Living Daily with Fibromyalgia

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Your alarm clock goes off, maybe for the second or even third time this morning.  Maybe for the fourth time!  It is so difficult to get out of bed because you just didn't sleep well.  The aches and pains kept you tossing and turning, and several times during the night you were wide awake for no reason at all.  Twice for sure you had such severe cramps in your calves that you had to spring out of bed and hobble around your darkened bedroom until you worked them out enough to crawl back into bed.  You know you have to get up, you have to get on with your day, but you're just so tired.  You roll over and squint at the clock, willing your eyes to focus so you can see exactly what time it is.  You grab for your morning medications; without them you know there's no way you can get out of bed.  You swallow your meds with a half-empty glass of lukewarm water you keep at your bedside, and you lay, patiently waiting, until the pain begins to subside.

For healthy people, it's difficult to understand how challenging a simple day can be for those who suffer from Fibromyalgia.  Healthy people can just jump out of bed and get ready for their day; for fibromites, every step of the day must be carefully planned.  Medications must be carefully measured out during a point in time when our brains are functioning well; if we try to sort out meds when our brains are filled with fibro fog, it's very possible to double-dose on one med or not take one at all.  Depending on what type of medications we're on, we must decide if it's okay to drive, if we need to, or if we need to call someone to come and give us a ride somewhere.  If we're going somewhere, we have to calculate how long it will take us, and if we need to take extra meds with us, and which ones.

Those of us that work have to plan our days carefully as well.  It takes a certain amount of energy to get through a regular work day, no matter what type of work you do.  You have to keep your brain somewhat clear, yet try to balance that with the best pain relief you can manage.  Sometimes it's a very fine line to walk.  No matter how much sleep we get, it's never enough; we have to try to make it through a work day with our regular 15 minute breaks and a half hour to an hour break, if we're lucky.  Some of us don't even get that much!  It's extremely difficult, when the fatigue kicks in, to keep your eyes open when you're at work.  For me, it's easier if I can get up and walk around; it seems that the movement helps to stimulate my brain a bit, so that the fatigue doesn't threaten as badly.  But some fibromites may not have that option.

Mobile pain relief is something we're all searching for.  I have a small locker at work, and I keep a rice sock in my locker: an old clean tube sock filled with dry white rice, and tied off.  As long as I have access to a microwave, I can get some 20 minutes or so of moist heat from this, and it's malleable enough to fit around most joints and other areas that might be bothering me, including the shoulders and back of the neck.  In the winter months, because my office (and the outside air) is so cold, I have an electric "throw blanket" (purchased at Walgreen's pharmacy); it's not large enough to qualify as an electric blanket even for a twin size bed, so it's small enough to be portable but large enough to be used on a couch.  This throw blanket goes back and forth to work with me.  I also have an electric blanket that plugs into a cigarette lighter (purchased at a truck stop) that I can use in the car to provide me with instant heated seats.  I also carry plastic bags that can easily be turned into ice packs as long as I have access to ice.

Once we get home from work (those of us that work), we have the task of cooking dinner, dealing with homework for our children (if we have kids), cleaning house, doing laundry, and any of the other myriad chores that await us around the house.  Mopping is difficult for a lot of us, because it irritates the area around the shoulders and neck that are problem spots for the majority of us.  Folding laundry is another difficult task for the same reason.  Not to mention carrying that laundry basket full of clothes, or leaning over the washing machine and lifting out wet clothes.  Making a bed with fresh sheets is also hard, and can be frustrating as well.  I like to use sheet holders: elastic straps that have hooks on the end kind of like a garter belt does.  It holds the sheets snug even when you sleep on them, even though it can be hard to fasten if your fingers don't work well.  All of these "basic" chores can be such a hassle for a person suffering from fibro.

It's no wonder, by the end of the day, that most of us are exhausted, some of it simply from the planning of how to get through our day!  And living every day with pain, no matter if you're at a 2 or at a 10 that day, is difficult to manage.  And even if we don't sleep well, that alarm clock will go off again tomorrow, and we'll be up and at it once again.

We must fight our fibro and never let it beat us.  We have fibro but it will never have us!

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