Fibromyalgia makes me Exhausting, Frustrating, Difficult, Painful, Embarrassing and Limiting

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1992, long before it was trendy and before many physicians even acknowledged it as a true medical condition. I was 16 and couldn’t understand how people could play sports, roll down hills, or perform any of a million other activities that they seemed to take for granted but I couldn’t imagine voluntarily engaging in, much less enjoying.

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My Fibro journey has been a roller coaster. I have lost jobs because I couldn’t attend them regularly, or even remember to call in sick sometimes. I have crawled on my hands and knees to the bathroom in the morning because it hurt too much to put weight on some part of my body by walking. I have lost relationships because my partner believed it was all in my head or an attention-seeking ploy.

I have also traveled around Europe solo for four months, enjoyed a healthy romantic life, and held down jobs of surprising responsibility and physicality, most notably being a successful retail store manager for several years. I’ve been on dozens of medications, sometimes all at once.

Now I am 38 years old. I take Tramadol, a non-narcotic painkiller, anywhere from zero to four times a day. And that’s it, other than the occasional aspirin for a headache. I have a job I enjoy and am successful at, although I’ve left retail because it’s a hard routine to maintain without exacerbating the Fibro symptoms.

What is it like? It’s a day-to-day, and sometimes minute-to-minute, thrill ride. You never know if you’ll be able to keep plans or lift your leg high enough to get in the shower or remember your pet’s (or husband’s) name. You might develop a limp for a day or a week because of a random muscle spasm or shooting pain down one leg. You just never know.

You can let it rule your life, or you can choose to roll with the punches, make the necessary adjustments to your activity level depending on your symptoms at the moment, and move on. Fibromyalgia gives me Exhausting, Frustrating, Difficult, Painful, Embarrassing, and Limiting.

Depression is common, but not inevitable. It’s all about your attitude, just like anything in life.

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