Thursday, August 29, 2013

Me Against Me

Well the onslaught of symptoms I was trying exhaustively to avoid settled around me with a thud last night. I started to get a little snappy but forced myself to release the anger starting to sweep me up. Then I tried to go to bed but couldn't fall asleep. Which made me really mad, because when my sleep gets screwy everything else does too. But I calmed down enough to realize getting frustrated was only keeping me awake. After flip-flopping from the sofa to bed a half-dozen times I dozed off into a pain-filled, fitful half-sleep on the sofa around 4am. My husband moved me to the bed when he woke up for work a couple hours later. I tossed and turned and finally gave up around 10, when I woke up crying and shaking my fist at the sky. Everything hurt and I didn't want to face the day. 

Of course when I took the dogs out I got all mad at my employers who squeezed me out of a job back in San Francisco six years ago. The ridiculous, unprovoked source of my discord was so outlandish and far reaching even I realized how absurd it was. But I've kind of existed like that all day. Getting frustrated over how I feel, talking myself out of exercising, telling myself I won't feel any better if I don't do yoga, not doing it and getting mad at myself for being lazy. Then compassionate me will pop her head in every so often and tell me to quit being so hard on myself. One week, or maybe it's three I am actually going on, of missed exercise won't kill me. However, I have more excuses than anyone I know to not get my life together! And then mad me takes over and yells at pathetic, sorry compassionate me. Because the heart of the matter is that if I waited to feel good to pursue my life I would never get out of bed.

Okay, this is it, the tip of the iceberg of the quagmire I exist in. Playing these silly mind games in my head instead of accomplishing my life. I tried the approach of just ignoring my symptoms and charging full speed ahead a few months back. After all, the river boat of life waits for no one. The end result was a resurgence of how bad Fibro used to feel, all those years ago when my life was nothing more than a blur from one inflamed flare to the next with no break in between. So now I am trying this. Writing out my feelings, analyzing my experiences and trying to figure out what on earth I can do to break this cycle.  

Thanks for joining,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It's A Small World

When everything came crashing down around me last week I deployed my usual method of survival, isolation mode. I've used it many times over the past few years to clear my mind, find my strength and begin to knit together a plan to move forward. Not knowing quite how to get myself back on track I resurrected my old standby save for two specific outlets, engaging with my husband and writing this blog. My husband is my primary commitment in life and seeing as we live together, entirely unavoidable. But the last thing I expected was to find solace in writing a blog I felt somewhat estranged from and pretty uninspired by. Like most things in my life it had become one more obligation I felt I was failing at. Maybe quieting my mind from external stimulation reminded me why I started it in the first place, to figure out my life. Either way, that's what I'm using it for now.

My streamlined communication with the world at large feels like something I can manage. My hope is by stripping all the chaos of my life away and slowly adding things back I can begin to respect my own limits and decipher what sources of stress are sending me running for the nut house. See, I am hell bent with determination to survive my next flare without losing my mind in despair and desperation. Since Fibro is never late to the party my opportunity to try this came last night. I felt the familiar symptoms stir with a deep feeling of trepidation. "It's too soon!" I cried out in vain, but Fibro only laughed at me. As pain and pressure pinged around my body I took a deep breath and grabbed my life vest for yet one more wild ride down the rip tide. 

So far so good. The devil hasn't taken over my mood, which is marvelous progress all on its own. Instead of forcing myself to go running this morning, something that caused me undue misery last week, I decided to go gentle on myself and clean the bathtub. It was a good choice, considering that alone nearly did me in. But I didn't get upset about my lack of motivation or how bad I felt. No, I used the down time to work on my book and accepted that these are the ebbs and flows of my life. Seeing as I haven't had contact with the outside world I didn't have bottled up hurt or frustration to obsess over, and that is perhaps the biggest win of all. I'm not sitting here stewing in a cesspool of negativity! It seems I am on to something here. With patience and determination I will continue down this road. Where it leads or where it ends, well, that is still to be told.

Thanks for joining,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Give Me The Juice!

Last night I watched a documentary called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. It is about a CEO from Australia who starts juicing as a way to regain health and get off the steroids an auto-immune condition forced him to live on. He filmed the documentary as he traveled around the USA, sharing his journey and inspiring people who suffer from poor health to join the juicing revolution. His results were nothing short of incredible and it really got my mind going.

I hit a pill wall a few weeks back. After seeking treatment at a specialty Fibro clinic in 2006 I began heavy duty supplementation. It is one of the key contributors to getting the virus that made me so sick under wraps. After boosting my immune system with a complicated supplementation regiment that required an Excel spreadsheet to keep straight I started to feel much better. Over the years what I take has changed. Some stuff really makes a difference, other stuff does not. But one day not too long ago I looked at my weekly allotment dolled out into an AM/PM case and wanted to throw it against the wall. The thought of taking one more pill sent me into a spas attack. So I intently researched nutritional information and switched to a powder whole-food multi that allows me to cut out a number of supplements.

To say I hate it is a gross exaggeration. However, it didn't take long for me to realize, capsule or no capsule, it is the whole concept of taking vitamins I have an aversion to. I was still taking pill supplements, just not as many, and started thinking about other things I should be taking, too. After all, this is certainly not the most "managed" my Fibro has been. Then I watched the documentary last night and realized I could probably get off most of the supplements if I got my nutrients from, I don't know, the food they exist in? 

So I am thinking about it. Not sure if the investment in the juicer and commitment of time and labor is where I want to spend my efforts right now. But I am gagging on these pills that are a huge deflector shield standing between me and God-awful horrible unmanaged Fibromyalgia pain and Shingles-like viral flares. Plenty of cleanses and diet reinventions have helped me reduce the amount of chemicals and toxins in my body. Over the years they have even helped me reduce medications. Is it time for another one? All I know is something has to change because what I am doing now isn't doing the trick. So thanks Joe Cross, for sharing your success and showing so many changing your life can be done. Maybe, just maybe, I will be joining you in the juicing revolution. 

Thanks for joining,

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back In The Saddle

Well I got back on the horse. What else am I going to do? Take a long walk off a short pier or go play in traffic? So here I sit ready to try again. Raw, insecure and uncertain, but here I am. As I sort through the disillusionment in my mind I realize many of the sanity-saving tools I employed along the way got dropped in the dust a while back. I fell into my old behavior patterns. I allowed negativity and demands to infiltrate my sense of responsibility to myself. It's a big job, to regain my lost ground. I can do it, though. Not all at once, perfectly or on the first try, but it can be done. Of course this requires a significant amount of isolation and reflection. Accepting some will grumble over the selfish action of me taking care of me. Realizing that is not my problem. In fact, expecting myself to get a handle on my issues and then resume a level of interdependent living is exactly why I wound up back here in the first place. 

I have finally accepted I cannot go back. Life is not ever going to be how it was before I got sick. If "resuming" is my ultimate goal I will only wind up here again and again and again. And each time I crumple into a quivering heap of defeat I have that much less to move forward with. The clarity such acute pain and distress gifted me with showed me something big. It is time to let go. I don't have the luxury of hanging on to the dysfunctional of life. This is a clear cut case of it or me, and I choose me.

The biggest gift I can give myself is to simply stop engaging. Realizing I spend a significant part of every day in a mental battle with anyone who made the last insensitive remark or snide put down was a blinding experience. The anger and negativity would stew inside of me until all I could do was react to it. Day in and day out my existence slowly became one big fat reaction to every little thing that rubbed me the wrong way. Now I know I have to let these experiences go. More importantly, I have to stop indulging my anger and negativity. And last but never least, I must turn my sights to the positive, the blessings, the goodness that lies in abundance all around me. Fill myself up with the belief that I have survived all I have in order to do something purposeful with my life. And then simplify my brain enough to go do it.

Thanks for joining,

Friday, August 23, 2013

I'm Doing A Bad Job

The utter lunacy of this life has completely enveloped me. I sit here hurting so bad breathing is difficult. Does another pancreas attack lie in my path? Perhaps another stroke to shape my future? Maybe it's something new all together? Or is it, once again, "just" Fibromyalgia? I don't know. Which totally stresses me out, because I am on full tactical alert for the first symptom indicating something larger is at play. Which still could be "just" Fibromyalgia. However, sitting here in fight or flight only makes me hurt worse. In turn I become more freaked out. Should I take a pain pill? I don't have that many. Is this pain worth it? Will I miss an important symptom if I do? Something that could cost me my life? What if the pain goes away in an hour? Then I will be loopy the rest of the day for nothing. But I can barely sit here I hurt so damn bad...

And while all this is whirling around my head and paralyzing my body I am just supposed to get up on out the door and go live my life like a normal, healthy person. After all that's what I look like, isn't it? And that is the utter lunacy sucking me in. Instead of feeling like I have survived something insurmountable I feel like a burden. Labeled a loon by modern medicine and judged very harshly because some, but not all, of my health problems fall under the guise of something science just can't explain. Yet.

How many lives have been sucked up in this vacuum of utter chaos? My reality sits in direct odds with my reality and I don't know how much more I can take. I don't have that much fight left in me. I've been beaten to smithereens so many times by Fibromyalgia, my other health problems, doctors, employers, friends, family and strangers alike. Somehow at the end of the day it always comes back to what I am not doing for them. I have no answers, only sorrow. Will this pass? Probably. Hopefully. Ultimately my life is my responsibility and I have to figure this out. It's becoming glaringly obvious over the past eight years of constant toil and struggle I have not done enough. The burden of this compassion-less world is overtaking me. I don't know how to live in it anymore. I simply cannot give enough to satisfy my obligations. I don't know if I am dying from one day to the next. And no matter how many times I get back on the horse I just keep falling off...

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Three Hours Later

Last weekend we took a brief sojourn home to visit family for my birthday. Just making it out the door was a miracle in and of itself. I was in a hormonal bitchy state that made Linda Blair look proper. Somehow my husband endured the six hour drive without leaving me by the side of the road in utter desperation. Yes, I was that bad. Once we got there the distraction of family and festivities transformed my state of mind tremendously. Thankfully we went on to have a pretty good weekend. But something happened on Saturday that shook me to the core.

Of course I didn't find out about it until Sunday. With a steaming mug of coffee in one hand and the grip of cold fear squeezing my heart I poured over the newspaper headlines. The exact spot we traversed on the Venice Beach boardwalk at 3pm was the site of a random act of terror at 6pm. A person purposely drove down the pedestrian-only Ocean Front Walk crowded with throngs of tourists at a speed upward of 35mph. Sixteen people were injured and one killed as the car plowed through street vendors and human bodies alike. 

These crimes against the innocent masses seem to be gaining immense popularity. This is the closest I've personally come to experiencing one. I see them on the news every few days. There are no words to express the heartbreak that devastates so many in the wake of these stupid and senseless tragedies. But viewing a television screen from the safety of my living room and knowing three hours is all that stood between me and...the end of me. Well, it changed me. 

I spent a significant amount of time digesting this experience. After the fear came gratitude, then irritation at myself. I've been wasting the precious gift of my life on the hurt of the past! The dear woman who died was on her honeymoon. She will never get the chance to walk in the sunshine again, cry or complain when things don't go right, make mistakes or brighten someone's day with a smile or kind word. A life she was just embarking on with her husband was snatched away needlessly from both of them. So in the spirit of honoring such a pointless loss I put my anger and bitterness on the shelf for a while. I am sure they will find me again one day. But just for right now I will rejoice that life is still mine to live. For I really don't know how much more time I have to squander such a precious gift.

Thanks for joining,