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.
When my friend asked me if I would be her bridesmaid, I wanted, wanted, wanted to say yes. I wanted to scream yes! I wanted to dance around in the street shouting, “she’s getting married!” because I was that stupidly happy for my friend. She deserves much happiness and much success, so the making-it-official day was definitely something I wanted to help her celebrate. Marriage is about more than the wedding, the ups and downs of a relationship, but the wedding ceremony itself is a time to come together with the people closest to you and celebrate the commitment to those ups and downs with a big hoopla. Except, I have fibromyalgia and a gazillion medical bills, so I couldn’t let the “yes!” escape my lips without considerations. I had to ask questions first. I had to plan for success around my illness; I did not want to let my friend down. I am hopeful that my own preparations and decisions about managing my chronic illness may help someone else think about how to tackle participating in such a significant event in his or her life.
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!
In my quest to live the best life that I can, I have begun reading more books about fibromyalgia. Most of the information I have so far acquired about fibromyalgia has come from reading various websites around the internet and discussions with my doctor. Of course, in the nebulous darkness of the internet, what counts as credible information isn’t always immediately beyond perusing the main medical sites. I want to improve my quality of life, so, like any bookworm, I decided it was time to get serious about reading books on my condition.