FMS Community Newsletter #109
|Everyone who has ever attended a social
function one day, and found themselves in flare the next, raise your hand!
I guess by now you old-timers realize that you are not alone in this - the rest of you
will figure it out soon.
I have a pet name for this disturbing event, I call it Feed the soul and let the
body pay the tab.
There are just certain things I want to do, things I know I will pay for the following
day, but I do them anyway. Now, I believe in my heart that I do everything that I can, to
be as healthy as I can. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am still having trouble
kicking the smoking habit but) I try to eat properly, stretch, take walks, go to
bed at the same time and get up at the same time. I take my recommended medications
faithfully and constantly search for new and better treatments. This sounds good in
theory, but it falls apart as soon as someone throws a schedule change into the mix.
For years, I would attend family picnics, Fourth of July fairs and more, just knowing how
bad I was going to feel the next day would ruin the event. I would be so preoccupied over
the pain and fatigue I would be facing the next day I couldnt enjoy the moment.
Then, to add insult to injury I would spend the next day crying, angry, in pain and
beating myself up for being sick. Eventually I decided to stop attending these functions
so I could live pain free.
That was the day my soul began to shrivel up - I was no longer a human, having human
experiences, I was nothing more than a sick body that I was babysitting.
After a few years of this life style, I got angry and began some soul searching, to see
what I could do to rectify this pattern. After thinking long and hard it came to me
I couldnt! There was nothing I could do to stop the day after effect, instead I had
to learn how to pay the piper the next day and I had to learn how to do it without
beating myself up or feeling sorry for myself.
Thus was born the Feed the soul and let the body pay the tab theory. There are
just certain things we as humans need to do, and one of the most important items is
enjoyment. It feeds our soul, refreshes us mind and body. Another important component of
being human is the ability to forgive, that includes forgiving ourselves. We did not ask
for this, we are not fakers or slackers, the fatigue and pain after a major outlay of
energy is very real. So why should we beat ourselves up over something we have no control
over? Why should we let it stop us from enjoying life from time to time? We shouldnt!
Now, I am not a doctor or researcher, heck Im not even a therapist our councilor. Im
just an average human who has lived with FM and CMP for over forty years - a human who
took a long time to learn how to be good to myself from time to time. I am sharing my
experience, and tips in the hope that it may reach a few people who are tired of being
As I mentioned earlier, the first step is learning to forgive yourself for the day after
flare, it is not your fault. The second step was learning how to give myself permission to
pamper myself the next day, guilt free.
The following is a short overview of what I have done to insure that I can feed my soul -
then rest as my body pays the tab.
When I worked outside of the home, I always put in for a day off after a major
event. If I was unable to take the day off, I took other steps to make my day livable.
Planning ahead, I would have my favorite comfort foods ready for a packed lunch. When I
could afford it, I kept a stash of disposable hand warmers handy so I could apply heat to
my affected areas throughout the day. I usually found these in the aisles reserved for
hunters. You squeeze them to release the heat and they would last for six or eight hours.
After work, I had to learn how to get rid of the guilt, and educate my family on what the
day would be like. It wasnt an easy road - they were spoiled and wanted a home
cooked dinner every night. However, they realized that they enjoyed attending a party or
interacting with family more than they craved a home cooked meal. I also learned to let go
of things that had previously made me feel good, such as having just the right blouse
clean for work because it look good with a certain jacket. As soon as I learned not to
stay up late to launder and iron that blouse, life got easier. I wore things to work that
I thought would draw attention, but nobody ever seemed to notice as long as I was clean
and doing my job. I feel for everyone who has to work outside of the home as maintaining a
social life is extremely difficult with FM.
Once I no longer had to work outside of the home, I adopted new measures that
allowed me to feed my soul. Once I knew that I was going to be down after expending energy
to attend a social function, I found ways to make the day after bearable.
1) Forgiveness: This is not your fault and you have to feed your soul as well as your body
from time to time. Go, have fun but do not beat yourself up, or feel sorry for yourself
the day after. This too shall pass.
2) Plan Ahead: If possible, clear your calendar for the entire day after a social
function. If you find you cannot avoid a social obligation, make it clear to those
involved that you may only be able to put in a short appearance. Clear the way for your
departure ahead of time.
3) Educate your Family: They may fight you at first, especially if you are the primary
care provider. In the end, they will learn that life will be better if you are at their
side at weddings and graduations as they learn to adapt to your day after needs.
4) Be Prepared: Stock up, as money allows, for the day after. Buy books, magazines, movies
or music and put them away without using them. This gives you something to look forward
too when you are laying on the couch recovering. Did I mention the forgiveness thing?
Cling to the day before, enjoy it and be glad you participated. Again, this too shall pass
and you will be back up in no time.
5) Feed the Tummy: Keep some of your favorite finger foods on hand, so you can eat without
a lot of fuss. Microwave meals, raw veggies, peanuts, anything that you enjoy as long as
you feed the kitty, insuring that you will recover faster without having to get up to cook
6) Guilt: Did I mention that you have to let go of the guilt? I did! I cant stress
this enough. Get out and feed your soul when you can. Yes, the body will pay the tab but
if you dont try, what will the ultimate cost be? Once you commit the body to this
debt, you have to give it time to come up with the funds. So let go of the guilt, make
your house a haven and revel in the fact that you looked life in the face and grabbed a
handful. You will be back up later to tackle life again.