can do yard work alot but pay dearly later

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by thenewme, May 29, 2008.

  1. thenewme

    thenewme New Member

    Hi, I was reading some post about how some people claim to have fibro, but can go out and do yard work while others can't.

    well I have fibro and I am not working now, there are some days I go out and do yard work and I do alot, I even power washed my fence, also dug holes for perennail flowers and mulched.

    The thing is I do this stuff and I know I am going to pay dearly, but I have a very hard time not being able to do what I used to be able to, so I do these things while my husband and son yell at me trying to make me stop because they know I will pay for it.

    the reason I am writeing this is because some people think that if you have fibro you should not be able to do these things, well I do them and man do I pay, when I go to bed I am in so much pain that every time i move I am almost crying from the pain, so I am not getting much sleep, my pain meds do help and allow me to do this work. when I wake up in the mornig I am hurting and stiff all over and take a pain med right away.

    I do take breaks constantly but I push through the tiredness and pain alot, I just want people to understand that just because some of us go out and do yard work or any other kind of work does not me we are not suffering like everyone else. After power washin the fence I was on the couch for three days straight in pain so exhausted I could not get up to make my self something to eat, or do anything else, my husband and son took care of me. I was so bad they wanted to take me to emergency room but I knew I was just paying for the work I did.

    I just want people to understand that when you see some one stupid like me doing work that we should not be able to do with this dd, we pay a very high price for the hard work, some of us are just haveing a hard time knowing that we can not do this stuff any more and we push are selves, to please do not judge us and try to be more understanding of us diehards. hugs barbara
  2. whoachief

    whoachief New Member

    I used to be like you are but not any more. I finally realized that pushing thru the pain & exhaustion does NOTHING for me in the long run because I am so miserable for DAYS afterwards. I finally realized that I was much better off in the long run not to try to do that. Others tried to tell me but I had to make that decision to myself. I agree with what you are saying though - people do judge like that & they shouldn't!! Good luck!!!!!!
  3. lillieblake

    lillieblake New Member

    I agree with you Barbara, I think we need to do things that we enjoy. I did yard work yesterday with the help of pain medication, and took pain medication again this morning. But I feel that mentally and emotionally just doing something we love is very helpful.

    I also went shopping on Memorial Day, didn't have to drive, was just looking around IKEA, didn't have to carry anything or push the cart, when I came home I did some light work around the yard, putzing around. I slept 13 hrs and then took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon.

    I think the difference is that shopping was not as enjoyable as the yard work, so it made me more tired.

    But I do have to say that before I started taking Lyrica I would have been in extremem pain that even pain medication wouldn't touch.

    Many gentle hugs - Lillie
  4. footballmom

    footballmom New Member

    I also do some yard work. I have a vegetable garden and some flower gardens. I can't work in them for hours like I used too, but since I'm not working right now I can go out and spend a litle time in the garden ,then I come in the house and rest. I can't do the heavy stuff any more since my neck surgury so I have my husband do that. I used to feel guilty about spending time in the garden and worried about what other people would think since they knew I was on disability. I mentioned it to my doctor and he said that I should try to keep as busy as I can without overdoing it and that I shouldn't worry about what other people thought. So i don't. I have so little that gives me joy and this is one thing that does. As long as I'm able I will coninue. Tess
  5. marti_zavala

    marti_zavala Member

    you are damaging your body and reducing your chances for recovery.

    I know, because I did that then I had a relapse. The relapse was worse than my initial onset.

    You are destroying the mitochondria in your body. It is liking running an engine without oil. It will go for little while then burn out.

    It is a choice, you can accept your current state of health and try to preserve it and IMPROVE IT or you can push through and force your body to do work that it is physically telling you that you cannot do.

    It sounds like you have a loving family, a husband and son that recognize your limits and care for you. You are very fortunate and should restructure your life for them.

    You can still do yard work if it gives you pleasure, it is a matter of pacing. Also, supplements to feed the mitochondria, feed your muscles. Your heart and your brain need functional mitochondria so don't think it is just your arms and legs paying the price.

    Sorry to be so negative, I just think that you are an important part of your family and need to realize that you could get much worse. I think you are trying to prove to yourself that you can still function.

    All the best,
  6. ironspine

    ironspine New Member

    I too push myself when I'm not in a flare. If I do something, I don't think about my pain. I'd MUCH rather do something productive-it makes me feel useful, takes away my depression and anxiety about my pain; lets others know at least I try. I know I'll pay for it later, but I know I'll get through it again by resting up. Just because we have Fibro doesn't mean we have to give in to it all the time. Most of us have had jobs-contributing to society. It's hard to quit that mind-set, and it's hard to take the despondency that sets in about what we CAN't any longer do. I say, GO FOR IT if you can!!!
    Gentle squeeze to ya, THENEWME!!!!
  7. vmiller

    vmiller New Member

    Barbara, you are SO right! I also do yard work, house work, and many things that I shouldn't. But, I have a blind husband and three small children - I don't have a choice of whether to do these things or not.

    I push myself way too hard, and for the past week I have been paying dearly for it as well. I've been on my couch for the majority of the time since last Wednesday. Last Tuesday, I mowed my entire yard and cleaned my whole house downstairs preparing for our Bible study group to come over. I've been paying for it since. My house looks terrible but I am just so exhausted and sore that I don't move very fast if at all.

    I know we shouldn't do these things to ourselves, but sometimes we don't have a choice.

    Prayers going up for you from Missouri.


    BILLCAMO New Member

    seem to be even more extensive than the possible causes and potential "treatments".

    Each person must do what they can , when they can. And if the feeling of accomplishment is greater than the price you pay , then , I feel it was worth it. IMHO , there is a certain amount of truth to the old saw "use it or lose it" that applies to a lot of us.

    Also I think that "Judge ye not least ye be judged...." can be a good outlook.

    For myself I have and have had to push myself further than I should have........But , in most cases , the pain was eventually worth the gain , for me anyway......

    I've had some very pretty flowers and some excellent garden veggies that have helped me in ways I can't explain.

    But , the weeds I can't stay ahead of...... :>) LOL !

    I still choose to keep my freedom of my choice....

    Blessings ,

    [This Message was Edited on 05/30/2008]
  9. pjj

    pjj New Member

    Hi, Just confirming what others have stated. I too love to garden and I guess my feeling is : I'm not going to give up everything I like to do-- at least until I'm in worse shape than i am now. I think, for those of us who can, the physical activity is vitally important , especially as we age. As a diabetic, i have to be active as a part of controlling my blood sugar. And Yes, I do pay for it but its a situation of You pay if you do and you pay if you don't so I just try to balance things out.
  10. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    For me gardening is so much more than a hobby. It is the way I keep centered in life & certainly keeps away the problem of depression. The best thing I did this winter was to buy 2 grow lights & grow plants from seeds in the basement. Seeing small shoots on the dryer made doing laundry almost enjoyable.

    For me gardening is such a leap of hope for the future, that a seed or a plant will live through adversity & hopefully bloom & bear fruit. Or not as the case may be.

    After my ruptured disc surgery in 2001 I was determined to have my usual tomato plants, even if I had to only do 1/3 of what I previously grew. A friend bought 4 plants & a neighborhood kid dug the holes. I got a rolling desk chair & sat down to put the plants in the soil. That simple act brought all 3 of us to tears as it meant so much in terms of my recovery.

    Since then I have used the rolling chair to sit & work in the front & back yard. I have a telescoping combination rake & hoe that I'm constantly using. If I have to use a shovel I drag it on the ground as I can't lift it to carry it on my shoulder as I used to do. The wheelbarrow or a neighborhood kid is the only way I can move anything heavy or bulky.

    Over the years I've slowly expanded the garden & eliminated as much grass as possible to create native plant hummingbird & butterfly gardens through perennials. I only have enough energy to plant something once, then the plant is on its own to grow. I also have a vegetable garden.

    Although it is hard to know when to stop, I try to listen to my body & pace myself. I try to do 45 minutes with about 4-5 breaks. Go inside to rest, then only go back out for another 45 minutes sometime later in the day. Some days I feel energy, some days not.

    But this is what I can do at my own pace as I choose. If I tried to keep up with someone's pace, I could not. Any day that I've lost myself in my gardening I'm not in the car, not taking a bus, not seeing a doctor, etc.

    For me the best medicine is seeing something grow, knowing you planted it & brought it to life. And I love sharing seeds as well as the harvest.

    There is a wonderful book about the friendship & correspondence of 2 women that is centered around gardening & illness. I can't remember the title, but will post it later for anyone interested.

    ** I just found the title: Between Gardens, Observations on Gardening, Friendship and Disability, Carol Graham Chudley & Dorothy Field, 1999. I highly recommend it.

    best thoughts
    [This Message was Edited on 06/02/2008]
  11. marti_zavala

    marti_zavala Member


    You wrote very eloquently what I was trying to put across but I did so more negatively.

    Altering our lifestyle so that we are in control and continue to do what we enjoy and love that brings healing to our lives while not harming ourselves in the long run is to our benefit and to the benefit of those we love.

    Also, I was addressing the pushing to the point of being sick for days afterward which is very damaging. If you are bedridden or chair ridden and in MORE pain from an activity then that activity needs to be restructured. Not necessarily eliminated but restructured as you have done by pacing yourself. This takes discipline but I think we are worth it.

    It is a way of accepting our limitations and not fighting against the illness. Not giving in and giving up. I certainly am not giving up and am hopeful that someday I will have a FULL recovery. But I know that my previous way of going about that will not work as it caused a relapse which was worse than my onset. I was still working as a computer programmer making a very good salary and pushing myself by OVER exercising. I was fighting the illness and convinced myself that this was good for me.

    All that got me was many small crashes until I had a relapse and ended up losing my job, losing my house, my car. My son who was 14 and I lived in a Dodge caravan with no electricity and running water from a hose in the woods in Texas.

    By pacing myself now, I am more clear-headed and can do more research to find better treatments for me and I have energy to fix healthy meals for myself and my son. Overall, we have a better life than if I was crashed all the time. Some things also are no longer important such as a clean house or clean car. We celebrate the little things and enjoy each other.

    It is a choice which is what I was trying to convey. I recently planted two rosebushes, and tied up my tomatoes and planted some aloe vera as I enjoy gardening too.

    I think it is great that you have learned your limits and are living a fulfilling life within those limits.

    All the best,
  12. ephemera

    ephemera New Member


    Thank you for your comments, tho I doubt I was eloquent. I struggle to write words, although I feel them inside I don't think I do justice to the feelings. Communication problems ar among my biggest frustrations.

    I recently read Designing the New American Kitchen Garden from my local library. The author writes that she plunged into her garden when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She writes, "In the midst of her decline, my garden was something to hold on to that wasn't deteriorating."

    She has other statements that we can hold onto as chronically ill gardeners, such as, "Gardens heal us not just because of the phyical labor of planting and weeding and harvesting...but because of the sensual physicality of the plants..."

    best thoughts to all
  13. shery

    shery New Member

    I hurt if I do things, but I hurt if I don't do anything, too. I have decided that I am going to live my life as best I can, doing what I like, with modifications if needed. I have been gardening for a couple of months, usually every other day or every third day. Initially I would do an hour of weeding, or whatever (I don't do any heavy duty stuff), then go inside and rest with a cool beverage and an ice pack. Like any exercise, I have been able to build up my tolerance, and I can now keep working for 2 hours, with frequent stretch breaks. The ice pack afterwards really helps. We all choose our priorities, and what we are willing to do despite the pain.
  14. CanBrit

    CanBrit Member

    I love gardening. It's my favourite hobby. I also resent that this condition limits what I can do. But I still do it. Not as much or as long as I'd like to.

    I also pay dearly. With me it's usually the second day after and I hit a wall. Thank God for my pain meds or I think I couldn't even attempt it.

    My husband, thank God, has taken on some of the heavy work, raking, tilling and the like. It just gives me so much pleasure and whether I do it or not I'm going to hurt somewhere anyway.

    Keep it makes like a bit more normal sometimes.

    All the best,

  15. tandy

    tandy New Member

    as for yardwork,...
    I've learned the hard way that I can only do a very little at a time.

    In early spring when I'm cleaning up the yard from the long winter,......
    I probably can fill 10 trash cans with leaves,sticks,etc.
    I only fill maybe 2 full cans a week. (LOL)
    It takes me forever. (3-4 weeks)

    My neighbors must think I'm a total lazy slug of a person.
    One day this spring I acually saw my neighbor go out in her yard and start cleaning,raking,......
    she went outside at 9 am and never went back inside untill like 2:30-3 o clock!!!
    I now believe shes a superhero.

    who does that?????? lmao
    Now that would KILL me. :0

    pace is my middle name :)
  16. scrappnmom

    scrappnmom Member

    I'm so glad to read that there are more who feel like me! I also have some things I love to do and I can't do nearly as much as I used to. And Gardening is one of them! I can't do anything heavy or hard, but I can pull weeds, plant plants (usually from a sitting position), water the garden, but I usually can't handle more than 30 minutes to an hour of that. And then I do pay for it. I also love to do scrapbooks! Even that is hard bending over a desk for a long time (kills my back when I do too much). And I Love playing with my little granddaughters! And my grandbabies are 3 and under! So, that means I do lots of carrying babies and crawling around on the floor, dancing and chasing little girls etc!! But, I love every minute of it! I really think that staying busy doing these things I love helps me emotionally because it gives me pleasure! And when it comes to taking care of my house, I have learned to pace myself. I no longer clean the whole house in one day, but just do 1 or 2 rooms a day. I think trying to stay as busy as I can keeps my mind off of the pain and lets me feel useful and Normal. I am often so hard on myself for the things I want to do and I have to remind myself what is really important! I'm here and alive and I enjoy life with my family and want to continue doing so because they want me to stay around a while longer. So I have learned not to overdo it! Just to accomplish a little is better than none at all! Be proud of what we can do and don't worry about what we can't!

    Take care all of you!
  17. woofmom

    woofmom New Member

    My chiropractor has me taking a supplement that in 2 short weeks has completely put a stop to this.
  18. scrappnmom

    scrappnmom Member

    What is the supplement that your chiropractor has you on? Do you mean it has helped with your pain? Please share!
  19. pearls

    pearls New Member

    There are many of us who are not disabled, but nevertheless have found our lives severely curtailed. I taught in a public school for two and a half years after the onset of my fibromyalgia, which was two and a half years of real hardship. I did my job, but was a real wreck.

    I find that if I work in the garden too long - particularly in positions like bending over or crouching - I also pay dearly for it. It seems to be a lesson I have to learn over and over again.

    Nevertheless, when I'm in my right mind about all this, I pace my activities so I won't get into trouble. One problem with all this is that I often don't feel like I've overdone it very much when in reality, I'd done too much at once for my condition.

    So we must pace all our activities, and take it easy more than we think is necessary at the time, especially when it is an activity we enjoy. We may not like it that way, but that's the way things are.

    Once in awhile, we push past our pacing thresholds because of a family obligation or something like that. In that case, we must be careful to really take it easy for several days after that. Be prepared to lay around the house doing next to nothing during those days.