Fibro flare up

anyone-can-give-up-inspirational-quote

The pain started this past Tuesday and has been ramping up all week. It feels as though my muscles are wrapped around brittle glass instead of the bones that should be there. It’s a sharp, grinding, burning pain, that seems to just appear out of nowhere. It started in my left foot, which is an unusual place for my fibro to hit. Normally, the pain is in my hands/arms and back, sometimes it hits my legs, but never my feet. I initially thought maybe I’d injured my foot exercising, but by Thursday, I was feeling the exact same pain in my hands as well.

I slept miserably last night. As soon as I laid down, the pain shrieked up my back and then down my arms; it’s very hard to sleep when your body is shrieking at you. Once I did fall asleep, the nightmares started, so the little bit of sleep I got was nowhere near restful. <SIGH>. Needless to say, I did not want to get out of bed this morning. I’m proud to announce that I managed it anyway.

It’s really hard to stay positive when you’re wrapped in layers of pain, but I’m trying. To be honest, as wonderful as it was to have a break from the misery, it just makes it seem so much worse now. It’s like being dropped into a tub of ice water after laying out in the hot sun all day; it’s a shock to the system.

Don’t worry, I’m not giving up. As soon as I get this posted, I’m going outside for my walk. I may have to shorten it a bit for today, but I refuse to sit on my butt until this flare up goes away. It will go away, I just don’t know how long it will take. On the upside, the flare up will help me add some things to “How to Fight Fibro”. See? Positive thoughts, hard at work.

Ok, slight change of topic here, but I want to make a point about positive thinking. What people don’t seem to understand is that thinking positively doesn’t make the pain go away. It just makes the pain more bearable. For me, the hardest part about fibro pain is that utterly pointless. Pain is supposed to be an indicator that something is wrong, it’s supposed to be fixable! By giving my pain a reason to exist, (for example: if I’m hurting, I’ll be more likely to write about things that help make it better), I’m making it easier for me to deal with, which helps to keep me from falling even further into mental misery.

Now, it’s back to the fight, wish me luck!

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THE Plan, update #5

Toot! Toot!

Yeah, that’s me, tooting my own horn, again. 🙂 I’m afraid that I have to brag for a minute or two- yesterday, I actually jogged for 2/3 of a mile. Not all in one go, I did 1/3, walked for a bit and managed to do another 1/3. I know that there are tons of people out there who run 5 or miles in a shot, so I’m sure to some, my 2/3mi isn’t all that impressive. It’s impressive to me though!

If you had actually known me before I started on this fitness kick, you would know that movement of any sort was just not something I did. To put it bluntly, I was a lazy slug. I made it a point not to do anything more that I absolutely had to. I’m not proud of that, as a matter of fact, it’s down right embarrassing for me to admit. However, I am incredibly proud that over the course of three months, I went from being a lazy slug to being able to walk three miles a day just because I can.

All that walking has also helped me lose weight. I’ve dropped another 4lbs, bringing my total to 20lbs lost over the last three months. Woo hoo! 🙂

I am having to re-evaluate my program a bit, since I’ve hit a minor plateau over the last few weeks. Part of that plateau is due to the fact that I sort of tell off of my diet wagon for a bit, but I’m back on it. No more cheating!

I’m also pushing myself to work out a bit harder; instead of a 30 minute walk, I’ve upped it to 45 minutes or an hour if I feel up to it. I wasn’t kidding about doing a 5k in October. I’m really going to do it, and I’d really like to do it in a reasonable amount of time. Jogging for a full 2/3 of a mile, (in 90+ degree heat!), is a pretty good start. I’ve got about 2 months left to work up to it. Do I really think I’ll be able to jog the full 5k..? No, I don’t. I hope that I’ll be able to, but realistically, I don’t think I’ll be able to jog the whole thing. That’s ok, maybe I can jog the next one!

Sit back and listen.

I know this may come off sounding trite, but for me, relaxing really does help with the pain. Sometimes it just helps to find something to take my mind off of it, the pain doesn’t go away, but it is possible to set it aside for a little while. There are an infinite number of ways to relax, so rather than give you an insanely long list of suggestions, I’m just going to start with one that actually works for me.

One of the best ways I’ve found to relax is by listening to music, classical pieces seem to work best for me, so I’m going to share one of my favorites: Flugufrelsarinn (Sigur Ros) as played by the Kronos Quartet. I absolutely love this piece. Nearly every time I listen to it, I get lost in the beauty of it all. Seriously, turn it up, sit back, close your eyes and let the music just flow around you. Sadly, it’s only about 8 minutes long, but for me, it’s usually 8 minutes where I can ignore whatever pain I’m feeling and be free of it.

I’d love to hear what you think about this idea, and if it works for you, what are your favorite song choices?

How I Fight Fibro

I decided to try adding a new category to the blog, called “How to Fight Fibro”. Normally, I wouldn’t bother announcing a new category, let alone explaining it, but this one is a bit different.

Every fibro fighter is unique, and experiences the disease in their own way. That being said, perhaps I should rename the new category to “How I Fight Fibro”. I’m not going to fill this section with the random ramblings of the internet; this section is purely for things that I have personally tried and have found to work for me. Just because something makes me feel better doesn’t mean it will make anyone else feel better, but I’m hoping that my posts will help others or at the very least, maybe spark a new idea for someone else.

Just so you know, I am incredibly skeptical when it comes to trying new things; I have never been one to run out and try every latest new product or idea. It usually takes me awhile to warm up to the idea of new therapies and even longer to actually try them. So please, don’t expect me to post reviews of any “As Seen on TV” products or brand spanking new technologies purported to help ease fibro suffering.

I’m aware that to some, this new category may seem unnecessary, considering that this entire blog is basically meant to detail my experiences with fibromyalgia and how I’m coping with it. However, my main focus is on diet and exercise, something that many of you feel is out of your reach. I’ve gotten a LOT of comments both here and on the Facebook page sayings things like “I tried that, but it only made the pain worse”, or “I can’t even get out of bed, how am I supposed to exercise?”. This new category will not focus on exercise or any other form of physical torture, there may be the occasional mention of a specific stretch or movement that I’ve found to be helpful, but overall, it will be exercise and effort free. 🙂

Believe it or not, I truly do understand how hard the fibro can make it to even think a single clear thought, let alone attempt to get out of bed. I’ve only made it this far due to sheer stubbornness; there’s no “secret” to how I manage to force myself to work out when I feel like a flaming pile of doggy poo. I promise that if I ever stumble across something amazing, I’ll share it. If I could bottle my “sheer stubbornness”, I’d give it away for free (as long as you pay for the shipping costs!).

Anyway, I’ll be posting my first suggestion shortly, I hope it helps!

Breaking the silence

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I’ve been silent for too long. Somehow, amidst all the changes I’ve been making in my life, I managed to slide back into my old habit of silence. I’ve never been very good at talking to people; I hate letting others see my emotions, the messy ones, at least. I’m ok with sharing happiness and laughter, but when it comes to pain and tears, I’d much rather deal with them on my own. The problem with this is that I tend to get stuck in an endless loop of misery. The fibro provides its own seemingly endless cycle of misery, I don’t need to add to it by being depressed.

I imagine that just about anyone with a chronic illness/condition knows how easy it is to slip into a self-imposed solitary confinement. It’s so very easy to forget that you’re not alone, especially when being social takes so much effort. I’ve never been a social butterfly, even before the fibro came into my life, it took a lot of energy for me to be around people, especially people I don’t know very well. Having fibromyalgia makes it so much harder, being sociable, even with those closest to me takes up  a lot of spoons. Add in a few negative emotions and it’s just a downward spiral.

So… here I am, attempting to ward off any impending depression by breaking my silence. Despite the fact that I have family and friends who love me and who would do just about anything for me, I feel alone. It’s not that I’m in pain, in fact, my pain is the lowest it’s been in years. It’s not altogether gone, but having spent the last few years living with a daily pain level of 7/10 or higher, my current average of 3/10 is practically paradise. I should be ecstatic. Yet, here I am, feeling overwhelmed and bordering on depressed.

I’ll be honest, I don’t want to discuss most of the reasons that I’m feeling this way. I’m just not ready to put everything on display, I may never be. Talking about my experiences with fibro and life in general is one thing, but for now, everything else will remain behind the curtain. The important thing is that I do know (mostly), why I feel the way I do right now, and I really am trying to fix what I can and come to terms with what I can’t fix.

Why bother posting about it all if I’m not going to explain it? Because I can still write about how I’m feeling, even if I don’t want to explain why I’m feeling it. I know, it’s kind of like showing someone a mystery box and saying “do not open!”, which for some, is just about the meanest thing I could do. Being an overly curious person myself, I know how annoying that is, and I do apologize.

On the upside, writing this has made me feel a little bit better, and I’m reminded of why I started writing this blog in the first place. Holding all of these crappy feelings in is part of the reason my life got out of control to begin with; if I had just been brave enough to talk to someone, I probably wouldn’t have ended up in that dark place where I was contemplating suicide. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I will NEVER go back to that place ever again.

Positive thinking may not cure the fibro, but it will keep me alive :). In the words my favorite cartoon fish: “Just keep swimming”.

THE Plan, update #4

I have a confession to make. Over the holiday weekend, my diet got thrown overboard. No calorie counting, no walks, none of it. Believe it or not, by the time Monday rolled around, I was actually missing my routine.

My last workout was Wednesday and by Sunday I noticed a serious increase in my pain levels. It started out with a headache, but by the start of the afternoon the random pain spikes had started: my hands, my arms, my legs.. all over the place. Ugh. I hate days like that and I totally didn’t miss them.

I don’t know if it was the lack of exercise, the sudden change in diet or maybe just a random bad fibro day, but it was miserable. Needless to say, it’s back to the routine for me!

I’ve decided to try adding some basic yoga to my weekly routine, I just ordered Yoga for Beginners from amazon.com. It should be here by the end of the week, so hopefully by the time I post my next update, I’ll be able to say whether I like it or not.

I’ve tried taking actual yoga classes, but they were an epic fail. I made sure to talk to the instructor before I signed up, I told her I had fibro and that I was an absolute beginner to yoga; she assured me that her class would be perfect for me. It was, in fact a total nightmare. The class was mostly made up of advanced beginners and the instructor moved so quickly from position to position that I couldn’t keep up. Thankfully, my mom had decided to take the class with me, so I wasn’t the only one struggling. I think we gave up after only 3 or 4 classes, even though we paid for 8.

Needless to say, that experience left me with a bad taste for anything resembling yoga. I’ve decided to give it another go now only because I need to change up my workout routine and  I could use some guidance as far as stretching. Improving my flexibility probably won’t hurt either. If I try this and still hate it, I may give pilates a shot. True, yoga and pilates are similar, but they’re definitely not the same thing.

I’m really looking forward to trying something different, so here goes!

“Chaos Rains”

Chaos Rains WM

No, I didn’t use wrong word when I titled this piece, it really is supposed to be “Chaos Rains”, not “reigns” :). I chose “rains” because of the drips and drops of color I used to create the background but I really do love the homophone.

This piece provides a glance into my brain on some of my foggier days, days when chaos actually does reign in my mind. The riot of color in the background represents all of the random fragments that seem to float around in my head while I’m trying to form coherent thoughts. The black lines are those thoughts, sometimes they twist and turn, getting lost in the riot, and sometimes, I’m lucky enough to pull them straight out of the fray.

Thankfully, not everyday looks like this- I think I’d go totally crazy if they did, but it happens often enough. I am at least grateful that my imagination provides me with the ability to express myself with more than just words alone.

http://rojita369.deviantart.com/gallery/

Brave

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THE Plan, update #3!

never-give-up-inspirational-quotes

I know I say this about just about every quote I post, but I love this one. It’s one of those fabulous quotes that can be applied to a variety of situations, both profound and mundane. At the moment, I’m using it to help me stick to my diet… very mundane. I want a brownie NOW, but I have to remind myself that what I want most is to lose the weight and be the healthiest me possible.

In an effort to distract myself from my chocolate craving, I thought I’d post an update about how the whole diet and exercise thing has been going. Since my last update, I’ve managed to shed another 2.5 pounds, bringing me to a total of 16.5! I did a Google search the other day for things that weigh around 16.5 pounds, and came up with this:

bowling

Yep. I’ve lost a bowling ball. How awesome is that? With that in mind, suddenly that brownie doesn’t sound quite so awesome… Hooray for distractions!

The other thing that helps keep the cravings at bay is looking at the calorie count. It takes me a good 30-45 minutes of walking at a fairly brisk pace to burn 300 calories, that’s a lot of work to make up for a snack. Knowing how hard I’ll have to work to make room in my calorie budget for something makes it so much easier to turn down all those evil, yummy goodies. 🙂

As for the exercise part of my plan, I started Week 2 of the Couch-to-5K program this afternoon. Some of you may remember that I mentioned this program back when I first started writing, but I had to stop because of a knee injury. It took me about 6 weeks to get back into the program, but today I not only managed to complete the recommended workout, I didn’t feel like I was going to die doing it! I’ve never been a big fan of exercise, so being able to complete the entire workout without having to stop is a pretty big deal for me. Hopefully, I won’t end up giving up a bunch of my spoons for it tomorrow… Wish me luck!

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