Coping With a New Symptom of My Fibromyalgia


Every day, I wake up stiff and in pain. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I can sit up with very little pain. However, there are some days where it is all I can do to sit up without crying. Today was somewhere in the middle. I didn’t think it would be a “bad” day. Sometimes, though, the bad day can come up without warning. Today was one of those days.

I’ve been so busy lately with moving and running errands and even going to concerts. Even those concerts took an enormous amount of concentration and preparation. I did everything I knew to do to prevent a flare-up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

I will usually get little red spots on my hands or feet, right between the knuckles. They’re never completely the same. They look very muddled, honestly. The only other sign of a flare-up that I know of in my own body is a specific pain. It happens on the insides of my knees or elbows, just above the joint. It’s just a dull, aching pain. It’ll throb on and off for a few minutes and then go away before coming back 30 minutes to an hour later. It’s like my own personal warning bell, yelling and screaming, “Flare-up coming! Batten down the hatches!”

The pain in my elbows and knees happened yesterday afternoon. I didn’t really give it much thought at the time, but I really should have paid more attention. Last night, before going to bed, I noticed a new symptom. They always come on right before a flare-up, but not with every flare-up. I was walking to my bedroom and noticed a searing, burning pain shoot through the bottoms of both of my feet. With every step, it was as though I had just finished walking 10 miles and the soreness that would accompany that walk was present, but intensified. I couldn’t figure it out.

I figured, “Hey, you took it easy yesterday, right? What’s the big deal?”

Well, self, the big deal is that you need a few days this time.

woman's feet
My feet look normal, but they hurt unimaginably bad.

I didn’t listen to my body. The pain is still here. It’s been over a day now. I had initially thought maybe it was just like other pressure pains. I thought it was just like when I have to get up in the morning and move because the pressure of my body on my bed is too much. I thought it was like the times when my shirt is too heavy for my skin. I thought it was like the times when I’m writing or reading and my heel is throbbing because I’ve been resting it on one side for too long.

I was so wrong! This isn’t like those pressure pains. This is intense and immediate. It doesn’t quite feel like broken glass, but it’s so intense. I’ve fought back tears twice now. I tried rubbing my feet to increase blood flow and add a measure of comfort to the situation, but it did nothing.

The point is that, even though I’ve been dealing with fibromyalgia pain since I was a child, I need to remember that new symptoms will continue to show up at the most inopportune and random times. I need to remember to listen to my body when it speaks instead of trying to “push through” the way I do. I need to remember that this kind of thing happens with fibromyalgia and that, no matter how it feels, I’m never alone. I need to remember that it’s OK to cry when the pain is too much.

I need to remember it’s OK.

It’s OK.

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