First of all, I’m going to be cliched and say “tempus fugit.” These five years have gone by so fast.
In December of 2008, I first got my diagnosis of fibromyalgia. In the early summer of that year I was the woman who could never get enough sleep, and in the late summer of that year I started to feel the pain. The need for sleep was probably the beginning of the symptoms, but because I wasn’t working the 18 hours of sleep I was getting each day masked the pain. But then I went back to work and couldn’t sleep the day away and in addition to being really fricking tired I was also in a lot of frickin pain.
It took me three and a half months from the time I first went to my primary care doctor, who thought I might have thyroid problems, and then thought I might have arthritis and did lots of tests on my blood, to the time the rheumatologist gave me a diagnosis of fibro. The wait to see her was weeks because she was only in town a few days of the week. I know that many people had to wait much longer for a diagnosis, and I was lucky compared to them, but it sure felt like a long time because I was in such pain (The day before I got my diagnosis I called in sick to work because the pain was so bad. My diary entry from that day is basically “Pain all over my body.”) It also helps that the doctors I saw were accepting of fibromyalgia as a condition that people have and that needs a specific treatment because I know many who have struggled with doctors who don’t believe in it. I think that as time goes by more and more doctors are becoming familiar with it and seeing it in their patients.
I feel lucky that I have figured out how to live with my fibro so that most days I can function. Then some days I feel resentful because simply functioning is not enough. I mean, I can still work and do most of what I want to do, just maybe while gritting my teeth through some pain and moving at a slower pace. And maybe life is better lived at a slower pace. That’s why we don’t live in a big city. That’s why I still read paper books and use a pen and paper to write my first drafts of emails and blog posts–it forces my brain to be focused and intentional, and it keeps my mind from jumping all over the place. So maybe I’m happier living my life more slowly.
I don’t know that I’ll ever make peace with this condition, and I don’t think that it’s necessary to do so. I think it’s enough to accept that I have it and that I need to stick to a plan of treatment and be adaptable when I need to be and accept that some days I will be unhappy and resent the heck out of my condition and some days I will be okay and all of that is okay. It’s just my life now, and I have to live it.