I have a vague memory of putting my foot in my mouth at work about 15 years ago. My co-worker was telling me that her partner didn’t work because she has Fibromyalgia. “Isn’t that just a diagnoses for lazy people?” I asked. “No! It’s when your in pain all the time for no reason!” She snapped back and then proceeded to began to list all kinds of unexplained ailments.
I think back to that time often because I sometimes wonder if I jinxed myself with that insensitive question.
These days, I get up in the morning, having to give myself a pep talk just to walk down the stairs and make sure 4 kids get out the door (usually not on time). I feel like my arms are on fire from the inside out. My fantastic husband packs lunches while I muster up everything I can to get on the floor and help my kindergartner find her boots.
Once they are gone for the day, and its just me, I convince myself not to go back to bed. I’m the mom here. This is a big old house filled with 6 people, dishes, clothes and our lone toilet that all need scrubbed. But first coffee (or tea! I’m trying to cut down on the coffee!) and all the medications that don’t seem to do much other than keep me afloat.
Most of this started about 10 years ago, after the birth of my 3rd child. Back then, it was mostly chest pains, but all test results came up normal. Two years after that, I had shingles, and a year after that I had 2 miscarriages and a diagnoses of gastroparesis. Then, when I finally had my 4th and last child, I battled a blood clot. I can’t help but connect the dots to all of these things (including rheumatic fever as a child.), but even connected they don’t appear to make any sense of a picture.
So after many, many tests and visits to medical professionals, Fibromyalgia it is. While it’s not a diagnosis for lazy people, it is one for those whose body seem to hate them.
People like me. Chronic pain might not kill me, but there are some days when I wish it would. Imagine having the flu. Just take away the cough and sore throat and tummy issues. Now imagine that pain is your everyday normal… as you fold laundry, give your little one a bath, or try to help your kid with math homework while your brain seems to fill with smog.
This is me. Every. Single. Day. As I try to be super mom, a loving wife and a good friend. When I say “I’m fine”, it doesn’t mean that I feel great. It just means that I’m lucky enough to be having a better day. I’m so thankful when a fine day falls on a day when I have plans. But there are days when something I’m totally looking forward to just doesn’t happen for me because I simply can’t even get myself ready and out the door.
But, I’m finding ways to cope. Exercise does help a little. Once again, though, it comes down to psyching myself up to do it. I spend a lot of time with my heating pad, and I buy those disposable heat patches by the armful at the dollar store. And, like any craptastic situation, a good cry is always cathartic.
The one thing I will not let this thing do to me is get in the way of my most important job and that is being a mom. No matter how I feel I have yet to miss a meeting with a teacher, a performance, a field trip etc. I might head to bed a little earlier sometimes but my door is always open to any of my kiddo’s who want a hug good night or for my oldest who loves to sit at the foot of my bed while we have girl talk.
So yeah, some days stink and they are harder to get through. But I have an awesome life. I know that since I come from a long line of strong women, that I’ll get through this too.