With 5 out of 100 women living with fibromyalgia, I feel it pertinent to re-post a few real life stories of fibromyalgia living.
Today’s guest writer is Terrie Applewhite. She is a friend of my sister who encouraged me to have Terrie share her story. I hope you will be encouraged as I am by her story.
My husband and I have been married for almost 34 years, we have 4 children who are married and expecting our 7th grandchild at the end of the month.
Through the years I have had various jobs, including 11 years as an administrative assistant for a Christian school. In 2013 I left the school and started my own wedding/event planning business named Events by Terrie.
Her Fibromyalgia Living Story
This is my story of living with Fibromyalgia but just a little background information for reference. I had my 4 kids in five years, the first one at age 21 and the fourth one at age 26. My last baby turned one at the end of August and right after the Labor Day holiday began my journey with Fibromyalgia and its mystery. I couldn’t get out of bed or even stay awake to function and care for my family. My husband had to take time off from work and then my mom came to stay with us for 2 or 3 weeks. By that point. I could do the minimum chores to care for my family.
Like many others who suffer from Fibromyalgia, there was a lot of fear of the unknown. And extended fear even after the diagnosis because there wasn’t a lot known about Fibromyalgia at the time. It took 6 months of tests and different doctors before being diagnosed, which only feed the fear. Limbo is a very stressful state to live in.
What I have learned over the years is that each activity I chose to participate in will come with a price. I had to decide what was worth the cost of my energy and physical pain. In the early years, I chose my kids and their activities over housework or things I wanted to do. My biggest fear was that my kid’s childhood memories would be of me being in bed. I didn’t want that!
I see a Rheumatologist on a regular basis, who is awesome! There are meds that help manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia but I find that diet, stress, and weather plays a large part in managing the symptoms as well. The diet is a daily battle of making better choices, know that life happens and try not to stress over things I cannot change. I find that warm sunny weather makes me feel the best.
Anytime there is a chronic illness there is a level of grief too. The expectations of being a super mom, a perfect wife and dreams of the future have to be put into realistic perspective. There are times I have felt guilty for being an “extra” burden on my husband and not feeling like I am carrying my weight in our relationship. Then I remind myself of our wedding vows, in sickness, and in health. Whatever affects one also affects the other.
Typically I do not tell people that I have Fibromyalgia because I don’t want it to influence my job performance or how people view me. Maybe part of it is pride, I don’t know. But I am determined to not let Fibromyalgia dictate my success in life or stop me from pursuing my dreams.
I usually know when an “episode” is beginning and I prepare to adjust. If it is a situation that I know will be stressful and exhausting I recognize that there will be a time of recovery required. As an example: recently my son got married. My daughters and grandkids from out of town came for several days. I had the rehearsal to facilitate, wedding flowers to make and guests to hosts.
Advice to Others
Finally, I made up my mind that I would savor every moment because it isn’t every day all my kids are home together and grandkids have the opportunity to play with each other. I try to extend a lot of grace to myself that I can’t do it all AND that is ok.
Enjoy the sweet moments with family and friends and remember other stuff, is just small stuff. The week after everyone went home I rested, slept and rested some more.
My daily goal is to have realistic expectations of my abilities and live within those, knowing that life happens and learn to roll with things I cannot control.
Feeling Your Pain;
If you are a FibroWarrior and would like to share your story here, please contact me in the comments below.