in the last week, I had a mighty fibromyalgia flare. it was quite unlike any other FM flare I’ve ever had, and what made it worse was that in the midst of it all, i still had to go to school and also rush 2 papers for the deadline that was at the end of the week.
the flare began on a Sunday. the fatigue and widespread pain was so bad i stayed horizontal the whole day. it struggled with that decision because i had a pending deadline and my 2 papers still needed a lot of work. but how else? my body disagreed with being vertical. Monday came, and as reluctant as i was, it meant that i could hardly rest till the week was over. for the first time ever, it took me 4 whole hours to get out of bed.
reality sank in when went about my daily life, going to school, doing my papers, going for doctor appointments and all. i heaved with each breath as breathing was difficult. it was as though my respiratory muscles were too fatigued. my back muscles felt like they were failing, and it hurt to hold my body up and vertical. although this was something i experienced right before i was diagnosed with FM, this was different- my torso felt like folding over because it was also effortful to breathe as my back struggled to hold me up. my neck protested that my head was too heavy a burden for it to carry. whenever i could i was always resting- head on the table, leaning back on the chair, lying down on the floor with my tennis ball- and taking each breath as it came. i popped the pills and tried to maximise all the painkillers and muscle relaxants to no avail.
it was too much to bear. i cried on the bus on that Monday and mustered the courage to asked my community to pray for me. the entire week, i found myself sleeping more than i should. whatever free time i had to complete my papers, i’d spend two thirds of it resting. i was panicking, afraid i couldn’t submit my papers on time. i can’t remember the last time i felt so helpless like this.
i ruminated at how all these came to be. surely there is more to this life than all these pain and pills? the intensity of the flare decreased slowly through the week, to my relief. the week felt like forever. one week after my FM flared, now my problematic shoulder is flaring again. am i surprised?
i shared with my community that suffering ceases to be once we find gifts in it. this is my insight from struggling with RA, and i used it when i nurse my patients. what about now? pain demands to be felt, yes. but does it have to make me so helpless?
FM teaches me something new everyday. but more so, it places physical limits me. when RA pushed and shoved my limits since years ago, and now FM is doing the same, only more. i cringe each time i realise there are things i cannot do. it increases with time, and the bullish me can only surrender.
it’s not ok. i’m not ok.