Saturday, April 23, 2016

I Don't Like Being Sick

It's been a rough week. I thought I had a handle on my illnesses, but I don't.

I kind of understand migraine. I know I can't control how or when the migraines or going to hit or how bad they are going to be.

But, I thought I had some clue about the fibromyalgia. The flares usually only last a day or two and then I'm fine.

Not this time. Last Saturday I caulked the bathtub and I've been miserable ever since. All my muscles burn whenever I do anything. I'm unbelievably exhausted. PWM and I walked 1/2 a mile today and I was panting halfway through.

I suppose going to see Barry Manilow in concert on Thursday night didn't help my case. But, otherwise, I've been trying to balance rest with gentle exercise. (But, really, do you think I was going to miss going to see Barry Manilow in concert? Even if he is 70 years old?)

I don't like to think of myself as sick. When I was working, there was a prejudice against the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. It was called a "throwaway" or "garbage" diagnosis. Things are definitely changing. My current neurologist certainly believes it is real; he commented on studies that show parts of the brain that light up on fMRI during a fibromyalgia flare. Yay for really being sick!?

I guess I'm a little vain. I don't want to be sick when our society is telling us to be healthy and active. I shouldn't be spending my Saturdays inside reading a book or blogging. I should be outside, riding my bike or hiking in the state park or doing some other strenuous activity. I can't do that, though. Even if I were to manage some strenuous activity, I would pay for it dearly the rest of the week.

My counselor would have a field day with this. She would tell me that it's good to grieve for the life I used to have but that it's OK to be content with the life that I have. And we would pray. And Jesus and I already have an active conversation going about this.

Today, I'll practice contentment, although it's really not easy. Paul ended his letter to the Philippians by thanking them for their gifts and explaining how he was content in any circumstances because of God's grace.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I wonder if I can practice contentment with ice cream? So, what about you? How do you deal with illness and things that interfere with life? How do you practice contentment? What kind of ice cream do you like?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

So Tired . . .

I'm soooooo tired. I spent four years in medical school, so I thought that I knew what tired was. I mean, I would go days on not nearly enough sleep doing admissions and working in clinic.

But, I didn't really learn the meaning of fatigue until I developed chronic migraine and fibromyalgia.

The fibro came first with the poor sleep and diffuse body aches. What's crazy is that I was diagnosed at a time when I had a gym membership and was exercising regularly. A medication to help me sleep gave me significant relief.

Unfortunately, the migraines started escalating soon afterward. Once the migraines became chronic and I started having daily headaches, the fatigue kicked back in with a vengeance. I didn't know a person could be so tired without being sleepy.

Right now the fatigue is particularly bad because I've had a busy week. I've been cranking up the distance and speed that I walk to 1-2 miles at about 20 minutes/mile. I also re-caulked the bathroom (a whole 'nuther story but suffice it to say that there's mold and we're getting a new bathroom soon!) along with doing lots of house cleaning. Parts of my body hurt that I forgot even existed!

Now it's time to rest. I have a migraine today, which makes it a resting day anyway, but I had already planned for today to be a rest day. My achy body (from all the working which has flared my fibro) is telling me it needs a break. I did walk to the library to stretch my legs, but it's only about 1/3 of a mile.

God made us to rest. In the creation story, God rested on the seventh day and then He gave the people of Israel a commandment that they were to rest of the seventh day of the week. Even when we're completely healthy, we need some down time. And that's OK.

For those of us with chronic illness, rest is a necessity. And I'm working very hard not to feel guilty about it. It's perfectly fine to give my body what it needs. Today, it's to sit down and write and look at knitting patterns and read. I can pray and meditate and let God speak to my soul. I can listen in ways that I can't when I'm spackling the bathroom wall. And I can just be quiet.

What do you do when you just need to rest? How do you hear God? Do you prefer silicon or acrylic caulk ('cause I'm such an expert now)?

Saturday, April 02, 2016

What I've Been Up To - April 2, 2016

So, I've been away from my blog, as you might (or might not) have noticed. My absence was mostly for a trip with our exchange student daughter but then I needed a few days to recover!

Ashley and I went to New Jersey to meet check out things for next year's school year. That actually didn't take long, so we spent the rest of the time hanging out and shopping!! Here are the fun things we did!

  • Ate Japanese food. Ashley loved the sushi. I ate cooked food, but lots of new things. That's a big deal for me - I'm not an adventurous eater.
  • Got manicures.
  • Shopped at a mall in New Jersey.
  • Got Godiva chocolate!!
  • Went to Manhattan!!!
  • Almost froze to death in Manhattan! OK, it wasn't all that cold. But, we dressed for temperatures in the 50s, but it never got out of the 40s. I wasn't too bad after I got a pair of light gloves, but Ashley was cold all day. 
  • Walked from Central Park to Rockefeller Center to Times Square with shopping and eating all spread out.
  • Got to see St. Patrick's Cathedral.
  • Went to the M&Ms store!!!
  • Ate Korean food for lunch.
  • Saw and got jostled by a million people in Times Square.
  • Ate Chinese food in New Jersey on Saturday night.
  • Got up at 4am for our flight out on Easter Sunday.
  • Waited in a security line that seemed a mile long in Newark. And I got patted down because I'm apparently a security risk.
  • Missed our second flight in Chicago and had to wait for two hours. We were so tired and sore by this point!
But, we made it home and Ashley still had Monday off for Spring Break. I made it through the trip without a migraine, but I had one on Monday for good measure. But, now I'm home and am back into a routine. I think. So, my blog won't be nearly as quiet.