?

Since getting treated at Mayo in January, I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in my health and a nearly-complete cessation of my fibromyalgia symptoms.  Dozens of days have found me, here, staring at my beloved blog wanting to spill my heart.  But I felt like a traitor.  I felt like you’d think I couldn’t relate.  I felt like maybe I shouldn’t stray from discussing My Life with Fibro.  And since my life seemed to be moving on, largely without fibromyalgia, I was left with little to say.

But I’ve come to my senses. Inspired by loved blogs, loved books, and loved ones, I’ve changed my mind.  

And here I am.  

I miss you.  I miss this site.  I miss learning, growing, and fighting fibromyalgia with you.

Since I’ve been gone a few things have changed…

Big Change #1

Big Change #1

Big Change #2

Big Change #2

Look for more updates in the coming days…

Kate Update: I am a Girl

So lately I’ve been moving, and moving in, and working, and living, and such… and today I wore bracelets.  Yep.  Plural.  Although, to be honest, the most remarkable bit is that I even wore one.  Anyway, point is, this video totally applies to me today.

I pray you’re well.  And that this makes you smile.

I Am A Girl – The Girls With Glasses Theme Song from The Girls With Glasses on Vimeo.

If you didn’t know, I am a girl with glasses.  They are black and white, and I have had the same style for 6.5 years since I first got glasses.  I suppose it’s about time to find a new style, and I’m thinking eyeglasses sound like something I can use my HSA to purchase.  What do you think?

Fibromyalgia, Mornings, and Pain: Don’t Give In

Recently I’ve realized something I may have already known, but it’s struck me so profoundly I thought I ought to pass it on.

I dread mornings.  I wake up with an upset stomach, a headache, and body that hurts so badly I can barely move.  Every morning.  It is a rare occasion that I stay in bed more than one minute after my alarm sounds.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I always want to roll over, call in sick, and sleep the day away, because at least when I sleep I don’t hurt.  But the reality is the more quickly I get up and out of bed, the more quickly I feel I can function.

And here’s the point…

How many of us give in to these awful mornings?  How many of us lose resolve after a few of these miserable mornings?  How many of us choose to go back to sleep, just to escape the pain?  Isn’t the reality that such a choice is actually inhibiting our progress toward being well and pain-free?

Too many fibro folks choose to do what seems easy (roll over and go back to sleep), or even wise, and by doing so choose to feel a bit worse each day.  We take a sick day, take it easy, and skip our exercise.  And we create our own version of the reality that so many fibromyalgia and chronic pain stereotypes are based on.  We act lazy, we sleep all day, and we think no one understands.

I am not immune to such follies.  I too give in to my pain, far too often.  But since my trip to Arizona I have rededicated myself to doing what is truly best for my body… getting up, going out, and doing something.

I need to show what I can do.

I need to see myself succeed.

I need to feel my health improve.

And I firmly believe that by doing so, I can create and maintain a cycle of improvement.  I know I will face truly challenging days.  But I pray my future lows will be higher than mast highs.  Improvement is my goal.  May it be a goal we share.

So, please don’t give in the bad days.  And if you are stuck in a cycle of submitting to the mornings you think movement is an impossibility, strive for the little victories.  Set achievable goals, hold yourself accountable (to yourself, a goal, or a loved one), and tell me about your successes.  Please.  We can motivate each other.