This is a guest post by Janelle Hansen
Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder which causes chronic and widespread pain, fatigue, and memory and mood issues, to name a few. In a nutshell, people with Fibromyalgia are simply more sensitive to the environment than others. What a normal person might not even notice can feel unbearable to those with Fibromyalgia. It is a lifelong condition- You don’t just wake up one day and get better.
Fibromyalgia is Invisible
It is not outwardly visible, making it very difficult for others to understand your pain. But what does that look like? What is a day in the life of a fibro sufferer? Honestly, speaking from my own personal struggle, we all wish we knew. We wish we could know how we will feel when we wake up in the morning; or, if we will even be able to go to sleep at all. Every day is a gamble. With Fibromyalgia, you have to train yourself to literally prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
There are days I wake up and know immediately, today I am going to just have to try to make it through. Feeling exhausted and achy are things you learn to live with. Some days I can barely move, talk or hold a thought. This brings about a strong feeling of guilt and hopelessness. My family suffers with me. It breaks my heart every single time I have to tell my kids, “Mommy can’t come out and play today.”
Motherhood and Fibromyalgia
As a mother and a wife, I have learned a few things to get me through the hard days. First, learn your triggers and avoid them. As for me, some of my major triggers are soda, perfume, and cigarette smoke. I will do whatever I can to protect myself from my triggers. Secondly, take care of yourself. When you wake up and know it’s one of your “Fibro Days” as I call them, accept it and plan your day accordingly.
Make a list of the things you absolutely have to get done and check things off as you go. Brain fog is a real struggle, so making a list will help you remember, and getting things marked off the list will help you feel a little better about yourself. Lastly, watch your diet and make sure you stay hydrated. Having Fibromyalgia is similar to having the flu; you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus, you’re thirsty, and you are very weak some days. Limiting sugar and staying hydrated are huge factors in getting through a bad day.
As a Fibromyalgia sufferer, you feel like a burden all the time. You don’t want to make plans because you never know if you will be able to pull yourself together when the day comes. Although you may feel like a burden, leaning on your loved ones is of the utmost importance. I tell my husband when it’s a bad fibro day for me. He has come to learn, that means he picks up my slack on those days. You will have times you absolutely can’t remember simple things like your children’s names or birthdays. Sometimes I struggle to remember what month or even what year it is.
Unfortunately, Fibromyalgia doesn’t wait for old age to show itself. Many people in their twenties get it. Women are affected more than men, but men can also have it. Treatment is a real obstacle, because there isn’t one definitive test to confirm the disease. Because of this, insurance companies are reluctant to pay for tests to diagnose and medication to treat Fibromyalgia; especially for younger patients.
You Are Not Alone
On a good fibro day, I am achy and tired I have restless legs, and have weakness in my limbs. I feel like I am recovering from the flu. I never feel good, but some days I feel good enough. On a bad fibro day, my body feels like a weapon being used against me. There are times I can’t even bear the touch of my clothes against my skin. I feel like I am being beaten, lit on fire, shocked and stabbed all at once. I can hardly move and every move I make seems almost impossible. I’m irritable and short with the people I love and I am angry with myself. I know I need to sleep but also know I won’t be able to.
On the bad days, I like to remind myself of my blessings rather than my limitations. I look through old photos and read to occupy my mind. I go on my Fibro support page and remind myself, I am not alone. And neither are you.
*Disclaimer: Mama Needs Cake is not a medical professional. Please seek medical assistance if you believe you suffer from Fibromyalgia.