The Whole of Life Change Anniversary

Five years ago I left a stressful, full-time, computer based role that I spent an hour each way on the bus commuting to. I moved back in with my family and we relocated to a warmer city.

Once here, I took up a position that was challenging and fulfilling, but sliced a third off my work day.

I had been really struggling. The pain had been building to the point that I awoke in pain, spent the day in pain and tried to sleep in pain. It dominated my life. I was so sore that it made me want to vomit.

The fatigue was another story. After a debilitating bug at university I became progressively more exhausted. By that time, four years later, I was dragging. I needed a coffee first thing in the morning, an espresso on the way to work and an energy drink in the early afternoon just to keep my eyes open.

I could do little in the weekends. On Sundays I was barely able to leave my bed.

It was only in my dreams that I thought life could get any better. I was hoping that I’d get to a point in my career where I could reduce my work hours and still afford to live. I dreamed of warmer weather, of no busses and a little four legged love to potter around home with me.

Then the opportunity came and my whole life changed.

I’ve been meditating upon the components of my whole of life change that actually made a difference.IMG_20150927_145928

Change One – Reduce Work Hours

I reduced my time sitting at the computer by a third. Also, by finishing at 3pm I created two hours for other things without cutting into the evening (when I’m too exhausted to function).

Change Two – Cut Commute

I drove to work, half an hour each way, no sitting on a bus trying not to vomit, fall asleep or both.

Change Three – Love

I surrounded myself with people who loved me and who I enjoyed being with.
And then I met the love of my life and the human I most cherish (my husband and son). This has perhaps been the most instrumental thing to increasing my functionality, my hope and my reason for fighting the Fibromyalgia.

Change Four – Reduction in Activity/Pacing

The amount of walking and sitting and activity required of my whole life back then caused a lot of tight, sore muscles and worsened the fatigue. I cut everything right back. This made a huge difference in the wrench tight muscles in my lower back, glutes and legs. The fatigue has reduced dramatically.

Change Five – Passion

With the reduction in work hours and a year of rest and rejuvenation, I felt able to commit to a writing course that I had always wanted to do. I created energy to follow a passion. The reduction in fatigue enabled me to take back my love of reading – I began to read voraciously.

Change Six – Exercise

I met my four legged love (Coop the dog) and embarked upon a gentle exercise plan. I worked my way up from a meandering 15 minute block to an average 30 minute walk per day plus 20 minutes of Pilates three times per week. After the baby this changed, but exercise is super important.

Change Seven – Acupuncture

Quite by accident, I stumbled upon a fantastic physiotherapist who was experienced with Fibromyalgia. I found that acupuncture needles in key muscles, including neck trigger points, make a big difference for me.

Change Eight – Knowledge

With a reduction in pain and fatigue I was able to move from just surviving to living. I was able to begin researching. This one took the entirety of the last five years. With the most change happening in the last two years.

It’s still hard, I’m still in pain and I’m still exhausted. But I have enacted a heap of changes and won’t stop trying new things.

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I’m living my happily ever after, Fibromyalgia and all.

 


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2014, Some Resolutions & Thank You

2014 has been an amazing year of truly terrifying highs and some dips.

On paper, it sounds like a magical year – in practice, with the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, it’s been tough.

The sort of tough that pays off.

I married the love of my life, met the joy of my life (my baby), made huge strides in my lifelong journey of self discovery, progressed in my career (amazingly) and made some (mostly mental) breakthroughs with my health.

There were some spectacularly hard moments, but man have I been happy.

As I look forward to 2015 and make a list of hopes and dreams I have been reflecting on everything in my life. I have been seeing the silver linings and taking the time to appreciate them.

My hope for 2015 is that I continue to grow, love and strive to succeed.
My goals are:
*to learn something
*to keep experimenting with my health
*to enjoy my husband and baby
*to arrange my business/work so that I maintain my work/life balance and have enough energy to be the mama I want to be

Pretty simple!

I also hope to keep writing this blog, I hope it helps people. My little dream is to produce an ebook of tips and encouragements for mamas journeying with fibro/chronic fatigue/related illness.

Thank you for reading. Thank you to everyone who shared comments. It’s so nice to connect with others who are in the fight.

Melissa x

Letter To My Husband

I have made no secret of the fact that I wouldn’t have survived the delivery of our son or the last 10 weeks without you. I have told anyone who will listen.

You were the one who got me through the most intense pain of my life – you were with me through 19 hours of the most torturous back pain I had ever experienced (and I’ve experienced a lot!) and all of the other tortures that make up labour and delivery.

It wasn’t so much what you did or said (but your coaching at the end was one of the most helpful things anyone did that day, besides the numbing injections!). It was your presence.

Your presence makes everything better.

A screaming baby, a persistent neck ache or lack of sleep all seem more bearable with your company.

Thank you. I thank God for you every day. 

I am so thankful that I got to meet you, that I got to marry you and that I get to raise this precious baby with you. 

Please always remember to pause and take in these moments. They will never happen again. Please remember to invest in our relationship. Please remember family is more important than money. Please remember I will always love you.

So Much Has Happened!

The last week and a half have been massive! I was awed by seeing my baby by my 12 week scan on the Thursday before last. Then on the Saturday, as a birthday present from my love, we went over to Kawau Island (off Matakana, North of New Zealand). The water was deliciously blue as we were shown around the edges of the island by boat, before being dropped off by the Governor’s Mansion.

We walked through a track in forest land to a remote beach…where my love proposed!

It was the most beautiful, romantic proposal I could have imagined. I was blown away. Of course, I said yes!

We then spent the week touring the upper parts of the North Island, as I had never been past Matakana previously. It was beautiful. A whole week, mostly alone with my love, to be calm and just enjoy. We experienced the richness of New Zealand’s history in Russell, at Waitangi and in various historical properties around the areas we traveled.

In the middle of our trip, the pregnancy clock ticked over to 13 weeks. Over the past week, I have noticed an improvement in my fatigue. I am still tired, but then I have chronic fatigue so that’s usual, but I am no longer desperately tired from the moment I wake. I no longer crave a nap at 10am or in the afternoon. I am back to afternoon rests (with a book or an episode of a TV series) and I can read before bedtime again! My eating has also settled down. I am still hungry regularly, but I am closer to my usual eating habits, which is great as I have put on a bit too much weight with the fatigue, pain and nausea.

So it is all very exciting!

Post-Exertion Wipe Out

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

With the high levels of fatigue and struggle to sleep, my body is struggling a little. I have found that post-exertion I am wiped out. Walking up the stairs can leave me a little breathless. But my 25-30 minute walk with the dog can leave me flat for a good half an hour. 

I was finding the level of fatigue after yoga or Pilates unbearable, which is why I have done neither in a few weeks. I was feeling wiped, to the point of feeling faint, so I’ve had no inclination to force myself again yet.

However, I want to try to do a gentle session of Pilates tomorrow, to get back into it again. I want to reclaim my little schedule as soon as possible. I am determined to help my body prepare for the endurance race ahead, with pregnancy, labour and then caring for a tiny baby.

Meanwhile, I am so pleased it is time for another weekend. Tonight my love is coming over for the evening. Tomorrow I shall meet a friend, do some exercise and otherwise potter around home. On Sunday we are going back down to the little town we have found for another round of house hunting. This time we are taking my mother, so she feels included and realises it is not so far.

Feeling so blessed to have my mother onside. She came with me as I met my midwife for the first time today and she is already talking about the things to buy me for when I get bigger (thanks, but I’d like not to think about that for a while yet)!

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?

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.

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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.

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!)

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.