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When My Fibromyalgia Pain Returned

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I hadn’t had fibromyalgia pain in nearly six months. I nearly forgot what it was like. It was like a long ago remembrance I vaguely recalled. I knew the memory was there — it simply hadn’t surfaced in some time. I was on a great regimen of medications and had a good rheumatologist. I even decided it was time for me to go back to work again. After an arduous hiring process, I finally had one of my dream jobs — working in a library!

For months I moved book carts, bent, kneeled, and pushed my way through my days. Not once did fibromyalgia get brought up, because I didn’t have a need for it too? I didn’t want to talk about it because I wanted to be seen as “normal.” Don’t we all want to “fit in” in some capacity?

I was pushing a book cart a few weeks ago — something I’d done dozens to hundreds of times. I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. Ignoring it, I knelt down to shelve some children’s books. Ignoring it would turn out to be a mistake. Looking around, I didn’t see anyone. The library didn’t have any patrons at that time. I crawled on that floor into an upright position and used the bookcases to pull myself up. I at least escaped the embarrassment of someone seeing me in such a state. It was then I knew…

My fibromyalgia flare-ups were back.

I was angry. Blood boiling, seeing red, punch the wall angry. I’d done everything right! I ate low inflammation foods. I moderately exercised. I took my medicine religiously. So, why did the flare-ups have to come back?

I don’t have an answer for that question. I wanted to be eloquent and use meaningful prose to communicate with others. I’m left with writers’ block and my anger. I’ll do the dutiful thing and ask my doctor why it happened. Like the mysteries behind this illness, I doubt I’ll get a satisfactory answer. And therein lies the issue. I want a satisfactory answer. I know that remission from fibromyalgia doesn’t last. Any patient with the disease knows to appreciate and celebrate the good days because the bad days lurk in the darkness, waiting to strike. I’d love for my rheumatologist to have all the answers. However, as excellent as he is, he won’t.

I’m beyond anger. I’m completely exasperated. Every day I wake up in pain, hobbling from my bedroom to the bathroom. The hot water of the shower feels like it burns my skin. The texture of my clothing has to be exact or I’ll be in pain the entire day simply from wearing the wrong shirt. I should count myself lucky, however, as I’m still able to work. While painful, there’s a calm I feel being amongst books. Each one contains an entire world the author has created for us to read about.

So I’ll keep waking up each day, despite the pain. We have one life and I’m determined to live mine, anger and all.

Getty image by Popartic.

Originally published: August 16, 2021
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