‘Tis The Season…

It’s the season for merriment, goodwill, and unbridled holiday joy. For those of us with chronic pain, it’s also the season for increased pain, fatigue, and stress. I know I’ve had a ton of holiday obligations with work interspersed in between. I’m sure all of you have felt pressured to “get with the (holiday) program.” I’ve been exhausted more than normal and been in huge amounts of pain. My last two Christmases are today, so the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight!

My New Years will surely be a mellow one. My poor body can handle anything else. Lots of love and gentle hugs to you all in this holiday season!

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Chronic Fatigue VS Christmas

It is,late at night like this, that I take the time to ponder if Christmas is going to by-pass me .  The fatigue everyday, leaves me napping by 3 pm.  The fibro stiff joints and muscles have me sitting on a heated blanket each morning while enjoying my one cup of coffee. So technically I truly only have 4 hours to attempt to accomplish anything. Christmas prep needs to start earlier for me but still I feel like I am simply standing on the side lines.

I catch myself comparing this year to the years before the pain and fatigue. I have to stop myself, it won’;t help and will ultimately hurt me more. So I buy alot of gifts on line, I make a list in late summer and on good days tackle gifts for one or two on the list. Now, I have wrapped painfully or bagged the goodies,and it is way past time to be baking. Because both of my children are grown and moved out, I am eliminating cookies. I am down to preparing the bare basics…..If I stop and rest tomorrow I just may catch some true Christmas, but our counters will be bare.

This year, I want Christmas to win, I want to feel well enough to feel the true spirit. I want to enjoy moments with my daughter and husband. I want to be there …..with the extended family. Tonight, I think I am  choosing, I am taking  control, not the fatigue and pain. I want to participate, I am choosing less traditional foods, I am looking at my tree and tomorrow I will smile. For now, i will rest.

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I was chosen and trained by the NFMCPA & LAPAN for those 10 million people in the United States living their lives with Chroniic Pain.

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Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Do not Define Me

There are many days that that the pain seems to be all I have.  This disease decides what I can do and how I can do it. That is all true but I am learning to pace myself. I am one of one million people who live with chronic pain. But I am also stronger than I ever imagined and I am Courageous.  I know I am not alone I have found The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association and  I have a mission for our voices to be heard.Not just the pain filled cries but the hope and perserverance. Let courage define me.

drugs, drugs, drugs

Brain Storm

Catchy, but a bit oversimplified. I think I knew this even in the 80s. Now I can’t even get clear cut answers from my fantastic cutting-edge brain scientist doctor, let alone mom and dad.

It seems that us chronic painers have endless decisions to make about drugs, and not usually easy ones. While having access to a plethora of medical options is certainly something to be grateful for, it’s sometimes a catch-22. Often the only method to weigh potential negative side effects with potential benefits is to just try a drug, and often this goes badly. With off-label this, new trial that, and drugs to counter the side effects of other drugs, some of us end up with meds coming out of our ears, and consequently, more health problems than we started with. After being burned by narcotics and triptans that (unbeknownst at the time to my GP and me) dragged me…

View original post 700 more words

on ups and downs

This is a re-blog about the migraine-sads, but I suspect the overlap with fibro-sads are infinite. Please read and share your strategies!

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er… but mostly downs.

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[illustration by Emiliano Ponzi: http://www.emilianoponzi.com]

 

Every person has ups and downs. It’s a fact of life. Only Data doesn’t have to worry about these things, and he worries about not having to worry about these things.

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Chronic pain is just one of many unexpected twists that can make ups and downs so much more dramatic.

There’s some sort of chemical storm, which other migraineurs have described to me as acute depression, that comes (for me) with the onset of attacks and without any other external triggers (like, no pets have died, the world is still spinning, and I don’t have my period). But it’s still damn real! Add the acute depression to the long road of grieving for lost abilities, and you’ve got a recipe for the sads.

 

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It goes like this:

migraine attack –> low feelings (despite lollipops and sunshine) –> feeling low about inability to appreciate all the good stuff –> feeling low about how migraine has changed my life –> dwelling in loss –> more pain –> slow recovery –> repeat.

Essentially, it’s just so easy to get down on myself for being down in the first place. But despite sometimes feeling just as sad as that kitty looks, there are two handy shovels I’ve found for digging myself, at least part way, out of the pit of despair.

1) Other people with chronic pain.

They get it. All I have to do is talk to them to know I’m not nutso, that they feel it too, and sometimes that’s enough to stop the self-flagellation. Talking to these people in person is really best, but even a short internet message to share the sads can make a pretty big difference.

2) A bit of research.

It’s pretty well understood now in the medical community that chronic painers are more at risk for things like anxiety and depression, as demonstrated by studies like this, and this, and this, and this one. And perhaps not coincidentally, one of the first lines of defence in terms of daily preventative treatment is amitriptyline: an antidepressant.

It’s helpful to remind myself, as many times as it takes, that feeling low is not some sort of personal failure; it’s a part of life, and a BIG part of life with chronic pain, and sometimes this thought alone is enough to lighten the load.

What do you do, dear readers, when pain drags you down?

Brain Storm

(lousong.wordpress.com)

When Your Worst Is Really Your Best

I always seem to forget how truly amazing I can be. I’m sure you all do the same. It’s so easy to feel the pain and fatigue deep in your bones and lose sight of how strong you really are.

Today was a pretty typical day. Worked last night (pediatric respiratory therapist) and dragged butt all night long. Gave report this morning semi-coherent thanks to a ridiculous amount of caffeine. Had to stay over for an educational inservice on new equipment. Went home and fought to sleep, even though I was exhausted, due to my pain level and running brain. Finally fell asleep, hallelujah!

Got up and then immediately started mommy world. I had to get snacks, go to the potty with the kids, referee arguments, soothe stubbed toes and hurt feelings, teach the fine art of sharing, and work out a “what show will be watch” compromise. Thank god (and my in-laws!) for my Keurig! Even so, I had that bone-deep fatigue that gnaws at you.

Everyone started coming home/to visit/to spend the night and my house went from zoo to Grand Central Station noise level. I can’t handle that as well as I used to. With fibro, I get more overstimulated than a sugared-up three year old at DisneyWorld. My pain increased, fatigue increased, and irritation increased.

Add to that chaos cooking dinner, kid bath time, and the overtired kiddos becoming more and more whiny with each passing second. I was pretty much feeling the same way. Finally got the kids in bed despite much stalling! I was full scale finished. Everything aching, especially my traitor back, and feeling like I hadn’t slept in a week. Misery courtesy of fibro, CFS, a bad back, night shift, and motherhood!

I started to get annoyed at myself for not handling my day well. It wasn’t until my sister-in-law pointed out that I accomplished a whole lot more than I felt like I had. The night at work may have been very long and exhausting, but I accomplished quite a bit and had a full patient assignment. I just got a promotion and have been actually keeping up well! I also made it through report without dozing off mid-sentence. That definitely feels like winning. I picked my daughter up from the sitter across town after working 13 hours and didn’t feel so tired that I was essentially driving impaired. Can I get a woo hoo?

I got a short nap in and then functioned mostly like any other mom in the world would, despite my health issues. I got things accomplished, answered work emails, and snuggled with the tiny humans. Not too shabby! I was tired but still helped build a racetrack and braided my daughter’s hair for bed. We made it through playing in the front yard, allergy medicine for the small ones, and a few temper tantrums.

These are all things that healthy people take for granted and we have to work much harder for. The greatest thing about us is that we are fighters! We’re tough, and make things happen. Some days I struggle to get dressed but I do eventually. We have to think things through to save energy. We work so much harder at things than healthy people do but we just keep going. That is pretty freaking amazing!

To my fellow fibromites, know this. You are incredible! You are brave, you are strong, you are proof that people can do anything. Every single day life for us is difficult but we keep going. That is awesome. You are awesome. We are awesome. Let’s not forget that!