Then I went back to bed. I just wanted to lie about in my red waffle pajamas all day and hide from the pain. When my fibromyalgia flares up, it sucks the life force right out of me. My motivation to get up and get showered goes right down the drain. Sometimes pain killers work. Sometimes I don't catch the gremlin invasion in time.
It's weird having an invisible illness. I don't LOOK sick, and my joints don't always get red or swollen. Fibro is cunning and unpredictable, and likes to mix up its habitat. It constantly moves to different places around my body - my knees, my elbows, my wrists, my shoulders. Recently it was my big toe, of all things.
I never know where to expect it.
But it always comes before the rain, or a major weather system. I usually get 48 hours notice that pain is on the horizon. I don't know if it's ALWAYS weather or food-related, but It's something I've been battling since 2008. I read recently that it's somehow connected to growing pains. And different reactions to perceived pain signals in the brain.
All I know is that any sort of precipitation is the enemy.
I remember when we went to Portugal last year, and it was sunny for TEN DAYS straight. My joints were beautifully normal and calm; I never felt so great.
Sometimes the hit-by-a-truck fatigue and overall achy feeling of fibro robs me of family time. Instead going to the science centre with my husband and daughter, I often have to to rest in bed, perfectly still after gulping down extra-strength Advil, until my bones didn't feel like they're 80 years old anymore.
Sometimes it means sitting on the other side of the glass on a Sunday afternoon when my daughter has her swimming class, because I don't feel up to being in the water with her for an hour without any support. That's when it really sucks.
You can't SEE this condition. You can't tell if I'm exaggerating. Yes, I'm grateful I don't have lupus or arthritis, but being stuck with a chronic invisible illness is no walk in the park, either. I swear there are horribly nasty days when it hurts so bad that I've found myself scrounging up heavy-duty pain meds from my c-section FIVE YEARS ago, just to get some relief.
The pills may be expired, but they work. They allow me to function, to get my life back.
When they kick in, I usually have two choices. Continue lying curled up in my pajamas watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix, feeling downhearted and not part of this world, or forcing myself up and into the day.
Honestly, it can go either way.
Usually I choose the latter option. Sometimes I go on a half-hour walk and let the cool, brisk air cool me off and calm me down. I try to walk off the discomfort if I can.
I acknowledge the invisible pain and let it do its thing. And then I let it go.
I let it marinate in my bones, but then I let it go. I let it worm its way into my muscles, but then I let it go. It will drift away eventually, like a tired red balloon on a windy day. I know it will find its way back to me another day, but it doesn't have to define me.