Growing up, I was always really active. I was on gymnastics, softball, and basketball teams and played kickball in the neighborhood whenever I got the chance. My mom lifted weights at our local YMCA, and my siblings and I played dodgeball or other fun, physical games while she worked out.
As a young adult, I continued to be physical, at some points running six miles a day and attending kickboxing and yoga classes five days a week. This was routine for me (minus the running – I gave that up years ago!) until four days before I gave birth to my first child. (Boy, were the employees of the gym nervous when I showed up for step aerobics at 39 weeks pregnant!)
About a year ago, I noticed that my back was really hurting and stiff. Not a little. Like, really, really sore. At first I thought it had something to do with my son living in my backpack for months. Several months later, after my son was walking around, and no longer on my back, I realized the pain had never gone away. If anything, it had intensified and become more constant.
At present, I have gone to every specialist and been unable to come up with an explanation. This kind of situation creates a few very strong emotions in a person, or at least did in my case. The first, obviously, is fear. I have these two little kids and something is going on that no one can figure out. Is it dangerous? Will it pass? The second emotion that I felt was anger/self-pity. Why is this happening to me right now? Why can’t any of the specialists figure out how to fix this? And then you have what I chose to be the emotion to carry me through my journey: determination.
The last year for me, health-wise, has been filled with chronic pain, unexpected twists and turns, lots of medical testing, and little to no answers. So I gave up on what was not working. I decided to do things my way.
As I mentioned last week, I had been reading this book. One of the things that I wanted to work on was making sure I was observant of myself and not missing any opportunity to grasp any sign of positivity or confirmation that I was improving in my current situation. Basically, I’m looking for signs that I’m on the right track.
I got the sign I was looking for last week. The library is a hot-spot for my family and has been for years. We usually do not go at odd times or when they are not offering specific programs. Unusually, my son fell asleep in the car this particular evening. Matt says that he will wait in the car if my daughter and I want to run in the library to pick a Christmas movie.
My daughter (A.S.), runs to the video area; and I linger right outside by the discard pile, where the library gets rid of what, I guess, are undesirable books. They are for sale for $.25 each. And here is where things get interesting. I swear to you that none of this is being exaggerated for this blog!
First of all, I never carry cash. These books in this pile are cash only. I have seen them here many times, but never had a chance to look through them while chasing two kids. So I’m looking at the pile of fifty or so books and go immediately to three books sitting on the counter.
I will list their relevance to me after I list the books. The first is “Fibromyalgia For Dummies.” The second is “Christmas in Finland (Christmas Around the World).” And finally, I find “The Christmas Gift / El regalo de Navidad.”
Fibromyalgia. This is something that I have brought up to doctor after doctor when they could give me no explanation as to what was happening to me. And, in their defense, how could I expect them to have the answers as to what was going on in my body? I know me better than anyone else does. It makes sense that if I feel something is wrong and feel that I know what it is, I need to explore it. I should have explored it. Now I know better. My hand landed on this book immediately, and I knew it was a sign that I should be reading this to learn about my condition.
The Christmas Finnish book. Oh, my goodness, you should have seen the smile on my face when my eyes hit this title! My husband is half Finnish and has an aunt that has mapped out their ancestry hundreds of years back. Her pride in her heritage gives me pride in that part of my kids, and I like to expose them to as much of it as I can. This book has Finnish crafts, recipes, stories, tradtions, etc. It’s really so heart-warming that I found this when I was looking for signs that I was doing things right!
And, lastly, “El regalo de Navidad.” This is a bilingual Christmas book. The kids and I have been studying Spanish for several months now, and reading bilingual books has really improved our language skills.
If that isn’t enough, I got to the counter and wasn’t sure/didn’t expect that I had any cash on me. I sheepishly asked (and apologized at the same time) if I could put $.75 on my credit card. I figured the clerk would be annoyed and say there was a $5 minimum to use a credit card or something. Instead, she informed me that the library doesn’t accept credit cards at all. I was a little bummed and thought I’d have to come back to get the books. On a whim, I searched through the contents of my wrist wallet and came up with $.80. That is all the money I had in my wallet.
If this isn’t a sign that I’m on track to some kind of healing, I don’t know what is!
If you (or someone you know) suffer(s) from a chronic illness like this Freaky Fibro, please know (or let them know) that you (they) are not alone and that I think of you (them) every day when I am going through what I go through, even if I don’t know your (their) name! (That makes for some hard-to-read-through fine print! Sorry!)
Our lives are what we choose to make of them, and I want mine to be fabulously incredible!