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Pain in the tender points and all over the body are what make fibromyalgia. There are tender points at various points over the body, but the points at the base of my neck and the small of my back pain me the most. Oh, and the ones on my shoulders and elbows.

I think of the all-over pain as the dust-in-my-nerves kind of pain. Every morning it’s there and I have to stretch out and walk around and maybe if I’m lucky it’s an hour before it goes away. Some mornings it won’t leave so I take a naproxen sodium. I hate to take it every day because I worry about my stomach and my liver, so on some low-level days I just live with the dust. Other days I have time and get down on the floor and do my yoga and stretching; this is the type of pain that yoga is especially helpful in combating.

And then there is the the ghost pain; this is pain apart from and in addition to the tender points and the all-over body pain. This is the pain that lingers in my body—two days after I spend fifteen minutes with the weed whacker my forearms and shoulders ache. The day after I spend twenty minutes weeding my thighs are screaming out. (I’m up to doing twenty minutes of that kind of physical labor now—some days I might be able to do more, but on most days twenty is all I can think about with a veil of pain and exhaustion descending.)

Some mornings I wake up frustrated—I would love one morning without having to take my pain temperature to see how I’ll be doing that day, whether I’ll be aching and complaining or burning all day, or whether a good day is on the way, once I shake the dust from my bones. But most mornings I just accept it and move on with the day. There’s too much I need to get done, and at this point in my symptom management, the pain is hardly ever overwhelming anymore. My first months of symptoms, before I knew what was wrong with me, I had days where all my brain had time for was the pain. But now I’m coping with the symptoms and I have the time and mental space to focus on other things in my life. I know it makes me lucky for a fibro sufferer so I try to keep my frustration in check. But yes, some days, I’m saying, “screw this; I want it gone.”

I allow myself to feel that way about the pain some days. I can’t always good-naturedly cope or even grit my teeth and cope.

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