27 Mar Where I have Been
Welcome Back to the Castle!
I felt I should give you an update about where I have been, since it’s been over a year and a half since I last posted. (A quick note: This post will be mostly about me. If this doesn’t interest you, please feel free to skip this one. Otherwise, here we go…)
It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since I was last able to post. For those of you who have ever hosted a personal blog, you will know that writing content to share with others about yourself can be a very emotional process. What do you share? What do you keep private? Does anyone really care about what you think? So many questions…
When you have a chronic illness, it can be doubly draining to expose yourself to others in a meaningful way. After all, if you shared with everyone how you really feel while living with fibromyalgia, people might begin to think you are a hypochondriac. How do you communicate your true thoughts without seeming to whine about all your aches, pains, and challenges?
Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that question. If you have suggestions, I’m all ears. You are welcome to leave a comment below or shoot me an email.
Another hurdle to face is how to get back into the blogging game after such a long absence. Do you share all that is going on in your life, or just pick up like nothing ever happened?
Since this is a blog about having fibro and how it affects my life, I think it would be disingenuous of me not to explain a little about my absence. All that said, I’ll share what I can.
Just a few weeks after my last post in August of 2021, I was excited about the progress I was making with my blog as well as my health and my small business. My business was growing, and my health was in a very good place. On the first day of September, I was preparing to put out my next post and looking forward to building the blog and, hopefully in the process, helping people.
Then the call came…
My father had been in a terrible accident, and I needed to get home immediately. As some of you know, my brother passed away in 2018, leaving me the only surviving child in our family. My mother has a lot of health problems, and I was needed right away to drive her several hundred miles to be with my father, who had been air-flighted to a burn center.
Without going into any more details, I’ll just say that he survived for a week before passing peacefully from his injuries. It was terribly sad to let him go, but it was also a relief after all the suffering he had already endured. He would have never been able to resume a meaningful life again, and he wouldn’t have wanted to live completely dependent on others for all his needs.
Then began the long process of straightening out my parents’ affairs. They had lived miles out in the country, and there was no way that my mother could remain there by herself.
(But we weren’t alone…we were helped and prayed for by so many friends and family members. It would be impossible to thank everyone. But, if you helped, you know I appreciate you more than you will ever know.)
So, we began making plans to move Mom nearer to where my husband and I live, so I could help her with her shopping, drive her to appointments, etc. Things were going pretty well…until I completely blew out my knee at the end of September. (As if we didn’t already have enough to deal with…)
After many trips to the doctor, X-rays, an MRI and a few tears, it was determined that I would have to have full ACL reconstruction surgery in December. This really put the pressure on us to get through my parents’ 57 years’ worth of accumulated possessions and prepare to sell their property. I needed to be at home to recover after the surgery, which meant we had to have Mom in a place where we could take care of her, and she would be safe.
Of course, as most of you know, stress is one of the worst triggers for fibromyalgia flares. But, somehow both she and I found the strength to do what we must do. We completed her move during the first week of December, and my surgery was a few days later.
On a side note, one good thing about the way everything happened was that I was able to have one of the best surgeons in the entire area do the reconstruction. If I had been at home when I injured the knee, I might not have had such a positive result. So, that was truly a “God thing” for me. I had struggled with the knee since a basketball injury in high school, so it was a relief to finally get it repaired.
It took literally months of physical therapy to regain most of my mobility. At the end of the physical therapy, I bit the bullet and joined a local gym to continue building back my strength and get to a place where I feel recovered.
So, adding three hard and draining workouts a week to my already full schedule of working full-time while taking over my mom’s care has pretty much used up all my energy and motivation. Thus, the long break in blogging posts.
It’s been over a year and a half of incredible ups and downs, but I’m finally in a place where I can face doing the work that is required to put out posts that I can be proud of. I always want to give you my best, but until now, I just didn’t have any more to give.
If you suffer with fibro and have been through a life-changing event, whether good or bad, you know that it’s important to take care of yourself first. You can’t do for others if you don’t have anything left to give.
I hope that I’m through the worst of the challenges and can move on stronger and more sure of how to handle the pressures of life that have arisen because of the death of my father and the subsequent physical challenges. After all, I only get one shot at this thing we call life, and I want to make the best of it no matter what comes my way.
I will say that my faith is as strong as it’s ever been, my physical strength is better than it has been in years, and I am in a pretty good place in my life. My mom is happy where she is, learning to live as independently as possible without my dad. Losing someone after 57 years of marriage could have destroyed her, but she has adjusted amazingly well and is in better condition than she has been in a long while, too.
Throughout the entire ordeal, my husband was an amazing support and took care of all the things that I should have been doing and couldn’t. I could not have survived without him and his love. It just reiterated to me how important it is to cultivate your personal relationships, and how important it is to have someone who loves you unconditionally. I wasn’t always easy to live with, and I think a lot of men would have thrown up their hands and given up. I am thankful every day for all he is and does for me.
So, what does this mean for how I handle my life with fibro?
I will admit, the fibro made the circumstances much harder than they would have been if I didn’t have it. But, I also learned that I can handle much more than I ever thought possible. I just had to keep breathing and focusing on whatever the next most important thing was. I couldn’t look too far ahead, or I would have been overwhelmed. And, when it gets right down to it, that’s probably a really good way to live with fibromyalgia.
I also learned that although taking on a hard physical fitness plan can seem daunting and a bit scary because you know you are going to hurt more, it is also very good for me. As I have regained my strength, I have discovered that with each workout, I am stronger and actually feel better eventually.
It was incredibly hard to get started with the therapy and training. My therapist told me later that in the beginning she had been very afraid I wouldn’t stick with it. They hadn’t had anyone cry their way through the treatment exercises like that before. But, I made it through the first few weeks and things improved.
It turned out that I had a very strong emotional reaction to the pain killers prescribed after surgery. Once I stopped taking those, the crying spells mostly went away. I won’t say that I didn’t get really discouraged by how slowly I progressed, but I knew I couldn’t quit. I had to push through and do what was needed to regain my health as much as possible.
My small business suffered greatly throughout the whole process. Most of my clients were very understanding and patient with me. I worked when I could, and somehow managed to keep things afloat. I’m still not where I need to be career-wise, but I’m making progress. My business is leveling out, and I’m finally able to work in new clients and projects. Overall, I’m in a more balanced place overall. Thus, I’m happy that I can return to blogging.
I won’t promise that I can be consistent about new posts, but I’m not giving up. I thought about quitting a few times, but I really believe this is good for me and that it helps others to deal with their own fibro challenges. I will persevere as long as that seems true to me.
I look forward to continuing the exploration of treatments and strategies and will share with you as often as I possibly can. Please feel free to reach out if you have suggestions about how I can improve this blog. Together we can become the best versions of ourselves, facing our challenges, fears and limitations head on.
I hope you understand how much you have helped me through this process. The knowledge that I needed to get back to a good place so I could continue this blog pulled me through some dark moments. So, please accept a virtual hug from me. You helped me more than you will ever know.
One final note…in the interest of full disclosure. Previously, I have blogged about getting off my prescriptions after going through the hyperbaric treatments. About a year ago, the pressures I was dealing with became overwhelming. After much prayer and frank discussion with my husband, I decided to ask my doctor for refills of my bupropion and trazodone prescriptions. I knew I was in trouble, and though I didn’t want to be dependent on the medications, I also knew my quality of life was deteriorating due to the stress and pain. I don’t know if I’ll be able to eventually get away from taking them in the future, but for now, I really feel I need the improved sleep and mood-boosting effects. The medicines do affect my health for the better at this stage of my journey. It was an incredibly hard decision to make, but I didn’t regret it once the choice was made.
I hope that by sharing my life with you, you will be helped. Living with fibromyalgia can be incredibly hard, and it helps to know you aren’t the only one going through struggles. It can be isolating and easy to withdraw from others when it takes so much of your precious energy to get through the day. Maybe, by reading about my experiences, you will be inspired to do whatever you have to do to keep living a full and interesting life.
Please don’t ever give up! If you need help, reach out!
Life is so precious. Don’t let it pass you by!
I have included many of the resources below in previous blogs, but I think it might be helpful to list them again. If you have other sites that have been beneficial to you, I hope you will add them in a comment below. Let’s help each other be the best that we can be!
Here are a few excellent resources for you:
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
• Veteran’s Crisis Line
• Suicide Prevention Resource Center
• The Mighty’s Suicide Prevention Resource List
• American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
• A good site for stretching ideas from Self.com
• Fibromyalgia: 9 Ways to Take Back Your Time from Everyday Health
• 6 Strategies for When You Feel Overwhelmed at Work from Psychology Today
• 4 Powerful Methods to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed from Thrive Global
• What to Do When Your Life Is Overwhelming You from Happify Daily
Finally, I encourage you to look back into these previous posts. They have many strategies that helped me navigate the past few years. I hope they help you, too!
Until next time, here’s another virtual hug for you! If you are interested in being notified about new posts, I encourage you to join our subscriber list, too.