Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lessons from Mom....

As I lay in bed unable to keep my legs from spasming in response to the intense stabbing pain I am experiencing, I am overwhelmed with a intense feeling of respect and love for my mom.  Not only am I a mom fighting against chronic pain, I am the child of a mom fighting against chronic pain.

In my earliest memories my mom hurt. I cannot remember a time when she did not have pain in her back, her feet, or her hands. I remember wrist braces and chiropractor visits... On one of which I screamed at the chiropractor to "Stop hurting my Mommy!!" because she was yelling every time her cracked her back. (I think I was about 4.) 

I remember being a teenager and growing frustrated at her for not wanting to take me to the mall, or for never having the stamina to keep up with me. Her feet hurt, or her back... And we would have to stop and go home. (Granted, about half the time we had to go home in order for dinner to be on the table when Daddy got home.)

We didn't always have the best relationship... looking back I think some of that can be attributed to the fact that I didn't really understand what an hour on her feet could do to her... I didn't really understand the pain. And the fact that I was a teenager probably didn't help much either.

But now, I'm grasping what she went through. Oh boy, I definitely do.

I find myself filled with a new-found appreciation for her strength now that I am facing my own battle with chronic pain. I am thankful for each second she gritted her teeth and pushed through that one last store for me... And I am selfishly thankful that she still does it, because I have more fun out in the world when she is by my side. I am extremely grateful to her for every move that she makes to play with my son and spend time with him... I know it is hard on her physically, but watching the joy on their faces when they are together makes it obvious that it is worth it to her.

While my body is not coping well with Fibromyalgia and CFS, my soul is. And I can credit my mom for showing me how to keep pushing through the pain to keep my family taken care of... And for teaching me that I need to let them take care of me, too. 

I am grateful to her for teaching me that you can still laugh even when you hurt, and that it is okay to cry when it hurts too much to laugh. While I wish that neither of us had had these experiences, the closeness that pain has brought us has become another Silver Lining of Fibromyalgia.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Cane Belongs to Fibro, Not Me....

Tonight I was going through the posts in my support group and came upon one that struck close to home. A friend was wishing for her old self back... not liking the changes she has had to make in her life to compensate for her Fibromyalgia. She lamented the need for a bath seat, and a cane. Yesterday another friend texted me for hours, trying to accept the fact that at 30 she is taking more medications than a friend who is a cancer patient.
I'm younger than both of them... and I've already had to make these adjustments too. I made some of them long ago (I've been on medications since I was 15), while the safety bar in my shower was only installed hours ago. At the ripe old age of 26 I got to walk into my apartment complex's office where I used to be a manager and request a safety bar so I could get out of the bathtub on my own. Talk about killing a girl's outlook on her future!
But as I was reading the posts tonight, it hit me. It doesn't matter what I need to do to get around, because it doesn't change who I am. Canes, walkers, braces, multiple ice packs, pain medicines, multiple tubes of Bengay on the dresser, heated car seats, hours and hours in a bed... that's NOT ME.
It's that thing I share my body with... Fibromyalgia.
Because I still laugh, I still cry, I still smile and frown... I still love my husband and my son, worship the ground my daddy walks on, and consider my mommy my best friend. I am still Auntie to 9 amazing children, and mommy to a little boy so beautiful and smart I still don't believe it's possible he came out of this body. I still love to read, get all tingly at the thought of seeing Phantom of the Opera live, and love chocolate. I still think that green olives are nasty, and black ones nearly ambrosia.
While I might need a cane sometimes, and might need it all the time by next year... and whether I take more medications than my near centenarian grandmother did, it doesn't change the fact that my dream trip would include seeing every place that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived.
If I've changed since Fibro decided to join up with the CFS... so what? I am a stronger woman, I have more compassion, and more perspective. I have developed new passions that I frankly enjoy more than my old ones, and I am actually liking who I am for the first time in my life.
And of course, if I never had Fibro, I would have never met so many amazing people and made so many caring friends or been a part of something so accepting and inclusive as this very diverse group of people who share so much in common.

So there ya go... that's a heck of a lot of Silver Linings to my Fibromyalgia.