Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Busy Days and Fibro Flare Ups

I didn't join NaBloWriMo (National Blog Writers' Month) so I haven't posted daily. In fact, I haven't been posting much at all lately. I've noticed that with blogs, there seems to be a point where the writer gets burnt out. All of my favorite bloggers eventually slow down, stop posting as frequently, and even sometimes stop posting altogether. It makes me sad; it's like losing touch with a friend. And here I'm doing the same thing. (Not that I have more than a few readers, mainly relatives, but still.)

I get it, though. Life just gets too busy sometimes. The more you have to blog about, the less time you have to write it up. I've been through some really hectic weeks lately, so much so that I was getting worried about having a bad fibro flare up. I did have a couple of (thankfully short lived) flare ups and now I've got a really nasty cold. (Fevers, chills and sweats, body aches, coughing, coughing, coughing. Blech.) I knew I was over-doing it, I knew I was making myself vulnerable to getting sick, but I couldn't seem to say NO and cut back. There were so many important and valuable and enriching activities for my children, from helping with a friend's fund raiser for her wonderful non-profit to my daughter's 11th birthday, which she donated to a dog rescue organization. (Instead of presents, she asked for donations for the group.) Then there were the every day things on top of that, like driving around The Eldest, running Girl Scout meetings, getting The Wild Child to his tutor, among the many other things we do in a week. To top it all off, I started physical therapy for my shoulder impingement. (Which is helping, thank goodness.) Errands and a Thanksgiving vacation smooshed in between. All wonderful, but all TOO MUCH!!! Not good for a fibro patient at all.

And now I have a cold, and I have to slow down. I've canceled activities left and right, most of them things I was really looking forward to, but what can you do? Sometimes you can soldier through a cold, but this one came with a fever so not so much. Plus I don't want to infect anyone else; that wouldn't be very nice. Taking it easy for a few days is probably the best thing I can do both for the cold and the fibro. In fact, I'm not sure that I wasn't experiencing a fibro flare up yesterday when I had horrible body aches. I've found that when I don't walk regularly I get achy. Well, for obvious reasons, I haven't walked in a few days. It was either that or the fever or a combination of both that led to the aches, but whatever the cause it was miserable. I made sure to get out of the house today, as rotten as I was feeling, and walk for about 10 minutes and the body aches have mostly subsided. That's a really important lesson for fibro sufferers- if you don't move every day, things get worse. You have to be careful not to over-do it, but it's equally important not to under-do it as well.

Anyway, I'm under the influence of cold meds so I'm probably more rambly than usual, so I think I'll end here and go lay down for a while.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Updates; Thoughts on Fibromyalgia

We've been busy around here! Hopefully things are calming down a little bit, just in time for the holiday craziness to pick up. Here is a list of things that we've had done lately:

1. All of our windows and doors were replaced. This job started waaaaayyyy back in early summer and carried over to just last week, when the last adjustment was made to try to get the new front doors to close properly. The final inspection is complete, the final check has been written. We are energy efficient (satisfying one of my Earth Day resolutions) and hurricane resistant.

2. We have a new A/C, also upping our energy efficiency. This one was an emergency replacement; couldn't be worse timing. The final inspection is delayed a bit, but I think all of the work is done.

3. The leak in the roof over The Wild Child's bedroom has been repaired... again. Hopefully this time the repair will hold.

4. The Wild Child's bedroom has been completely ripped apart and made over. That involved moving him out (everything went in the living room), ripping out the ceiling, putting in a new ceiling, re-texturizing it, repainting the whole room, having the carpets cleaned, and moving him back in after sorting through all of his toys. (And the sorting process can take up an entire post of its own.) His room looks like the "AFTER" on one of those organizing shows. He's so proud of it now- he picked the wall color and his new ceiling fan, and decided where all of his furniture would go. He's got a new dresser since his old one was NOT "boy proof"; we found a modular one at Ikea that he's very happy with. It's a really cool room for a big kid.

*This was not a DIY project- we found a great contractor to do the construction, thanks to our next door neighbors. We did the moving in and out!! DH installed the ceiling fan and put together the modular dresser units. I sorted through the mountain of toys and put the ones he kept back in the room. DH and I both went to Goodwill to drop off the toys he's outgrown/doesn't need. (And it's embarrassing how much there was.)

5. Since the carpet cleaners were here, we had them clean our room too. While they were cleaning our room, the guy said we should have the carpet stretched and he knew a guy...

6. So we had our carpet stretched. You have to move even more out for a stretching than for a cleaning, so our living room held all of The Wild Child's things plus a good chunk of my things for quite a while. (The carpet is still old and even the professional cleaning didn't get out all of the stains, but it looks a LOT better.)

7. And then we put the house back together again.


I'm so thankful all of this happened after my dad got out of the hospital, where I was visiting him almost daily over the summer, and into a rehab facility. He's still there; my brother filled me in yesterday since I haven't been able to visit him lately. He had some damage to his spine from all that happened and his legs are partially paralyzed. I don't know what his chances are for recovery or for walking again, or living on his own. Time will tell. What I do know is that I haven't been down to see him in some time and I feel awful about it, and so thankful for my amazing brother who is handling all of this on his own.

As for everything else, we keep perking along. Girl Scout, 4H, and homeschooling group meetings, piano lessons and tutors. Homeschooling lessons. Our two new dogs to take care of. Doctor's visits and grocery runs. Driving The Eldest around to her classes. (She's driving to her local classes; I'm still taking her to two night classes that are further away.) I've also started physical therapy for my bum shoulder; hopefully it will resolve quickly.

With the fibromyalgia it all gets to be overwhelming, but it's a good life. I wish I had the energy to do more, but it is what it is. I think I manage pretty well considering. Sometimes I shut down; sometimes my brain shuts down for me. When I get overwhelmed I tend to forget things, appointments and so forth, and I think it's my subconscious taking over and saying SLOW DOWN!! The "fibro fog" takes over too; I get spacey, have trouble articulating my thoughts, and when it's really bad I feel dulled down. I think that's the worst part of fibro for me, the fog. Did you know researchers found that there is an actual loss of gray matter in the brains of fibro patients? That's scary. That's also why I take a few minutes out of almost every day to do my "brain exercises". Don't know if it's helping, but it can't hurt, and it's fun. Sudoku and concentration games, trivia quizzes, and jigsaw puzzles. (I have the links listed over there on the right for you if you want to give any of them a try.) Physical therapy for my brain.

I wish someone would come up with a comprehensive program for fibromyalgia. If I could design an intervention, it would include an exercise program tailored to the individual that consists of gentle cardio and strength training, cognitive therapy like my brain exercises, (although there are better programs out there than I can find for free on-line), stress/time management, organizational skills training, relaxation therapy, a nutrition program, and, oh, throw in a life coach or something. I've done a lot on my own but there's a lot of room for improvement. On the positive side, I walk almost daily (cardio) and I try to eat healthfully and maintain my weight. I do those brain exercises. Where I'm falling short and could use guidance- weight training, relaxation therapy, stress/schedule management, and organizational skills. (Although I can be organized when I put my mind to it, it just doesn't come naturally for me.)

Of course, this won't happen. No room for drugs in a program like this, and that's where the money is. Sigh. But now I'm tired and tomorrow is a busy day, so I'm off to bed so I can get some sleep therapy!!