Living Daily with Chronic Invisible Illness

Fibromyalgia and Dividing your Chores

When you have Fibromyalgia, you have to divide up your chores into segments. That means NOT doing things all in one day. For me, this is a hard rule to follow. Especially when my old, pre-fibro self used to “do-it-all” in one day!

Take summer gardening. Once upon a time used to pick, wash, cook and squeeze our fresh blackberries to get all that yummy berry juice! I would then make blackberry jelly the same day. When summer tomatoes were ripe, they, too, were picked, boiled, skinned, puree’d and canned either as tomatoes or as pizza sauce…the same day.

Now that I have Fibromyalgia, these things need to be accomplished in stages.

Some of you may even be thinking…”or not done at all…”

Okay, but there are some things I enjoy doing and canning is one of them. There is just something about growing your own food and preserving them for your family to enjoy. I have had to give up and alter many things in my life since this dreaded condition befell my body.

So, since I cannot “do-it-all” in one day anymore, I have learned to freeze my tomatoes and berry juice in the summer and can in the winter! When winter hits, the defrosted bags of tomatoes are puree’d with my stick blender for pizza sauce making. The berry juice is boiled down for jelly.

So, on this cold and blustery January day, it seemed like a good time to make blackberry jelly and pizza sauce from the blackberries and tomatoes that were picked last summer.

I have learned to can my jams and jellies and even pizza sauce in the winter.

It makes more sense, really.

Canning makes a kitchen hot! Why can in the summer when the air-conditioner is running when you can can in the winter when you want your home nice and warm!

Today I canned 18 jars of blackberry jelly and 14 quarts of pizza sauce.

I divided the tasks between yesterday and today to help me survive the pain.

I got all the bags of frozen tomatoes and the berry juice out of the freezer last night to defrost overnight in each respective pot. I washed the canning jars and placed them into the canner and had my sons put the heavy canning pots onto the stove for me.

In the morning, I turned the pots on high and let them boil to sanitize for canning. In the meantime, I prepared and puree’d the tomatoes with my stick blender and added the seasonings. I rested for 20 minutes.

Then I prepared and made the jelly in batches (three total).( Good thing I had help with the stirring!!) Those jars were placed in the canner and I rested another 10 minutes.

Next I cooked the sauce and had a daughter help stir the pot! Then into the hot jars the sauce went! Once those were in the canner, I rested yet again, for the forty minutes they needed to process.

It was a productive morning.

By evening, my body decided that it was done and ready for bed much earlier than usual. I am sure the stirring and mechanical movements of the canning process is the cause. I may pay for it tomorrow…but it will be worth it to put some yummy blackberry jelly on toast!


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