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Fancy Date Night

Last night was fancy date night. A date for just us, out for a nice meal and I dressed up! We went to a fabulous Japanese teppanyaki restaurant, where our food was cooked in front of us by an amazing chef. She flung the utensils in the air with ease and cooked my seafood dish to perfection.

Being a fairly new couple, about to buy a house and have a baby, we still have some things to talk through. Religion has been nutted out fairly hard, I’m starting Catholic conversion classes this week.

We had to talk financials last night and the issue of being unmarried came up again. I know people get divorced everyday, some celebrity marriages survive shorter than my gestation period will, but it makes me feel insecure. Like it’s a box that’s unticked, but a rather important one to me. My partner would like me to be super close with his family and then he would like both of our families to be close. I can’t do much about the family thing as there are just massive differences, they will get along, but they probably won’t share Christmas. I can hang out with his family more, except that he laughed at the fact that I struggle to go over for a 9pm meal and then drive home alone later.

With my fatigue levels at the moment, I wait for bed all day. By 7pm I am exhausted, I don’t enjoy leaving the house. At 9pm I am usually getting ready for bed. If I get home and take my medicine (to help me sleep) at 10pm, I won’t sleep until around 11.30pm, It takes time to kick in. So nights out for parties with his friends, nights out for dinner with his family and fancy date nights, on top of what I’m currently coping with, is a lot.

Is it the same for every partner, do they not get the level of fatigue that early pregnancy generates?

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Tiring, Awesome Weekend

Chronic fatigue + pregnancy fatigue = devastating!

We had a very busy weekend. On Friday night my partner and I went to a party and I didn’t sleep until about 2am. On Saturday I took my baby brother out for timezone, lunch and mini-golf. We also had dinner and a movie night with my family.

Sunday was a whopper day. We started with my church (Anglican) and then went about 45 minutes drive away to a gorgeous little town where we are considering buying a house. There is a sizable town center, farmland views, a rugby stadium, a beautiful pond with ducks (near one of the houses), many beautiful reserves and parks, and it is so quiet. Just 45 minutes out of the city, we can get three or four bedrooms with a little bit of land in a nicely presented house.

image

For the same price in the city, we can get two bedrooms, attached houses in dire need of a makeover with little land.

We also did evening mass and dinner with my family.

When I finally did get to bed, I got quite upset, because my neck was so sore I couldn’t get to sleep and panadol does nothing for a bad neck ache!

But the weekend was worth it. I got to spend some time with my gorgeous baby brother (14 years old next month, where did the time go? I remember my parents bringing him home as a brand new baby!).

We were also able to tell my family on Saturday night about baby. They were over the moon. Which was so fantastic! It was such a relief to have people in the know and the support and love. I don’t know how I hid it this long.

My beautiful partner has also started to perk up and get more excited about baby and our big life changes. He also dealt beautifully with my fatigue, needing to eat randomly and pain all weekend.

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Thankful

I’m thankful for a beautiful, blue-skied morning, this is the view outside my door:image

I’m also (super) thankful for flexible working conditions.

I’m thankful I have a healthy baby safely nestled inside of me, I just made the appointment to get to see him/her again in three weeks.

I am also thankful for my man, who is struggling with a great many things at the moment, but who is also trying to be a great partner at the same time. (I wonder if there are chemicals bouncing around my body enticing me to love him more, like there are for the baby?? Chemical manipulation! But I feel these things very strongly at the moment!)

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Weekend and Mondays

This is an old post when I wrote diary-like entries during my first pregnancy when I found myself alone with not even doctors who understood what might happen to me. One doctor suggested I ought to be feeling better (which I most certainly was not) but what an odd, uninformed thing to say! For the most recent pregnancy diaries from pregnancy number two and three see my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia resources page

My partner and I got to spend the day together on Saturday, we went to a cousin’s wedding. It was so lovely to have him the whole day and to focus on something else for that time. I just enjoyed his company and seeing all my family. It was the first time for a lot of my extended family meeting him, but it went so well, they all love him! It was a really great break. Unfortunately I did start struggling to stay awake from about 7pm!

I am finding night times really difficult, even before pregnancy, staying out late was not helpful. Now I find it near impossible. But my partner and his family and friends all eat around the time I go to bed, so in order to socialise with them I have to eat super late and try my best to stay awake after that. How many times can one say no to socialising with a (relatively new) partner’s friends and family?! Is it worse to go and then look exhausted (for no apparent reason, to them)? I don’t know the answer to this, but I am going to try this Friday night, for his sake.

We have daylight savings in this part of the world, so on Saturday night we put the clocks back an hour. My body is so confused! Last night I slept from 10pm – 8am and I didn’t want to get up, I have been up for a few hours and really don’t want to be! I am counting down the four weeks until this fatigue should start to recede.

Another milestone I am waiting for, with no defined deadline, is when my partner and I can stop freaking out about finances, how our families will react to our news and his potential redundancy. I would adore the time of no holds barred excitement for this miracle we have created.

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Some Curiosities

This is an old post when I wrote diary-like entries during my first pregnancy when I found myself alone with not even doctors who understood what might happen to me. One doctor suggested I ought to be feeling better (which I most certainly was not) but what an odd, uninformed thing to say! For the most recent pregnancy diaries from pregnancy number two and three see my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia resources page

As someone who has struggled with pain and fatigue for a while now, I am rather in tune with my body, so I’m super aware of what is happening and changing right now.

Yes, the fatigue is the biggest thing – I was in bed from 9.30pm – 8am this morning (not sleeping the whole time between my bladder, neck and dog) but I still didn’t want to get up. But I have been having the most odd, most vivid dreams ever. They are so strange!

My breasts are always uncomfortable and my neck has been causing some trouble. My lower back and abdomen seem to be working overtime and my stomach is almost always bloated. It is all manageable, except when I feel all of these things all at once, then I just want to curl up in the corner and sleep the next several months away! I think it would help to have someone to share these things with.

In my quest to feel normal this morning, I got myself a nice hot vanilla “latte” from Muffin Break to sit at my desk with and (do my best to) work. The only change from “normal” is that it has to be accompanied by my Shapes. Shapes are my new go-to when I need food in my stomach quickly.

Fuel has always been an issue for me, but it has become a curious issue recently. I have gone off my old favourites, fruit and vegetables, and I need carbs every two hours. My stomach is unforgiving if I don’t eat very regularly.

I also can’t stop thinking about baby. Despite it all, I am so curious to see and touch her/him. I am also very curious about what is happening to both of us right now and will come in the next few months. But all my research has to be done in secret, which makes it less fun. My only book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, is hidden in a brown paper bag in my wardrobe! It’s like my own precious little secret 🙂

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What Fibromyalgia Taught Me: My Journey so Far

what living with chronic pain and fatigue taught me

This is an old post but all of it is still true today. I stand by all of the things I had learnt back then. This is the story of how I went from miserable to thriving, before I fully knew what thriving was.

My story of happiness and wellness didn’t begin until a few years ago. Prior to that, I coped, but only barely.

what living with chronic pain and fatigue taught me

The pain began when I was a young teenager and grew over a period of around 10 years. By 17, when I was at university, my shoulders would ache and burn so much at the end of the day that I usually ended them in tears.

No one knew why I had this pain. Some of the doctors intimated that they thought I was making it up.

I was struggling through university, in my final year, when I was hit with an extremely bad bug. Profound fatigue and flu-like symptoms descended upon me like a ton of bricks. There are 9am tutorials from which I can only recall my near inability to keep my eyes open. After a few weeks, I saw a doctor and they gave me antibiotics. It took a further few weeks for the symptoms to recede but the fatigue had made a permanent home.

Doubly burdened, I struggled through the remainder of university, graduated and entered the workforce.

I have since realised that my inability to do, and care about a job for long is related to my illness. I need a lot of passion to drive me through the fog, pain and fatigue to complete my work.

After four years, I was barely coping, feeling just a step away from fainting at every moment. I was sleeping terribly and waking unrefreshed. With nausea and levels of pain at 6/10 by 10am. By 3pm pain levels rose to 8/10, the caffeine needed to keep me from falling flat on the desk caused further nausea; the jaw and temples felt as though someone has a wrench and was turning them constantly tighter. Minutes crept by until 5pm, cue an hour-long bus ride on which to keep from vomiting, falling asleep or crying (or all of the above). The evening was a blur of lethargy, waiting until bedtime.

That was my life. Yet, I managed to look normal (albeit a little paler), complete my work and occasionally force myself to socialise.

After many years of struggling and of tests and regular blood tests revealing nothing, the doctor was able to check the 18 tender points and confirm that I had fibromyalgia. That was all that they did. There was no medicine, no advice, and no referrals. There weren’t many books or websites yet either.

Coop is gorgeousThe turning point came when my parents invited me to move to Auckland with them. I was able to put the changes into place that I’d been dreaming of, starting with slightly reduced work hours. Working 3/4 time, in a warm climate helped immensely. So did meeting one of the loves of my life – a ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Coop!

In the first year in Auckland, I didn’t do much more than recover. I worked until 2.30 each day, utilising my skills to support an organisation that worked with vulnerable families. I rested in the afternoons and gradually increased my evening walks with Coop.

The second year was more eventful. I began a writing course (I’d always wanted to do one) and I found an excellent, caring, knowledgeable physiotherapist who introduced me to acupuncture – the only treatment that isn’t akin to torture, and the effects last. Perhaps most importantly, she was the first person ever to understand the extent of what I had been dealing with.

This year, the most exciting things have happened. I started a blog and my own business – these have enabled me to do what I am passionate about. Also, I met a man who not only loves me as I am (for all my quirks) but also wants to understand my fibromyalgia, who wants to help me with this burden. The enormity of this cannot be appropriately articulated.

Melissa Gershwyn Aug 13

Some of the things I’ve found that help are:

  • Working 3/4 time
  • Eating healthily
  • Yoga, Pilates and stretching
  • Walking my dog daily (for the exercise, the time out and the pleasure of being outside)
  • Resting
  • Seeing my physiotherapist every couple of weeks
  • and following my passions

With the ability to look back, I’ve become very protective of my new life. I hardly ever lose words anymore, my memory is improving and so is my spacial awareness. The nausea is far less frequent and headaches only tend to bother me every couple of weeks – and they don’t drive me to bed so often. My neck still causes me trouble, but the extreme tightness, dizziness, nausea and faintness is much rarer.

Most importantly, I am living life, not just coping.

I have a larger capacity for empathy. I have been forced to work only enough to live, in a job I am passionate about with little stress, and I love it. Seeing friends bust their guts working 40-50 hours per week in jobs they don’t love makes me thankful that I have learnt that I don’t need the money or the prestige. I’ve gladly skipped the year living in London, buying fancy cars and clothes – because my dreams lie elsewhere.

I hope I make a difference in the lives of those that intersect with mine. I hope I always know what’s important.

If you liked this, you may also like these posts:

Fibromyalgia: Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia

My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia

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Pregnancy, the First Eight Weeks

This is an old post when I wrote diary-like entries during my first pregnancy when I found myself alone with not even doctors who understood what might happen to me. One doctor suggested I ought to be feeling better (which I most certainly was not) but what an odd, uninformed thing to say! For the most recent pregnancy diaries from pregnancy number two and three see my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia resources page

The first eight weeks can only be referred to as epic. The first four weeks were spent entirely in the dark, the fifth was the week I suspected and then confirmed it. Weeks six, seven and eight were characterised by strong emotions, strong fatigue and strong nausea. It was hard.

We weren’t expecting it, so there was a lot to negotiate there, dreams for the next year or so to let go of. New visions to reorient ourselves to. In amongst this is a persistent fear about the high chance of my partner being made redundant next July.
On top of all this, I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. So I have a real anxiety around how I am going to cope in the last stages of pregnancy and when I have produced the child. For the first three months we will have maternity leave, so we will be paid nearly three-quarters of my earnings.
But after that it gets tricky.
I am going to have to try to keep this child alive, keep myself healthy and work at least 20 hours, if not 25, in order to keep our young family fed. This is without childcare. So, instead of napping when baby does, I will have to be working, or cleaning.
As far as the nausea of the first eight weeks, I managed to tackle that with a set of three special acupuncture treatments with my physiotherapist. It cost a bit of money and the points for treatment were rather painful for me, but it was worth all of it. Now, if I manage the fatigue (sleeping as much as possible between 9.30pm – 7.30am and resting in the afternoon), my neck pain and keep my stomach fed every two hours, I can avoid the extreme ill feeling.
I am now counting down the four weeks until the second trimester. I imagine the joy of being “my old self”. So, I’ll still be tired, but not as profoundly. Unfortunately, with the relative safety of the second trimester, the time will come to tell our family.
While having managed to continue to walk my dog most days, I haven’t had the energy to do my pilates or yoga, so I am also looking forward to being able to add that back into my schedule.
I am also looking forward to when I can share my news with people. Despite everything surrounding this pregnancy, the pain, fatigue, nausea, life-change and anxiety, I want to claim this pregnancy as what it is – one of the best occurrences in a woman’s life. My partner and I have created a life. I want to celebrate that. I want to celebrate baby when she/he arrives.
This is a pregnancy diary from my first pregnancy in 2013/14. For my most recent pregnancy diaries and my pregnancy resources see here.
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It’s a Boy! 19 Weeks

This is an old post when I wrote diary-like entries during my first pregnancy when I found myself alone with not even doctors who understood what might happen to me. One doctor suggested I ought to be feeling better (which I most certainly was not) but what an odd, uninformed thing to say! For the most recent pregnancy diaries from pregnancy number two and three see my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia resources page

I fell down (not literally).

One Sunday morning, a few weeks ago, I woke up to pain in my left side and lower back. As the day wore on it became intense. In tears, on the phone to my midwife, I was told it was probably a pulled muscle. I took a Codeine and lay on the couch, vaguely watching TV.

After a painful physio visit the next afternoon, it was confirmed, I had pulled muscles in my lower back and left hip, which in turn had tripped my very tight glute muscles.

Since then, I have recovered slowly, but in dealing with the extra pain and resulting fatigue, I have fallen down. I haven’t been coping. Between the pregnancy and those injuries, sleeping is very difficult. I can only walk the dog for around 15-25 minutes at a time and have had to give up my mat Pilates routine.

In addition to this, I have been planning my wedding, for February 2014. So I am planning a wedding, working, gestating, attempting to be healthy and am desperately, soul-achingly exhausted – and no one seems to get it.

Meanwhile, my baby has been growing furiously! I felt my little flutter ball the other day for the first time and then saw him yesterday in the anatomy scan.

Yes, we have been blessed with a baby boy! Feeling and seeing him makes it feel worth it! It is so amazing. I can’t wait to meet him.


This is a pregnancy diary from my first pregnancy in 2013/14. For my most recent pregnancy diaries and my pregnancy resources see here.