I was standing near the hall, turned back to face my husband. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I was teasing him about something. I remember briefly thinking—as I often do—that he was a handsome man and I was lucky he was my husband. Then I felt as if I had a net thrown over my body and my senses. The world went fuzzy and dark, and I couldn’t stand. My legs lost muscle tension. I half fell and half sat with very little grace on the floor. It’s not the first time I’ve partially fainted, and it’s not at all romantic. Moments earlier, I had stood and walked across the room, and my body sometimes cannot handle the blood pressure changes between sitting and standing.
When my friend asked me if I would be her bridesmaid, I wanted, wanted, wanted to say yes. I wanted to scream yes! I wanted to dance around in the street shouting, “she’s getting married!” because I was that stupidly happy for my friend. She deserves much happiness and much success, so the making-it-official day was definitely something I wanted to help her celebrate. Marriage is about more than the wedding, the ups and downs of a relationship, but the wedding ceremony itself is a time to come together with the people closest to you and celebrate the commitment to those ups and downs with a big hoopla. Except, I have fibromyalgia and a gazillion medical bills, so I couldn’t let the “yes!” escape my lips without considerations. I had to ask questions first. I had to plan for success around my illness; I did not want to let my friend down. I am hopeful that my own preparations and decisions about managing my chronic illness may help someone else think about how to tackle participating in such a significant event in his or her life.
I woke up yesterday with a dull ache at my right temple. I could feel the migraine coming, and I would have taken my onset migraine medication right then except if I take my migraine medication at the same time as my fibromyalgia medication, I’m destined for a day on the couch or in bed. Yesterday was not supposed to be a day on the couch. I made my choice and waited to relieve the pain.
Stress is one of the larger triggers to flares in my fibromyalgia fatigue and pain symptoms. My fibromyalgia (and that roguish fledermausen) is the reason that I work from home. Working from home has really been a godsend for me. The flexibility has allowed me to unwind and unknot some of the kinks that have made my life difficult over the last two years. I’ve had a soothing place to work, and the best office mates ever who offer excellent stress relief on a regular basis. Who doesn’t like a cat snuggle or a five minute break to throw a Frisbee for an overzealous aficionado of fetch?
I’m participating in the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge, and the March skill is jelly or shrubs. I’ve never made jelly (I typically prefer jams), and I had to google what a shrub is (a sugary fruit-vinegar combination used in cocktails or tonic water). I have a tendency to go a little overboard when it comes to challenges; for example, I made three marmalades in January over the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. With the chaos of foundation repairs, new flooring, a wood stove, seven yards of dirt in the driveway, and taking in a new foster kiddo, I managed to carve out time on Sunday to make two jellies and a shrub. Yep, I’m a touch crazy and surprisingly not too tired.
I know today was hard for you. In fact, the last several days have been hard for you. You’ve been achier than normal and so fuzzy around the edges you’ve wondered if you’ve become rather like a kiwi, a layer of fuzz and a thin skin with ideas like the scattered small seeds inside. You’ve struggled to track conversations and to remember the ingredients you’re looking for moments after you read the list. You’ve been so, so tired that each task seems to require a wellspring of strength and focus that you’re not sure you have. Fibromyalgia is awful thing, and some days the struggle is worse than others. Valentine’s Day was particularly hard for you.
And yet you overcame.
My husband and I often talk about zany things when we’re hiking a trail even if we’re more likely to hike in silence, admiring the general splendor of the outdoor world. Our hike up to the South Rim in Big Bend National Park started as a zany day.