I came upon this video on my Facebook. As I watched it, I had a few different thoughts:
This is so inspiring. If this woman who has cancer can keep that great big smile on her face, dance around, be lighthearted and even sassy as she thumbs her nose at a killer disease, certainly I can fight fibromyalgia.
The video made me smile for her but it also made me feel as if I don't do enough to fight, to keep pushing and live the best life I can.
My Rheumatologist has said that fibromyalgia is very similar to cancer in many ways. How life altering it is, how many areas of the body it can or will affect. That it is progressive. The terrible pain. Having to take a lot of medications to control symptoms.
But he said where it differs is that fibromyalgia isn't fatal. You just wish it would be at times. With cancer, the patient has two possible outcomes - 1. A cure. 2. Death. Fibromyalgia has neither. Our only possible outcome is to suffer the rest of our lives. That sucks pretty bad. It's why suicide is the number one killer of people with fibromyalgia.
I'm sure there are cancer patients out there that will die of the disease who would trade places with me in a second just to keep living. When I feel the worst, I hold tight to that reality. No matter how bad this disease is, I want to live.
As I watched the video again, I thought about the ways that I do fight fibromyalgia:
The times that I turn on some Elvis or Eminem, maybe some Beyonce or Alabama Shakes and dance around my house. Or.. just sit in my desk chair, fingers snapping, head swaying, butt shaking while I sing along.
I thought about how I make myself get out of bed every morning, no matter how stiff my body is, how much it hurts. I want to stay in that warm cocoon and drift off again but I don't.
Doing at least a couple chores around the house each day. Maybe it's only making my bed - which I never, ever fail to do because it's important to me to accomplish that. Or doing a load of laundry, cooking a simple meal. They are small things but they matter.
Having quality time with my loved ones. It may be a phone conversation or sitting around the living room talking or watching a movie. It could be laying on the floor with my grandchildren and playing blocks or reading them a story. Yes, getting down to the floor and back up is extremely difficult but I manage it. At least for now. Chatting with Tony at night and sharing our somethings, year after year.
Laughing as often as I can and learning something new each day.
All of us fight our illness in whatever way we can. Some days it's easier to do that than others. There are times when we need to stop pushing quite so hard and rest more. That balance is harder to navigate than I ever imagined.
Over all, the video left me feeling inspired. I realized that each and every one of us have our war and all we can do is take it a battle at a time. We will win some and lose some. The most important thing is not being ashamed to lose and to keep getting back up for the next time. And.. not to compare our journey with others.