Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Desk

This is a recent shot of my messy desk. The book on the middle is my brand new watercolor moleskin.

This is my Mary Engelbreit weekly calender. Eight or nine years ago I became rather depressed because it seemed like I didn't do anything. What I had been told about being a lazy person and a slacker was starting to have an effect. So I wrote down in a calender like this one every little thing I did in the day.

It's sort of a cross between a 'to-do list' and a 'done list.' If I did something on my list I would cross that thing out with a single line (so I could still read what it was), and if I did something that wasn't on the list I would add it and put a line through it.

Having FMS the things I did were often limited. I would write down things like: shower, made dinner, read, journal, put away groceries, etc.

I soon began to see that I wasn't lazy, but that my day was full. So much so that now I have to schedule in rest and down times. The post-it note on the side is a list of larger projects that I have to fit in the next couple of weeks when I have the energy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Is A Blog?

Do you really keep a diary? I'd give anything to look at it. May I?

Oh no. [Puts her hand over it.] You see, it is simply a very young girl's record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.

 -- The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Is Near

This is one of the plants growing in our back garden. I don't remember what it's called. It's warming up here in the desert, at least a little bit and this little plant is starting to grow.

I love the red leaves down on the bottom of the stem. The whole garden reminds me of the prophesy at Isaiah 35:1, "The wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron."

This is a fairly new plant so I can't wait to see what the blooms look like.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thoughts On Exercise

The Problem With Exercise

Exercise is a big problem for people with Fibromyalgia. It's sort of a catch-22. On the one hand, if a person doesn't work the body, over time the muscles become flaccid making it difficult to perform basic functions and causing more pain. On the other hand, if a person with Fibro exercises they will get sick. Even gentle exercise makes us, in the short term, very ill.

For instance, I just finished a short, very mild aerobic workout. The video itself is easy enough, but I did it with even less intensity because I knew what would happen if I didn't. Not halfway through, the muscles in my torso (muscles you don't even think you have until they start shouting at you) started to spasm. Like lots of charlie horses all over your body.

To make it even worse, there are often long periods of time where you really can't exercise and then you have to go back to it. You're always starting from the beginning.

So what is a person like this suppose to do? The answer is: just do your best. People with FMS/CFS tend to be type-A personalities who want to do everything just so but you can't. Take it easy. Realize that in exercising, as with many other things in Fibro life, you often won't get off the bottom rung. Sometimes you'll fall off the ladder all together. It doesn't matter. It's not like we're being graded.

What Kind of Workouts Work

When I was about 20, I saw a rheumatologist who told me that in the manner of exercising I should treat my body as if I was ninety-years-old. I love this imagery. This was a whole new thought for me as I would do the workouts my friends did and try to work as hard as them and then be sick for weeks.
I started looking around for workouts for seniors and other milder workouts that could be adapted. These are my favorites.

Move Those Joints!: therapeutic exercise with Dian Ramirez

This is really slow and gentle. It was mainly intended for arthritis sufferers. You move pretty much every joint in your body very slowly. It's divided up into sections so you can do only a little bit at a time as you need (I never do the floor section anymore).

The only problem is if your joints are loose and overextend (like mine) then you'll want to be careful not to move through your full range of motion and move only as far as the instructor moves. That hopefully will save a bit of pain.

Stronger Seniors: Stretch and Strength

There are two workouts, each just under an hour long. The stretch workout is slower. There are no breaks between stages. When I did the whole thing I was sick for three days, so now I set a timer for 10 to 20 minutes.

The strength workout is divided into sections. I generally just do the warm-up. Sometimes, if I'm feeling really good and don't have to do anything for a couple of days, I'll add one of the other parts.

(It must be noted here, that I can physically do the whole workout, but then my body rebels afterward leaving me wracked with pain and fatigue. I choose to do less so that the amount of pain and fatigue I get afterward is more tolerable and I still have some energy to do a few other things in my day.)

Leslie Sansone – Walk Away the Pounds (1 mile)

The one mile is a bit of a stretch for me. This is one of the few aerobic workouts I found I can do at all. There are some times when tension and anxiety crush you and you just have to release some energy. That's what I save this for. A brisk walk around the block would work too and might be less strenuous.

Throw Away The Measuring Stick

It has to be noted that it's different for everyone. My mom can only do some basic joint rotations and stretches for a few minutes most days. I go for months without being able to exercise. Then I start all over again. For those of us with FMS/CFS we just can't judge our efforts by what others can do.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Authentic Self

Every bit of writing has a certain voice. I don't mean the kind of style that differs from writer to writer. The same writer can have a different voice for different works. I don't know how to describe it. It's a tone, a spirit or character that pervades every sentence.

I've read that when writing it helps to have a specific person in mind to keep the voice you've chosen consistent. It could be a real person, or a type, or your cat, or you at the age of twelve. Whatever. 

I'm trying to decide who I should be writing to here. I really think I need something at which to direct my words. One flaw I have, which I think many people share, is that I edit myself by imagining what critics would say. We all have those critics: friends, family, teachers, people from our past who have said things before to us, whose taste we know or believe we know, and we can imagine if they read it what they would say. Then we edit our comments to make it 'safe.' 

I really don't want to do that here. I don't want to offend anyone, of course, but I want my authentic self to shine through. I want people who read this to see the real me. I'm not ashamed of who I am, and I have every right to think as I do. 

I think in order to do that I have to direct my words at something specific. But what shall it be? I haven't made up my mind, yet.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

First Post

 This is my little Yum-Yum. I'm told she's a diluted calico. 

And this is Pitti-Sing. The picture really doesn't do her justice. I hope to get some better pictures of her, but she's a little hard to photograph. She's ten-years-old, but you'd never know it. She plays with everything she's got. She plays harder than Yum-Yum, and she's eight years older.