Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fibromyalgia and My Baby Steps Toward Physical Health.

This is what surrounds me at the gym as I step on the treadmill.

Slender, long-legged women casually step onto the treadmills on either side of me, put their headphones on, crank up the speed and start running. RUNNING, i said.

i smile vaguely into the middle distance, pulling my belly in, and act as if i am not breaking into a slight mist from walking.

But it's baby steps that will get me there.

"There" is this mystical place in my future where i don't puff along at 3 miles an hour, where i can easily bend to tie my shoe, where i don't see my next decade painted in fibromyalgic shades of pain and fatigue.

i have a trainer. She tells me, "Baby steps. We will take baby steps." i work to do 8 repetitions of simple floor exercises. The first day of training my body loudly informs me that 10 repetitions will set the fibro beast in motion. So we do 8. There's a certain point when my body tells me I Am Done. The muscle fatigue sets in like the fangs of an angry dog, far different from the regular pain of exercised muscles. So we take 8 baby steps.

Three times a week i go to the gym. It's been three weeks now. One day with the trainer, two more days to repeat the exercises and walk on the treadmill next to the Looks Awesome In Spandex crowd. So far i don't listen to music while i walk, instead i people watch, think, pray, and check my heart rate--repeatedly.

Today i noticed on the heart rate zone graph on the treadmill that i am training at the rates for a 70 year old. But that's okay, baby steps. Perhaps before i turn 60 in three years i will be able to train at the rate for a 65 year old.

i think i'm doing this for good reasons this time. i have no illusions that i will again look like i did at 21. i'm not pre-buying a wardrobe 6 sizes smaller. i am aiming for flexibility and strength and energy, things i've lost to this disorder. i had thought i might somehow make peace with my fibromyalgia, but even if i never do, perhaps i can at least learn to smile vaguely into the middle distance when i see it, and just keep walking.

Skimmer's Recap: Feeling fed up with fibromyalgia, julie subjects herself and others to talk of treadmills and spandex.


Nancy said...

I mentioned on Facebook tonight that I'm going for my first appointment to a Pain Management Clinic tomorrow and a friend told me about your blog. It has been a blessing to me. I was diagnosed about 7 years ago and honestly have forgotten what it's like to feel good. I've tried just about everything, have prayed for healing, and prayed for contentment. It feels like a rollercoaster between hope and acceptance. Thank you for sharing so honestly about your own struggle.

julia said...

Nancy, bless you for your comment! i'm never sure if i'm just shouting into the blogosphere to hear my own voice, so thanks for sharing that. My next post is about you. :-)