Garden Pathway https://reclaiminghope.blog

Should I Change My Fibromyalgia Care Plan? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Raised-bed garden https://reclaiminghope.blogMy hubby has been busy out in our garden for the last couple of weeks. He’s re-doing the area around our raised beds. When he first built it, it was beautiful. He surrounded the garden boxes with white stone and put a nice fence around it all. I just loved it!

So why change it? The last couple of years, it hasn’t worked as well for us as we’d like. The problem is that those pretty white stones didn’t look so great once acorns, leaves, and other yard debris started falling onto them. My sweet hubby did his best to keep everything nice-looking but he ended up spending hours cleaning all that stuff out by hand. If he tried to use the blower, it blew the gravel out into the grass. As you know, lawn mowers and gravel are not a good combination.

What started out working well just wasn’t working anymore. We decided we needed to get rid of what worked so great that first couple of years and put in something that was much easier to maintain.

Sometimes our fibromyalgia care plans are the same way. We have this perfectly-crafted plan that seems to do a great job of keeping our pain and fatigue at bay. It seems we have it all figured out.

Then, little by little, we start to realize that we’re feeling worse. The things that have been working so well aren’t anymore. This isn’t a failure on our part; it’s just the nature of fibromyalgia. 

We may need to make some changes to our self-care plan. We may only need some small tweaks to get us back on track, or we may need a complete re-do, as we did with our garden.

When we’ve found something that works for us, even for a while, it’s scary to think of making changes. In my post Time to Stop Letting Fear Hold Me Back, I talked about how my strict pacing had started to imprison me rather than helping me live a fulfilling life. I needed to make a change, but it was scary.

So how do we decide whether we should take that leap and try to change up our care routine and if we do, where we should start?

I’ve found that asking myself a few simple questions can help.

5 Questions We Can Use to Determine If/How Our Fibromyalgia Care Plan Needs to Change:

  • Could these new symptoms be due to something other than my Fibromyalgia? This really needs to be the first question we ask ourselves. Unfortunately, because we have so many strange things that happen as a normal part of our Fibro, we may be tempted to attribute anything that happens to “just another weird symptom” of Fibromyalgia.
  • Do I really need to change what I’m doing, or is this just the normal ebb and flow of Fibromyalgia? Any of us who have lived with Fibro know that there are periods where we feel much better and then there are others where we feel much worse. If we’re feeling bad it doesn’t always mean we’re getting worse; it may just be that natural ebb and flow. For me, I usually give it a couple of weeks – if things don’t start to lighten up a little after that, I start looking at where I may need to make some changes. If I determine I do, I start to look at how I need to change.
  • How is my diet? Our diet impacts the way our bodies work and how we feel, maybe even more than we think. I’ve found that, more than anything else, the quality of my diet affects my energy levels. If I start to struggle with fatigue, I look at whether my eating patterns are supporting my energy needs. Many people find that the types of food they eat affect pain levels as well.
  • Have I significantly increased/decreased my activity levels lately? If we increase our activity too quickly, we can often suffer from Post-exertional Malaise, “the worsening of symptoms following even minor physical or mental exertion, with symptoms typically worsening 12 to 48 hours after activity and lasting for days or even weeks.” (CDC) On the other side of the coin, if we decrease our movement too much, we run the risk of falling into the inactivity/pain cycle. Finding that balance is key.
  • How is my attitude? Am I maintaining an attitude of dynamic optimism (optimism based on action) or have I started to entertain those negative thoughts that pop into my head more than I should? We probably all have those times that we just need to give ourselves permission to feel sorry for ourselves for a little while, but we have to guard against staying in a negative space. It’s vitally important that we recognize the difference between temporary bouts of sadness and clinical depression. Clinical depression isn’t something we can just talk ourselves out of. If you find that you’re depressed, please seek help from a qualified professional.

These questions help me decide if I need to make changes to what I’m already doing, and if so, what it is that I need to change. It also helps me decide whether I need to go ahead and make an appointment with my doctor to see if something else is going on.

How do you determine whether you need to change your Fibromyalgia Care Plan? If you find your care plan does need changing, how do you decide what changes to make? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

 

29 comments

    1. Thanks Melinda! I love having the raised beds, but the stone and fencing weren’t working for us. My hubby has removed the fence and gravel, and he’s putting in a walkway (you can see it in the featured image) and sod. That way it will be easy to just mow around the boxes but we won’t trample the grass as we’re tending the garden. Now you can buy ready-made raised beds, but they can get a little expensive. I hope you’re doing well!

      1. Stone steps will work great. Out biggest problem is time, he spends so much time off work taking me to appointments that he has weekend work. This month so far 8 appointments. We’re very luck y his boss understands and never has a problem when he has to leave early or take off. I’m still not driving. Once I feel like driving it will let up on his weekends. 🙂

      2. It’s wonderful that you have such a supportive husband. I’m glad to hear that his boss is so understanding also. I’m sure that makes it easier on him and on you. I hope things start to ease up soon for you. Blessings to you!

  1. another great post Terri with awesome and helpful information. also LOVE your garden………looks like a storybook I want to walk into 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Wendi! I’m glad you like the garden, but it doesn’t look like that anymore…. We’re changing it over to make it more manageable, so my hubby is in the process of putting in a walkway and sod so he can just mow now. I think it’s still going to look great, just not as “storybook” as it did. (I love that comparison by the way!💕) Hope you’re doing well sweet friend!

      1. Thank you Wendi! God bless you and your family also sweet friend!

  2. Terri sometimes I wish somebody could have the job of looking at us and our care plan and making that decision for us because fibro/fatigue is so unpredictable, I hardly know what to think or believe about my health sometimes!

    1. I’m with you Marie! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could just tell us what to do to feel better? Fibro really is unpredictable, isn’t it? That’s one of the hardest things about trying to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Hope you’re doing well sweet friend. Sending hugs your way!

  3. I am easing myself in slowly after a much needed blogging break Terri. These are all great questions. Every time I stand back from blogging I get new insights on the way forward, and tweak accordingly.

    1. Welcome back Brigid, and thanks for your kind words! I hope you enjoyed your blogging break and that you’re feeling rested and refreshed. Sending hugs!

      1. Oh my goodness Brigid! I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m sure that must have been terrifying. I’m so glad you’re okay and that you got some rain.

  4. Timely post, Terri. Turns out I ignored my symptoms for too long, thinking this is just all part and parcel of the disease – not all symptoms are, as you point out. We do need a reset from time to time. I am having much needed day of rest and re-evaluating.

    1. I’m glad you’re getting your day of rest V.J.. I really hope you start to feel better soon. I think it’s easy to just attribute everything to the Fibro and not get things checked out as we should. I know I tend to do that. I used to be terrible about making my preventive care appointments but now I try to be diligent in doing them because I hope they might catch things that I’ve been blaming on my fibromyalgia. I’m still terrible when I get sick though…. It’s always, “well, I’ll wait a few days and see if it gets better….” I’m glad you decided to go in and get checked out. Wishing you all the best with everything.

  5. Such a good message! Great questions to check yourself before you make any changes. One additional thing I learned is you can go back to a medication! Some meds I get used to, we’ve set it up so I take one for 6-8 months then go back to the other for 6-8 months. It has worked wonder! Great post, as always Terri. I’m working on catching up on posts I’ve missed! 😊💜

    1. Thanks Kim, and thanks for bringing up the medication thing. That’s an important point, because our bodies can adapt to things. I think it’s wonderful that you and your medical team have figured out how to make your medication work for you. I hope you’ve gotten some rest and are feeling better!

      1. Me and my one female doctor who I’ve been with for 16 years figured it out! I was told she was leaving Allina. I thought quitting but she just moved to a different practice. Guess who’s transferring to her new office? Just cleared my insurance, now transferring medical records.😊🎉

      2. I’m so glad she’s just moving to another practice! I know you’re relieved, and I’m glad your insurance allows you to move with her.😊

  6. Another great way of viewing it, following on from the garden analogy. Your garden is so pretty, hubby did good! 😉
    I absolutely agree, sometimes with our care plans, and medications too, thinks need to be re-assessed because symptoms changed, things may not work as well as they used to, our needs and circumstances evolve, and so on. Small tweaks or a complete overhaul can make a big difference. Great questions too, very helpful to prompt further thought in figuring out what’s working well and what may need a little adjustment.
    Very useful, will share on FB now. Brilliant post, Terri!
    xx

    1. Thank you so much Caz! Thanks for sharing on FB also! Fibromyalgia is so changeable and unpredictable I’ve found it absolutely necessary to re-evaluate from time to time. It’s hard to figure out whether you need to change and what you need to do differently sometimes, but it really can make a huge difference in how we feel, can’t it. Hope you’re doing well. I’m headed over to your blog now. I suspect I’ve missed some posts – we’ve had a busy few days.😊

  7. Love your beautiful garden Terri but like you as we live in the forest although the stones look good ours get covered in leaves during the fall and you need a hoover which would pick up all the stones. Pacing is the only way I can manage my pain but with a good plan if helps.

    1. Thank you Bar! I think our new plan is going to look nice and work a little better for us. Those stones just got to be too much of a problem. Pacing is key for managing our pain, isn’t it? That’s probably the thing that helps me more than anything else. Hope you have a great weekend!

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