I’m not going to lie. If I had a choice of having Fibromyalgia, the umbrella tree illness and all its branches and not having it, I would drop it in a hot fire-searing second. But, like any illness, we don’t have a choice. We have it and the more we fight it the less happy we are.
I do think it takes a long time to finally accept this chronic illness, beyond anger and months of crying, not to mention countless clueless doctors and the raised eyebrows of many who think we are all nuts. I don’t know about you but I want to slap that question mark look right off their smug foreheads.
One of my doctor’s, a well-known person, left me sobbing in her exam room, after diagnosing me with a thyroid condition. I was already on synthroid and still in agony when she clicked her expensive heels, saying “there’s nothing I can do for you” and marched out. She hadn’t diagnosed Fibromyalgia, she didn’t have a clue. This was eight years ago and the image still is clear in my head.
We are warriors, all of us, invisible illness warriors. You probably have heard of us but you may not know who we are and how we suffer. We don’t offer up the information, and if you know we have a chronic illness you ask in a perfunctory manner only. Our answer to all of you when you casually ask ” how are you?” is “fine.” We always say “fine” at least I do. Not many people really want to know the details and if you think about it you will agree. That’s okay, it takes too long to answer, doesn’t it? “Fine” works for both of us.
If you REALLY want to know there are always follow-up questions or even a cup of coffee or lunch. We tend to be independent, close to other people who have the same ailment, the ones who know what chronic pain feels like. Some of my closest friends are women who I have never met yet I love and trust implicitly, met on a Chronic Pain/Fibro group on-line. THESE women and I are here for each other even if only by e-mails, messages or by phone. I thank G-d for these women who are more loyal, supportive and loving than some of my so-called “friends.”
We know that there are more cloudy days than sunny days. We don’t expect sunshine all the time but even when the sun is weaving through the clouds, in and out, we appreciate the moments. We whisper our thanks in a hushed silence, trying not to let those dark clouds come further down and overwhelm us. It takes effort, I know.
It’s the in-between season now, we haven’t had that first bite of crispness in the air yet, like the bite of a fall Macoun apple, but, as evening comes rolling in, and darkness shrouds the trees, you feel the rain that is soon to come. You feel it in your bones, they ache due to broken wrists or ankles, the weather forecasting of having Fibromyalgia.
We can’t change our world, we can barely change our body. What can we change? A few things, our diet (no, I won’t give up coffee and ice cream) and our attitudes, different doctors. I could write a book on the doctors and methods I’ve tried. Let’s face it we are stuck, but we are alive to see our children grow up, a dog to love and for the dog to love us back. Having my dog rest her head on my knees or stomach makes me incredibly happy when I have to lie down. She is a rescue dog but really she also rescued me.
Dedicated to my dear friend, Judith.