"I only get one life and I will not let Fibromyalgia take the joy from my living it."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Class Elbow

We've been doing our training for foster care. A lot of hours in the classroom, a lot of hours sitting at a table. Normally my sensitivity to touch is well managed, but with this much class time it means my elbows have spent much of the time on the table. Therefore, I am experiencing what I have named class elbow. Feels much like tennis elbow, which I have also had. My hand is also hurting from all the writing I've had to do from forms to fill out, notes and tests to take. Thankfully, I recently won some pain drops from a FibroMyWhat?'s blog contest. Perfect time to give them a try. I actually took them to my CPR class with me because I had wished that I had them the night before during class when my elbows and hands were hurting while trying to take notes and tests. I followed the directions and rubbed a few drops onto the area and rubbed it in good. I liked that it did not leave the skin greasy. I don't think that it stained my clothes either, but time will tell. Check comments for follow up on that if it does happen. It did seem to work. I don't know if it was the drops or the mini-massage. Unfortunately the directions say to reapply every 4-6 hours. My pain would return within 20-30 minutes. So it did give minor, if temporary, relief. I used it several times through out the class. This was the longest CPR class I had ever taken. It was from 9am to 6pm. In every other class I've taken we practiced on the dummy a few times and then took our written test and then our demonstrative test on the dummy. This class had us working on the dummies the entire class. There was a video and we watched the people demo it and then we practiced it several times. We did that with every possible scenario, rescue breathing only, choking, different sizes people, etc. Then we even had to practice on each other listening for signs of life and then rolling each other over for CPR and then into the recovery position. Thankfully we didn't actually try CPR on each other. Although we had to listen for each others' breathing, which was a little uncomfortable having a stranger that close to my face. Then he would call out a scenario and we would have to react with what to do. He would walk us through whether the person was breathing or what not and we would continue responding. It was a long day. So the next two days my neck, back, arms and hands were really hurting. My left hand was hurting the most because I was putting my right hand over my left while doing compressions. He had asked if anyone had any medical conditions that would prevent them from doing the physical part of the class that we could tell him during the first break. Had I realized that we would be doing so much I might have said something. But I thought surely I could do the test at the end. Anyway, I passed. And it could have been worse. And I recovered with the help of the pain relief drops. I'm going to keep using them. I even let my husband use them on a mole that he had scratched and it was hurting. He tried them and said that he thinks that they helped. It was not longer aggravated and so it shrank back down. They are worth a try.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Like The Normals Do

It's been a long couple of weeks. Not even two weeks really. Sunday afternoon, just over a week ago, my husband was cleaning out the hot tub. He stepped off the deck to empty the wet vac and rolled his ankle. We thought it was broken and went to the ER. They said that it was a really bad sprain that can sometimes feel worse than a break. So he left with a brace on his ankle, crutches under his arms and two scrips for narcotics in my purse. Stop the story right there! For a normal person, this may not seem like something to notice. But did you, friend with Fibro, catch what I just said?

So we get him home and he contacts his boss and guys on his team to let them know that he cannot be at work tomorrow. He actually ended up taking off a whole week. Although it wasn't really "taking off" since he can do a lot of his job at home on his computer and with the telephone. It wasn't ideal, but he managed. It was confirmed with safety at his work that he cannot come onto a job site until he can get his foot into a steel toe boot which wasn't going to happen anytime soon considering it was HUGE. Not to mention, all sorts of black and blue. We kept it elevated, iced, braced and him drugged. We watch it, like a boiling pot, for the swelling to go down.

In the meantime someone, namely me, had to finish cleaning out the hot tub. Monday, I had to finish wet-vacing out the bottom and emptying it, careful not to misstep and twist my own ankle. Then rinse and empty by wet vac again. By the end of the day I was already starting to flare up. I had used muscles that were long atrophied, I'm sure, lifting more than I am used to. My shoulders were the worst, as always. But Tuesday morning I was well enough to go to my last day of Bible study at the church. Then some girls and I went out and I allowed one to convince me to go to the YMCA. I had no intention of overdoing it. Little did I know how little it takes to overdo it. I did the elliptical, no impact. I intentionally chose the one that did not move your arms. I did about thirty minutes at a low level incline, going to pace of a tortoise. Again, by that night I was starting to feel it. My hips were hurting. It was deep in my hips. The only way I can describe it was like I must have had severe arthritis and I had just grind my hip joint for 30 minutes. When I awoke the next morning I could barely stand. But as always, after a little walking around I was up and moving. I apologize to my husband that I'm moaning and groaning when he's laying over there with his foot up. He assures me that he's not feeling that much pain.

Because I'm an idiot, I had agreed to go to the gym again that next day. So I got out the Tiger Balm and started rubbing it on my hips, upper legs, butt, then on my shoulders. I realized that what I really needed was to be dipped into a vat of Tiger Balm. It did start to work, so I went to the gym. This time I said I need to to the bike. Less movement in the legs and I even did the one where your legs are out in front of you instead of under you. Almost like you're just sitting on the couch. But moving. I went a whopping 3 mph and burned about 10 calories. I told my friend that I definitely did not need to come tomorrow because I was flaring up, maybe Friday. Wednesday night I was going to finish the coating in the hot tub so it could dry and then be refilled. But I was in so much pain I decided to wait until the next day. And the temptation that had been plaguing me all week finally found an excuse, "There's a white pill in the cabinet that could make this all a whole lot easier." All week I've been bringing him his pills, watching them disappear in the plastic tube. Wondering when he won't need them anymore, will there be any left? It's getting close to the bottom. There's no refills. I'm a horrible wife. In my mind I thought, "Can't you just take the one that I can't take and leave the others for me?" I take something over-the-counter and go to bed. Thursday I tell my husband and my friend that I am concerned. Usually when I do something (like clean hot tub on Monday) I start my uphill climb from the pain within a couple of days. Here it was Thursday and I was getting worse. It must be the combination of the elliptical on Tuesday and maybe all the stress with the foster process. Sure would be nice to get in the hot tub. My hubs does help me finish the hot tub and we get it filled. By Friday I do start to feel myself getting better. Wednesday night was definitely the hardest, but I never did take a narcotic. I want to say that I'm proud of that, but even now I feel a twinge of regret at not taking the sweet relief when it was valid. I've taken them many times. But I think it could be a slippery slope considering that they do not affect me as strongly as they affect most. I would just like to avoid them if I can. But I am no martyr. If my husband had not still been in need of them, I would have taken them. I cannot look at the white pills in victory. They mock me because they know that with Fibromyalgia there will always be another party to go to.

By the weekend my friend is going out of town, but encouraging me to still go to the gym. See her signing me in as a visitor on her Y membership got me in for a week so she wanted me to get the full benefits of the one week pass. And she wants me to be healthy. She said that she hoped I would keep coming so that I could eventually come exercise with her without pain. That's when I realized that it will never happen. Normal people may be able to exercise through the muscle soreness and get through the pain, in the end being more in shape and able to do more exercising. But I'm not normal. Yes, exercise is good for me. But my muscle pain and joint soreness will not go away with more exercise. I should just walk the dog, not use an elliptical. I can do some pilates or yoga, but not zumba or body pump, whatever that is. Here is the reason why. My caution to everyone with fibromyalgia who wants to exercise. I get more physical activity in my normal one week routine than I ever will in one week of down time due to a flare up because I tried to exercise one time like a "normal" person. No, it may not be considered exercise. But it is movement of the body.
Garden is starting to look good. Roses blooming, red yucca stems exploding.
My gardening, my house chores, my shopping. All of those have to be put on hold when I can't move because I exercised. Now, maybe some people, maybe one day I, can do some of these "normal" exercise things. But I can't just go to the gym and start exercising like a healthy 30 year old could. When walking the dog no longer presents any challenges then I can move on.

P.S. I was able to get in the hot tub on Saturday night.