Why is it that the time of year that is supposed to by the most joy-filled quite often, for me, has been the most pain-filled?
I have had Fibromyalgia for 15 years – and the first 10 of those were a nightmare. It got so bad I had wound up in a wheelchair or a scooter when I valiantly tried to participate in life outside my home. I couldn’t work or participate in community events because I couldn’t think – because of the “foggy” brain and because the pain just totally sapped my physical and emotional strength. I was always exhausted. Then there is the time I couldn’t spend in the kitchen making goodies or cooking a big feast for the family because standing there hurt too much/too soon. There is a picture of me one Christmas morning when DH and I had stayed up wrapping presents for the kids, and on Christmas morning the pain was so bad that I could barely stand to be there with the family. That’s not the only year that happened but it’s the one I remember because of the photo we took that day. The woman in that photo’s face was all scrunched behind her feeble attempt at a smile. Watching the kids open Christmas presents! I couldn’t wait to get back to bed. Can’t have been any fun for anyone else in the family either. No, this isn’t me, it’s how I felt.
If you have fibro, I don’t need to go into the details…just sayin’.
But I have gotten my symptoms into much better control in recent years by adopting a gluten-free, whole-plant-based diet very light on packaged foods, especially any with additives with names you can’t pronounce, and with a regime of supplements and weekly chiropractic care. I took all harsh chemicals and anything scented out of our home, and really, for the most part I got my life back. The first thing to go was the brain fog – and what a relief that was! It had been the biggest loss. I lost the scooter, the wheel chair and the walker in favor of just a cane (or two) for balance.
Fast forward to fibro-flares. Even though my symptoms are mostly in remission, sometimes they flare – and the past month has been a continual flare. I hurt everywhere, I couldn’t sleep at night, I have had cotton in my brain – couldn’t organize my thoughts – I dragged around exhausted and unmotivated to do the things I loved. I felt sad and some of the old depression reared it’s demented head. And I notice a pattern…when I flare, I have either put myself under too much stress or tried to do too much physically, the weather changes, or I’m dealing with old family baggage. Or I have gotten off-track with my eating plan. Is it any wonder then that the holidays combine all four to make November and December a time to pay particular attention to self-care? And to add to the strain this year I had surgery on both eyes that required putting antibiotic and prednisone drops into them – and into my system. YUK! And my vision is WORSE. Have to see a different specialist. AM wearing an eye patch as I type.
So the only thing I know to do when I have a bad flare is to go Full Stop, spend some days spoiling myself reading novels, playing computer games, letting DH spoil me by doing the cooking, and taking muscle relaxers and enteric aspirin for pain. We did take a brief trip for a family event and then even on Thanksgiving we just lounged around – I never got out of my PJ’s and we ate leftovers – but were plenty grateful for all we have, especially Medicare and a pension. I feel better, I feel like writing, I have finished re-organizing my blog with a new theme, and now it’s time to consider a plan for the rest of the year.
I have been drawn to bite the bullet and spend the cold hard cash to see a doctor of functional medicine for a thorough workup. No insurance covers that. And to spend some time with my massage therapist who does trigger point therapy. I am re-focusing on plenty of fresh fruits and veggies for the anti-oxidants and vitamins and minerals and I am starting a vitamin d supplement. Did you know we fibro patients have a propensity to be very deficient in Vitamin D?
I have been doing some spiritual work, as you may have noticed if you have been reading my blog, and some forgiveness and self-forgiveness work has loosened me up a little. I will continue that exploration. I actually got a chance to make amends to one of my sons for the effects my severe depression had on his life and out relationship, and that was quite a relief.
So, what do you do when you have a flare???? I’d love to know. We can help each other by sharing.