Grief can be so overwhelming that the hardest thing to muster is hope and strength.
I have been trying to write this post for many months now, but have been consumed by grief, a lack of creativity, and no desire to write.
Grief takes on many forms when you have chronic pain or a chronic illness, like fibromyalgia. You might be grieving the person you used to be, the life you used to have, or all of the things you used to be able to do.
Any loss can be profound and all-consuming. Even life-changing.
My father was many things to many people, but to me he was just daddy. And he was my hero.
This Father’s Day is quite poignant for me, as I lost my father two weeks ago now. The last words he said to me just a few days before that were, “Happy Birthday,” and then he drifted off to sleep for a few days. While his passing was expected given the 7 months he spent in hospice care, the loss did not hurt any less. So today, Father’s Day, I will spend quietly mourning the loss of my dad, remembering all the great times we had, and celebrating my husband for the father he is to our two kids.
Dad didn’t want a funeral or a fuss. We had a small memorial to honor him, and so the family could come together and share stories. My oldest brother gave the service and led us in songs. My older brother put together a slide show of a lifetime of memories. And I gave the eulogy. Afterwards we had a wonderful meal and there I was, taking dad’s place, and giving a toast.
Dad’s eulogy was the hardest thing I have ever sat down to write. It was even harder to give. But today, I want to share it.
May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month and May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, so this post is meant to do just that. Raise awareness. Give readers a little glimpse into what it is like to have this daily companion in your life.
While some may not understand what it is when you explain it, they can probably relate to the occasional sleepless nights or aches and pains. Fibrowarriors have these symptoms on most days.
Living with chronic condition like Fibromyalgia can be anything but joyful most days of the week. You are in pain, tired, and can be experiencing a myriad of other symptoms at any one time. And you often feel alone.
Then there’s the fact that you usually have to explain to people just what the heck Fibromyalgia Syndrome is and the fact that there is no good understanding of what causes it, thus there’s no cure as of yet. This alone can spin you into a life of social separation and loneliness.
It is widely believed that artist Frida Kahlo also would have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, if there had been that diagnosis during her time. Her art depicts chronic pain and her diaries reflect a life filled with physical and emotional pain. Yet, she continued to do what she loved, which was to paint, and toward the end of her life she turned her attention to capturing everyday existence.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” Frida Kahlo
I would prefer my “F” words include Fabulous, Fearless, and Fun.
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2000 and have said/thought many a curse word since that time. Fibromyalgia. Fibro. Fibro-flare. Flare. FMS. Fatigue. Fog. Frustration. Failure. All of these have become the other “F” words to me. I try to live by the power of positive thinking (hence, the name of my blog), but until you live a day in my shoes it may be hard to understand why even sometimes it is easier to smile and put on a happy face rather than truly answer the question of “How are you?” Because trust me, you don’t want to hear about how I am tired, hurt all over, didn’t sleep last night, and oftentimes feel like a failure because I can’t do the things I want to do.
“Doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together.”
Here are some ugly truths: Women and men experience pain differently. Doctors are less likely to treat women’s pain. Health issues that disproportionately affect women are not studied as much as those affecting men. It can take women multiple visits and sometimes years to diagnose their medical issues and chronic illnesses. And when painful conditions like Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia don’t have a simple test for diagnosing, those visits and months and years can prove both emotionally and physically draining when you’re already in pain and still having to fight for a diagnosis.
Practicing medicine is just that, practicing. Sometimes you have to fight for a diagnosis.
This post is long overdue, but I just couldn’t write it until I felt I had a positive update. As someone who lives with chronic pain from neck and back issues, alongside my fatigue and pain from fibromyalgia, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate a new pain from the same old aches and pains.
“Sometimes the curiosity can kill the soul but leave the pain.” ~Alice in Wonderland