Babes, you know my usual way is to share lots of uplifting videos and posts, but today it’s less about uplifting and more about realism and a reminder that you are worth taking care of.
Some days, it’s enough to get on the computer for a bit and clear some emails. Today, for instance. That’s about all I can manage, work-wise. And this here blog post. That’s what AWAP (As Well As Possible) looks like for me today.
I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for almost 20 years now, and I’m amazed at how disabling it can be. After many years of trial and error, I feel like I have it pretty well managed and I’m mostly able to work normal hours and get my business done. But on days like today, I am humbled by this ridiculous condition. I’m flared to the max; it’s like every system in my body is inflamed.
Here is a brief list of the ways in which I’m flared up by the fibro-beast today, starting from the feet up:
- My right foot is sore in a muscular pain way, making it painful to walk. I think it’s because I did some machine sewing last weekend, using the pedal to run the machine as usual. How dare I make crafts!
- A bruise I got from my shoe being too tight (!!!) has spread over most of my ankle.
- I’m in dire need of a pedicure. (Oh wait, that’s not fibro’s fault.)
- My knees are sore, and I have a tingling sensation in my right thigh—and not in the fun way.
- My lower back is stiff and sore, and no matter how many yoga poses I try, stretches I do, or heat I apply, I can’t get it to calm down.
- My hips are stiff and crackly. I tried doing some belly dance moves this morning to open them up, but no dice. (Although I think I looked pretty cute while doing them!)
- My skin is itchy all over. There’s no evidence of a rash, and I’ve applied anti-itch cream a bunch of places, but it isn’t making a difference. In any case, a full-body dip in calamine lotion is just not an option today.
- My shoulders and neck are stiff and sore, and that’s translating down into my hands, which are also very sore and unhappy that I’m using them on a keyboard. Too bad, hands!
- I have an area of irritation on my stomach that has no visible explanation, but is warm to the touch, and not happy that I’m wearing pants with a waistband. I’m dreaming of a mumu right now.
- Sounds are super loud to me today. My husband sneezed earlier and it made my ears hurt so badly my eyes started to water.
- My tattoos are swollen. Yes, you read that right: When I flare up, some of my tattoos get swollen, sore, and itchy. It’s a surreal feeling.
- My head is pounding with a major headache, that’s mostly dull, except for two points of intense pain above my ears. What the hell?!
- I’ve run to the toilet four times this morning because my intestines are all NOPE! Nope. Get it all out of me NOW!
- My face is red, blotchy and puffy.
- My hip flexors are super tight. I’ve tried rolling them out with a foam roller, but they’re like rubber bands pulled taut.
- All of my clothes feel binding, like I’m stuffed in a sausage casing. And I’m wearing all LuLaRoe, which is buttery soft, as promised.
- I keep having anxiety attacks about nothing in particular… free-floating anxiety.
Why share this list? Because I think it’s important for me to remind folks of the reality of life with chronic illness. Twenty-four hours ago, I felt none of this. This is what it’s like to have an unpredictable, invisible disease, that for many becomes a disability.
So what will I do today to be AWAP anyway?
- I gave myself permission to briefly mourn the loss of a productive day.
- Two phone calls were rescheduled for later this week.
- I have plans to babysit my friend’s kids later, and she’s relying on me, so I’m still doing it—but simplifying. Instead of home-baked cupcakes, the kids are getting store-bought, and we’re watching a movie so I can just chill on the couch. (I don’t think they’ll complain!)
- I’ll try to be very present with the kiddos, because laughing and having fun with them will distract me from my discomfort and pain, and will be a great balm to my spirit.
- A hot shower will help ease a little bit of muscle tension, and terrific body lotion all over may help cut down on the itching.
- I’ll meditate on the concept of acceptance as a way to ease my mind a bit.
- Hydration will be key, so I’ll make sure to keep refilling my glass with water.
- I’ll take an NSAID which may help a little with pain relief.
- Lunch and dinner will be relatively healthy.
- …and I ‘m sure I’ll come up with many more things to calm the inflammation that’s obviously running wild in my body.
On these really bad days, it’s essential to do the work to take great care of ourselves. We may feel tempted to give in to things that soothe us temporarily (junk food, a glass of wine, reality TV) and while I think a little of that is okay, it’s also important to add in other self-care tasks. And did you see my first bullet point? I gave myself permission to mourn. And I gave myself permission to reschedule a lot of work so I can rest as much as I’m able.
So I ask: How will YOU make sure you’re AWAP today, no matter what’s going on with your mind and body? What extra things can you do to feel even a smidge better? Share in the comments below. Thanks!