Pain Identifies Me

It’s been a crazy, pain-filled few days and I don’t know why.

I’ve been living a relatively clean life; no gluten, biking as much as I can (in the heat), keeping the sweets & dairy to a minimum.  But the pain has been rather intense.


Me, ostensibly working, in my sky chair in the backyard. Why do I always look drunk?

I’m beginning to wonder if one of the triggers for my Fibromyalgia may be heat? Who knows. Almost 4 years in and I’m still learning stuff.

When I was in my 20’s, my 30’s, even my 40’s, I had SO much more energy.

I could do anything – and many days I did!  I could bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pain, wash the pain (and the whole kitchen) PAINT the kitchen, remodel the kitchen, and THEN make you feel like a ma-a-a-an!

But I am utterly exhausted almost every day.  Physically, mentally, emotionally.

I am just drained. And I hate it.

Recently we spent a weekend with some friends, and the fact of my constant exhaustion was brought home when I needed to take not ONE but TWO naps one day. This is the kind of thing I can ignore within my own family, but it becomes noticeable (and noticed) when other folks are around.


The sleeping doxy

The dogs were thrilled, both Jasper and another guest’s sweet little doxy crawled into bed with me, and we three tired pups slept the afternoon away.

I apologize if I sound whiney –  I didn’t used to be so worried about whining, but a few years ago a rather nasty blog commented on how odd it was that I was always “moaning about my health, but could ride my bike to the top of the Wallace monument”  Yeah, whatever. 


My bike by a tiny Free Library in St. Paul

Some folks are always going to be nasty about something, and it shouldn’t matter.  Except the comment is trapped in my head like a wasp against a window and it buzzes every time the pain overwhelms. me.


I know my exhaustion comes from pain. Pain EATS energy for breakfast, then asks for more for lunch. If no energy is forthcoming, pain goes on a rampage and sets the garage on fire before fleeing the scene. Pain is a perp.


My bike at the Lyndale Rose Garden

And, as I’ve related ad nauseam, I deal with the pain with my bike, with yoga (in the winter) and with stretching.

Usually I can beat the pain back.

Or at least I can reason with it and
distract it while I make my escape.


So today I took a pain pill – not something I do regularly (perhaps I should take one prophylactically when I know it’s going to be so hot) – and I’m feeling on top of the world right now.  Where’s that frying pan…?


I offered a “Heat Wave” discount during my class last night, the current temp minus my ideal temp of 70º = 29% off on my books!


Last night I taught a lace class at Darn Knit Anyway, which is SUCH a lovely yarn shop in Stillwater, MN!  I love to visit there, I always find inspiration in the choice of yarns they carry (they have a good eye – or perhaps it’s that we share the same taste!)

The class was smallish, but that allowed me to really dig into the theory of lace, why stitches move the way they do, how to create scallops and waves in the edges of your work (intentionally!) and different ways to make a decrease / increase.  Overall, it was a very good class (and I sold a few books, too!)


St. Paul Cathedral at 9pm, on my bike ride home from SPNN

I’m excited to be teaching the same class next Saturday, this time the class is full, 16 folks at last count.  Perhaps they’ll have me back to teach classes on some other topics, that would be great!

All in all, a really terrific experience on a hot, hot day!

My plans on this steamy day are to bike downtown, sit at an air conditioned Caribou Coffee and knit, then head over to SPNN and edit from 4-9 (it’s ALWAYS cool in the edit suite!)

Yes, I’m working on a project for a documentary class I’m taking at SPNN (St. Paul Neighborhood Network), our local public access station.  It’s going very well, and I’m LOVING the editing portion.

More on this later as it transpires…

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10 thoughts on “Pain Identifies Me

  1. Harriet Levy

    Annie, I feel your pain. I mean it. I live with fibromyalgia. Every morning is a new adventure. Where will I hurt? I am also gluten free, am aspiring to be the cyclist I once was, get 8 hours of sleep most nights. I also take Lyrica, because it is the only thing that makes a fundamental difference.

    I also pop the occasional pain pill. I am always rewarded with a surge in energy. You’re completely right. Pain eats energy. My rheumatologist agrees that people with fibro, particularly, have screwed up pain/fatigue cues, and frequently when we are in pain, our brains misinterpret that as fatigue.

    Also with Fibro, pain begets more pain, on the neurotransmitter level, and we are better off medicating the pain than we are if we just muscle through it on will power.

    Extreme heat and humidity drains me. I just cannot deal with it. I’ve taken to cycling early in the morning (we’re having a heat wave in NY). But extreme cold bothers me too. A recent study at Abany Medical Center has shown that people with fibromyalgia have increased temperature receptors in their skin, that causes blood vessels to swell and contract around sensory nerves. It’s pretty groundbreaking information.

    Sorry to post such a long comment. But you are not whining. You’re merely telling the truth.

  2. Cheekyredhead

    I’m right there with you. I’m living with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibro. When it’s very cold I hurt but when it’s very hot and humid I hurt and I have no energy at all. When I feel like I’m at the end of my rope I try to remember that the worst of things will pass. I just need to allow myself to get thru this bad period by dong whatever it takes. Lately the that thing is sleep.

  3. Helen M

    Hey, it’ s your blog and you get to write whatever you want to! We can choose to read it or not.

    Seriously, I have FM too. Heat and humidity are not my friend, though I take Cymbalta. Weather has an impact on how good I feel in spite of the meds. And, pain eats away at my energy and my ability to think clearly

    Luckily, there are people in my life who are understanding about the effects FM has on me and are accepting of it. Being able to communicate about how you are feeling is key. So, as far as I’m concerned, keep being real about it. It reminds me to do the same.

    Hang in there, Annie.

  4. Janice in GA

    I don’t have fibro, but I do have varying amounts of pain that I have to live with. You’re definitely right about the pain/fatigue connection.

    Make sure you’re really, really well hydrated. I’ve found that doing that can really help me feel better. I think I must be semi-dehydrated a lot of the time.

    And when I don’t ride my bike, I feel much worse too. Take care, sweety.

  5. Cindy in un-Happy Valley

    I don’t care what the pain is from, or where it is located. A person can have one throbbing toe… pain is debilitating . No equivocation. And unfortunately, in some cases, it can only be “managed”. I hope you get some relief soon.

  6. Paula F

    I don’t think you should be too hesitant about taking medication for pain. Of course, you know the “rules” for FM, not me. However, in general, the idea is to stay “ahead” of the pain; in other words, take the pain med sooner rather than later when it is harder to catch up to the pain. Pain is so draining.

  7. Debra

    Even if you were not in pain, you are accomplishing a lot and that is amazing. The day I decided to stop pretending that I felt awful, a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

  8. Linda

    I live with constant pain too–and yes, it has been an awful week or two with it all—no idea why…God Bless—we will get better…

  9. Barbara C.

    Please do not feel you shouldn’t post about your health! It is your blog about whatever you want or feel the need to share with us. Earlier comments from those whose have experienced what it is to live with chronic pain and fibromyalgia validate that this is a tough thing to live with. We all need support and understanding from people who truly know what it’s like to struggle with what you struggle.

    When that nasty blog comment surfaces in your mind, take a deep breath, then say to yourself, “Let it go”. This has helped me with a similar toxic situation which does tend to resurface in my mind when I am feeling low. These things are poisonous and we can’t dwell on them, they only make us feel worse. You are an intelligent and creative woman, and I wish you many, many good days in your future.

  10. janet

    I wish there was a way to un-see or un-hear things. Many people still do not believe that fibro is a real thing, but instead an excuse to complain in general. Personally, I don’t care what you call it — FM, CFS, RA — pain is not an objective quality. It’s *sub*jective and everybody’s threshold is different. Just because you have a diagnosis doesn’t make the symptoms magically disappear, it just gives you a place to start treating them from.

    In addition to the chronic pain from FM, you get to add the worry about what effect that is having on those you love. AND you get the ever underlying worry about Gerry’s health. It’s like having a wrinkle in your chemise under a tightly-laced bodice — there is this constant small irritation that you are not consciously aware of underneath a much greater one that you thought you knew how to deal with.

    Hugs, Annie. The heat wave will break and you will feel better, I’m sure of it.

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