May 16, 2014 7 Comments
In March, I hit my 10 year anniversary of my rebirth. Well, kinda a rebirth.
We all divide our lives into before ___ and after ____. Before I lived in SF, after I moved to NYC, before kids, after the kids went off to school…and so on and so on. For me, it’s always been before my life with fibro and after my hysterectomy. On March 14th, I hit my 10 year anniversary of my last surgery – my hysterectomy. And so, it got me thinking…can I remember my life before fibro? I mean, I can remember my life before my hysterectomy. But, that’s easy. After all, it’s only 10 years ago. But somehow, my memory fades when I try to recall what my life was like before fibro. It’s become so much of who I am, that I can’t see my life without it. Until now…
I strive to be myself and not my fibro. However, that’s easier said than done. Fibro has ultimately changed what I can do, what I eat, how I play and above all who I am. But for years now, even though I fight it, there has always been a little voice in the back of my head saying, “You can’t eat that, do that or try that because you have fibro.” Today, that voice has disappeared. Today, I am in charge of my own life, what I do and how I do it. Yes, fibro is still part of me, but it is not me.
How’d I do it you ask? Well…
On step at a time. Baby steps. I made up my mind that I would and could achieve my goals.
Goal #1: Get active
For the past decade, I have strived to be healthy and happy. However, I never have been an overly active person. I’ll admit it – I was much more of a couch potato than an athlete. Fibro was always an excuse not to get off that damn sofa. So, I decided to drop the excuses and move. Just move.
For years now, there have studies showing that even minimal exercise can reduce fibromyalgia pain. Little did I know that my daily “just move” routine would almost eliminate my pain attacks. After 6 weeks of daily walking 1-2 miles, my pain attacks went from one pain attack a week at level 7-8 and one 10+ attack a month, to virtually zero pain attacks. In fact, my first day above a pain level of 6 came after I missed my walks for 2 days in a row around my 8 week mark. I noticed a huge correlation between my pain and my activity. If I didn’t walk, I was in pain the next day. And when I walked, even if I was in pain, the intensity level of pain dramatically decreased. Such a catch 22.
Goal #2: Go on vacation without second guessing what I could do based on my fibro
I hate it when I go on vacation and have to take a rest or miss out on some activity because of a pain flare up. When I booked my last trip to Thailand, that was one of my biggest fears – FOMO. So about 6 – 8 weeks into my exercise routine, I added going to the group fitness gym around the corner from me. At first, I thought I was going to die 10 minutes into the 55 minute routine. However, after about 6 weeks of going 2-3 times a week, I could do the entire 55 minutes without dying – sweating and panting, but not dying.
In March, I went to Thailand. I managed to walk so much that I wore holes in my two pairs of my shoes. That’s not all — I mountain biked until my ass hurt, I kayaked down the river for over 5 hours, and I even rode elephants for days. All without ever letting my fibro get the better of me. It was truly an adventure I will never forget.
Ok, I’m working on this one right now. I am still exercising regularly. And, as of yesterday, I am changing my diet — less sugar, more healthy snacks. My gym is doing a 6 week program. I’m at the end of week 1. Wish me luck!
Goal #4: Climb Half Dome
If you told me a year ago that I would be training to climb Half Dome – a high intensity 14+ mile hike, I would of laughed at you. No way would I ever believe that a person suffering from Fibromyalgia could ever hike 14+ miles in one day, nevertheless climb Half Dome. And you know what? I can now see that climb safely and securely in my not-so-distant future — less than 8 weeks to be specific. Stay tuned for updates…
Goal #5: ???
What should I do next? Where should I go next? I am now starting to feel like the world is my oyster.
Even though my goals didn’t involve being able to live a life free of fibro, that’s what happened. Such a happy side effect indeed. 🙂