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Finding Light in the Darkness of Fibromyalgia

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There’s a trick in the world of fibromyalgia that I fall for every time. There’s this kind of pain amnesia – a moment where I’m feeling good, relatively pain free, and somehow I forget and I think, “I’ve got this, I just have to keep eating right, exercise, tweak my supplements and I can defeat this fibro beast.” But it’s an illusion, and after the illusion, the reality always comes crashing right back in.

This time it was a terrible, terrible cold. Is it weird to say I felt amazing when I was really sick? Somehow my neurological system got distracted by the non-stop coughing and wheezing, and the near-constant pain in my hips and legs magically lifted. It was just gone. I could move again. I could (if it weren’t for the coughing) have slept through the night. It was kind of wonderful. And once again, I allowed myself to be lulled into forgetfulness, thinking the pain had moved on and I wouldn’t be plagued by it, at least for a time.

But sure enough, as my cough lifted, my pain descended, creeping like itchy fingers from my hips, down my legs and squeezing the bottoms of my feet. All night long. Every single night. Nights spent curled into the tiniest ball trying to stretch my low back and hip muscles into numbness, not caring any longer what the consequence of over-extension might be tomorrow. My vision blurred. My fatigue descended like a heavy blanket.

And with the pain came a blackness I haven’t experienced for a long time. A “what is my purpose” blackness. A “how on earth am I going to manage to live like this for five years, 10 years, 15 years” blackness. A “how much more of my life can I lose” blackness. A deep down, sorrowful, shaken to the roots blackness.

But life doesn’t stop for sorrow. The day still starts. Kids still need you to be their mom. Your spouse still needs you to be a wife. Your house still needs you to make it home. You may have lost career, clarity of thought and ambition, but there is this corner of the world where you are still essential, waiting for you to add your particular essence to its mix.

So, you pull yourself out of bed and greet the day with all the challenges and joys that both weary and motivate you to continue. Your pets are still there to greet you. The weird cardinal is sitting on the fence up to its usual hilarious antics. The blue jay family is at the feeder chatting to each other. The sun is shining or the rain is falling and there is beauty and poetry all around you.

And you keep moving forward with hope.

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Thinkstock photo via Mark_Hubskyi.

Originally published: October 21, 2017
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