Do you have fibromyalgia?
I’m still amazed at how often I’m asked that question — from email referrals, social media posts, and at speaking events — I hear it over and over. Keep in mind I’ve written a book about healing from fibromyalgia entitled, FibroWHYalgia (www.FibroWHYalgia.com). My bio listings on both Twitter and Facebook explain my “living well with fibromyalgia” philosophies. My blog (www.RebuildingWellness.com) posts articles about health and healing each week. My Facebook fan page (http://on.fb.me/guEXlz), has loads of articles, current news, and discussion topics all geared towards encouragements to heal from fibromyalgia and other related chronic conditions.
But yet – people wonder…
I s’pose that could be for a variety of reasons. My positive attitude might throw them off the fibro trail. My constant chatter about fitness activities or plans I’m making might not sound like someone who is housebound by fibromyalgia (they’d be correct in that assumption – I am not housebound). The fact that I don’t post comments about visiting doctors or pharmacies might not seem very “fibro-ish.”
These are just my speculations, but I assure you, I DO have fibromyalgia. I have heard of people who’ve been able to heal entirely where fibromyalgia never rears its ugly head again, however, that’s not me. I believe that I’ve healed about 90-95%. That other percentage is just waiting to pounce if I change my healthy habits (poor nutrition, lack of exercise, unresolved stress, etc.).
But, as I mentioned, on a daily basis, fibromyalgia affects me very little. To illustrate my point, I’ve come up with this list of how I’m reminded that fibromyalgia is still part of my life:
— I can’t wear anything that pulls or places pressure on my shoulders, neck, or upper mid-back such as; heavy-hooded jackets or sweaters, backpacks, heavy purses, or racer-backed tank tops or bras.
— I can’t lift anything heavy, and if I do, I often feel the results days or even weeks later.
— My joints, muscles, and sites of former injuries tell me when the weather is about to change. I don’t need to hear a weather reporter talking about the rise and fall of barometric pressure.
— I have certain joints that seem injury-prone. Therefore, some minor activities can affect me in major ways. For me, it’s my neck, hips, and knees. I used to have a terrible time with my hands and wrists, but they’ve improved 100%.
— I wake each morning with stiffness and/or pain that directly relates to factors such as the prior day’s exercise, my level of sleep, any current injury, or current stress levels. The key to this stiffness (as outlined in my book) is what I call “burnoff”—how quickly the stiffness begins to ebb. Mine doesn’t last very long and is usually gone by mid-morning.
— I function best working within my “Window of Well.” In my book, I explain that I have my highest energy levels from late morning until late afternoon. I function well when I work within what my body has shown is best for me. I begin to fade fast around 5:00 pm and prefer to follow my evening routine of working on my computer/writing until 8:30 or so, then follow up with a warm bath and pleasant reading. I’m typically snug as a bug by 10:00 pm. Obviously, I can’t always follow this routine, but when I do, I’m honoring the natural cycles of energy that work for me.
— I cannot wear heels. I work well with all of my “fibro effects,” but I’ll admit this one does bother me. Wearing heels of any consequence seems to throw off my entire body’s balance. I can suffer resulting hip/neck/back pain from just one morning of wearing heels to church. I also suffer from leg cramps at night if I try to wear heels to parties or other fun activities. It’s simply not worth it. The sad part is, it’s hard to look dressed-up, or at least, not frumpy for special occasions, but this is truly the least of my worries.
Do you have a list of your own? I’m guessing you do. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me here!