Things to Be Sure Your Doctor Actually Understands: Part 3

I have dry eyes. Really dry eyes. They usually feel like I’ve been rolling around on a beach. I’m only exaggerating a little bit. The phrase bursting into tears doesn’t usually apply to me, not that I wouldn’t like to now and then. Usually if I tear up, I’m so surprised I don’t remember why I teared up. It’s not emotional or the lack of emotion; I’m apparently just drying up from the inside out. So that led me to the eye doctor with swollen, red, dry eyes and a very cranky attitude. The ophthalmologist leaned back in his chair and explained he doesn’t understand why, but as he understands it, for fibromyalgia patients doctors should just do whatever they can to make them feel better even if they can’t figure out what the underlying problem is. He proceeded to cauterize my tear ducts, so they can’t squeeze tears out of my eyes and into my nose. Yeah, it’s not pleasant. Okay, it hurts a lot. During the procedure, the ophthalmologist commented on my ability to hold still and not complain. “Fibromyalgia patients,” he said, “Are saints.” Do you know how hard it is not to roll your eyes while you have a cauterizer a nanometer away from your eyeball? While I appreciated that he didn’t question the discomfort I was having and that he appreciated my ability to make his job easier, he needed to understand something important: Fibro patients can differentiate between types of pain and react accordingly, anticipating the actual pain we will feel, when we will feel it, and how bad it will feel.

There are a few different, very distinct types of pain – using my own, non-medical terminology:

  1. Chronic pain/White Noise: While fibro is considered a chronic pain syndrome, there is a “chronic pain” component in fibro that is different than other types of pain. I call it white noise. It’s like static in my head when my tinnitus is acting up. It’s there all the time. It’s relentless. It’s also a very low-level pain, sometimes barely noticeable. Static, not fireworks. This is the generalized pain that seriously exhausts the fibro patient. It eats away at energy levels by its persistence, not its pain level. When I give a doctor a relentlessness scale for my pain, this is the pain I am rating. For me, this pain rests in my muscles.
  2. Acute pain/Fireworks: This is the opposite of the above. It’s the fireworks. It can come in clusters or focus on one spot. The key is, it’s not relentless. It comes and goes unexpectedly and shoots around like a shell out of a mortar, and it usually has a higher pain level than the white noise pain – close to the kidney stone/childbirth pain I will rate a 10. For me, this pain hits my joints most often and is usually associated with motion.
  3. Temporary pain: This is cauterizing my tear ducts or getting a cortisone shot into my hip bursae. It may hurt like heck during the procedure, and it will linger while things heal, but there is a deadline for the pain. It’s going to go away. I can do that.

Most importantly, all three of these pains are connected and relative. Pain is worse when it’s unexpected. It’s worse when it will not go away. Expected pain, not so bad. Pain with a deadline, not a problem. Fibro patients, not saints. We’re pain realists.

Things to Be Sure Your Doctor Actually Understands: Part 2

Next month I have my yearly checkup with the doctor. It’s a new doctor – I work with residents, so every three years I get to break in a new doctor. Some people don’t like that and prefer to get a consistent consultant. Between you and me, I like breaking them in before they settle into their opinions. When they graduate, they have a good understanding of fibromyalgia patients, whether they want it or not. Since this is my first visit with this new doctor, we’ll have a little talk. I have a few concerns that I need to know are or are not fibromyalgia- or weight-related, because let’s face it, I’m getting old. I’ll be 60 in a few months, and I have to learn what to expect as I age. And any doctor who sees fibromyalgia patients needs to understand a few things about aging from the perspective of the fibromyalgia patient:

  1. It will be very difficult for fibro patients to differentiate between aging pains, fibromyalgia pains, and pain signifying illness. Guidance and patience will be an absolute must for the aging fibro patient. We will have to relearn how to perceive the pain we feel. Not only will we feel pain that has no real origin or cure, but we will start feeling pain that does have an origin and may have a possibility for relief. We won’t be used to that. Fibro patients may not know to ask, or they may be very wary of medications because of a history of side effects and allergic reactions. It will be very easy to overlook significant symptoms of critical illnesses. It will be very easy to lose patience when a fibro patient contacts their doctor too much.
  2. Education about aging symptoms will be much more valuable than a “well, you’re not a spring chicken anymore” attitude. We’ve already gotten that from friends and relatives for years. I’ve been hearing that since I was about 35. I haven’t felt like a spring chicken… ever. I have no comprehension of life or movement without pain. Being told essentially to put up with aging pains as a part of life is, frankly, a little insulting. Doctors are usually pretty good about telling patients about, for example, cancer symptoms to look for, early warning signs. That is much more helpful.
  3. Fibro patients will feel aging pains differently. Our brains tell us we’re in pain when other people may not perceive pain at all or a much less intense pain. It’s not just the basic fibromyalgia pains that are intensified, it’s any pain. I’ve gone on the theory that I’ve had a rheumatic process that is so mild the doctors have not been able to discern it, but my pain sensors are so darn good, I have been able to feel it. Of course, if (when) I actually get a rheumatic diagnosis, it will be very difficult to prove that it’s an ongoing process, not a new condition.
  4. Fibro patients already struggle with mental health before the aging process. We struggle daily when we’re young. As I get older and realize how much I have not done, how much I lost to time spent waiting, resting, the struggle intensifies. That very normal end-of-life mental weight people feel is exacerbated by chronic pain. I suspect we feel it sooner. I have wondered for many years now, if I felt 80 when I was 30, what will I feel like when I’m 80, and do I want to know? Since mental health is integral to physical health, doctors need to be consistent in monitoring for depression and suicidal thoughts as the fibro patient ages.

Again, mutual respect and communication between patient and doctor are better than any prescription medication. I’m going to have a sit down with my new doctor and express my concerns about symptoms that seem suspiciously like aging rather than fibromyalgia and see what happens. As always, I am not expecting a miracle cure or even anything curable, but I’ll listen, just in case.

Things to Be Sure Your Doctor Actually Understands: Part 1

All pain scales are worthless to fibromyalgia patients. I’m making the mistake of sounding like I talk for everybody. I don’t talk for everybody. I talk for myself. Pain scales are worthless. There are many different types of pain scales: rate your pain on a scale of 1-10, show me what you think your face looks like, and other more complex yet equally useless scales.

Here’s the problem: for fibromyalgia, pain is a constant, not a symptom.

More appropriate questions to ask fibromyalgia patients:

  1. What is your baseline pain? For example, when asked that persistent 1-10 question, I always say, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being childbirth and kidney stone… If there’s no point of reference for your worst pain ever, there is no meaning for the number you give.
  2. How would you rate your pain when you move? How would you rate your pain when at rest? Yes, they’re different. And if I’m sitting in the doctor’s office and they say what’s your pain right now, I will give a different number than I would have 30 seconds earlier walking into the office. Again though, there has to be a baseline. To many a nurse’s chagrin, I give them two numbers: Right now, sitting still I’m at a 4. If I get up and move around I’m a solid 8, with 10 being childbirth and kidney stone. I don’t care if they don’t have a spot on their worksheet for 2 numbers.
  3. How relentless is your pain? This is the key to fibromyalgia. It’s not the level of pain; it’s the relentlessness of the pain. That is what exhausts fibro patients. Once a psychiatrist who was trying to fit me out with an antidepressant told me he didn’t understand fibromyalgia patients. He will show a fibro patient all the different faces of the pain scale and ask them to rate themselves, 1-10 and they’ll say 12, but their face shows a 3. He didn’t understand that. I did. If you have pain at a level 3 for 78 days straight, you will rate your pain at a 12. It’s not the level of pain the patient is rating. It’s the relentlessness of the pain.

The first step for a doctor to understand and treat a fibro patient is to understand the pain. The only way they can understand the pain (since so many doctors are incredibly healthy) is for you to be able to express in clear terms what your pain is like. If they understand that you understand your own pain, they will listen better when you have a concern.

I hope it doesn’t happen so often anymore, but I had a near-fatal episode in 2002 when a doctor sent me home instead of investigating my complaints. He saw fibromyalgia in my records, his eyes glazed over, and he stopped listening, even when the nurses were all commenting on how terrible I looked. I had a massive pulmonary embolism and was going into heart failure. A week after he sent me home without proper tests, I was rushed to a different health care facility, and those doctors saved my life. In 2002 I was unable to express myself properly to make that doctor understand what I was experiencing was not normal. Almost 20 years later, I understand much better how to explain to doctors how I feel. When I’m in normal pain, I tell them yeah, it’s normal, I’m not worried about it. When I have a new incessant pain, I say, no this is not normal and explain why it’s not normal. It can take some persistence, and that means walking a fine line between standing up for yourself and being aggressive about getting care. As important as it is for them to listen to you, it’s equally important for you to listen to them. The best thing for your care is mutual respect.

Just FYI

So I have been working from home since March 2020, so doing things like vaccinations have to be purposeful. My employer requires both flu and COVID shots, which I’m good with, and the flu shot is free to employees – I don’t really want to get sick and I don’t want other people to get sick because of me. In addition, my doctor has been nagging me to get the shingles vaccine for the past maybe 5 years. I finally found out my insurance will pay for it, so I thought what the heck, I’ll go for it. This week on Monday, I got the second shingles vaccine. On Wednesday (yesterday) I did both the COVID booster and the flu shot.

Now I don’t know if it’s fibro related at all, but if you have a reaction to any vaccines, I’d strongly recommend spreading them out over time. Let’s just say, last night at about 4AM, every joint in my body said nope. And deserted me. I woke up with no joints. It’s very hard to bend without joints. Fever, fatigue, aches, all the usual symptoms I get with just the flu shot, times 100. Of course, I’m a wimp – I can own that. I know the pain I feel is exaggerated by my brain. I know I’m not ACTUALLY dying. Knowing that doesn’t make it easier to function, however. And besides, it’s always cathartic to fall into my dramatic swoon just before climbing back into bed under my fluffiest fluffy blankets. So I’m going to do my best, most dramatic swoon and cuddle up with my personal heaters – Lady the hi-temp Springer and two mildly mopey kit kats.

In short if they say, just get them both at once, and remember you need that second dose of Shingrex… beware… Give them the over-the-top-of-your-glasses look and just say, huh? come again?

Public Perceptions

As a middle-aged stereotypical woman, I watch true crime stuff. One of the shows I’ve been watching lately is American Monster. I like it because it focuses on the story of the people around the person who suddenly turns out to be a “monster” – very dramatic that title – and the impact of the victims, and not just the one in the morgue. On the whole, it’s trash TV; I won’t try to claim otherwise.

Just recently I saw an episode called “Stay with Me.” It’s about an active, beautiful, and in-love couple. The wife eventually gets someone to attack her husband in order to settle a custody battle after they’re no longer in love anymore. Lots of years for attempted murder and conspiracy, but the husband survives. That’s the short version.

The reason this episode stands out to me is because the narrator points out that the wife, after a few blissful years of marriage has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, “a condition marked by widespread muscle pain and chronic fatigue.” Their world is turned upside down. There is no treatment, he notes, other than rest and reducing stress.

Fibromyalgia is not the focus of this episode. However, after that description, we find out that the wife, who is a technical writer, cannot continue to work. She doesn’t have enough energy to get up and work. We have all been there, right? Fortunately, she had a husband with a good job who could support them both when she stopped working, right? We haven’t all been there, have we?

After the couple had a child, things sort of fall apart. She believes the baby also has a health condition like hers, which is not substantiated by a pediatrician, and the couple starts to fight about whether or not the baby should be treated, among other things. It’s never just one thing, right? You know the rest of the story.

A few thoughts because this episode bothered me a bit:

  1. The description of fibromyalgia is so off. It’s good that they didn’t describe it as a so-called condition, but it’s very easy to hear “widespread muscle aches and chronic fatigue” and say, yeah so? It’s so much more, but since it’s not the focus of the episode, what else could they say? I see similar descriptions on commercials (when I’m not quick enough to skip them) that are touting pills for fibro. It’s superficial and harmful. There are people who will scoff when they hear the diagnosis, and there are people who will hear the description and jump to the conclusion that they have fibromyalgia. Harmful either way.
  2. The wife, who started out fit and trim before the diagnosis, stayed fit and trim throughout the rest of the drama. There was no fibro-50 for her. I wonder about her diagnosis. Not everyone who gets fibromyalgia gains weight, but it is dominant.
  3. More importantly, if she had not been given this diagnosis, would she have reacted to her symptoms as much as she did? There are a lot of us out there with fibromyalgia who do not quit their jobs and who do get out of bed every day even cloaked in morning brainfog. I sometimes wonder about getting a diagnosis. It helped me because I realized I could still do what I wanted to do, that I wasn’t actually hurting myself when things hurt. But it seems to have been the opposite for this person.
  4. There was no discussion about mental illness at all, either before the event or during the trial. Depression is (I think) almost inevitable. If she was focused on her child possibly having the same thing she did, was she missing signs that she needed mental health treatment? Was her focus on her child’s health a sign in itself? We don’t know whether a physician talked with her about anything related to mental health, but I would argue it should be part of any treatment plan at the very least to monitor for depression. I’m not saying fibro is going to make you talk someone into shooting a high powered weapon at your soon-to-be-ex husband. There was obviously so much more going on in this situation. Is it possible she had a mental health condition that was mistaken for fibromyalgia and then exacerbated by the stress of having a child?

I have no major insights here. It matters, though, how fibromyalgia is described in mainstream media. No, I’m not going to start a campaign about how fibro should be talked about or described, but I will point it out when it bothers me.

Summer’s Over

This blog has gotten a little more personal than I intended it to be when I started it. Part of the reason is because I have not been finding the research articles and poring over them like I did at the start. In fact, I’ve done very little reading lately. Another part of the reason is because it feels like every ounce of energy I have is spent on work. That’s both physical and mental/emotional energy. It has helped so much to commute only on occasion, but by the end of the day, I’m done. And if there’s something fibromyalgia people know is when they’re done.

At the same time, I have been self-destructive this summer. I have not been taking care of myself. I certainly haven’t been taking the extra care that’s necessary to function with fibro. Instead of exercise and stretching, I go in the yard (a perennial garden, no grass) and work, including heavy lifting and lots of bending and kneeling. My back and knees are worse than they’ve ever been. I’m not eating regularly – not three times a day for sure, oftentimes only once, and usually not well-rounded meals. Evenings include a glass (or two) of wine. My body does not like sugar, but I like wine (and margaritas).

I think there are a lot of reasons I have not been kind to myself. I’ve had some emotional impacts this last year, beyond the way COVID sort rampaged through the world, and it has impacted my self-perception, self-worth, self-esteem. I’m having a hard time even just caring that I’m not taking care of myself. If I’m honest with myself, it’s a slo-mo suicide. I’m aware of the drama of a statement like that, and I’m not intentionally trying to shock. I’m trying to be honest with myself and to remind myself of all the reasons I should care about myself and my life, as well as all the people around me who love me. And there are a lot of reasons.

Mostly, this summer has felt insurmountable. The things I want to do aren’t done. And there’s so much I want to do, but when the time comes that I can carve out a little time for myself, it gets taken away, either by the needs of other people, by work, by pain and fatigue, by brain fog, or very often by an overwhelming “what’s the point?” If I do X, I know the consequences. It’s been hard to choose life knowing that tomorrow I’ll regret it. In addition, my world outlook has changed so dramatically, I can’t comprehend the optimistic lens I used to look at the world through. My sense of a power to change even my little corner of the world is pretty much gone.

It’s been a bad summer physically too. My back is constantly in pain making just walking difficult. Pain is constantly shooting down my legs, whether I’m up and moving or sitting and working. I can’t completely straighten my left leg. It takes several minutes when I get up from working at my desk to walk normally. The joints in my fingers are swollen and painful every day. The pointer finger on my left hand is numb. I know I have to see a doctor and ask for a referral to a rheum doctor. I made an appointment for a yearly checkup, but I don’t want to go.

I’m very aware of the depression symptoms I’m manifesting. I’m very aware that I have to return to counseling. I also know that I have made the conscious decision to not do the things I need to do to maintain my physical and mental health. I’m calling myself out. Life is all about choices. I’ve been deliberately making bad choices. Summer’s over. I need to change seasons too.

Adding Pain to Reduce Pain?

The other day I came across a Try Guys YouTube video where Zach Kornfeld (@korndiddy, apparently) tries out products that have been developed for people with chronic pain, things like a “bed of nails” (Zach describes using it as a peaceful pain), and home cupping products, home TENS units, etc. It got me thinking about the need to relieve pain.

Some of the products reminded me of when I was a kid and had a huge headache. To make the headache “go away,” I wanted to thump my head against a wall. Not hard. No brain damage. I realized that was pretty counterproductive and didn’t do it. The point is, if you have pain, creating a more intense pain to counter the original pain is tempting. Is that where self-harm comes from? People are hurting inside, and that external pain they inflict on themselves gives them relief from their inner turmoil? I’m having a little bit of a hard time seeing how some of these products are doing more than self-harm.

There were some products that helped to stretch muscles or massages, which seem more productive. One guest on the show brought a large bag of what she called her “little angels” – products to help with chronic pain. Included were a pair of mirror glasses, which allow people to lay flat, look forward, and see downward so they can watch TV without putting their neck in an awkward position. Useful – my dad broke his back and spent months in bed with a pair of mirror glasses to read and watch TV while he mended. Most of the products, however, didn’t seem worth the money or – frankly – the hope. The guest with the bag of toys suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, which a friend of mine was dealing with for some time. It’s a condition where essentially the nerves in your jaw connecting to your head get all bundled up and twisted. The pain can be unbearable. My friend has told me about several people in his support group who have committed suicide with this condition. He was lucky – he was able to have surgery to actually cure the pain. But I wonder when someone with that kind of pain orders a product and gives in to hope, does it make it worse?

Bottom line, none of these toys are cures. None will stop the pain. They may relieve the pain; they won’t cure the pain. The cynic in me says these are products put out there to take advantage of people with chronic pain, and since a lot of people with chronic pain are on disability and not necessary financially fluid, that’s a shame. These things are not inexpensive. At the same time, when I wrestle my cynic aside, I am a strong believer in the placebo effect. People can feel better when they convince themselves they feel better, just like they can convince themselves they don’t feel well. If putting a home TENS unit on your back gives you relief, there’s nothing wrong with that.

And then I look at the bottle of naproxen slowly going out of date on my bedside table. I have it there for one specific pain I get in my side, right about where my ovaries are (TMI, sorry). It’s the one pain that naproxen helps with every time. However, I don’t take it immediately. I wait for a few days. If that pain doesn’t go away in a few days, it won’t go away for a few weeks, it disrupts my sleep, and I take the pill. When I find something that helps, I have to be careful not to overuse it. Ibuprofen used to help – now it hurts me. More than anything, however, is I’ve learned to live with it. I’ve stopped hoping. That’s not a negative thing. I look out my window at the garden I’m putting together with baby steps, at my work and all the things I’ve done and will do. I’m generally happy and satisfied with my life. The hope was dragging me down. I’m not going to spend money on things that might help me for a few minutes. The most productive pain reduction for me has been to make choices about how to live, to accept the things I can’t do and to push myself to do the things I can even when they hurt. I don’t succeed all the time. I’ve been struggling, but none of the toys on Zach’s show will help more than that. Try Guys, btw, love them. They make me smile every time.

Dee Dee Darkly…

…is my alter ego.I actually write this blog with Dee Dee in my mind. That is why it’s I’m actually a very shy, very private person. It’s sort of fashionable right now to identify as introvert, but true introverts are probably not the ones who say, excuse me, but I’m an introvert. It’s easier for me to put thoughts out to the world as Dee Dee Darkly than as me. I have a hard time putting myself out there, so I don’t. I put Dee Dee out there. Don’t worry, she doesn’t talk to me or tell me to do questionable things involving sharp objects. Alter ego, not demon.

I bring this up because I’m going to put myself out there. I’m going to ask you, if you read this blog and you appreciate the content to please like or follow. I’m trying to pull myself out of the funk I’ve been in and climb out of the rut where I’ve been nesting. It’s time. I’m almost 60 and I don’t plan to live forever. I have to say what I need to say before I fall and break a hip. It helps to think people may be looking for something, that people may want to hear what I have to say. I function best in the fear that I’m disappointing someone. If I do it just for me, I can put it off or find plenty of distractions that seem more important.

Please like or follow me.

You can also find me (and Dee Dee) on Good Reads. About a year ago I self-published a few Dee Dee stories, Dee Dee Darkly: Spontaneous Traveler and Erstwhile Sleuth. Available through Amazon (paperback or Kindle). Dee Dee is a writer and traveler – what I’ve always aspired to be. She doesn’t know it yet, but she has fibromyalgia. It’s okay – I’ll help her through it.

Happy Anniversary

Today is my one-year anniversary. One year ago today was the first day I worked from home. Things have changed so much. I still have a dog looking at me like I’m being way too lazy and need to get off my computer. But the other dog and Terry, now my ex, are in Oregon, soaking up the ocean. I have gone from hating working from home to seriously appreciating it. It’s like getting a raise in pay and time both. I’ve gained a lot of clarity about my own needs and wants and how to accomplish them. But on the negative side, I’m a little afraid of people on the whole. I’m emerging from this COVID cocoon looking differently at the people around me. So much has happened to make me realize there are people out there who do not make me happy. Or maybe they’re on the whole unhappy and want the rest of us to be unhappy with them. Or they have more than they need so they’re going to make sure they keep it and stay on top. I’ve always understood inequities in human society. It’s a thing that’s been around forever. I understand hate; again not a new concept. I just never felt completely surrounded and beaten down by hate and inequity, by the people espousing it and the people unaware (consciously or unconsciously) of it.

This is actually earth-shattering to me. I’ve always been an optimist (perhaps disappointed but still an optimist). I’ve always believed in the basic goodness of humanity. I still see that goodness. But I also see the cracks in the porcelain. I see people obsessed with ideas instead of facts, unable to distinguish between not just right and wrong, but truth and fiction. Believing in something with your whole heart does not make it true or real. It does not make your neighbor wrong because he or she has a different belief. I’m not just talking religion or politics. That’s the easy pick. It’s being made to feel like there is a constant choice – if you love this, you cannot love that. If you love the Beatles, you can’t love Elvis. Making everything an “either/or” instead of an “and.” I can care about more than one issue at a time. You have to when there are 17,000,000,000,000 problems in the world. I can worry about animal rights just as much as I worry about human rights. Just because I worry about animal rights does not lessen my worry about human rights. But we’re living in a world where if you speak out against animal cruelty, you will likely be faced with someone pointing out that people are more important than animals, rather than recognizing you are speaking up for animals, not reducing the worth of humans. I don’t like this world. Not right now. I look at my home and my muddy pre-spring garden, and I am grateful. But I understand my privilege. Even with the struggles I have – physically, emotionally, financially – I am privileged. I am also ineffective, mute in an angry world, constantly recoiling from conflict.

What does this have to do with fibromyalgia? Maybe it explains a bit why I’ve been so quiet this last year – few years. There is so much to worry about. To focus on one thing – fibromyalgia – is like saving one snowflake from melting in a flood. It doesn’t make it any less important than the other 16,999,999,999,999 problems in the world, but my attention is clearly divided. There’s luxury in being able to focus. Not everyone recognizes that. Focus is a luxury. Most of us multitask our way through the world. I’ll get back on track. This little blog is not meaningless. It’s small, but it’s not meaningless. And I do have a few things I want to say before I shuffle away.

Atypical Body Dysmorphia

Is it a thing? So here’s what happens. I’m walking along, feeling good about the world and myself, swinging my hips, head raised high, and then I have to enter a building. It doesn’t matter what building, except that building has glass doors, and they’re working like a mirror. And I catch sight of myself for the first time that day. I go from a youthful 25-year-old to my real 58-year-old. From young, thin, and pretty – to older, overweight, and… different looking. I don’t recognize myself anymore. I don’t just hate mirrors and cameras, they cause panic. My biggest challenge in the last several years was being mother of the groom! I had to talk my way through the family photos, and even then, I’m clinging onto my son’s arm and turned slightly away like I’m about to dash out of the picture. I felt like I was being shot by something other than film. The way I feel about the way I look does not correspond with the way I actually look. The face I think I have, is not the face I have. And oddly, I FEEL better than I LOOK. When I was young, I thought I was fat and ugly – I look at pictures from back then and realize – I was thin and pretty! It’s done a complete flip and I don’t think I ever met myself in the middle so that my perception of myself was equal to my real self. Ever.

What’s this got to do with fibromyalgia. I have no idea. Maybe nothing, but I’m going to try to train myself to:

Look at myself. Allow myself to see myself as I am. Not as I think I am. And to appreciate myself as I am. Nobody’s ever actually run away screaming, so I think when I do catch a glimpse of myself, I’m not perceiving myself properly. The panic I feel when I unexpectedly (or expectedly) face a camera or mirror or glass door warps my perception of myself. I’m going to try to change that.

If I’m successful at feeling comfortable with my own perceptions, I bet I’ll feel better physically too. Fibro is a real physical disease, but I firmly believe state of mind can control how deeply it sets in.

My plan: It’s not set in stone, but I’m going to supplement this website with a vlog. I’m going to look myself in the face while I talk about…. whatever. Maybe I’ll throw in some middle-aged-fat-woman stretching videos so I have to face the rest of me too. I don’t know, but weekly. I have to commit to it. I’m turning 59 next month. I’m single again as of next week Wednesday, so it’s time. I can do this.