That Bridge was Burned!

 

I have a tale to tell on today’s blog…

Once upon a time, there was a blogger named…”Kate.”  Kate was thrilled that a fibromyalgia support group leader had used one of her posts to share with her group! So, with anticipation high, Kate went on to the group leader’s site to extend common courtesies and thank the group leader for sharing her post and mentioning her blog to the group. In order to make a comment on the site, Kate had to sign in, so she did. Kate made her comment and was almost immediately messaged by the group leader who hoped she would stay with the group, Kate was honored to be invited and said she would.

As this tale continues, Kate was orienting herself with the new site. Putting in information on her profile page and putting a purple ribbon on her profile as that is the color for fibromyalgia, there was even a diary that could remain public or personal. Very cool indeed! Kate received two more messages from the group leader that was very positive and then signed off for the evening.

The very next morning Kate got up and went to look at her new group site. Kate had been blocked. What had she done? She read the rules and didn’t break those. Maybe someone in a group just did not want her to belong? She could see posts from the group leader asking what had happened to Kate? Kate was able to sign back on, got a message to the group leader, and was again blocked within the hour. Kate’s only concern was that this nice group know that she did not quit on them. Kate was not a quitter. Happily, Kate read an email message sent to her from the group leader. Kate knows now that she was heard before the block button was pushed again and that was the only thing she was concerned with. However, the nice group leader was very upset that someone had blocked Kate and was going to find out who did that.  That site has many groups and hosts around 4,700 members. I think the chances of that are scarce. Kate appreciated the thoughtfulness but does not feel the need to know. Kate will not be returning to the nice group, she doesn’t have the energy for such nonsense on a support group site. Kate did want to wish the group the best in their journey!

What would you do if this happened to you?

  • Would you be personally offended? How could you be, you don’t even know who blocked you or why?
  • Would you write insulting things about the site and post them? Why should everyone suffer because one person got blocked?
  • Would you cross a burning bridge to find out who blocked you? Be careful what you wish for, they may have a very reasonable explanation.
  • You know it wasn’t a mistake because you were blocked twice. So what would you do?

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If this happened to me… I would do as Kate did and get a message to the group leader just so she knew I did not walk away from the group. But that is it. If I get upset I have a flare, if I have a flare, I lose time, if I lose time – the blocker won. In the real world, I don’t know that person and have no reason to be upset with them as they have not personally harmed me in any way that hurts me. Now if someone started messing with my blog, sent me nasty emails, or put obscene things on my Facebook page, I would be quick to respond. I-would-bury-that-person.

So in closing, no one was harmed. I made a new friend with the nice group leader and we will stay in touch to simply share ideas and personal stories. I feel a renewed energy for writing my blog and I want to prepare the best posts possible. I will be working on some new ideas and will share them with you on Wednesday. Until then, I appreciate You!

IMG_3183~Kim

Grace Kelly would have liked me.

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Grace Kelly. Never have I seen a woman who so personified her name. Grace Kelly was indeed a woman of grace. I want to be a woman of grace. I do not want to be Grace Kelly-like, I want to be me but be a person who is associated with grace. I am not graceful. (Lord knows I can hardly walk a straight line let alone be graceful!) But I want to be that person who personifies grace. To me, this is a person who is courteous, has a manner of behaving that is attractive and promotes goodwill. Grace.

I learned some very valuable lessons when I recently suffered a blow to my self-esteem. Just when I was so very sure of myself, a few comments in passing shook me to my core. I had no idea why I felt so destroyed over these comments? Although these comments were directed at me they were really not about me. But I was nowhere near reason when I first received these comments. My first reaction was anger, then hurt, then fear. Fear that my “got-it-together” persona had been breached! I was a fake! I had been found out! I withdrew. My life was over… again. (Drama.)

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I really believe you must be true to thine own self. You are the only one you have to live with, day by day, minute by minute. If you are angry, hurting, and/or fearful all the time what are you like to live with? Does your partner want to come home after work? Do they avoid you when you are home? Do you avoid them? What would it be like to walk into your house and see yourself waiting for you… would you be excited to spend time with your own self?

My husband called me from work just the other day. He used to call me every day on his lunch break just to check on me when I was recovering from some surgical procedures. But that practice is no longer needed so rarely do we call each other while he is at work. So, he calls me and he is having a very bad day. I can’t fix it but I can listen and that is what I do. When I tell him to remember how good he is at his job and how lucky that company is to have him… then I apologize. I was so busy licking my wounds over stupid comments I had caused my fibromyalgia symptoms to flare. I apologized to him because I was in a flare and I had not done any house work, nor made him a proper dinner. (These things he does not expect from me, it is my way of adding order and purpose to my day.) My husband told me not to apologize and to rest. Before we hung up he said he would rather be home with me on one of my bad days than be at work on one of his good days.

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I learned two very powerful lessons from my brush with low self-esteem. The first is, to thine own self-be true. If you know there was no malice meant by your words or deed then you are not to blame. But if you feel a responsibility to explain or apologize for a misunderstanding do it. And handle yourself with grace at all times. Be a person who is thoughtful and promotes goodwill. Be the person your partner, spouse, children, want to come home to and your friends want to visit. When some one asks you to have a little grace, that is a question you should never have to hear because as an adult, you should already be living in a state of grace.

Self-esteem is a tricky little monster, but it is your little monster. As for to thine own self-be true, I am a person that tends to have low self-esteem, I am a person with fibromyalgia, but I am doing my best to control both. Life shut down my freeway, so I had to take a detour. Life is a constant construction zone so you find the detour and get through it with grace.

And yes, I do think Grace Kelly would have liked me.

IMG_3180~Kim

Moments are Priceless.

It is the last week in January and I am not sad to see it go. It has been recorded that the third week in January is the most depressing week of the entire year. The holidays are over, the credit card bills for those holidays are arriving in your mail box. The weather is harsh and it is cold. I must agree, the third week in January is indeed the most depressing time of the year.

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Yesterday I cried. I cried for a very long time. I felt physical pain in my chest like my heart was literally breaking. I was beyond sad. I was grieving. I was grieving for the people who are in pain. I cried for those I try to help but cannot. I was grieving for lost family time and relationships.  I was angry at time for moving so quickly. I was grieving for my aging parents. I was grieving for me. I cried for all the things I am trying to do but have to admit I cannot. I wanted the old Kim back. The one who could do everything, fix everything, I miss her. I was grieving for my husband. Jeff is having back pain again that is so severe, yet there is still so much he wants to accomplish. He doesn’t accept his limitations yet. And I grieved for the missed moments and opportunities Jeff and I couldn’t take advantage of due to my numerous hospitalizations and surgeries. I remembered one day after my 7th and final surgery, my husband, looking at me and saying, “Now, all of our moments are priceless.” I grieved…

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Then I stopped grieving. I looked at myself in the mirror and said, ” YOU need to get it together!”  I got out the bricks and mortar and rebuilt that wall around my heart. I still have memories from my past that I have not worked through and maybe never will be ready to confront. So I put them back in their box and tucked it safely away in the dark part of my mind. I am not ready for the dark to meet the light. Not yet.

Grief is not a bad thing, grief is the price for love. Grief is almost like a personal ‘off’ button. Then when you have done your time you click the personal ‘on’ button and get yourself together. You build that wall, put a lid on that box, whatever you need to do to keep the emotional pain at bay so you can function. A friend of mine told me that this life is not a resting place, it is a testing place. Truer words have never been spoken.

Grief holds its place in line and you will pass through grief again. But you come back out of the darkness and look to the light and you do not rest, you live and love and laugh! Because all of our moments are priceless.

 

FullSizeRender 56~Kim

 

Trust but verify.

Do you know who I am? Am I tall or small? A woman or a man? Am I educated? Friendly? A good person? Do I really have fibromyalgia? Am I trustworthy? I have told you who I am. I am a 5’2″ female with a degree in Social Work and Criminal Justice. I am friendly and a good person. I have fibromyalgia and I am trustworthy.

Since you are reading a blog, you wouldn’t necessarily have to believe all the things I write or even agree with them. I can tell you about my life and this is a forum for opinions, so I write mine. But if I were about to perform surgery on you, I would suggest you fact-check my credentials. What if I were going to perform (heaven forbid) surgery on your mother or your child? I bet you would fact-check my credentials. I am sure of it.

The world-wide web. The internet. The super highway of information for all social media gurus. Those who are adept at research and the novice researcher can be on very neutral playing fields once on the superhighway of information if, and only if, the sites they are researching are compatible. By this I mean, is the actual contributing author of the article you are researching on the internet to be believed? What are their credentials? Did you fact-check or are you just a believer?

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There is nothing wrong with being a ‘believer’. I am. I watch infomercials and by the time the 30 minute presentation is over, I believe in that product! I BELIEVE! How about QVC or HSN, the shopping networks… even products that I have no need for I believe I should make a purchase. I believe that product will improve my life in some way, shape or form. I BELIEVE! I am a serious get-me-the-phone-right-now-so-I-can-make-a-purchase believer. I no longer watch those channels, alone.

When we are feeling alone or isolated we are quick to believe (hence my shopping network quandary ). We are quick to trust. We are quick to make that purchase to fill some hole in our soul that needs filling. When my husband watches an infomercial with me, we are usually laughing so hard by the end I am nowhere near thinking I must have that product (I don’t feel alone)! I tried watching the home shopping network with my Dad… no need to make a purchase then either! He uses “reverse psychology” on you. Example: “Dad, I think that looks like a great deal, I would get a lot of use out of that.” My dad responds not only with a jubilant “yes!” but with a serious “you better get two.” But I digress.

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I find there are innumerable articles on the web that are about fibromyalgia. All parts of your life are dissected by individuals who have never examined you, talked with you, or know anything about your diet. These individuals are not only making suggestions and promising reduced symptoms, they go so far as to promise cures! And the articles are believable! They are not promoting flesh-eating bacteria, they are talking about a vitamin or an antidepressant. Eat less carbohydrates or maybe stop dairy all-together and just take calcium. Get this exercise bicycle and meditate! These writers are adept at their skill, making their ideas ‘sellable’ to the public. They are so believable many readers re-post these articles as answers to questions others have about mental and physical health! I’m throwing up a caution flag! You must do your due diligence when reading then re-posting articles on the internet. There is nothing wrong with researching on the internet but before you believe, purchase, or re-post, fact-check, please!

So, how do you fact-check? It is not that hard. Use common sense. What type of site are you on? What is the writer’s credentials, are they listed? Can you find other articles by other writers with consistent findings? If the bottom line is to sell you a product, I urge caution!

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A chronic condition does not mean you are broken.

In closing, people who have chronic illnesses tend to be isolated. We look to the computer for many of our social exchanges, shopping experiences, and resources. You do not need someone who doesn’t know you trying to sell you something to ‘fix’ you. You are worth more than that. Want to know about a medication? Call your pharmacist. Better yet, leave a message for the pharmacist to call you when they have a moment. I have had delightful yet insightful conversations with my pharmacist. (Well, with many of my various pharmacists!) Reach out to social support groups who have the same illness as you do. Remember to check with your doctor before you make any changes to your medications, diet, or exercise routine. It really is okay to be a believer and trust, but verify!

IMG_1650~Kim

 

 

 

No hall pass.

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Fibromyalgia is a central nervous disorder. With Fibromyalgia come coexisting conditions. Many coexisting conditions. The last time I looked up all the plausible coexisting conditions, being mean to one another was not one of them. Fibromyalgia is not an excuse to simply be mean. So you say, “but I am in pain!” Well so are about 3 billion other people. There are not 3 billion people out walking about hurting others because they are in pain. There are people out walking about who do not have Fibromyalgia or any of its coexisting conditions and they hurt others!

Being on disability is not fun.

Being on disability is not fun.

Being on disability is not fun.

Being on disability comes with responsibility!

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You do not get a hall pass to treat others harshly or disrespectfully because you may have experienced it or been treated that way or because you have pain! You do not get to simply stop trying to improve your self; physically and emotionally. You must go to doctor appointments, searching out the best medications and treatments that will allow you to live your best life, be that best friend, partner, spouse, parent. You must seek out mental health counseling because your life has changed and you must deal with it emotionally and rationally, in a timely manner. You must take charge of your health because you are now living with limitations and that will never go away, this is a chronic condition. No one can do these things for you.

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In closing, I ask that responsibility be taken when due. Accountability is our daily guide. Have you done everything today with no ill-will? You have fibromyalgia, you are part of a community. Whether you like it or not your actions reflect on your fibromyalgia family, but most important of all, your actions reveal the kind of person you are. Are you proud of that person? Would you be friends with that person? Would you want that person in your life?

Time to control what you can and dismiss what was never in your control in the first place.

 

IMG_1650~Kim

My ill-tempered companion.

I am feeling a bit emotional today. I find I have gotten so caught up in my truths that when memories creep in, they are usually the wrong ones. I have a hard time staying current when I talk to my family. I am always bringing up the past, my past. This is not theirs. They have raised families, attended weddings, vacationed, changed jobs, moved… all the things normal people do. I wonder, is my thought process that stunted? It is. I am more than a bit self-centered when it comes to dealing with my illness. To me, it is the most important thing in my life. It is not to others.

Most people are either healthy or they are not. They are fat or they are not. They are happy or they are not. And when you ask them how they are? They are fine. When you ask someone with a chronic illness how they are… it depends. If they have had their illness for some time, they are fine. If they just got it, you will get an inventory of how they are feeling. If they are not feeling well you may get, “Like you care?”

No wonder those with chronic illnesses do not get much attention after they are diagnosed. It’s a crap shoot dealing with us. A gamble. We are certainly not current in our thoughts, ideas, or family events. Human beings, in general, get over ‘stuff.’ An illness to most is just ‘stuff.’ To a person with a chronic illness, it is all-consuming, every minute of an everyday companion. It must be listened to, cared for, attended to.

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It is time to put the little monster called fibromyalgia on a schedule. You can’t just ignore it, although at times you must put on a brave face and pretend it doesn’t exist! There is a process you must learn. You must re-engage in real life. Current life. When was the last time you had a conversation about anything without fibromyalgia in it? Aches and pains, flares and fog? Or a sentence that didn’t start with “Because of my fibromyalgia…” Your deceptive little companion stamps its feet and demands to be heard! It is a two-year old throwing a tantrum. Guess what? You are smarter than that two-year-old.

I am smarter than a two-year old. I am done being controlled by my illness. I will tend to it, on my terms. What does this mean?

  • I will find a support group to share feelings, ideas, and resources with.
  • I will make up and follow a schedule to reduce the probability of fibro flares.
  • I will follow my medication schedule to keep flares at bay.
  • I will stretch and exercise for one hour a day.
  • I will pursue a hobby that has nothing to do with fibromyalgia.
  • I will keep a journal, my ‘complaints journal’ so to speak so I don’t feel the need to report my ills to others.
  • I will seek out daily positive activities so I can open a conversation that is pleasant and cheerful.
  • I will take charge of my illness it cannot be in charge of me.

I am not saying, you can ‘control’ this chronic illness at all times but I am saying you can be vigilant and come up with a plan. This plan should also include what you will do if and when you flare because you will. It is part of the chronic illness. So don’t be angry and complain the entire time. Sure, it is frustrating but if you have planned for it, your flare will not last as long as it normally does and those around you don’t have to become collateral damage! This is not fair to them. PLAN. Think of it as going on a trip to hell for a few days, name the trip, pack for it. Put together a box, bag, or suitcase for your flare and have it ready so when you flare those tools are available to you.

My trip to fibromyalgia flare hell is called my “FM Day”. Notice the positive of calling it a day instead of three days, or a week. Just stay with me, I know I sound like a crazy person right now.  There is nothing positive about having a flare but I let others know without having to tell them; this is a day I’m in so much pain, agony and I’m so sick I feel like I’m gonna die day. I simply say I’m having an “FM Day”. Those who care to know more will ask. Those who understand will not need to ask. (And there may be some who just do not want to know!) So, take a moment and name your flare.

Got a name? Now get a box, bag or suitcase and gather your supplies. I have a back pack and a portable DVD player.

(This works for any kind of chronic illness that can put you down for a few days so name yours too!)

My FM day:

  • Adult coloring books and colored pencils.
  • DVDs.
  • Zentangle work books and gel pens.
  • Sketchbooks.
  • Journals.
  • Cards.
  • Crochet items.
  • etc.

There will be meals in the freezer. There will be rescue medications I have on hand for flares. There will be soft PJs and lots of pillows on the bed. Don’t text, write letters and talk as little as possible because you will not have nice things to say. Seclude yourself as much as possible but when the flare is over, it is over. Put the tantruming two-year old back in its place and you take back control! Back to the present, living in the now.

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FullSizeRender 56~Kim

 

The Tunnel Does Not End.

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I have put off writing this post. I am embarrassed and afraid. I am embarrassed to admit I don’t have it all together. I am afraid if I ‘let the cat out of the bag’ you will not like me. I am embarrassed to share this side of myself. The side that is frequently in pain. I am afraid of what you will think of me. If I tell you about the painful part of fibromyalgia that I deal with, will you think me weak? A complainer? A whiner? I feel like those things from time to time. Why shouldn’t you think these things of me as well? There are days when I feel like nothing more than a burden. A burden to my husband, my family, my friends, and even to the system! Good lord, I’m a burden to the United States of America! The thought of all of this is beyond embarrassing, it is scary. When I am in this frame of mind I feel like a worthless human being.

The truth.  With pain comes suffering and it is often mental with the physical. So I am going to write what I need to write. Here goes nothing…

It’s an ‘FM day’ is code for I’m having a fibromyalgia flare! A flare is when your painful symptoms increase dramatically, usually forcing you to bed. You probably will experience fibrofog and any co-existing symptoms you have will make themselves known in a big way! All these symptoms can occur at the same time or in intervals. Sometimes, it’s just the pain without any of the rest. A flare is painful, debilitating, and frustrating.

The pain from the flare stops you from completing any activity. The fibrofog makes it difficult to remember words, forget about putting a sentence together! The fatigue makes it feel like a workout just getting in and out of bed. Any stimuli are too much: lights are too bright, a sound is too loud, smells are too rotten, touch is too painful. You swear you can feel the blood flowing through your veins and it’s burning you from the inside out. Your heart beats in your ears and it feels like your head is pounding right along with it. You will cry.

I am fully aware I am going to pay to play. If I do ‘A’ then I will suffer ‘B’. It is just that simple. I never know how bad a flare will be or how long it will last. I am pretty good at pushing hard for a day or two when I need to, then the flare will hit. And it will be bad. I usually weigh out my options and decide if I can afford to have a flare. There are times when I know I cannot mentally handle a flare because I get so depressed when I am in pain. I will choose to not do an activity or decline an invitation. There are times when I have planned an activity or outing so I will be incredibly careful the days leading up to the event so I can attend. But I am reminded all too often, a flare can hit at any time, whenever IT pleases.

I am not open to discussing my fibromyalgia flares with my family. Or many of my coexisting health concerns for that matter. First, because I know they no longer want to hear about it. Second, because they no longer want to hear about it! They were all so supportive in the beginning. I was frequently called, driven to doctor appointments, physical therapy appointments, given books and encouraged to get well! But this is a chronic condition. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. The damn tunnel never ends! I really do not blame them. They were there during the first few years that were my worst, I am thankful for that. Besides, I’m sick of me after 20 years of this illness too! But I do miss being able to talk with them about my good and bad days. I miss telling them about my little triumphs and then the devastation that I feel when I get slammed with painful down days. I do miss them! This syndrome has stolen so much time away from us.

There is no hiding this illness for my husband. He lives it with me every day. He copes with it every day, just like I do. He nurses me when I need it, confronts me when I push too much, and comforts me when I cry with pain. I am devastated when I flare because I know it will worry him. It will also make housework, meals, and dog walking his job until I recover. The time we enjoy together ceases to exist until I am through my flare. He is probably more blatantly aware than I am that there will always be another flare…

Holly is my very best friend. I have known her since kindergarten. She used to be a ‘mean girl’ or so I thought. She was a loud tomboy and I was a painfully shy little girly girl. We became best friends one day at a summer party when we were both too young to be drinking alcohol, but did. We both became violently ill and shared a toilet to throw up in! Between throwing up, we talked about why we had never gotten along… I’m serious! We were fast friends after that. (She may remember it differently.) Holly has had to endure so many things in her life, I don’t feel right about sharing them. I talk about her frequently.

Holly has this uncanny ability to just know when I am having a hard time. She lives in Washington and I am in Minnesota but she can call me on the phone and say, “tell me what is going on.” I can never worm my way out of telling her the truth. When she calls and I am not feeling well, she never questions me, she closes our phone call quickly with “call me when you feel better” and “I love you”. If I do not get back to her I suffer Holly’s wrath! Never a good idea! (I’m kidding, Holly, kind of.) Holly is the best kind of friend to have and I am thankful for her presence in my life every day.

 

In closing, there are no two people who suffer Fibromyalgia Syndrome the same way. Some are merely slowed down by this illness, others, it completely and abruptly stops them in their tracks. Fibromyalgia is a sneaky, deceptive illness. It can tear apart marriages, families, and friends. It can steal your job and your home. There are other invisible illnesses just like this one. There is no reason to judge another human being for any reason in this lifetime,  that is for the big guy upstairs to do. There is certainly no reason to judge someone for having a chronic illness. I tend to judge myself much more harshly than you ever could but that doesn’t mean you get a pass!

 

Everyone has a story they’ve never told.

IMG_1647~Kim

 

 

 

Acceptance? Here’s your ticket!

Recently I have been asked by a number of people how did I ‘accept’ my chronic illness? Actually accepting and getting to acceptance are two enormously different things! I used to think acceptance was an ongoing process. Now, I’m not so sure. If you are in a race, and you cross the finish line, you are done with the race. Right? When you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and you tell the first person you run into that you have fibromyalgia, you have accepted that diagnosis of fibromyalgia. You may be in disbelief but you’ve been “tagged” so to speak. Accepting your illness doesn’t mean you no longer seek additional knowledge and help. Accepting your illness doesn’t mean you stop trying to live a better life. Accepting is to be used as a verb as you shift into the realization you are not the same person you used to be.

When I was able to say that I had honestly accepted my Fibromyalgia Syndrome, things I tolerated, I no longer could. I used to argue and fight and scream every day at my illness, I learned to become quiet. Instead of despising my situation I learned to be content in it. I finally understood the value of my energy. Situations that were not deserving of my precious energy, time and focus I now shut off, like a light switch. Fibromyalgia is not a game I play, it is not a lifestyle, it is not to be a friend or an enemy… it just is. I found my truth and that is I accept what I have been given.

I had to reach a level of honesty about my illness and as I dealt with the honesty I went through a grieving period for the old me and what her dreams were. I systematically said goodbye to the dreams and goals I previously had for my life. Dreams for a baby, goals for my career and financial independence … AND I’d never be a ballerina! (Well, that was never my dream but this post was getting a little too serious!) Honesty will bring you the ability to accept your illness but there is serious work you must accomplish before you can claim the acceptance ticket.

I like my life, and I like this new me. She is kind, she has empathy for others, she is funny, she is patient and she loves with her whole heart. I have found wonderful new things to do that I enjoy! I have found wonderful new friends and love my ‘old’ best friend Holly more for sticking by me through all of this. I strive to be an even better friend to her. I am capable of being a good partner and I love my husband. Every day I find I am more in love with him! So, this new Kim is not who I wished for, hoped for, or ever thought I’d meet, but here I am. I claimed my acceptance ticket!

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Live your best life!

IMG_2890~Kim

The 7th stage of fibromyalgia.

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I found an article that was written in 2014 by a woman named A. Wise. She talked about there being 6 stages of fibromyalgia. I read through them and was a bit stunned when I reached the final and 6th, stage. Let me do my best, to sum up, Ms. Wise’s 6 stages.

  1. You notice something is wrong. You hurt and are tired. You may begin to research to find out what is wrong with you.
  2. You are in a lot of pain and are taking some sort of medication for it. You are exhausted every day.
  3. You are in constant pain and constantly fatigued. You go to work, come home and sleep.
  4. Unrelenting pain and fatigue. You call into work more than you are physically there. You spend most of your days in bed. At this time people beginning to doubt your illness because you could do things in stages 1 – 3 that you can no longer do.
  5. You have just quit or have been let go from your job, you are struggling to make ends meet. You are applying for long-term disability.
  6. You can no longer hold down any kind of job. Simple tasks you took for granted now drain all of your precious energy. Now you are not only dealing with pain, fatigue, and medications but the side effects as well. You probably now know more about fibromyalgia than your doctor. You find you are without hope.

This is a pretty abbreviated version of the six steps but the highlighted points that are in the article make up my outline. But stage number 6 pretty much ends with you being in constant pain and without hope. I absolutely disagree. There has to be the 7th stage because  I am not being left in stage 6 with no hope!

So stage seven for fibromyalgia sufferers would be acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up. It means facing your illness with a new perspective. You find peace with that acceptance. Anger, fear, hopelessness all but disappear. You stop feeling like you are a worthless human being and you find some purpose to your life.

Let me be clear, finding a purpose in your life doesn’t mean getting back into the 9-5 daily grind, keeping your house spotless, cooking meals every day, and running errands on top of it all. That part of you is gone. GONE. Fibromyalgia took that away. The purpose you must find is a balance between welcoming the new you and the desire to keep learning about your illness. You must become your own encyclopedia. You must find new things in life that interest you and can be done with your limitations. Find a balance. That balance creates peace and leads you to your new purpose in life.

Finally, these stages Ms. Wise talks about are very real! People with fibromyalgia move through these painful stages. I just simply refuse to stop at stage 6. I have moved into stage 7, acceptance. I did not want fibromyalgia, I did not invite it into my life, but it is now mine and it is here to stay. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition. I will accept it, make peace with myself, and I will find purpose.

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Live your best life!

IMG_3180~Kim

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