You all know me. You know that I attempt humor in an effort to make things not suck so much. We use gallows humor in this family and let me tell you- if I didn't have gallows humor, I would have been reduced to a quivering puddle of sadness a long time ago. Hell, my last blog post, I referred to the "Ghost of my dad" when my office chair broke.
Anyway, I follow a number of fibro support pages on Facebook. Sometimes the info is repetitive, but I don't mind so much. Those pages also post inspirational shit as well. Stuff about not giving up and sometimes inspirational humor stuff. And it is definitely the humor stuff I like best.
The other day, one of the pages posted one of those "some-ecards" greeting cards with a woman collapsed in a chair, crying (or sleeping) and the quote was: "That sad moment when you realize your trash goes out more than you do." Mildly amusing, because my trash does go out once a week and that's more than I do for ten months of my year. But, the caption one of the page admins put on the photo sort of upset me. Well, not "upset" because I'm not angry about it, I just found it depressing.
"...Other than an occasional lunch with a friend, I have no social life. How much of a hit has your life taken since fibromyalgia?"
That's sad, man. I mean, why would we want to dwell on all the negativity? I have flareups when the weather considers changing. And right now, in Wisconsin's "All Four Seasons in a Week" time of the year, I'm in flareup hell. Just skipping the pain- because you know how that is- I slept all night on Saturday night (I was awakened briefly at 230 AM by a thunderstorm), I took about an hour's nap early in the morning. And usually, I'm good to finish out the day. But Sunday, I sat down on the sofa to watch a movie and get covered in Chis and I proceeded to fall asleep sitting up. For an hour. Sitting upright.
So, why would I want to write a reply to that sad question? How shitty has my social life gotten since the fibro? Well, why don't I tell you what I've gained since the fibro diagnosis and subsequent treatment instead?
I was diagnosed a few days before the opening day of Bristol in 2010 after suffering for years. That day, I almost made it to closing (I wasn't on any medicine yet by that point. The VA hospital mails my medicines to me). That summer, I went to faire three more times and stayed to closing or almost closing each time. In 2011, I got a season pass and stayed till closing every single day. I haven't missed a day of faire since 2010. Because once I started getting treatment for fibro (which was mostly just muscle relaxers to help me sleep more) I started being able to do more.
I had already experienced the slow loss of everything I enjoyed doing. I went from walking four miles and doing 30 minutes of yoga every day to dropping the yoga. Then cutting back to three miles, then two, then one... and when I couldn't make it a half mile, I stopped walking altogether. I had to stop going on bike rides with my kids (we'd drive to a bike path in the next town and ride through the woods and parts of the city, it was nice). I stopped doing pretty much anything I didn't absolutely have to do. Everything I did became an algebra problem based on how many hours was I going to be out, how much walking/on my feet was involved, and how much pain meds I could safely take and still drive. Sometimes, I'd be lucky and the Disabled Guy would drive and I could take all the pain meds I needed.
When that doctor handed down that official "You have fibro" diagnosis, my life got better. Without the treatment, my flareups would be more intense. There'd be more pain, more exhaustion. There would be less fun, less photography, less renaissance faire time. Without the diagnosis, I wouldn't know the wonderful people I know. Sure, when it isn't faire season, most of my socialization is online, but that keeps us together till we can actually get together and wear silly clothes that defy the weather's logic. And you can't compare one person's thing with another person's thing. There's always that nugget of "there are other people who have it worse!"... well, there are other people who have it better. But I don't begrudge their good time because I can't have the same good time. And the other people who have it worse? I'm sorry it's worse for you, but I shouldn't cut down on my fun because you're not having any.
So... should I dwell on "all the things I can't do" or should I appreciate "all the things I am doing"?
I'm going with the doing instead of the not doing. Because the doing is more fun. And I will be doing stuff... soon.