One of the hardest things about living with chronic pain and conditions like RA and Fibromyalgia is that you believe you are getting better. I can remind myself over and over that getting better is not an option, but not getting worse is, whether it is in my hands or not. As much as I remind myself, it never really sinks in. Further, it is an illusion that I give back to others despite them knowing all too well, I will not get better. Wishful thinking on my part, I suppose.
If anything, my own perceptions and the perceptions of others are attributed to my own doing, and if I feel like b*tching and no one buys it, it is my own damn fault. All my life, I have forced myself to overcome anything and everything. I am stronger than most people so if anyone can handle chronic pain and fatigue on a daily basis, it would be me. I work fulltime, attend school part-time, and take of my family, and along the way, I manage to add other responsibilities in addition to the ones I already have. Any mother would become overwhelmed, and I do, but I don’t have a choice in being overwhelmed, since no one can take on my responsibilities, simply because they are mine.
I get up every morning, groan and complain how much I hate living with RA and Fibromyalgia, but by the time my husband and children are up, I have a smile on my face. As difficult as it may seem, that smile is there. It is there, and despite knowing that going out of my way to help a sick friend or family member will only make me feel sicker, I do it anyway and smile through pain and the fatigue. That smile is there despite the fact that I am too tired to spend time with my children or to make dinner for my hungry family in the evening because these are things that won’t stop even if I need them to too. That smile is there when I arrive at work every morning because I believe that I shouldn’t take my problems to work and that people, especially my co-workers and complete strangers, should not see how weak I am.
If anything, I am weak, but you wouldn’t believe it if you saw me on my worst day. You wouldn’t believe it if you knew me for years. I guess at some level, I think, that my personality portrays that of any person who lives with chronic pain or any chronic condition. We learn survival and our past experiences prepare us for that. So, I can b*tch and complain, but I will never admit defeat, and I say that with a smile.
I remind myself why I am strong. I remind myself why I get up every morning even though I don’t want to. I remind myself why I work and why I attend school. I remind myself why I am alive. I remind myself what I want to wake up to every morning and what I want to come home to after a long hard day. I remind myself that even I am too tired to chase after the baby or play with my nine year old, I am alive, and I have every reason to be alive.
See, I have learned that there is one thing that RA and Fibro cannot take from me. Yesterday, I spent most of the day resting because the malaise fairy had visited and overstayed her welcome, and today, I am still trying to get that fairy to go way, but when I awoke this morning, the malaise fairy couldn’t stop me from smiling. All I had to do is look at my sleeping children, and I forgot that the malaise fairy was visiting.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. Hilary Cooper
Check out my latest Examiner Article: How to set rules for your toddler. Toddlers are great, aren’t they?