Before Fibromyalgia hit me last March, I was a whirlwind of activity. I didn’t know the meaning of the word pace and if I asked someone for help, it usually involved opening jars and killing spiders. If I was busy at work, I was on the balls of my feet, speed-walking through the bank, sometimes standing up to complete tasks because sitting would only slow me down. At home there was always something to clean, pick-up or put away. I’d save all the hard cleaning for the weekend and spend the majority of one of those days dancing my way through laundry, dishes, floors, bathroom and toys. In the spring and summer, I liked to walk the three blocks to work, sometimes walking home for lunch as well. We would go to the Denver Zoo and walk through the entire zoo in one trip. I regularly walked with my kids to collect the mail, to play at the park where I would be the monster and chase them around the playground equipment, and to the library. Energy was limitless, re-filled with a power-nap, boosted by a cup of coffee.
Since I was diagnosed in November of 2011, I have had to learn so many new things. The most important thing I have to focus on, in everything I do, is that I only have half the energy I think I have, and if I use too much, then I will be paying it back. Before I do something, I have to decide whether I have enough energy to complete the task. I have to separate everything on my list of things to do into Have, Need and Want. The Have category is made up of things that I have to do daily, that I cannot hand off to someone else. Eating. Taking care of my kids. Taking a shower and getting myself dressed. Exercising. The Need category is made up of things that I need to do, but can ask for help if need be. Wash dishes. Wash clothes. Take care of my cats. Picking the kids up from school and helping the kids with homework. The Want category is pretty obvious. Crafts. Shopping. Video games. Movies. Reading. Here is where it gets tricky. I’m supposed to do what I want last, but I’m still supposed to take “Me Time” every day as well. What is “Me Time”, you may ask. I’m a married, mother of three so this is a work-in-progress. The only “Me Time” I get is when the kids and hubby aren’t home or when I’m in the bathroom with the door locked.
I’m still learning how to pace myself. After I shake of the morning fog, around 10 am or so, I have a couple hours to try to get what I need, have and want to get accomplished, done. I rest in between, trying to not get lost in Facebook, Pinterest, or any of the other online mags I go to every day. I can always tell when I’ve over done it because the next day my arms feel like they weigh 50 pounds and I whine a lot. I feel like I have the flu, achy and I just want to sleep. On days like that, I do some yoga or pilates and my daughter and I eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because they are easy to make. I’ve called my parents on days like this and they’ve driven an hour-and-a-half to come take care of me.
The last time we went to the zoo, my husband pushed me in a wheelchair. I’ve decided that I don’t ever want to do that again, no matter how much pain or agony it causes. In a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science last week, I felt physically ill by the end of the two hours we spent there. Sure I missed some moments with my husband and kids because I was looking for a place to sit while they walked around but the moments we did have were priceless. My daughter and I walked to the library yesterday, a little over two blocks, and I was feeling light-headed by the time we made it there, wondering if I was going to be able to make it home. I then had to pick up the kids from school, stop by the bank and I promised my daughter some sledding that she’d been begging for, so we went to the park. It was such a nice day and it felt so good to be out enjoying the sunshine despite the wind. I ached from my head to my toes last night. I was dozing off at 7:30 and in bed, dead to the world, by 8:30. If my energy had a meter, I was on empty. I over did it. It was totally worth it though. My little one had such a huge smile on her face when we left the park. Today I’m writing my blog, though a storm is coming in so my joints hurt. I’m cutting up magazines so I can organize them into a format that doesn’t make me crazy and throwing away the rest. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining and I am dozing off. Life is beautiful despite its hardships. I push the pain and the fatigue to the back of my mind and though I suffer later, these are the moments I want my children to remember.