The F-word

February 18, 2011

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain

Fibromyalgia.

There. I’ve said it. The F-word.

Fibromyalgia.

Today, I again wake in pain, a vague ache that feels like the flu, minus the puking. All-over ache, and, fatigue. The fatigue is funny; it ebbs then strikes me down. Ebbs, then kicks me hard. The pain, it meanders around my body, popping up in my arms and then appearing more loudly in my legs. Then, I don’t notice for a bit. Then, it’s all I notice.

My little dictionary defines fibromyalgia

a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas.

and that pretty much sums it up for me. Well, except that definition kind of makes it look easy, but it’s not … I spent more than three months last year on the couch, in severe pain, sleeping, oh, 15 hours a day, sometimes more. I’ve talked to others who’ve been struck even worse.

I don’t want to say that I have this disorder, as if saying so will brand me and scar me. I come from Protestant heritage; we work hard and do what it takes. Disease and frailty are, well, signs of weakness.

I’m not a weak person. I might be sweet, kind, naive even. But not weak. Against the fibro, I have so little defense.

I haven’t learned how to tell when it will flare up, or what will set it off. Honestly, I live now in some fear that pushing my physical limits will cause a new bout of pain and sleeping. (Or, not sleeping, because the pain is too much.)

So far, the bouts of fibro come and go, and none have been as severe as last spring. But they come more frequently.

And I am confused and angry.

I guess I feel that if I say the F-word here, in front of the entire world, I can move on to coming terms with a very real part of my life, my future.

27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain by Samantha Kira Harding and illustrating how she feels with fibromyalgia

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