Category Archives: Fibromyalgia

Fibro Saturday: Taking control of things, kitchen adventures, and links

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.

* * *

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.

Before, after everything’s added and mixed.

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.

After. Let it sit at least 45 minutes, break it up and put it in a bag. You’re set for the week

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.

Links

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.


Fibro Saturday: My fibro running story (so far), kitchen disasters upcoming, and links

I ran five miles this morning

Before I started having severe pain in December, I was running about 5 miles most mornings. The goal was to build my distance during the cooler winter months and run a virtual half marathon on the way to a full marathon sometime this coming winter. I’d had some leg injuries over the summer and fall and was looking to get back where I’d already been in the winter of 2019-2020.

I did five miles of road work today

And then Fibro came. The pain was pretty extreme, but I didn’t really think about the fatigue. I’m not as young as I used to be, blah, blah, blah.

Because of the pain, I stopped exercising completely and didn’t start again until I read the Mayo Clinic Fibro book that made it clear half an hour of exercise every day in important. That’s what I started with. Then I tried mixing in running. And increasing a little. And a little more.

This morning I ran five miles (with two walk breaks of a tenth of a mile toward the end). Then I walked some and covered seven miles. The exercise is important to me. It helps my frame of mind.

This guy, Jimmy Fernandez had had Fibro for more than 20 years. He does the work, but he’s also fortunate.

After the run, I told my wife that I was nervous about posting this information. For one, a lot of people with Fibro struggle to work each day, let alone run any distance at all. If the last three months has taught me anything, it’s that the people who somehow persist in spite of enormous pain, fatigue, and plethora of other issues deserve all the respect there is.

I put in the work this morning, but I recognize how lucky I am to be able to do that.

More important, I’m still figuring this out. I ran four miles three times over the past two weeks and didn’t have any major crashes. Though I felt pretty bad Monday, I still managed to work almost a full day.

I might crash badly at any time over the next three or four days–and anyone on line can come back and say, “AAAAAAAAAAA-HA! You rain over the weekend and now we have to pay!” The fact of the matter is, if there are patterns involved in my journey, I haven’t figured them out yet. That’s part of why my longer runs tend to be on Saturday, so I have time to crash and be ready for work Monday.

But for now, I ran five miles this morning. It felt good. I want to run a 10K in the fall, Maybe more. Maybe a half marathon is possible again.

I’m really lucky to be able to do that. And I have deep respect for those with the condition who can’t.

Fibro-related humility and arrogance

When I was diagnosed on February 8, I was relieved and almost excited. Now that I knew, I could do something about it. That’s faded as it became clear how hard this would be. I’m just over three months into this and this was a hard week. No patterns have emerged (outside of the pain relief that came from quitting Coke Zero). I have no clue what later today will bring, let alone tomorrow or the work week. That’s scary.

This is harder than I thought and my initial challenge-accepted attitude was maybe a little arrogant, especially when you consider people who’ve battled this for decades. But I’m keeping that arrogance. I may not beat this, but if it beats me, it’s getting it’s ass kicked on the way.

Sometimes the quarterback has to be an asshole. For it, I have to keep that edge to get through the hard weeks and make the best of things.

Kitchen Disasters, Fibro Edition

If I want to live my best life, I have to take matters into my own hands. As such, I need to take control of my diet. That means for the first time in my life, I bought a cookbook. Today, I’ll be making sliced flank steak with broccoli florets and a garlic-oil sauce. Because the healthy granola I got at Publix had sugar as the second ingredient, I’ll be making granola.

And yogurt’s become a weekly staple. With an instant pot, it’s easy. You buy a jug of Fairlife milk, get two tablespoons of yogurt form the store (I use fat-free Greek yogurt), dump it in the instant pot, wisk it a bit, then press the yogurt button. Eight hours later, you’ve got enough yogurt for the week. I’ve been mixing it with blueberries and granola for breakfast or a snack.

Links


My crystal ball is broken like a Corelle Ware dish on a tile floor.

In church this week, we talked briefly about the things we worship rather than God. The pastor went through the usual list: money, fame, power, and all that.

I worship myself. More to the point, I worship my abilities. I’m really good at figuring out the best way through a difficult circumstance. It’s not easy, and sometimes you have to settle for the least awful alternative, but I fully believe whatever team I’,m working with will get there, even if it takes shear force of will. I believe I will find a way through whatever challenge is placed before me because I’m good at that.

Because of fibromyalgia, I can’t count on those abilities. To be clear, they’re still there. Most days, I can piece things together and come out ahead.

But I can’t on my ability to do that on demand the way I used to. I can’t fully depend on myself.

Through most of my life, I’d be angry about that. Although I’d focus my anger inwardly, it’s really directed at God–except you can’t call God a stupid, incompetent loser who doesn’t come through in the clutch.

I have cause. I used to be able to run five miles a day practically every. I can’t do that now. I used to be able to work through hell days on top of hell days and have something left when I log off. That’s not happening either.

I did nothing to earn this. It’s not like I went out and took a dip in the Fibro pond against all advice. This condition found me.

And yet, I’m grateful. Not always, but as often as possible.

There’s no way for me to forecast whether tomorrow will be a good day or a day when I close the blinds and let the world go by outside. Each day that isn’t awful is a precious gift. And each day that is awful is just a bridge to the next decent day. So that’s a gift, too–because it gets me there.

My crystal ball is broken like a Corelle Ware dish dropped on a tile floor

I have to give up control over things–surrender my absolute faith in my abilities. I have to accept that as ugly as it gets, I have a Father who has already said he’d take care of me.

Someday I’ll be done working for a living. That day isn’t tomorrow or the day after. It’s a ways away. Far enough that I’d be terrified if I had to do it on my own at this point. There’s comfort in the fact that I don’t have to figure all of that out. I can take it day by day and go from there.

And that has to be enough. Because if I do anything else, I probably won’t make it that far.


Fibro Saturday: A fibro tracker, an unplanned down day, and fibro diet links

A Fibro tracker you can use to identify patterns

Tracker the dog

The first weekend after I was diagnosed, I decided to start tracking things I thought would make a difference. There were two goals: gather data to find patterns and hold myself a little more accountable. For instance, yesterday was a difficult day and I had a horrible attitude at the end. So I drank more alcohol than I have any day since I got diagnosed. Writing it down made me a little embarrassed and will keep me from making a similar decision soon (at least that’s the plan).

There’s a row for each day and it allows to me capture the following information:

  • Whether it’s a weekday or weekend, and whether I worked — useful to see if life is different on weekdays and work days.
  • How much sleep I had — useful to see the relationship between sleep and quality of life
  • What I had for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. and beverages
  • Exercise
  • Scores (1-10) for mindset, and stress, pain, fatigue, malaise, and brain fog — For everything except mindeet there are peak and average scores. That’s important because you may have a day where your fatigue level is manageable overall, but you crash late in the day and the peak is a 7. Each column has conditional formatting. A score of 1-3 is green, 4-6 is yellow, and 7-10 is red. Green scores are good; red are horrible.
  • A total of peak and average scores for pain, fatigue, malaise, and fog. I’ve set the conditional formatting so below 30 is green (that’s a day where I manage through the day without significant difficulty). A score of 30 to 50 is yellow. On these days I’m partially functional; for instance, I might have to work less than a full day. Any score over 50 would indicate a day when I spend the day in bed.
  • I also have columns where I track the number of yellow and red numbers for each day and a severity score with is the total of the yellow numbers and two times the red numbers. That’s a new additional and I’m not certain how necessary it is.
  • I also track my weight (on days I remember to get on the scale) and the supplements and drugs I take.

It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually pretty easy. And because it’s a Google sheet, I can enter data from a laptop, tablet or phone. If you want to make a copy and try it out, it’s available here. Feel free to modify it as it works for you. I’ve taken out the drugs I take for privacy reasons, but left in the turmeric I take (3 times a day), magnesium, and vitamin D3.

What it’s like to have fibro — On a down day

It was always a mystery to me when my mom had a flare. So here’s what it’s like for me. today. Your mileage (or your loved one’s) may vary. And probably will.

I had something cued up for this Saturday, a statement of triumph I wrote last weekend for a running Facebook group I used to be more active in. But it’s Friday morning and I’m not feeling very triumphant this morning.

I’m tired today. Bone tired. It set it around 4 o’clock yesterday, after two very good days. I did the dishes (there weren’t many) after dinner and wrote Friday morning’s blog, but mostly, i just stayed on the couch.

This morning I got up and walked–did okay and felt okay. But before and after that, I’ve felt like I haven’t slept in generations. The exhaustion is like a giant wet blanket on top of me. I can’t get out from under it, and the more I try, the more tired I feel, and the heavier the blanket seems to become.

I write this because I never understood it until it happened to me.

My mom has fibro and there were days she just stayed in her room in bed. I never thought much about it. She was gracious about it–whatever was going to happen should happen anyway. But it seemed mysterious. I know my mom well enough that she wouldn’t make something up to get attention or to try to force a different outcome for the day. Beyond that, I just thought she got sick a little more often than most–and it seemed to come around big events. (That could just be my perception.)

Well, now I know.

I can manage the pain–I worked on a day where my knees and elbows spent most of the afternoon at 9 on a scale of 10. It helps that I know no real damage is being done. (And my pain days have dropped off since I stopped drinking Coke Zero.)

The brain fog is a bite in the butt, but if I go slow and check my work a lot, I can stay coherent. But the fatigue and malaise are the worst. It’s like trying to function and breathe under that giant wet blanket. Eventually, I give up. It’s just too damn hard.

That’s something I struggle with. A test of guts and commitment. But then I look at the day ahead of me and 5 o’clock seems centuries away. And it would be so much easier to pack it in for the day. Some days, I do pack it in. Some days I take a nap (or two) and keep things together until I’m done. Some days, I grind away until everything in my brain just refuses to move forward.

Whatever today brings, tomorrow might bring something different. So there’s always faith. But sometimes the exhaustion leaks into your mind and dampens your soul. Those are the hard days. So far.

This week’s links

Fibro and diet

The guidance for Fibro-friendly diet are what you might expect them to be: cut out the junk food, eat more fruit and vegetables, and cut back on processed foods, including meats and other foods with a lot of ingredients. I love sausage, so rather than cut it out, I made my own using the meat grinder attachment on our KitchenAid. There are also some surprises. Gluten is most likely bad for fibro (I haven’t cut it out yet.). And nightshade vegetables, including tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, and potatoes aren’t the best either.

Personally after I cut out the Coke Zero, my pain scores became a lot lower. I’ve also replaced almost all of my coffee with green tea and I’m transitioning to decaf green tea.

Here are some links that cover fibro and diet:


Fibro Saturday: Actress Olivia Munn adjusts to her Fibro diagnosis, goes on with life

Olivia Munn has been a busy actress over the past ten years or so. Her credits include the TV shows New Girl, The Newsroom, and the movies X-Men: Apocalypse, Magic Mike, and Ocean’s Eight. She dated Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers from 2014 to 2017. She has a black belt in Taekwondo. She accused director Brett Ratner of sexual harassment and assault.

Olivia Munn

She’s also been struggling with pain, fatigue, stress, and weight loss and gain. As a result of her health issues, she worked with five UCLA doctors to find out she has fibro. She’s adjusted to her new life by going gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. That’s a big adjustment.

People magazine quoted her as saying, “My situation was at a place where it was like, ‘You’re either going to go down a path where you’re going to get multiple autoimmune diseases, or you have to stop now and we can try to get you better. It was like, ‘These are your choices.’ And so I had no choice, I was feeling so bad. I had to really listen to the doctor’s orders and cut all these things out.”

Since her diagnosis, she’s appeared as a regular in a TV Series (The Rook) and done a video short and three other movies. In other words, she’s going on anyway.

As with all things fibro, your mileage may vary. You might be largely bed bound, but there are (I hope) things you can do. The goal of this article is to remind me (and you) what’s possible, even if calls for tough choices and it’s hard.

My Fibro Life

Another week, another roller coaster ride. Great days last weekend and at the end of the week, around a bad crash mid-week. The problem is that I can’t find a reason or pattern around the crash.

That’s worrisome. It makes me feel like I’m less than reliable. I’ve had some bad days since this started, but this is the first week where the experience has gotten on top of me and made me seriously doubt my ability to manage this in the long term.

On the other hand, I got through a week with a crash and kept all the lights on, including dealing with a couple of bumpy things while I was lusting after a gravesite to crawl into and bury myself until morning.

The morning after the crash, I was a little fearful, but got up and went through the steps. By mid-morning, it was clear the day would be okay.

Bottom line: I can manage pain if it’s not horrible–and so far, it hasn’t been. Even if it’s permanent, you get used to it marbling through your body at low-to-moderate levels. For me, fatigue, malaise, and brain fog are a lot harder to manage.

This is the hand I was dealt, so this is what I need to work with. I have a decent intellect, passable writing skiils, and I don’t intend to let this beat me. So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

The takeaway: In the words of the great Vin Scully, I’m “listed as day-to-day. (Pause) Aren’t we all?”

I recovered pretty quickly from a really bad day. Maybe next time I will. Maybe I won’t. I’ll blow up that bridge when I get to it–any maybe I never will.

“Blowed up good.” “Yeah, blowed up real good.”

I don’t believe God did this to me. But I also believe if I have to go through the process, I’ll be provided what I need to make it through, either within my own stubborn-bastard self, or through help from others.

Dammit.

Useful Fibro links and developments:

Fibro and the Covid

Other useful articles


Fibro Saturday: A moment of awe

When I was sick in 2015, it took about three months for me to get a diagnosis. Those three months were scary for me.

As I start to read about fibromyalgia, I’ve read of people who went years without understanding what they have. During that time, they’re often doubted–told they’re making it up, that everyone gets tired or has pain every now and again. That it’s all in their head. That they need to suck it up and do what everyone else does.

Meanwhile, they wonder about themselves. What do they have? Is it deadly? Is it really just in their head?

Even the people who have been diagnosed still climb big mountains. I walked 45 minutes this morning. It wasn’t fun. There was pain and I wanted to lie down and stay there any time I let my mind go there. Relative to a lot of people who have this, it’s a moderate case.

In the two and a half months I’ve had this, I’ve had my low points, where I look the time I have yet to work either over the rest of my life, or just today, and it figuratively buckles my knees.

There are people, including people I know, who have managed this for years–decades, even. The people who should be supporting them sometimes aren’t. I can’t imagine having the people closest to you doubt your statement that it feels like someone’s smacking your knee with a ballpeen hammer.

If that’s you, then you are a hero. You’re doing something most people can’t understand. It’s an amazing thing.

* * *

As I write this, I really don’t want to work today. I’d rather just crash on the couch. And then have the same option tomorrow and the day after and the day after.

On a typical day, my mind starts slipping around 4 pm. And yet, I’ve had meetings after 4 every day this week. Most evenings, I crash on the couch and take up space, watching reruns of The Goldbergs and Big Bang Theory, followed by guest-host Jeopardy because that’s what my wife put on.

And yet, even when I’m tired and my attitude sucks, I’ve come to look forward to work, and even enjoy it in a way I haven’t before–mostly because it gives me purpose and a reason to get up. It stops me from lying around in a puddle of my own slobber.

* * *

My goal was to use Saturday’s to post what I’ve learned this week, but to be honest, it’s been hard to get to the learning part. My mind is often oatmeal at the end of my day. I’m hoping that I’ll add more than just stories about my viewpoint in this space in future weeks.

* * *

Things I feel good about right now:

  • Walking every day for two weeks, plus one day, even when I felt miserable in the morning.
  • Keeping up with my blog every day.
  • With the exception of a mess of spiced jelly beans Thursday night, I’ve eaten pretty clean over the last two weeks.
  • I created a pretty slick spreadsheet that helps people know if they need to submit something for re-approval.
  • I worked outside a couple days, which was nice.

If you’re on the same journey, it seems important to keep track of the accomplishments that make you feel good.


Fibro Saturday: Give us this day, our daily bread

Fibromyalgia will be part of my life going forward. Part of my life. I won’t let it dominate my life or this blog. But it’s worth talking about, so I’ll do so each Saturday.

I’m new at this, so I won’t pretend to know much, but I’m learning. I’ve been tracking my diet, exercise, and the level of pain, fatigue, malaise, and brain fog each day, and I’ve noticed that since if I eat right, the pain level tends to go down, though my fatigue level and brain fog seem to be driven by my stress level.

I’ve also noticed that each day is its own entity. Just because I had a good day yesterday, doesn’t mean I’ll have a good day today. It’s a scary proposition, not being able to take anything for granted beyond today. I have to take tomorrow on faith.

I hate faith. I crave certainty and autonomy, which both make faith easy.

So I need something to get me through it all, something that doesn’t make the rest of my work life a litany of days whose uncertainty kicks me in the head with every pain, end-of-the-day wall of fatigue, or London-like wall of brain fog.

Actual footage from inside my mind.

For me, that’s faith in God, something I’m horrible at. And yet, the Bible’s clear on that.

“Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

“Consider the ravens. They don’t sew or reap; they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”

It’s no accident that the prayer Jesus tells his disciples (and us) to pray talks about giving us each day our daily bread.

Right now, it’s often a struggle getting to the end of the day. I typically find the couch when I’m done. I feel like each day I cross a rickety bridge that shakes and shudders and threatens to disintegrate beneath me. When I consider the number of times I have to cross that bridge without it giving out, it’s scary.

I won’t lie and say I have that faith; I don’t. But I’m working on it. Believing that I’ll get through to the other end of whatever happens is vital to making it. If you know you’re going to make it, it makes the bumps that come along each day less stressful. I’m finding stress amps up my fatigue and brain fog. (Pain seems to be a product of diet, at least so far.)

So I can do is get up each day and do what I need to–and value the days when I don’t have to do it. And guard that fragile faith as the most valuable asset I have, because that’s what it is.

And I can work toward building that faith and changing my thought patterns so either the bridge seems less rickety or I become more certain that somehow I’ll get to the other end for as long as I need to.


I got fibromyalgia (I feel good)

When the rheumatologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, I was almost energized.

I’ve had pretty significant bone and joint pain for about two months and nothing on the Internet seemed to match my symptoms. But within minutes, the rheumatologist told me what I had. there are 18 potential pain points in your body. If you have pain in 11 of them, it’s probably a match. Though I met the criteria, my pain in those areas wasn’t extreme. When he pressed, it hurt a little, but nothing worth mentioning. So I mentioned it, but said it wasn’t bad. That’s how it goes with men. With women, that test can be extremely painful.

(The touch test has been de-emphasized. Given the nature of fibromyalgia, it’s entirely possible it won’t hurt on any given day. The official diagnosis requires widespread pain throughout your body for three months; so officially, I’m not there yet, but it was a useful diagnostic.)

Women make up about 90 percent of diagnosed fibromyalgia cases. But there’s educated conjecture that a lot of men go undiagnosed. That’s likely because a lot of men and women go undiagnosed. And men does register the as much pain in the touch test.

The undiagnosed just live with the pain and other symptoms. For me, pain, brain fog, and malaise are the main symptoms, but others have digestive issues and light and noise sensitivity. And many people have this for years with no understanding why. I was blessed to find out so quickly.

Lady Gaga has fibromyalgia and she did a Super Bowl halftime show.

When the rheumatologist diagnosed me, it was like a weight was lifted. Now I know what it is, and I can attack it.

Currently, there’s no cure for this condition, but you can manage it. I started by downloading the Mayo Clinic Fibromyalgia book. It’s a great primer. Among its wisdom: what you eat is important to controlling this, and though it’s not psychosomatic, your mental and emotional approach is vital.

Great book to start. About $11 on Kindle and $17 in hardcopy.

This is where this post stops being specifically about fibromyalgia.

I’ve been wanting to clean up my diet for a long time. This is giving new motivation. Since the diagnosis a week a go, I’ve improved a lot. And since it’s a continuum, I’ll keep improving. And I’m not jonesing for half a pizza and a bag of spiced gum drops.

I’m eating blueberries and oatmeal for breakfast. If that’s settling, count me in.

But my mind is more important. Last week, I took half a day of sick time on Monday and an hour on Wednesday. Monday, I was struggling, looking at words that made no sense to me (fibro fog). Wednesday, the pain was probably the worst of my life–9 out of 10 much of the day. But my mind was clear and I had things I needed to finish. I rested here and there, but got them done.

I feel good about that. I feel good about the entire week–though I missed some time. Previously, I’d have said I needed to figure out a better way. That the full week is the goal. It is the goal, but until I figure this out, it might be unattainable on a regular basis.

Until then, this is the better way. There’s nothing wrong or lazy with treating yourself as a valuable thing, because you are. My rest wasn’t taking away from what I got done, it enabled my completing them.

This is my reality now. And in spite of the pain, it’s not a bad reality. No one dies of fibromyalgia. It’s not degenerative. Your brain just misreads normal messages from your nervous system as pain. That means, once I figure this out, I get my life back. And I get a healthier diet and better mental focus, which I wanted anyway.

Wednesday was hard, but everyone had hard days. Mine’s is just a little different. I survived it. When it comes again, I’ll know it’s not forever. That’s enormous.

These days, my body’s marbled with pain in the 2-3 range, and I’m surviving that, too. I’m not running five miles, but one of the first things I did was to Google fibromyalgia marathon. I found a guy who didn’t just run a marathon, but who does half triathlons. If he can do that, I can get back to running and maybe accomplish the marathon.

This guy is a face of fibromyalgia.

My first steps aren’t massive. I ran a mile Friday. Today, I went out to run and my body said no, so I took a brisk two-mile walk. Today, I ran a mile and a quarter and walked the rest of the time. (The Mayo book says half an hour of exercise a day is important.)

But the steps are there, and with each step, the next one’s easier.

In short, sometimes this will suck. But that’s life. Everyone has hard days. But I might actually be better off for this in the long run. That’s not just pollyanna fake-it-til-you-make it noise. I really believe that.

What I want outside this reality is irrelevant. God’s allowing me to face this challenge and he’s there with me throughout. I’m up to it, even if the hill’s a little steeper than I anticipated.

That’ll make every accomplishment that much sweeter.

Final note: Everyone’s experience is different and there are people whose fibromyalgia is so bad they can’t work. My path is mine only. You may have different limitations and a different experience.