I hate clowns.

You would think that after dealing with something for nearly 13 years, you would be completely familiar with it. For instance, Fibromyalgia has been a part of my life for, you guessed it, nearly 13 years. Yet, just today, I discovered a new, or at least new to me, symptom: Raynaud’s Phenomenon. I have never been a fan of the cold, in my world, cold = pain. However, today, things got so much worse.

We had a huge snowstorm here last night, which left something like a foot of snow outside. Even with my aversion to the cold, I can’t resist that kind of potential for fun, so I got bundled up, (literally, two or three of everything), and went out. Within about 5 minutes, the tips of my fingers started to tingle. I wondered about it, but ignored it, figuring my body would eventually adapt. Finally, after about 20 or so minutes outside, I couldn’t take it anymore. By the time I got inside, the pain in my fingers was so bad I had tears in my eyes; on a scale of 1 to 10, this was a 12. Thinking I had somehow managed to get some sort of mild frost bite, I de-gloved and noticed that my finger tips were white, with a hint of blue at the base of my nails. Ok, no need to freak out… Let’s just try to get warmed up. I ran cool water over my fingers. It felt HOT. Like, scalding, except that when it hit my palms, I could tell that it was, in fact nearly ice-cold. It took a while, but I was eventually able to (SLOWLY) turn up the temperature of the water enough to get my finger tips back to something resembling normal.

That was nearly three and a half hours ago, and my finger tips are still pale and tingly. Not quite numb, but definitely tingly. *Side Note: I know that Google is not necessarily the best place to go looking for answers, but #1, I am, for all intents and purposes, (except serious emergencies), snowed in and #2, I have previously come across several articles on Raynaud’s Phenomenon and it’s relationship to Fibromyalgia.* So, I did some research online and found that not only is Raynaud’s very common in people with Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and other related diseases, it can be “unmasked” as a symptom by weight loss… Suddenly the pieces fit.

I’ve been “whining” for months that my weight loss has made my cold tolerance even lower than it was to begin with. During that time, I have noticed my fingers, toes and lips turning blue after being out in cooler weather, (basically anything below 60 degrees). I blamed it on the weight loss and continued on my merry little way. Upon closer inspection, it would seem that my inability to tolerate the cold was quite possibly part of Raynaud’s Phenomenon peeking through the veil of other symptoms. My weight loss, which is at a total of 80 pounds since 2006, has simply moved the curtain aside and allowed Raynaud’s to poke it’s ugly little head out.

Seriously, why is that every time I feel like I’ve got a handle on things, something else has to pop up? I know that things could be so much worse and I know that there are many, many other people out there who have been dealt an even more wretched hand than mine. I just find the whole thing so disheartening sometimes. It’s really hard to stay positive and upbeat when you feel like there are evil clowns waiting to jump out at you at every turn.

Ok. I am done whining about it. In all reality, this doesn’t change anything. The only thing that has changed is that I now know the name of another symptom. As appealing as hiding in a dark, (warm!), corner might sound, it’s not going to happen. I am going to focus instead on all of the wonderful, amazing and totally awesome things I have in my life, like: love, friendship, shoes and chinchillas.

“Just keep swimming”.  

100

 

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Alone

Maybe it’s just me, but nothing creates a feeling of total isolation quite like pain. It’s 5:38am and I’m not writing this now because I woke up early. I actually haven’t been to sleep yet, thanks to the sharp, surging pains currently taking over the left side of my body.

I decided to move out to the couch since I can’t seem to get comfortable in bed and it didn’t seem fair to ruin anyone else’s night sleep just because my own body won’t cooperate. So, here I am, trapped on my own little private island of misery. The meds aren’t helping, (big surprise there), and to be perfectly honest, the only option I have at this point is to try to ride out the storm by writing it out.

I wager that I’m not the only fibro-fighter out there who experiences this lovely facet of the disease. Despite the overwhelming feeling that I’m imprisoned in solitary confinement, I take comfort in knowing that I’m truly not as alone as I feel right now.

It sounds trite and even a little cliche, but I can’t put enough emphasis on how important it is to remember that no matter how horrible we feel or how terribly bleak things seem, we are not alone. There’s an entire community of fibro-fighters out there, we just have to do what we can to support each other.

By simply clicking the “Follow” button on someone’s blog, or the “Like” button their page, you can let others know that they are being heard. It’s truly amazing how much that one little action can convey. Every time I get the notification that I’ve got a new follower, it reminds me that I am not suffering alone. There are others out there who can relate to my struggle and who can share in my triumphs, no matter how small they may be.

Since I’m awake anyway, I’m going to follow my own advice and send my love to some of my fellow fighters. I hope the rest of you had a better night than I did!

Keep fighting!

Please excuse me for a moment…

cat-fukken-win-5990-1I sincerely apologize to anyone who might be offended by the language used in this picture, I only used it because it was absolutely necessary… 🙂

Why am I posting this particular picture? Two reasons: #1: this picture makes me laugh out loud every time I see it; #2: it is an exact representation of how I feel right now.

Not only did I manage to jog a full 1.5 miles (in one go, no stopping!), I FINALLY achieved my goal of a 12 minute mile. I came in at 11 minutes, 53 seconds, to be exact. So, yeah, I’m feeling pretty awesome. When the little voice came through my headphones to tell me what my mile time was, I actually (half) shouted “hell yeah!”. Yes, I was in the middle of a park, and I should probably also apologize to the elderly couple who I startled with my little victory cry; I am terribly sorry for scaring you half to death, I just got a bit carried away.

In other news, I have decided to try my hand (or maybe I should I say “feet”?), at an 8k race. In just over four months, I will be participating in the 8k portion of  the 2014 Shamrock Marathon. I haven’t decided on a plan of attack just yet, but ultimately, I would like to finish it in 45 minutes or less. That would put my pace at about 9 minutes/mile… Don’t worry, I’m already questioning my sanity, so no need to call the men in white coats just yet.

Right now, my biggest concern is whether or not to join a gym. Why? It’s too darn cold. I know, it’s only November and it’s not even “cold” yet, but without my protective layer of blubber, 50 degrees is just too cold. I barely even broke a sweat after jogging 1.5 miles and once I cooled down from the workout, it literally took me hours to warm back up. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll get a very good workout if I’m dressed like Randy from “A Christmas Story”, so I’m thinking maybe joining a gym for the winter months is the way to go.

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My only concern is that running on a treadmill is going to bore me to tears. How on Earth am I supposed to entertain myself if I’m trapped in one spot? Trust me, trying to watch a movie or TV while running is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. I DO NOT have the attention span for that kind of multi-tasking. I enjoy jogging outside because even if I take the same path every time, there’s always something new to look at. It also gives me the perfect opportunity to spy on my neighbors and come up with bizarre stories to go along with my observations.

For example, the other day, I noticed that two of my neighbors were home extremely early. It seemed awfully suspicious that they pulled into their respective driveways (right across from each other) at the exact same time… Sure, it could have been pure coincidence, but what if they planned to come home early that day to perfect their zombie apocalypse plans? Perhaps they belong to a secret cult of cat worshippers and had to get ready for some kind of gathering? This is exactly the kind of thing that keeps exercising interesting!

Unfortunately, since the cold always has a negative effect on the fibro, I’ll probably end up spending the winter on a treadmill. Maybe I’ll take a few tours and choose a gym based on its people watching potential!

Race Day!

You guys have read about my goals for my first 5k for months now, and I am thrilled to announce that Sunday afternoon, I crossed the finish line over a minute under my goal time!

race results2

You may remember that back in June, I had managed to do the full 5k in just under 50 minutes, and set a new goal of 40 minutes for the actual race. As of October 20, I completed 5k in 38 minutes and 58 seconds! I wasn’t able to jog the whole thing, but I hadn’t expected to; my main goal was simply to cross the finish line with the best time I possibly could. Considering that about six months ago, I was literally a couch potato and could barely walk a 20 minute mile without feeling miserable, completing this challenge is an amazing feeling.

It wasn’t easy, especially with the road blocks put in my way by my own body. The fibro didn’t want me to do this and to be honest, there were many times that I doubted myself. I know that to a lot of people a 5k seems like a small thing, it is after all, only about 3 miles, and I imagine that most people in fair health could do it if they wanted to. Those of us with fibromyalgia know that even if we’re in otherwise perfect health (which we’re usually not), physical activity of any sort is an iffy venture, at best. We can never really gauge how we are going to feel on any given day, so setting up an actual training routine is nearly impossible. It took me six months to get myself ready for this race.

The first few weeks of training were incredibly difficult; I don’t think I can adequately describe what it was like to someone who doesn’t have a chronic pain condition. My body did not want to cooperate, it was perfectly happy to sit on the couch and do nothing. Not only did I have to fight against my own self doubt, I had to fight my body’s insistence that I was hurting myself. Getting past the “payback pain” was an arduous process, but I will tell you now, I would do it all over again. The results are worth it. It took about 6 weeks, but I did finally reach a point where I began to feel better after a workout, rather than worse.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that: I do not work out because I feel better, I work out to make myself feel better. I don’t just exercise on the days that I feel good; even on my worst days, I will force myself to go do something, even if it’s just a short walk around the neighborhood, because I now know that afterwards, I will feel better. I cannot put enough emphasis on how important that realization was to me. Those days where all you want to do is curl up with a bowl of ice cream and cry are the days that where you need to find a way to be active, even if it’s only for 20 minutes. I promise you that you will feel better. Your mental state will improve almost immediately because now you can be proud of yourself for not giving up, and eventually your body will realize that the activity actually does feel better than doing nothing.

Alright, enough of the “get active” propaganda :).

I would like to say how very, extremely proud I am of my best friend, Heather. Like me, she has been struggling to get and stay active. She has been a constant source of support and motivation for me, I can only hope that I have managed to do the same. I will tell you right now, that without her to kick me in the behind every now and then, I wouldn’t have done as well as I did in the race. She has been there for me from the get go and has stuck by me even when I was whining about not wanting to do anything. She’s also had a rough time over the last 6-8 months, but she still managed to be there with me at the starting line and even with a bum ankle, she crossed the finish line well under our original goal of 1 hour. We’re already looking forward to our next race. 🙂

Another person that I’d like to mention is another very dear friend of mine, Aaron. Even though he had absolutely no reason to get up and go out to the race this last weekend, he was there to cheer both Heather and I on, and was even nice enough to hold on to our stuff for us. I can’t even tell you guys how much it meant to me to have two of my very favorite people there to support me on a day that a year ago I would’ve said would never happen. Even before the fibro, I would have never thought that I’d voluntarily participate in a race; after the fibro, I would have said it would be impossible for me to do at all. I’m so very glad that I was able to prove myself wrong.

After race

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In case the title didn’t give it away, I’d like to give a huge “Thank you!” to the author of Just Another F-Bomb for nominating my little slice of cyber space for the Liebster Award! I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that real people are actually out there reading my words; most of us struggle along in silence simply because we feel like no one wants to hear what we have to say. Every time I receive a new comment or link back, I am reminded that I am not alone in this and that my words are reaching, and even encouraging others to break their silence as well.

Like the Versatile Blogger Award, the Liebster, (which means “dearest” in German, by the way), asks that it’s nominees answer a few questions and also nominate others. I’ll be honest, I’ve been incredibly remiss in reading any blogs lately (as well as writing my own, as you may have noticed), so I can’t post my nominees right now, but I will go ahead and answer the 10 questions posed to me by my nominator, Just Another F-Bomb.

  • If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would it be?
    – I haven’t made it there yet, but I think it’s safe to say that I would be perfectly happy to live in Nairobi, Africa; specifically at The Giraffe Manor. I mean, really, living somewhere where giraffes could come and join me for breakfast? How can I possibly resist?
  • What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
    – Key West, FL. It’s absolutely gorgeous and so very relaxing.
  • If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
    – A giraffe feeder, hands down.
  • Do you have a favorite teacher who inspired you?
    – I had many wonderful teachers over the years, I really can’t choose just one, or even two.
  • Why do you blog?
    –  Writing this blog is my way of shining a light into the darkness; my way of proving that I do not suffer alone, nor do I have to suffer in silence. This blog helps me break the barriers created by the pain and the best part is, it’s not only my own barriers being broken, my words have encouraged others to break their silence as well.
  • If you had a magic wand, what would you use it to change?
    – A magic wand wouldn’t be enough to fix everything that’s gone wrong in this world, so I’m not going to go all serious here. I think the first thing I would do with a magic wand is shrink a giraffe down to about 3 feet tall, that way I could keep him as a pet 🙂
  • Do you dress up for Halloween?
    – Usually. The last time I dressed up for Halloween, I went as Aphrodite.
  • What was your most memorable day and why?
    – Again, tough question. I’m going to go with the day I rescued my cat, Sammy. It was the day before a major hurricane swept through my area and there were some kittens living in a small ditch next to a near by 7-11. In an attempt to save them from the storm, I went down there with some cans of cat food and a large animal carrier. I managed to lure three kittens in, but before I could shut the door, two of them escaped, leaving me with one very angry orange ball of fur. It was a rough start, but he eventually came around and was one of the best cats I’ve ever had.
  • Kids or pets, which do you prefer?
    – As I’ve never had any children, I’m going to say pets 🙂
  •  How long did it take you to complete the Liebster “task”?
    – About an hour, give or take.

I just want to reiterate how extremely grateful I am for all of the support and encouragement that I’ve received. Thank you to everyone who has commented on a post or emailed me and also to all of you who decided to click “follow” button; it means so much to me to know that my words are being seen.

Struggling

Have you ever used a visualization to help you get through something difficult?

For instance, over the last few months, when I’ve found myself struggling with training for the 5k, I’ve been visualizing myself crossing the finish line as a way to motivate myself to keep going. When I felt like I simply couldn’t jog another step, that image of myself crossing the finish line with my loved ones there waiting for me kept me going. It’s helped me get myself out of the house and even helped me get out of bed some mornings. I’ve found this simple tactic to be amazingly helpful and have even been using other visualizations to help me with other goals.

There is, however a downside. The 5k I’ve been training for is next weekend and just yesterday, that image that I’ve had running through my head for the last 5 months got ripped apart. I’m still going to cross the finish line, but someone very important to me will not be there to see it, and not because they’re unable to. I know that in the grand scheme of things this truly isn’t a big deal, but it’s just one more dream that’s been flushed down the toilet. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even want to do the 5k anymore. I’ve been holding on to my little vision for so long that I don’t even know how to continue without it. It doesn’t help that I’m absolutely exhausted; the fatigue issues I wrote about last week seem to have gotten worse.

Nothing that I have tried has helped. I’ve adjusted my sleep schedule, tried taking my night-time meds earlier, changed my diet, adjusted the vitamins I take, cut back on my workouts… I’m at a loss. Not only do I not have the energy to run this thing, I feel like my motivation is gone as well. The pain was a cake walk compared to this. I can work around pain, but how do you work around being completely exhausted all the time? It takes energy to work, to fight, and I’m running seriously low at this point. Caffeine/energy drinks don’t work, naps are no help at all and what little sleep I do manage to get is ineffective.

I’m really not trying to have a pity party, I just feel so lost right now and I figure writing about it is better than hiding in bed. I’ve tried talking about it, but unless someone has actually dealt with this kind of problem before, they just can’t understand. I’m sick of people telling me to “go take a nap” or to “drink some coffee”, so I just stopped talking about it altogether.

I usually try to end my posts on a positive note, but I’m having a hard time finding one right now. The best I can say is that despite my current feelings, I will be doing the 5k next Sunday, even if I have to walk the entire thing. I won’t let one person screw up all of my hard work and I’m betting that my bestie will kick my butt if I try to back out, (I love you, Heather! I really do!).

The Plan, update #7

So far, all of my updates about The Plan have been about positive things that I have noticed or goal I’ve achieved. This update is a bit different, because I have hit a wall. A big, fat, solid, wall.

I don’t know if this is just the fibromyalgia making things difficult or if something has changed, but the last few weeks have been a bit rough. Simply put, I am exhausted. Absolutely, utterly drained. In August, I was able to up my walks to 3-4 miles, 4 or 5 days a week. On top of that, for most of the month, I was able to do one of the Jillian Michaels’ workouts at least 4 days a week. Let me tell you, I was pretty impressed with myself!

I carried this pace all the way through to about mid September, when out of nowhere, my energy levels plummeted. I figured that maybe I was getting run down and took a few days off from the Jillian Michaels workouts, (but kept up with my walking routine), planning to get back into it the following week.

Epic fail. I made it about a third of the way through the workout before my body just refused to cooperate. After that, I began to pay a bit more attention to how I was feeling throughout the day. I noticed that not only has it been harder to wake up in the mornings, (it literally feels like I’m dredging my consciousness up through deep, dark water every morning), but I’ve reverted to feeling like I need a nap in the late afternoons. I haven’t actually gone so far as to take said naps, but I have thought long and hard about it more than a few times.

I don’t feel sick, my pain levels haven’t changed, I’m not having any extra trouble falling asleep and I haven’t made any changes to my diet… I’m kind of at a loss on this one. I’ve even talked to my doctor about it, but all I got was the typical shoulder shrug that comes with the fibro territory.

I absolutely refuse to give up my walking. I will zombie drag myself down the street if I have to, but I am not going to give up on this. If I was feeling otherwise run down or had any other symptoms of illness, I’d take a break for a few days, even I’m not that stubborn. 🙂 The thing is, I’m mostly convinced that this is just the fibro trying to trick me into giving up, and I know what happens if I do. I have been down that road and I know where it leads: misery.

I may not have the energy to cook dinner every night and its possible the laundry may sit around a little bit longer, but I am going to keep moving. Over the last five months, I have been happier, my mood has been lighter and I have simply felt better than I have in years. I knew that this was going to get harder at some point; I’ve already fought my way through several massive pain flare ups. The pain couldn’t stop me, neither will this.

The Plan, update #6

It’s taken four months and 316 miles (yes, I have walked 316 miles over the last four months!!), but I have officially reached the halfway point of my weight loss goal! A full 25 pounds, gone! YAY!!!

As part of my celebration, I decided to do a google search for things that weigh 25 pounds, so I could get a visual of what I am no longer carting around:

  • an average 2 yr old
  • a 25 lb barbell plate
  • 25 one lb  full butter boxes
  • a small dog
  • 10 ft metal chain
  • 5 bags sugar
  • 25 foot balls
  • a 19 inch flat screen T.V.
  • 3 one gallon jugs of water

I have to say, the image of carrying these things around with me is pretty strange… no wonder I’m always so tired!

It’s important to remember, however, that the weight loss is just a fabulous side effect of what I’m actually trying to accomplish. My original goal with all this dieting and exercise was to fight my fibro with fire. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and after 12 years of just living with the disease, I decided to fight back. I decided to take my life back from this invisible menace and I DID. I stopped sitting around feeling sorry for myself, waiting for some miracle cure and started taking care of myself.

It was not easy. My biggest obstacle was myself, I had to fight not only against my own feelings of doubt and depression, but also against my own body. When my body was screaming at me to stop, I had to quite literally force myself to keep moving. It took a long time for me to get past the initial pain of making myself exercise, but I didn’t give up.

I’ll be honest, I was in a very dark place when I discovered the strength to fight this; I didn’t just wake up one happy morning and decide to do it. It wasn’t until I found myself considering suicide that I realized things had to change, that I had to change things. In truth, I am thankful for the events that led me to that dark place, because without them, I would still be wallowing in the misery that I had allowed the fibro to create.

I am not saying that I am cured. The fibromyalgia is something that I will have to battle every day for the rest of my life, I have accepted that, but I know now that it IS possible for me to live a fairly normal life. I know now that my struggles with this disease have made me a stronger person and I have discovered how to put that strength to good use. Yes, the fibro puts limitations on my life, but I have learned that there are ways to work around those limits.

Some days are harder than others, but in the end, I know that fighting through those days is what makes days like today so awesome. 🙂

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The Yoga Verdict

About a month ago, in “The Plan, update #4”, I made a big deal about wanting to change my workout routine and giving yoga a try. I’m rather ashamed to admit it, but after publishing that post, I kind of ignored it. Ok, I seriously ignored it. The DVD arrived, I popped it in the player and bored myself to tears in about 5 minutes. So, I turned it off and didn’t give it a second glance until today. I could take the easy way out, say that the DVD was just too boring for me to suffer through and that it was a waste of money, but that’s not true. Yes, I was bored by the slow pace of the exercises, but that’s because at the time, I was looking for something more vigorous. I moved onto Jillian Michaels’ Thirty Day Shred and found it infinitely more satisfying.

The problem is, being in the middle of a nasty fibro flare makes Jillian considerably more difficult. I’m still trying to stick to my routine, but I’m finding it harder and harder to recover. When I woke up this morning, I was so stiff I could barely move. I started having flashbacks to The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy and the scarecrow meet the tin man… If I had thought that spraying myself with WD-40 would have helped, I’d have done it in a heartbeat. Which brings me back to the previously discarded yoga DVD.

One of the most important things that I have learned since starting my get healthy plan is that once I get moving, I feel better. My mood improves and the pain doesn’t seem as a bad. The hard part, of course, is getting myself to move in the first place. Let’s be serious here, when we’re in pain, the last thing we want to do is move. Unless of course that movement results in a comfy pillow and some chocolate. Thankfully, I have a new carrot dangling in front of my face: a little bit of movement = guaranteed relief. With that in mind, I finished my morning cup of tea (green tea!) and faced Ms. Barbara Benagh once again.

I started out with her 20 minute Sun Salutations routine, and let me say right now, this time it was not boring. The slow, gentle pace was exactly what my muscles needed. By the end of the routine, I was feeling energized and <gasp!> limber. It actually took effort not to start squealing like a four-year old who’s just been let loose in Candyland. No, I’m not exaggerating. 🙂 As a matter of fact, I felt so awesome that I decided to try a second twenty minute routine, Strength & Balance. Both routines challenged my strength, flexibility and endurance, but gently. I didn’t feel rushed and throughout the routines, the instructor offers helpful (non patronizing!) advice on how to modify the poses if you need to.

At this point, I feel positively amazing. Part of that is because I’m just proud of myself for doing it and even more proud that I was able to follow both routines the whole way through, something I wouldn’t have been able to do a few months ago. The cherry on top is that I physically feel better; my muscles are limber again and while they are still a bit sore, it’s at a much more manageable level.

Of course, as with any new exercise, the real test is still to come: how will I feel tomorrow and will I be able to get the same results consistently? I certainly hope so, but I’ll keep updating as I go along.

THE Plan and the flare up

I have good news and bad news. Since asking which one you’d like to read first is pointless, I’ll start with the bad news that way we can end on a high note!

Ok, the bad:

As predicted in my last post, I am in the middle of a fibro flare. I was really hoping that it was just a fluke or a rough patch, but since it’s gone well past the week mark and shows no sign of stopping, I’m officially calling it a flare up. My trigger points are seriously unhappy lately, to the point that some of them are actually visible to the untrained eye. They look (and feel) like marbles under my skin. Thankfully, they tend to come and go, so they’re not constantly exposed, but they are unpredictable.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with trigger points, here’s an overview.

Trigger points (some times called tender points) are one of the main ways doctors diagnose fibromyalgia; they stand you up and literally poke specific spots on your body to see if they cause an unusual amount of pain. There are 18 points doctors look for and if 11 or more them cause pain, congratulations, you have fibro. Here’s a picture to show the official 18 points they check:

The number of spots that actually hurt can vary widely from person to person and time to time. For me personally, I generally have 16 out the 18 active at any given time. Usually, these trigger points are only painful when you touch them, if you’re really lucky, only when you apply a bit of pressure.

During a flare up, all bets are off. Like I said earlier, my trigger points become inflamed and actually stick up out of my skin, when they’re particularly pissed off, even wearing a t-shirt can be extremely painful. It feels as though I’m being stabbed in the back with a white-hot poker, complete with that radiating pain you get from a nasty burn.

The only thing that I’ve found thus far that helps with trigger point pain like this is having trigger point injections. Basically, a doctor jabs a needle into the offending spot injecting a tiny amount of anesthetic. Even with the anesthetic, it’s a breathtakingly painful experience, so it’s only something I do as a last resort. Let’s just say that right now, I’m seriously considering it. 😦

Along with my trigger points being angry, my sleep is all kinds of messed up. The issue is that I’m having trouble falling asleep and when I do finally pass out, I tend to sleep so heavily that I don’t move and wake up feeling stiff and disoriented. It’s also taking a lot longer to shake the morning fog. Usually, I wake up, take my morning meds and I’m good to go in about 20-30 minutes; lately, however, it’s taking 45 minutes to an hour, even after taking my meds with a full glass of cool water. For the record, I’m not complaining. I’ve suffered through days at a time with no sleep whatsoever, so I’ll happily take the sleep I can get even if it’s not great.

On the plus side, I’m still breathing! 🙂 That is always a good thing, because it means there’s still hope for things to get better. (I know, sometimes I’m so optimistic I make my own teeth hurt.)

I did take a few days off from exercising, but since it made absolutely no difference in my pain levels, I started up again. Before the flare up, I had started doing Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred every other day. I’ve thus far done 10 days of level one, and I am amazed at the results. Not because I’ve lost any weight, but because of how quickly my endurance has been improving. Last week, I astounded myself by jogging 2/3 of a mile. Yesterday, I jogged a full mile, 1.1 miles, to be exact. Again, I didn’t jog all of it at once, I broke it up into segments of about 1/4 mile at a time. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, all the jogging brought my 5k time down by about 5 minutes! Back in June, I was thrilled because I walked 5k in 50 minutes, now, just over a month later, I can do it in 45:05. I’ve met my interim goal, now on to the next phase: 5k in 40 minutes.

Do I feel terrible? Yes. Does that mean I give up on my goals? No. Absolutely not.

 

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