Every day is Awareness Day for those who suffer from fibromyalgia.
Every year May 12th has been designated as “Fibromyalgia Awareness Day” to shine a light on this invisible illness. Most of us who suffer from this chronic condition feel that every day is our awareness day, as we often have to explain what it is to people. Trust me when I say it is more than what you see in the pharmaceutical commercials on TV.
“Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.”
Back in January I wrote about the importance of self-care and some things I vowed to work on myself. As May is Fibromyalgia Awareness month, I decided it was time to check in and see just how good or bad I am doing on my own self-care. Practice what you preach, and all. I have found more success following strategies for healthy living, than I ever did taking a pill that the doctors prescribed. So taking care of myself has to be my number one priority, in order to minimize my fibro-flares. You cannot, after all, drink from an empty cup, and having a flare can often feel like you are running on empty.
While I know my great-grandmother’s garden is long-gone, I can only hope some of the golden poppies, purple daisies, or fuchsias still remain.
Do fragrances ever evoke memories for you? Our sense of smell is in close proximity to our memories in the brain. For me, certain floral perfume smells remind me of the beautiful and fragrant flowers growing in my Great-Grandmother’s garden when I was a kid. I am a “California girl living in Texas,” having moved to Texas over 20 years ago, and oh, how I miss my home state. If I could live anywhere, I would probably move back to California near the coast.
My mother grew up in Pacific Grove. My grandmother taught at the elementary school for years. My great-grandmother had a little house there with a big garden. I think that is where my love of gardening and growing flowers and looking at things bloom and thrive comes from. It seemed like my great-grandmother could grow anything IN anything. I remember succulents growing in old shoes and frying pans! She grew succulents way before it became trendy and cool.
She was still tending her garden, even into her 90s, when she passed in 1974. And in the winter of 1975, an article was written in the San Jose Mercury NewsCalifornia Today section called “Moods in Haiku” by Peter DiVenere. He took several wonderful pictures of my great-grandmother’s garden and her tending to it, and wrote the following haiku:
Gold long forgotten Beauty and riches remain California poppy
Flowers everywhere | In the garden a painting | California poppies
Wild upon the hills | As in days long gone today’s | Poppies embrace you
The garden path ends | She gathers blossoms with her smile | Autumn of the year
Thorny thistles thrives | Old post reflects all past glory | Purple beacon shines
The tale of Genji | The charm of his disposition | Lady Murasaki
By the garden fence | Purple clusters feel the breeze | Safe from the mower
Pink blossoms aglow | Anticipating stories of | Far flown places
Hanging from a branch | Fuchsias are doing nothing | On a summer day
Tiny little fuchsias | Dangling from tender branches | Just before the dawn
I would love to go back to Pacific Grove to see where my grandmother’s house was, to see if the old brick wall surrounding it still stands. And to go to my great-grandmother’s house to see if any of the flowers remain. While I know her garden is long-gone as the lot was sold to build another house on after she passed, I can only hope some of the golden poppies, purple daisies, or fuchsias that she tended to still remain.
In so many ways I am like my great grandmother. We were both only 5’4″ in a family of tall people. My mom now thinks her grandmother also suffered from fibromyalgia. It would be interesting to find some genetic link to this condition.
Oh, how I wish we had kept that property and still had my great grandmother’s beautiful garden…oh the memories that can be stirred up from a scent of a flower or of a perfume…
Do perfumes or smells bring back memories for you?
I made a conscious choice a long time ago to not act like a victim and to deal with this illness known as fibromyalgia with positive attitude and healthy habits. But to be perfectly honest, some days it is tough to maintain the positivism when you absolutely feel like you have been hit by a mack truck. I am not going to lie and say I don’t have bouts of crying and “why me?” moments, but they are few and far between since a shift in attitude.
So how do you cultivate a positive mindset when you are dealing with chronic pain?
For years I was one who tried to suffer in silence and push through the pain, rather than share my ailments with anyone who will listen. But I started blogging as an attempt to verbalize life with fibromyalgia and share those things that I find helpful or inspiring in my every day life. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been absent from here for a few months as I try to deal with a new pain in my neck. Literally.
I had surgery five years ago to fuse a disc in my neck, and I am again suffering. Even though my neck surgery gave me immediate and lasting relief from the pain, headaches, spasms, etc., I haven’t been completely pain free. My doctor says that for every year post surgery your chances of degeneration on the discs adjacent increases about 5-fold. I recognize that I will have some level of chronic pain for the rest of my life between fibromyalgia, chronic lower back pain, and my neck. But the severity of the pain and side effects has become unbearable the last few months. Continue reading “Pushing Through the Pain”
This quote popped up on my weekly planner page for today, but it is one I have read before.
This embodies what it’s like to have fibromyalgia for me. Having the courage to push through the pain on a daily basis, even when you feel like you have no strength left to do so. In the 16+ years since my diagnosis, I have had plenty of days where getting out of bed and walking across the floor were a challenge. When every step you take radiates pain through your body, and you wonder: Why am I doing this? Why don’t I just crawl back in bed? It would be so much easily to just curl up under the blankets with a heating pad than to try to work out, shower, and get ready to go to work.Continue reading “Fibromyalgia, Courage, and Strength”
Self-love, self-care, and balance don’t just happen. It takes strength and courage to put ourselves first.
January is Self-Love month and Get a Balanced Life month. (Or so I am told by one of those sites that lists all of the real and made-up holidays for the year.) Appropriate I would say for the first month of the new year. New year, new start, new resolutions to break bad habits. I love the beginning of the year when I start a new planner that is filled with blank pages, just waiting for me to fill them up with goals, plans, quotes. This year, I am starting a new system based on the bullet journal approach, but I am using a standard planner (I searched high and low for one I think will work for all areas of my life) because I didn’t want to spend the extra time (or energy) writing out all of my own calendars each week/month.
But back to the reason for my post…Self-love or self-care are important for everyone, as is balance in life. These all lead to less stress and better health and self-esteem, adding up to a happy, joyful, and fulfilling life. Sounds great, right? So why don’t we do these things more? The normal stresses of every day life take their toll. Work, family, kids’ activities, cooking, cleaning, shopping. They all add up. And at the end of the day, you’re so tired from all of that you just want to crawl into bed rather than spend a little extra time pampering yourself. Sound about right?
“One woman filled with self love and self acceptance is a model more SUPER than any cover girl.”