Fibromyalgia Book Reviews: Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Friedberg 2006)


In my quest to live the best life that I can, I have begun reading more books about fibromyalgia. Most of the information I have so far acquired about fibromyalgia has come from reading various websites around the internet and discussions with my doctor. Of course, in the nebulous darkness of the internet, what counts as credible information isn’t always immediately beyond perusing the main medical sites. I want to improve my quality of life, so, like any bookworm, I decided it was time to get serious about reading books on my condition.

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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.

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The Old Me and the New Me with Fibromyalgia

I do not recognize this new me, and I miss the old me. These two versions of myself are so similar, but so different. We both are nerds to the core who love Latin and nature and are incapable of coherent writing, conversation, or even thoughts prior to drinking at least one cup of coffee. And yet, the differences are profound. Lonely.

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Fibromyalgia & Workplace Accommodations

I am not certain what inspired me to google “work accommodations for fibromyalgia.” After all, my supervisors have been very understanding and supportive as I have struggled, had doctor’s appointments, missed days, had more doctors’ appointments, and ultimately started sobbing in a meeting with them in which I announced that I couldn’t manage it anymore and had to go on part-time FMLA—where my schedule became even nuttier.

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(Un)Answered Questions

Living with an unknown health condition is living with an unanswered question that you ask yourself numerous times each day:  as you wake up aching and exhausted, as you wonder whether your meeting is about to end because you cannot follow it a moment longer, and as you take each step with daggers of pain needling into your hips. I believe in labels because labels are the answers to the questions we ask ourselves. Why do I hurt? Why am I so exhausted? Because I have fibromyalgia.

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The Happiness Wrinkle

About a decade ago, I decided that the future me would accept the grey hairs and wrinkles and advancing age because I wanted to embrace each stage of my life without thinking that a stronger, funnier, prettier version of me lay buried in the past. Of course, aging—like life—has not gone quite as I had anticipated as a young woman dreaming about her future, nor has it been a linear journey with distinct boundaries marking the transitions. The aches and pains of senescence have surely arrived decades too soon, but arrive they have, just like a few errant grey hairs and a pronounced wrinkle on my face.

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Atoning with God

I broke my fast for Yom Kippur at 11:00 a.m. with a chocolate peanut butter brownie while waiting my latest new prescription to be filled at the pharmacy. I did not go to the Kol Nidre service for the first time since I returned to Judaism as an adult; I was so worn out physically and emotionally after yet another trip to the doctor that I was in bed before the service had even started. I did not go to the synagogue today because it hurts to sit on my comfortable sofa let alone a normal chair. It would seem that I already have much to atone for next year, and the Jewish year has just begun.

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