Saturday, September 24, 2011

Getting Your Daily Dose of Stress

We interrupt this mildly amusing blog in order to bring you breaking news: sometimes humour isn't enough to get us through the rough spots.

Who of us wouldn't like more hugs, smiles or that encouraging pat on the back?  When pain reaches a crescendo, it's time to crank open the release valve. Like an untended pressure cooker boiling over, the resulting KABOOM will blow the lid clean off.  The reality is we live in an increasingly stressful world. Stress that is ignored often breeds more stress which then leads to compound stress. And, it doesn't have to be a major kick to the gonads to take you down, either. With enough time, a stockpile of everyday, unresolved grievances can result in lift-off.  For emotional wellness, may I suggest you clean out your 'lint trap' regularly? If your 'duct' is clogged, it only takes one tiny spark to explode into a full-on blaze. I know of what I speak.

How's this for stress?  Wrestling with a dryer fire the night before your vacation. I'd say that ranks high in the 'shoot me now' category.

Usually, I can count on one hand how many times I will crack open a suitcase throughout the year:  once for spring break and again for summer vacation.  It's mid-September and I've already racked up 5 mini-vacations, with the possibility of one more next month. That's an impressive feat for a fibromite homebody..

The most recent of our travels took us on a weekend excursion to visit our daughter at her new home in a new city where she attends university. Part of that journey included a 2-hour ferry ride. I enjoy this aspect because, unlike a car where you're cramped and confined, the ferry offers a variety of options. You can get out of your vehicle and walk around, stretch yours and the dog's legs. You can browse around the gift store, have a meal, find a private corner to enjoy a book. You can take in the view from an upper deck or visit the gift store. Oh, I said that already, didn't I?  After docking at the terminal, we whipped out our trusty GPS and plugged in the coordinates. I'll admit it's one handy little device, but that voice! Is it just me or does that smug, Miss Know-it-all voice wear on your last nerve?  My husband seemed delighted with her expertise, but after a few minutes, I wanted to hurl it into oncoming traffic. Recalculate that, dummy!                                                                                                                                                                            

When we arrived, I immediately took in the ocean view. How could you not?  At the same time, I envied and rejoiced for my daughter who had the good fortune to stumble onto such a gorgeous place to live. Barely 200 feet away, a scenic rest area beckoned. If if I lived here, I would sit and marvel at the spectacular view every day, rain or shine, fibromyalgia or not. We went inside ... hugs and gifts were exchanged and we settled in for some warm and fuzzy time. We hadn't been there for more than 15 minutes when ...

... it happened - an unexpected, unpleasant incident. The excitement of our visit fizzled into a wisp of smoke before our eyes. Everything turned sour after that. To protect her privacy I cannot reveal details but suffice it to say it cast a miserable black cloud over our visit.

We stayed a few hours, helping with various repairs, as promised. When we returned to the hotel for a rest before dinner, I felt it coming on: headache, soreness, fatigue - even my skin was painful to touch.  I was already behind the 8-ball before we headed out to pick up the kids for dinner. They had just piled into the back seat when my husband's cell phone RANG.  The hotel was calling - never a good sign. There had been several complaints about our dog's excessive barking.  I realized our dinner plans were sunk. So, back to the hotel we went.  We were starving but our options were limited, thanks to that barking diva.  Dinner had to be eaten in the hotel room but the thought of 5 pricey room service meals didn't appeal to our wallet. We brought in pizza.  It wasn't exactly fine-dining but we were together and that's what mattered to me.

On Sunday, we visited with the kids one last time. The previous day's tension was gone and the mood was lighter, happier. Before boarding the ferry back home, we visited the city. Brooke and I browsed through a few funky boutiques, so the day wasn't a total loss. When we got home that evening, all I wanted to do was hop into my pyjamas and a pair of fuzzy socks to warm my perennially cold feet. Traveling with fibromyalgia can be an ordeal that requires advance planning and preparation which in and of itself is exhausting.  I already knew I was going to have to take it easy the next day. That meant no obsessive cleaning and tidying of the house. On Monday, as predicted, I spent most of the morning in bed, resting. When I did get out of bed, I used the 15 On/15 Off method of pacing myself:  this entails setting a timer and engaging in light housework or whatever for 15 minutes. When the timer rings, lie down and rest without playing on the computer, watching TV or reading. For me, it's important to rest completely, physically and mentally without distraction.

After lunch, my step-mother phoned. My father had been experiencing recurrent leg pain for a few weeks and she was concerned that it was not getting better. She talked it over with me and my husband and we advised her to take him to the emergency room for an X-ray, to rule out the possibility of something more serious. I wrestled with the idea of going to the emergency room with them. I wanted to be there for them but I was so tired I could barely pull up my underwear. Thoughts of should I go or should I stay home ensured that I received my daily dose of stress ... and guilt. I reminded myself that my Dad had sacrificed for his family all his life. Yet I couldn't find it within myself to get out of bed and sit with him in the hospital.  I gave myself a pep talk (maybe it was more of a scolding) and dug deep. I dressed and drove to the hospital. When I got there, the nurse told me they had already been treated and gone home. All that stressing out and they weren't even there!  I was anxious and restless and my hands were shaking - a result from all the meds I take. It's a wonder the nurse didn't try treat me for nervous exhaustion!

So, I missed the opportunity to sit with them in the waiting room but my heart was in the right place. I had a clear conscience. I made the right decision despite the fibromyalgia trying to beat me back into submission.

Do they sell stress vitamins by the barrelful?


  1. Aww,pity ur break turned out so bad,xxx

  2. Yeah, no kidding! Thanks for posting!

  3. Wow, your daughter's place so close to the ocean does sound amazing. I also use the 15/15 pacing method: it makes it so easy.

    I always wondered what would happen if you traveled with your dog and had to leave pup behind in the hotel room. It would make sense for the hotel to have a doggie day-care or kennel area so dogs barking wouldn't be an issue.

    I hope you are recovered now from your travels.

  4. Cathy, I love following your blog. I have it listed on mine as one I follow and I'm hoping some of my friends and family check out your blog. You seem to have it so together for what we fibromites go through. It blows my mind. I never heard of the 15/15 game plan so I think I'm going to incorporate that into my life as well. Maybe then I can accomplish more in the long run instead of wasting my few precious good days (between Fibro & PSA & Neuropathy)on doing every task I can while I can and then crash & burn for 2 or 3 days. You are becoming a huge resource for me as well as a source of inspiration & strength. Thank you my friend.

  5. I am always amazed when I find other people that feel the way I do. The thought of traveling if there are going to be a lot of people I just cant even bring myself to go. I do have a support group group I go to which is great and I am thankful I found your blog. I also want to gag the gps lady :)

  6. Thank you for your supportive and delightful comments.

    Selena, yes, I'm quite rested from my trip. Thanks for asking.

    Marti, you must have brought in the cavalry as I gained 20 followers in 2 days. Thank you kindly.

    Anon, I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person who wants to discombobulate the GPS lady!

  7. I have learned a lot from reading FibroCathy's blog very informative post.

  8. Thanks for the interersting read.

  9. I am Fibro Cathy's husband. What a horrible venemous comment. You go around trying to wound people then hide behind your anonymous post. Most of her posts are light hearted writings trying to help people with fibromyalgia deal with a difficult condition. She writes one column about a particularly difficult weekend and you try to flame her.

    You obviously do not believe in fibromyalgia and how it can seriously affect people. Cathy is working hard to overcome the condition. She is trying to normalize her life as much as possible by going on short holidays with her family. Taking the dog with us was an attempt to make travel easier. She never said that people should have to put up with a barking dog. The dog had never barked on trips before. We came right back and stayed with the dog. So what's your beef about that.

    As far as saying her husband should leave her you are just being a jerk. Quit trying to put tension into a loving marriage.

    You call sufferers Fibromaniacs. As a doctor I have seen the derision that has been dumped on people with this condition over the years simply because we had no lab tests to confirm the condition. There is ample evidence now that people with fibromyalgia do experience pain differently and more intensly. It will take years to get the dinosaurs in the profession to wake up to the new information about the condition and start to believe patients with FM are sufferring and deserve proper treatment.

  10. Sounds like "ANONYMOUS" needs a life!!! Why are you reading this? If you have NOTHING nice to say then don't say ANYTHING. Your bitterness is going to finish you!

    A suggestion: appreciate everything and everyone around you. Take on a heart of gratitude. You'll be a lot happier.

  11. Ok, this response of "annymous" is lacking a heart in my opinion. Bitterness is only eating "anonymous" her or himself. And annoying all the people around her/him. maybe i show up annymous myself here,but my name is, Carolina Breunesse. I know Catherine, i didn't follow her blog, up to now, but she is my friend and i mean a GOOD friend in a supportgroup. To anonymous: What you "anonymous" said isn't the truth at all. I hope you will find our supportgroup, so you will find some support yourself, because i realy think, that if you talk in the way you talk, it isn't very nice and nobody diserve to be talked to like that. Please respect yourself and others in all your conducts. Bitterness, i know, i've seen it in my life before, always comes from a whole lot off bad experiences, BUT it is up to you to overcome all of that experiences and that can be done with support of people who care. And Cathy here is one of them. And there are others too "anonymous". If you want to be a good person, make yourself known, use a nick name if you want, but never insult my sister again please ..

  12. The internet brings out the worst in some people. It allows for people to hide behind anonymous, and spew hatred and ignorant opinions. I suppose those people feel superior, yet all they are really doing is showing how little their mind is. Little minds make big assumptions. Like, the idea that writings on a blog tell the whole story. An easy and lazy assumption by this particular anonymous is that this blog details every event, every moment, every nuance of Cathy's life, of her family's life, rather than a snapshot of what it is like to live with fibromyalgia.

    This blog details how fibro affects her life, this blog details all the pain and thoughts that are going through one's head as they're trying to manage their day. This is an unleashing, a venting of the internal. If one were to read her husband's guest post here, about fibro research, they would easily come to the realization that Cathy's family supports this outlet, that Cathy's family LOVES her, and that Cathy's family is in this struggle WITH her.

    Thank goodness, the internet also brings out the best in people. People who take their time to share their stories, in the hope that others going through similar things will not feel alone. I am recently diagnosed with fibro after 5 years of pain and misdiagnosis. Cathy's blog, and Cathy's personal emails, remind me that I am not alone. Her blog gives me perspective, and gives me hope. Cathy's health issues have been more severe than mine. But her outlook and tenacity are inspiring for me, as I figure how to also manage my pain and my future with fibro.

    Thank you, Cathy. :)

  13. A message to the original cowardly anonymous, you obviously feel threatened by Cathy's blog! and maybe somewhat jealous!, that's the only reason I can see for your childish rantings - whether your male or female you must be an awful person to be with, so bitter and twisted, at leat have the guts to display your name instead of scurrying off to hide. Keep up the great work Cathy life does tend to vomit up the dregs of society who enevitably invade the good others do, have comfort in the fact you have cherished friends and family who love you and your blog xx

  14. To all those posts in support of Cathy & her wonderful are all intelligent, gracious, beautiful souls. I don't know who the coward is who posted such drivel about Cathy, since they were to cowardly to own up to their post with their name, but to that person...I feel sorry for you to go through life in such blind ignorance with so much venom in your soul. You are being eaten alive by your own stupidity for not doing your research before you decided to put your vileness into words. Yes, I defend Cathy, even though I don't know her personally, I know her through the sense of humor she maintains about life even though she is afflicted with an incurable disease. You need to get educated before you attack someone on the basis of your own nasty agenda. Cathy has a life and though she has days filled with suffering, if you have actually read her posts, most of them are filled with funny anecdotes related to her illness so she takes the good with the bad and turns it into a tool to empower her and those of us who love her writing style. I could go on & on but you are not worth wasting any more time on or taking up anymore space on Cathy's blog. Cathy, I love what you write, how you write, and not bragging, but I thought I had some writing talent of my own, but dear friend...I love you but I'm are truly that good! ♥XO

  15. Clearly Anonymous has got issues of there own. Don't let this turkey get you down. Keep writing and sharing your story and feel free to ignore and delete comments like this when they pop up.

  16. Hello Cathy! I so adore reading your blogs, you hit the human truth of managing a chronic pain condition and how it does affect the entire family. Sadly, some people are so miserable, their only outlet is to try to bring others down to their level. It's also an indicator of their own lives, one tends to read into things the way your life is; so have mercy on this poor soul who must be in terrible pain and terribly lonely.

    Take care Cathy and know you and your writings are loved and appreciated!


  17. Stay above it Cathy and continue on in your own capable and engaging way. Do not let that despicable coward bring you down to their level by entering into discourse with them. Jealousy is a disease and the Green Troll is apparently riddled with it :) Got to laugh at someone who feels the need to abuse people but doesnt have the guts to post their name. The source of that post can be traced ... but at times like this I think us gals can usually trust our intuition !

  18. All I can say is this person one day will get sick or infirm and karma will bite their a$$. I hope when they do get ill, and they will, someone treats them with as much compassion, understanding and humanity as they have treated you.

  19. OMG! I cannot believe that horrible post by "anonymous" a coward too weak to be identified.

    Cathy, you do so much good for everyone in your life and for your fibro family. Don't listen to this poison from a very bitter person. She certainly doesn't know you at all and has absolutely no right to spew nasty, mean comments about you on your blog (a blog that helps so many). Some people are just beyond mean spirited.

    Love & hugs,
    Your bud,

  20. We all deal with stress to one degree or another, but when you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, you've got to do your best to manage stress -- it's one of our wost symptom triggers.

  21. Haters are my motivators! Please feel free to unsubscribe to this blog.

  22. Santa Barbara Chiropractors may counsel fibromyalgia patients about wellness concepts such as nutrition, exercise, changes in lifestyle, and stress management, but do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery.Some Chiropractors specialize in sports injuries, Neurology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, nutrition, internal disorders, or diagnostic imaging.

    Chiropractors such as Santa Barbara Chiropractor are health care providers which address problems involving the musculoskeletal system particularly the spine and neck. Their aim is to improve the overall spinal health of patients. According to Santa Barbara Chiropractor people suffering from backache and neck pain frequently have an underlying problem with the alignment of the spine or may have muscle damage which prevents the back muscles from providing the correct support. They help realign the spine and relieve muscle tension with the use of various techniques. They can also treat joint problems, muscle spasms and ligament pain. Moreover, they stress the importance of correct posture from sitting, standing, to walking.

  23. I found that stress seems to make my fibromyalgia worse. Maybe it is more psychological. I cope with my chronic pain by following some techniques I found at I hope this can help others dealing with fibromyalgia.

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