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9August 17, 2009My Life Is Not Normal, But I Make Lemonade Everyday

Posted Aug 17 2009 12:00am

I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, and I know that I will never be “normal” nor will my life. I am mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a legal assistant, and a legal student. So many people rely on me on daily basis. My life was far from normal to start with.

When I watch the world move hastily and with ease, it really gets me real emotional. I have forgotten what it is like to be healthly, and not in pain. Mornings are tough for me. I usually have not gotten to sleep until real late because of the pain and the sleep problems associated with fibromyalgia. I sometimes feel like both these conditions have dominated all my 33 and half years on this earth.

The fact is, it has been less than two years since both diagnoses. Some mornings, I can get out of bed with little stiffness and pain, and other mornings; it feels like I have been run over by a truck. I am lucky though. I know others with these chronic pain conditions that need help getting out of bed. I can still work, care for my family, attend to my studies and take care of my home.

However, my marriage has suffered, and I find that my husband has had a lot of difficulty adjusting to what is happening to me. I don’t understand it, but I know my husband, and denying that I am sick, makes things easier for him. Deep inside, he knows I am going to get worse, and he knows if he says it out loud, it will hit him as hard a baseball in the face.

Getting myself and my children out the door every morning is a difficult task. My husband is long gone to work by the time I wake up. I get up early enough to stretch my muscles and deal with the morning stiffness and pain. I go straight to the kitchen where I keep my RA and Fibro medications and my supplements and take those with food. If I do not take them with food, I end dealing with stomach issues the rest of the day. I have to take baby steps getting myself and my boys ready for the day. My feet, ankles and knees don’t always want to move.

Some days it is better, some days worse. This morning it was very difficult getting my seat belt on because my hands hurt very badly. Driving to the daycare, I watch people walking and riding bikes and I know that these are things I cannot do. The pain is too bad. I look at my boys, ages 11 months and 9 years old, and I wish I could spend more time with them instead of being tired and in pain all the time. I remember how much time by nine year and I used to spend in the park and the sports we used to play. I remember that when he was learning karate I was learning with him, because I would help him practice. We studied wrestling moves last year and practiced those, and we spend so much time walking and getting fresh air while we were getting to know our new neighborhood.

For me, that life looks a movie that my DVD plays over and over as a constant reminder of who I used to be. I remember my nine year old when he used to tag along to the gym with me two years ago, and how he couldn’t get stay out of trouble. That me no longer exists, and it hurts more than the physical pain does. It is even painful to hold the baby. I am lucky to have my nine year who is the best big brother in the world. While I would I love to curl up in bed all day and hide under my covers, I can’t let RA and fibromyalgia get the best of me. I have to continue my life while focusing on my health. When I get to work, I again have to take baby steps to get from the parking lot to my office. I type for a living and some days, I have to type with hand, finger, wrist and shoulder pain, and it is getting harder by the day. Before my diagnoses, I knew I would be successful at everything I did, but now I just want to make it through the day and provide for my family the best that I can.

Every evening, I think about my day and what I have done despite RA and Fibromyalgia. Life has given me lemons and I have made lemonade. There is a lot to be said. I can’t control RA and Fibromyalgia and what they have done to me and what they have taken from me and the people I love, but I can control how I feel.

The thing that both these chronic pain conditions have not taken from me is my spirit. Deep inside, I am the same determined, strong, and intelligent woman that I have always been. I can still succeed because I know that I am not alone. I am not fighting these conditions alone and there is an army out there dealing with chronic invisible conditions as well, and I think about how important awareness is. I talk about my conditions every opportunity I get, on my blog and in my life. I know that there is hope and because my conditions are capable of going into remission, there will someday be cure. I have hope and even if a cure does not happen in my lifetime, it will happen someday, and there will be hope for future generations.

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