Fibronaut At Home

Back to Work

I’ve been working at my new job for a couple weeks now.  I’m part time and the longest shift I’ve worked has been seven hours.  So far, so good.  Sometimes I have to stop and stretch and sometimes I forget to take my meds.  My body always tells me what I should be doing.  I bring a small snack for when I have to take my naproxen and I’ve been trying to drink tea instead of soda, when I can.  One night, I was so busy, I had to eat a jelly donut for dinner.  Not the best dinner, but it allowed me to take my meds and get a couple (hundred? thousand?) calories, so I wouldn’t fall over.

The mental aspect of going back to work is just as hard as the physical.  I write myself positive notes, and read them before I go in.  “I am so grateful for this opportunity,”  “I’m so happy to be working again,” “You are going to do great,” and “You got this.”  I ALWAYS smile at myself in the mirror and say, “This is going to be fun!”  If I have a setback, like a grumpy customer or something goes wrong, I just tell myself to shake it off.  I read a great quote somewhere that I come back to: “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.”  I just think of that, determine that I’m not going to let someone else’s sour mood affect me, and remind myself to be patient with myself and others.

I have a lot of former bank customers and former gas station customers that come in and that is always great.  I love talking to people again.  Then, I have someone come in who asks, “What happened?” as if the worst thing in the world is me, back at a gas station.  I’ve had a couple of these.  The first one was really tough and I felt a little defeated when he left.  Then, today, as I was thinking about the interaction, I remembered a conversation I had right before he came in.  One of my old gas station customers came in.  Every day, when picking up my kids from school, I drive by a bench in front of the high school that is dedicated to her son, who died two years ago.  Normally, I wouldn’t know what to say, but I offered my condolences anyway.  We talked for awhile and then she thanked me for remembering him.  She said, “I’ve found that for me, when he died, my world stopped, but for everyone else, it kept going.”

I cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child.  My losses were nothing in comparison.  When I think about those first couple years after my diagnosis, I can relate to her description of the world stopping for me.  I am so fortunate that I had Fibromyalgia and CFS, even my anxiety and depression.  I didn’t have anything life-threatening, my family and children are healthy.  The experience was in no way easy for anyone in my life.  I’m so fortunate that I have such a supportive and understanding family, friends and husband.  I might be starting over, and I’m definitely not making what I made in the bank, but I’m confident that I’m right where I am supposed to be.

Tonight, when I had my second, “What happened?”, I smiled, said “I was sick, but now I’m better.” and left it at that.  I don’t have to explain and not everyone is going to get it anyway.

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I Got It!

This is a couple days late, but, I got the job!  The interview went great.  I felt so confident going into it.  I really worked on several key points that I learned from Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”.  I acted how I wanted to feel; confident, happy, open, willing and able.  Instead of dwelling on what-if’s and worrying about what would happen or wouldn’t happen, I thought, “This is going to be fun!  This is going to go great!  I got this!  This job is mine!”, over and over.  Whenever I could feel my mind veering into uncertainty and fear, I repeated my mantra, smiled, and took a deep breath.  And it worked!

I was supposed to hear by the end of the week, but the manager called me a couple hours after my interview.  I start on Monday, and couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter in my life.  I have no doubt that I’m going to be able to balance work and family.  Knowing what my priorities are and focusing on what means the most to me is what’s key.  I know that I need to make sure I eat well and keep up with my exercise regimen to avoid any fibro or CFS flare ups.  Eating small snacks to avoid the shakes or hanger (hunger anger), making sure I take my meds on time, not focusing on little mistakes, laughing at myself, being patient with others and myself, will all be in the back of my mind.  All the things I thought I was getting away with before, but were really hurting me, I’ve done my best to address.  Now comes the test.  Can I do this?  Yes.  I can.


Go Susie! Go Susie! Go Susie! Go Susie!


I did it.  I went on an interview.  Phew.  It went really well and I’m feeling really good about this.  No ifs, ands or buts.

I have a huge balloon full of squeals in my chest.  I let a really long squeal out as soon as I was in my car.  Good thing I was parked around the corner.

Probably the best part of the interview was when I was able to say that I was confident my fibromyalgia or CFS wouldn’t affect my ability to do any of the tasks associated with the job.  THAT IS HUGE!

Now, I’m off to walk the dog and I have so much happy energy, I’m going to ZUMBA when I get back.



It’s All How You Look At It

Some things I’m grateful for and would not have had were it not for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

-Time to bask in nature’s beauty.  I enjoy watching the leaves fall, watching the snow pile up, listening to the birds call, watching the squirrels play, sitting in the sunshine, to name a few.

-Time with my children.  I’m getting to do what I’ve wanted to since they were babies.  I pick them up from school, I share my love of reading and sewing with them, I fix them meals and I hug and kiss them and talk to them whenever I want.  I’m able to volunteer at their schools, go to class parties and other special events.

-New hobbies.  Sewing was something I always wanted to do, but never had the time.  I crafted, but not as much as I wanted to.  Now, one of my daily goals is to create or bake something.  Today, instead of cursing the tear in my son’s Halloween costume and the too-big skirt on my daughter’s, I fixed them myself.  I have lost count of all the clothes I’ve upcycled, mended and taken in, saving us money.

-Thrifting is another hobby I’ve picked up again.  It has become a way of life for us.  Anything I can get for cheap, second-hand or make myself, I do.  One of my favorite money-saving, environmental projects I’ve done is to make my own cloth napkins out of an old tablecloth.  We haven’t bought paper towels or napkins in several years.  They go in the wash with my towels and don’t take up any more room than a paper towel roll would.  It used to be a goal of mine to wear something I made or thrifted every day.  I don’t have that goal any more because the majority of my clothing is thifted or home-made.

-Recycling has become a passion of mine.  Everything that goes in our trashcan gets inspected by me first.  Plus I reuse everything I can.  I always look at something I’m thinking of throwing away and think, “Could I use this for something else?”

We’re headed out to the comic book store for our free comics today, but I know this is a subject I’ll come back to in future posts.

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Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Not literally.

Today, in continuation of my happiness project, I vacuumed out my van.  It has not been vacuumed in YEARS!  The sad state of my van is one of those things that bugs me daily, not to mention embarrasses me anytime someone else sees it.  I was waiting for my hubby to clean it and obviously my hints of “This van is so dirty” every time he was in it, weren’t working.  I’ve long since given up nagging about the cleanliness of my van and just kind of let it go.  Then, while reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, I started thinking of things I could do for myself, that I normally nag the hubby about.  She talks about how it’s not really fair to expect her husband to do certain things just because he’s the man.  If I don’t want to do it, he probably doesn’t either.  I’ve now added “clean van” as one of my monthly to-do’s, because as I’ve noticed and as Rubin also talks about, doing something more often makes it easier to do.

Thinking back, there are other tasks I’ve taken on since I’ve started feeling better that normally I would reserve for the hubby.  I’ve taken a more active role with our dog, I’ve been more involved in the trash duties and I’ve been hanging pictures and other things myself, rather than nagging incessantly and cursing the hubby while he largely ignores my tirade.  I’m sure he appreciates the decrease in nagging as well.

I just looked and the title and realized that I forgot to talk about the dead birds.  In vacuuming the van, I have also worked out.  BOO-YAH!!!  Two birds, one stone.

Side laugh:  I was just doing my tags and I typed “two birds one stoner”.  LOL.

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The Happiness Project

I have finally started reading “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin.  Julie Ryan of Counting My Spoons, suggested the book to me months ago and I’m so glad that she did.  I’m only half-way through, but I already love the book and I’m heading back towards the totally awesome me that I found in April.  I’ve been in a slump lately, which is the main reason why I haven’t posted here.  I didn’t want anyone to know that I was struggling, though my hubby and my Mom knew.  I’m ecstatic and relieved that I’m back.

The main goal that is sticking with me now and that could be life-altering for anyone, but especially for others like me with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is, “Act the way you want to feel.”  I was already trying to do this and seeing that it worked for someone else, really helped me.  I think I went into a slump because I was starting to wonder if what I was doing was really working.  Rubin had a similar experience.  Reading that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my doubts and gave me tools for combating the negative thoughts causing those doubts.

Even though I was doing all the right things, doubts crept in and the old conflict of to-work-or-not-to-work started playing havoc with my mind.  If I don’t work, there isn’t any money for extras and if I do work, there isn’t any time for extras.  I want a part-time job so I can still pick up the kids from school and spend my evenings and weekends with them, but most places only have full-time available, or I just can’t imagine working there.  I talk myself out of jobs before I even apply for them.  I have finally come to the conclusion that, when it’s right, it’ll happen.  When I find my mind going to that black hole of never-ending worry and what-ifs, I sing to myself, “Que sera, sera.  Whatever will be will be.”  A little silly, but it works.

We’ve also had extra stress dealing with some school issues.  I’m not going to go into it.  I think we’re almost through it and I can look back and see that despite all the stress, some good things have come out of going through this.

I’ve gone back to keeping track of all I accomplish each day.  Even if no one else notices, it makes me happy to see all these tasks completed.  I have a spreadsheet I found in Microsoft Excel that’s meant for a chores list, but works perfectly for me.  Each week, I’ll start a new spreadsheet, so I can look back and see how much progress I’ve made.  There are some tasks that I do daily, some I do twice a week or more and some I only do once a week or once a month.  I don’t have to look to my hubby or my kids for validation that I’m reaching goals.  I’ve also added several items since I started.

I’m learning to find the positive in every situation, no matter how bleak.  I’m learning to be grateful for where I am, who I’m with and everything that I once took for granted in life.  Those are some pretty big statements, but I’m confident in them.

I’ll probably post again about this book because there is so much helpful advice in it.  I would recommend this book to anyone, whether you feel like you are happy and especially if you don’t.

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Swift Kick in the…

I’m so glad I posted about my anxiety yesterday.  Just posting here, instead of just writing in my journal gave me the push I needed.  I thought to myself, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  Then, I made a list of what I needed to accomplish before picking up my kids from school and I dropped off the two applications I’d already filled out.  Today’s goal is to do my cover letter for my resume and drop that off at a couple places.  I’ll also be making a few calls to see if anyone knows of any openings in the area.  Deep breath.  Here we go!

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I’m Afraid

I’m trying to be positive and keep an open mind, but I’m really struggling right now.  I’ve decided that I NEED to work while the kids are in school.  Just part-time and nothing stressful, but I’m having so much anxiety in just filling out applications.  Why?  I’m afraid that this is just confirming what I already suspected.  The mental aspect of returning to work is going to be much more difficult than the physical.  The apps are filled out.  I just need to return them.

Here’s what runs constantly through my brain:

What if no one will hire you?

What if they do hire you and you can’t handle it?  

Should you be printing out your resume and trying for something more than the grocery or hardware store?

And so on, over and over, until I’m a mess.  I’m carrying so much anxiety in my body that I’m having fatigue and pain!  I haven’t really had to deal with this in months.

At home, doing the things I do around the house, I feel great.  So great, that I feel like I’m not doing enough.  It’s great to have a clean house, but that’s not really helping with paying the bills.  My hubby isn’t putting any pressure on me, this is all coming from myself.

I think I’m going to have to dig deep, journal some more about what I’m really afraid of.  This is going to take ovaries of steel.



Note:  Please read the title in Forrest Gump voice.  Thank you.

Part of my trial-and-error workout program is doing what I think I will enjoy.  My gut has been steering me towards running lately.  Not sure where this instinct came from, but on my walks with my dog and kids, I’ve been feeling like, “I can do eet!”  So I did.

I started slow, running behind Emma on her bicycle or in her Barbie Jeep.  My older two came along sometimes, but mostly it was Emma, Chewie and me.  I have an iPod Nano that will track my walks and my runs.  The music helps me find and keep a pace.  The first day, I ran sporadically, whenever Emma decided to go a little faster than a crawl.  Every day, I ran a little more.  Chewie, Emma and I all needed some practice coordinating who goes where and other logistics, but we have a pretty good routine down.

Well, we did.  Emma just started Kindergarten yesterday.  Now it’s just me and the dog, unless we go after school.  After going on one previous run with just me and Chewie, I wasn’t about to run yesterday.  Running without Emma to watch out for and direct allows me more time to think.  If I’m not careful, I get all up in my head and forget to concentrate on how I’m running.  Pretty soon, my shoulders are tense, I’m not breathing well and I’m feeling discouraged and negative and thinking on all things bad.

Here’s what I did today.  When my brain started rambling, I checked in with my shoulders and loosened them up.  I checked in with my breathing and made sure I was taking deep breaths and letting them out slowly.  I keep my head up and looking ahead instead of looking at the ground.  I made sure my chest was out, with my shoulders lowered and my tummy in.  I’m not sure if I’m doing this running thing correctly, but these things all seem to make the going easier.  Then, I just made a running loop in my head of all these things.  Almost like meditating while running.  Once you’re checking in with your body is automatic and something you don’t have to focus so much on, you go into your happy place.

When I get home, I stretch, take deep breaths and eat fresh fruit or veggies.  I think it helps with any sore muscles I may have.  

I’m up to a mile now.  I only stop if I need to stretch something out, or if we have a situation (other dogs, Emma meltdown, etc.).  I even pushed Emma on her bike, while running with Chewie and while she was screaming about her legs hurting.  I feel you, Emma!

Next month, I’m playing on a rec volleyball team with my hubby.  I cannot wait.  I never thought I’d be able to play volleyball again.  Like everything else I’m doing, I’ll stay positive, keep my head up with a smile on my face and remember to breathe.  Shoulders back, check.  Teeth unclenched, probably not, but that’s why I have to check.  Take a deep breath in, let it out slowly.  You got this.

anteater got this

Running soundtrack:  So far I’ve run to Paramore, The Ting Tings, Panic At The Disco, Rihanna, and Young The Giant.

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