There are many memorable days in my life. A few of those unforgettable days are the day I learned I was pregnant for the first time, the birth of my first son, the birth of my youngest son, the day my divorce was final, the day my dad died, the day my mom died, the day I met the love of my life, my grandson’s arrival into this world, the first time I held him… you get the point. There were highs and lows, but each event changed me profoundly. In the undercurrent of the ebb and flow of the tide of my life lurked an invisible illness. a chronic illness I had never heard of.
However, I will never forget the day I learned this new term. I had be to see my doctor and had several tests. the pain I was experiencing was increasing and the was only one of many issues I was having. I needed answers. I was prepared to fight whatever diagnosis I was given. Then, my doctor came in and stated, “I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, you don’t have cancer. The bad news is, you have Fibromyalgia and there is no cure.’ I looked at her with disbelief and asked, “What now?”
I simply could not accept that I had to live with searing pain, burning skin, muscle spasms, brain fog, insomnia, and chronic headaches. For crying out loud, it was 2008! She said, “Go home. Get some rest, there is nothing to do.” I fired her and got a new doctor.
I was diagnosed about ten years ago, but in reality, I have had this chronic illness most of my life. As a young child I begun to learn coping mechanisms to deal with the abundance of “gifts” that come along with Fibromyalgia. It hurt to run and play with the other children. It hurt to sit on the hard tile floor at school with my legs crossed. It hurt to sit still for any length of time. Yard work and other chores would cause days of pain and sometimes trigger migraines. I learned to keep to myself and always smile. It is amazing what a smile will hide!
As the years progress, people around me joke that it’s because I am old. No. I’m aging, yes, but I am not that old! The Fibro has progressed along with my life experience. I have been called lazy, stupid, a hypochondriac, and a few other unpleasant things too. Truth is, I’m not lazy. I push myself to muscle failure and then some each day just to appear “normal”. I’m not stupid. In fact, I’m pretty darn smart. I have had to be order to live with this chronic illness, hold down a full-time job, raise a family and be my mom’s hospice provider until the end of her life. I am certainly no hypochondriac! I am not seeking sympathy. I want to work. I want to be an important part of my family, I want to enjoy life. I want to be useful, contribute and a functioning member of my little corner of the world.