Monday, November 17, 2014

The Unpuzzled Flare

After nine years with this illness I'm well aware of what it does to me. It never became clearer than after I got "healthy." Exercise and nutrition got me to a really good place. I was no longer in pain every day, could sleep at night, and didn't feel like I was constantly on the verge of getting a terrible flu. Miraculously, once I didn't feel so awful all the time, living didn't seem like such a bad prospect after all. It took an exceptional amount of work to get there, and even more to stay, but my life started to stabilize. That's when I truly began to understand what Fibromyalgia does to my body.

The symptoms of a flare began to stand out with blaring consistency. Suddenly all those random, strange problems I whined and complained about to doctor after doctor when I first got sick happened in a predictable cycle. At every point before there were so many things wrong with me at any given time I couldn't tell east from west, down from up or white from black. I was just sick. But now I recognized nerve pain in my face, usually accompanied by a boil, and an inability to take a full breath, were the beginning of a flare. Within a few days I would hurt really bad all over, couldn't sleep, and spent my awake hours feeling like I got smacked into by a cement truck. By far the most consuming was what happened to my mood. Raging anxiety, certainty over my own imminent demise, panic over what getting sick at 28 did to my ability to support myself, the selfish behavior of other people, my unhappiness with my sub-par existence, it all became so much bigger than anything else in the whole wide world. I would cry as I rocked my broken body on the floor, wondering why God had forsaken me so, and why I had the misfortune of surviving all my near-death encounters. Life was never bleaker.

Once it would lift I'd run back to my mighty creator with penance and apology for daring to mentally squander my blessings. I would flog myself for my weakness and vow to ignore the evil forces threatening to take over my brain next time it happened. So why, after a year of clearly seeing the flare cycle for what it is, did I indulge it this morning? I knew when I couldn't breath last night a flare was on its way. Going back to work has been hard on my illness/life balance, but I knew it would be a big adjustment. My right mind knows I've done harder for longer, and will ultimately survive. But it's like no matter how much I prepare myself, engage my rational thought, practice mind over matter or simply try to ignore my negative perceptions, they're always so much bigger than me. They pierce my reality, invade my conscious, and leave me an obliterated puddle to sop up off the floor. 

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Friday, November 14, 2014

It's An Instagram World

A couple of my husband's young, hip co-workers informed him of a crucial shift in the "coolness" of social media. Basically, Facebook is dead and Instagram is where it's at. I filed this information in the way back recesses of my brain, and went about my life. The love/hate relationship I hold with Facebook hardly inspired me to invest my time and energy in a whole new facet of internet networking. Then I got bored one night a few weeks back, and decided I wanted to be young, hip and cool. So I started an Instagram account. After a few days of trolling through random pictures and catchy slogans I got it. For a girl who can hardly stand Facebook, and is utterly done with being bitched out for every innocuous comment I had the audacity to post, Instagram is an inherently more positive and rewarding experience. Within a matter of days I was hooked.

I decided not to use this new forum as a way to promote Fibromyalgia awareness or keep up with friends and family, although those are components I'm enjoying. Instead I decided to use Instagram as a tool to discover myself. Or rediscover myself. Or find myself. Or do something with me, exactly what I'm still not sure. The last time I was this preoccupied with myself I was in my late twenties and hadn't gotten sick yet. Then life started bitch-slapping me with epic problems, and everything quickly became about pure survival. I don't know the future but so far, I've survived! But my life's a shattered mess I'm working tirelessly to put back together again. After four years of smearing my failures and heartache all over Facebook, I'm ready to turn over a new leaf. Enter leahtylerthewriter on Instagram. 

Tapping into the younger generation's narcissistic, self-obsessed mindset is kicking me out of my comfort zone. Painfully. Initially I wondered if my life was even interesting enough to bother photographing and posting. Realizing it probably wasn't, and then doing it anyway, has been good for me. It's forcing me to see the beauty in my daily routine. Forcing me to challenge my perception of myself as a reclusive shut in with no life. And it's forcing me to grow. Exponentially. I'm sharing my journey in a totally different way. I'm focused on health, not sickness. It's about what I can do, not what I can't. What I do have, not what I don't. For the first time my Fibro friends and real world relationships are all collected under one account. I've even gotten comfortable with taking a selfie every day and posting it, although it still feels attention-seeking and weird. 

But I know if I want to get my book published and educate the masses about what it's like to live with this wretched illness, I have to get comfortable with self-promotion, as shameless as it may seem right now. I have to get to know myself again, and become comfortable in my own skin. And I need to understand how what I put out there is perceived. So far I've learned I need to cut about four inches off my stringy, raggedy hair I should wash more than once a week, and may or may not have a lazy eye. But in good light my wrinkles don't look as bad, either. So I'm sharing my life. All my conspiracy-theory health-nut practices. How much joy Yorkie and Porkie bring to my days. How sarcasm and being positive are the only way I survive. And I'm trying to answer the question everyone keeps asking me. What exactly did I do to get so much better?

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Attitude Of Gratitude

A month has passed since I decided to re-vamp my dedication to my health in an effort to boost my immune system. I know this because I'm out of my anti-viral. The pharmacy contacted my doctor in Arizona for a refill, but my MD hasn't responded. Of course I should follow up with an email or call, but I'm not quite sure I want to stay on it. Plus I avoid doctors like the plague and don't want her to know I've moved until I find a new one. I've been better, not perfect, about juicing, and am taking more L-Lysine and immune boosters. I keep waiting for the wonderfully managed Fibro I had in Arizona to find me, but even doing all the aforementioned, it hasn't. Of course it took months to get there in Arizona, and I had no idea I would wind up in such a great place. In this case hindsight is only making me impatient, uptight, and altogether bitchy.

Sometime around 6 AM, three hours after I went to sleep, the switch flipped on inside my head. Oh yea, THIS is why I took the anti-viral! When I finally rolled out of bed around 10 I was grouchy and sore. Taking a walk in the unseasonable 87 degrees should've made me happy. Instead it reminded me I will most likely sit in my house all day like a hermit, and do very little to move my life forward. This reminded me all my problems from Arizona came with me to California, which is a depressing notion. I bargained my way out of contacting my doctor by deciding to double up on my immune boosters. But when I went to go add another bottle to my vitamin order shopping cart, it was backordered and unavailable. Seriously? This is a really big deal! The VICTIM siren started whirling hysterically around my brain. 

Am I forever destined to be live all my days at the mercy of this incurable illness? Why are so many wrenches constantly thrown in my path? I found another online source for EpiCor, at a better price. So I started comparing the rest of my vitamins and supplements. Then I got all mad, because this is a daylong project and I was supposed to be doing yoga, and hadn't had my coffee yet and was out of 1/2 and 1/2, and was hungry and wanted to eat, and remember I woke up grouchy, and... 

Why can't I just be happy? Even with my current tizzy of mindless whining, things have been a lot harder for a lot longer. No, everything isn't perfect, but with my constant need to reclaim as much of my life as possible, it never will be! That's the problem with being me. So I got up, realized how lucky I was to only have to walk half a block to get cream, marveled over how wonderful the sun felt warming my skin, and thanked God all these wrenches give me a chance to do better.

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