Good heavens -- two days of isometrics and I could hardly walk!
I'm hardly going to start over now. In another whirlwind decision, I'm moving to Missouri next week to live near my mother. Plans are made, packing is underway, and I'm actually starting to look forward to the beautiful drive. Up to California, east through Yuma, north to Flagstaff, and turn right.
Missouri is not new to me, but it's not home, either. I've never had a home. I'm a Navy brat with no ties to anywhere. This move is a magnificent adventure, bittersweet and profound. One thing is certain: I thank God that, at this difficult crossroads I've arrived at in my life, I have the opportunity to take care of my Mom. Not everyone does.
Hours and hours of phoning ahead (and many, many prayers) have reaped tons of blessings, including warm people and helping hands. I've got a house waiting for me that sounds pretty perfect and all the telephone numbers I could ever want.
Relocating with fibro is not exactly a day at the beach. I've done it a thousand times before and, truth be told, this is one of the smoothest. I've been given the strength to do the work and minimum pain at night. Oh yes, and a relatively clear head! As long as I stay off the isometrics, that is.
I've been explaining this monumental change to Lucy, in between boxes and phone calls, but she doesn't seem impressed. She will be, though, when I settle her on the passenger seat next Saturday in her spacious first-class crate!
Meet Alexander Zass, the Amazing Samson, once billed as "the toughest man in the world" and known for doing isometrics and lifting small horses.
So I started doing isometric exercises today. Not directly because of Mr. Zass, although I have to say this is a pretty impressive display, but because I'm sick and tired of feeling like a pile of poo.
I know that not all of us can exercise, or even stretch, and those of us who can can't necessarily do it every day. But me, I've always liked isometrics.
My Dad turned me on to them when I was a fat kid in high school, oh so very long ago. Keeping his hopes to himself, he handed me a dog-earred paperback put out by the Canadian Air Force, and I actually did the exercises for three days in a row, after which I happened to have an appointment with my regular weight doctor. In the course of checking me for something else, the good doctor pushed down lightly on my tummy.
"Have you been exercising?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, turning bright pink.
You'd think this sort of praise would inspire a kid to keep on with it. Not me. I was mortified that he might think I was aspiring to be fit and promptly ceased all physical movement. Anyway, I always secretly suspected my mother of giving him a heads up.
Pubescent mortification notwithstanding, I poked around on the Internet this morning and found a nice, short, VERY normal-looking demonstration of isometric exercises that can be done anywhere and (from the looks of it) by anyone.
If you're not isometrically inclined, here's another idea. Some years ago, when I was first diagnosed with fibro, I found a book called Soft and Easy Exercise For Everyone by Judy Palmquist and Mary Kay Bennett. This is a friendly little homemade job, put together by a couple of real-life women in Helena, Montana, and specifying "Fibromyalgia" in its short-list of targeted aims on the cover.
I'm sorry to say that this book doesn't seem to be available online anymore (but glad to say that my beat-up old copy's worth $45 at Amazon!). If you're interested in a copy of your own, let me know and I'll send you the contact information.
Of course, you can find all of the exercise in this book by combing through other fitness resources and putting together a custom routine for yourself. But this particular book is the product of a small fitness center that focuses on women and fibromyalgia, and it presents easy exercises in an accessible way that appeals to me.
This is what I like. Easy. Because if they're not easy, I won't do them. That's what I like about isometrics. That, and the things you can do if you practice every day:
I think the person in this picture is dead. But I'm not, and I have to remember that.
Okay, first things first. This may be unbelievable to anyone who doesn't walk around in a constant haze, but just last night I realized that, about a month ago, two lovely people wrote me blog comments on the death of Willy and the birth of Lucy. Please forgive me, loyal readers, and thank you for being there. I couldn't see you through the fog!
It's a funny thing about blogs. You write for whatever reason, and you never really know who, if anyone, is reading your words. You just do it because...oh, who knows? For me, it's sheer delight bordering on compulsion. I love it.
So you know I've been out of it when I'm silent for so long.
On my other blog, I made it clear that I'm in the middle of rewrites for my novel. In fibro terms, this means less actual writing and more wandering around, bumping into things inside my foggy head. It's the old Grope-and-Hope Method of writing.
Today I came out to my favorite cafe, hoping to attract some practical work energy, and looky here -- I'm writing a blog entry. It's like magic. The only thing I don't like about this cafe is the music. The guy who seems to live behind the counter is a classical Spanish guitar student at the university here in Baja. You'd never know it. Björk appears to be the musak of choice. Yikes. I keep meaning to bring my earphones, but guess what: I forgot them again.
I may be starting to wake up from this latest bout of fatigue. I better be, if I want to get anything done besides crocheting little hurricanes for my El Niño blanket. Pictures to come.
Well, now that I'm sitting up, it's time to get back to work. If you're still reading, thank you for being here. You've helped raise me from the dead.
By the way, if you're wondering how Lucy's doing, the answer is she's full of beans, as always. I'll let her know you asked.
Ah yes. Isn't fibro beautiful? Actually, I'd love to be able to get into this position, but I probably wouldn't get out again.
Another gorgeous sunshiney morning. More rain has been predicted for days, but God keeps foiling the weathermen. It was supposed to pour yesterday, and I've been braced. But don't we just know that bracing ourselves for dreaded events is almost worse for our fibro than the events themselves?
So, ever the optimist-in-training, I drove into town, just because I could.
And since were no showers after all, what a relaxing morning it was! Cappuccino at my cybercafé and good progress on my essay contest submission (deadline moved to this Sunday). Nevertheless, it wore me out and today I'm lounging around in my peach negligée, waiting for a photo op.
Exhaustion and fog. These are the hardest parts of fibro for me. The best remedy I've found (when I don't have to work and I'm too stubborn to nap) is just to do something I love. So I write, or weave, or crochet. I'm still tired, I still can't remember what I just did, but it renders me basically harmless and sometimes I even get something done.
Today, I'm going to write. I have an essay to finish and some similar writing things to do. Later this evening, I'll watch the first hours of 24 I've recorded and work on my El Niño blanket , crocheting little hurricanes and giving thanks for being dry.
And that's the easiest part of fibro for me. Boy, do I love to have an excuse to take it easy! How silly is that?
FIBRO-TIP: Don't wait for an excuse to take it easy. Just take it.
The sun is electrifying northern Baja this morning, but I am not fooled.
Rainstorms pounded us the entire week. Wednesday night I astounded myself by mopping and wringing out towels for fourteen hours straight, overnight, with no sleep -- and part of that time by candlelight. Over the course of three days, I closed my eyes for maybe four hours. I lived in my sweats and pulled a blanket over my weary body in those rare moments when I could leave that one stubborn leak alone for more than five minutes. My hands are blistered from squeezing wet towels and I'm still so tired my head is buzzing.
Then last night, the storms began to abate. I actually slept for six hours last night, urged out of bed at 7 a.m. by a hungry kitten.
Today, the sun is pouring in, not the rain, and it should hold for a few days at least. I'm hopeful, but weather reports are mixed. I'm doing my best to devote the day to resting and recovering, despite the three-man crew jackhammering and drilling immediately outside my window. They're building walls and digging ditches in an attempt to divert the water from my house.
These annoying sounds are comforting because I know they may be successful. But my body and mind are exhausted, and I can hardly imagine what I'll do if they fail.
My physical exertion of this last week falls into the "Did I Really Do That?" category. If you had told me two weeks ago that I would have the fortitude to do what I did, I would not have believed you. Although this was one of the hardest weeks of my life, it showed me yet again that when I think I have no more stamina, the only thing to do is pray, because that's the only thing that will work.
But hey, the sun is shining. And, by the way, some of us actually don't mind if the floor is wet and our houses are a little cockeyed:
Anyway, here's one more thing you can do when it rains. Click here and scroll down to the little wheels. Ever industrious, that's me. And Lucy.
This is not a picture of Mexico, but it could be. Rain poured down on us last night and more is expected for the next ten days, with a brief respite over the weekend.
Rain poured into my house last night, as well. In fact, last night my house looked very much like the entire rain-soaked week after Thanksgiving, when I first learned that I was living in a sieve. Towels, mops, buckets, plastic tarps...Well, this is a converted garage, after all. Every time one leak got plugged, another popped up. It was like living in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
I dozed on and off until after midnight, getting up every half-hour to check the floor with a flashlight. The rain seems to have abated after that -- or maybe it was the patch job -- and I finally got some sleep.
This morning, the living room looked like a Mexican thrift shop. Rocker on top of easy chair, kitty tree on table, and everything (especially tapestry loom!) shoved as far from the water as possible. But a dry floor, and I thank the Lord for that.
Fibro just loves it when you mop and wring and stack furniture for hours long after your bedtime. Whatever measly adrenaline I had on store I used up last night. Now the pain is setting in. So here I am, in the rocker (which is back on the floor), enjoying a frumpy sweater day, taking my work very, very slowly, and hoping I'm ready for the rain that's sure to come again tonight. No self-recrimination or fear of the future, just listening to my body and knowing that everything will get done in God's own time.
FIBRO-TIP: Don't live in a leaky house. Oh yes, and thank heavens for small blessings:
It's funny how death can turn your life upside down. On Thursday, January 7th, my beloved 12-year-old cat Willy was put out of his misery. Want to start up a flare? There's an idea.
For days beforehand, I did my share of crying, and a bit more. Willy had been the most constant earthly thread in my life since 1997. Big, black King Willy. He was my friend and my comfort, and a very good boy.
Next morning, I went into town for my weekly date with myself at the cybercafé. After coffee and a bit of half-hearted work, I stopped by the vet to thank him again for the kind help he had given the night before, driving all the way out to my house so Willy could die at home. Dr. Jose was out visiting a sick dog, so with the ten minutes I had to wait I wandered around the dismal pet store that always seems to be attached to a Mexican veterinary practice.
Mexican pet stores are heartbreaking affairs. Piles of cages filled with discarded animals line the walls. These are the lucky ones, because kind people feed them, but it's not a sight for the fainthearted. Normally, I avoid these stores like the plague, but my heart was broken. I idly scanned the wall to see who I could pet, for both our sakes.
My eyes roamed past countless chickens and rabbits and a lump of sleeping puppies to a little black hair ball all alone in a cage. I couldn't see a head so I gently poked.
"It's dead," I said to the clerk.
"No, no," he said, and handed me this:
Meet Lucy. She walked into my house on January 8th and took over my life. She fits in a teacup, sleeps on my head, and isn't afraid of anything.
When God has plans for you, there's really no way out. I knew He wanted me to move on. I asked only that it be black and lovable.