I have a chronic illness that will never, ever go away. I have fibromyalgia, which means that I hurt all the time, but some days are better than others. Some days I’m so exhausted that I can hardly function; other days I feel energized and like my old self with this distant pain that’s off in the distance. Regardless of how I’m feeling, I’m the best darn advocate for myself because no one else is going to advocate as well for my needs as I will. Yeah, today’s post is about dressing up and speaking up.
So, June kind of exploded much like the Fourth of July did yesterday. My team at work was reduced (expected), my supervisor left (unexpected) leaving me in the position of a promotion (unexpected), we got another kiddo (somewhat unexpected), we took in a respite kiddo (expected, three preteen kiddos!) and my graduate class started (expected). So, my erratic goal progress this month can be traced back to all those expected and unexpected changes. I’m not making excuses; life is what it is, frequently as erratic as it is messy and explosive. My habits and stress levels suffered as a result.
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.