When plans go wrong remember . . .

 The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, 

Gang aft agley,’

Robert Burns

Field Mouse



I’ve always been a planner. I have lists of lists, diaries, calendars, post-it-notes, magnets holding notes to the fridge and notes pinned to a pin board; not to mention the notes, reminders and alarms set on my phone, pad and computer.

Once you get to grips with managing your fibro-symptoms planning reaches yet another level as you begin to micro-manage every aspect of your day, week, month, year. You master the art of pacing and adhere diligently to a self-care routine.

But fibromyalgia doesn’t exist in isolation.

Eight weeks ago my master plan was in place for my annual work marathon – A’ Level English Literature exam marking. I thought I had prepared for every eventuality and even preempted mere possibilities from derailing my plans. The plan was to complete the six to eight week exam marking period, travel to Scotland for a two-week holiday with my husband and return to my normal routine without having a flare-up.

Family and friends had been visited, telephoned and forewarned, “I’ll speak to you/see you when I’ve finished marking.” The house and garden were in good order (well acceptable to someone with fibromyalgia who can’t physically spring clean everything) and ready for minimal attention. The plan was:

Full attention on marking, minimal attention on everything else.

Our holiday was planned, my other work commitments were organised for another time, several blog posts were written and ready to be typed, cupboards were full and there were even meals in the freezer. Hotel accommodation for the final examiner meeting booked with a ground floor room and gluten-free menu requested. Several months of preparation well executed.

All that was needed was to implement my daily self-care routine and methodically work through the mountain of exam papers that was due to arrive, attend the final review meetings and, then, go on holiday.

My plans were ‘best laid’. . .

. . . they went ‘agley’.

Life intervened. Two close family members had hospital appointments and subsequent surgeries – one was expected, although not during my marking period, the other totally unexpected. I achieved everything planned, except blog posts, but it took a lot longer than it should.

Priorities change. The welfare of loved ones becomes paramount, followed by primary work commitments and self-care (and this becomes very basic). Everything else can wait – things do resort to normal and we can just pick up where we left off.

Except when you have fibromyalgia there is the inevitable flare-up and this is where my plans went ‘agley’.

The good news is though,that when you have lived with fibromyalgia for a while you learn to remember how you feel during the good times and what you have to do get that feeling back.

Knowing that with a little compassion and time you can regain your baseline makes it so much easier to begin again.

So now I have a new plan. Just as the mouse doesn’t give up but begins again and builds another nest, I plan to:

  • Return to my morning routine
  • Be compassionate with myself
  • Do one thing each day that will move me toward my goals
Taking one day at a  time and . . .
Managing fibromyalgia



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