Winning Tigers

Two exciting things happened this week:

First: The featured image, my photograph of a couple of tigers sharing a tender moment at the local zoo, won their photo contest in the novice adult category. This was surprising because although I have always loved this picture, it was an instantaneous shot with my crummy little phone and took no doing on my part really! I was just at the right place at the right time.

The second incident has to do with my last aquatic therapy session when I trained with a different therapist than usual, a more senior one and her student. The student led the session that day. She couldn’t have been much older than me (if at all) and was oozing confidence, and she was amazing! She was also driven to work on strengthening my aching muscles and she did let on that my strength scores were woeful. I found it pretty difficult to do some of the stuff she was making me do. This was embarrassing given how fit she was compared to me, being of similar ages and all, but I was honest about my discomfort. BUT THEN . . . after a while, the senior therapist started talking to me about my evaluations and how I am doing, etc. and she said that she has seen many fibromyalgia patients throughout her career in all shapes and sizes and severities – and I was actually at the front end of that scale! I may be woeful compared to others my age, but I was doing OK for a fibromyalgiac!! She thought I was off to a good start with the physical therapy and lifestyle management (fewer working hours, more rest time, energy conservation, etc.), and will probably be able to manage my condition pretty well in the long run as long as I stay committed to reducing stress, building in more “me-time,” and basically being cognizant of my body and not pushing it too hard too fast.

Woot! I hadn’t felt “at the front end” of a lot of things recently, and now two incidents happened to remind me of my potential in one week! I’ve also always had lingering doubts about wasting my time trying to conserve energy and rest more, and have the tendency to push myself until I crash. I have also had little direct encouragement (other than from my husband) to cut work time and build in more recreational/rest time. For the most part, I had considered that aspect of my management scheme to be mostly met with either disdain or general indifference from other people. Now here was somebody in an objective position who openly encouraged more of it!!! She also made me feel like I was doing pretty good being in charge of my condition and she made me feel good about doing some of the things that generally carry a load of guilt and anxiety for me. So whoa! That was a refreshing perspective!

I am so grateful to the powers-that-be for this turn of events. I really felt like I needed a jolt of encouragement right about now and, lo and behold! There it is!

To use Michael J. Fox’s words with modification (from his memoirs), I am a lucky woman.



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