Victims of fibromyalgia find that one of the hardest things to bear is the lack of understanding of their condition. Because we look OK (sometimes anyway!) on the outside and don’t have plaster casts, bandages or scars, it may be assumed that we are OK. We aren’t.
I am managing quite well. The doctors have put together a package of care for me which is helping. It’s not a cure- but I am VERY grateful to be improving at the moment. I was able to retire early, so I can pace myself and not overdo stuff. Not everyone can retire…
If you encounter someone with fibro, you can help with sympathy, care, and if you’d like to pray, that would be great. We would love to see properly funded research, and good training for GPs and nurses since not all are as well informed or helpful as they might be! That isn’t a dig at the medical professions, who are generally wonderful, but they can’t be expert on every condition- and fibro is hard to diagnose and treat. Public pressure on politicians and the DHSS needs to be kept up.
You may see purple butterflies or flowers: they’ve been adopted as a fibro “badge” to help boost the public perception. The slogan is “Not all disabilities are visible.” Here is my purple flower contribution! A purple Iris- the yellow says the sun still shines. 🙂
More info available from the NHS websites, or the Fibromyalgia Association, http://www.fmauk.org/ or a very good website at http://ukfibromyalgia.com/index.php – or look on Facebook for support groups.
Loved this young Meerkat… it’s the gentle smile as his/her head & paws stick out from the shelter. It reminds me of those community moments where people hang out to catch up. Resting on a half-door, a gate or a fence, it is just lovely to chat about everything and nothing. Meerkats are very curious creatures, and happily watch the watchers. They find pleasure in the happy surprise of a new face, a new food, a new game. They’re fun.
Now stick my head in a box, or a set of stocks. (Use your imagination rather than DO it…)
In the stocks, Malta 2011
This is Maltese hospitality… well, historical tourist feature. Juliet and I couldn’t resist.
Anyway, take the smiles and work with me for a minute… Today I had a surprise smile on my face. An unexpected joy! I recently bought an e-bike: bicycle with an electric motor and battery. Today the sunshine meant it was time to try it out. Sunshine along the beach in Bognor, so the waves gleamed, the gulls soared, and Richard smiled.
Some of you may know I had to take early retirement because of fibromyalgia (for more about that illness, see the “Invisible Illnesses” article on my blog). The problem with that illness is you need to keep active, but pain and stiff joints can make movement difficult and very uncomfortable. Walking is slow and short distance, even with a stick. Swimming can help in warm water. Sports and even gentle movement/stretching exercise can be impossible. Anything that puts “impact” into exercise is a no-no. Treadmill, stepper, cross-trainer, walking/jogging… all are a BAD idea.
Enter the e-bike. Taking advice from the dealer about upright posture, gear set-up, handlebars, etc., I tried out the recommended machine. Astonishingly, my back did NOT hurt. My hips and knees didn’t object. My shoulders felt fine. So I took a flyer, and bought one. Today I rode it for the first time properly- and it was the most fun I’ve had in months! Bognor Regis is blessedly flat, but even so a four-mile round trip would have been unthinkable before. I used to cycle a lot, and played football & cricket. The e-bike doesn’t do it all for you- there is still good aerobic exercise- but the power takes the strain off and gives an “insurance policy” that the bike can get me home if I am totally cream-crackered and run out of muscle energy.
Today is the most and best exercise I’ve been able to take for three years. And I don’t hurt. I’m so happy I didn’t even mind going to the dentist at 5pm (though I have to go back next Weds too… ). So I shall be scaring the natives of Bognor on sunny days, doing my impression of a low-flying Zeppelin, gradually getting fitter and helping shed some pounds. Did I tell you I’m excited, happy, and raring to go?
Anyway, I’m finishing my day on a high. I’m grateful to the genius who stuck a motor on bicycles. I’m grateful for sunshine and flat ground for a first flight. And I glad that meerkats look cute and put smiles on faces. In fact, it isn’t hard to finish today with joy in my heart and thanksgiving to God for a really good one. They won’t all be good days. But you can tell me to remember to say “On yer bike!” regularly to myself, and to share the smiles around when the best days come. I think I may sleep better tonight too.
Lord, watch over me, my loved ones, and the people I meet. And please share a bit of grace and peace to everyone who goes through the mill because of some rotten illness. May there be happy surprises to balance out the tougher times. Amen.