I got back in the gym yesterday. The first time in a couple years. I’ve worked out since then. Mostly, walking, small weights, yoga, or stretching. Nothing’s like a nice workout on a set of machines, though. I was fairly certain I was going to wake up sore and dovetailing into a flare up, but I actually felt good this morning. Hallelujah!
I took it easy my first day back at it. Three sets of 12 reps. Started with legs. I’m just looking for strength and tone. Nothing more. I’m on a 7-day trial at the gym. Which is funny since I am restricted to going during “staff hours” which there are none on Sundays, so that means is really only six days of use.
It’s a start. And I did not have a flare up as a result. It may seem like a small win to some, but that is a big win for me.
My gut tells me it’s all about balance. Don’t do too much and don’t do too little.
I have a high stress job. It’s entirely possible that I think it’s high stress because I feel like I can’t handle things like I used to PFD (Pre-Fibromyalgia Diagnosis). I’ve told my husband time and again that I already gave the best years of my career and now I’d really like to drive a school bus. That’s my go-to dream job that has simple purpose and less stress.
I duck under corporate ladders. Done climbing. Give me the giant steering wheel any day.
Today, in particular, it was very difficult to focus and get on top of things. “Fibro Fog,” they say. Chalk up reason number 54 why I no longer compare to PFD me.
My work To Do list is a mile long, I need to present a webinar tomorrow and I need to travel at the end of the week for an all-day meeting I have not prepped enough for with a client that is high-maintenance. When I return home late on Friday night, I’ll need the weekend to recover physically. And then on Monday I need to travel again. Anticipating all of this today nearly threw me over the edge.
It’s a three Bitch Mint kind of day.
The type of day where I have my three servings of my pain killers, so I can forget about how much my body hurts, largely because of the stress I’m under. I lose my ability to be patient with people. This is especially challenging when it’s a problematic client, and I can’t find my finesse or words to address the verbal crap that was flung at me with grace and diffuse a situation like PFD me used to.
This is really pissing me off.
What time did I take my last pill?
I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a year and a half ago and since then I’ve been learning to watch for signs of flare ups and, as a result, accept what has mostly been unpredictable. I have figured out a pattern that occurs when I travel for work. My work trips are almost always whirlwind 2-3 day stints of travel, meetings, travel home at midnight. That’s by design. Home is my haven. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and explore new places, but I rarely am able to combine that with work. Too much energy is depleted with work to be able to enjoy an add on trip.
Most of my physical flares came on quietly. I either woke up in a bad way or went to bed in a bad way. Either way, I couldn’t pinpoint when it hit. It just did. Until about a week ago. My husband and I decided to go out to eat instead of make dinner. We tried three different restaurants that all had either a cover fee for the live music, a menu we didn’t care for or a wait that would have brought us to the point of hangry. After a few laughs and chalking it up to an adventure, we opted for a quicker option down the road. Pei Wei. A good, quick dinner, which fit the bill for the night. On our way home, I felt a wave of exhaustion hit. More like a Tsunami. As I sit in the passenger seat, I felt my body deplete.
That’s when my world shifted and I was fully aware of how quickly I went from laughing and enjoyment to exhausted. I was speechless in my own mind.
Change is in the air. Actually, it happened today at my job. Two more of the original partners of the company are leaving to seek new opportunities. One surprised me, one did not.
I’m not adverse to change. I quite like it actually. There is something exciting when change happens. Yes, there are unknowns, but that’s life, right?
Maybe the news mattered less because I booked my trip to go see my family in a couple months. I mean, that’s what really matters at the end of the day. Being with my family grounds me and fills up my heart in ways only they could. As I age, I realize how precious each day is and how precious time is with those you love.
I think I will take the trip, buy the good wine, and eat deliciously. Live in the moment and make the memories.
Since the weekend was dominated by work, come Sunday afternoon, I was finally able to detach. It was then that I started to fight the negative place I fell into.
I am usually a positive person. I really am. Even when I have a Fibro flare up, I’d rather say nothing than spout out complaints and fiery words. I was raised on the notion, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” Fine by me. I don’t have the energy to expend on expending negativity. My energy is at a premium.
So, how did I claw my way back to happy land? I did something symbolic for myself that also had a goal of visually hiding my latest challenge… hair loss. I chopped my hair off. We’ll, I didn’t. My stylist did. I have thick hair, always have. Since my flare ups have started about a year and a half ago, I’ve lost a lot on the top front of my head.
My everyday ponytail style was getting way old, as well. So, what better way to do a 180 degree job on a bad attitude than to force a change for the better?
Four inches lighter later and I’m feeling the warm fuzzies return to my thoughts and words.
Feeling better already. Now about that job situation… I’ll have to think on that a bit.
This is not my usual weekend. I don’t lead a super exciting life. That’s by design. What’s exciting to some, i.e.: going out dancing or meeting up with a group for drinks or taking long walks on the beach, ends up being exhausting for me. Stupid Fibro. I am a homebody, by nature, so I guess it’s okay.
Instead, my weekend had been filled with work-stress. Why? Not because I drag it with me into my home life like a boulder I can’t put down. It’s because I actually had to spend several hours today trying to patch up a series of mess-ups at work that caused me to miss my deadline with supplying a key report for their Executive Leadership presentation. No pressure there. Only enough to split a diamond. We’ve, meaning I’ve, pulled out all the stops to try to get this done for them and another mess-up which was technical internally has prevented me from delivering what I newly promised. Again.
I even tried to cobble together some reports that I hope will suffice as interim information, only to share it with my leader and wait for her response. And wait. And wait. It’s been three hours now. See, I can’t send anything without it being okayed because this has become such a fluster cluck. And it seems the support on this whole thing is conditional. Well, I’m the one that has to deal with the client. I’m the one that will have to get the verbal wrath.
I’m not up for being a punching bag at this point in my life. No thanks.
If you could feel my neck and trap muscles right now, you would feel rocks. This whole work situation with this client has encroached completely on my family time and has tightened me up into knots. This has put a whole new light on this job. I’ve seen some true colors, as a result.
For the first time in my life, my attitude has fallen down the mountain a bit. Oh well, they can fire me if they don’t like it.
I can be rock solid with that.
It’s funny, yet not at all funny, how pain changes a person. I’m not talking about core beliefs or character, although, over time with enough pain, those may fall victim, as well. I mean when an onset of pain occurs; attitude, priorities and relationships are faced with the proverbial machete and chopped down to size to what’s really important. Suddenly, the worry about that work report dissolves into thin air. Who cares. Pain sure doesn’t.
Pain can either clarify things or completely muddle them. Pain is also very selfish, but reasonably so. When the body screams for help, you’d better listen.
This is my battle quite often because of my ghost affliction – Fibromyalgia. It’s the type of chronic condition that affects the musculoskeletal system, causing pain and fatigue. As a bonus, when I’m stressed, I get a flare up as my door prize. Imagine the feeling of your muscles all over your body cramping up and staying that way for long periods of time. Hours. Maybe even a day or two. Imagine your skin being so sensitive that the touch from your spouse feels like fire. It’s not you, it’s me. I have barely anything to give during a flare up. I’m lucky if I have a couple spoons left in a day, if any at all.
I don’t even want to be a taker when I’m in pain. I don’t want anything from anyone. I just want to be. I cannot tolerate a neck rub or a simple light caress. Fibro is an isolating condition. Leave me be in my cocoon of soft clothes, darkness and quiet please.
If my head is not splitting, it is a time when I do a lot of thinking. I think about how grateful I am that my condition is not worse. My pain moments make that crystal clear. I feel for those with Fibro that spend their days in bed and cannot work as a result. Fibro Warriors, indeed. I walk a fine line with my condition and the high-stress my job brings, but I’m darn grateful I can still do it.
Pain may bring me to the edge, but I find strength in the fact that it hasn’t pulled me completely under.