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Posts Tagged ‘fibromyalgia’

How do you know if something is worth it?

Worth the time, the effort, the struggle, the pain, the recoil, the rebound, the sacrifice, the negative or not-so-pleasant consequences?

The answer seems easy when the end result is good.

A goal achieved. Success attained. The betterment of a person, place or situation. A reward. Happiness. Even simple satisfaction. 

Worth it.

But what about when the end result is not so good? Or even bad? Even when there is pleasure or goodness in the process?

It seems a very basic logic would say, not worth it.

I think of sin and how we often give warning that “momentary pleasure” is not worth “eternal destruction” (or any of the other negative consequences of sin)…

But I have to believe there’s more to answering, “is it worth it?” than by evaluating only the very end result.

Because there are more complicated situations.

It was nearly 2 centuries ago now that Tennyson penned his famous line, “’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

If the very end result is the only determining value, then Tennyson got it wrong.
And I don’t think he did.

So there must be another way to figure out if something—a decision, an event, an investment, a sacrifice—was worth it.

But I don’t know what it is.
And I’m having a hard time navigating such things right now…


Yesterday I went to tea.

With all my health problems, symptoms, reactions, restrictions and issues—not to mention being an HSP Introvert—it seems easiest and safest to stay hidden away in my little Hobbit hole.

Which for the most part, I do.

I leave the house for doctor and chiropractor appointments and some trips to the pharmacy, for salt cave and sauna sessions, for work (when I can make it there)… occasionally to a “safe” restaurant or (carefully and with masks and filters and backup helpers and drivers) to the grocery store.

I almost never make it to church anymore. Even more rarely do I socialize.

And I miss going to tea events and craft shows and game nights and shopping and exploring new places and visiting family and friends and getting out and about.

I mean, as an HSP Introvert I never did those things in abundance to begin with.
But I could.

And I miss it greatly.
And I grieve the loss.
And it hurts.

So after awhile I get fed up with the isolation, with feeling trapped, with the loss of it all and I get determined to try and get out and do something.

Mom and I had been talking about “doing tea” at Kristtany since they opened years ago.
A full tea.
With friends.

For Administrative Professional’s Day in April my boss gifted me with the money to go and do an afternoon tea there. Some four months later Mom and I finally make plans to do so. Mom makes the contacts, gathers a group of lovely ladies from church and makes the reservations.

I look forward to it like a fresh spring in a desert wilderness.

It takes work to get there. I need to make sure there is no air fresheners or potpourri in the tea room (there wasn’t) and they need informed of my black pepper allergy and we have to ask the ladies who will be joining us not to wear perfumes or body sprays or scented lotions that day…

And in addition to normal tea day preparations like picking out which skirt and hat I want to wear and packing my little tea purse with my tea fund, my hankie and my travel Stevia and ensuring I have plenty of battery and memory card space on my camera, there is this whole host of other preparations that take up most of the remaining hour we had until leaving to meet the ladies—

I had to figure out my medicine timing, pack extra meds to help my body handle the unusual influx of sugar and gluten and the pain that would come with the excursion, prep my diffuser necklace and my nose filters and put them in and get my face mask. My little tea purse isn’t quite big enough anymore… So I packed a back-up bag with more meds and oils and a water bottle for afterwards. I took my first dose of meds when we left the church parking lot, the next when we arrived, the third when the scone course arrived and the last when we were finished.

It’s work.
It’s tedious.

But I told myself it was worth it.
To be out and enjoying one of my favorite things with some of the ladies I enjoy the most.

The layout of the tearoom meant that our party of 13 was split between a table of 6, a table of 5 and, a little ways back from the others, a table of 2.

Mom and I took the table of 2.
Which was quite a sacrifice for my more extraverted mother who loves being a part of all the conversations.

But it was better for me to be a bit removed from the movement and commotion and scents. Because not everyone got the message or remembers to come sans fragrance. And even then, while I can ask folks not to don perfumes and the like, I can hardly request folks not to wear clothes washed in normal, fragranced detergent or with fabric softener or dryer sheets. And those insidious laundry chemicals and scents are some of my most problematic instigators…

And it was tea and it was lovely. I was able to remove my face mask and eat and drink freely. There were scones and soup and salad and savories and desserts and they gave me special treats to replace the two items that everyone else had that contained black pepper. And it was beautiful and there were conversation and laughter. And my new supplements really helped to curtail the more acute gut symptoms of consuming tea treats.

And I took it all in and smiled wide and basked in the pleasure and enjoyed every minute of it…

… for about 90 minutes.

Before I even started in on the desserts I could feel my energy waning and my eyes beginning to gloss over. My chronically ill body and HSP introverted spirit had reached their limit. The food and tea didn’t taste as good or rich and the conversations just sounded like noise.

I kept smiling, albeit weakly.
And I grew quieter.
And when all were standing around chatting afterwards I stood off to the side.

I’d gotten up to go to the bathroom and when I stepped in I was immediately overwhelmed with scents. My eye caught two bowls of potpourri in there that I hadn’t noticed earlier with my face mask on (in addition to my nose filters). I quickly exited and headed back for my face mask and when I went to reenter the tea room itself I was hit by a wall of scents again (likely from people moving around at that point). Those two scent-overdoses on top of all the “little bits” of scents I’d been dealing with the rest of the time took everything else out of me.

I came home and changed clothes and rested the rest of the afternoon and evening. I couldn’t make us dinner and each time I got up from the recliner I felt weak and woozy and had to do what needed done (getting more water, using the bathroom, etc) quickly and sit down again. And I crashed into bed while leaving the kitchen cleanup (from earlier stuff and what I was able to grab for dinner) and my normal morning/breakfast prep for my parents to do…

And I slept nearly 12 hours over night and even today I am still symptomatic and weary and mellow…

And so I wonder, was it actually worth it?

All that work?
All those symptoms?
All the other stuff that I should be doing getting put on hold while I rest more?

I want to say yes.

That getting out and about and having a special treat and enjoying (at least for the most part) something I love is worth it every now and again.

But I wonder.
And I question.

Because there are other things I choose not to do because of the work or symptoms or consequences involved. For so, so many things, “making myself sicker” is distinctly not worth it.

And maybe I question because I fear the validity of my choices and what I enjoy.

Or I fear that others will see what I do and do not choose to “sacrifice” for and think it silly or stupid or wrong. Misaligned priorities on my part…

So I wonder if there is a better way to figure out if something is worth it.
Or maybe there isn’t an easy standard of measure.
Maybe it’s on a case by case basis.
And maybe we’re meant to wrestle with it.
And maybe that’s part of the process.

 


I was ruminating on the “was it worth it?” question yesterday afternoon and evening and even as I was in bed trying to sleep.

And sometime this morning a thought occurred to me.

It is usually worth it.

But maybe I also need to somehow balance and take into account more of not just how often I do something like that, but other factors… time of day and day of week and just keep it to 4-6 other people (or no more than 8) because being socially overextended impacts how my physical body handles everything else.

Earlier yesterday I told Mom that I wanted to join them again this November for the Hickory Bridge Tea. I’ve gone the past 2  years and the folks there do a wonderful job and it’s always a delight and they work well around my black pepper allergy.

But I told Mom today that I’m not going this year.

Because we usually have 10 or 12 ladies there and it’s an event tea in a packed room with dozens of other chatting ladies which means much more movement and commotion. Plus it’s on a Thursday and I have to work the next day (and Fridays are always big days at work).

So even though I’ll miss it. And I’ll probably be mellow and bummed that day knowing I’m missing out… I think it’s the best decision.

Because in my case at least it would seem, stuff like that isn’t always worth it all the time.
And perhaps few things are.

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It’s a catchy tune.

And to be honest, I’ve always been a bit jealous of just how much she gets done before 7:15.

7 AM, the usual morning lineup:
Start on the chores and sweep ’til the floor’s all clean,
Polish and wax, do laundry, and mop and shine up
Sweep again,
And by then
It’s like 7:15.

Mandy Moore voices the young lady Rapunzel who sings this song when we first meet her in Disney’s 2010 movie Tangled. Through this song we are introduced to how Rapunzel spends her days and what is the deepest longing of her heart.

And so I’ll read a book or maybe two or three
I’ll add a few new paintings to my gallery
I’ll play guitar and knit, and cook and basically
Just wonder when will my life begin?

Then after lunch it’s puzzles and darts, and baking
Paper mache, a bit of ballet and chess
Pottery, ventriloquy, candle making
Then I’ll stretch, maybe sketch, take a climb, sew a dress!

And I’ll reread the books if I have time to spare
I’ll paint the walls some more, I’m sure there’s room somewhere.
And then I’ll brush and brush, and brush and brush my hair
Stuck in the same place I’ve always been.

And I’ll keep wonderin’ and wonderin’, and wonderin’, and wonderin’
When will my life begin?

The song came to mind yesterday as I was taking a brief get-up-out-of-this-chair-away-from-the-computer-screen-and-get-some-sun-and-fresh-air walk around the parking lot at work.

Because it came to mind that next year marks a decade since I graduated from seminary.

A decade.

And I’m not where I thought I would be. I moved back home after graduation. At the time it seemed to make sense. When I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia after my freshman year of college, there was only “try and manage symptoms” and “do what you can while you can”… so I did. I got through college and headed to seminary to study theology and arts. And while there I found a new doctor with a protocol that was supposed to help me reverse (though not “cure”) symptoms so that my future could actually be better, healthier, more vibrant and active than my past. But I wasn’t progressing very quickly on the protocol. And while Southern California may have been a better location for doing the mime and arts theology that was my goal, I was floundering financially, having been unable to get a decent job my last year of seminary (after losing the one I had). My health was a major reason for this. So I thought it made sense to move back across the states and move in with my parents until I was able to get on my feet.

I mean, my small town here in south-central PA isn’t ideal for starting a mime team or making a living doing “creative arts consulting.” But I had some ministry contacts on the East Coast and figured that would give me a start and I could expand from there. And once I got on my feet (and/or got married), I’d probably move to some place more appropriate/central to what I was doing. This was supposed to be temporary.

But here I am.

Ten years later.

Now don’t get me wrong, the issue isn’t that I’m still living at home. (Although my tendency to care too much what others think makes me feel awkward about it at times… well, too often.) My parents and I have a great relationship. We operate as a family unit of three adults, loving and taking care of one another. The original plan was that I would get “room and board” in exchange for doing the meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. Which worked well for all of us. And that’s still basically how it is… except when my health gets in the way…

The issue is the dissonance between where I expected to be and where I am.

After ten years.

I’m still at home, still single, still only working part-time and still struggling with my health…

And though I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, the contrast is sometimes so stark that it is hard to ignore and thoughts come unbidden and unwelcome.

Watching others live “real” life. Folks who are my age (and sometimes the “kids” I worked with in youth groups and ministries) are celebrating a decade’s worth (or more) of anniversaries, have children who are teenagers, own homes, have proper full-time jobs or run their own businesses, are involved in their communities, churches and more. Things we associate with real life.

Even more, I see friends and acquaintances who are “living their dreams” – dreams which were the same or similar to mine. They are doing mime and drama and arts… they are reaching and encouraging others through ministries… they are teaching… they are doing tea events… they are writing and publishing books… In short, they are blooming.

And I don’t begrudge them this. I am happy to see them getting to do these things. It makes my heart happy when such dreams work out for them.

And yet there’s a part of me that wonders if I’ll ever get the same.

When will my life begin?

Because from my viewpoint, my life is shrinking, not expanding. My dreams are dying, not being fulfilled.

True, there has been a series of shifts in my dreams and at the time of each shift (and even now for the most part) I see those as being God-directed. From performing mime to teaching mime and arts theology to teaching the Bible and arts (and less mime) to the tea room dream… and all along this story that pursues me that I’d like to finish and publish as a book…

But I couldn’t tell you the last time I performed or taught or even practiced mime. Or taught arts theology…

And though for a time I deliberately stopped saying ‘yes’ to new involvements at church, I then slowly backed out of other commitments at church except for teaching for one class once a month… but even then I found that my unpredictable health kept causing me to have to find last-minute replacements and so I’ve turned even that small task over…

I haven’t hosted or planned a tea party in ages, I go to few teas now and I’m drinking tea even less because of its effect on my medication (not to mention the effects of the carb-heavy “tea foods” on my blood-sugar and health)…

And though I had a decent streak for a few weeks, most days my allotted “writing time” is spent in bed or struggling through symptoms rather than working on my book…

One by one these things are fading.

As for social life and relationships, I’m really only in regular contact with my parents, my co-workers (3 of them) and the folks at church -when I’m able to make it there. And whatever relationship I can manage with other friends on social media…

Okay.

So despite the fact that my eyes sting a bit with salty wet tears as I write all this out, I’m not saying it in order to throw a pity party for myself and invite readers along for the misery.

I’m saying it because yesterday when Mandy-Moore-as-Rapunzel’s voice went through my head, I had a thought.

When will my life begin?

Who says it hasn’t?

Why must life always be something more?

“Real life” doesn’t start with a full-time job. Or marriage. Or having children. Or owning a home. Or being healthy. Or attaining titles or being published or getting promoted… or having dreams fulfilled.

Ideal life, maybe, but not real life.

Real life is simply living, breathing and walking day to day in the reality in which you find yourself.

The thought that struck me as I walked yesterday was simply that my life is now.

I am alive.

The circumstances of my life may not be what I was expecting. Or what I wanted. Or what my culture promotes as normal, accepted or celebrated.

But my life is now.

This is real life.

And that is not a battle cry to “seize the day” or “follow my heart” or “chase my dreams”…
It is simply a call to realign my perspective.

(And maybe another day I’ll get around to processing through my struggles on how our culture defines “full life” and what Jesus meant when he said that he came to give “life, and have it abundantly.)

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Just because a gift is not exactly what you want doesn’t mean it is not a gift and not worthy of gratitude.

For example, I would much prefer complete healing. For my symptoms to be non-existent. Or even for them to be negligible, where they may still be present, but only in the periphery, not intruding or requiring constant care and maintenance.

Today, however, my symptoms are manageable. With medications and limitations, thought and wisdom and care required. I do not feel as well as I would like, but I am quite functional and today can be a good day.

And this is a gift, too. It truly is. And I can (and will choose to) be grateful.

And not with some sighing resigned “I’ll take what I can get” attitude. I don’t want to see this gift as anything less than what it is. Without caveat or addendum or excuses.

I want to walk this day as it is. To breathe it in and walk in grace, acknowledging and experiencing the presence of the One who walks with me – no matter what kind of day it is.

And that is the choice I am making here and now this morning.

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It’s amazing, really.
Then again, grace is…

Were you to ask me how I’m feeling on a scale of 1-10, I’d probably say a 6. I’m still a bit feverish, my throat still hurts, the headache is dull and hovering, neither my energy nor mental capacity is at full bars and I’m dealing with dizzy levels 2 & 3 in frequent (though not constant) bouts. So I feel I’m at the upper end of “surviving.”

And yet I feel worlds better than yesterday. The vastness of the difference rather makes me want to get up and do flips or dance around… except I can’t because I’m too dizzy and don’t have the energy. Still, the difference in astounding.

But regardless of how I feel, the fact remains that I am sustained. And that’s grace.

I clearly remember thinking last evening as I turned the dial on my antique desk calendar – after an unusually rough day of exhaustion and tears, one of those days where you can’t remember any good days before it or see the possibility of any good days yet to come – even in that moment at close of day as my fingers held the cool metal knob and my mind struggled still and again to focus on Jesus, I knew without a doubt that He was present… sustaining… enough.

Even though the day seemed more loss than victory… through the struggle and the grief and the runaway emotions and the spinning… and at day’s end even though I felt hedged in, pressed hard, perplexed, unable to find a way out, pursued (by fears and anxieties) and struck down, I was still breathing and Jesus was still there. I was not irreparably crushed, I was not completely despairing, I was not abandoned and I was not destroyed.

It was not the joyful, victorious living that I too-often prefer and picture in my head, full of pushing through and Eye-Of-The-Tiger accomplishments… but I was sustained.

And that’s grace.

Jesus is enough.
And because I know that Jesus was enough on a day like that,
I know Jesus is enough on any day.

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The voice on the other end of the line is cheerful, “Your blood work came back and everything is normal!”

She is dispensing good news. Yet tears well up within my eyes.

What should be a relief – what used to be a relief – is now a dreaded and haunting statement. Years of tests and “normal” results while being ill and getting sicker have hardened me.

If everything is so good, why am I so sick?
It’s a question I’ve asked countless times.

I think how it would be nice for once to have sometime show up as wrong and be fixable…

Caedmon’s Call is playing in the background, “And I’ll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.”

So… onward I go.

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The paper towel that Dr. St. Amand drew his explanation of fibromyalgia on, my most recent map and my new bottle of guaifenesin.

Understanding fibromyalgia is not easy. Not even for one who has it. And trying to explain the guaifenesin protocol that I am on is also a bit… well… difficult. There are many who have already asked questions and I anticipate many more inquiries being made. So since I have just re-started the protocol, I thought I would put together a post of analogies and metaphors to help people understand. Please note that all analogies and metaphors are incomplete and eventually break down somewhere. But this should give you a good workable idea.

  • Friends on a Roller Coaster (the basics of fibromyalgia)

The last thing I wanted to worry about was seeing another doctor who would undoubtedly put me on some pain medicine or antidepressant or the like for my fibromyalgia which was once again rearing its ugly head. It was early 2003. Only 3.5 years after my diagnosis and I was already weary of doctors. But, I was told, this guy was a specialist, he had fibromyalgia himself and was in his 70’s – and still working!

So I went. He took my history and a list of symptoms and then he began introducing me to his “accidental” discovery of a treatment and how his studies led him to this theory about fibromyalgia. I’m fairly sure it’s all explained in his book (the 3rd edition just came out); but when he told me, he told it in short, drawing on a paper towel as he went. I still have that paper towel. (see photo)

So here’s another short version: In folks with fibro, the kidneys don’t seem to expel phosphates as they should. So they build up. But, you see, calcium and phosphate are best friends in the body and they always travel together. So when the phosphates build up, the calcium is right there, too. Except the body regulates how much calcium is allowed running through the bloodstream at one time. When it gets too high, the body has to find somewhere else to dump it. So calcium and phosphate rather end up on a roller coaster ride. Built up in blood stream, then dumped, built up, then dumped. The body can handle so much of this before it becomes noticeable through symptoms. (Notice the “roller coaster” on the paper towel graphic and how it makes several loops before becoming very noticeable above the “threshold” line.) We end up calling these dump sites “deposits” and the maps (also in the photo) show where all our “visible” (well, palpable – so “visible” to a mapper) deposits are.

Of course, there is much more to the scientific explanation (get the book, or check out this paper for doctors) that explains how this all affects a person at the cellular level, impacting cell energy itself, which has a lot to do with the variety of symptoms and why no two people experience it quite the same way. But all in all, the “roller coaster” that these Calcium and Phosphate friends are on also explains the “cycles” we go through with fibromyalgia. And as the illness progresses, these cycles get more severe and more frequent with less “good” time in-between…

  • Movie in Rewind (understanding the protocol)

Now imagine our roller coaster is an action movie. At the beginning the drama of the plot is introduced and we get an action scene here and an action scene there. Eventually the action builds so much so that we have more action scenes than drama or “downtime” scenes.

Going on the guaifenesin protocol then is like watching that action movie in rewind. Six times faster than normal. And backwards. What happens is that the guaifenesin (a medicine that’s been around for years and years and has virtually no side effects) allows the kidneys to function again, expelling the phosphates. It pulls the phosphates  out from the bloodstream and then out from the deposits. Starting with the most recent. Only this process goes (on average) about six times faster then the “depositing” part. Hence a movie in reverse.

And just like watching an action movie in reverse (some six times faster), when you start and all those latter “big” action sequences are rewinding quickly by, they can seem more intense. It is generally the same symptoms, only they often feel more intense and the cycles go more quickly. Now as progress is made on the protocol, you get to the middle and then the beginning parts of the action movie where the action scenes are fewer with more “downtime” in between. But at the beginning it can often be overwhelming. And it is possible that you notice symptoms you hadn’t before (like how watching a movie in reverse makes something stick out that you hadn’t noticed when watching the first time).

What this also means is that (a) this treatment is a process but (b) it is a treatment. It reverses the symptoms. It is not a cure (there is no cure yet), but rather than treating (or masking) individual symptoms, this reverses them to the point where many don’t have any noticeable symptoms anymore. I’ve met ladies who used to be in wheelchairs who are now active and healthy in their 60’s and 70’s!

Still, the process takes time. And unlike an old VHS tape, I can’t turn off the TV and walk away as it rewinds. I have to go back through it myself. But at least I’m now heading in the right direction!

  • Finding a Parking Space (why I worry about salicylates) 

The other thing you will often hear me mention is that I can’t “have” salicylates. What this means for my everyday life is that I can’t use topical products that contain any plant oils, gels or extracts. Like aloe. Or castor oil. Jojoba esters. Or dozens of other things that are found in lotions, make-up, soaps, kleenex and the like. Including mint. No mint toothpaste. No sucking on mints. No rubbing menthol onto my chest for a cold. Also, no aspirin (which is basically salicylic acid) or herbal medicines (concentrated plant parts). And no tea. They said at the beginning that tea was okay if made weak in small amounts. But now they are seeing more and more “block” on it. So for the next 6 months, it is no tea at all. After that, I’ll have to be very careful (and it’s so hard to have “just a little” of “weak” tea).

Here’s why:

Imagine that kidneys are like a factory with a parking lot. There only so many spaces. In order for the guaifenesin to get to work,  enough Guai cars have to find parking spots. Now Guai cars are like big SUVs, but Sal(iclate) cars are small and compact. They zoom in and take up the parking stalls easier than the Guai cars do (hence “blocking” the Guai car’s access). We can’t avoid every Sal car in the world, so we have to avoid the ones we can so that there are enough spaces for the Guai cars to park in so they can do their job.

And that, friends, is a small, imperfect but hopefully understandable glimpse at fibromyalgia and how the guaifenesin protocol works.

And why did I decide to go back on this protocol after discovering it “failed” last time and it means no more tea drinking for me and it means some intense and painful cycles? Because we found the reason the guai quit working for me after I initially did so well reversing. And I did. When I first started 9 years ago I did really super well on the treatment. I was clearing deposits left and right! And now we  know why that slowed down and stopped. And we fixed it. And this reversing means hope – not just masking symptoms for awhile. And I am ready for the fight. After all, I’m an action movie star in reverse!

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Despite the title, this is not a post about faith.  Although, of course, it is faith related.  The focus of this post is actually stewardship.

Stewardship has been a buzzword in my life these past few years. Something I keep coming back to, something that reaches into more and more parts of my life.  See, I firmly believe that God calls us to be good stewards. And I’m not just talking about finances. Stewardship also includes how we make use of our time, our gifts, our skills, our resources and our bodies.

And even though it’s been a thought, a focus – a goal even – these past few years, where I struggle most with stewardship is in relation to my body. My health. Including my fibromyalgia. Knowing when to push and when to “give in” to its demands. Being disciplined about proper nourishment and exercise. Knowing how to react and treat during pains, flares and other issues.  I’ve struggled with that greatly.  I tend to either ignore what my fibro-ridden body needs and end up making myself sicker or I shrink back from doing or trying anything, giving into all its finicky demands.

A few weeks back, sitting in church (though I can not remember now when or what caused this), it suddenly occurred to me that I need to treat my body like a child.  A small child.  Sometimes even a baby.

For those who know me personally, you may laugh.  I don’t have kids at this point.  In fact, I’ve only ever babysat twice in my thirty-one years (and one was quite the story)!  But I’ve seen and picked up a few things nonetheless. I would be an unobservant idiot or an inattentive friend had I not.

So here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Babies and small children can be demanding.  They demand attention and cry for what they want.  It is the parents job to give them what they need – food, shelter, clothing, clean diapers and an appropriate amount of love and attention.  In the same way, our bodies (especially those with health issues) can be demanding.  We need to give our bodies the attention and care they need.
  • Babies and small children can throw fits for what they want, even to the point of making themselves sick.  But good parents know that they cannot always give into the child because not everything the child demands is actually needed.  In the same way, our bodies can be quite demanding and even seemingly get worse when we do not give in.  But we must discern what our bodies truly need and only provide that.
  • Babies and small children have to learn to do things they don’t like – like eating vegetables or sharing toys or taking turns or being patient during car rides and so on.  But good parents know there are some things that children must learn and they have to be firm about the child learning it.  In the same way, our bodies don’t always like when we do with/for them certain things – like avoiding excess sugars and fats and exercising.  In fact, our bodies can crave sugars, give us headaches (and other symptoms) if we try to break away from caffeine (or other addictions) and ache and hurt when we exercise.  But we must discipline our bodies anyway…
  • Babies and small children let you know when something is wrong, although they cannot always articulate exactly what it is.  A baby with an earache is mostly just fussy and school-age kids often complain of tummy-aches when it’s actually stress at school.  Good parents come to recognize and watch for the types of cries and underlying symptoms and reasons (and/or seek a doctor’s help).  They get the child the proper rest, medicine or treatment that he or she needs, rather than ignoring or pushing the child through.  In the same way, sometimes our bodies really do have times they need rest, attention or treatment and we have to learn to discern what it needs and then provide it.

Now please don’t think I’m naive and under the impression that parenting is easy.  It’s not.  Parents of a newborn can’t distinguish cries right away.  It takes time.  There’s a learning curve.  And I also know that each child is different.  Even down to the way they react and try to convey when something is wrong.  One baby may pull on his ear when it aches, another may turn or tilt her head in a funny way.  It’s a process of getting to know your child and then reacting as a good parent to supply what is needed and when.

And I think that’s the good news!  There is no pat formula for how to be a good steward of your body – one that says “ignore it to control it” or one that says “always listen and submit.”  No, it’s like parenting.  And it can take some time to get the hang of – and even then you may make mistakes – but that’s no reason to give up!  Just as God entrusts parents with children, so we are entrusted with our bodies – and they are built and wired differently.

So I am taking a new approach to being a good steward of my body.  Working on discerning my body’s true needs from what it often wants or thinks it needs.  No pat answers. No easy way out.  But I have a new frame of mind now when dealing with my fibromyalgia-ridden, sugar-sensitive body.  And I want to be a good parent.

Speaking of which, it’s past my child’s bedtime!

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