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My Hellish Headaches

HeadacheI lose my stomach after almost every meal, and manage to hide it from nearly everyone.  I can make it through a full day’s work, even though the first few hours are equivalent to a push start by sheer will power (with assistance from family and friends).  I can handle aches, pain, stiffness, dizziness, and fatigue.  Heck, I can even stay happy and upbeat when I feel dreadful.  I cannot, however, stand these cyst-induced headaches.At least with migraines, I can get sick a few times, go to bed in a pitch black room, eventually fall asleep, and wake up the next morning to what I refer to as a headache hangover.  You know, the feeling that you survived having your head beat about with a baseball bat?  The feeling that your brain is bruised and you are thinking through cheesecloth soaked in glycerine?

Migraines feel like a slow death, but my cyst-aches feel like a murder… where I am a witness and the victim.

My cyst-ache comes and goes in an instant.  Often it begins as a stabbing pain from the middle of my brain toward just above my left ear.  Other times it begins as a dull and dizzying pain that fills my skull.  However it begins, I shake.  I get sick to my stomach.  I grow agitated.  I cease to make sense.  My thoughts turn to the absurd.  Time seems endless and flat.  My tongue turns to Silly Putty.  I literally lose my mind.

And then, as quickly as it began, the pain is gone.  I return to whatever I was doing and try to forget the nightmare… until, a minute, day, or week later, when it begins again.

As of now, I have yet to determine if the pain is more frustrating than the uncertainty.

When a cyst-ache begins, nothing feels possible.  Life feels as if it is on pause, and I cannot put things in their proper perspective.  It is impossible to remember what “normal” feels like.  I feel misunderstood… torn between admitting my struggle and faking it.

But I can’t fake it.

Kate with a Headache

I feel like curling up in a ball and crying, or giving up on everything and becoming a recluse.  Expectations feel like the weight of the world and serve as ceaseless reminders of my reduced capacity and postponed dreams.

But, that is not today.  After weeks of almost constant headaches, the last week has been a tremendous blessing… two headaches in ten days?  I’ll take that.  And love it, in fact.

(All pictures by Kate Blaylock for My Life with Fibro.)

Monday Night Dinner 004: Getting to Know K8

I never do this sort of thing, but I realized this would be a fun way for you to get to know me, beyond the fibro and fibro-related bits of my life.  And, it has an 8 in it, like K8.  And my friend Rochelle, of Learning to Trust, recommended I give it a shot.

8 Things I look Forward to

  1. Monday Night Dinners
  2. Weekends with family
  3. Yardwork
  4. Acambaro Fridays
  5. Saturday Morning HGTV
  6. Church
  7. Walt Disney World
  8. Our wonderful mattress, each night… and now

8 Things I Did Yesterday

  1. Church
  2. 3.5 hour nap (Seriously!)
  3. Laundry
  4. birthday call to Grandma J with Daniel, and Mom, and Dad
  5. admired the garden and the deck of the Douglas
  6. watered my herbs
  7. caught up on blogs
  8. updated my iBank

8 Things I Wish I Could Do

  1. live long enough to accomplish my goals
  2. be a patient advocate for fibrofolks, especially fibroyouth
  3. finish my book(s)
  4. sleep, like a “normal” person or operate on <5 hours sleep
  5. spend time with family
  6. attend BlogHer and TedMed
  7. 100 push ups (almost there!)
  8. meet my Twitter friends and fibrfolk friends

8 Shows I Watch (on DVR)

  1. American Idol
  2. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations*
  3. Bones
  4. Glenn Beck*
  5. Lie to Me
  6. Mark & Olly: Living with the Tribes*
  7. MythBusters
  8. in-season dance show (ie: DWTS or SYTYCD)
    *I do not watch these shows regularly.  But sometimes during dinner or on the weekends Daniel and I will indulge.

If you’ve done something like this, comment with a link and I’ll be sure to read it.  I enjoy getting to know you and I will feel much less silly if I’m not alone in admitting I actually watch eight television shows.

I am off to bed.  I look forward to your links.

Life: Fibromyalgia, Birthdays, Work, and You

Yesterday was my half birthday, among other things.  And when I got to work I kept typing the wrong password.  It wasn’t until I accidently hit tab one too many times and typed my “password” into the username box that I realized I was, in fact, typing “birthday” as my password.  What was I thinking?!  Seriously… this never-ending cold has me doing some silly stuff.  I think this post jinxed me.

Last night during one of my many runny-nosed, insomnia-ridden alert-ish hours I stared blankly at the clock wondering why Aveda’s Shampure line leaves my hair smelling so good for so long.  Honestly.  I looked like a wreck.  Sounded like a smoker.  Felt like a helpless toddler.  But goodness knows, I knew my hair smelled good.

This morning, as I ran out the door to work I just had to grab this super-cute tissue box Daniel bought for me.  I felt like such a winner bringing a tissue box to work.  It was like the first day of any given grade school year… when teachers collect all sorts of goods as an entrance fee.  I know, I know, they need the stuff, but those lists are hilarious.

Today was my annual evaluation at work.  It went well and was a powerful reminder of how blessed I am to work for a company that respects and supports folks like me and you.  I was surprisingly proud of myself when I realized this time last year I was at my lowest point… in the middle of my worst fibromyalgia flare, on FMLA leave, struggling with the hell that is Cymbalta.  But this year… here I am.  Working full-time.  Driving.  Walking.  Even traveling.  What a blessing!  And what a difference a year makes.  Thank you for the significant role you played in pulling me out of said flare.  And thank you for your continued support.  I am humbled by your love and honest feedback.  And I pray your pain may be eased for your kindness to myself and those around you.  I know kind deeds and kind words are eventually returned.  And I know prayers are answered.  And I know those answers typically come through another person.

Tonight has been full of reflection for me.  And there are many more things to be said, but I absolutely MUST sleep before tomorrow.  So, I’m off to cope with my nightly pre-bed panic by showering with my beloved Aveda Shampure. Here’s to calming smells, comfy clothes, and a cuddly husband.

Kate is Back! A Total Deviation…

Daniel and I just got back from our “honeymoon” to Walt Disney World. We’ve been married over three years, but we never really went away for a honeymoon. But, now we have. And it was wonderful. I am sure, when I get the energy, I will write a post all about our trip. In fact, I am sure you will grow sick of hearing about it… but that will be your problem, as I rarely tire of talking about what makes me happy… unless I am, obviously, tired. Then I tire of just about everything. Well, to be honest, I rarely tire of talking. At all. Unless it’s right after work, and I’m too spent to speak a word. Or if I’m surrounded by uninteresting or arrogant folk… for sure I won’t be bothered to speak.

Well, how is that for a rambling entrance? Do I sound as tired as I look? But, that’s me. And I’ve put off this post long enough. I have picked up my compy, with the intention of publishing a post, no less than thirty times over the last two weeks. Each time I’ve wandered off to enjoy our awesome view at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, or fallen asleep, or taken a shower, or gone to bed, or switched laundry loads, or caught up on your blog in my Google Reader, or hit up Etsy, or stalked facebook friends, or brushed up on my relationship with my Rebel, or watched Daniel type, or talked on the phone, or negotiated interest rates for our credit cards, or cooked dinner, or updated my Goodreads, or taken my medicine, or gone to the doctor, or worked, or taken a nap, or gone to a birthday party, or… avoided you all together.

Let me explain.

We left for Florida the afternoon of Friday, March 20. Saturday was our best friend’s wedding… and we arrived to the wedding with a dead camera at the hotel, a dead camera in my purse, my cell phone dead in my purse, Dan’s phone dead at the hotel, and Dan had to borrow a tie from… drum roll… the groom. Yeah. We were a wreck. All this can only be topped by us forgetting to pick up my medicine from the pharmacy before we left town. Thank you to Walmart for transferring my prescription and having it ready for me in Orlando (in a super-nifty recyclable drawer-type thing).

During our first 24 hours in Florida it became apparent that our vacation came at the perfect time. My poor Daniel was nigh unto exhaustion and I was starving to death for time with him. And time to play.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m an only child, or because I’m a sentimental fool, or because I have a vibrant imagination, or because I am Kate, and Kate likes happy things… but I love Disney. Seriously. I’ll admit it. Tonight I looked up the Tarzan and Camp Rock soundtracks. No purchases… but still. I spent 3 minutes iTunes-ing Disney! And yesterday I had the Carousel of Progress song stuck in my head. And two days ago I woke up singing the Haunted Mansion song.

Anyway, we were saved by the trip. And, for the first time, I experienced what I call a “grown up vacation.” The sort that should include a recovery period. And maybe even a recovery patch to assist with the return to real life. My vacation was so useful that, when I tried to remember my drive to work (during Expedition Everest) my mind was blank. Totally blank. Can we say success?!

I now know why people love to travel with their sweeties. I mean, I always enjoy being with Daniel, but never before have I had a whole week of Daniel. No college. No work. No homework. No articles. Just loads (though never enough) time to talk about life, politics, education, religion, peace, joy, work, goals, travel, family, friends, fears, plans, people, and such. We spent two hours one evening on a bench in front of China at Epcot just chatting it up. Those two hours are among my favorite with Daniel. Ever.

On the flip side, I’ve never before experienced returning to work after a dream vacation like this. My last real vacation was nearly two years ago, and I’d only been working at my job for two weeks, so it didn’t feel real until after my vacation (so we won’t count that). I’m surprised how strange it has been to get back to work and our other responsibilities. But Daniel and I have prayed to be able to handle the adjustment and we have been doing very well. In fact, we’ve been a happy and efficient pair. Hooray for successful vacations!

If you haven’t taken one recently, I suggest you do. You’d me amazed how much you can do while being frugal. I find vacations are a super-motivator for saving money and reducing spend. I also find anticipating the trip is half the fun. But it’s dangerous if you’re not careful… no one wants to be so busy looking to the future that they forget to enjoy the present. And it’s dangerous if you overdo it. Be careful with your fibromyalgia or chronic pain condition. A vacation is only as good as its lasting benefits. And pain may be lasting but it sure isn’t a benefit.

I will close this post by saying I am sorry for my absence. I appreciate your support as I struggle with feeling as though I’ve neglected you. I feel a bit guilty. I always dislike the blogs that post rarely and use every post apologizing for writing rarely. And here I am. Doing that. Please accept my apology. I have my upcoming posting schedule planned and I’m taking requests. Although I don’t promise when I’ll get to them, I can promise I will schedule them and start my research. Thank you for your support. I look forward to your ideas.


During the vacation I got after myself about dropping the ball on a goal of mine. But, rest assured, I finally started something big. And one day I’ll tell you more about. But, in the mean time, I’m here for you. What can I do?

Fibromyalgia and Leading a Full Life

So, it’s back to real life after a weekend that passed entirely too quickly.

Sometimes I feel like living with fibromyalgia is a full-time job.  No, not really.  But fighting fibromyalgia sure can feel like one.  Just look at this wordle!  My life with fibro is a full life.  And a good life.

My Life with Fibro

I grow tired of people complaining about fibromyalgia without acknowledging the blessings that come from their fight with fibromylagia.  Anyone with fibromyalgia has a chance to grow self-aware.  A chance to realize how mentally tough they can be.  A chance to realize what a miracle the human body is.

Fibromyalgia has forced me to look inside myself and level with myself and my God.  I don’t believe everything happens for a reason.  I do, however, believe reason can be found in everything that happens.  (more on this at a later date)

I feel strongly that I am becoming the woman I need to be, in part due to my fight with fibromyalgia.  I am open, honest, and strong.  I dream big and work hard.  I know many of my weaknesses and acknowledge others as I grow aware of them.  I don’t stop trying simply because people with presumed expertise tell me I am destined to fail.  I know my body and I listen when it warns me I am making an unwise decision.

So many people have healthy bodies and take them for granted, but we, as fibrofolks, should know to be grateful everyday.  We live with chronic pain, but we live.  We live folks.  We live and we can make a wonderful life for ourselves.

So folks, what is the #1 blessing you’ve received through your fight with fibromyalgia?