60% of Myself

I miss the days when I had the energy to go from one thing to the next. My weekends were filled with projects and plans. I did things. I felt inspired.

It’s Labor Day weekend – the perfect project weekend. And my body does not want to cooperate. Stiff. Sore. Tired. I made an attempt to get out and find some inspiration and be productive. I went to my favorite craft store, too. I walked around and enjoyed all the ideas of things I could do. I left without a project.

It was a sobering moment as I got into my car and took stock of how I was feeling physically. Stiff. Sore. Tired. Really like I am 60% of the person I was before. Ask my husband. He would tell you how I never used to sit still. I didn’t for long. I had things to do, and I enjoyed them. I had a hunger that I miss dearly. That hunger to learn and do and go.

I look fine. Save for the glasses I tend to wear now and the comfier clothes I prefer. Fibro and Sjogren’s will do that. They have double teamed me like invisible slugs. Slowly, they suck the life out of me. Slugs I can’t see. I can’t pull them off. I can’t make them go away.

Today, I mourned my 100% me. I know I’m not inspiring to be around. I’m not exciting. I’m not full of energy. I get to mourn that. It’s a helpless feeling. I can’t pretend I feel okay. Sometimes I can – when I have to dig deep, I do. I worry that this will be my faltering with my son. He’s 17. He’s a homebody. He seems uninspired. Like he’s not doing all he can do and being all he can be. He says he’s tired.

Boy, do I get that.

It makes me want to apologize to everyone, especially my husband and son. Sorry I’m 60% of the person I was. I didn’t ask for this. I don’t want it. It could be much worse. But it feels pretty crappy, as it is. I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to do but surrender at times. Most times. It’s easier and doesn’t make my body hurt more.

Does anyone get this?

 

 

 

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Fibro Takes a Vacation

Wow, it’s been awhile since I posted. Well, it is what it is. Not something I’ll dwell over. I’ve had the usual lot on my mind like work stress and my Fibro apparition. Well overdue for time off, I was definitely in dire need of vacation and a physical/mental reset. We are just home from our annual vacation in the Northwoods – a little more than a week off of work. And you know what?

Not only was it very relaxing and productive getting our WI house ready for the next remodel phase, it became a medication break I didn’t expect.

My medication routine is not extreme, by any means. I take a muscle relaxer nightly and when I have Fibro pain, I take a pain pill three times a day (aka Bitch Mint), only when needed which tends to be 5 -7 days out of a month. Not bad. Recently, I had to establish with a new physician and learned that the pain pill I take has some long-term potential effects on the liver, among other things. I think that stuck in my subliminal crawl enough that I didn’t even think about grabbing a pill if I was feeling achy while in God’s Country. I worked through it and, basically, dealt with it. It wasn’t horrible, but I’m pretty certain that being on vacation really helped in that process.

At night it was a lot cooler than back in FL. That alone makes me hunker down and sleep more deeply. But not one night did I even bat an eye about taking my muscle relaxer – I didn’t even think about it. I slept so deeply and dreamed so vividly, it was a true pleasure.

My Fibro ghost did not haunt me in WI. The Sleepy Gnomes were not the tiny footsteps and rattling I heard at night. That was only the mice that still occupy our roof rafters. Turns out my Fibro took a vacation, too. Only a faint trace of stiffness here and there, as a gentle reminder.

You know what? I’ll take it. Hands down.

 

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.

Until tomorrow.

3 Bitch Mint Day

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 Felt the World Shift

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.

The Edge of Pain

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.

 

Stress Flare

The first day back to work after holiday break was a day filled with pulling numbers and manipulating spreadsheets. All day. My brain is frazzled.

Tomorrow is due to be a back-to-back meeting day. On the heels of today and in anticipation of tomorrow, I’m having a major flare up. 

Stress=flare up=body in knots=headache=exhaustion.

2017 is starting off really suckie.