Police care with blue and red shining lights with night background. White font for title: Am I Strong Enough? Life with Fibromyalgia

Am I Strong Enough? Life With Fibromyalgia

As you probably have guessed, I am not a trained medical health professional. What I am is a mom, a mimi, a retired teacher, a lover of nature and of music, as well as, someone living with chronic illnesses. I share my journey to provide some insight and hopefully ideas that may be helpful to others dealing with similar issues. Always, consult with your doctor before trying anything new.

 

Police car with blue and red lights shining, black background. Title: Am I Strong Enough? Life With Fibromyalgia

Swerving In My Lane

On my way to meet a friend for coffee at a Panera Bread about an hour from my house, I was pulled over.

I had noticed a black SUV behind me a couple of times as I drove down the four-lane artery that leads from my small town to the big city. I was just approaching the strip mall area anchored by a Best Buy when I saw red and blue lights swirling on the black vehicle behind me.

Immediately, my heart began to race. It was obvious that the lights were for me, but I couldn’t figure out why. At the light, I went into the left lane and turned on cue, pulling into the back lot behind Best Buy. As I turned off the motor, I noticed a lone car that was parked contained a man who was now staring at me. The police car pulled behind me. I sat massaging my left shoulder- waiting, feeling pretty confused and anxious.

The officer strolled to my window, bending down to peer in at me. “Hello, mam. I pulled you over because you were swerving in your lane a bit. It wasn’t bad, but I felt I needed to check that you were okay to drive. You crossed over the yellow line a couple of times.” He went on to explain that he was checking to see if I was “under the influence”, and as I reached into the glove box to find my registration and insurance (Why oh why do I have this thing crammed full of pain relievers, lotion, eye drops, cough drops, ect.?), he concludes that I am not.

Teal line drawing of a lotus on white

Is This Who I Am Now?

I go on to say, “I have Fibromyalgia.”

WHAT?! That’s the first reason that I come up with because I have no idea why I was swerving in my lane.

He asks if it impairs my driving. I explain that I can be a bit distracted, and that I had been massaging my neck and jaw while I drove. He clarified, as if in apology, that my driving wasn’t too bad, just enough that he felt he should be sure that I was okay. I thanked him by saying, “This will remind me to be more aware and focused as I drive.” He wished me well and asked if I knew how to get to Panera.

Teal line drawing of a lotus on white

Breathing Deeply

Rolling up the window, watching the officer back up and pull away, I turn to where the car had been parked next to me. It was gone. I hadn’t noticed it leaving. I felt like crying. My heart was still racing. I sat there a breathed, slowly counting in four and out six for several minutes.

Pulling myself together, I drove on to my coffee date, making sure to get a calming cup of tea instead.

I have most of the issues that are in this graphic depicting the main symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

Sludge Gumming up the Works

Fibromyalgia has impacted the very core of my life, at least what I knew to be my life.

Nearly, ever area of my body is tight and painful all of the time- deep aching muscles. Generally, it’s not at high levels on the pain scale, a 3-4. But it’s like having a toothache everywhere.

However, the pain isn’t what totally brings me to a stand still. Instead, the deep fatigue and the confounding, mind-paralyzing brain fog makes my body feel like it’s weighted down and the cogs of cognition are rusted.

Teal line drawing of a lotus on white

Blog Block

I don’t have a set schedule for my blog, but I would like to write one post at least each a week. Actually, I have several rough drafts of posts started. Yet, when I’m gummed up, I just can’t get any words out. In the fall of 2019, I was only able to write three posts.

I spent 10 weeks in this pain management “boot camp” at Mary Free Bed. Each week consisted of 2-3 visits of 3-4 hours each. I worked with a team of health care specialists: a pain medical doctor, a pain psychologist, a physical therapist, and an occupational therapist.

After Cymbalta Cessation

While I’ve gone about my day somewhat normally since getting off from Cymbalta, my mornings and evenings have been more pain filled and stiff with a bit of dizziness and headache. I’m off all prescription drugs (except for Vyvanse for ADD) by choice.  I’m in a constant tug-of-war within on whether I’m just trying to be strong by not take the help that Cymbalta brought or the consequences of prescription drugs are worse than the Fibromyalgia symptoms.

I’m determined to give myself a year’s time to see how I’m functioning and then re-evaluate. But then, there are times, like yesterday, when I bowed out of my yoga class because I don’t feel strong enough to participate or even drive there. These are the times that I know I need to find my way to living more FULLY and have doubts that I will be able to actually get there.

Teal line drawing of a lotus on white

Just the Beginning

I really had thought that if I went through the pain management program at Mary Free Bed, got centered through meditation, Breathwork, and yoga, as well as ate healthily, the Fibro issues would subside or sink into ignored corners of my life. However, this fall, the symptoms seem to be more like that police car’s glaring red and blue light swirling around me all of the time, reminding me that every aspect of me is affected. 

I have Fibromyalgia.

This is the first video they had me watch which educated me about the amped-up, central nervous system in people with Fibromyalgia.

This post was written 3-months after I finished the 10-week pain management program. I had really thought I’d be one of the few to kick Fibromyalgia out of my life in short order. The multi-disciplinary program really did help me a great deal. It set me on a journey of research and focus on retraining my brain because they introduced me to brain plasticity and Dr. Daniel Clauw’s research.

What has been your hope and focus as you strive to FULLY live despite having Fibromyalgia?




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