Monday, February 20, 2012

Constantly Learning How to Live!

Fibromyalgia is a daily battle!

Each day you have to decide to take that first step & get out of bed. You have to decide to push through & live! As each new pain & health problem pops up you have to learn how to live with it.

You have 2 choices each moment of the day: 1. give up & just stop living or 2. figure out how to live with the pain and have a life.

I was at a point many years ago that I had given up. I gave in to the pain and just laid in bed unable to move. I was just listening to the doctors, taking tons of pills & just existing. I was miserable & my Hubby was miserable. I wasn't living.

Now I make the decision every day to get up & move. Even if it's just to the couch. On good days, I have to watch that I don't overdo.  It's a balancing act. It takes a lot of prayer! I don't have the knowledge or wisdom to know if I'm overdoing it. So I pray that God will stop me when I push too hard. I also pray that God will help me to move. I really can't do it without Him!

I'm finding that living with Fibromyalgia is a constant learning process. Each new day brings a new pain, a new struggle that threatens to overwhelm. I have to look at my current situation & try to learn how to cope. I don't think I'll ever stop learning how to cope. This broken life is a constant process...

A constant process of growing, coping, getting torn down, getting overwhelmed, failing & picking yourself up again. The point is, you need to keep going. Don't give up. Don't give in to the doubts, the fears, the anger, the overwhelming urge to quit.

You also have to keep a watchful eye out for surprises. The sinus problems that won't go away. The pain that comes out of nowhere. The stress from others. Ordinary problems that pop up. Any little thing can throw you off if you aren't prepared, if you aren't watching for them.

You have to be prepared to not give in to them. To not let things get to you. To shrug off the stress & let it roll of your back. You have to guard your tongue & not say something in pain/stress that you'll regret. You have to learn not to react on impulse. Many times our impulses are bad and our reaction to things are amplified. Many times our fibromyalgia causes us to take things wrong or get overly offended. We need to stop & breathe! We need to get input from a friend to see if we are over-reacting before we act & say or do something we'd regret, especially if it's our family.

All of this is easier said than done. I know I've snapped at my kids, said things I regret and given into the pain many times. When I do I have to say I'm sorry then pick myself up and start again. I have to constantly learn how to live with fibromyalgia!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Day Thank You

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd thank my Hubby for all he does for me & all he puts up with because of my fibromyalgia.

My dear Hubby,
Thank you so much for:
-holding my hand through the times of excruciating pain.
-sleeping by yourself when I was too achy to handle any movement in bed.
-rubbing my back & other muscles.
-having to cancel plans at the last minute because of my flare-ups & not complaining about it.
-putting up with my mood swings.
-helping me to bed when I could barely move.
-helping me get dressed & taking total care of me when my flare-ups were bad.
-taking care of the kids when my pain was out of control.
-making supper for me & the kids when I couldn't.
-calling the doctor when I was too upset or uncomfortable about calling.
-supporting me through all of the pain, flare-ups & trials due to the fibromyalgia.
-going nights without sleep with me when the pain was horrid.
-listening to me talk when I was hurting or frustrated or moody.
-watching over me & sometimes knowing my limitations before I do!
-Understanding when I can't perform my "wifely" duties.
-Standing back when I'm venting or melting down over the pain yet knowing when to step up & comfort me.
-Giving me more than I could ever give you!

I could go on & on! When you have fibromyalgia, your loved ones have to put up with a lot. They have to go the extra mile to make you comfortable & help you. They have to forgo a "normal" life just like you do. So, if you have fibromyalgia, take the time to day to tell your loved ones Thank you!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Unexpected "side-effects" of Fibromyalgia

As you research Fibromyalgia, you read about all the signs & symptoms. You read a lot about effects of fibromyalgia such as loss of work, loss of job, large doctors bills, etc... What you rarely read about are the "side-effects" of Fibromyalgia. What I mean by "side-effects" is the unexpected things that fibromyalgia does to you that affects your family or those around you. 

So here's my list of "side-effects":

1. Unexpected outbursts of frustrations - you're not really mad at your family member, you just are frustrated with all your pain & your tolerance is shorter than normal people. I find myself snapping at the kids or at Hubby. I think I hate this the most. I don't want to snap at them! I need to figure out how to handle the frustration better.

2. Less sympathy for others - I find that since I'm hurting so much that I find it hard to be sympathetic to my Hubby & kids when they get hurt. I just want them to "buck-up" and handle it because I do. I forget that what seems like a little pain to me may be major pain for them.

3. Sudden cancellation of activities - This is really hard on the kids. We plan some fun outing & then I get hit with a flare-up & we have to cancel that outing. Major disappointment on their parts. I find that I tend to keep activities a secret from them in case I get feeling bad & have to cancel. 

4. "Are you feeling okay mom?" - A child should never have to be worried about how mom is feeling. It breaks my heart to hear them say this when I know that many times my answer is "no, I'm not." It thrills me when I can say "yes, lets go do ________."

5. Hubby gets the shaft! - many times, Hubby has to pick up the slack left by my not feeling good. He has to cook, clean & take care of kids. On top of all that, his needs go unmet because I can barely function so there's no way I can do my wifely duties! (I hate this as much as he does!) Plus he often can't even vent to me about his day because I'm in no mood to handle his blowing off steam.

6. Appearing aloof or non-caring to friends - many times I'm in no mood to talk when my pain levels are up so I'm very quiet or avoid people giving them the illusion that I'm not interested in them. I also have trouble focusing when my pain levels are up so the conversations I do have may be disconnected & nonsensical. Also, the more people in the area talking the worse my focus becomes.

7. Loneliness - for me & my kids - Many times it's easier to stay home, not have people over, not engage. I find I don't want to let others down by having to cancel or not being totally there. So it's often easier to just isolate myself. Of course, I end up isolating the kids some times. 

8. Being tight lipped about how I am feeling or not seeking help from others - This kind of goes along with 6 & 7. I've been around people who constantly complain about their pain, who seem to think they are the only ones that hurt or think that everyone else should help them & do stuff for them. I so do not want to be this person! Because of that, I end up going the other way. I struggle with telling others exactly how I'm feeling. I also struggle with asking for help. Part of it is pride, part of it is not wanting to be a burden. 

These are only a few of the "side-effects" of fibromyalgia. But as you can see, it's a lot more than just pain. And it affects more than just the person who has fibromyalgia. It affects their spouse, their kids & their other family & friends.