It was bound to happen. A spring and summer of taking back my life through many small steps and a few big ones was bound to bring on a full blown fibromyalgia attack. College reunions, exercise programs, teenagers planning for college, a husband’s ever present military commitment, and of course registering for my first Master’s Degree courses, it’s a lot for three months. Oh yeah, and I found a new dentist after a couple really bad dental experiences (big stress). So, I was not surprised when the pain began taking over every evening around 6pm. Fortunately most evenings were spent laughing through The Big Bang Theory marathons. While laughing didn’t ease the pain, only distracted me, it did relax me enough so I was able to sleep well each night.
Each morning I woke up and continued with my exercise program, making slow progress, but progress none-the-less. Then the fatigue arrived, coupled with a persistent low-grade migraine. Multiple naps became my daily salvation and keep me on track. I was still able to function, just had to pare back some of my daily expectations. No problem, I was doing well at managing my condition by making small adjustments each day rather than throwing in the towel.
The stress of dental work should never be underestimated, especially if one has had a terrible dental experience in the past, let alone two such experiences. So as Monday afternoon approached, and my low-grade migraine threatened to escalate, I finally broke down and took one of my last resort pain pills; a preemptive strike, but a wise one. My new dentist is an angel! Between her compassionate nature and the pain pill, my migraine behaved, even while my fatigue escalated. That evening, despite my best efforts, the queasiness arrived in full force.
I was glad I had exercised Monday morning; it afforded me a rest day Tuesday. The queasiness persisted, so I rested and prayed for a better Wednesday. Sometimes you have to facilitate the answers to your own prayers, today was that kind of day.
Fibromyalgia when at its worst (for me at least), mimics flu like symptoms: fever-like aches, chills, upset stomach, and oddly a desire to eat constantly only to then feel more ill afterward. These symptoms were the bane of my existence for nearly a decade before I finally understood them. They represent my wall, the great obstacle standing between me and my goals. Today I hit that wall, and then I climbed over it.
When common sense said, “Sleep until the queasiness wears off,” I laced on my shoes instead. It wasn’t a long walk by most people’s standards, just a mile. A mile in the wind, a mile with a sick stomach, a mile with a prickling forehead, but a mile representing my success, my desire to overcome.
Guess what? It worked. I feel no worse for wear, but slightly better. Plus I know there is always this afternoon for a nap. In the past couple of years I have learned light exercise reduces the pain associated with fibromyalgia, now I understand that unlike with a real flu, light exercise won’t make me feel worse, but will make the day feel more accomplished.
I am now in uncharted territory, with one wall crossed. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, maybe new walls, but I can feel my confidence returning. I feel as if my days of sitting at the base of a tall wall, tears of frustration running down my cheeks, are behind me. If need be I will cry as I climb over, but climb I will.