As I’m on a bit of an endorphin rush after a good workout, I’d like to share my fitness journey.
In 2012, I didn’t know why I was having aches & pains. I was working out and eating good so I figured “no pain, no gain.” My doctor referred me to physical therapy thinking these pains could be carpal tunnel. The physical therapist tested me though didn’t show signs of carpal tunnel. She asked about my pains and then asked if she could test for something else. She started to poke me in various spots on my neck, chest, arms, which were all tender as if I had a bruise. Then she poked at my legs.
When she poked a spot just below my knee, I felt a horrible, sharp pain. I yelled out! I cried. I couldn’t believe how painful a poke could be. With that and the other tender areas, it indicated I had fibromyalgia. To be sure, I got blood work done to rule out anything else. Fortunately, I didn’t have any other issues or illnesses. However, what that did mean is that I did indeed have fibromyalgia.
I didn’t want to accept it. So, I researched fibromyalgia. I messaged back and forth with my doctor. I asked around. I tried to find as much information as possible about fibromyalgia. But it was confusing. I came to the conclusion that fibromyalgia can feel different for everyone. It can even feel different at different times for the same person. I followed my doctor’s prescription. I took medication for fibromyalgia. I rested. I changed up my exercise to focus on yoga and other low impact activities. I felt “out of it” for a long time.
Other than the medications, the doctor’s prescription was to get more sleep, reduce stressors, eat healthy, exercise daily with low impact activities.
The biggest challenge was getting more sleep. In order to do that I had to reduce stress. In order to do that I had to quit the second job I had at that time. Working too much has been my challenge. The work I do is at a desk. There’s many recent studies which show the harm in sitting for prolonged periods of time. I didn’t pay attention because when one needs to get ahead financially, we are willing to make sacrifices. I had to make a decision as to how much I was willing to continue to sacrifice.
After a couple of years, I finally felt my healthiest when I was at a certain weight and maintained a certain level of activity. I really was feeling great! I was like, what fibromyalgia?! I was able to maintain this for a few years.
My youngest son was born in 2015. There’s a lot that our bodies go through during pregnancy at any age. However, those physical stressors definitely add up and can be challenging later in life. I also experienced my first cesarean delivery. At 40 years old, I was doing my best to maintain my health and get my body back to the way it was.
Then I decided to place more focus on my career. This tip in the balance took away from my focus on my fitness. I felt it was necessary but I didn’t plan for what was to come. In 2017, I started a Bachelor’s Program with Penn State World Campus. Then I picked up a second job in 2018. Monday through Friday, I worked 8-10 hours at the first job then 4 hours at the second job and finally 2 hours minimum studying college courses. Saturday I would still work overtime for at least another 8 hours. Sunday’s I would either sleep or study. All that sitting was just too much inactivity. I gained 20 pounds in one year, had debilitating back pains, and the old fibromyalgia flare ups came back.
I quit the second job at the end of 2018. I have tried to get back on track ever since. The same techniques I did to work thorough fibromyalgia just haven’t worked the same. The same ways I used to eat and workout aren’t having the same weight loss effect as before. So, I’m trying new things. I’m doing my best to keep busy. I’m resting when needed. It’s a struggle for sure but the best thing I can do now is not give up.