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Triggers and disappointment

Posted Aug 13 2009 7:52pm

I’ve mentioned that I’ve started a new diet and exercise regimen recently. I’d looked into the top diet pills and other diet wonders, but settled on a diet recommended by the Mayo Clinic. I’m also doing a lot of exercise, including, but not limited to, increasing my mundane daily activities. I’m walking stairs, cleaning walls, running around work like a chicken with my head cut off. I’m trying to get the blood flowing and the muscles building.

Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten that I’m not the same as everyone else. I have a chronic disease that is aggravated by too much physical exertion. I forgot because I was feeling so good. So I kept going and going and going—determined to get off that plateau I’d reached with my weight loss. Sadly, I’m remembering now that I should take it easy and do only a little at a time.

For two days I’ve been in the middle of a flare. The last week or so I’d felt really good and almost forgot about the pain. A couple of days I even went without my pain meds and got a decent night’s sleep. I was under the impression that I could go further and do more. Of course, the extra exercise does help with Fibro pain, the doctors are right about that. But it doesn’t eliminate the pain or keep the flares at bay forever. It doesn’t cure the disease. It just helps—as long as you don’t push yourself beyond the threshold of the pain.

I knew that I’m one that should do two days of the exercise program and then take 2 days off. That’s just how my body copes. I know this. I get the adrenaline pumping and the endorphins going, then have to stop, rest, and regenerate (??). I have to give my poor body a break no matter how good I feel. Of course, I didn’t do that. I’m too stubborn. I want to be normal and when I start to feel that way I think I am normal. But I’m not. I will never be again. I’m different and have to come to grips with that.

That’s the hardest part of having a chronic disease, I think. Accepting that this will be the rest of my life and there’s nothing I can do to change that. My lifestyle can’t be like someone else’s, I will never be without pain and I will never go more than two days at a time without the crushing fatigue. That’s incredibly depressing for me. I want to get the house in order, play with my child and do my job better than anyone else there. I want to go out dancing and canoeing and experience the fun of summer— every single day. But I can’t. I can only do a few things at a time when I feel up to it. That means that on my good days I’ll have to make some choices about how I spend my time so that I will have more good days and shorter, more rare flares. I have to learn to plan every day as if I’m going to have a flare, because otherwise I’m disappointing the entire family as I can’t do with them what I’d promised I would do. Do I do the yard work today and sit out the dancing? Do I rest on the elevator instead of taking the stairs because we have plans later on that day? Will Mags and I have to paint indoors instead of walking to the playground today?

Some days I really hate my body and what I feel is it’s betrayal. My mind and soul need to be active and out and doing things until I pass out from exhaustion. But my body won’t allow it. And when my body rebels, my mind follows and the pain, depression and fatigue come calling. When I’m really enjoying myself and really making progress (I think) then it’s 10 times worse. It’s like I’ve been taken out and beaten down with baseball bats. I felt good getting active and getting the blood pumping, but now I feel like curling up and hiding from the world. It’s back like the monster it is and there’s nothing I can do about it at this point. I have to find a way to accept that this is my life forever and adjust my lifestyle accordingly. Rest is good. Taking it easy is good. Pain is bad.

Actually, that’s a pretty good mantra. I might just add that to my meditation practice.

I think I’ll address the problem of the family, job and doctor refusing to accept my illness either. No, I can’t do the laundry today even though I was throwing shovelfuls of mulch yesterday. No, I can’t do extra assignments today even though I was like Flash Gordon yesterday. No, I’m not superwoman today, yesterday or ever. Heh, like that ever works for me. I have a list of things my husband wants me to accomplish today before he comes home from work because he says “You want to lose weight don’t you?”

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