When our lives change, even for the better, our stress increases. When you have fibromyalgia, that usually means your pain and your fatigue change… and not for the better. As I wrote about earlier, I’m facing some a proverbial barrel of the gun in terms of changes: I’ve been promoted, and I’m starting a graduate school program. Yeah, I think I’m crazy too.
I have fibromyalgia. Some of my days are good days, and I feel as strong as I ever was, stronger even, in some ways. I can climb all the metaphorical and literal mountains that I used to climb. Other days, I feel so fatigued, it’s as if the weight of all my former aspirations and dreams and losses have manifested into 10-pound weights that are hanging all over my body. I fantasize about lying down on the floor and resting. I never know which day I am going to have, but I have more good days than I used to have.
I woke up yesterday with a dull ache at my right temple. I could feel the migraine coming, and I would have taken my onset migraine medication right then except if I take my migraine medication at the same time as my fibromyalgia medication, I’m destined for a day on the couch or in bed. Yesterday was not supposed to be a day on the couch. I made my choice and waited to relieve the pain.
I know today was hard for you. In fact, the last several days have been hard for you. You’ve been achier than normal and so fuzzy around the edges you’ve wondered if you’ve become rather like a kiwi, a layer of fuzz and a thin skin with ideas like the scattered small seeds inside. You’ve struggled to track conversations and to remember the ingredients you’re looking for moments after you read the list. You’ve been so, so tired that each task seems to require a wellspring of strength and focus that you’re not sure you have. Fibromyalgia is awful thing, and some days the struggle is worse than others. Valentine’s Day was particularly hard for you.
And yet you overcame.
The need to exercise to improve fatigue and pain symptoms for fibromyalgia seems counterintuitive, but for me, exercise has made a dramatic difference in my energy and emotional well-being since I began trying to reincorporate exercise into my life. A year ago, I was probably lying on the couch, feeling lethargic and overwhelmed by how much pain I was in. I had been on part-time FMLA leave for a few months and mostly working from home. Going into the office was a draining, exhausting mess. I was struggling to increase my workload back to 32 hours a week and to manage general life demands. I had not yet been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, though I was certainly beginning to suspect it. At the time, I was more worried whether I could endure vacuuming, making dinner, eight hours of work, or sleeping through the night—never mind exercise! At this point last year, I was only just beginning to find some relief with medication. Exercise? Ha! No way!