F*ck That Shit: Embracing the Pain of Fibromyalgia

Last week, I had one of those crystalline moments of clarity where you see your life unfold before you in two archetypal paths:  the sunlit path where I would wander through the woods to soaring mountain peaks or the morose path where I would sit in a little dark room and cry and cry and cry, a prisoner to my own body, my own fears. I had just read an inspirational story about a man who was dying of cancer who was running in the Boston Marathon and another of a woman who was running on a prosthetic limb after her leg had required amputation as a result of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

I am not dying. I have all my limbs. No one has tried to blow me up.

My limbs hurt. My whole body hurts. I have to take pills to lessen the pain (but not eliminate it). I have been too exhausted to sit upright on bad days. I have spent too much of the last year of my life crying, sometimes breaking down unexpectedly and sobbing in a pile on the floor. I have been unable to get myself off the couch because I was too depressed or too overwhelmed by the major life changes that have happened to me. I haven’t recognized this lachrymose stranger who has taken up residence in my house, this illegal squatter.

A latent fissure in the earth of my skin has rent itself open, and I am filled with rage. I am enraged that I have spent so much of the last year crying when I have so many things that bring my life so much joy. I am bitter that I have sacrificed activities that I love because of the chronic pain that I cannot control and will likely never go away. I am livid that I have a chronic cureless condition that will affect my life until I die. I am tortured by the very real possibilities of loss and of greater losses to come.

But, fuck that shit.

I am going to hurt. It does not matter which combination of drugs I end up on. I am still going to hurt. I am still going to have to make tough decisions about what’s manageable and what isn’t. I am going to hurt no matter what the hell I do with my life, so why the fuck would I spend it doing as little as possible of the things I love so that I might, maybe, hurt just a little bit less?

Fuck that shit.

Pain changes a person, and I am not immune. I am reminded of Egwene Al’Vere, a character from the Wheel of Time series, who learned to embrace her pain by refusing to surrender to it and accepting it for what it was. In fact, her embrace of the pains that she had to endure led her to unheralded success. I am not fictional, nor looking for unheralded success in any particular avenue. I have, however, decided to refuse to surrender my life to my pain. I refuse to let my pain and my knots of negativity restrict me more than I have to allow them. I will fight for every damn scrap.

Fuck that shit.

I am not saying that I won’t have limitations and moments where I have to step back and say, “No, I can’t do this right now.” After all, I still hurt. I hurt as I’m writing this. My neck aches constantly. I sometimes feel as if a rod of pain were jammed just under my collar bone through to my back. My migraines are more frequent and more powerful. The nerves in my back are regrowing and sending out errant aching stabs of pain through my lumbar joints.

But, fuck that shit.

I will have a fucking life, and it is going to be fucking amazing.

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