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One thing I think I’ve gotten really good at is doing my best to stave off the painful effects of everyday activities. I think this is part of why I am doing so well when it comes to living with fibromyalgia.

There are two ways of trying to stave off the pain and fatigued feelings that come with my fibromyalgia: Before and After care. The hard part of both of these strategies is that I’m learning from past negative experiences. I’ve lived through many not so good days and I’ve tried to figure out what was happening to make them not so good. The answer, of course, is fibromaylgia. But there are things that I can do to lessen the symptoms.

So the Before care is mostly getting enough sleep, especially if I know if I have a big day ahead of me. I also have started doing yoga more regularly and find that it helps prevent the morning stiffness and achiness, which goes a long way towards having a good day.

The After involves finding ways to let me rest and recover. Last week I needed to do some heavy duty scrubbing in the kitchen, so I spent about an hour doing the hard stuff. Then I took a warn bath for about twenty minutes and a twenty minute nap and then did nothing strenuous for the rest of the day. I also broke out the medicinal muscle salve and massaged it in to my calves (the backs of my legs are always troublesome). It did require that I find the time in my schedule and put off doing other things until later in the week or the next day, but that’s life with fibromyalgia.

Another example of After care happened this weekend. We went to White Sands National Monument on Saturday night with some family members and played in the dunes. I knew that climbing up and sliding down the dunes would make me sore, so I kept Sunday absolutely free and stayed home. I rested and did some yoga and did only small chores in the house: a little laundry and cooking. I actually didn’t feel as sore as I thought I would, so Monday I was feeling strong and healthy and ready to take on the world. I don’t mean that I was without symptoms, I just mean they didn’t bother me that much.

At the top of a dune

At the top of a dune

White Sands is wonderful, by the way. The white color is because the sand is made of gypsum. The wind shapes the dunes into high hills and when you climb them you can see all around you for miles. It was my nephew’s first time going and he said “I can see everything from here!” There are some plants that grow in the dunes (yucca and some others that I don’t the names of), so it looks a lot like the hills south of my hometown in southwest Kansas when they’re blanketed in snow. The sand also reminded me of the beach in Florida that we went to last year. It’s just amazing that these white dunes rise out of the middle of a scrubby looking desert. (The desert I live in is not like the pictures of endless dunes that you see in Africa. It is actually full of lots of hardy plants and grasses.)

Sunset over the dunes

Sunset over the dunes

So with a little trial and error and by paying attention to what works and doesn’t work for my body, I’ve figured out what works as Before And After care so I can live my life with as few symptoms as possible.

The moon over the dunes

The moon over the dunes

Well, at least for this week… School starts on Thursday so we’ll see what happens then.

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