Friday, April 15, 2011

Pedal to the Metal

Hey you, yeah you! Listen up, okay? I want you to turn down your TV, music, children or whatever you have going on in the background. I need to whisper something in your ear. Are you ready? Did you do as I asked? Great!

{whispers} I feel human today. Yes, it's true. I can hardly believe it myself. Gone is the fibro fog, mental exhaustion and physical fatigue. I'm not sure how long this is going to last, but I'm going to savor this day and take full advantage of it. Play out in the sunshine, hop, run, skip and jump! Perhaps even do some gardening. You know, do all the fun things I haven't been able to do in a while. Maybe we can end the evening with dinner out and a show like “normal” people do. Doesn't that sound grande? I have no idea what's playing at the local theatre; I'm sure we can find something to suit our taste.

Whoa, slow down there Nelly. Remember to pace yourself. Wait, did I just refer to myself a horse? *facepalm

On second thought, I'm not going overexert or do anything to cause a flare today, especially since last week I willingly participated in activities that exacerbated the beginnings of a flare. What? Yes, it's true. Last week, I pushed the envelope knowing I would hurt even more for it later.

We promised the children an evening out at Go-Kart Plus. I almost stayed home because I pushed myself a tad bit too hard at physical therapy. However, after a few hours of rest, I felt well enough to tag along and watch them race around the tracks. 

Little did we know they wouldn't meet the driving height requirements for two of the funnest tracks at the park. They could, however, ride along as passengers. How could I refuse?

Have you ever driven a go-kart? Wow, super fun! The karts, however, might as well be decked out old lawnmowers from generations past ~ rickety, loud, body-jolting and bruising machines. Regardless, our adventure on the tracks and the pure joy on my children's faces made the jostling my body endured worth every minute of it.

Would I go go-karting again? Absolutely, just not anytime soon. I ended up, like I knew I would, deep in the throws of a flare. We planned on taking the children to Washington, DC to see the sites. Unfortunately, I missed out on this adventure and stayed home alone. As it turns out, though, it was the best thing for me. I rested without the guilt of not being able to take care of my family or anchoring them by my side. It also gave Todd and the children the opportunity to bond by themselves and play without having to stop midway because of me.

As I seal up last week's envelope and gently open up this week's, I am reminded of the great night out I shared with my family and how important it is to conserve energy. It also brings to mind two strategies for learning how to manage Fibromyalgia: pacing activities and setting limitations. If you practice these strategies, you can avoid winding up in a vicious push and crash cycle which involves overexertion, increased symptoms, rest, reduced symptoms, frustration and guilt. The guilt and frustration drives you to overexert yourself in an attempt to catch up with everything you weren't able to accomplish while you were experiencing increased symptoms and trying to rest. Hence, the vicious cycle.

A dear friend of mine shared the CFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-Help website with me recently because it offers “practical tools for managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.” I highly encourage you to review Aids to Pacing, Part 1 and Aids to Pacing, Part 2 if you have CFIDS and/or Fibromyalgia or know somebody who does.

For someone with a chronic illness, learning how to pace and limiting their activities takes a lot of practice. It's undoubtably a trial and error process.  However, as you've just read, there are times in your life where you may decide to push "the pedal to the metal" for just one night as I did. We know living with Fibromyalgia is life altering, but I refuse to let it be life ending. If you're reading my blog because you have it too, I hope you're finding some comfort and encouragement in my words. 


  1. Great blog & post B! Thanks for sharing it with me. Btw, my word verification is 'poofoi' so I think they're on to me somehow, haha!

    August S.

  2. Pacing is a difficult thing to learn and something most "healthy" people don't understand. Thanks for sharing. Nice to not feel so alone. Hugs! Diana