Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Think I Fixed my Wagons

Since I was up since midnight this morning, I had some time to do some journaling. While writing, I pondered my "Wagons" problem and I think I've finally figured out my priorities, with subpriorities.  Here is the priority of things I'd like to do to improve myself.
  1. Exercise
    1. Stretching
      I need to get back on track with the daily stretching routines to keep my muscles loose.  If I don't stretch, my myofascial trigger points will likely act up, causing pain and a cascade of other symptoms (including these sleepless nights).

    2. Strength Training
      Once I am able to do stretches regularly again, I'll start adding back some of the isometric exercises and concentrate on building up lost muscle.  My scale measures body fat percentage and it's gotten very high - 33%. 

      Muscle atrophy is definitely contributing to my weakness, fatigue, and pain, as well as my slowed metabolism, fatness, and some lowered self-esteem, I'm sure.

    3. Endurance TrainingOnce my muscles are built up a bit and I'm able to handle the strength training exercises, my next exercise goal will be to try to increase my tolerance for doing any activities.  At first, this will be walking and doing chores, but hopefully, some day, I might actually be able to more, like biking or maybe even play a tennis game or something. 

      This is a lofty goal for me right now, but it's good to have something to shoot for, right?  Besides, some of my fibromite friends are reporting to me that they are running and doing all sorts of things.  (Color me jealous!)  Of course, others in my FM-ily are on the opposite end of the spectrum, bedridden and on the brink of despair.  I am in the middle right now, and I am hoping that by putting this goal down in writing (and in public) that I remember to do what I can, while I can, to try to stay ahead of that worst case scenario that I fear may once dominate my life. 

  2. Weight Loss
    Get back online at Calorie Count and start back up logging calories eaten, calories burned, track my weight, and work toward (gradually and responsibly) losing at least 10, if not all 20 of the pounds I gained since last year.  I'm going to concentrate on eating healthy foods and healthy amounts. 

    This site really is helpful, but I'm taking a break from all the detailed logging for the time being, because... well, I'm not ready to get on that wagon just yet.  Now, that doesn't mean I'm giving myself the green light to eat crazy amounts of crap!  I do enjoy all sorts of foods, but if I don't eat at least one vegetable every day, I instinctively start looking for them, just to help balance things out.  When you have a chronic illness, getting the proper nutrition from your food is especially important. 

    I feel like doing the calorie logging I've already done was like the practice, or training I needed to get a feel for the way I should eat and feel during the day.  The training wheels are off for the time being, but I'm still sort of doing okay, I like to think.  I'm just not making it a top priority (yet).  I put this goal below the others for good reasons.  It will be much easier to lose weight once some of my lost muscle mass returns and I'm able to exercising.  I also imagine I will be in less pain, thus less stress.

  3. Reduce Medications
    I'm on a lot of meds at the moment.  Despite the number of medications I take, the fact that I've been flaring up pretty frequently and severely enough to interfere with my work and social life leads me to believe that some or all of them may not be doing what they should.  Why am I ingesting so many expensive chemicals into my body if I'm still going to be flaring all over the place? 

    Since I have decided to do as much research on my health conditions and medications as possible (so I can be primarily responsible for my health, with my doctor's assistance), I am also aware that there are many side effects and possible drug interactions or other problems associated with taking them.  Drugs.com is truly a great resource for researching all the possible information that exists on any medication, but if you're not ready for the scary bits, it can be a bit overwhelming.  I have to trust that my doctor understands all the precautions (dosage limitations, listening for new and relevant symptoms, etc.), but I am also not bashful about picking his brain about certain troubling drug combinations if I'm worried about them.  I urge you all to share any worries or questions with your doctors as well.

  4. Stop Finger Picking
    Where did that one come from, right?  I'm stressed.  I also have obsessive-compulsive tendencies.  One of the ways I am expressing this combination of mental challenges is a terrible habit of picking at the edges of my cuticles and hangnails, and the rough skin around my fingertips.  The more picking there has been, the more tempting it is for me to continue, since the picking results in rough edges that heal up a little, and hurt less.  I'm noticing that the longer my nails get, the worse it gets.  I have also used tweezers and cuticle nippers, always with the intention of smoothing out or perfecting the surface.  But it never seems to work; it usually makes things a lot worse.  I have pulled and picked until I hurt and bled.  I don't understand why I continue doing this, but I have tried and tried to quit many times.  I know I have to.  It's disgusting and crazy!

    It's a strange, but apparently not uncommon habit, as I have discovered.  Band-aids are helpful, but so wasteful, and they are also very annoying, especially when they get wet.  I figure this goal is the last priority of these because I believe the stress from not having the above issues under control is greatly contributing to the underlying stress that makes me need to pick.  Hopefully, once I get to this final wagon, the final leg of the journey will be much shorter than it would be otherwise.
So there it is.  All my ducks are in a row and I'm ready to start my journey, one little inch at a time.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  I'll keep you all posted on my progress.