Important disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one of TV. I’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia for less than six weeks and I appear to have a relatively mild case. As with everything Fibro-related, your mileage may vary and probably will. Finally, if you know someone with Fibro, please do not use this post as a guidepost for where they should be. Some days, I spent a lot of time on the couch. Take them at their word. No one would make this up.
When I was first diagnosed, I took a challenge-accepted attitude to this thing. For one thing, I didn’t have cancer or ALS or something that spelled certain or likely death. For another, my mom, sister, and friend all have it and they live relatively normal lives. For a third, if you have to have Fibro, this is the best time in human history to have it. There are resources to help.
Six years ago, I went through something similar, which I now think was a fibro flare. It kicked my ass and I let it. This time would be different.
This time, I wanted to take control of whatever I could.
Last week, I talked about my tracker. which allows me to keep track of what I eat, my exercise, mindset, and symptoms. There’s a really annoying business mindset that says you can’t improve what you don’t measure. It’s annoying, but it happens to be right. My hope is that the tracker will eventually provide enough data to see patterns–the things that help and the things that hurt. It’ll also shame me into healthier choices about what I put into my body. It’s been uneven, but so far, that’s worked, too.
I’ve also started cooking things. More details below, but if I make it, I control what’s in it. That helps me control what goes into my body.
Every morning I get up and exercise. Usually, I walk or run. It’s been six weeks and two days since I’ve started and in those 44 days, I haven’t missed one. That’s been uneven. One day, I walked 1.8 miles in half an hour and that was it. No matter how I feel, I get out of bed and do that.
I also make sure I post to my blog every day. That habit started as a way to make me a better writer. It’s grown from that. I write about things I believe in and find important. There’s a purpose to it.
It all comes down to purpose.
As I said above, I have a mild case of this, which gives me the ability to do things. This morning I ran five miles and walked another three (I may pay for that later. I’m jonesing for a nap like crazy right now). Maybe you can’t walk more than half a mile. That’s okay. Whatever you can do is something you took control over today.
But the important thing is to find purpose in life. I’ve been dealt this card. It’s not my entire hand. I get four other cards. So I’ll do everything possible to use those four cards wisely. With luck (the residue of design), I can draw four aces. That’ll beat everything except a straight flush.
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Kitchen adventures. One way you can take control of what you eat is to make it yourself. Last weekend, I made a flank steak and broccoli recipe that would’ve been better if I hadn’t burnt the steak. If I make it again, I’ll use sirloin.
I also made yogurt and granola. I got three meals out of the steak and still have a bit of granola left over. When I get a little more confident, I may start to video the cooking. But I’m not there yet.
Yogurt. If you have an instant pot, it’s ridiculously easy to make your own yogurt. You put two tablespoons of store-bought yogurt in your instant pot and add a carton of Fairlife milk (52 ounces). You whisk it together and put the lid on. Then you press the Yogurt button and eight hours later, you’re good to go. It typically lasts me a week for breakfast or a snack. I’ve mixed it with oatmeal or granola. This recipe calls for more milk, but one carton of Fairlife works.
If you can’t have dairy, there are a number of instant pot yogurt recipes, as well. Many use coconut or cashew milk.
Granola. The granola you buy is stores isn’t as healthy as you might think. There’s a lot of sugar in it and it’s high fat. so I found this recipe and made it twice. It’s pretty easy. You take four cups of oatmeal, a cup and a half of nuts or seeds (I like walnuts and cashews), some salt, some cinnamon, olive oil (I use extra virgin), honey, and vanilla. Spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake it.
The recipe calls for 21 to 24 minutes, but I’m finding I probably need to pull it out at 18 minutes to prevent burning. It makes enough granola that you can snack on it or eat it for breakfast and your primary care doctor won’t yell at you because it’s high in fat.
Using turkey. If I splurge and get a burger, I want a burger. But for recipes where the beef is primarily a flavor-delivery system, I’m open to alternatives. I figure for chili (for instance), turkey’s worth a try. I have a grinder attachment for the Kitchen-Aid mixer, so I bought a frozen turkey breast, let it thaw, and ground it up. I got a little more than three and a half pounds. You can but it already ground, but it’s a little cheaper this way (and I just wanted to use the grinder.)
I’ll let you know how it goes.
I wanted to start doing these things with my diet anyway, but I probably wouldn’t have if not for the Fibro. Ultimately, I’m out ahead a little here.
- The Impact of Going Gluten-Free — Amanda Love, whose podcast is very helpful, is all over this. But it’s a huge change and you have to go all in for it to work. I’m pondering it.
- Top Exercise Tips for Fibromyalgia — The Mayo book calls for 30 minutes a day. Here are some options.
- Which is more difficult to manage, chronic pain for chronic fatigue?
- Fibro Pain versus Fatigue: Which is worse?
- Caffeine and pain
A final word. You put another week in the books. Maybe it was an easy week, or maybe not. But you made it when a lot of other people would’ve give up. Take a second and think about that.