Thursday, July 5, 2012

Some Frustration and Discouragement

I haven't had my acupuncture for over a month. I'm starting to really feel it. I can tell now that it was what made the difference in my energy level, and lower pain level. So, now that I've gone over a month without, I'm not able to jog much at all. My doctor finished her residency in May, and won't begin practicing at her new location until September. I thought I could maybe wait for her, but it seems I need to continue getting the acupuncture from someone else until she begins. Tuesday, I did lots of walking. I took my girls with me to the bank, the store, then the half mile walk to the playground. Then we played. Then we walked/hobbled home. Yesterday, we went to Tony's grandparents' for a 4th of July picnic. So, we basically grazed and visited all day. Today, I hurt so much that I'll be taking a little nap as soon as I finish this post. I'll be making some phone calls this afternoon to figure out to whom/where to go. Please pray for me! I don't want to postpone my well-being!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Run Number 8, I think

     Oy, I am more than a little annoyed with myself. I said I was going to blog more about my C25k adventure. I should have told ya'll to nag me a little, so I would. Also, I've hit some speed-bumps here and there. I'm trying to think of them as speed-bumps, rather than failures, because failure would only be if I quit or gave up, and I am not. I'm trying not to beat myself up when I struggle more, or skip a run. Trying to work on positive self-talk. So. I'm going to go back and share some struggles/speed-bumps from my little journey thus far.
   I have skipped, or postponed runs several times due to lack of sleep, a period, lack of motivation, and whatnot. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about it. I haven't given up! That in itself is huge. I need to remind myself of that.
      One issue I've run into a couple of times is distraction. I tried letting Allie run with me, but we have different paces. Duh. She's not only a couple feet shorter, she's been running semi-regularly, and I haven't for twenty years. The kid is fast, energetic, and her pace is steady; mine changes erratically. The problem with this is, of course, that I run the risk of tripping on her, or having her riding my bumper, so to speak. This distracts the crap out of me. Then I have to tell her to speed up or slow down, which wastes precious breath and throws off my rhythm. The slightest interference with my breathing pattern throws me off. This is humiliating for a veteran choir nerd. You wouldn't believe the breath control I used to have! Also, being six, she's pretty sure if she's awake she needs to yap. If I'm in the room with her, I need to listen and respond. I cannot. So, as it turns out, I can't run with her. Sad, as she really wants to, and I really want her to.
     Part of my struggle today was Miss Allie distracting me with her cheer-leading. She means well, and is being so sweet, but I'm so easily distracted. I'm trying to remind myself that this tendency to become distracted is part of the Fibromyalgia. I'm easily overwhelmed and easily distracted, and Fibro is to blame. My other issue with today's run was that I've got this stupid cold or sinus thing that is making breathing more difficult. I couldn't breathe well enough, and I had to waste breath telling Allie to please stop distracting me, so I had to cut it short. I made it only halfway through. I'm reminding myself that that's okay. It's only the second time I've cut a run short. That's nothing, out of 8 runs for someone who is so out of shape, dealing with chronic pain and fatigue, and has not run in twenty years. See? Positive self talk. For someone in my position, I am doing great. Go me. Thank You, Jesus for lending me some strength.
     I'm still on week one, by the way. Remember how I said I'd do each "week" for a month instead, to pace myself? I'm glad I made that decision. I may go longer than a month. It'll help if I do my run three times a week, as I'm supposed to. Today is the first one I've done in a week, and that last one was the first in a week. I know I'll feel better and do better, if I run thrice a week. No excuses. I just have to get up before the kids. Unfortunately, this means getting up at 5, so I can finish before they wake up at 6. I hate mornings. 
     I have to admit, though, running starts my day off great. Like, better than coffee. I really said that. I'll say it again. Starting off my day running, gives me a better start than starting with a cup of coffee. For real. Absolutely. You know how you always here people say that getting exercise is energizing? I always figured that for total hooey. Using energy gives you energy? Please. But it does! It's like some kind of special reward for getting up off your can! 
     There's another great reason to keep this up! More energy! For someone with Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic fatigue, this is huge. It's like a special delivery of more spoons
     What I want to do is run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week, and blog about it on Friday. This will help me keep track of my progress and help me drag my silly carcass out of bed on those mornings. Really dang early. I never regret it. I need to remember that.
    I'm feeling accomplished, and I plan on making that feeling a norm. I need it. I'm getting kinda ramble-y now, so I think it's time to close. Thanks for reading!
 ~The Empress~

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Eight-year-old Empress, Fibromyalgia, and What I'm Doing About It

Hi there. I have a secret. A huge secret. For me, anyway. I'll give you a little back story before I spill the beans. When I was a little girl, (yes, little) I loved to run. I loved to bike and ride my big brother's scooter, but mostly, I loved to run. I was one wiry, active little girl. I had the occasional leg pain in the evening- likely after one of my more active days, but I don't remember clearly- but little more could slow me down. I often sang while I ran or biked, usually Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music. I ran because I could, because it was satisfying, and just for the sheer joy of it. 
Then, I turned 8. I don't remember precisely when, but some time during that year, I began to feel a slight resistance when I ran. It was almost as if something was physically holding me back. It started small, and I actually remember very clearly the first time that I felt it. It gradually gained weight, until eventually I felt as though I were running through water, or wearing heavy leg weights.
I don't remember if it began before or after the running-through-water feeling began, but one day, my knee gave out. Just decided to stop bearing my insignificant weight, and for no apparent reason. It annoyed me, as I was in the middle of a wonderful run. It slowed me down, but didn't hurt much. Scraped my knees on the gravel of the driveway, (for about the millionth time of my life) but that was nothing. Just had to wipe off the blood and get going again. I was one tough little booger. 
Well, over the next months, these things happened more and more, and began to hurt. One day, I stopped running. I figured it hurt too much. Pain took the joy out of it, and made me angry, frustrated, and embarrassed. I could wish all day that I hadn't given up; that I had pushed past it, and kept going, but I was eight years old! No one knew what was happening to me. Not for nearly a decade, and by then it was too late. I remember, not long after these events, I was called fat for the first time. In PE, which I used to enjoy, but now hated with a firey passion. It was one of those horrible fitness test days, where everyone had to do specific stretches and work outs, and be weighed and have their fat measured. I even remember the name of the boy, who said it, though he was otherwise completely insignificant to me. I won't name him, though he'll never read this probably. He was just an eight year old kid, who had no idea the impact that would have on me. It was my turn for the gym teacher to measure the fat of my calves with the little forceps-looking thing. (How was this ever allowed, especially in front of other kids?! Do they still do this?!) He was measuring. I wasn't thinking about it really. Just wanting to get to recess.
Then this boy said, "Misty has the fattest legs in class."
That was it. My first time being told I was fat. I don't think I really was at that point, just a little chubby, but that doesn't matter. I was an eight year old girl! Anyway, that began a life of being teased, made fun of, laughed at for being fat. Never mind that it was mostly out of my control. Never mind that I didn't know what to do about it, or if anything could be done. It stuck, and has been a theme from peers, strangers, and my own hurting heart ever since.

Fast forward to high school. During the first year or so, Mom was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. We'd never heard of this before, as it was a new, almost unknown syndrome. No one even had theories yet about what to do about it. I ended up being diagnosed, then excused from PE by my doctor of the time, as it was too physically, emotionally, and mentally painful. I was bullied until I had just stopped going anyway, not only by students, but by the teacher! ("Better do your push-ups, class, or you'll end up looking like Misty!") Not worth it. If my dr hadn't excused me, I would have dropped out of high school then and there.
 By now, most of you have heard the drug commercials' generalized description of Fibromyalgia. They cover very little, so if you really want to know what it's like, read my post titled How To Learn What Fibromyalgia is Like for Me. Be sure to click on the links to get others' descriptions and explanations.

Okay, enough of the back story. You either get it, or you don't. I'm tired of hurting, and being exhausted all the time for no reason. Plain sick of it, so here's my big secret. Are you ready?

I have started the Couch to 5K program. Yes. I'm serious. The program is designed to transform a person from a couch potato to a runner in 9 short weeks. Today, I did my third run of the first week. I won't fool myself by expecting this to only take 9 weeks for me. That would be silly and discouraging. What I do hope for is that I can do it in 9 months. I'll do each "week" for one month. Shorter if I really feel up to it, but I'm aiming for a month each.
I'm doing this for me, for my body, for my husband, to show all the meanie butts who made fun and hurt me, but most of all, I'm doing this for my three beautiful daughters. I want to give them the example of a healthy, active mother, who can push past the pain, and the years of hurt and hate, and just run. I want to be able to run and play with them. I want to be able to catch them should they try to run off in a public or otherwise unsafe place. This is my ultimate goal.
I plan to blog after each run, but I won't punch myself in the face if I miss. I hope to use this blog as a way of being held accountable, so that I do not skip a run or give up. I also really hope that others who are struggling with fibromyalgia, or other chronic illnesses, pain, or fatigue may take encouragement, and see that this can be done. I can do this. I am doing this.

Encouraging comments, and kind advice welcome. Just hit the comment button at the bottom of the post. If you have something mean, rude, discouraging, or nasty to say, skip it. I've already heard it for 20 years. Chances are, I've said it to myself. I'm done with that. My husband will moderate the comments section, and delete anything unhelpful or abusive before I ever see it. So there.

Thanks for reading. Go out and do something healthy!!

Philippians 4:13

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

On Siblings

You know you have grown up when, instead of being envious of your "only child" friends, you begin to realize they are totally missing out. Thank you, God for my sisters and brothers.

I realize this is another ridiculously short post, but hey- it's my party. I'll cry if I want to. What?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Teen Years

     Being a teenager is hard. Being in high school is hard. At least for some (most?) of us. I have heard of a few people who enjoyed their adolescence, or at least claimed to. But for many of us, myself included of course, it is often a miserable, trying time. Obviously, we all have different reasons for it. Depression, body changes, new emotions, new faces, new schools, awkwardness, self esteem issues, judgement and rejection, fears of many kinds, social pressures, academic pressures, parental pressures, any number of struggles can make this time in our lives so hard. We struggle to fit in, or try to stand out. We try to follow or lead the crowd, we try to learn, or try to avoid it. There are so many things to think about and be confused about or distracted by.  
     As a teen, I struggled with my weight and a hoard of physical problems, and on top of these, I often faced nearly crippling depression. I have fibromyalgia and, in those days, (less than a decade, shut up) it was not widely accepted as a "real" illness. PE was pure hell for me. I couldn't do what most of the other kids could. I was in constant pain, and my self esteem, because of these things, took a huge nosedive. I was made fun of as being fat and lazy, when I wanted nothing more to break out of this fat suit and run like the wind.
     With such low self esteem, it was difficult to make friends, or at least good ones. At first, anyway. We'll get to the happy part later. I felt lonely, isolated, and worthless. I sometimes cut myself. Or burned myself. Small self mutilations which I hid for a long time. I was careful not to scar most of the time, so no one really suspected. I ended up sharing with my parents, but that was much later. Even after that, it took a lot of years, and a lot of understanding from a few amazing people to really make me stop.
     One of my favorite (least favorite) fibro symptoms is brain fog. I get confused, overwhelmed, disoriented, and struggle to retain some types of information. I struggled a lot in my classes because of this. I excelled in English, and did well in electives (such as art, writers' workshop, and choir.) I mostly went home and spent time alone, wishing, praying, and hoping for a change. It came.
     I had many things also to be thankful for. So many blessings. I am blessed with wonderful, understanding parents, to whom I have always been close. I could talk to them about nearly anything, and often did. I was involved in the youth group at our church, and had a growing faith. I wasn't always close to a lot of the youth group kids, but a lot of that was due to my own judgements, and my fear of rejection. I didn't try hard enough. I went to everything I could make it to anyway. I'm so thankful that I did. No matter how hard it was, I always felt so much better when I attended church and youth group functions.
     I prayed without ceasing, (something I'm trying to be better at again) I sang my heart out in worship, I tried to be an encourager to others, whether outcasts (perceived or actual) like myself or social butterflies. The biggest impact the youth group had on me was the fervor with which they (we) served others. We went on mission trips, fed the homeless, and helped put together food boxes during holidays. No matter how close or far we were from one another, we banded together to serve. I miss that.
    My faith in God, and my youth group, and youth minister helped me to work out who I was. Who I wanted to be. I tried to thicken my skin to the pressures of teen years, and let the insults roll off of me. I worked at being a good influence on others, rather than falling under others' influence. (I know that I often came off as self righteous and judgmental and I pray that I never hurt others' faith or potential for faith because of this.) I also found a wonderful, loving group of friends. At school.
     I joined choir and had a group of people who shared with me a love of music. Also, I found a friend, counselor, and ally in an absolutely amazing teacher. Someone who told me what I needed to hear, even if it hurt a little. Someone who listened to my problems, however superficial, and either gave advice or just a smile and nod. Always just what I needed. {Thank you, Lee Frick. You will be in my heart forever, and I hope to see you in Glory.}
     The reason I'm sharing my story is to let teens know that they are not alone. I was there. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, but it often feels like a different life. I pray that I don't ever forget, though. I want to be there for my children, other young people I know and love, and anyone else I can who is going through such things, or have gone through such. I want you to all know that it can get better. Find someone you can talk to. A counselor, a teacher, a youth minister, an older sibling, somebody. You need a listening ear. One without judgement. One who has been there. 
     I want to take the time to pray about these things, because putting these struggles in God's hand will have the biggest impact. He knows just what you need, and He loves you.

    Father in Heaven,
I am remembering painful times, as I see young people, teenagers, sailing the rough waters of high school. I want teens today to know that they aren't alone. That they can find a friend. I want them to know the peace that I have gained, and learn to rely on You. I want young people to ask for Your comfort and guidance, Your strength and wisdom when they are in need, rather than looking to unhealthy, dangerous pastimes. I thank You, Father, for always pulling me through the deepest muck, and reminded me that You are there. I praise You for Your goodness, and am so grateful for Your sacrifice, and Your unlimited love, grace, and mercy. Without these, nothing good could ever be. Please hold the teens of our world in Your hand, and give them the strength and courage to fly through these rough times unscathed.
  It is in Your son, Jesus' holy name that I pray,


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Not Baby

Well. It has finally come. My two year old Brenna-baby now identifies herself as Not Baby. I'm a little sad, but also proud of her developing personality and self awareness. Also, she's really stinking cute. Still. Here's our conversation this morning:

Brenna climbs up next to me on the couch, and says, "Hi Mommy-Silly-Goose."
I reply, amused, "Hi Brenna-baby." (This is where it gets interesting.)
"No! I not Judy!" she points to Judy, her 11 month old sister. "Judy there!"
"Well, I know you're not Judy. You're my Brenna-baby!" I say this while replaying my response in my head, sure that I called the right kid the right name for once. Pretty sure I said "Brenna-baby."
 Brenna rolls her big blue heart-breaking eyes, and says, "I not baby! Judy baby!" She says this last while pointing to Judy again.
"Ohhhh..." I seem to be getting it, finally. "You're not a baby anymore? Just Judy is?"
"Yeah, Judy-baby. Brenna-Not baby." She seems content that her message has made it through my silly head now, and wanders off.
  There you have it. My Brenna is a Not Baby. My favorite part? The fact that all of this was spoken through a binky, while clutching her blankie. Looks like she's more baby than she thinks. She'll always be baby to me. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Say What?!

Allie Rachelle, realizing her tummy was full, exclaimed, "Sad mouth!! I can't eat anymore!!"