Ghost Affliction

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve made an entry. I’ve taken on a new job nine months ago – a job that has challenged me both mentally and physically. I’m not old, but I feel old. It started in November and got worse in December of last year. I felt like I was a 100 year old woman suffering from the worst case of arthritis imaginable. I was convinced I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Some days it brought me to tears. How in the world was I going to manage all the travel required for my job having that? Thank goodness my husband has high health care connections and was able to get me in to see a Rheumatologist within a week (rather than within 3 months).

I was the youngest person in the waiting room.

After a long evaluation by a wonderful physician, she declared that I have Fibromyalgia. What the heck is that?

Think tender points all over the body. Think wound up muscles from lack of sleep and stress. Think foggy memory and forgetfulness. Think tired, more tired and exhausted.

Awesome. But I don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis!

Since then it’s been very interesting trying to explain my chronic condition to people.

They don’t understand it, especially because I look fine.

They don’t see the massive amount of hair I loose on a daily basis. They don’t feel the depleted energy level and the achy body I live with. It’s as tangible to them as a ghost.

Yesterday, I read the perfect description of what it is like to live with Fibromyalgia. Imagine waking up and starting the day with a fixed amount of energy. For explanation purposes, let’s say that amount of energy equals twelve spoons. You have twelve spoons of energy everyday. And any extra does not rollover into the next day.

Ok, so, in the morning when I wake up, get out of bed, get dressed – that costs 1 spoon. While I continue my morning and get my son’s lunch made, drive him to school and begin my work day digging into and responding to emails – another spoon. Running a client meeting via conference call, capturing notes and adding more To Do’s to my list – another spoon. Follow up on several emails that require a colleague’s attention for the fourth time in 3 weeks- another spoon.

These tasks may seem mundane, but to me they equal big fat STRESS. Stress is one of the major triggers of a flare up. A Fibro flare up that causes knotted up neck muscles, sore and achy joints, tiredness and forgetfulness. Try sleeping at night with all that. And lack of sleep exacerbates the issue.

I think you get the idea. If I go to bed with any spoons left, then I’ve managed my day well. If I use all my spoons, then my next day I typically have a flare up and become the 100 year old woman that does not want to be touched.

Managing the ghost is key. Walking, stretching, doing core exercises, yoga, using a heating pad on my neck, eating really healthy and getting solid sleep all help.

But you never know when the ghost is going to slip through the cracks and wreck havoc.

I’m seriously considering getting a less stressful job. Is there such a thing? Or am I imagining it?

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