I have several friends with Fibromyalgia and have talked to countless people who struggle with this monster. While women are most affected, men and children are not immune to Fibromyalgia. I myself suffered what I think was my trigger event in my 20’s and was officially diagnosed at age 32. I even wonder, at times, if I had events beforehand that were foreshadowing my fate. I may never know. However, the one thing I do know between the many friends I have personally and the countless people online as well as in public, such as in the line at the store, each and every case is unique. No two cases of Fibro are ever the same. Ever.
Fibromyalgia can run the gamut from unnoticeable to bedridden and most of the time somewhere in between. One of the warm water/arthritis pool teachers at the YMCA has Fibro. If I had not talked to this lady myself, she would be the last person I would have guessed as having even a hang nail. She had endless energy, is bouncy, never seems to be in pain and is a great motivator. I do agree that we must move through our Fibro. Being stationary only brings more pain. I have tested this theory and moving (in the end) always helps lower my pain levels. Of course Fibro is not just about one treatment, but that is an entire other subject. She is a dynamo and the last person one would think as having Fibro.
I live in a fairly small community by some standards and know most of the clerks at the stores I frequent. I know of two clerks in separate stores that stand all day. They too have Fibro. Both ladies are around my age. Both do their jobs very well and both hurt tremendously at times. I do not know this because they tell me but because I can see the pain in their face. I generally inquire and tell them to be straight with me. I will then get the truth. They are concerned and care about me and were pulling for me during my disability ordeal as well as my impending neck surgery. I too wear the ‘mask of happiness’ when I am hurting badly or in a flare. I think we all have. I know that mask and know how to see through it.
Then there are those completely bed ridden and I fear I will be there someday. I will go down fighting, trust me I will! But I get it. I see it getting closer everyday. In the last week alone, I have spent three full days laying on my couch all day. It is utterly soul crushing! Paul and I already talk about having to rent a wheelchair if we want to ever go back to an amusement park. I have to sit every few minutes when I go shopping. There is no way I can stand all day. To sit every 15-30 minutes at a park would mean getting nothing done. I balk at it. I detest it. I pray for me it never comes. Nonetheless, I so understand where it could get to this.
I feel that Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is one of the most wide ranged illnesses that exist. My first symptom was numb hips. Yes, numb hips and from there it turned into a cruel monster. And in the prime of my life I was struck down.
My best friend got to come up and visit me for 8 days for Thanksgiving. I met her through social networking and she too suffers from chronic illness. She stated I have the worst case of Fibro she has ever seen. And I was having a good week! All the same, this is not a contest. In my last blog I made that very clear. We are all sick, we all hurt and we all have numerous other issues related to our Fibro and in some cases other chronic illnesses or spinal degeneration, etc.
My hope and wish in this post is for us to all care about our fellow warriors. My (arthritis) pool class teacher could be hiding pain. Behind her bubbly personality could be sleepless nights, lots of pacing the floor and a fight she does not show the world. As stated, I hide things all the time…. we all do. We all hurt, we all feel like crap and we have all had a huge part of our lives ripped from us. This is not a one size fits all but we have the common denominator: pain as well as all the collateral damage Fibromyalgia throws at us. My Fibro is not the same as yours or his or hers. So let’s just support each other. As the quote says,
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” ~ Plato
Until next time, K.