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Chronic Pain and Cortisone, Part 1

I started writing this post, but I quickly got sidetracked by something that completely changed what I have to say.  This will be a two part post.

Last night, after months of babying my back, I decided to head to the gym with the guys.  You see, my husband meets a friend to workout every night at nine.  And I love working out at nine.  In fact the whole tradition was my idea.  Well, the latter half.  I worked out nearly every night at nine during my summers home from college.  It did wonders for me.  It helped me turn my freshmen 15 into the sophomore sans 10.  It strengthened my relationship with my roommate.  And it reminded me that fitness and fibromyalgia could coexist. The whole working out bit was strongly suggested by our doctor, concerned about Dan’s high cholesterol .  Although, I am also a fan of the working out bit, considering I want my husband to live as long as possible.

Anyway, while they guys focused on cardio, I heeded the advice of my family doctor, my chiropractor, and my orthopedic doctor (Is there a one-word name for those folks?) and focused on my upper back and arms.  And like a true exgymnast/athlete, I overdid it…

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.

Fibromyalgia and Gymnastics – Part 1

I am watching the women’s gymnastics all-around competition… I always have mixed feelings when I watch gymnastics.  I always get excited.  I always get nervous.  I always get melancholy.  And I always get motivated.

I was a gymnast.  It started when I was 20 months old and my mom found me hanging upside, from my knees, in my closet.  Then a trip to a University of Utah gymnastics meet started me saying “‘Nastics for Tatie.  ‘Nastics for Tatie.”  Then, after I failed to outgrow asking for ‘nastics, I began attending Fit Kids at age four.  Then I was on team at age six.  Then… things went well.

Until I was 11 and I started having aches and pains that never went away.  As a gymnast you deal with a multitude of little pains and bruises, and you get to know your body very well.  So, when new pains start, and when new pains don’t go away, you notice.  I was in sixth grade and I was missing school to identify the cause of pains my doctors deemed more fitting of a 45 year old retired football player.  By eighth grade I was so exhausted I slept for the bulk of my Christmas break… and still went back to school exhausted.

And now I am too exhausted for more tonight.  I am off to bed.  And so is my compy.

Way to go Nastia & Shawn!