The past weekend was a mind over matter sort.. Friday I cleaned my car and cooked a nice healthy dinner. Saturday I finished the dreaded mopping. By the evening my body was killing me but I felt like I stuck to it and accomplished something. I rewarded myself with a tiny bit of chocolate cheesecake and some red wine.. okay, a lot of bit of cheesecake but I earned it. It caught up with me by Sunday and I slept most of the afternoon.. totally worth it though to have that feeling of getting things in place. I am still learning my balance.
This week’s rituals for living challenge in my planner asks me to sit in front of a fire (apparently they don’t have a grip on what summer in the south feels like) and to imagine it burning up any negativity.. in its place filling your body with light. I spent Saturday morning early while the house was quiet sitting at the hearth with candles lit doing just that. I plan to repeat this again in the coming week. With my eyes closed and feeling the candlelight on my face, I felt much more at peace.
Fibro fog.. it’s a real disrupter. Pre-diagnosis, I referred to this as extreme old lady brain. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t remember even the most simple things and on occasion even why I was where I was.. or sometimes even where I was. I joke, but at its worse it can be a bit scary.. not to mention all the side eye you get standing in the middle of the grocery store wine section with a completely blank expression for an extended block of time. True story – I had to message the husband to ask why I was there.. to which he amusingly replied, “Do you know WHERE you are?” Cute, cute.. I love him so much the more because he made me laugh in the moment.
Awhile back I bought this rituals for living dream book and planner. It was one of those schmancy frivolous purchases that I was lured into with a good sale. It turned out to be a life saver. In it I can keep track of what I want to accomplish overall and in a week. It helped me clarify my priorities and establish a simplified breakdown to make things a bit easier. What I liked about this one is that it has a place to set daily intentions, be creative, gives a weekly challenge, and has a place for you to express daily gratitude for one small thing in your life so you don’t lose focus on what is really important (hint – it’s not the dishes).
Now, I don’t feel you have to have a fancy pants planner to do any of these things, you can use any planner available. You can log in your own goals, inspirations, gratitudes, creativities, favorite lipstick color.. whatever makes your heart skip a beat in any old notebook really. Same thing. The point is to keep track, which is what it really helps me to do and to stay positive. If I can’t get something done, I just move it to another day or week. Sometimes I have been known to skip a week. If I notice that certain things are consistently getting missed, I reevaluate and maybe try to break it into more manageable chunks.. or I ask for help. Some days I may be struggling to even remember my name or I am just not feeling it and need the written reminders.. and I think it’s worth a try if you have an old spiral bound lying about.
“Side effects include nausea, constipation, drowsiness, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, etc, etc..” These are all the things I should have read before taking the Cymbalta. I didn’t. I resigned myself to my fate and I took the pill. I do wish someone had mentioned the withdrawal aspect to me ahead but then I probably wouldn’t have taken it. Thankfully, it was the lowest dosage available since my doctor was aware of my very vocal distaste for taking any type of medication if I don’t absolutely have to.. yes, doctors love me (insert sarcasm here).
I steer clear. My mother had a dependence on prescription drugs. Having grown up living that, well.. lets just say I have hang-ups. Add to that the fact that medicine almost always affects me adversely.. I steer doubly clear. This should give a hint to what level of pain we fibro sufferers feel.. let me say it again – I TOOK THE PILL.
Now, I am not going to lie and say it was magical. All of my symptoms didn’t disappear and I lived happily (and pain free) ever after. The first week or so was not fun. I was dizzy and woozy all the time.. and I drive an hour to work everyday. I had random sharp shooting pains. I had headaches. I was super queasy. I’d rather cut off my leg then be queasy. I was constipated (I know, I know.. but it’s important because I have diverticulosis). I would fall asleep for a couple of hours just to be restless all night as the slightest sound woke me. I was tired.. well, more tired. I would have just stopped it but by that time I had read of the horrifying withdrawal.. so I stuck with it.
Here’s the thing – for me it worked. Most of the earlier side effects subsided eventually and my pain went down considerably. I felt near normal on many days. I am glad that I didn’t read into the scary stuff and am most days better able to deal. I am aware it doesn’t work for everybody, but so far it has given me some of my life back and for that I am thankful.