True Friendship and Chocolate Cake

Two Rainbows at Dusk in Denmark.

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve gotten notes from friends far away saying “I don’t want to read  that you are in pain” when they read SOME of my blog posts. When words strike an already high-wired nerve, I have to respond. I am a woman with Fibromyalglia; Fibromyalgia does not define me. It is part of my life and it has taken a long time for me to accept it but I do. You should too. It is only a part of my life just like food and television and good friendships and my amazing family. I write about all these things.

When I am in pain, I write out my feelings which, I think, everyone in the chronic pain community understands. To the people who read my blog and don’t share a chronic illness, let me explain: when I write these things down, I am trying to heal a little piece of myself. I do not write them for sympathy or for you to feel bad. I write about all my feelings, all the different parts of my life: like having teenagers or hiding orange cupcakes in my room or my sweet, aging dog. I’m sorry if you are feeling uncomfortable about my pain and I’m sure you wish I had less of it but that is not something I can control.

When something funny happens or I fall in love with a cooking show about “Desserts” or “Chocolate” or a delicious/horrendous meal that I have had, I write about that too. A new, dear friend I met on Facebook wrote: “you sure do like to talk about food” as we discussed dinner and I made her describe the chicken and dumplings she made in great detail (hint: buy Bisquik.) I complain about the boring lentil soup I have made and she tells me which spices to add. We both have chronic, autoimmune illnesses but we don’t focus on that. Our chronic diseases are a given. Life goes on and we with it.

I see photos of her beautiful garden with red, ripe delicious tomatoes stretching towards the sun and  bright yellow ears of corn I want to bite into. I see her huge, beaming sunflowers on the side of her house and I am in awe of nature and it’s beauty and my friend’s talent. I taunt her with my (as she calls it “disgusting”) food combinations; pizza with jelly, tuna salad sandwich combined with peanut butter and jelly ( I only did that once) and all things edible. I tease her about her “texture” issues with food, anything “squishy” is unacceptable! Once in a while I will interject a questionable squishy food into a totally unrelated conversation: “raisinettes?” “shrimp?” and she understands what I mean and we laugh.

My evenings are brighter after we talk. This is a friend that has been more protective of me and more supportive than the “best friend” I had for thirty-five years. This is a friend I have made without meeting and if I never meet her, we will still be friends. It begs to ask the question: how do you define friendship? It’s given me a lot to think about. Friendships on Facebook with a common interest are special, we bond about something we have in common and in most cases (except one horrible group I was in) without judgment. Period. We don’t care about how much money people have or what religion they are or if they have a job.  Be wary of a group that say they support everybody with pain and yet they discriminate and cause extreme pain to others who might not “fit in” to their exclusive or religious group. In the other wonderful chronic pain groups, we don’t emphasize anything except friendship and empathy, nothing else matters (if you need suggestions, write me.)

See me, please, as a whole person and if you feel uncomfortable about the days I blog about pain, please don’t tell me not to write about them; you could just say you are sorry that I am in pain and that you are thinking good thoughts for me. Our illnesses are part of our lives, but most of us try not to let them define us. It’s what we have to do.

Dedicated to Katie

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8 thoughts on “True Friendship and Chocolate Cake

  1. we all have our own problems but when we share them it helps to know we are not alone! i too have made a few great friends that help me get through the good and bad days! keep writing and shareing your feelings and problems it helps you! don’t worry about the people that say they don’t want to here about your pain! it is a part of who you are just like the color of your eyes or hair. only this is one part that we all wish we could change! i’d give everything i had if it would help! but thats just how i feel!love your blogs DON’T STOP! and jelly and pizza is just wrong but is a maybe but tuna and pb&j is totally wrong

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  2. I appreciate you being so honest. I rarely write about my illness (s), and I think some of my friends and readers don’t really know what I have! I am like you, write about the good and the bad, and if readers don’t want to hear about the bad, just wait until the next day maybe I’ll write something happy. All of us sickies need to suppport each other.
    mo
    p.s. I love reading your blog.

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  3. I have found the same thing…. writing about it ~ my sudden setbacks & the feelings associated with the limitations, that should no longer take me by surprise, but still do! For a long time I hid my disease – who would believe an otherwise “normal-looking” and at times energetic woman (thanks to the adrenalin that comes from being happy)could be completely bed and house-bound for days & weeks at a time? Accepting, sharing…. it’s helped make me less isolated. I can now make plans, knowing my friends understand that I may be unable to attend at the last minute (this is still difficult – to get myself to make the plans). Reading your blog, and sharing light-hearted humor we can find in our symptoms…. it helps. I’m glad you share it. I don’t want pitty either ~ Thank G-d cfs/me & fibromyalgia are not terminal illnesses. I’m grateful.

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  4. Writing is risky because it opens us up to becoming vulnerable to other people’s thoughts/criticisms, etc. Writing can be therapeutic. Sharing it on a blog is brave. For those who say stop writing should just stop reading if it happens not to be their cup of tea. If your blog helps just one person suffering from chronic pain to feel less isolated, then I say keep writing.

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