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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Being Kind to Myself

I have chronic pain. Supposedly I have a chronic illness. They call it Fibromyalgia. Admittedly, I asked for the diagnosis, mostly so I would know what to do next. I still fight against it. The truth is that I had Shingles, for the third time, a little over a year ago, and due to several issues I was unable to get the anti-viral medication in time. What that means is that the virus which stems from chicken pox segues into a secondary virus called Shingles. This lovely virus attacks your nerves and makes you crazy. Basically.

So the last year has been a nightmare. Most days I can barely function. In that, lifting laundry baskets, making my bed, cleaning my bathroom, dusting and making dinner are about the extent of my abilities these days. Sometimes I can go for a walk to the park (about two blocks from my house) but not usually. It hurts so much I can barely move if I do.

We currently live in a two-story house and the stairs are a killer. I go down once, and up once (on bad days). My knees, my lower back, pins and needles down my right side along my shoulder blade. Fun.


They also call what I have post-herpetic neuralgia (literally "after chicken pox/shingles--a form of herpes--pain") and that's why I fight the Fibromyalgia diagnosis.

In the last year I have gained BACK 20+ lbs. It's killing me. I admit to abandoning my way of eating, my lifestyle, a little before and definitely after the latest (remember this is bout #3) Shingles attack. I comfort fed. I gave up trying and now, Now I am having an impossible time trying to get back into it. It sucks. Seriously.

There is a medication I can take that helps with the pain, it's called Gabapentin. I was on it for a bit, then I went off it because I didn't like the way it made me feel. Then I went back on it and it helped a lot, then I went off it again, when I went off all my medications. Ergo the last six weeks have been kind of bad. I am back on the Gabapentin as of two days ago. Yippee. I sure hope it puts me back in control of my abilities--let me emphasize ABLE-ness. I am hoping I can get back on my eating bandwagon and [cross-my-fingers] even exercising! That would be so awesome.

In the meantime, I am being kind to myself.

The things I am focusing on, for the most part, can be narrowed down to three areas:
1. Oxygen: getting exercise, moving, even if it's for 10 minutes. Put on my shoes and go outside. I have not been doing this and I need to do this.
2. My immunity: whether I believe I have Fibromyalgia or not is irrelevant to the fact that I do have a compromised immune system (which is evident by the fact that I got Shingles 3 times). It is imperative that I take my vitamins. & occasionally an immune boosting Airborne.
3. Calm: keeping calm through meditation (yes, I have incense), prayer, scripture study... it's all part of meditation for me. This helps me to focus on the important things in my life; family, writing and serving others. 

Every day is a struggle and I never know how I'm going to feel from one day to the next. I know there are others that struggle with similar (and worse) health issues and I know I am not alone (feels like it sometimes though). 

Right now, until I can predict and plan how I feel, I will continue to be kind to myself. 


  1. I'm so sorry you've been suffering. It sounds like a nightmare and I think you've been so brave just to keep putting one foot in front of another. Sending FGBVs and healing vibes to you.

  2. Oh my God, ack ack ack!!!

    Decades ago I housecleaned for someone with Shingles, and I think he must have had the post-herp thing, cause he was in so much pain--his wife said just air moving over his skin hurt. He stayed in bed most of the time.

    I take Gabapentin for my chronic migraines--I get headaches every day without medication. The Gabapentin has been my SAVIOUR, it works SO well for me. But I did discover something...

    At first I was taking 3 pills at bedtime, as my doc told me. My headaches were better but not gone. So I googled and found some people took the pills apart, that the body absorbs more. So I tried that. WAY BETTER RESULTS. Then I found that if I take it as I feel a headache coming, it works like a charm. And if by the end of the day I still haven't taken 3 pills in total, then I take the remaining ones.

    All this to say--maybe playing with the timing will help too.

    (I don't have any bad side effects from it. Except flatulence. !!! lol But better than some other drugs I've tried.)

    FGBVs for all the terrible pain you're in. I think you're doing exactly the right thing. Meditating is what I've been learning to do this year, too.

  3. OMG I thought my flatulence was because I've been craving beans! hahaha I have been taking it at night mostly because I wake up in the most pain and then late in the day (after 3pm) I end up in pain again. Gabapentin made me dizzy-ish the first time I took it and did NOT like that, but this time I'm not noticing anything. My prescription does say to take 3x a day not 3 pills a day so... I'll have to try this out!

  4. I'm so sorry sweetie! I hope the benefits ramp up quickly for you and you get some pain relief. I've reduced my gabapentin dose to one at night, as it makes me stoopid, but I get gas after taking that one alone too LOL.


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