Fibromyalgia and Aging: Hope for the new decade

” To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old”, Oliver Wendell Holmes

As we age each new year brings hope of change in a positive direction. Less pain, less fatigue, better quality sleep are the things I wish for. The new resolutions: try not to overdo like I always do on days when a flare-up has subsided; daily gentle exercises if only for a few minutes off and on each day; maybe take a music appreciation class (not like the class I tried to take to relearn how to speak French and had to attend class all day from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m conjugating verbs, ugh! The teachers were terrific, the program lovely but I had brain fog. After one week I quit, exhausted).october09 005 My new year’s resolution is to practice meditation more regularly; try new creative things but only gradually, not like I did with the quilting (I had never quilted before and by hand I sewed 4 quilts since Easter, without a sewing machine, now I suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome!). That seems like enough for me right now, the quilting (notice the Betty Boop quilt which is very uplifting!)and the French classes did me in this year.2010 163

Some say that as one ages the nervous system of the person with fibro subsides and there are fewer and fewer flare-ups. It seems as though the idea is that as the children leave home, lives become more controlled and pleasant and therefore less to be anxious about. I talk about that research in my book. I want to go on record as saying that for me this has not been the case. This past year has been spent with caring for 92 year old parents, worry about my adult children and family relationships,  the economy and the impact that has had on my children and will have on my grandchildren, concern about horrific wars, economic disasters, climate change, and of course as we age there is the growing concern about one’s own mortality and those of people we love.

So I would say that as we age fibromyalgia does not become easier. Living as I do in a cold climate there is always the weather to contend with as arthritis sets in to make the pain even less tolerable during the winter months.picture of Rob's flowers and snow from our back yard 002 I often wonder if the brain fog is just part of the aging process and not necessarily from fibromyalgia? The pain I experience upon exercise could also be from growing older.

In spite of this gloomy perspective I do have cheerful hope for a better year as I am always looking for the silver lining and I know it is out there in the hands of the neuroscientists who are finding ways of changing the brain and especially working with chronic pain. Don’t miss those PBS documentaries on pain and the brain and keep looking for positive and optimistic messages they convey for those of us who suffer with this demon, no matter what our ages happen to be! It IS easier to change the brain of younger people but it is NEVER too late at all to teach an old dog new tricks 🙂 . It is just a slower process.

Happy new year to us all; 2010 has a nice ring to it! I have hope that in this new decade more and more people will gain in-sight into this dis-ease that afflicts us with such challenges and struggles.

About Barbara Keddy

I am a Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. My B.Sc.is in Nursing while my MA. and Ph.D. are in Sociology. I am married, a mother and grandmother living on the east coast of Canada. I have personally lived with fibromyalgia for about 40 years. I published a book with iUniverse in 2007. This book detailed living with this condition and allowed the voices of twenty women who have fibromyalgia to tell their stories.
This entry was posted in arthritis, brain fog, cold climates, economic concerns, family worries, Fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia and aging, flare-ups, french classes, mortality, PBS and brain research, quilting, young versus old. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Fibromyalgia and Aging: Hope for the new decade

  1. Thanks for this great post. I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked and will be visting.

  2. Great Thao! Thanks!

  3. Hello Barbara and Happy New Year!

    I have an aging mother with dementia, living far away in Ontario, who causes my four sibs and me almost daily stress and worrying because every day brings new and improved crazy behaviours! We now have to move her to a new care home – more trauma! – and all this via long distance and frequent plane trips.

    While it may be true that when the kidlets leave the nest, there is a different kind of peace and quiet, but just this week my daughter and son-in-law (who live a couple blocks from me) had their house robbed (while they were home asleep!) and as you can imagine, this has been terribly traumatic for our whole family.

    And who can stand to hear the devastating news from Haiti and not be emotionally affected?

    We each do what we can do (but not too much of it! I had to laugh at your quilt example!!). I seem to be a slow learner, and I’m still learning that my health comes first these days – yes, ahead of any New Years resolutions. I’ve also had to learn the very valuable daily skill called p-a-c-i-n-g, something that I never really had much use for previously.

    My own New Years resolutions this year read like a NON-list: less of this, less of that! More ‘being’ and less ‘doing’.

    Now Barbara, if only you could move out here to the balmy West Coast, where the cherry trees, camelias and rhododendrons are already in bloom!

    cheers,
    Carolyn

  4. Carolyn, in spite of the difficulties you encounter you have such a great sense of humour. I have two spots in my heart for best Canadian places to live: Nova Scotia and British Columbia, given that 2 of my grown children live in B.C. and we have spent so much time there. The balmy west coast was not so balmy the last couple of years, so happy to hear it is back at its usual early spring blooming. But, I have two 92 years old parents in NS and cannot move. Plus the trauma of moving would be very difficult for me! I will remain in NS in spite of the bad climate. It is HOME. Alas, both places are damp and not good for me.
    PACING is indeed THE biggie for me. I want everything done yesterday. I do everything quickly and regret it later. Meditation which is good for me is something that is difficult to do as it seems like it is wasting time. How crazy is that of me? I lack discipline and then feel guilty. Less of this or that, less doing, sounds like good advice for 2010.
    The news of Haiti is more than I can bear to watch, so incredibly horrific. What are we to do?
    We have to grab hold of joy every second, don’t we?
    Do keep in touch and maybe someday we will meet.
    Once more, love your website!
    Barbara

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