"How are you?"
You would think that would be easy to answer. But, I have to go through a quick list in my head before I bark out my reply.
Does this person know me?
Does this person know me well enough to know I have fibro?
Does this person even care that I have fibro?
If this person knows I have fibro, are they asking me how I am politely or are they concerned about my fibro?
The other day, I had to go with the Disabled Guy to Home Depot because he was picking out paint. I didn't want to go, but I also didn't want seventeen phone calls in a row of him asking me various paint colors that all had ridiculous names and didn't look anything like their names would indicate. And we were a few miles from home when I realized I didn't take any Vicodin before we left the house.
Does he care? Not really. (he doesn't even ask me how I'm doing or feeling).
So, let's talk about my pain...
I am in pain every single day. Every day. No matter what. And I would rank that everyday pain at around a three or a four. I can tolerate it. I don't always need to take something in the daytime (other than my one single muscle relaxer in the morning- which is prescribed for me in that dose- one 10mg tablet in the AM, two 10mg tablets at night).
Now, this isn't going to be as easy as "the pain is [this number] on the pain scale" because even a good day can turn bad even if my pain levels don't increase. I might swell up. My skin might start to itch. I might have a hot-spot flareup. The fatigue might set in and drag me to the floor.
When I refer to "having a flareup", I actually mean that my pain is so bad that I must take something in the daytime. Pain. Extreme pain. Pain so bad that air brushing by my skin hurts. If something touches me, it sends electrical jolts of pain in a shock wave from the part of my body that got touched.
When I refer to "my skin itching", I actually mean that I feel like my tendons and muscles are trying to escape through my pores. The itching is under the skin, as if my muscles are on fire under the surface. Scratching doesn't help- it actually hurts. Sometimes rubbing the skin with the flat of my hand helps, but who can do that ALL OVER THEIR BODY? Not me.
Some days, the only solution is nudity and two fleece blankets. I'm not telling you anything you haven't read before. But I just wanted to discuss my pain... Mostly because I've had more flareups this year than I have since they started treating me for fibro.
I suppose the good news is, that despite having pain issues at the faire, I haven't had a meltdown like I did last year. We've got two weekends left in this season. It has gone by way too fast again. Except for Fridays, which crawl by at a snail's pace.
But, to answer the question: "How are you?"... well, that depends on a few things. But let me tell you this- no matter what I answer (which is almost always: "Fine"), I am in pain. I am in enough pain that normal people would cringe. I am always in pain. Always. If I'm standing up, sitting down, or if you somehow end up in my bedroom and I'm in bed under two fleece blankets and my clothes are not on my body... I am in pain.
Despite that pain, I still take awesome photos. Because I can. Because that's what I do. Because I love to take photos. And I love my subjects (people and animals)... Because when I take photos, I feel like I'm contributing to something. Because when I take photos, I can forget how much my body hurts for those few minutes. But mostly, I just love doing it.