The storm has swept over us. It’s come and gone. Now, we’re left with the freezing cold. It’s supposed to stay this way into next week.
I bet you’re wondering what that has to do with the title of my post. Well, the weather is frustrating the crap out of me. What’s that? I live in the PNW and should be used to it, you say? Yeah, well, I have good reason to be frustrated. We’ll get to that in a bit. But first I want to explain fibromyalgia to you.
Let’s break down the word. Fibro- fibrous; myalgia- muscle arthralgia, which is a type of arthritis. So, fibromyalgia is essentially a muscle arthritis. There is no known cause and not all doctors believe such a condition exists. (Which can make finding a doctor if you have fibro much harder. And so my body is also frustrating the crap out of me.
Wikipedia describes fibromyalgia as:
“Fibromyalgia, meaning muscle and connective tissue pain (also referred to as FM or FMS), is a disorder classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to gentle touch (tactileallodynia). Other core features of the disorder include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. In addition, persons affected by the disorder frequently experience a range of other symptoms that involve multiple body systems, including difficulty with swallowing, functional bowel and bladder abnormalities, difficulty breathing, diffuse sensations of numbness and tingling (non-dermatomal paresthesia), abnormal motor activity (i.e. nocturnal myoclonus, sleep bruxism), and cognitive dysfunction. An increased prevalence of affective and anxiety-related symptoms is also well known. While the criteria for such an entity have not yet been thoroughly developed, the recognition that fibromyalgia involves more than just pain has led to the frequent use of the term “fibromyalgia syndrome“. Not all affected persons experience all the symptoms associated with the greater syndrome. Fibromyalgia is considered a controversial diagnosis, with some authors contending that the disorder is a ‘non-disease’, due in part to a lack of objective laboratory tests or medical imaging studies to confirm the diagnosis. While historically considered either a musculoskeletal disease or neuropsychiatric condition, evidence from research conducted in the last three decades has revealed abnormalities within the central nervous system affecting brain regions that may be linked both to clinical symptoms and research phenomena. Although there is as yet no generally accepted cure for fibromyalgia, there are treatments that have been demonstrated by controlled clinical trials to be effective in reducing symptoms, including medications, patient education, exercise and behavioral interventions.“
Now, we’ve all known someone with arthritis who gets achey with a change in the weather. Your grandfather, your mother, your neighbor who needs help walking Poochie on occasion. I have arthritis too. Spondylosis to be exact. That’s osteoarthritis of the spine.
When a new weather system moves in changing the barometric pressure, I hurt. Cold isn’t my friend either. Let me clarify, DAMP cold isn’t my friend. Dry cold of Alaska works like a giant ice pack, so I do pretty well there. I can’t take anything but OTC anti-inflammatories because I am the person that has the least common side effect to medications. One fibro drug caused me to gain 30 lbs in 30 days, something that’s almost medically impossible. Another left me tired and stupid. Really, just a step or two from drooling on myself. Another left me really stoned. And on and on. So, I take a lot of nothing. I just suck it up and deal with it.
Last weekend, I was in enough pain that I didn’t ride for my lesson. Luckily, I was able to keep a positive outlook and so Casey and I had a halter lesson instead. Eh, what else are you going to do when your body doesn’t work? Might as well make the best of it!
This week, I rode! It was a bit warmer than last weekend, which helped.
First, Dude had his lesson on Sir. Dude did really well, was more confident and even jogged a couple steps. His posture is improving when he remembers to “sit like a king” and he naturally keeps his heels down. More, he was able to focus and concentrate for a longer period of time even with other people riding in the arena at the same time.
Next, I rode Sir. Now, this was the second time I’ve rode in 14 years, and the 3rd time I’ve rode since my head shattered the rear windshield of a hatchback (I was in the back seat, with seatbelt on! And yes, there was a brain injury, but not anything drastic like you’d see on House- another frustration trying to remember things I used to know.) Sir and I just walked around while my muscles tried to remember what they were supposed to do. I remembered how to back Sir up. I have to learn to neck rein though. And use spurs (Sir is more responsive to spurs). I’ve never used spurs before. When my muscles decided enough was enough, I didn’t have the “umpf” to dismount from the left. At Tasha’s suggestion, I dismounted from the right, all the while my brain was screaming “You can’t DO that! That’s WRONG!!” But, it allowed me to dismount with much less discomfort. And we decided that we’d train Casey to be ok with mounting and dismounting from either side for my well-being.
While I was riding, we talked about Casey. We talked about training and what we really want to do. There was the suggestion that Casey and I might want to try for World. And we discussed what was the “in” thing with tack and clothes last year. Then we talked about how halter for AQHA is different than for Arabs. I’m more comfortable with the Arab world’s preference to have the halter blend in and accent the head. Ideally, you want the halter to be almost invisible. I don’t know what they expect with AQHA. I just know I’d prefer a closer color match on halters there to showcase and accent the horse more. And don’t even get me started on light oil leather on dark horses! Ick!
After riding, we tried the black and pink cordura saddle on Casey. It didn’t fit. But, he still has a pink nylon bridle! Tasha is going to sell me a black saddle that does fit Casey. I need to get a couple fittings for the saddle. Maybe pics will follow next week.
Today, I hurt. My lower half has decided to rebel. I’m going to stay curled up with some ibu and my nifty HoMedics Shiatsu Massage Pillow.
So, after my lesson (which was way too short in some ways and almost too long when it comes to how I feel today), I have more questions that maybe someone here can answer. First, I rode Sir with a Schleister (sp?) bit. What’s the purpose of this bit? Next, what is the current “in” thing for the AQHA world with tack and show clothes?
Anyways, I can’t wait for my next lesson!