Adjusting to Life with Fibromyalgia Over and Over Again

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.

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August 2017 Goal Setting and July Follow-Up

So, I’m really glad that July is behind me. The month was mostly an awful slog fest and a vacation that really wasn’t one. Heck, I knew I wasn’t going to meet goals my first week in July, so this month’s review is going to be particularly challenging with goals left unmet all over the place. I’m ready for summer to be over and to just hibernate away the winter months. I’m also, however, quite tired, so that may have something to do with the desire to hibernate. Still, maybe this review will show me that I did better than I thought I did!

July Books to Read:

  • The Wrath and the Dawn
  • The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver
  • The Weekend Homesteader (June Holdover)
  • Read Compact Farms (halfway finished)
  • Ritchie’s Fabulae Faciles (didn’t even start)

Bonus books:  The Rose and the Dagger (the sequel to the Wrath and the Dawn), Brandwashed, Think Like a Freak, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the last three of which were the audiobooks we listened to during our caravan to and from the east coast. I’ve also started Isabell Allende’s The Japanese Lover. (My husband gasped in mock horror when he saw the title and asked, scandalized, what I was reading).

Of the books I’ve read, I would definitely recommend Brandwashed and Think Like a Freak for those who are interested in popular psychology and/or marketing. Brandwashed got a little, umm, inappropriate when talking about shaving and may have referenced the porn industry and male shaving as I frantically started trying to skip ahead as my teenage girls were (hopefully sleeping) in the back of the rented minivan, but it was a fascinating read all the same. In many ways, I enjoyed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for its environmental and scientific focus, but with its long sections about classifying animals, it was easy for me to work or do homework in the car and to check into the story line where necessary to follow the gist of the narrative arc. It’s not a book I would recommend unequivocally. On the other hand, I very much enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn as well as its sequel with its riff off 1001 nights; it’s a fun young-adult romp through romance, magic, curses, deserts, and palaces.

Hobby Goals:

I feel like I’ve written this the last several months I’ve been writing and reflecting about goals, but this month was just a hot mess. I knew I wouldn’t make my goal of finishing the quilt within days of writing my last goal post. I also failed to write any blog posts while I was on vacation (unless you count the one I wrote on the way home in the car) because I was swamped with work and school work. I didn’t have much creative juices flowing. Still, the one shining standout on my list of goals is that I knitted 11 rows of my chuppah project, knitting to the end of the lace chart. I knitted entirely in the car, and I’ve reached the point where I have to determine how to block such a large project and then… learn how to crochet the fringed border. Gasp!

Health Goals:

  • Workout every day, even it’s just stretching; make sure to stretch on our traveling days.
  • Limit myself to two sweets a week; I can have one week with three sweets. (Being at my mom’s house will be difficult).
  • Meditate five times a week.
  • Take walk breaks three times a week.
  • Take stretch breaks three times a week.
  • Follow doctor’s recommendations based on whatever Monday’s test results say.

Many things fall off the proverbial wagon when I’m overwhelmed and stressed, but I’m happy to report that it’s not exercising. I managed some kind of workout, whether it was a walk or stretching or something more intensive, every day except the day we got home when we had errands to run, things to put away, kitties to cuddle, and the siren song of falling blissfully asleep in your own bed after two weeks away. I will call that sweet success.

I can safely say I failed at the limiting sweets while on vacation. My mom had homemade ice cream and homemade ice cream sandwiches using homemade cookies, and I made a cake for my mom and brother’s birthday, and we had a giant list of sweets for camping for the girls… and, well, yes. It’s a darn miracle I didn’t gain five pounds on vacation. There’s room for me to get back on track in August.

I’m honestly not sure whether I met my meditation goals. I’m pretty sure I didn’t; I didn’t track it, but I did meditate. I did not stretch. I did not walk. I also still haven’t heard back from the doctor about my test results. I’ve left a message with the nurse, and we’ll go from there.

August 2017 Forecast

This week, my main goal is to recover from the exhaustion of traveling. We’ve learned that I should never get home on a Sunday and need to work on a Monday. Such a travel arrangement leaves me no time to recover, and restful recovery is incredibly important when you have fibromyalgia. I want to do so much in the garden, to quilt, and to party with chickens and bees, and I just can’t. Maybe by this weekend, but we’ll see. My broader goals for the month include getting back into an equilibrium that will balance working in my new job (I was promoted! I have a legit office!) and graduate work. I’m hopeful that I can attain it because pursuing an M.A. in Latin is a goal I very, very much wish to accomplish.

August Books to Read:

  • The Weekend Homesteader (June Holdover)
  • Finish Compact Farms
  • Ritchie’s Fabulae Faciles (July Holdover)
  • Finish The Japanese Lover
  • The Hillbilly Elegy

This month is about catching up, finishing, and reading a book I’d had on reserve for quite a while at the library. At some point, it’ll hopefully include reading some Plautus, a Roman author of comedies, in Latin. That depends on a few unknowns though.

Hobby Goals:

  • Finish Winter Rosettes Quilt. For real this time. Swear.
  • Complete the August Food in Jars challenge (what is steam canning? Or low pressure pasteurization? Whoa!)
  • Figure out how to proceed with the chuppah. (Sometimes setting low expectations is good).
  • Write three blog posts a week.
  • Cut the fabric for my honeybee quilt.

I’m not sure how August, with its back-to-school meetings for the girls and myself) will work, but my stretch goal is to have all my fabric for my honeybee quilt prepped so I can quilt, quilt away. I may have promised to quilt a pineapple quilt for one of the girls, and I’d like to see tangible progress on it. Sure, I’d also like to get farther along than just figuring out how to proceed on finishing the chuppah project and to spin some more wool, but after so much time of stagnant progress on my winter rosettes quilt, I’d really like to start another quilting project for some much need quilting self-esteem boost! It’s my stretch goal, and we’ll see how it shakes out.

Health Goals

  • Meditate before work every morning.
  • Take a walking break three times a week.
  • Take a stretch break three times a week.
  • Stand at my standing desk at least two hours every day – except on bad days.

I’m not sure at this point whether I need to include working out as a goal. I am so consistent at it, that I think I can safely drop it because it’s become an engrained habit. My other attempts at habit formations are still rather weak. Meditation, for example, has still been dicey. I completed the Palouse Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and I learned much from the program and used the meditations posted there successfully. However, after a few months, I’d like greater variety for guided meditations. I’ve struggled to find free options that are useful (or, well, any good at all). I’ve hesitated to purchase the Headspace app, which I learned not only through reading the creator’s book, which was excellent, but also through a friend’s recommendation. I sometimes struggle to spend money on myself in this way, but after going through the trial days, I decided to bite the bullet. I liked its flexibility in determining how long to meditate for, so I have a brand new app, I’ve committed to it by purchasing it, and I have the perfect time to build it into my day. I think I can make it work.

My other heal goals will be to continue working on walking and stretching. I don’t always take walking or stretching breaks. I’ve also decided to articulate a standing-at-my desk goal. I often switch between standing and sitting, but I think being more mindful of the amount of time I sit and recording it will help me be more diligent about actually standing and giving my poor back a break. It’s been getting fussy again (especially after all the time in the car), and I really don’t want to have to pay the exorbitant cost of having to burn off the nerves in my back again. (True story: it’s called a radiofrequency ablation). Of course, some days I just don’t have the energy to stand, so I need to give myself a pass on that too. Fibromyalgia sucks.

So, I have a broad swath of goals to tackle this month, but mostly I just want to reset, pause, and muster my forces so I can feel like I’m more in control of my health and my life. I’ve made significant life and lifestyle changes in my life by taking on this promotion and starting graduate school again. I just need to get a good handle on it all!

The Stretch: The Fear of Taking on Too Much When You Have Fibromyalgia

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.

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Managing my Fibromyalgia at Significant Life Events

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.

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Goal Setting: The May Follow-Up and June 2017 Plans

May, much like the preceding months, absolutely has flown by. I loved being able to honor and celebrate my friend’s wedding, and I particularly liked introducing my parents to our foster kiddo. With their distance in South Carolina, she’s the first kiddo that they’ve been able to meet. The garden is coming together nicely, and I can almost imagine how wonderful it will all look in another month when I check in on goal progress again.

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A Day of Making Choices with my Fibromyalgia

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.

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My May 2017 Goals: Bring it on!

One of my friends who is a blogger writes posts about yearly and monthly goals, and I think I may just emulate her. My happiness project, though it had a great start, has fallen a little more by the wayside over the last two months. I think taking more actionable and measurable goals might help me make more progress on tackling the things that I’d like to accomplish. I can almost hear Jane Austen in my head declaring with some irony about how accomplished a woman I am.

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