How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life – Pain
The way Fibromyalgia affects my daily life can be summed up with two words, freedom and reliability.
Having Fibromyalgia is like putting an innocent person in shackles and taking him to jail. Except you don’t take off the shackles. His freedom is taken away. He can barely move around in the small six by eight-foot jail cell.
My jail cell of Fibromyalgia is made from pain and flu-like feelings all over my body with stiffness and muscle spasms acting as the jail house bars. Both the physical and mental fatigue of chronic pain along with memory problems are my shackles.
My rigid medication schedule is the lock on the door and the key to unlocking the door is ephemeral at best. The key to my jail cell comes and goes with no notice and no regularity. Like a hunter hunting his prey, patience is the key. The key being in my hand, one moment and gone the next due to the conflicting nature of this illness.
I can wake up feeling great and within minutes or hours I can feel a paralyzing sense of fatigue with pain trying to push its way out from the core of my body that feels like a dull aching pain that shoots burning, piercing pain in my brain that wants to explode but cannot, all it can do is register pain. I have no motivation. I remain still and ache. With the violent intensity of the pain and a case of fibro fog I forget to take pain relieving medicine that would take the edge off. Often I feel good enough to go to the doctor and then as soon as I walk through the door, I get hit with an overwhelming desire to sit down. I have good days and bad days. I have good moments and bad moments in the same day. The cycle between feeling pain and feeling good runs in hyper speed.
Although pain is the one constant in this disease, it has so many variables. Fibromyalgia is an illness of contradictions. It is a physical and emotional roller coaster of pain, agitation and emotion.
Fibromyalgia makes me and most patients hypersensitive to new pain as well as creating its own pain. Having the flu or a cold is fifty times worse for me or anyone with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia takes the pain signals and amplifies them so a routine sore knee can feel like the last stages of arthritis before a knee replacement.
Along with countless other Fibro patients, I have fibro fog which makes it hard to remember names I knew ten years ago. I can remember a word I want to use. I know the definition and I know how to use the word in a sentence, but I can’t remember the word. I can’t remember what my wife told me ten minutes ago. I forget what I was thinking about five seconds earlier. I can be in the middle of a thought and ten to fifteen seconds later I realize I am thinking about something else.
I have to plan my activities to conserve energy for a required trip to the doctor or to attend Church or a movie. Most activities I want to do only occur when careful planning and having a good day coincide. The rest of the day is spent recuperating from the activity.
Often I find myself coming home from a small errand or trip to the store only to find myself still recuperating four hours later.
Having the lack of freedom makes planning future events very difficult because one bad day can wreck my well-made plans. That’s where reliability comes into the picture. In spite of the well-made plans you cannot be reliable for those who are included in your plans. A flare up or waking up to a bad day can throw your well-made plans into the fire. With Fibromyalgia, the only constant is contradictions and inconsistencies.
Letting friends and family down is not only hard on them. It is also very hard on me. It is usually easier to seclude myself from others so I don’t have to let them down.
Since fibromyalgia is an illness of contradictions and inconsistencies I never know what tomorrow will bring let alone what the next minute will bring. Because of this I can’t rely on my plans an hour from now or a week from now. You have to take life day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. That’s how fibromyalgia affects me day by day. This is just a sample of how Fibromyalgia affects my daily life.
Troy Wagstaff ©