Article by Wendy McCance
I’m exhausted. I’m sick of thinking about my health. Here I am in my mid 40’s and I feel most days like I’m in my 80’s. It’s not fair. I feel like I am going through my life in a fog. Carving out the things that are most important to get done each day and pushing myself to do those things is a tricky balancing act. My kids say I am the most hard-working person they know. In my head, there is so much more I would be doing if only I had the stamina to get it done.
Fibromyalgia sucks. There is no other way I would put it. I’m sick of napping in the middle of the day. I’m fed up with cancelling plans because I feel so weak and exhausted. I’ve had it with walking around the block to get some exercise just to come back winded and dizzy. The most exciting thing is the new symptoms that have decided to show up.
Breathing problems and general anxiety are the latest issues I get to deal with on a daily basis now. Yep, I obviously didn’t have enough to work with so now each day I get to gasp for breath and pray I can lay down and rest without having to sit right back up because the breathing is so difficult when I do lie down. My chest muscles feel like they are getting a heavy-duty workout whenever I struggle to breath. It’s so exhausting and painful, but, you have to breath. It’s like those bad workouts where you are trying to push through the pain for amazing results. The only problem is that the amazing results are that I am still breathing. The breathing issue has brought with it horrible insomnia because lying down makes my breathing problem worse. I am so exhausted these days that I cry fairly easily. The problem with that is that crying is tiring and makes breathing even more uncomfortable. Honestly, I can’t even cry it out without exacerbating the problem.
If I was healthy, I would be cranking out a heavy work day. I would have tripled the business because I would have more energy to get through a longer work day. I would be in shape like I used to be when I worked on the line at GM years ago. I would give anything to feel as fit as I did 10 years ago. Now I’m lucky to get in a small walk. Hell, I am breathless just from lugging laundry up from the basement. I end up sitting down on the bed for 5 to 10 minutes after I carry up that laundry hoping to catch my breath.
This is not what I expected when I was a kid. My dreams of life as an adult had nothing to do with crappy health problems that would hold me back from doing all the things I wanted to do. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter how much you are earning or what your educational background is. If you want something badly enough and have the determination, you can accomplish anything. I am jealous of that being the only deterrent to getting out of life what you want. Sure I can still go after my dreams with health issues, the part that makes me want to scream and pull my hair out is that I am much more limited. Your body tells you when you have overdone it. You are forced to slow down. If you do not heed the warnings, you will end up down for the count in bed for days or possibly weeks while you heal from the overexertion you put yourself through. Overexertion that seems like a romp in the park to the average healthy person.
Many days are spent in a dreaming of finding the miracle cures. Maybe a supplement will make all the difference. Yoga, breathing exercises, clean eating, drinking enough water, no smoking or alcohol or caffeine or sugar or something has got to be the cure for what ails me, right?
My head spins with all the information that leads me in circles. I am exhausted trying to figure out how to juggle work, family, a social life and physical activities without ending up in the hospital. I actually attempted the idea of filling in my days with as much of what I wanted in daily life as possible. It worked, surprisingly for close to two months. 4 hospital visits later, 2 by ambulance and I have scratched that dream. Pick one thing, and if you are lucky, you will have a successful day doing the one thing you picked. Pick two things and you are really risking it. Three things and you are guaranteeing a visit to the bedroom for a few days of rest. Trying to fill up my day with everything I wanted, was like a kid going and eating all the Halloween candy in one sitting. It won’t end well.
Welcome to my life. I wish I could juggle everything, but for now, family and work are my choices. A social life, physical activity, even a trip to the mall are way down the list of things I can attempt maybe once or twice a month without a relapse of pain, stiffness and exhaustion.
My favorite time of year is upon us. I love the holidays. I have also come to dread them. By the new year, I will be exhausted. The first week of January will probably be spent in bed. All of the family activities, cooking, cleaning, parties etc… will be things I won’t want to miss, but will slowly drain the life out of me. By the Christmas holiday, I will be stretched out on a sofa somewhere trying to be involved in the holiday action, but feeling like a shell of myself.
Fibromyalgia sucks and I am happy to scream and kick and cry about my predicament once in a while, but it’s no way to live a life. In the end, you are given a particular set of circumstances and it is up to you to get over the bad parts. Mourn your losses, but eventually you’ll have to move on or else you will rip yourself off from the life you have left.
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