Since making a conscious decision to loosen the shackles of fibromyalgia (fms), there are days when severe pain strikes, and I’m taken by surprise.
In other words, sometimes I forget what pain feels like on a really, really bad day. It feels like a new kind of ‘severe’ and I am often left in shock.
I’m not exaggerating. Let me explain.
When I talk about ‘loosening the shackles of fibromyalgia’ I’m referring to the conscious decision I made to fight for my life and my dreams; To work my derriere off and sweat blood, while reeling from chronic pain and the myriad of symptoms that come with fms. I’m not cured, I’m only more determined.
I’m not sure if it’s the power of my determination or the fibro fog (I’m leaning more on the side of fibro-fog) but there are actually days when I forget what severe pain feels like. I’m in pain every day, sure. But add a lovely cocktail of medications including prescription painkillers, daily dosages of herbal remedies and mindfulness and you get a little oomph to rev your fibromyalgia-afflicted engine. For the most part I’ve gotten to a place where I manage my pain. But there are days, days when the pain creeps up on me like a thief in the night, hitting me with a sharp blow.
And just like that, I’m back to square one, knocked over, flat on the back. I forget the determination; I forget the dreams, the whole lot of it. Pain does that to you. Recently, I wrote an article where I talked about how pain changes you, and it is true. It makes you anxious, angry, sad and devoid of hope, all at once, and to varying degrees.
Hello Pain, my old friend
I was lying in bed, getting my only few minutes of sleep when my alarm sounded. Alarm 1, followed by alarm 2, with alarm 3 on its heels…until my fifth and final alarm blared its horrendous beeping tune that hurts my ears (desperate situations and all that). I couldn’t snooze it, because the alarm was on my radio – at least an arm’s length away from my little nest – a self-employed tactic to force me out of bed in the early mornings when I feel most unwell.
I couldn’t actually get up. Everytime I tried, a sharp agonising pain exploded at the back of my neck, reverberating down my back. It was all I could do not to scream. So I cried. I tried to turn to my side, and there it was again, the explosion of pain. Out of breath, in tears and calling on God, I writhe until I accepted that I would not be going into the office. Now, I just needed to get my phone so I could let my manager know. Screaming in agony, I rolled myself to my right side, furled myself into a ball, and tried inching out of bed in the least painful manner. I fell, and hurt my arm, but that was less painful than the pain in my back.
I am used to pain, but when you live with a chronic pain condition like fibromyalgia, where you don’t always know what the next day will bring, it can be traumatic, particularly after phases of managing better than usual.
My friend helped me to hospital, where I got a prescription for some different painkillers that really helped (after three days). Admittedly, I was dejected for a few weeks, afraid to water my determination, only to become ensnared by pain again. And it did happen again. The next time, I was too crippled by pain to make it to hospital. The emergency doctor sent my prescription to the pharmacy across the street from my house. I staggered over there, delirious (pain does that too) and keen for my remedy. Every time this kind of excruciating pain pays me a visit, I’m terrified of returning to the place of being bed-bound; that place where because it hurt so much to walk, I’d feel sick to my stomach. I might sometimes forget how bad the pain can be, but I never forget that terror.
Pain can be de motivating. It can strip us of the things we work so hard for. And I’d worked so hard to garner the strength, courage and determination to press ahead. The terror of losing all of that again was frightening, but ironically, also gave me the impetus to get back up again. Pain is a thief, this is true. But I’ll be damned if I let it step on me. So instead, I’ll step on it, and use it as the building blocks to get where I need to go. So should you.
Gentle hugs 🙂