The best tool people with fibromyalgia have is choice. We learn right away that we have to make good choices. Sometimes that choice means staying in bed all weekend and binge watch Netflix. Usually it means getting our butts out of bed and going to work. We have to keep a roof over our heads, after all. Usually it means dragging ourselves to family reunions, dreading every minute until we’re there and then realizing how important it was to go, because for a little while the pain can recede while we enjoy seeing the people we love. We choose to flop out of bed to play with our kids or significant others. We choose to say let’s just eat out or fix it yourself, or we crawl into the kitchen and fix it ourselves. The point is, every action we have is a choice, and for people with fibro, very often it’s not an easy choice.
I’m fortunate because I’m still in control of my choices. Not everyone is in control of their choices with fibromyalgia. Their arms and legs just weigh too heavy, their backs ache too much, their fibro flu won’t relent. They miss the reunions, the vacations, the days out, even work, and find it impossible to explain that they just don’t have that control over their choices anymore. The body is a powerful force, and the brain is even more powerful.
For months now, I haven’t managed to clean the bathtub. I have gone to work every day, worked a little in the garden, swam twice a week, and in general lived properly and successfully – outside the home. But I haven’t been able to scrub out the tub and change the curtain. Yes, it was nasty. This weekend I chose to expend my finite energy to driving to Chicago to see my cousins and help with a fireworks show, something I knew would drain me, knock me off my feet for days (except during work hours – I never miss work), but I couldn’t clean that darn shower. It was a choice I couldn’t bring myself to make. And it’s inexplicable. I can do anything for anyone else, but I can’t clean my own shower because I know it’s going to hurt? Choices…
This morning my alarm starting torturing me at 5:30, and here I sit now at 7:46 in the break room writing this, listening to crappy overhead pop music, knowing it’s okay. I made it to work. I can do this even while the fibro flu creeps in on me, my back aches, my legs weigh approximately 1700 lbs each, and I’m having trouble lifting my arms because of weight and fatigue. I can do this. I make that choice every day. This weekend I chose fun, knowing I would pay for it. Tomorrow morning, I’ll choose work. My shower – life has turned out so lovely. My one and only Terry cleaned it for me while I was off playing and exhausting myself. He’s a choice too, and a good one. He understands why the shower was filthy and doesn’t judge me. He helps me instead. I’m fortunate – I still control my choices….