A Better Life Worth Living
Reprinted from FMOnline
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in the summer of 2002 when I was only 33 years old. Before fibro, I was a very active and healthy person who had great career in management and as an interior decorator and artist. I enjoyed water and snow skiing, aerobics, car and plane travel, jogging, and teaching middle schoolers with the volunteer organization called Junior Achievement. My friends marveled at the energy I had!
Needless to say, my diagnosis led me early on to an active pursuit of research and many different types of doctors, some ignorant and some knowledgeable. As my illness progressively worsened, I became desperate and focused on alleviating the pain and mourning the loss of my previous lifestyle.
At one point I was on a cocktail of 25 different pain medications. Nothing worked, and my life had become one doped-up sedentary mess. I became so depressed that I felt my two children, one in high school and one in elementary school, would be better off without me. Fortunately, my loving and supportive husband took me to see my fantastic therapist, and I was admitted immediately into a mental health hospital where I stayed for 10 days. That was in the fall of 2003.
By March of 2004, I had had enough. I went into detox and got off of all of my medications except the antidepressant. I went on a fast to cleanse my body. I began to read again, but this time I read books on self-improvement, fibromyalgia, and improving our family life. As my mind and my eating became healthier, my family life did as well. I also slowly began to exercise.
At first, my goal each day was simply to keep moving. That often meant “putzing” around the house and taking short "rest" breaks until I couldn't “putz” around anymore. I then began to start my days stretching, followed by “putzing” around the house. Soon, I was moving to VHS tapes on Gentle Yoga, Beginning Bellydancing, and Beginning Hawaiian Dancing. While I didn't move as well as or as long as the gals on the tapes, I did have fun and felt mentally and physically better than I had living a sedentary and medicated lifestyle.
I am happy to say that my family and I went from living under a dark cloud to living in the light, from everyone being sad and scared to being joyful and lighthearted. I now try to walk 15-20 minutes a day alone or with one of my new neighborhood galpals, and I try to stretch each morning for 5 minutes. I help my youngest daughter practice soccer when I am able. I try to volunteer for my older daughter’s acting and singing events. I baby-sit for my adorable niece and, when needed, even my friends children. I try to do a little laundry and a little housecleaning each day, and on some days I just “putz” around the house if “putzing” is all I can do. It is difficult on those days, as my mind wants me to be active, but my body just can’t do it. I have had to forgive my body for that, and to learn to go with the flow.
I am still in pain, but I try to deal with it with vitamins and herbs. But on the days they don't work and the pain seems unbearable, I will take painkillers. It took me over two years to mourn my old life, but I have spent the last year truly enjoying my beautiful children, my loving husband, my adorable niece and new nephew, and all of the new friends that I have been able to meet. I am starting acupuncture and seeing a Chinese herbalist. I started a Bunko group with local women where we get together one night each month and play a fun dice game without any children or spouses, and we laugh and laugh and laugh.
I use to not be able to imagine an active life, having a close group of friends, enjoying being home or ever exercising again. And while it’s true that I cannot do the sports I use to do or the type of exercise I use to do, or work outside of my home, I have found a wonderful life worth living!