I have been thinking about how to describe the past 3 days. I know this way may not agree with everyone but it is how I see it.
Imagine every day for 13 years someone named Fibro was beating you down both physically and emotionally. Some days it would be a slap and other days they used a baseball bat but no matter what it was every day and every night for 13 years. Never stopping. Just as you thought Fibro was going easy on you it would come for you with all of its might.
Every day and night for 13 years.
It took some years but I had figured out things to do so Fibro would be kinder and just shove me all the time. I accepted that as my reality and wasp to live with it. I had it under control. I can take this level of pain. It became my new normal.
For me, this past school year ended and summer had begun. I had a new work schedule that allowed me to spend time outside in my flower beds getting Vitamin D from the sun and kayaking which gave me energy from the water in the lakes and rivers. Water makes me happy.
One day a friend who knows my health situation asked, “How have you been feeling lately?”
I actually paused before answering. Was I really feeling good? It was as if a light went on. I was no longer being abused by Fibro. I suddenly realized that I had not been feeling any pain(still exhausted) but no pain for the past week. WOW, like absolutely none for an entire week.
How could I have not noticed the person named Fibro had not been hanging around causing daily pain when it was something I had grown accustomed to?
A week became 2 and every day I expected Fibro to reappear. I knew it was not really gone, it was just sleeping. I started doing things I did before the physical and emotional pain had started and more importantly afterward I did them there was no pain.
As time went on I became braver and braver. I had lost the fear of what might happen if I were to do something. .
I began doing activities that I never thought I would do again. I literally climbed a mountain, went on long kayak rides, hiked miles at a time, bouldered down steep inclines, sat in a car for hours, and actually went to a movie theater. Ha, take that Fibro. I was feeling the best I had in 13 years.
Everyone asked, “What have you done differently?” I replied, “It has been 13 years of tweaking medicines, supplements, integrative therapies, balancing activity and rest times, Aqua gym classes, implementing good sleep hygiene and sticking to it, etc. There had not been any one thing. The stars aligned and I had been blessed.
As each month(yes, month) passed the pain had not returned, I would add to my reply “It is not gone, I have no idea if/when it will come back and what could be the trigger to set it off again.”
Someone else asked, “Are you resting and taking it easy in hopes that it will last longer?”
“Heck, No, I am doing absolutely as much as I can, pushing myself to do everything I have not been able to do. Taking advantage of it for as long as I can.”
The longest Fibro had ever left me alone prior was 3 weeks. This time it had left me in peace for over 5 months.
I awoke the Wednesday after Daylight Savings Time to a thunderstorm and thought that I had caught the latest bug going around. My entire body ached making it almost impossible to move. My arms and thighs felt on fire. I was sure I had to be running a high fever but I was not. I took my morning meds, called in sick to work and went back to bed.
Four hours later I woke up again. The rest of the day I slept covered with both ice packs and my heating pad where they were needed.
Thursday morning, I woke up feeling the exact same way. This time, I knew it was not a bug.
It took me a lot longer to get ready to leave for work. I felt every step that I took.
Fibro was back to its old self attacking me physically but that was nothing to the mental condition I was in.
I knew how I should be feeling. I should be excited that I had gone that long being pain free. As a support group leader I would be the cheerleader telling others “you have done this before, you can do it again”.
Shoulda, Coulda, Didn’t.
I had made it through 6 hours of work until the tears returned and I went home.
I was so sure that I had this thing under control. I had actually forgotten how awful the pain is.. What an amazing feeling to have forgotten how evil Fibro really is but how disappointing it is that I remember now. How could I I have let Fibro abuse me again?
I spent a good amount of the day crying. (Of course, that helps the nerves doesn’t it.) I cried, I had just spent 5 months being the person I was before Fibro started attacking me. I was able to wear cute boots with heels all day long and not have pain. I was able to go with our daughter for our annual pumpkin patch trip but this time I was able to go out to eat and shop with her afterwards. I was my old Melissa. The mom my child had before she turned 9. I went 4 wheeling with my husband. I felt like I was able to be more like the person my husband dated that who he had been living with.
In a nutshell, I was feeling very sorry for myself and forgot that the name of my FB page, Website and support group is called Fibro Warriors ~ LIVING LIFE. My mom and husband did their best to remind me that it was going to be ok. I had tools that helped me in the past and I needed to use them again.
I knew they were right but I was spiraling and could not think rationally.
I reached out to a Fibromite friend. Not just any friend but my bestie from the westie, Tami Stackelhouse, (founder of the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute and Fibromyalgia Podcast).
She posted in the IFCI Alumni Association the following,
“You will have periods of time where you feel good again. It will start off with minutes or hours. Then you’ll have days or weeks where you feel better. Keep working on it and you can even have months and years where you feel good.
And when you feel bad again, take note.
Were you able to go longer between flares?
Did you get over them more quickly?
Were they less intense?
Because THAT is what we are working for. Little by little, small improvement by small improvement. We work towards longer times between flares, quicker recovery, and reduced intensity.
So if the darker, colder, nasty weather winter makes you flare when you haven’t in months… reflect on it. What can that teach you? Is there anything you can do differently next year? How can you give your body the space and rest it needs?”
Today(Friday), I woke up again feeling the same as the past 2 days physically but mentally I approached the day differently. I have been far worse in the past because now I knew the things I needed to do to work towards kicking Fibro to the curb again and continue being a Fibro Warrior ~ Living Life!