Monday, April 11, 2011

Rules Are Not Meant To Be Broken

I can hardly believe how late I stayed up the other night. When I looked over at the clock and saw the time, I thought, “Wow, you are going to pay for this tomorrow.” The combination of a short nap and an afternoon cup of coffee turned what’s normally an early night to bed into a late night TV marathon with my husband, Todd. However, by 1:30am, I knew I had to call it a night.

Once I finally found a comfortable position in bed, I noticed parts of my body twitched a lot more than usual. On any given night, my legs and/or arms twitch, but that night my shoulder and neck twitched too. And, not to feel left out, my entire body twitched once right before I fell asleep. The body twitches don’t happen frequently and are a real treat. [insert sarcasm]
It didn’t take me long to fall asleep because I take enough medications at night to tranquilize a horse! Now, if only they kept me asleep. As far as paying for it, I woke up with my normal aches and pains, but slept until 7am. Yay! Happy me! My internal clock was kind enough to compensate for the hours I missed by allowing me sleep passed 4am.
Funny, okay maybe not so funny, how quickly I can go from feeling relatively okay to completely crappy. Its like going from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds and, basically, that’s exactly what happened:
I left the house to go on a grocery run. A dreaded chore now; however, one I loved to do before I got sick. Yes, from scoping out the produce section for the freshest fruits and vegetables; trying to avoid the junk food section, only to return and grab that bag of salt and vinegar chips; to comparing prices of toilet paper and wondering which brand of paper towels truly was the quicker picker upper, I enjoyed all of those things. Okay, I’ll admit, I didn’t enjoy grocery shopping when my kids were younger and I had to drag them with me.
This shopping trip, however, was especially bad. I felt excruciating pain in my back simply from pushing the grocery cart down the aisles. And, each step I took seemed to cause every muscle in my body to spasm and my legs to weaken. My stride slowed considerably as my body stiffened from my ever-so-aching joints. Even the fluorescent lights and the noise from the other shoppers and store employees caused discomfort; random pain searing through my head. I could feel a migraine coming on.
Fortunately, Todd and the kids accompanied me. The kids helped out immensely by getting the dry goods from the list and Todd took over when I could no longer push the cart. He also loaded the groceries on the belt and into the van when we left the store. Without their help, I probably would have abandoned the groceries in the middle of the one of the aisles. Needless to say, my next few days were shot.
While recovering, I berated myself for breaking certain rules we, as fibromyalgia survivors, must follow. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a board certified internist and Medical Director of Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, defines these rules “as the five common no-no’s,” we commit when trying to manage our illness:
  1. Exercising too much or too little
Fibromyalgia reflects an energy crisis in your body, so you can only exercise to a certain point. Beyond that, you get what is called “post-exertional fatigue,” where you feel completely wiped out the next day. Be careful to avoid this as it can discourage you from the moderate exercise that is vital to healing fibromyalgia. On the other hand, insufficient exercise results in de-conditioning and clearly can worsen your ability to function.
  1. Not Knowing When to Say “No”
Being too agreeable to things you don’t really want to do is a major stress that aggravates people with fibromyalgia. Try more often to allow yourself to say “no” when what is being asked of you doesn’t feel good.
  1. Not Listening When Your Body Tells You it’s in Pain
Widespread muscle pain is one of the most dominant symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. When you feel pain, remember that that’s your body’s protective system signaling you that something needs attention. Don’t dismiss the pain or try to “play through it.” Instead learn how to manage fibromyalgia-related pain using a comprehensive approach.
  1. Eating Excessive Sugar
Eating excessive sugar (especially in sodas or fruit juices) can severely flare fibromyalgia by worsening adrenal exhaustion and Candida/yeast overgrowth. Eat a high-protein diet and substitute Stevia or Saccharin for sugar. Sugar-free ice cream with Splenda and sugar-free chocolates with maltitol are also okay (in small amounts). Dark chocolate can actually improve fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms!
  1. Not Getting Enough Sleep
It may seem counter-intuitive, but people with fatigue-related illnesses, such as fibromyalgia, often get too little sleep. Getting eight to nine hours of good quality deep sleep each night is critical to eliminating fatigue and pain.”

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