Nicotine: The Bitch Goddess

27 06 2015

 I have been smoke free for a week. Yes, you’re right, I did in fact quit for 8 years straight, but then moved to LA, where smoking is banned everywhere, & naturally picked it up again. Because I’m an idiot.

But using logic & reason, I have been smoke free for a week. I will not make a giant fuss over how hard it is, much. I will not lie & say that it’s been easy. I will, however, discuss the unexpected effects it’s had on my fibromyalgia.

I noticed the very next day after quitting smoking that I had more energy. It was the level of energy a Norm would scoff at, but for us, just having the energy to scoff is huge. Imagine waking up with one extra spoon. That was what quitting smoking did for me within 24 hours.

The day after that, I handled my cravings by walking. I walked up an entire block & back. If you have fibro, you know that’s like normal people signing up for their first 5K. I felt like fricken Jackie Joyner-Kersee & shit. It was amazeballs. Then I had some grapes.

The next day, I did it again! And I had some grapes. And did a little housework.

The next day, I didn’t walk after work because I’d walked during a break at work & had wracked up the steps on my pedometer. So I cleaned two large boxes out of the closet, washed & folded them, put my old Too Big clothes in a bag for Good Will, and danced to one song. Yes, danced. Then had grapes.

You can already tell where this is going, as you read my last entry. Flare. With nasty arm pain I’d not had in ages, if ever. So that day I ended up only managing a half day of work, lying on the couch, & eating copious amounts of carbs. I craved a cigarette, but didn’t give in.

Friday I was able to work, but today I woke up kind of wonky. It never improved. In fact, I walked into a box backwards, somehow, the corner of which has brutally assaulted the area behind my right knee. I also can’t really talk & the smell of everything ever makes me want to throw up. 

The smell of smoke, the smell of unwashed clothes, the smell of smoke on clothes, the smell of smoke on hair, unwashed hair, whatever was happening outside of CVS today…it is maddening. My sense of smell was already keen & I have had to stop myself complaining all my life so I don’t seem rude & can actually keep friends, but this is ridiculous. I am stiff & on the verge of exploding with rage at everything & I have to breathe through my mouth to not throw up in this heat. Which is gross because mouth breathing is the worst. The worst. 

Did you know nicotine is a muscle relaxant? It is! I found this out yesterday after doing some research. My advice to you is to be smarter than me. See a doctor before you quit. Get a script for Flexeril or whatever muscle relaxant your doc recommends. I think this level of stiffness & pain might make a less rational person smoke again. I have been sorely tempted. But also the smell is making me angry so I have not given in.

Also I’ve nearly washed everything in the house (under my control) that has ever had a hint of smoke associated with it and I do not intend to start over.

For those of you wondering what method I am using to quit, it is simply questioning the use of smoking. “You are keenly aware of what smoke does to your vascular system & kidney failure is your biggest medical fear and yet you persist. Why? Are you still particularly suicidal?” The answer has been “No” for a while, so why not quit? And here we are.

My triggers are wanting to be outside & rage. I have come up with methods to handle them. I suppress the rage, which is almost just as unhealthy, but I’m not really in a safe space to let off steam. Wanting to be outside is remedied by waiting until it’s under 90 degrees & going for a walk.

So to summarize: QUITTING SMOKING IS SUPER GOOD FOR FIBROMYALGIA. Your energy goes up quickly. I’m down to one sugar free Rockstar a day & hope to switch to normal B sources soon. It does make your muscles stiff, even more so than usual, & between that & the extra energy you’ll want to use, you’ll be tossing away those extra spoons the moment you get them. So be careful. Flare is nearly inevitable, but you were going to have a flare anyway. That’s how we do.

So quit.


Another Day

25 06 2015

A fine but not recommended fuel source.

I awoke at 6AM convinced my right arm was broken at the tricep. I even bolted out of bed to check, despite this being 1.5 hours before my alarm goes off & having only gone to sleep 5 hours earlier.

The mirror betrayed no bruising, the arm was not particularly hot or swollen, & I lied back down, hoping to fall asleep. But the pain was terrible. There was no position where it didn’t hurt. I felt stupid, as the wife of one of my friends & the mother of 2 others is actually having her arm amputated today. I tried to imagine the pain this poor woman was going through & send prayers. Then it was 7:30 & I had to get up anyway.

There’s been a kink in my right neck for two days, but it appeared to be getting better so I had a quick hot shower & got ready for work. Hot showers either loosen up muscles & release fibro pain, or they hide it for a short time. This hid it.

By the time I got to work, I was hobbling like a little old lady, completely devoid of energy & incapable of finding words. I took 3 clients (God bless em) & left, only to realize I was very low on petrol (then left the gas cap off) & had no food (bought hot dogs & kettle chips).

I hate being a pain blob. It feels so stupid. I have no energy and I have meaningless pain coming from nowhere while other people actually suffer from actual injuries.

The pisser is that I suspect this all comes from a good health move. I had my last cigarette Saturday night. It hasn’t been too hard to go cold turkey, as I simply engage reason every time I want one. “You complain of fibro taking your energy, yet you want something you know will deplete your O2. Are you stupid?” And words to that effect.

And I have had more energy. A lot more energy. The type of energy that allows me to walk around the block every day, dance for a little while, do piles of laundry & put them away on the same day [the fibromyalgics are gasping “NO. IT CANNAE BE DONE, CAPTAIN!”]. I have cleaned two large boxes out of my closet to take to Good Will.

And I wonder why I’m in flare.

I may feel better, but I can’t forget I have fibromyalgia. Pacing is key. I must pace myself. And so must you.

Or you also will feel like invisible bees are assaulting your every limb while your right arm feels like it ought to be dangling by a sinew & your hips cry out for an ambulance subscription, just in case.

And carbs. All the carbs you will think you will need.

God, I wish I could sleep.

A Day

19 06 2015



I neglect this blog, so I’m going to try not to. Here’s a day in the life of a fibrobeing.

It started harmlessly enough. I awoke with my cat still glued to my face, which is how I fell asleep, & my sleep app informed me that I got 6 quality hours. A hot shower released the usual AM kinks, & I felt like I’d gained a spoon.

Fast forward to work, where a no call/no show client cost me an hour’s cash. This ended up being a blessing in disguise (God protects fools & gingers), because by 1PM my left leg was trying to cecede from the Union, my right arm seemed to be getting shot repeatedly by ethereal mafiosos, & my shoulders were all like “You bitch.”

After washing my hands, I had a spasm that caused me to punch the edge of a tiled wall, hard, with my knuckles. My left hand is now almost useless, which made driving home fun. It made grocery shopping an extra exciting adventure. I like to view these instances as my own Tri Wizard Challenge, because that’s more fun than being angry or crying, & it actually works.

Triumphs: the Trader Joe’s check out guy was super friendly. I also managed to completely avoid the comfort carbs I usually go for in this much pain, & loaded up on nuts, seeds, cheese (mmm, cheese) & fresh fruits.

I managed to park better than a well trained orangutan, & no one died. I typed this post with my one good hand. So I’m going to call this a good day. I am the world’s most pathetic Tri Wizard Champion.