This is the great conundrum facing most who live with illness such as Fibromyalgia . . .” What do I give up so that I can be well or feel well? and What do I take on despite the ill effects it will have on me?”
Every single day of life living with Fibromyalgia I find I must weigh these questions, I must ask myself this and I must choose, often between things that are quite important to myself and others. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but it can feel worthy of drama from time to time. This is one of those times.
For weeks, I have been working towards and setting my eyes on the prize of going to Chicago for The Out of the Darkness Overnight walk this coming weekend. It is a huge event to me and carries great symbolic and practical meaning for me. As I began my fundraising efforts for the walk and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I quickly found that fundraising can be challenging and a unique experience. I found that it was not an easy task, and every single donation mattered greatly to me. With each donation comes a person’s belief in me and what I am doing, working to prevent suicide and promote awareness. With each donation came a personal boost, a feel good moment, knowing that I am working for good and helping a great cause. As the donations have come in and as they have added up recently to meeting the goal I wasn’t sure that I would meet, my health has been declining.
In the last two weeks I have faced pain like none I have experienced before in my journey with Fibromyalgia. I believe it started after a time of great stress and a night out dancing (I only danced to two songs, but apparently my body felt like it was much more). A couple days of feeling sore and extra fatigue was something I could handle and thought would disappear in a short amount of time. But next I made a change in my medication, as prescribed, and then came the real pain. Apparently decreasing this medication sent my body into a serious “flare” or irritated state, bringing with it muscle spasms and kinks and knots in quite possibly every section of muscle that works in my neck, shoulders, upper and mid-back sections of my body. It has been grueling to say the least. It is constant, sometimes moving around from one place to another, and often causing further pain in my head and other parts of my body due to the tension. I will refrain from further complaint, but let’s just say it’s been bad.
I woke this morning to some relief in my head from the horrendous headache I had all day yesterday and I was very thankful. I made my way to the computer and found myself greeted by a wonderful gift. A donation had been made that brought be to my fundraising goal! Whoa, I had not expected that and I was ecstatic to discover it. But quickly, my happiness and delight was dampened by the realization that the likelihood of being able to travel this weekend to Chicago is growing quite slim. I am certainly not able to fully participate in the walking part of the walk at this stage. And the choice I had previously made to accept whatever hardship came from walking in the walk is now not as easy to take as my health is in a much different place than anticipated. I am faced with yet another big and important choice.
I am unable to make this decision today, for I believe that good things may come in the next couple of days. I believe that healing can take place and that a possibility remains for me to travel. I believe in the body’s miraculous ability to heal and also that God is working in my life in so many obvious ways. I must wait a while to decide what to do. . .
The prospect of not going leaves me feeling nothing short of despair and grief. That may sound or be dramatic, but true. The thought of letting so many down who have placed their belief in me and in what I have decided to stand for, pains me to the point of feeling nauseous. Making these kinds of choices never gets easier. It seems no matter how many times I have to practice this or make some kind of choice like this, when I end up having to choose rest rather than participation, I always feel sadness and a sense of failure. It seems inevitable. I would like to say that choosing rest is honoring ones self and that it is necessary, and that in no way am I a “loser” or failure if I have to do so, but the truth is, it feels just the opposite.
I know the truth is that we must make smart and healthy decisions for ourselves, and like I said, I have not yet made a final decision about this trip. I would like anyone reading to know that I do believe in taking care of your body and not overdoing it so that one can feel well and fully participate in life. I believe that making choices like this seems unfair, but as the saying goes “Life is not fair.” And, I still must make a choice.