Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fibromyalgia - Both a Blessing and a Curse

On a Facebook fibro support group several people said that they felt blessed to have Fibromyalgia.  This created quite an uproar and they were called unkind, crazy, etc.  I didn't have time to stay online for long that day.  I offered a suggestion to solve someone’s dilemma they had posted about and signed off the computer.  When I got back on the next morning, the discussion had grown to 66 comments.  As I started to write a response I realized that it would be way too long to read as a post so I moved here to my blog where I say what’s on my mind.  I think you’ll find that I’m pretty passionate about this.

To the group of people that say that Fibromyalgia is not a blessing – I agree.  It is not a blessing that I had to stop work at age 52 after I had just gone back to school and gotten a degree that would allow me to find a better paying job.  It is not a blessing that we struggle because we only have 50% of my income.  It’s not a blessing that when I first became ill I had to try and talk my hubby into going and doing activities we had planned but I was unable to do.  It’s not a blessing that I had to give up my duties as a Eucharistic Minister at my church for several years.  It’s not a blessing that my cognitive function had diminished to the point that I couldn't remember things from one day to the next.

However, there are ways to turn all of that into a blessing. It’s how we look at the life that we’ve been given. It’s a blessing that I can no longer work because as career driven as I had become, it would more than likely destroyed my marriage.  My marriage is worth more than any paycheck or the luxuries that it would provide. It’s a blessing that my employer had paid for the Long Term Disability insurance so that we do have 50% of my income while I not so patiently waited on my Social Security Disability hearing.  It’s a blessing that when the economy fell and my hubby had to change careers and go into retail to find a job, I’m home to spend his days off with him. If I was still working Monday - Friday, 9 to 5, we'd never have the same days off. It’s a blessing that I have learned to encourage my hubby to go do things with the guys and not worry about me being home.  We appreciate each other more when he comes home.  It’s a blessing that when I could no longer serve as a Eucharist minister, a position in the altar guild opened up so I’m blessed to be able to prepare the altar for Eucharist.  I’m blessed to still be able to serve my Savior and my church.

I am blessed because the Lord put me and my now best friend on the same Yahoo group at just the right time for us to meet.  I’m blessed to have a best friend who loves the Lord, who has Fibromyalgia, who loves being a homemaker like I do and who loves to sew and is happy being “domestic”.  That’s the job description I have now and I love it and feel blessed for the opportunity.  I blessed to be a homemaker.  There are many days when I can’t clean or cook.  But I can be here to offer my hubby a cold drink when he comes in at the end of the day.  I am blessed because I have the time to sew for family, friends and charities. 

I feel blessed because "all" I have wrong is Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Myofascial Pain, Peripheral Neuropathy and severe edema in my legs and feet.  I am blessed because unlike my BIL who died of cancer or my friend who died of a brain aneurysm, I am here to witness the birth of my grandchildren and to watch them grow up. I get the joy having my young granddaughter ask me to teach her to sew and my  grandson asking me to teach him to bake after watching me make hamburger buns one day.  I am blessed to see my our goddaughter run to me down the aisle at church with a huge grin on her face.

I'm blessed because 11 years ago this week, I met the most wonderful man who loves me for who I am, whose heart breaks that he can't do more for me.  I am blessed with two wonderful children who do all they can to help by cleaning my house and helping with projects that my hubby can't get time to do.  I am blessed that my grandchildren understand that MiMi’s muscles don’t work right and they find things for us to do together that will be easy for me.  I am blessed to have friends that can look and me and know that it’s not a good day even when I tell them it is.  I am blessed that I am able to use the computer to tell others that there is hope.

There is hope for us and we cannot give up.  Giving up is what causes our life to fall apart.  Giving up is why we lose our happiness.  Giving up is what causes us to miss out on the pleasures of life.  Giving up is when we refuse to keep going by refusing to use canes, walkers and wheelchairs.  Giving up is when we are too proud to allow friends and family to help us.  Giving up is not the answer.

If you pain is too bad for you to function and your doctor is not willing to prescribe the stronger medicine you need, find another doctor.  It’s your right to do so.  If you are worried about becoming addicted to a narcotic pain reliever, get over it.  If that’s what it takes to manage your pain so that you can enjoy life, take it. There’s a difference between addiction and it being a medically necessary drug for you to maintain your life.  You aren’t taking them for “fun”.

Use those canes, walkers and wheelchairs so that you can go out to dinner or the park with your family.  Don’t be ashamed to have a handicapped tag or hang tag for your car. Take your medications with you and pack a small cooler with snacks and something to drink. Plan several days ahead for an outing and limit your activity so that you have the energy to go out.  Yes, you may “pay” for it afterward but what’s worse – feeling sorry for yourself because you couldn’t go or being tired with more pain but with the wonderful memories of the day you had with family and friends.

All I ask is that you think about it.


  1. I just found your blog, and I have to say, I LOVE your attitude and your writing! Like you, I can see the blessings of fibromyalgia. I admit, some days it's hard to view it as anything but a curse, but those are just bad days. Everything happens for a reason. It's all a part of the plan. I can understand why people are unable to see the good side of fibromyalgia - it changes everything, and it's so hard to live with. I used to work in a pharmacy. We had to have at least one person arrested every week for forging prescriptions for controlled substances. Anyone who had a prescription for a controlled substance was treated with suspicion, unless they were one of our regular customers. Even then, we had to triple check when the prescription was due next to be filled because so many people didn't take them as prescribed, then would run out early so they were left without any pain medication for days. We had to, because the boards would revoke everyone's licenses - pharmacists, techs, doctors - everybody's and shut us down. So, when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I carried that fear of becoming a drug addict from taking narcotics. Turns out, they make me sick as a dog, anyway, so addiction is no worry of mine, but my attitude about whether or not people should take them has become much more accepting. I'm still trying to get over the stigma of the shopping scooter, though. I'll have to work on that.

    1. Thank you for your comment! The shopping scooter is a hard one especially when you see people who look much older walking through the store just fine. I've been blessed not to have to use one lately but have don't feel quite as bad about using it as I use to. The last time I used one I told myself that I could use the cart or I could use every last bit of energy to walk through the store and then have nothing left to do anything when I got home. So much of it is attitude like you know.


Life is all about learning. Sharing your thoughts will help us do that together. All I ask is that you keep the language PG and that you not leave mean spirited comments.