My second eldest sister was diagnosed with fibromyalgia last week. She’d been showing the symptoms for awhile now, but attributed the fatigue to pregnancy and raising two small and rambunctious children. But the fatigue has just never gotten any better and in the middle of May she called to tell me that she was in severe pain and to ask me what fibromyalgia feels like. (And dammit if there isn’t ten thousand words to answer that.) I told her to go the doctor and get tests done. And sure enough, here she is, with fibromyalgia. It feels strange but good to give her advice, to be the wiser one who knows all the tips and tricks and can help her out. All of my life she’s known more and done more. Sometimes she doubts her intelligence because she didn’t get A’s in school, but I think in some arenas she’s the smartest one of us all. My other sisters and I will be standing around mumbling and talking over an idea and she’ll be the one with the answer who is moving on while we’re still debating definitions. Sure she doesn’t know who James Gee is (I’m reading one of his books this summer–Social Linguistics and Literacies—and he is definitely someone she wouldn’t want to read) and would give me a look if I started talking about discourses, but she puts into practice a knowledge about discourses that she isn’t aware that she has. She can talk to anyone anywhere and look like she means it. (And she probably does mean it.) She has a natural understanding of situations that I just don’t have. So it was nice to be the one who had something that I could pass onto her. Mostly I told her to rest and exercise and hold out for the medication to get to its most effective point. And it’s a variable condition so sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and wait it out.
I did a little research and found that it is likely that there is a genetic component to fibromyalgia. She and I just both had something in our lives to trigger the fibromyalgia. Somehow it hasn’t happened in our siblings. This is one of the times I wish I could pinpoint where it comes from. Even if it comes from multiple triggers, it would be nice to know what was happening in 2007-2008 to make me end up with fibromyalgia. I wonder if it had been a long time coming. I think maybe it was.