I ran six miles in 58-degree weather, and even though it was sunny and beautiful outside and I never felt too cold, my hands told a different story. Raynaud’s Phenomenon sometimes turns just one or two of my fingers white and makes them go numb, but this particular run provoked several pasty appendages. I know there’ve been suspected links between fibromyalgia and Raynaud’s, but I wish there were more information for patients. I don’t want to take medications or have surgery or do anything else drastic, but I would definitely like for my fingers to stop going numb when it’s not even extremely cold outside.
Caffeine, as I’ve suspected for several months, makes my fibromyalgia symptoms much worse. While that revelation kind of sucks, it’s also always nice when something can be easily controlled, like caffeine intake.
I love coffee. As a vegan, I’ve been enjoying soymilk, coconut milk, and almond milk as creamers. I never add sugar or sugar substitutes to my coffee, which makes me even more certain that it’s the caffeine that, even in very small amounts, massively increases my anxiety and provokes muscle spasms.
I kicked caffeine out of my life for a couple of months, then started drinking less than one cup of coffee per morning last week. Within two days, my neck pain was worse and I felt less hopeful. My running improved. Even hills felt like less effort. But the increasing pain and hopelessness were absolutely not worth it. By day five of drinking less than a cup a day, I was in bad shape.
Going cold turkey wasn’t too hard since I’d only been drinking coffee for six days. It wasn’t great fun, but it wasn’t the worst thing to quit. And, on Sunday, I not only ran eight miles at a decent pace, but I also took my paddle board on a two mile journey.
Fibromyalgia is picky. It demands a lot of sacrifice. But if forgoing caffeine allows me to live a more normal life, then I’ll never touch another cup of coffee again.
Happy New Year! Do you have any resolutions? I do. First, I resolve to not only stay vegan, but also to try a month of being gluten-free to see if more of my fibromyalgia symptoms resolve. Second, I resolve to make a serious attempt at practicing yoga, and to incorporate more stretching into my workout routines. Third, I resolve to stop slipping into hopelessness so easily.
Chronic pain makes it so easy to throw in the towel, but I don’t want to feel hopeless. The day I stop fighting is the day I die. I may smell like a medicine cabinet and walk like an elderly person, but I resolve to never stop working out and fighting fibromyalgia.
Christmas is a time of reflection for me. I have to be careful not to get caught up in self-pity or dwell on the things I can’t do. Chronic pain is a huge downer, but I do believe that fighting the pain is important. The day that I give in to it is the day I drop into my grave.
On Christmas, the only present that I want is to be free from fibromyalgia. Since that’s about as likely as world peace, I also asked for a new running vest so that I can run through (not away from!) the pain. Merry Christmas, and may you all find peace and painlessness.
As someone who’s both an athlete and a fibromyalgia sufferer, I have a dichotomous wish list for my material presents this year. At the top of my “stuff” list is Two Old Goats lotion, which is supposed to be great for pain relief. Next is running clothes, so I can pound the pavement while looking cute and updated. Third is Tiger Balm, because I love it for muscle spasm relief. Forth is running shoes, because mine are worn out. Sports and pain have always gone together, but with fibromyalgia, there’s almost never a break from the pain. These days, it’s nice to get a stocking full of goodies that cater to an athlete with fibromyalgia.
I’m so ready for warmer weather, and it’s only December! Right now I feel like a lot of my aches and pains could be resolved by warmer weather and a swim in the Gulf. One of my huge hopes for the new year is that I’ll be able to turn my neck to the side enough to breathe while swimming. I love to swim, but it’s pretty much impossible to swim without having neck mobility. Some people have suggested that I get a snorkel, but I don’t like the air that comes through one. It always tastes like plastic. If I can’t turn my head this spring, though, I just might buy one. Water exercise can be a very healing thing for me, and I love how it takes some weight off my spine. Warm water would be ideal!
Does anybody have a post-Thanksgiving workout routine? I know some gyms stay open (mine is 24/7, 365), but the most fun workouts to me are those that involve family and friends. Last year, we did “56 on the 56,” which mean 56 squats, pushups, sit-ups, and box jumps on a friend’s 56th birthday, which was also Thanksgiving Day. This year, my back pain is going to keep me from doing anything so rigorous, but I’ll definitely wish I were out there, rain or shine.