To Cancel or Not to Cancel? It’s Not a Decision I Make Lightly

To Cancel or Not to Cancel? It’s Not a Decision I Make Lightly
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I’m having one of those decision days. Everyone with a chronic illness has them. Yesterday, I didn’t feel well. My back muscles were so tight and painful that I expected the all-too-familiar throb of nerve pain to begin at any minute. Because I’ll do anything to prevent that agony, I spent most of the day resting and reading in bed, getting up only to stretch, eat, apply heat or ice, or use the bathroom.

That was fine yesterday when I didn’t have any commitments. But I’ve been looking forward to dinner with a friend tonight at a restaurant 30 minutes away, and I am feeling only slightly better.

I’m determined to do everything possible to attend this dinner, so the first thing I did was meditate. I’ve found a new variation of the technique I wrote about in a recent column. Isha Kriya is simple to learn and only takes 12 minutes from beginning to end. A complete cycle is twice a day for 48 days. I’m giving it a try.

After meditating, I used a heating pad for half an hour and I gently did the stretches I’ve learned from physical therapists. I followed that with 20 minutes on an ice pack. Finally, I lay on a rubber therapy ball to try to release painful trigger points. The key is finding the perfect spot. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful.

The good news is that after all that effort, I didn’t feel any worse. The bad news is that I knew from experience how vulnerable I was. Sitting for too long, sitting on a hard or uncomfortable chair, being in a drafty location, or a sudden sneeze could ignite nerve pain.

As it nears noon, I have to make a decision. Canceling would relieve my friend from being left in a lurch at the last minute. And in the midst of nerve pain, I cannot concentrate — driving a car is dangerous. My inner voice is screaming “Cancel!”

But I have selfish motives for ignoring my condition. Dinner with my friend is an opportunity for laughter, something that’s been in short supply in my life lately. Equally important is a break from my own cooking. My friend has known me long enough to understand a last-minute cancelation. But would that be fair to her? Or safe for me?

Situations such as this have become all too common. I measure time from one cancelation to the next. Why? Because I have fibromyalgia.

I hate using my illness as an excuse. But when it comes to making and breaking commitments, it’s my only option. I’m not someone who makes offhand plans and breaks them on a whim. When I make up my mind, I follow through unless my health prevents me from doing so.

Being conscientious is a positive trait in the general population. But for folks with fibromyalgia, it can be a negative.

If you’ll excuse me, I have a phone call to make.

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

Diagnosed in 1990, Christine has experienced fibromyalgia (FM) symptoms since childhood. After a career in aerospace finance she was trained as an FM support group leader by the Arthritis Foundation and participated in groups on both the east and west coasts. Designated a Leader Against Pain by the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) she advocated for increased funding and awareness for FM. She is the author of “More Than Tender Points: A Fibromyalgia Memoir,” available on Amazon. An Upstate New York transplant now living in Southern California, she credits the sunshine for improving her symptoms.
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Diagnosed in 1990, Christine has experienced fibromyalgia (FM) symptoms since childhood. After a career in aerospace finance she was trained as an FM support group leader by the Arthritis Foundation and participated in groups on both the east and west coasts. Designated a Leader Against Pain by the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) she advocated for increased funding and awareness for FM. She is the author of “More Than Tender Points: A Fibromyalgia Memoir,” available on Amazon. An Upstate New York transplant now living in Southern California, she credits the sunshine for improving her symptoms.
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