It’s time for June’s Link Up with the fabulous Sheryl at A Chronic Voice. She always provides thought-provoking prompts for our link ups, and this month was no exception. I’m not great at writing from prompts, because I usually just write about whatever pops into my head, but I really enjoy participating in this because I have to purposefully direct my attention and thought processes. I do a lot of reading about brain health, because I honestly think that somehow, the key to helping minimize the symptoms of fibromyalgia may be found in understanding more about the brain, how it works, and ways to calm the Central Nervous System. Activities that help us focus our attention are often used as part of a programs directed at improving brain health, so I feel like I’m not only getting to do something fun, I may be helping my gray matter too. :o)
Our prompts for this month are:
Sheryl, you’re really giving my brain a workout this month! I was tempted to read others’ posts in the link up before I wrote this to see how they used these prompts, but that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?
This month started out well, but I have to be honest — this week has been tough. I have to keep reminding myself that I have been here before, and I’ve gotten through it, and I’ll get through this too. This time it’s not my fibromyalgia that’s causing issues, although I suspect part of it comes from the amount of sitting I do because of it. I have a recurrent issue with my hips, a combination of sacroiliac inflammation and sciatica, and it is in a full flare-up. On Tuesday, I was just a mess. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand; even lying down wasn’t much of a relief. I felt horrible for my poor husband. He felt terrible for me and kept asking me what he could do for me, but of course there was nothing to be done. He hates to see me in pain and crying, but I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. One minute I would be crying and the next I would be reminding him that I had been through this before and that I just had to wait for it to run its course. Thankfully, it seems to be improving some already.
You know what would have kept this from happening? Pacing. Not pacing in the traditional sense, maybe, but pacing out the times we did activities I knew could lead to a flare-up with this issue. I have to be extremely careful about what kind of chairs I sit in and how long I sit, but last week we went out to dinner with a friend at one of those nice restaurants where you spend a couple of hours eating and visiting. That wouldn’t have been so bad if I had given my hips a while to recover, but on Saturday we took my Pop out for Father’s Day and once again, we were sitting on hard chairs for a couple of hours, in addition to three hours in the car. Yes, I could have opted to forego one or the other of these, but I decided that it was worth the consequences. I generally do a good job of pacing, because I know its importance in being able to do the things I want to do and enjoy life, but sometimes I just decide it’s worth the pain to be able to spend time with the ones I care about.
Surrendering to my pain just doesn’t seem to be an option for me most of the time, but sometimes that’s all I can do. I know that in the chronic illness community we talk a lot about acceptance, and I think that in general, I have accepted that my life will probably never go back to what it was before my fibromyalgia diagnosis, but stopping because of my pain is extremely difficult for me. I’ve been in pain for pretty much my whole life – migraines from a very young age, growing pains in my legs during my junior high school years, endometriosis, and then various injuries over the years – but it didn’t keep me from having a 20-year career in the military, or from working full-time after I retired – and even six years post-diagnosis, I become extremely frustrated when pain derails me.
It’s been especially frustrating this month because I’m really trying to work on improving my blog. I’ve been struggling a little with the direction I need to take with it, and I still don’t have a clear path, but one thing I do know is that I have to keep writing while I figure it out, and that’s hard to do when I’m taken out by pain. I want this to be a place where people can find practical steps for living well with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions, encouragement when they are feeling low, and knowledge that they can still have a great life while living with a chronic illness.
When I’m frustrated with what I can’t do, when the tears are flowing, when I feel like it’s time to give up on this blog, I revisit my reason for starting it in the first place. I remember how lost and scared I was when I didn’t know what was going on with my body, and how just a few words on a page gave me a whole new sense of hope. I may not be the best writer, or the most creative person around, but I can share my experiences, and sometimes shared experience is enough. That’s what drives me to keep going, to try to improve my blog and my message, and “walk the walk” of living well. I want to help others reclaim their hope!
Thanks again to Sheryl for some great prompts and for hosting this link up! If you blog about chronic illness and would like to participate, please check out the Link Up here. It’s a wonderful opportunity to “meet” other chronic illness bloggers.