Tag Archive | flare

Pleasant Pain: Fibromyalgia and the stress and strain of even the good times

It seems weird to say that pleasure can create pain, but it is true. In this case, the pleasure was a family visit. This missive is NOT to complain about them, as it has nothing to do with the family themselves … but rather to explain and hopefully prepare any readers who have FM for the events which likely will happen to them, due to otherwise good or  pleasant events.

My pleasant event … I had my Mother, Daughter, grand-kids here for a week ( as well as a few drop in’s by near by relatives ) Now, this meant trips out, go do things together, making meals for large numbers, total changes in sleep times, life cycles, etc. All for very nice reasons, and I enjoyed having them all around for the week … however FM makes NO distinction between body and mental stress brought on by good times.. or bad, which is my point here. 

In a word, I am paying for the visit in pain, just as I would if I had been through any other stressful demanding set of events.  And given as I was already IN a flare state due to recent surgery ( see prior post ) … I am double dipping here. However, that fact is almost to my benefit. As the body was already maxed out with a flare, so that adding a few more events, did not seem so bad 🙂

However, there were issues the surgery did not create, that the family visit … did. What are these reactions and why do they matter ?

Known VS unknown environments: This one is a combination of factors. When we are out and about, we lack control over the environment, temperature, light levels, exposure to chemicals, pollens, and more. This creates a large stress loop feedback to the body, that by and large we have NO control over. And with a family visit you are more likely to engage in such events.

( I was able to bow out of one of the planned activities  and rain canceled another, so things were not as hard as they could have been. But as we with FM know any trip out for any reason, can be draining  )

Dietary changes: In the normal course of our days, we can eat when we want, how we want etc. ( or rather we can to the extent our Gut permits us too ) If you have a houseful of guests however, their needs become paramount, which almost always means a change in your diet. If for no other reason than the time of day that you eat, will tend to change.

IBS: Which due to the diet changes and general stress, kicks off like so:

Abdominal cramping and pain, Diarrhea and/or constipation, Flatulence …which with a room full of guests can be a problem 😦 Bloating , Abdominal distention, Nausea.

Push Crash: Since you are acting as the host, even with family, you will tend to push yourself to keep up with the obligations that go with that state ( this is true, even if you do manage to bow out of some of the activities as I said above )

Sleep disruption: If  any of the guests stay in the house with you, then your entire sleep wake pattern can and likely will be disrupted. ( In fact, this is likely to be true, even if they sleep elsewhere, as their “day” will start sooner than yours over all, which will force you to cut your sleep hours short to accommodate them ) This creates sleep deprivation in either case.  Which causes problems like so:

Aching muscles, blurred vision, depression, drowsiness, decreased mental activity/concentration dizziness, fainting, confusion, hand tremors (  my dominate hand had the shakes so bad, I could barely hold my glass at one point ) Headache ( understatement say Migraine here ) hyperactivity, hypertension, irritability, memory lapses or loss, nausea.

Just to name a few

General flare: Which is where all issues above, pain etc, intensify. And to top it all off, I got a grand case of Laryngitis from talking so much.

All of the above and more are true.. even IF the family over all does understand what the term FM means and how it affects you for the simple fact, that even if they DO understand, no one who does not live with you, day in and day out, is going to be able to adjust their actions or moderate the demands their presence makes on you to any large degree. As it takes more than just “understanding what it means” what it takes is understanding what it means, for them regarding changing how they behave and the demands they make on you.

And these extra demands, started before they showed up. With extra shopping trips for food stuffs etc, more cleaning activities and the like, just to prepare for their visit.

Now, would I change a thing about any of it ? No, totally enjoyed it and would do it again in a heartbeat 🙂 But a word to the wise, even pleasant activities have a price, if you have FM and it is best to be prepared for the flare and other issues it will create.

FMS flares and excessive use of body resources

Well, still feeling a bit like roadkill, but on my way out of this dang flare, finally. I think just staying in bed until several hours after my alarm goes off, the past few days, has helped that. Un-refreshing or not, sleep can be a major relief from an FM flare.

I think the main reason is, that while asleep, we are making fewer demands on the body, so it can use body resources to tame the flare, rather than use them all up, to try and do our day to day tasks. Resources are finite for day to day work on any day, but during a flare, they are almost nonexistent.

What are these resources  ? Energy, which is created by a variety of places. Lipids ( fats ) in the muscle cells ( of which we have a sparsity of to begin with ) Calories burned, which depends on a gut that is A: processing things correctly and B: Passing the energy onto the blood stream. The O2 hand-off, from the lungs and blood stream, to activate all of the above. So, just to DO anything at all, on any day, a lot of things have to be in working order.

Now, on a “good” day, such systems do not work very well for us, but during a flare, they almost do not work, at all. But repairs must be made, so the body uses up what few resources, are normally available, in short order.

However, more is still needed, so the body goes hunting for it, most often taking it from the bones, the teeth, hair, anywhere it can find things that it can convert into useable body resources to repair the damage being done.In short, it is feeding on itself.

This fact is why most of us have low density of our bones, often have poor teeth, straw like hair, thin brittle nails and damaged skin. It is also is why during such flares, every alarm bell we have, are all ringing at once. As the body is on full alert, doing some rather extraordinary things, just to try and minimize damage, and allow for some functionality, but it is stripping the body almost bare, to do it.

So the bottom line is, often the best thing we can do, to help  the body along, and ease our own pain, is to sleep. Sleep and let the body do what it does best, which is heal what it can. Without us, making more demands on it.

May your flares be few, and your rest be blessed

More soon….See an expanded version of this post on my site here