The day my doctor told me that I had Fibromyalgia was the day that my life changed forever. I had given birth to my second daughter just months before, and things I attributed to being pregnant just weren’t going away. Things like headaches, muscle aches all over, being extremely fatigued, loosing my balance, back aches, knee pain, and heart burn, just to name a few. I thought loosing my train of thought was just “mommy brain”, but I soon learned it was Fibro Fog. Postpartum depression turned into a diagnosis of major depression, and being worried turned into anxiety. My hands hurt, my feet hurt, I literally hurt from head to toe. I wasn’t handling stress well at all the way I normally could. Stress was causing me physical pain and I was snappy with people. I got the flu and I had neverfelt so sick in my life. I had to take off work for several days. Then I got bronchitis and I used all of my sick time. When I was able to push myself to go to work I was still so sick that they sent me and my inhaler home to get better. The flu and bronchitis went away, but I didn’t get better, I got worse. It was all getting to be too much to handle. When I walked I could hear a popping sound in my back. I just kept getting new symptoms, new conditions like GERD, IBS, and costochondritis. The day I told our VP that I had fibromyalgia and my doctor wanted me out on disability I cried in the office. This wasn’t the first time I cried at work, but this was the first time I didn’t run to the bathroom before the tears started. There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no crying at your job. I’ve always hated letting people see me cry, it made me feel weak, out of control, vulnerable. Other people’s tears were okay, I tried to help them feel better or just gave a listening ear. If I had to cry I held it in until I was alone, but there was no holding back these tears, and it was the first time I didn’t care that I cried in front of someone. I had bigger problems than crying.
The changes were just beginning. I became a different person. My parenting changed. Even while pregnant I took my then 3 year-old daughter outside to play everyday. Now I played “I spy” while laying in my bed. I was active, happy, funny, loved conversation, loved socializing, went to church almost every sunday, kept the entire house clean and organized, loved to shop, loved to read, loved to help others. Eventually, that all changed as I learned that my body just couldn’t do what it used to and I needed help. I had good days, followed by bad days. The price of one active day could cost me several days in the bed. I became depressed, irritable, felt doomed, exhausted, and unable to keep up with the household chores or walk the mall like I used to. Grocery shopping concluded with a nap. Showers drained me. I couldn’t concentrate on the book I was reading or the tv show I was watching. I loved watching basketball. I could watch three playoff games in a row and be into all of them. Now, I had no interest. Nothing was funny, I was sad, scared and eventually angry. I felt guilty for not being the person that I used to be, not just for me, but for my family. I held hope that I would get better, that my fibromyalgia would go away and things would get back to normal. Eight years later (it just took me a few minutes to figure that out) I am not back to normal. I have a new normal and that new normal changes from day to day, month to month, and even year to year. I’ve lost friends, pushed people away, canceled many plans, asked for help when I didn’t want to and lowered my expectations in an attempt to avoid disappointment. I’ve accepted that I have fibromyalgia, mourned my old life, and I am trying my best to be the best me I can be. It is hard, it is a fight and I don’t always win, but I’m trying. Now I’m looking for an online support group and hoping that blogging will help me in some way to deal with this.
My mom has chronic fatigue syndrome and we have many of the same conditions. I pray my daughters do not suffer with these conditions.