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I’ve been feeling frustrated with my fibromyalgia lately. I have just been over it. Over the pain, the fatigue, the roller coaster of hating my condition and then not minding it, the list of things that need to get done that just don’t get done in a timely manner or done at all. I am over it all.

But unfortunately, I don’t think my body will ever match me in being over it, so I still have to deal with it. And these past few days I’ve been feeling depressed about dealing with this condition while trying to live a life.

So, for example, 10 days ago we went to see Bandelier National Monument in northern New Mexico. We live in the American West and have decided to see as many national parks and monuments as possible while we’re still young and can hike around them (my fibromyalgia laughs at this idea that I can hike anywhere). Last year we saw the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands, along with the Hoover Dam, which isn’t really a national monument, but is still fantastic and worth seeing.

So Bandelier includes the remains of a village that Ancestral Pueblo people occupied from around 1150 to 1550 CE.

You can see what remains of the dwellings on the canyon floor.

You can see what remains of the dwellings on the canyon floor.

 

The village is set in a canyon, and in addition to dwellings and store rooms on the canyon floor, the people also carved rooms and petroglyphs into the canyon walls. A stream runs through the canyon and there are beautiful trees and an abundance of wildlife. It’s quite beautiful and it’s easy to see why the people chose to live there. Visitors are able to walk through the canyon and see the remains of the village buildings and climb up a path to see the rooms that were carved into the cliff-side.

The view from the canyon floor. You can see some of the caves that the people carved out of the rock.

The view from the canyon floor. You can see some of the caves that the people carved out of the rock.

You can even climb up ladders to see into a house that is set 140 feet up. I did not make that climb because I’m a chicken about ladders, but I did most of the walking and hiking. While we were looking down onto the canyon floor and discussing what life must have been like for the people who lived there, I mused that Pre-Columbian American history gets short-changed in many parts of the USA. How many people know about Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon and Bandlier monuments (all inhabited by the Ancestral Pueblo people and known for their cliff dwellings and complexes–the 15 complexes at Chaco Canyon were the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century)? Or Cahokia in Missouri (an urban settlement built by the Mississippian people that was once one of the largest cities in the world and the largest city in what is now the United States until the 18th century)? I remember learning a little bit about them in school, but not anywhere near as much as I learned about ancient Roman monuments or even Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Sometimes I feel bad for never having been to Europe, but this visit made me appreciate how much there is to see and do in my country. How many monuments there are on our continent. How much of my own history and heritage I still need to learn about and see.

That last paragraph got a little bit away from me–back to my fibromyalgia.

I was pretty much exhausted by the end of our visit, which lasted about two hours. I, of course, had to take a nap and then get even more sleep the following few days, but it didn’t increase my pain levels, which was frankly surprising. I was expecting my legs to be sore for days.

So I was already pushing myself, just by going traveling back and forth and by walking around to see the sites. Then we came back and I had two very busy days and guess what I did for the next three days after that? Rested, rested, rested and didn’t get much done.

That’s why I’m frustrated. The time it takes to recover from something as simple as a sight-seeing trip and then two busy days means I put so much else of my life on hold. I’m trying to tell myself that I just have to roll with the idea that things take time, but my nature is to get things done and then get on with it. It’s just hard to fight against your nature sometimes. It’s hard to know that your life has these limits whether you like them or not.

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