I actually want to do burpees

  

I’ve never been one to love exercise.  Once we moved back to Virginia at age 7, I was given Twinkies and discovered the Disney channel; going outside to play was no longer at the top of my “to do” list.  I played softball for one disastrous season where the coach hardly ever showed up, but wasn’t otherwise involved in organized sports.  I preferred reading or playing the piano.  I have always been one of the kids that only made it through the first half of the first lap, (out of four) on the mile run before having to stop and walk.  Consequently, as I’m sure you can imagine, I was always on the chubby side. 

Finally, I got sick of it.  Enough was enough; clothes weren’t fitting and I was tired of getting winded from fairly simple tasks.  I began Weight Watchers and going to aerobics with strength training.  I lost weight and inches and toned various problem areas.  I wasn’t “skinny”, but I was at a place where I was happy enough with my body and fitness level.  

 

Me, at my smallest

 
 I was heartbroken when I had to discontinue aerobics, with the realization of fibromyalgia setting in and the toll one aerobics session took. While I can cut calories, my body has always been very resistant to shedding pounds without exercise.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on here before, doctors will repeatedly tell fibro patients that they must exercise to feel better.  And, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned on here before, my immediate reaction is to want to punch those doctors in the throat.  I knew they were right, but it’s difficult to exercise, (yes, even to walk) when the exercise programs are not built for people with chronic pain.  I decided that my inability to exercise was bullshit, and attempted to work with others to create such a program.  Unfortunately, the person on whom I was placing most of my hope, used me and my idea to complete her senior independent study, strung me along for months, and then left me hanging out to dry once she graduated college.  

On the plus side, I’ve been able to keep up with physical therapy, which includes aqua therapy.  In the pool, I am able to perform exercises, like squats, better than I ever could on land.  The exercise doesn’t affect my weight, but my strength is much improved, which helps me tolerate the pain a little more.  My therapists remind me than I’ve come leaps and bounds from where I began, (in the beginning, I was worn out after 5 reps of tightening my core) but I am still frustrated.  It’s difficult to push from my mind that I was once capable of so much more.  

The thing that has really stirred anger and aggravation in me lately are the motivational exercise videos and pictures various people post or like on Facebook.  This morning, I watched a video of two women about my age, working out.  As I watched, I settled into what felt very much like jealousy.  I coveted the ability to perform the motions their bodies performed easily.  I wished I still had the ability to squat.  I envied their ability to jump like them, their feet leaving the floor effortlessly.  I felt like a kid excluded from a club as they executed burpees.  Yes, as first brush, it was clear to me that my annoyance stemmed from jealousy.  As I wallowed in my jealousy, I noticed words of bargaining intruding.  If only I didn’t have fibro, I would push myself and exercise like this.  Now that I know what I’ve lost, I wouldn’t take my body for granted again.  And that’s when it hit me: I’m not jealous.  I’m grieving.

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Snow Day

Today is a stark contrast to the day we had yesterday. A mild, sunny day in the upper 50’s coaxed the girls and me out to a local farm and park. The girls peeked at peacocks, snorted at pigs, and bleated at goats. We tiptoed through muddy sludge to get a closer look at the turkeys and roosters. An adorable calf with big brown eyes came to the fence to sniff us and give a friend’s hand kisses.

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Doing her best Peppa Pig impression, jumping in muddy puddles. She was in heaven!

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Photo filters automatically make pictures deep and meaningful.

But that was yesterday. Today, school has been cancelled in anticipation of a bad snow storm.

* * * * * * *

That’s where I left off yesterday. I couldn’t finish the blog post because I moved my neck every so slightly and my neck and back thought it appropriate to retaliate for such a heinous infraction. Fortunately, Mike was working from home and was able to take care of me. As a consolation prize, I was able to spend the day watching two seasons of Sherlock. Holy shit is everyone in that show brilliant!

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Cuteness captured before throwing out my back. They were watching the fairy snow.

Last week I visited my rheumatologist to follow up on my blood work and how the new drugs were doing. For the first time since the medical community decided to pimp vitamin D, my vitamin D levels were awesome. (It has been helpful for energy.) But after 5 million different thyroid tests, my body finally decided to show its hand a little. My levels were as low as they could possibly get and still be within normal range. So it’s possible that I’ll be adding that fun thing into the mix. We’ll know more when we re-test it in 3 months.
It would completely make sense if I did have an under active thyroid. It runs in my family. I also had a few days last week where the fatigue was so bad I couldn’t function.
And for those of you who have never experienced overpowering fatigue, try this:
Try to perform a simple task, say, brushing your hair. Ah, but first, place 20 pound sandbags on each shoulder, clamp 10 pound weights onto each wrist, stand in dry sand, and replace your legs with jelly. Go! Not your thing? Another one you might try is taking a dose of Vicodin and then try to read a book to your child without falling asleep mid sentence.
I also learned that thinning eyebrows is symptomatic of hypothyroidism, (only the descending half of each eyebrow seems to be aware of this.) Sensitivity to cold? Only when it’s below 74 degrees in the house and I’m not bundled up with socks and a blanket. (You know I’m miserably cold if I’m wearing socks. My feet like to free ball it.)
All the lovely problems I’ve had with painful periods and my uterus holding onto tissue like a fucking hoarder.
What is a symptom of hypothyroidism? ……I’ll take “Potpourri” for 500, Alex.

So we’ll see. My money is on it coming back normal again, because that’s how my body likes to play poker. It’s devilishly good at bluffing.

Guilt

Guilt. Parents are plagued by it. Judging by my own experience, the parents with chronic illness doubly so. Most days I feel like I am crashing and burning as a mom, a wife, and a person at least once. For instance, today I used what energy I have to pee rather than stick potatoes in the oven.

I’m still adjusting to life with fibromyalgia. The best way I can describe it is like having a terrible accident. You’re fortunate enough to still have the ability to walk, but you’ll have to learn how again, and you’ll never walk the same way again. It’s so unbelievably frustrating to feel like I should be able to do something simple like play with my girls, but have to push them away because it hurts or I just don’t have the energy. And the guilt. Oh the guilt of having to say, That hurts mommy. I need you to stop. or I’m sorry I can’t read to you right now because I can barely keep my eyes open. (Try falling asleep while reading to your child some time. It’s awesome.) I think the hardest part of adjusting is sometimes I just feel like I’m being lazy. I think about how other moms suck it up and muddle through, so why can’t I? I worry that the amount of fatigue I’m feeling is just normal parent tiredness, that everyone else feels this way and that I’m just a giant pussy.

I feel horribly guilty about the impact this has on Mike. He didn’t sign up for this. We’ve pretty much been dealing with this for 6 1/2 of our 7 years of marriage. Seriously, on the day of his birthday he was watching the memorial service for the massacre at Tech on the tv in the lobby of the hospital while I was getting an MRI because the doctors thought I might have MS. While I feel like I pull my weight, I feel guilty because I feel like he’s been cheated out of an equal partner. I know it’s not my fault and that I didn’t do anything wrong, but it doesn’t always keep the guilt at bay. Honestly, I feel guilty for sitting in my bed and writing this now because he’s downstairs taking care of dinner because I couldn’t. I feel guilty for the toll it takes on him because he has to be strong when I can’t, which happens often. I feel guilty when I have to call him to come home from work because I don’t want him to get in trouble.

I’m so much more exhausted since Rachael started school since I have to get my ass up a couple hours earlier than what I’m used to. With the exhaustion comes a lack of patience. My goal for this week is not to lose my voice along with my patience. The problem is, when you’re this fatigued, every bullshit thing your child does feels like a major offense. Sometimes I can hold it together and speak to them in what Mike calls my NPR voice. Other times, I blitzkrieg the sassy “no” I have just heard from my child. And the thing that sucks is, whether my children understand that mommy’s losing her shit because she’s at the end of her rapidly fraying rope, (and they don’t. They just know mommy’s crazy and yelling at me) it’s not acceptable. I guess for now I’ll try to remain calm and look on the bright side: I’m no longer afraid to take them for a walk around the block…..you know…when I have the energy to do so.

I feel guilty for not exercising. I should exercise. It will help. But most days I just can’t. It was the worst when my body was still normal, (assuming there ever was a normal. I’m assuming I’ve had this for years and years and that’s why I totally and legitimately hate things like running and any general frolicking that includes too much physical activity and sweating. After doing all the things I need to do just to keep this house from looking and smelling like an episode of Hoarders, (I totally won’t be surprised if a cat skeleton turns up one day, and we don’t even have cats) the last thing I feel like doing is Walking Away the Pounds or doing strength training set to inspirational Christian music that still manages to sound like a poor imitation of 90’s secular music.

I wrote this because I felt the need to, not because I’m going fishing, so please no comments about But Julie, you’re the best mother of ever! because I’m not. I just needed to talk about it. And sorry for the rambliness. I’m terribly foggy right now.