Fear of the Flare
So, last Friday, I went to yoga for a wonderful SOMA Breathing Class of 90 minutes. Joan, my yoga teacher, is a certified instructor. There were about 5 of us. Joan first guides us into a preparation meditation, then we did three rounds of SOMA breathing (see above explanation link), and at the end, she brings us back through a closing meditation and finally Savasana. First off, Joan is a poet. Her meditation guidance is so beautiful and inspirational. Then, the breathing, I know it sounds weird, but it's calming and energizing, dreamy and clarifying. It really was profound for me this time, more so than the several times before.
I felt so strong and confident. I felt I could do anything. This is a feeling that I haven't had for at least three years, and this past year had been so far from this feeling that I thought I'd never have it again. I came to the decision that I wanted to buy a local building/business. I could just see it being the perfect place for the meadery that my son would like to one day own and Kelley and I are interested in being a part of. I went home and talked to Andrew and Kelley about it, ignoring to the most part Kelley's practical yet deflating concerns.
Then, I went to the doctor's for my 11 am appointment to get the Shingrix shot (2nd dose). I knew to expect the punched in the arm sensation that I had with the first dose. I do wish the nurse, however, had warned me that there could be more to it than that.
Still feeling really strong and positive, I went to do some volunteer work that involves organizing a HUGE library of literacy resources. (Right up my alley!) After a few hours of moving books around in a fairly warm attic, I went home to get cleaned up and go to look at the building.
By 3:00 pm, I was starting to feel really body tired and to develop a headache along with my left arm hurting like I'd let someone punch me as hard as they could to show that I could take it. Our meeting at the building was good. Many questions answered. More and more I could feel, though, that I was really starting to disintegrate. By the time we got home after stopping for our favorite ice cream, 5pm, I had to go to bed, my entire body now felt like I'd been pummeled.
Now, the panic started setting in. I had been feeling soooo good. Yes, a bit of pain, but it wasn't stopping me from doing what I wanted to do. Crying, I told Kelley that I can't be counted on for commitments like the business. If a vaccine was going to through my body into an all over flair of this degree (probably my first 7/10 on the Medical Pain Scale), I realized that I couldn't count on this body and mind to allow me to do whatever I wanted with my life.
I ended up being up all night. After going to the couch to allow my husband to sleep, I tucked myself into supported savasana with my extra soft, fluffy blankets (3) and my comfort pillows (3). That's when the unstoppable shivering and feeling cold to the bone started along with feeling nauseous. I tried my go tos: going to the couch to allow my husband to sleep, breathing, heating pad, massage, stretching, meditation, Bayer: Back and Body (still on the 30mg of Cymbalta before bed), drinking water, and bundling up. But, nothing worked until about 4 in the morning, the shivers and fever passed, so I was finally able to fall asleep.
In the morning, as the sun rose, I awoke. The pain was still there all over but much less severe. I could get up, get my morning meds, and research the Shingrix shot. And here's what I found: Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. About 1 out of 6 people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.
A sense of relief came over me almost washing away the pain completely. It was just side effects! Not my fibro-brain reacting to the shot and shoulder-site pain, turning it into an all over body alarm. It wasn't a Fibro Flare! My body bounced back to normal (except the left shoulder pain that lasted until Monday morning).
I know flare-ups will come. But, I'm mostly confident I can manage them. I also feel like little things like a shot won't cause my body to go into complete alarm mode. I don't want to live my life out of fear of a flare. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it (within the frame of self-care and listening inward). This scare, really helped me to see that I can't live as if trying to stay away from triggers. That's just too limiting and will mean that fear will rule my decisions. I choose courage (with the help of others) and when the flare is triggered, I chose to manage the symptoms (with the help of others), knowing I have done this before and will make it through.
PS-For a variety of reasons, we have decided not to buy the building. One of those reasons, however, is not because I can't be counted on.
PSS-I do totally support getting the Shingrix vaccine. A weekend of inconvenience is way better than getting Shingles!
PSSS-The management strategies I learned will be shared in future posts.