A Curse and a Blessing

BY:
Cassie Behrendt

Since May 12th is fibromyalgia awareness day. I wanted to explain what living with chronic pain is like and what better way to do that than to tell my story. So here is my curse and my blessing…

Chronic pain is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. It’s nothing like pain from a surgery or from an injury. It’s relentless. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, no physical therapy, medication or time can heal my pain. It is with you every moment… every second… of everyday.

It took a problem-solving, hardworking overachiever and it broke me. Years later and I am still trying to put the pieces of my life back together. My dreams became unachievable, my life forever difficult, forever changed.

People stepped out of my life, they didn’t understand. Having lived it myself I realize they couldn’t possibly!

How do you explain to a healthy person what my life is like each day? That I awake each day to a nightmare? That each morning my 27 year old body feels like an 80 year olds. That waking up feels like I have been run over by a Mac truck several times. That getting up sounds like rocks shifting into place… Snap, crackle and pop. That your body feels weighted down by hundreds of extra pounds when your struggling to get out of bed. That exhaustion sets in and showers turn to baths. That its not just constant unrelenting pain and fatigue that you live with either. That you experience constant headaches and migraines. That you battle bladder, stomach and nausea problems on a daily basis, and the bathroom has become your friend and third most visited place in the house besides the couch and your bed. That your out of breath and struggle to walk small distances or climb stairs. That you experience brain fog, have memory problems and have lost intelligence. That at times being able to think or concentrate becomes an impossible task. That you can never experience comfort again and can find no comfortable place, position or clothing. That doctors and hospitals become all too familiar. That there are always medications, bloodwork, lab work, and testing. That medical bills are always coming. That older and wiser family members ask you what they can expect from ultrasounds, cystoscopy’s, colonoscopy’s, laparoscopy’s, MRI’s, etc… That depression sets in because even simple, daily tasks become too difficult and too much to bear. That restless legs keep you up at night. That sleep can be unreachable or you can’t get enough. That the bed has become a restless place filled with tossing and turning all night long. That you will never get a break from your reality because no vacation is a getaway from your daily battle, your worries never left behind. That each day the whole world continues to go on around you when you feel as yours has ended. That you spend each day watching everyone around you live a life you can no longer dream of. This is my curse.

But as each day goes on it becomes a bit more bearable, you stop looking back on the life you once lived and begin to look towards the future. You find your joy in the simple things in life. You come out of the fog you were once living in and open your eyes to the incredible beauty of the world around you. You see what others do not. You have more understanding and a profound compassion. You begin to not judge others, not knowing what secret life may be going on behind closed doors. You try and smile more and be grateful for everything in your life you do have. You truly appreciate and love those who stood by your side, they are now your true friends, your true family. Through turmoil and strife you have finally become the person you have always wanted to be. This is my blessing.

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2 comments

  1. You totally describe me 32 years ago. I was told fibro was nothing but a few aches and pains but I had Lupus. About 15 years later I was finally told it wasn’t lupus but fibro and chronic fatigue. I do have good news. It can get better! Over the years I have learned that some things make it worse such as a change in weather. I also know I need to pick and choose what is important to me. If I want to travel a long distance I need to plan on a lot of stops to walk and time to rest after the trip. I had 2 preschoolers and was a physical education major when I started having problems. I now have 3 children and 8 grandchildren. I am an avid gardener now and my husband and I enjoy taking long trips on our motorcycle. I still have severe pain most of the time but not as bad or at least I’ve gotten used to it lol. I still have times that I can’t get out of bed. I had 5 years of very few signs of fibro.

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